I moved to LA 2 days after I graduated college. I had found a place on Roommates.com a few weeks earlier and my dad happened to be on a golf trip so he drove my car and my things out there. And then there I was. And I needed money. Stat.
After a few days of CraigsList-ing I had my first few interviews, got my first parking ticket, and voilà, I was semi-employed.
At this time, the idea of having time for auditions was not paramount on my radar. Making money was. But eventually the intricate dance of having freely open/flexible 10am-5pm was a much bigger part of the picture.
-Sunset Marquie Restaurant Hostess: Yes, that is the name of the restaurant. It was my first LA job and I made $12 an hour and thought I was rolling in it. Usually I worked 7am-3pm which was fine with me because it was slow and quiet and I got to know the hotel guests well. Michael Buble recorded his Christmas album there (they had a recording studio in the lower level) and told me I was a “ray of sunshine”. Ring the alarm. I died. *Some of my first LA friends, my first LA job, a peek into celebrity world, and being Michael’s ray of sunshine.*
-Brick CrossFit: I will go into my 5 year stint in CrossFit at another time, but after using 1/4 of my paycheck to buy a membership, a front desk girl asked if I needed a job. This would mean a free membership. Fuck yea I needed that. *Free gym membership, a mostly healthy atmosphere (WAY different from the bar world), and some of my best friends in the world. I also met my boyfriend here.*
-Darkroom: A bar on Melrose, this place was one of the best jobs I have ever had because I learned to bartend. Usually servers are not allowed behind the bar. This place was a little loose with the regulations and because of that and the killer staff, I learned how to pour a (PBR mostly) draft, mix drinks, and take shots of Jameson like a pro. In fact my work resume says I was a bartender here…it is very hard to get a bartending gig in LA without experience. And the resume really doesn’t matter haha, trust me on that one. . *Learning to bartend. And I made a ton of money.*
-Federal Bar: This place is awesome and the staff was mostly young female artists. So I was always excited to go to work and see what they were all doing. The atmosphere was always goofy and enjoyable. It was close to my 3rd LA home (yes, I will post about the LA location struggle). I got to wait on Tom Hanks and his whole family who were kind and way cooler than you’d imagine. *That is where I met Skip who set me up with my print agent.*
-Event Work: I namely work with Quench LA (I have also done some stints with Nobu and a few others as well). This is an idea actor job because they are case by case and usually pay well. I have attended many parties and events that I would have only seen in People Magazine if not for some of my event jobs. I love these when they work in my schedule and recommend them.*So many contacts/networking, lots of gift bag swag, and extreme flexibility.*
-Health Coach Institute: I worked from home (ideal) for a growing online school. I answered customer service questions and calls and eventually moved myself into my ideal position of Social Media Manager. This was a full time job, 8am-4pm or longer. The only reason this worked for me was my great actor friend located in North Carolina was loved and trusted by the company, so they were willing to be lenient with another actor who had to leave for 2 hours at a time in the middle of the day and work at night instead of in the morning last minute. When I booked a 6 week shoot in France however, the company had advanced to a corporate level and I was excused….and not asked back. It was a hell of a year and a great learning experience. *I now have fully experienced the 9-5 world and climbed a company ladder. I learned a lot about social media in my quest for and work in the position I created. I saved enough money to join SAG and I had really great health insurance for a full year and used every ounce of it.*
-Several nanny positions: I have had quite a few. I have had stints as a personal assistant for famous people (one that I quit because among a lot of other things, the woman asked me not to call her daughters any name other than her given name; no “sweetheart” no ” good morning beautiful” no nicknames…yea she was a little nutty), and have babysat for the same family over 3 years now. This is a great place to be because when the family loves you, they are so excited for your career. *Word of mouth jobs; mom recommendations are the best. Lots of personal references, and even a spot in one parent’s pilot (yes, very rarely that happens).*
In full disclosure, I am currently dog walking, nannying, and event working between jobs. It took a LONG time and a lot of SHITTY jobs to get to this place where I do not hate going to “work”. It really is trial and error.
And what works for you or me may not work for another actor. I personally had to get out of the bartending game to save my sleep (SO important) and to save my liver (also important). I also like going to work knowing when I will be done and how much I will make. The unreliability of customers and tips was too much for me.
So find a “day job” (that is almost always at night) that doesn’t own you, make you want to smack people, and perhaps gain more than just dollars.