Broke actress
Image via Shutterstock

Ten rules for being a broke actress in the city

by Maren Fischer

1. Wake up at 5 am in order to put your name on a “cattle call” audition list by 6 am, in the hopes of getting seen earlier than the majority of the 400 other people auditioning. Crawl down 8th Avenue to Starbucks to recover for the next 3 hours. Pray that by the time you open your mouth to sing, you don’t sound like Tom Waits.

2. Spend way too much money getting headshots taken, then getting them retouched, then getting them copied digitally, then getting them printed, then getting them put on business cards… (Insert exponential growth chart).

3. Spend way too much time shopping for the perfect audition shoes just to see fifteen other girls at auditions with shoes exactly like yours.

4. Perform in at least one horrible, low-budget show that you don’t want anyone to come see. Grimace when your wonderful, supportive friends come see it anyway.

5. Pick up a never-ending stream of part-time jobs to help pay the rent, all of which are dropped the second you book a show, and none of which provide any sort of benefits.

6. Go to happy hour and listen to your non-theatre friends blab about their 401ks and their upcoming trips to Cabo. Cry quietly into your $3 well drink. (See number 5.)

7. Unabashedly beg anyone you know with a student ID to get you cheap student tickets to Broadway shows. Move to a seat closer to the stage during intermission and cry while watching Bernadette Peters sing “Send in the Clowns” from the center of the front row of the balcony.

8. Create a nest of plays and monologue books in an aisle of Lincoln Center Library and barricade yourself for eight hours straight in an attempt to find the perfect monologue. Hiss at anyone who comes near.

9. Pour at least a fourth of your paycheck into voice lessons, acting classes, casting director workshops, master classes, dance classes, and an agent seminar for good measure. Wonder if you wouldn’t be better off throwing a pile of your headshots into the air in Times Square and see who finds one and calls you.

10. Consider any other profession that wouldn’t put you through the wringer, but then realize there is nothing else in the world you want to do more than this, and at the end of the day, you would rather be broke, happy, and doing what you love.

* Dedicated to all the brave souls who are following their dreams so that they might change the world.

Maren Fischer

About Maren Fischer

Maren Fischer is an actress, writer, dreamer, and popcorn lover in New York City. Originally from the good ol' Mitten State (Michigan), she graduated with a BFA in Musical Theatre from Point Park University, and now does way too many things at once, including Shakespeare, musicals, screenwriting, teaching, and even some inventive baking. Her favorite quote: "Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels." -Faith Whittlesey. Follow Maren on Twitter @MarenBFischer

Tags: , , , , ,