Make Use of Downtime in Between Acting Gigs
Actors live for the gigs that they get. However, the very nature of gigs is that they come and go. There are most likely always going to be periods between gigs where you have time to spend. Use this downtime to work on your skills and generally refine just about everything you can. Downtime periods aren’t a time to do nothing, as every successful actor knows. They’re a time to refocus, renew, and rebuild. It’s like dreaming– you’re not awake, but your body and brain are busy doing things now that they have the opportunity to rest, healing and building you up so you can be a better you when you wake up. So, how should actors best use downtime in between acting gigs? Read on to find out.
Make Use of Downtime in Between Acting Gigs
– Do all the things you can’t do when you have a gig.
It can be all too easy for actors to get caught up in the demands of their business and focus on making it– to the exclusion of all else. Not only can this be unhealthy for a regular person, it can be unhealthy for anyone, really. Actors need to do things outside of their day jobs and their gigs, after all. It doesn’t have to be exclusively getting coffee at the park– it could be going to a concert, attending a movie, or even going on a date. Make sure that you’re engaging and doing things so that you’re balancing your personal needs with your professional ones.
– Take voice lessons.
Being a single threat never hurt anyone, but it never helped anyone, either. Part of being a successful actor is making an effort to diversify your range. Don’t focus all your energy on acting– start to branch out, too. You never know when vocal abilities may help land you a gig or even a movie. It never hurts to be able to do more than just act. Even if you don’t stick with it, it provides a good foundation in case you want to pursue it more later.
– Attend industry events.
It never hurts to stay connected in your downtime from gigs. Attending industry events is often one of the best things you can do as an actor. You’ll meet a wide range of people in the industry– those who may remember your face or something that they liked about you the next time you’re auditioning. You never know who you’ll meet, and staying relevant in the industry is just as important as showing up for those auditions and getting your name out there. Whether it’s an event, party, or mixer, consider attending at least one a month. It may not help you right off the bat– but it certainly might pay off big time down the line.
– Attend an acting class.
Why not brush up on your acting skills a little? Search for acting teachers that have great reputations or that you’ve always wanted to take an acting class from. It’s important to get different perspectives on your craft. Each teacher has their own life experience, and one of them may say a brilliant thing that just clicks with you and totally transforms the way you approach acting for the better. Either way, definitely worth shelling out a couple bucks.
– Build up your savings.
Did you leave your job during your last gig? Now’s the time to find another to take its place. Still working at your ‘survival’ job? Now is a great time to refocus and grab those extra hours. Actors often have to give their shifts away or take a break when they get a gig. Get back in your boss’s good graces as well as perform better than ever at your job, showing up early and getting the job done. Use this time to boost your savings. Your stress levels will drop, and you’ll feel more secure and confident. Nothing can sabotage an audition faster than knowing you have three figures (or less) in your checking account. Your brain will inherently worry about this and it could affect your performance. Build those savings back up and take the pressure off. Pay off some bills, too– it’s good karma.
– Take stock of your inventory.
Since you have some down time, now is the time to step back and evaluate your inventory. This can be everything from your head shots, to your voice control, to your memorization skills and memorized monologues. Are your head shots a little outdated or no longer look like you? Now may be the time to update them.
– Do theater.
Theater is a great way to keep those acting chops limber in between gigs. There are so many benefits to doing live theater between gigs– it’s one of the best things you can do. Whether it’s a major role, a minor role, every bit of experience will make you a better actor. Ian McKellan was a trained stage actor who performed Shakespeare on the stage for years. He can be heard in interviews speaking to the importance of that experience and how it influenced him as an artist. Doing theater offers an opportunity to branch out and take on a new role as stage manager, costume designer, or assistant director. You’re expanding your CV, gaining valuable insight into other aspects of performance production, and making great relationships and contacts. You never know who you’ll know, recognize, or work with down the line!
Making use of your down time between gigs is so important as an actor. If you can be disciplined enough to work on your craft and make yourself a better actor and person between those jobs, you’re setting yourself up for success. Think of the downtime between gigs as an opportunity– an opportunity to work on what could be better and improve what’s already great. Don’t just use it to lounge around. The difference between an actor who breaks through and one who fizzles out is often their drive and how far they’re willing to push their limits. Try new things, save up cash, get involved in the industry, and put yourself out there. At the end of the day, it’s crucial as an actor and as an individual. Make good use of that downtime, and good luck!