How to put acting back on your priority list | Surviving Actors Column

Life is busy, but especially as an actor. We can be pulled in all directions; working peculiar hours and feel as though we always have to be available and ready for our moment.

Due to the nature of acting, it is likely we are juggling many projects. 

Perhaps several jobs, caring for children, personal creative projects, additional training…the list goes on. That is before you receive a call from your agent at 5:55pm with an audition for tomorrow which requires two songs, 6 pages of script, a monologue and an improvisation.  Eeeek!  Yes, we have all been there. It can all get very stressful. 

Although acting may not be your primary source of income at the moment, it is important that it is still present.

I remember arriving at drama school and getting the weekly schedule. This was not going to be a part time ‘uni’ experience! 

However I got into the swing of it very quickly and found I was learning and improving daily and loved being part of the routine. 

So what happens when your training finishes or when you finish a job? 

How do you feel when you have to create your own schedule? How does the acting fit in? Does it feature?

We know how it feels when we haven’t acted for a while, everything starts to feel a little stale and we are not as sharp as we would choose.

I want to help you make a plan, so acting still features heavily in your priority list so you remain focused, prepared and accomplished. 

Here are 5 strategies to help you get started:- 

1)  Write down a list of everything you do in a week and how long it takes.

E.g. work / sleep / travel / daily tasks / socialising / health and wellbeing / studying / acting etc.

Write down all the tasks that you do within those categories.

2)  What could you stop doing? Just because you have always done something, doesn’t mean you always have to do it. What could you eliminate from your week? What could you delegate? What processes could you put in place that would make you more productive? 

Have a look through all the tasks that you complete and observe what is taking up your time. How is your acting fitting in? How much time do you dedicate per week?

3)   What time could you give to your acting? Take a look through your diary and highlight the pockets of available time. On first glance, you may think you are too busy, but delve deeper. If acting is your priority, you need to give it the time it deserves. How much ‘non negotiable’ time could you assign each week? Once you have decided when suits, start to block out the time in your diary as appointments. 

4)   What areas do you need to focus on? Sometimes, we know we should ‘work on’ an area but when we come to the allotted time, we don’t know what to do so we end up wasting the time.

Start to brainstorm the areas you need to work on. 

For example: Acting material | Voice | networking | online presence | health and fitness etc

5) Which of those areas are you going to focus on and what do you need to do.

For example if you feel you need to work on your vocal strength, it may be a 20 minute daily warm up. But what does that look like? 

For every ‘appointment’ in your diary, write down exactly what you want to achieve in that time. It may be 10 great emails, learning an audition piece, or researching industry professionals. Be very specific in your approach and preparation so you utilise the time and get results.