Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Not out of the woods yet

It always seems that my busy-ness comes in waves. I can have nothing on my plate for weeks at a time when all I do is worry about how I'm going to afford to pay my bills next month, and then suddenly have five things going on at once, and feel stressed about pulling myself in many directions simultaneously. This would be normal for most people, but, with my inability to properly manage my time, I instead go through phases of freak out: when I'm stuck at home, I panic because I'm not working, and when I'm so busy working I panic because I feel I'm not getting enough stuff done at home. ("Work" here applies to both acting jobs and the day job.)

Currently I am very busy. I don't usually undertake student films anymore, but I agreed to one recently because it's only one day of filming, and it sounds like it would look good on a showreel. Some actors forget that when you do a student film, it is being produced by students, and I completely understand how quickly that can become frustrating. But you have to remember that they are learning too, and will have different levels of experience as well as professionalism. It is probably for course work, so you can't always expect Martin Scorsese. It is, however, good material for showreels, which is what I'm trying to put together at the moment. Not to mention I need some material in some accent other than an Irish one. 

The most obvious thing about student films is that they're unpaid. Well, the nice ones will give you expenses. Every job should "pay" you in some way, whether it be via sandwiches, a pint, or monetarily (the cash credit copy rule). Wait, I'm rambling now. What was my point?

Oh right. So basically, I had to get a "real" job. I'm already with a temp agency and temping is easy and convenient, but it's inconsistent and so it's not always enough. I had to swallow my pride and admit that my monthly expenditures do not decrease just because my incomings do. It is very hard not to think like I'm giving up or failing, but I have to remember that I've only been seriously pursuing acting in London for less than a year, and some would say (and have said) I have accomplished a lot in that time. I always feel like I should be doing more, though, and of course I would love it if I'm always busy doing acting work. But I also need to remember that a burgeoning actor still needs to survive. I've decided I'm okay with getting a permanent job, as it allows me to be picky in the acting work I apply for (at least that's the way I'm choosing to look at it). And at the risk of becoming a cliche, I've actually become a waiter again. I start this Friday. It's good news and very welcome, but I'm not in a complete financial safety zone yet. Let's hope I can start climbing out of debt soon. 

Meanwhile, I'm filming that student film today. It's set in a church, and the visuals will hopefully look pretty cool. All the students here share roles: today one is AD, tomorrow he will be DoP on someone else's film. Today she is cameraman (camerawoman?) and tomorrow she is director. 

Yesterday I was busy doing a little bit of every facet of my working life: induction for my new waitering job, temping for half a day, costume fitting for this film, rehearsal for the next film, and all within less than 12 hours. Last week I was bored out of my mind at points, with nothing to do. Even though I hate routines, maybe complete aimlessness isn't the best way either. From now on I'll try to find a happy medium.