IT'S HARD OUT THERE FOR ALL OF US

Lately, I've been thinking about just how fortunate I am to have had such an incredibly diverse work history, rich with experience in everything from retail, food service, admin/reception, janitorial and hotel/hospitality to interior design, acting, screenwriting, voice-overs, public relations and working as a floor director and production assistant in live television.


I've always been very fluid and open to new challenges, and have never really had an "I'm too important to do that," kind of mentality. For instance, I once worked as a janitor in an office building while simultaneously doing publicity for an up-and-coming movie star (who's now a multi-award winning actor-producer-director making $80 million per year). I also worked as a retail clerk while putting in some serious time as a personal assistant and career manager for Academy Award winning actors, writers and producers. I've also worked a fast food job while doing acting and voice-over work in national commercials for Ikea, Tide, Volkswagen, Dove, Telus, Rogers, Tim Hortons, TD Bank, Audi and other companies, never once thinking that making great money and being a public figure in the entertainment industry somehow meant that I was just too busy or important to do other far less glamorous jobs. It's my flexibility and willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done that makes me so desirable to prospective employers.


But what if you're an actor, writer or producer, with a string of hits going back several years, decades, even, and you have a line up of awards on your mantle that's almost as long as your IMDB credits – and then, suddenly, the work just stops. No one is buying your series pilot pitches, anymore. No one is hiring you as a staff writer on a show. Casting agents won't even look at you for a walk-on role, anymore.


Sadly, I know so many people who've been incredibly successful in the entertainment industry for so long, that's all they know how to do. They can't get a job at McDonald's, Walmart or the Holiday Inn. They won't even think about re-training to become a doctor, lawyer, or structural engineer at age 40, 50 or 60 – and I feel so bad for them. The emotional strain, the panic, the desperation of trying to pay the bills and keep the spouse and three kids fed...I got a very small taste of that after the crash of 2008, when work became very, very scarce for millions of people. But I was able to bounce back because I have experience and training in dozens of fields of employment. How awful it must be, right now, for all these wonderful, talented people.




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