Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Non-Acting Tips for Actors

Take or leave the career advice I give in my Tools of the Trade blog posts on the business of being a working actor. Everyone has the right to navigate showbiz in their own way.

But here are some non-acting tips that I think all actors should heed. Because working on your craft can be impossible if the rest of your life doesn’t work.
  • Learn to eat out cheap – I’d love to eat Umami Burger every day, but those acting classes cost money! As do headshots and online submission services and demo reel editing and everything else I need to run my career. Save money by locating a few go-to cheap eats in your area and use coupons when you can. My favorites – Taco Tuesdays at Del Taco (3 tacos for $1.09!) and the snack bar at Costco.

  • Wear sunscreen – Aside from being Asian, my secret to younger looking skin is definitely wearing sunscreen on my face every day of the year. In California, the sun is no joke. A sunscreen that contains zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or avobenzone is a necessity for protecting your skin against sun damage that creates wrinkles. Apply liberally (a nickel-sized dollop for your face) and re-apply throughout the day!

  • Have health insurance – Your budget may be tight, but this is one expense you CANNOT skip. Defending yourself against monster medical bills is one of the best investments you can make with your money. If you don’t qualify for medical insurance through SAG or a day job, buy an individual policy. Use ehealthinsurance to shop around and compare rates, then go directly to the insurance provider’s Web site to apply. (My policy costs less than a grande Starbucks coffee & a bagel a day!)

  • Get a Roth IRA – Just because you don’t work at a company that offers at 401K doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan for your retirement. Saving early pays off big time later in life. And you don’t need that much to start. You can find great Roth IRA accounts made up of no-fee mutual funds at do-it-yourself personal finance sites like Vanguard, Fidelity, or TD Ameritrade. But you don’t have to take my word for it.
What non-acting tips for actors would you add to this list?


  1. start a blog and get free food! sure, your readers will criticize you for being a cheap whore, but who cares - it really helps!!!

  2. @Lynn - Yes! Great idea! :) Ha ha ha...wish I could get that bars of gold blog started...