I hate when bloggers make these massive lists of items you really totally like for reals have to have. Um hello, who can afford all this stuff?!?
So let’s get actor-budget friendly and talk about the 6 free things I love right now.
This Class from (my career coach!) Brian Patacca
Let me start by saying I get no payment, discount, or incentive by sharing this with you. It’s THAT important to me. My career coach (and future season 3 podcast guest!) Brian Patacca is a gem. He has helped me more in my personal and professional life in the past 5 months than I can put into words. And he is doing his first ever free class via a webinar this Wednesday and Saturday. Yes, literally today at noon PST (3pm EST) OR Saturday 10am PST (1pm EST). And this isn’t some bogus content to get your email address, I assure you. He’s covering getting auditions with and without reps, getting yourself on the top of casting lists, how to present reps with a profile that is uniquely “you”, and a shit-ton more. I’m taking the Saturday class if anyone wants to join me! Want more proof he’s awesome? Join his Facebook Breakfast Club for weekly inspiration and real talk.
If you’re still waking up to the same ringer on your iPhone, I honestly don’t know how you do it. Certain beeps give me massive anxiety to this day because they used to be my old morning alarms. Insert Sleep Cycle here. This app is [free] incredible. It monitors your sleep via the sound of you moving around at night, so it knows when you’re in the different stages of sleep. Therefore when you set an alarm, it requests you give it a 30 min window as to wake you at the lightest point of sleep…aka: you don’t want to throw your phone across the room and scream. Just me? Ok cool. It also gives you the option to add notes to your nighttime, like if you drank, worked out (two exceptionally unrelated things), etc to see what affects your sleep quality over time. The best part is that the alarm goes from silent to loud very slowly and it randomizes the alarm itself, so no more beeping PTSD. HUGE fan.
Hot damn if you’ve ever read an article by yours truly you know I cannot spell for shit. #artmajor. I recently downloaded this plug-in and am in love. I’m literally being spellchecked and grammar checked as we speak. MUCH needed. There is also a plug-in for Gmail so no more of those agent emails you look back on and want to punch yourself in the face for. The paid version has a ton more features to make you sound way smarter…but this is a free list so we’ll stick with what we really want here.
While we’re on the topic, here is another Gmail plug-in that is going to rock your damn world. My coworker at my last virtual job introduced me to this handy tool. Boomerang allows you to ping emails back into your inbox when you like. For example: if your manager asks you a question on a Friday and you tell them you won’t have a full answer till Monday, you can have that email placed unread at the top of your inbox first thing on Monday so you don’t forget. Another awesome feature is that you can write out an email and have it sent exactly when you wish. Say you don’t want to email a potential new agent on a Monday morning (when their inbox is an absolute nightmare…don’t do that btw) but you have it all set to go. You can use Boomerang to send the message Tuesday afternoon circa 2 pm instead (fresh from lunch is a great time to catch people). Goodbye overcrowded inbox, hello “No New Emails”.
This is free because anyone can do it, but I’ve recently become obsessed with this. Time blocking means setting aside a specific time to work on a specific thing. We actors are juggling so much stuff all day long, sometimes [a lot of times] we get really overwhelmed and end up completing nothing. Insert time blocking. Instead of giving myself “Tuesday after work” to read a script, I schedule myself in my calendar for 30 minutes. I set a timer (watch, phone, hourglass, whatever!) and when that timer stops, I bookmark my spot, and I have to move on. Obviously, if you’re someone who can’t leave a script partially read, you’d set more time for that. But you get the point. Right now I’m blocked for 30 min to write this article. When that timer ends I move on. I will block out more space to finish whatever is left at another time. I promise you that you will get plenty more done a lot more efficiently! PS: I started doing this after reading about it here and after listening to it in Lauren Graham’s book!
Budgets are a bitch. But being broke stopped being cute in college. If you’re working your ass off and feel like your finances are never enough, it’s time to take this FREE class. Yes, free. No strings attached free class. They do not advertise to you or make money from you. They are funded by the Actor’s Fund (which gets its money from grants and donors) whose main goal is to be the safety net for creatives in LA, NYC, and Chicago. They offer a lot of different things (for real, check them out) but one of their best know assets is the Money Managment class. They helped me put together the most realistic budget I have ever made. We also discussed the hardships of how we make money…meaning at really random times in unknowable amounts. I can’t wait to take the Psychology of Money class next…basically breaking down how you developed your views on money and how to combat and work with this (free therapy?!?).
Umm…if you’re not downloading or signing up for something right now I would be super confused!