It wasn’t until I got to Drama School that I realised the irony of my career choice. I thought that doing something practical, ‘Acting’ would work to my strengths. Little did I know that being an Actor is about 70% reading and, of that, at least half is reading out loud in front of people, usually to try and persuade someone to give you a job. Words are not my strong point. In fact, they are something I actively avoided when growing up.
Why did I become an actor again?
And it’s going pretty well.
You’ve worked with the director before and you share an anecdote that makes the producer and the casting director wet themselves.
And they laugh when you talk about the dog.
And the lines come easily, and the scene feels good.
And when the director asks you to be more front foot and faster, you are more front foot and faster. And the director nods at you and winks, like, that was what I wanted.
And they smile and nod when you get up to leave.
And the casting director squeezes your hand and whispers ‘Fantastic as ever’ as you leave.
So you go home buzzing a bit.
And you give up your seat to an older man on the tube and people smile at you. Nice guy.
So you ring your agent.
19th December 2014
Dear Ms Elin-Salt,
Thank you for your recent expenses. I have done some calculations and your tax bill for the year 2013 – 2014 will be £**** (insert terrifying and ridiculous figure here) for the first instalment in January and a further £**** (ditto) for the second in July.
Despite this, have a very merry Christmas.
🎶 It’s the mooooost wonderful tiiiiime of the yeeeeeear…
With the kids jingle-belling and everyone telling you to MAYBE START THINKING ABOUT A PGCE BECAUSE YOU WERE ALWAYS SUCH A CLEVER CHILD AND AUDITION FOR EMMERDALE AND PERHAPS ITS TIME TO COME BACK FOR GOOD AS THE PROPERTY LADDER ISN’T GETTING ANY SHORTER AND THE MORTGAGE ADVISORS WILL LAUGH IN YOUR VERY FACE ON THOSE WAAAAAGES 🎶
I’m in a coffee shop with my headphones on, trying to dull the sound of the man next to me shoveling soup, disgustingly into his gob. I’m listening to actors on a podcast about acting, talking about acting. The guest is apparently quite good at it, even though he sounds pretty downbeat about the whole affair and as I continue to listen, I cannot help but audibly say the words ‘I’d kill for your life mate’, which causes the disgusting man slurping soup, to stop and stare at me. We look at each other for a second, before he continues to gorge noisily.
I can count on both hands the number of acting jobs I’ve had since drama school, and I can count on one hand the number of paid acting jobs I’ve had since then. I’m embarrassed and frustrated by my lack of movement in this profession. In fact, when people ask me what I do, I say that I’m pursuing an acting career; rarely, do I say that I’m an actor because I feel that would imply that I’m a working actor, or at least someone auditioning on a regular basis. If I’m being truly honest, am I even really pursuing an acting career?
They probably cover it at some institutions already, but one thing my three years at drama school didn’t teach me was the importance of a good resting job. Some might argue that such an idea is counter-intuitive – obviously you’re going to have a career that doesn’t necessitate anything but acting work. Or you’re going to quit within the first six months. But for 99.7% of those graduates that make a go of it, that isn’t the case.*
I’m not. Jesus, I’d be shit at it. I had to retake my Maths at GCSE and anything to do with finance makes me sweat. But it just sort of…popped out one day. Every time I tell someone that I’m an Actress, I get asked a few particular questions. And I know, from speaking to other Actors, I’m not alone. So, I thought I’d share my top 5 questions I get asked, with you. Just to make you feel like you’re not suffering alone.