Congratulations, they want to hire you! That’s great news! But before you decide how to spend your paycheck (if there is one) you’ll need to decide if you should take the job or turn it down.
Deciding to accept or pass on an acting job isn’t always easy. The simple equation I use to evaluate acting offers is Money + Experience + Exposure. If a job gives you 2 out of 3 seriously consider it.
It’s no accident that the first (unofficial) rule of show business is “Take the money!” The first thing I consider when offered a job is “Does it pay and, if so, how much?” While it’s true that money isn’t everything, it’s amazing how important it becomes when you don’t have it. Taking a gig that pays you to stand on the corner in a chicken suit is a very wise career move when you really need the money.
On the flip side, if they’re offering good money but the experience is questionable and the exposure you’ll get is of the “full frontal” variety, money may not ultimately be the most important thing to you.
When you get an offer, run your household numbers and figure out if you can pay your bills on the money they’re offering. If you can’t, how much are you willing (or able) to sacrifice to do the job?
If you have a steady day job that pays the rent, will they give you time off to do it? How long is the job? A 1 day film or TV shoot requires less time than a theatre job. In either case, it’s good to know if your job will still be there when the gig is over. Jumping at the chance to do a gig if you’ll be struggling to pay your bills may not be a wise long-term career decision. Weigh the thrill of doing the gig against spending months digging yourself out of a financial hole.
A paycheck is a big plus for any job but you also need to factor in what you’ll gain from the experience. Will you grow as an artist? Will you get quality footage for your reel or a great credit? Will doing the job be great fun and make you happy? A great experience can be just as, if not more, valuable than money. Having clear priorities and career goals makes determining your best course of action a lot easier.
It’s important to think of each job as a step forward in your career. Will this job expose you to people who can hire you? Will you be working with an actor or director you admire? Is the job at a prestigious theatre you want to work for? Ours is a business of relationships. Connecting with artists further up the career food chain is a great opportunity to grow personally and professionally.
Will the job expose you to a wider audience? Higher profile jobs create more opportunities for you to build your fan base, make quality connections and increase the odds you’ll be seen and tapped for future projects.
Thinking of job offers in terms of money, experience and exposure keeps your priorities straight and helps you avoid making impulsive career decisions. So, next time you have to decide whether or not to sign a contract, remember: Money, Experience, and Exposure. If the job gives you 2 out of 3 it’s worth considering!
Need help booking that next big gig? Be sure to grab a copy of my free guide 5 Ways To Nail Your Next Audition HERE.
All my best,
Philip Hernandez is a respected acting teacher and singing coach in NYC. He is also the only actor in Broadway history to play both Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert in Les Miserables. He created principal roles in Broadway’s Kiss of the Spiderwoman and Paul Simon’s The Capeman. You may also know him from his many television appearances: The Blacklist, Gotham, Blue Bloods, The Path, Bull, Nurse Jackie, Elementary, Person of Interest, Law and Order, Hostages and Damages to name a few. For information about acting lessons CLICK HERE or singing lessons CLICK HERE.