Acting Jobs You’ll Never See

Mention to anyone that you’re an actor, and invariably the first response you’ll get will be somewhere in the ballpark of “Cool! What have I seen you in?”

If you don’t have a suitably recognisable response lined up, you’ll probably get a vague knowing smile and the sinking sensation that you’ve been filed under the category of “actor”‘ (aka bless her, she’s still clinging to those dreams).

But just because an actor isn’t appearing in the latest blockbuster, doesn’t mean they’re not making a reasonable living. Here a few jobs that you’ve probably never realised that actors are getting paid for right under your noses (and yes, I’ve done most of them).

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Corporate Work

Ah yes, the only time I get to dress like a fancy office worker (I secretly get office-wear envy, I love a good pencil skirt). Corporate work can encompass any number of different jobs, from filming informational videos to using improvisational skills as role-players. Want to train your staff in dealing with difficult situations in the workplace? Hire actors to portray the customer of nightmares and let the training ensue. Now doesn’t that sound like fun?

Simulated Patient

I’m sure you’ll be reassured to discover this job exists- I know I was when I first stumbled across it.

Similar to the above, simulated patients work with training medical specialists to ensure that when they actually encounter real-life patients, they’re ready for it! Simulations  can be recorded for education purposes when it isn’t ethical to record an actual appointment, or can take place ‘live’ in an examination setting.

‘Communication stations’ in medical exams are usually used to asses a candidate’s ability to communicate appropriately, on top of all their medical knowledge. As easy as it sounds, experienced simulated patients are highly valued because of the high-emotion situations that are normally portrayed. Faking a cough may sound like an easy job, but I can promise you that after eight hours of sobbing over a dire medical diagnosis, I’m using every last bit of my actor training to keep my ‘performance’ real, and that headache has nothing to do with my acting ability.

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Presentations

Got a great product? Need to tell a lot of businesses about it at presentations or conferences? Hate standing in front of a crowd? Hire an actor! We can remember huge amounts of tech-heavy jargon, thrive on engaging a tough crowd, and we don’t scrub up too badly either. Product presentations are my favourite thing because (super nerdy moment) I get to pretend that I have this whole other life as my product hawking alter ego aka lady version of Gus from Psych.  (She likes stationary and long walks to the coffee cart for pastries. Just in case you were wondering)

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Voice Acting

While voice acting is a legitimate career of its own and there are many talented performers who specialise in it, a lot of screen and theatre actors also work behind the mic to record ads, voiceovers, videogames or dubbing- even that annoying voice thanking you for your patience after 15 minutes on hold. Voicework is the best (mostly because I can turn up in my comfies and don’t need to worry about that strange bald spot my fringe makes for once).

Motion Capture

I don’t even know what this involves. I just know that there are funny suits with white balls, and some actor is probably getting paid to move in it. It sounds awesome.

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Acting Jobs You’ll Never See

The art of the hustle – How I do what I do

I’m a mid-20s actress living in Melbourne, which is apparently the most livable city in the world. That unfortunately also makes it one of the more expensive. I live in a ‘snug’ one-bedroom in an inner suburb because living with people turns me into a whimpering hermit who skips meals to avoid social interactions. And what does all this mean?

I had to learn the art of the hustle, baby  *snap snap*

The standard acting cliche is that we’re all waitstaff begging for tips by night and auditions by day.

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While the hospo life worked for my first few years in this wonderful country, it doesn’t really bring me a lot of joy. The hours a long, the pay is low (-er than I can earn now), and you’re frequently either risking your hearing in noisy bars, or your sanity as you deal with yet another hungover Sunday brunch-er. No thank you.

However I still need money, and a job that didn’t mind if I vanished for a few hours for an audition or a few months for a shoot. Unfortunately (outside of every movie about actors ever) those sorts of jobs are difficult to come by. Most workplaces operate as a team, and they can feel understandably a little put out if a member of that team keeps whipping on the ol’ invisibility cloak and disappearing.

So if one job wouldn’t work for me… why not three?

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Three jobs mean that I’m never in the same place for the full 40 hours per week. No one team relies on me overly much and if I need to disappear, each work place is only going to miss me for 1/3 of the total time that I’m away. Score! My rent is paid, my auditions are attended, and so far (touch wood) the emergency baked beans remain happily rusting away at the back of the pantry.

This may sound like a commitment-free dream to you or you may be getting a cold flush at the thought of it – YMMV.

BUT the key to living outside the 9-5 is know your system. Doesn’t matter how you keep track of those many employers clamoring for your services; work out how you’re going to do it and then protect that system with the zeal of Taylor Swift protecting her last tube of red lipstick in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

So what do you think? Could you live with a diversified income stream, or do you think I’m a nutter? Is this something that you would like to hear more about? This gal wants to know!

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The art of the hustle – How I do what I do