Acting as a Side Hustle
Tuesday, June 11th 2019
Side hustles, entrepreneurism, money making. Whatever you call it, more and more people are doing it in this economy. We aim to show you some good ways of making some additional money. And one way to do that is using acting as a side hustle for additional income.
How does a person do that? Well first off you need to a few fundamentals.
- Number one: you have to be humble.
A lot of the actors that are out there are actually extremely humble and very grateful for the work that they’ve done. They’ve know they are getting into a very harsh cutthroat industy and jobs are not easy to get in this field. Sometimes you might get a gig and sometimes you might not have any work for a long time so you have to be grateful and you have to be humble when you are actually receiving work. One of the more humble celebrities out there as rate on social media includes Keanu Reeves for instance. And it’s a good thing to never let your ego get to you or act like you deserve the job more than anybody else in the world. You have shouldn’t look down at other people.
- Number two: you have to have utmost drive and perseverance and a whole lot of tenacity to continue in the job of acting because it’s again very competitive.
A lot of young actors are trying to vye for the same job. If you don’t have perseverance to people constantly giving you criticism or giving you directions and adjustments to make in your performance or you’re not open to suggestion and taking direction that you might need to do things in a certain way then you’re going to get axed from the gig and someone easier to work with will get the position. A lot of people, don’t have a thick skin or any skin in the game so it’s not a good job position for them. As a general rule in life if you can’t take criticism, and you take things too much to heart then you’re going to have a tough time dealing with challenges and rejection.
- Number three, how do you know where to get gigs? You need to the position where you actually working and honing your skills constantly.
We know this is a bit of a catch-22. If you’re not working then you can’t get a job and if you can’t get a job then how can you get a gig? It’s an endless loop and so it’s a good idea to keep your skills honed by doing whatever work that you can to maintain. That might mean you have to get to waiting tables and then act on the side and do night work in theater. If you’re interested in film then do some minor independent work or beginning gigs so you can work up the career ladder because really you have to pay your dues. Sometimes that means you’re not necessarily getting the best jobs out there or being in the best casting but you can get further if you already in the industry and have your foot-in-the-door.
Now a lot of the actors out there also have a lot of side skills. Just like anything else it’s a survival mechanism and survival technique to be able to have many different skills that may get your foot in the door and get you noticed so for example there’s a Hidden Secret Talent episode series on YouTube where you see famous celebrities perform certain talents or performable skills. You see that they all basically down-to-earth people and they have skills that they’re able to do in addition to their other more famous qualities that they were known for. For example there’s an episode of Oprah Winfrey displaying her laundry skills in one of the episodes. There’s an episode also of Helen Mirren possibly doing splits. There’s an episode of Jennifer Lawrence showing masterful facial muscle control. And other actors doing sword fighting, showcasing comedy chops, and also other specialized skills like working on typewriters or eating bugs.
These actors are just trying to get ahead in life and you have to have a variety of skills and weird experiences and talents in order for you to represent people on the screen if you are getting into acting and entertainment. You don’t have to be particularly great at everything out there or be a jack-of-all-trades for instance but as example Robert Downey Jr has had a lot of a world real life experience and a lot of talent for example. When he did some an imitation of Charlie Chaplin in his movie Chaplin he already had a lot of innate skills and talents before he ever got to where he was at. And by the time he became Iron Man in The Avengers he had had many years of practice being a person, a real life human being and various skills on and off the set.
So Number 3: You need to live and act.
In order to for you to be talented in the world of acting you have to first have your foot in the door. You need a bit of schooling in the world of hard knocks and the real-world and obtain experience to draw on before you expect to hit the homerun. Even Tom Cruise was just a young actor early on before he was filming movies like Top Gun and all that. You have to start someplace. Another example would be for example Brad Pitt who had been working in costumed gigs before he got to where he was at and he had many different things in his life and maybe model experiences. And this influences the aspect of thinking inside the world of other people.
