This Article is About
roller coaster ride
words of encouragement
demo reel
creative field
simplest thing
tough times
few words
job opportunities
first person
Drive To Succed
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As an Artist, and especially having to deal with a freelance industry, it gets tough to earn a living. In tough times, you need support. Most often we can turn to our family for that support, but there are also times when friend(s), or someone you don't even know may offer you support. Support is not always monetary means, it can be the simplest thing as a few words of encouragement.

I remember the first time I finished working at my second freelance job, well it's called being laid off, and I was devastated. Immediately, I rushed after all the job opportunities I came across in the creative field, and I fell into the Dark Age of unemployment. Then a friend invited me out to a meditation meetup, and I guess other people could see the stress in me, and especially how I talked. Often times when we meet someone new, the first thing they ask you is something pertaining to your job. This happened on this occasion. I was the first person at the meditation teacher's house, he invited me in, introduced himself, and after he asked my name, where I live, he popped the question. I told him I was recently laid off, and I know my tone was not very good. He smiled at me and said, "Don't worry. You'll find something." When I looked up and saw that big smile, it lifted me up! I thought, "Yeah! I'll find something!"

I kept looking and looking, but it was difficult, especially since I was too stressed to sit down and work on improving my demo reel, but then it happened. I got a freelance job! I worked at Moo Studios. It was for 2 days, but then they kept me on for a week to help out, and again I was laid off. What a roller coaster ride of emotions that was.

I went onto other small creative positions, where ambitious Directors and Producers where trying to start their own thing, but simply did not understand the field enough to make it happen. They needed support and especially need to educate themselves since me and the other artists thought they were out of their mind. From there I thought to think outside of the box and look at opportunities outside of Art.

I started doing Background Acting through Central Casting. Wow! Such an exciting job. You get to go on set of the TV shows, movies, commercials, etc and you're right there with all the big time stars! Even so, the reality is the work is very random. You may work 1 day out of a week or a month. You can get a Call-in Service, but even then there will be slow months where you may only work 1 day in a whole month. There could be times where you work 2 weeks out of the month. Unless you have a good position on a show, this can be tough. The hours can be really long. Most of us burn out when we work 8:00am to 1:00am for a week or two back-to-back. There are people in the acting industry who make it very clear to you the hierarchy involved, and you can meet people who are very unprofessional to you because you are a Background Actor. Being an Actor or Actress is a very, very tough job. After doing it for 2 years, I have a new respect for the field. It reminds me of when I worked in a factory for 15 hours, drove home, went to sleep for 3-4 hours, and then got up to repeat this cycle. Making a living seems even tougher than being a Freelance Artist. However, if you can audition and land a role, you're taken care of. If you can become a Principal, or Stand-In you can make a decent living temporarily. If you can get an Agent, that also helps a ton! With anything freelance it becomes a constant struggle to find consistent work. What this all boils down too is how much you want it and love doing it.

Regardless of passion for the job we're interested in, the reality is time and the factors you face now. Sure, it would be great to be an Actor, but how can you pay rent, fix a car that's breaking down, and also get the different insurances you need?

As I am now pursuing my dreams as an Artist, people close to me always say, "Why bother with that, look at the cost, and you're not going to get a job!" As I was job hunting, I heard the perfect explanation, for not having a job when you thought you did the right thing, from an Insurance Salesman trying to persuade us to sign up. He said, "You grow up thinking that if I go to college, get my degree, in whatever discipline, I graduate, I get a job. Simple...Right? No! The reality is that companies don't care about your degree. When things go bad in business or the economy, the employee gets laid off, or for whatever reason, fired. Yet, you have a college degree, you can get another job? Months can go by and you're not hired, that's tough. You live in Los Angeles, CA and if you don't make over $20.00 an hour, you better be one heck of a coupon clipper! Do you mean to do this? No, you just didn't know any better. If you need a job, then you have to get more skills to get hired. Unemployment is there, but that is only for so long. When you need to make money, you must do something!" This was his selling point for us to join his insurance company.

As I have been working as a Freelance Artist around Los Angeles, CA I keep remembering these words and they make a lot of sense to me. Still regardless of the hard facts, I continue to work at my art, learn from my mistakes, and take in account other ways to success.

Don't ever let anyone discourage your dream. If you love what you are doing you would not being doing it in the first place. When someone is telling you to give up and you do, then you should know for yourself that your heart just wasn't in it.

Street Talk

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