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Most aspiring actors also have a second career, either through a previous calling or to support themselves financially while they look for acting work, attend drama college or study online acting classes. For some, a side hustle is merely a means to an end; something to be endured while waiting for a big chance. 

However, even the most ordinary-seeming job can provide an excellent training ground for the aspiring actor. Here are some surprising ways in which you can boost your acting career while working a ‘survival job.’


Call centres

Working in a call centre may not have the glamour and excitement of acting, but in fact you are using some similar skills. The best actors are also great listeners, and know how to respond effectively to the cues of their director or stage partner. These skills are also essential for a good call centre agent to communicate effectively with customers.

Telephone work is also a great opportunity to perfect the art of speaking clearly and moderating the pace and tone of your voice. If you are a whizz at accents, you can always keep yourself entertained by switching between regional accents for each call (if your manager doesn’t mind/notice).


Waiting tables and bartending

Waiting tables may not have the status of acting, but to be a good waiter or bartender you need some of the actors’ flair for adapting to different audiences and being comfortable with a crowd. If you are naturally a sociable personality with oodles of charm, you will probably enjoy waiting or bartending as a side hustle while you look for your acting breakthrough.

Hospitality jobs have the benefit of being flexible, usually offering evening shifts that leave you free in the daytime to attend auditions. It’s also possible to supplement your wages well with tips, especially in the higher end establishments. 

However, if you have no previous experience, you may need to be prepared to start in a more humble role collecting and washing glasses or peeling veg in the kitchen. Even this type of work can bring you into contact with people who move in the right circles, so don’t dismiss the idea too quickly.


Retail or other customer service work

Working in customer service is often seen as a stop-gap job that requires no particular training or qualifications, and it’s one of the easiest sectors to break into if you don’t have a lot of work history under your belt. 

The work will bring you into daily contact with a wide range of personalities from diverse backgrounds, which is a perfect opportunity to observe human behaviour and hone your emotional intelligence. The ability to ‘read the room’ and deal with all manner of characters without becoming flustered will stand you in good stead for your future stage career.


Tutoring  or teaching work

Tutoring other students in person or online allows you to hone your communication skills and develop empathy and a greater understanding of how other people think and feel, which is a perfect grounding for an actor.

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