Living life must happen to be successful and it’s not an immediate straight path into acting. It is just one part of a whole skill set. Most people that do acting are also very good at other fields. It’s not the only thing that they’ve been doing all their whole life although they do have a lot of experience there. Many have a theater background and experience also. They have done stage work. They might have done lighting and they’ve done proper work. For example Alec Baldwin and Eddie Murphy for example were both in Saturday Night Live and other things before they became big but they honed and refined their many talents and skills over time.
So if you’re looking for gigs and jobs you could start looking on the news and local postings, on the Internet of course. Sources like Hollywood Reporter may provide information. A decade ago you might look at Craigslist for a couple gigs. But Craigslist is not used as regularly anymore for your gigs. Though there are still occasionally legitimate acting, crew, and talent jobs on there still although obviously you want to avoid seedy questionable postings.
Know that some places in your community also have casting directors that will look for background talent and these people are nice to know because they once you get to work with them they sometimes have you on a list and they will call you back for other things in the community so it’s a very good idea to get your foot in the door. This allows you to communicate with others industry professionals.
Right now the best way is to get on Facebook because a lot of people are on Facebook. You can learn a get involved in their social network. They are groups that you might see. For example if your geographic region is Ohio as an example you could do a search for Southern Ohio film association groups. And they all very helpful in trying to get other people work. You can check the postings and get an idea what and who is in the industry in your area.
If there is a the radius or distance that you willing to drive consider traveling. It’s not just a good idea to try to find work in your local area. You need to cast your search criteria and network as wide as possible. Sometimes have to actively look for things and they’re not going to be local. They are going to be out there and there’s always work out there. Someone always needs somebody that’s needing talent. For example Chicago Fire was out many hours away but if you were willing to travel they might have been work you could have snagged.. They were casting for the Nashville TV show not too long ago. They were casting for something over in the Cleveland recently with Sylvester Stallone. They were looking for the other Talent with Matthew McConnaughey for example. It’s a good idea to I’ll be checking Backstage.com. You can look for other work out there and just be in general hustling. It’s not easy but at least you can go out and meet people. Try to also have a good time but also realize that it’s worth going to these events to gain experience. Keep focused.
So here is some on being a good extra. For example you need to follow good directions and some of the standard stage directions may include:
- “quiet on the set”. Obviously they want you to be quiet. Directors and actors must concentrate and stay focused and remember lines. So you can mess up the shot and distract everybody who’s actually working and trying to focus on things. It’s not all just so fun and games when they are trying to produce a product to sell.
- Secondly “action” is when the main actors are usually starting to do things and move. When they say call “action” they usually will have already done other things first such as
- “roll sound”. When they roll sound they are trying to pick up stuff on the microphone. So you want to make sure not to make extraneous noises because microphones are really sensitive.
- And then there is “roll camera” so whatever there in front of the screen shot of the camera is captured.
- “Background” – Background actors start moving and usually start doing things before the actors actually start running and doing their lines. Background actors are often moving or walking around pacing around. This is all that stuff that you don’t really notice while watching TV but is necessary for the mood of a scene.
- Some directors also have lingo when they have to break so someone can go to the bathroom
- There’s also “points” for example if there’s somebody’s coming through and they may say “points hot points”. This means that you have to be careful that some of these items are sharp and hot or electrified and live and you have to kind of watch and be out of the way.
You may see sandbags on set so for example. If you have C clamps and other things. These are used to hold down stands somebody putting sand bags to make sure that equipment doesn’t fall over.
Just be aware of what those other people are doing. Learn how everyone is interacting to be safe. They are doing important technical work while you as the actor in extra are often over there standing around it seems to a bystander. Know your appleboxes, lights and soundclappers. All therese things require a lot of concentration and everyone working together and someone telling you directions is not just there to harass but keep everyone safe and on task. They have technical work that’s dictated by rules from the Union.
