Okay, by now most of us have heard about the pictures of actor Geoffrey Owens working at Trader Joe's that went viral. Many people attempted to shame Owens, completely misunderstanding that an actors life isn't just "one level" or one status, nor is the job a money-making-machine.
There are many levels of acting (and writing and filmmaking), some of which require the creative to work other jobs outside of what viewers see on TV.
Yet the general public doesn't understand that.
Your side job or day job doesn't define you. Your passion does.
Take a look at this blog post to see what some actors were doing to support themselves when we weren't looking.
Owen's story hit home for me in a lot of ways. Not just as an actor and writer, but as a former reporter and anchor. See, as I work my way toward that place where I can fully sustain myself as an actor and screenwriter, I still have work other jobs. Stage 32 is one of them. Ghostwriting and ghostblogging for filmmakers and entrepreneurs is another.
And there's one more.
I actually work part-time in a bookstore. And while I've been away from local news in Syracuse for 8 years now, I'll be damned if people still don't recognize me. Sometimes I wonder what they say to their spouse when they see me shelving books. "She was on TV, remember? She was an investigative reporter. The poor thing must have given up. Pity."
Me (from the biography section): "I HAVEN'T GIVEN UP! I'M JUST GETTING STARTED, YOU BLEEPIN' )*&*&^!"
But they don't hear me because I'm not yelling. I can't. I can't care like that. They don't know what a day is like for me. They don't know I spend hours writing, rewriting, auditioning, driving to gigs, spending time at film and television festivals, and writing some more. They don't know what a pitch is and how to prepare it or that when a producer likes my work I have to wait and wait and wait while it's being shopped or optioned.
They don't know anything.
I work 10-20 hours a week at a nearby Barnes & Noble. What's your side gig?
The images of Owens at Trader Joe's brought to light the notion that working a job - of any kind - shouldn't be shameful. We're so quick to judge someone based on their day job. We decide, almost instantaneously, that someone has given up or that misfortune has befallen them, because he or she is waiting tables, stacking books, or ringing organic tomatoes over a scanner.
But don't get me started in Internet trolls.
Instead, let's start a thread where we share our side gigs.
Let's hold them up to the light without shame.
Let's remind one another that this is a journey where other means of income are allowed.
So...what's your side gig?
What else are you doing to make money?
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