Friday, February 25, 2011

An Actor's Life: Day Jobs

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I have had some pretty awesome and some pretty weird day jobs while I’ve pursued my life as an actor. It all started out when I graduated from college. Instead of doing the typical bartender/server route, I started working with an entrepreneur whose passion was advertising publishing. I got brought on right as an office manager, right after college, to help this entrepreneur manage a new business venture he had taken over, and then moved up into corporate sales. From then on, I have worked in a wide variety of corporate / non-profit / consulting gigs that have afforded me varying degrees of flexibility for my work as an actor.

Believe it or not, with all that I do offstage / off set, I am still able to give equal energy to my career as an actor. I wanted to share this with you so that you can see that it IS possible to have a “survival” job that you love, and still have energy to pursue your dreams. Here is a list of the various jobs I hold currently - some are permanent, and some are project based (similar to temp jobs):

Career/Marketing Coach for Actors - I started my own career coaching service for actors (The Actors’ Enterprise) in 2007, which has become a thriving business. I work with 15-20 actors per week, all privately.

Designer - As a part of my coaching business, I also offer design services for websites, postcards and business cards, as well as other marketing design. I have about 40 individual clients (actors, casting directors, tutors, film production companies, theater companies) that I currently design for.

Standardized Patient - As an actor, I am paid to go into Mount Sinai Medical School to help teach medical students clinical skills (like bedside manner). I love this job - it’s improv at its most useful. :) I work on about 4-5 cases per year over about 9 months.

Corporate Trainer - I work for a company that books out trainers to high-end corporations. I current work with 2 clients who bring me in to help teach executives “emotional intelligence” skill - we teach the training module and then role play with the employees so they can practice these new skills. I do these gigs about 1-2 times a month.

Company Member of a theater - I am a founding member of a theater company, and I help with various functions to keeping the theater company moving forward. This one hasn’t paid me financially, but I have been able to do some amazing work as an actor on their stage.

Featured Writer - I am a featured / guest blogger at a couple of different websites: DailyActor.com, ActorRated.com and GreenRoomBlog.com.

It may seem like too many things are going on for me to focus on being an actor, but I have somehow mastered the fine art of balancing my projects, and I have found one key point for success: Make sure you always have a thru-line for your life, a purpose around which everything is planned. My purpose is my professional acting career, which always comes first. With the hours I have left, I plan my time by A) what I enjoy doing, and B) what can make me the most money in a short amount of time. This makes it pretty easy to keep my eye on the prize.


In case you were interested, here are the other jobs I’ve held while concurrently pursuing acting professionally (this will give you an idea of how I’ve been able to successfully create a side career as a coach for actors):

Advertising Sales Rep - I have done this job for two publications: DramaBiz Magazine (national publication), and The Auto Trader Magazines (San Diego franchise.) Combined, I did this kind of work for almost 9 years.

Marketing Consultant - I have helped small businesses with their marketing, fundraising, PR and organizational efforts over the last 6 years. Clients have included film production companies, a yoga teacher, vocal coach, life coach, acting teacher, dance teacher, branding specialist, opera company, book publisher, video game inventor, and various theater companies.

Communications Director & Member Services Director - Did this job for 3 years for a small non-profit organization dedicated to helping actors. It was uber-flexible, and one of my favorite and most rewarding things I’ve ever done. In fact, it was that job on which I based my current business model for The Actors’ Enterprise.

Non-Profit Administrative Assistant - I did this job from home, if you can believe it. I didn’t know such things existed, but in a city like NYC that is bustling with entrepreneurs who have home offices, work-from-home jobs are not that difficult to find.

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has toured nationally with plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. For more information, please visit http://www.erincronican.com.

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