The ramblings of an out of work actor!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016 • Alex Medlicott

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I’ve always been a sensible girl. Clever as well despite the ENORMOUS gap in my general knowledge. I managed to get an A in R.E. without ever learning who Ghandi was, so you should have faith in my ability to blag my way ahead.

Surprisingly I have always done well in school, and knew since I was really young that I was going to go to University. I loved reading, writing and I’m a bit dramatic so loved Drama as well. LJMU’s Drama and English course was the one for me.

Three years of juggling hellish part time jobs with uni work drew to a close. My friends and I graduated and we were full of sunny optimism. Once again I had a plan. Work for a year, save all my money, and move city to do a Masters.

So I was working. And working. And working. And playing- messing, I was working. I was miserable. I was working to be able to do something creative. But how am I supposed to do something creative if I’m working?

I took a risk, quit my full time job and managed to get a casual job, to allow me the time to do something creative.

But hang on… how am I meant to afford to travel to auditions without earning a fulltime wage? Every creative job I can find needs a drivers licence, how am I meant to afford insurance, never mind convince anyone that I’d be safe behind the wheel of a car. (Would you entrust your life with the girl who thought Nelson Mandela was the man from Jackass?)

But Christmas came, and I was given the gift of hope, in the form of a very special job. A job that many out of work actors may find themselves in at certain points of their lives. I was transformed into the one, the only, Jazzy Tinsel the Elf. Yeah. The only paid work I could find was as Santa’s Little Helper. However it was actually a great networking opportunity, which is already paying off, so you can laugh all you like but this Elf’s got skills amigo.

I also had a realisation. How do I reckon I’m going to ever get an agent if I don’t have a showreel? I’d worked constantly throughout uni to be able to afford to live, and never had the time to do student films. I signed up to every casting website I could find, and did my first ever student film.

I had a fantastic time (despite having to partake in a very sloppy kiss, ew) and met some really talented film makers. It was amazing to be doing what I loved, paid or not. I’d forgotten the rush of learning a script for a deadline, and the thrill of being someone else, with a different life, just for a while. Those of you who know me will understand why being someone else for a bit would be a joyous occasion (I’m a loser).

Now it’s 2016. And I’ve just returned from the dress rehearsal of a play I’m performing in tomorrow. It’s unpaid, it’s community theatre, and I am having the best time. I’m not acting to make money, although that’s the dream believe me. I’m actually earning less money than I ever thought, so that I’ve got the time to act. The year I was supposed to earn Masters funding in has nearly ended, and I’m still not out of the dreaded Overdraft. The closest I’ve come to fame is catching myself mid slut-drop at the end of a Hollyoaks episode. But I couldn’t be happier (what a lie, do I HAVE a fella? A father who loves me? Stop chatting bubbles Jazz you proper cretin). I’m doing what I love and earning just enough money from my casual job to keep a roof over my head. My dreams haven’t changed, but I’m a lot more realistic about how long it’ll take for me to achieve them. I’ll eventually do my Masters, and I’ll eventually get a job I love, whether it be performing, working with kids drama groups, or starting my own theatre company.

For once I don’t have a definite plan, and that’s okay, because I’d rather appreciate the rainbow than chase the pot of gold.