Sunday, September 19, 2010
Both of my sons are playing tackle football for the first time this season. It's been fun to watch them suit up in their pads and start to figure out the whole "hit hard" thing. One of their main goals now is to get a "pancake" block, where you lay your opponent out flat.
Football. Good times.
My oldest son spends most of his time on the offensive line, trying to make sure that the defensive line doesn't make it's way back to the quarterback. One of the strategies his coach has taught him is called a "Plan B". When he's facing an opponent that's consistently beating him on the line, he basically table-tops him by going down on all fours and having the other guy trip over him.
At first I was thinking, Hey, that's kind of a cheap shot. But then I spent some time analyzing it, and really his main job is to keep that QB safe. The Plan B isn't against the rules, and from what I've seen it can be pretty effective (at least at this level of play).
I think we do something similar sometimes with our acting careers. It's this kind of do-or-die mentality that says we're going to make it as actors or starve trying. Off we go to LA or NY with little or no thought of how we're going to make ends meet while finding our way through the industry.
In other words, we go in without a Plan B.
I'm not talking about finding a way to give up on acting if it gets too hard. Not at all. I'm talking about having a way to keep ourselves alive and kicking while we're spending time developing our acting talent and careers. I'm talking about accepting the fact that Hollywood may not fall down at your feet and worship you... at first. :)
Having a steady income stream allows us to go into auditions without the added desperation of "I need this JOB!!!" Trust me, that vibe does nothing positive for us on either a professional or social level. Nobody likes a needy actor.
Our Plan B should be something fairly flexible--IT work, website design, bartending, deejaying, massage therapy, real estate, house appraisals, notary public, etc. This isn't meant to be a comprehensive list, just to give you an idea of things that could work. Develop a marketable skill that will allow you to work but still audition and take classes.
It's time to break the stereotype of the starving actor. Having a solid Plan B can do that for us.
And one other thing that having a Plan B can do--allow us to pay for the training that's so important for our development as actors. If you're looking for an economical and convenient solution to your training needs, contact me about my online acting classes. You can leave a comment, contact me via Twitter (@actingnodrama), or email me: actingwithoutthedrama (at) gmail (dot) com.