Saturday, 4 July 2015

From Hero to Zero

Acting is a fickle friend, at best. Stand-offish, cruel and with very little regard for your best interests, acting is the friend that you don’t hear from in months and then calls you drunkenly at 2am, expecting you to drop everything to go and pick it up. And so, for my day to day needs, I have a zero hours job as well.

Now, in theory, I’m dead against zero hours work. They offer works very little security and are often low paid. In fact, acting is probably one of the worst zero hours jobs out there. So, for some ridiculous reason, I took on another. But the problem is that, as much as I disagree with zero hours work, it’s well handy for actors. Flexible, low-commitment and the ability to drop it quicker than the agent of an actress who dares call out sexism in the industry.

So I joined the other million people in the UK and took on a zero hours job last year. And at first it was great. I got all the work I could possibly need. I was, tirelessly, working 50 hour weeks because my acting career had apparently decided to go on one of its regular sabbaticals. But, just like an acting job, you know it’s eventually going to come to an end. And it did. Very suddenly. A few weeks ago, my day job joined my acting job and now they’re both off having some grand time on a hot sunny beach somewhere. Probably. I keep telling my rent he should go and join them. Trust me to pick a rent with a fear of flying.

As Oscar Wilde nearly said, “To lose one job may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.”

But that’s the problem with a day job. You focus so much time on making money (and probably having to claw back money from the last period of carelessness) that you take your eye off the acting job. And believe me, as soon as you let acting get out of your sight, it will be off like the awful friend that it is, looking to see who will look after it next. And all the lost posters and rewards in the world won't get it back. It'll come back when it's good and ready, drunkenly at 2am...

Of course (and I have to say this because I think my bank balance might be listening) it’ll all be fine in the end. I know this because, like all owners of an acting career, I have hope. Hope and a pair of comfy pyjamas.

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