The Catch-22 of the Acting Business

View from my desk. And my sneaky camera skills.

I am temping in an ad agency this week.  All day long, my desk sits next to a door that says “Studio.”  When the doors open I see green screens, cameras, the whole nine yards.  Every time someone comes out, I sit up straight and bat my eyelashes with the crazy chance one of them is a casting director looking for receptionist type for their next commercial.

Now here comes the irony.  Tomorrow I have to chance to go to the SAG-AFTRA office for their Open Door program.  This is a great once a year opportunity to set up appointments with casting directors and agents to find representation.  I pulled my time slot from a hat, and tomorrow at 12:30 is my time for the 30 minute seminar.  I’m in the West Village at noon, need to be to midtown east by 12:30, and magically get back here by 1.  Unless I get there by personal jet or magical flying unicorn, it’s not all going to happen.

My audition taxi

But this is the thing…my actual career goal is to be IN that commercial studio, not sitting here answering the phone in the hallway.  So I’m taking the risk and sneaking a very long lunch break tomorrow with the danger of pissing off this job and my temp agency.  I get so scared of screwing up the job that provides income, that it’s easy to put my actual career on hold.

So how do people do it?  I’ve always been told that you should never get a job that you can’t cancel at the last minute in the event of an audition.  But do those jobs actually exist?  Doesn’t that eventually make you look like an undependable worker? Unless you’re a trust fund baby, how do you just not work?  I have been really working on mastering freelancing and have more of a grasp on it than I did two years ago.  But it is days like tomorrow, when I really have these large opportunities scheduled over work that I get frustrated.

I’m sure we’re not the career that goes through this, but the next time someone grumbles that actors don’t work hard, I’ll ask them to try this for a month.  Okay, I’m done with my rant now.  Now off to clone myself.

5 responses to “The Catch-22 of the Acting Business”

  1. I think you’re aloud to stretch things during times like these– you’re not a life-long office temp, and I’m sure people find ways to attend interviews. Just the trick of juggling a little bit.


  2. Start sneezing violently and call in sick tomorrow. You may not be paid for the work tomorrow, but at least you won’t lose your job! Also, dude…join focus groups! They are the easiest way to make money. I signed up with an agency in Bethesda and they call when they need my small blonde lady demographic filled. If I can’t make the time they are suggesting they just say, “Okay, have a nice day!” and that’s that! No getting fired, there is usually food served and they give me a check ranging from $50-$100 on the spot.


    • Thanks, Elyse! I definitely considered it. As for the focus groups, all of the ones I looked into seemed to be scams. I don’t think I’m looking in the right place though. We should chat soon, that sounds awesome.


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