Ah yes, in order for you to really high-paying work sometimes at some point in time they might offer you for you to be in a Union production if you have done SAG card recognized projects and they usually have to go by those rules explicitly. If you have somebody who’s in SAG. They have certain rights and so for example you might be expected a meal every 6 hours. The general rule for eating is that the main talent and crew, that is the talent, the actors, the celebrities get the first dibs and the best food on there. They might have a separate line versus the crew and independent background actors. Those usually go second but sometimes may tell you to go eat first. Sometimes there’s also a separate catering line or some kind of special food for main actors. So just be aware and it’s just basically etiquette if you are an extra just be aware that the people are paying you also for this work so you have to have a very high ethics that you have to know that are you getting selected you will getting special treatment for getting this type of work but you also have to still remain humble for the type of work you doing and being and don’t grab too many snacks help somebody out. Help them out because it’s very easy to fall down the totem pole and if you get up and you’ve gotten good gigs and just know you might fall down the hiercharcy again.
It’s also very cool and sometimes if you are background actor you might get costumed paid fittings and that’s very nice that you might be there for like 30 minutes to an hour and they fit you for shoes and pants and some clothing and some things you might be expected to bring your own wardrobe to a fitting and so it’s a nice extra way actual money after signing on to this type of work just be aware and be grateful that when you get called in.
Don’t be late!
Also get you an idea of other people that work in industry other people you can network with and just also get an idea of how to act on set. Obviously in order to get up to such a high level that these actors are at the actors that had to go through the years. They figured out how they have to act and how to be. You can’t just be talking to everybody on set; be friendly and open but know some people may not be able to talk to you.
At the end of the day what happens is you will get a pink sheet to sign out. This is your timekeeping as you may get a W-2 later. And they need to make sure that your taxes are withheld.
They may ask for ID’s before employing you and before you get into the particular job to make sure that you are legally a citizen of the U.S When you sign out They will put the time that you work there and whether there’s overtime as well and so nice thing to know of.
Also when you on said they don’t want you to have obviously a recording equipment because that can get them in trouble and then they can also get you in trouble as legal liabilities. They may have to take legal recourse if you record the production and those are work secrets
Most don’t want leaks out on YouTube and all over the web and so a lot of Productions tell you not to take your cell phones on the set and don’t have and you can’t use it so it’s very important that you follow through otherwise you could get sued and removed from set. You don’t want be blacklisted from working with them again. Sometimes they will let you take pictures of your outfit while you’re not on set and that’s nice so just be aware that you know it’s a nice thing when they do that and just be aware that anything on set is a part of the main production and you have to be respectful as you are a worker on a job.
Now when you are on a set it’s very also important to be respectful of others times and the helpful try to help people out. At the end of a night people want to go home so just be aware don’t put unnecessary burden on the people. If you can’t get transportation to and from production know that there are other people trying to get home. They might have to work the next day and most people have another another day job that they have to deal with the work. So after a 12-hour shift people work through the night and then they a day job unless you’re a real professional actor / actress. There are many dedicated Moms and Dads that work and have to get back to work and actually do that full-time work. It’s bad etiquette bumping rides and riding up to a production set and not have your own guaranteed ride. It also reduces your for success as well so if you don’t have ride get with you where you need to go to be on a set then you might need to prioritize what you need in your life.
The only thing about acting is like I said it’s a job it’s not an easy job don’t be trying to flirt on the job and don’t try to ask to stay around and stick around longer than you supposed to because other people are there working. You might make it awkward so don’t make it so the PAs and such have to control the people and have to be the bad guy or the police on the job basically. Most people will try to have good nature around you but you know if you talking on the set and you are being rude and talking over other people they’re going to remember that. Other people will find out what your name is they and remember you. Be nice to other people that are following the directors and the highest person on the totem pole. Just because a person is a PA or clapping the clapboard or clapboard doesn’t mean they won’t see you down the road. They remember you. Maintain respect for other people.