Top 10 “Survival” Jobs for Actors


It’s no secret that acting as a career is unpredictable with intermittent lean times. Unfortunately rent and other bills still need to be paid even though you’re between acting gigs. Many actors work what some call “survival jobs” until they catch that big break.

Here is a list of ten “survival jobs” which can suit an actor’s life


Hospitality is the quintessential industry for actors. Positions range from servers, bartenders, hosts and cooks. These are all great options when looking for part-time work. The hours are flexible, many restaurants and bars open later in the evening, leaving your days free for last minute auditions. An additional advantage of working in an industry populated with fellow thespians is the ease of helping each other out with work shifts.


Although retail might not bring in the same amount of cold hard cash as serving, it remains an excellent option. The wages are set so you know exactly how much money you’ll be making. Retail isn’t as fast paced or stressful as the hospitably industry, giving you the opportunity to properly interact with your colleagues and customers. And don’t forget the best perk! Store discounts on awesome clothing for auditions!


Coffee! The nectar of the gods! Almost everyone loves it, which is why working, as a barista for a coffee shop will provide you with the opportunity of meeting people from all walks of life. Besides a set hourly wage, baristas can make tips. Not as much as servers or bartenders, but you’ll still be making above minimum wage. Making a killer latte is a skill you can add to your resume and best of all FREE COFFEE!


If you long to work in the great outdoors and have an affinity for dogs, you’d make a great dog walker. Dog walking is perfect if you only have a couple of hours a day to commit to earning extra cash. You can either work independently or through an established dog walking company. The wages aren’t bad either and can range between $15-$25 per hour.


Telemarketing has some negative connotations, but like everything else it does have positive points. For starters the money can be pretty good and the hours flexible. It’s also a great opportunity to fine-tune your sales skills, after all, actors need to hustle and sell themselves to make it big! You can also make the job fun by practicing different accents; no one on the phone will know you aren’t really British.


Tutoring is a great way to make money; you can pretty much set your own schedule and charge the fee you like. If you don’t have an affinity for academic subjects, why not teach drama or comedy to kids? You can make a name for yourself by providing regular workshops and the kids will love it!


Why not feed two birds with one scone! Hone your acting skills while making a pretty penny and become a Tour Guide. You’ll be doing what you do best! Perform in front of a live audience. If you’re thinking about trying your hand at theatre one day, then this is a good place to start. Public speaking takes practice and skill, but the most challenging part is keeping people’s attention, even after you told Gassy Jack’s story for the 20th time that day. Some tour companies take it a step further and provide reenactment tours with guides wearing costumes and playing characters.


As an actor you have to keep fit, so why not make some money at it, by becoming a certified personal trainer or a Yoga or Pilates instructor. If you are good at it, then you can build a clientele and make a killing and afford to shop at Whole Foods more often.


Being a security guard might not be the most exciting job in the world, but on the bright side; what other job allows you ample time to study scripts and run lines. By using the job’s downtime wisely you’ll be the most prepared person at that audition.


The best thing about working banquets for catering companies is that you don’t have to commit to a set schedule. You can pick up jobs on short notice. Even though you are forgoing the tips of a regular server or bartender, the stable hourly wage makes up for it.

We’d love to hear if you’ve had any crazy survival job stories

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