The entertainment industry is incredible, let me start by saying that. I am incredibly blessed to have ever gotten a paid job in this industry and the fact that I to continue to miraculously make enough money to stay in LA month after month is nothing short of a miracle. Not to mention that it is slowly but surely getting easier. I've probably blogged about how tough this city is about 4837124 times on this site and I'm happy to report that I'm almost 2 years into living here and I'm not homeless, I have GREAT friends, I have a solid management team, and everything is seemingly on the up and up. But, I think what has changed the most in recent months is my attitude towards everything.
My acting instructor at Anthony Meindl told me on one of our first classes together that as actors it is important to also fall in love with something else, something other than acting. This way while you're waiting to book that earth shattering, career-making project you are not fucking miserable. This resonated so much for me because there have been moments where I was exactly that, miserable. I hated having to work a serving job 5 nights a week, I hated coming home smelling like stale booze and french fries. Quite frankly, I also hated doing background acting- I used to tell myself that it was "better to be on set than not" but for me, it's just not. When I was doing background acting I felt under-paid, under-valued, and having to watch other actors get to do the exact thing that you DREAM of doing all day everyday felt kind of like torture (for me anyway). It truly was nice in the beginning because I got to see how film sets work, I networked with casting directors and crew members, and let's be real here- there is always free food on set, so I didn't starve. But, at the end of the day it just didn't FULFILL me and it was starting to breed jealousy and negativity in my heart. So, I made some changes. I took a job doing something that I know I am good at- doing social media and PR, this job allows me to write blogs, take photographs for my clients social media, and it keeps a more than sufficient amount of money coming in. Luckily my boss just happens to be incredibly understanding when I need to run off to an audition last minute- or when I book something and need to work remotely for a couple of days. This also allows me to pay for acting classes, casting workshops, SAG dues, head shots, etc and not be constantly stressed about IF i'll make enough during my shift to pay for the tools I need to grow as an actor.
So my advice to you is to nurture yourself, get some creative energy out using other creative outlets and take control of your own life. I think that was one of the biggest problems I had when I first came to this city; that I had no CONTROL over getting acting jobs. But the truth is, you do. You can write your own parts and film them with your friends, you can do acting workshops or even teach theater to kids. Take the reigns in your own career and I can guarantee you'll feel a LOT better.
It is also imperative that you let go of how you think your life is SUPPOSED to be and try to enjoy how it IS. Because even if you are struggling to make it right now if and when you DO make it- you will look back on these times with nostalgia. So enjoy the moment you are in.
Now my solution may not be your solution and that is fine- no two people have the exact same path to happiness, in fact maybe you really love your serving job and that's fantastic! My point is that as an actor you need to also nurture other sides of yourself. Follow your other interests and passions. Whether that means taking up a sport, boxing to get some anger out of taking up yoga to relax. Perhaps if you haven't booked something in a while but also happen to love writing you could write a script for yourself or start a blog, if you love to paint take out your frustration on a canvas, learn a new skill such as photography or dance, or if you love music learn a new instrument!
AND here's the great part about all of this: once you start taking care of your soul and doing things that make you happy you'll probably start booking more because people can SEE when someone is bringing positive energy into a room, they'll want to be around your good vibes and as an end result the likelihood of them hiring you increases ten fold.
So while you're out there chasing your dreams remember to also take care of yourself.