Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Why I'm Glad I Have a Day Job

This is what a theatre looks like.
I wrote a guest post over at Always the Planner a few months ago where I talked about some ways to get closer to your dream job.  You should go check it out if you haven't already.

The last bit of advice that I suggested in that post was to make sure to remember that you've got bills to pay.  My point was that if you've got steady income from a day job, it may be best to continue working in that position until you develop stronger footing in whatever your passion may be.

I'm pretty glad that I've taken my own advice.  Here's why.

Today, I start rehearsing for a play at one of the most reputable regional theatres in my area.  I will be working as the understudy for the male lead.  Because of this, I will not have to attend all rehearsals, but I will have to learn all of his lines (obviously), attend certain/most rehearsals, and be on call for all performances (it's the sort of thing where you'd like to go on stage, but you'd really rather whatever it would take for you to go on stage didn't happen [e.g., the lead actor would likely have been seriously injured and physically could not perform]).*

My rehearsal today is just over eight hours (including the meal break).  Even as an understudy, I'll probably spend close to a hundred hours total in rehearsal, and that's not counting the performance times where I'll need to be ready to go even though I will probably (knock on wood) not have to.

In exchange for my time, I have a contract with the theatre which states that they will pay me $250.  If my hundred hour figure above is accurate, that's $2.50 an hour I'll be taking home, pre-tax (which is about as good as the money I make over at Fiverr).

If the above sounds like I'm complaining, I assure you that I am not.  I'm chalking this whole experience up as a win.

First off, in my experience, the networking that comes with being in shows leads to more shows.  Second, I'm pretty excited to even be getting the opportunity to do anything with this show because I've never worked with this theatre company before.  I hope that my involvement will open the door for me with them in the future.

I love what goes into being an actor.  I have gladly done it for free, and I'll almost certainly do it for free again.

While one day, I hope working in theatre is all I do, I'm just glad having my day job affords me the opportunity to pursue what I love, even if it's on the side right now.

We've all got to take steps.  Here's another one for me.

*A buddy of mine is having a bachelor's party weekend while the show is going on that I can't go to; that's the only part that I'm complaining about.  Feel bad for me.

Photo by Andypiper.


Daisy said...

Thats pretty awesome! If I got paid to do something I would want to do anyway, I would be all over it.

Bryan said...

That's exactly how I'm feeling. In fact, I'm also working on another show for which I'm not getting paid.