• Networking, schmoozing, selling yourself and lining up future jobs is a full-time job in itself that never ends. (You have to keep it up even when working.) It's hard work, time-consuming, expensive (lunches, event fees, gifts, cards, etc.) and—often-discouraging.
If you think you can get by on your talent alone or that you shouldn't have to dance the dance—you're going to have a hard go of it.
• When you're on a show, you'll be working such long hours and will be away from home so much, your personal life will be close to nonexistent. You may not see friends and family members for months on end. This is tough on relationships.
• If shortly after finishing one show, you don't have another lined up right away, you may feel that you'll never work again. One of the nameless individuals who was asked to review the original presentation for this book suggested that I add a description of what he calls post-shoot depression. He wrote, "You get a job, whether it's your first or forty-first, and you work hard on that shoot. You think everyone is pleased with your performance. The shoot completes and ... nothing. No job offers waiting for you. None of your contacts have work for you. Production offices don't return your calls. Or worst of all—the production company begins a new film, and you find out they've rehired half of the last crew—but not you. You'd been working 14-hour days on the shoot and suddenly you have nothing to do. You can do everything right, network extensively and still sit for periods without work. It's depressing. It's hard. But you have to live through it if you want to make it." He suggested including this in a chapter called You're Not Alone. Instead, I call it The No-one's-Ever-Going-To-Hire-Me-Again Syndrome, and it can be found in Chapter 17 under Show Biz Survival Techniques.
• You may never know from one year to the next how much money you're going to be making and what you'll be able to afford. So when you're working, you'll need to budget your finances, so there will be money to live on when you're not working.
• Not knowing when you'll be landing your next show, you may have trouble scheduling vacations in advance (thus not being able to take advantage of cheaper air fares).
• If you're not a member of a union or guild and you don't have a staff position with one company, you won't have health insurance nor be eligible for a pension.
• You're also likely to come across those producers and executives who constantly change their minds with no thought as to the hoops others have to jump through to restructure deals and reschedule locations, sets, permits, crew, equipment, vehicles, effects, catering and travel arrangements.
• Working with talent who come with large entourages, substantial perk lists, demands that keep on coming and snits that ensue when other cast members have trailers an inch longer or wider than theirs can often test the patience of a saint.
• People outside of the industry may find it difficult to understand why you can't hold down a steady job. When you don't work for one employer, applying for things such as home loans can get complicated.
• You need to be thick-skinned, able to repel rejection and not take disappointments personally.
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