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Timekeeping for Artists

Welcome to the Strasberg Campus Blog! Let's kick right off with a practical matter: Timekeeping!

We all know that as artists we often need a ‘day job’, a second job, a job that pays the bills while we are out and about pursuing our artistic call. Unless you are very wealthy, or very lucky (and good, of course!) to get enough bookings that you don’t need a day job, you probably know what I am talking about here. We’ll perhaps talk about what kind of day job to get in another post. What I want to touch here is the concept of ‘time keeping’. As artists it’s very unlikely that we’ll have a typically structured life, a 9 to 5 job that starts at the same time and place everyday. A daily commute and all that. If you’re an artist there’s a very good chance that each week will look different to the previous one. So how do you make sure you earn enough dough, have enough time for admin, take care of yourself and the same time keep up with your artistic projects? The answer is: preparation, preparation, preparation.

Here are the steps to follow: 1. Keep a weekly schedule, digital or paperback. At the beginning of a week you should (roughly) know what’s going to happen and (roughly) be able to look at your diary and see where your spare time is. 2. Even a little time is enough time. Are you currently writing a script? Are you working on an accent? A monologue? A song? GREAT! Keep going! You don’t need 2 hours every day to work on your stuff, even 10 minutes are good enough, if that’s all you have. The important thing is that you keep the momentum going. 3. Book in your Rest time. Because otherwise you’ll just go bunkers and instead of running into a great idea, you’ll just run into a nervous breakdown. Nobody wants that. Make sure that you REST. If you’re too busy to rest, then schedule it in. Listen to music, meditate, nap, take half days or full days off, but please, please look after yourself, because unless you still live with your mum, and she happens to be a very protective/controlling Italian mum (like mine is), nobody will take care of you unless you do it first. Here’s an example of a fault schedule of a working actress, mum of 6-year-old Carl. We’ll call her Stacey. Stacey is writing a play at the moment and working part time as a receptionist at a Law Firm in the city. Here’s how her schedule of a day could look like: 7-8am wake up, get ready, get Carl ready, breakfast 8:30 Take Carl to school 8:30-9:30 Commute, work on play 9:30-13:30 Work at firm 13:30-14:00 snack on the way to gym 14:00-15:30 gym + shower 15:30-16:30 commute (lunch + work on play) 16:30-18:00 pick up Carl from school, pm snack and homework 18:00-19:00 Carl play date/play time while I do acting applications 19:00-20:00 dinner and bed routine 20:00-20:30 bed time story 20:30-22:00 relax, Netflix, read 22:00-22:30 bedtime routine and go to sleep As you can see Stacey managed to squeeze almost two hours of writing in her busy schedule, still going to work, being a single mum and getting some R&R. Of course on certain days there will be an audition to go to, groceries to get, acting/writing workshops and classes to attend, doctor appointments and so on, but if we have a schedule in place we can move a few things around and stil make everything work. So chin up people! We got this artist life thing. Let’s go and get it! Strasberg Campus

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