Avoiding a Barren Winter – turning a hobby into a career
For my first two winters in Korea, I barely had enough money to eat. I had to borrow money quite frequently from friends in order to get through the cold months when there is less filming. It was about that time that I decided to diversify. This was not out of necessity so much as I had already been writing and recording my podcast just as a hobby in the past. Given that acting too was just a hobby prior to coming to Korea, it was only natural to find a way to get paid for doing my other hobbies.
My hobbies are all mostly creative in nature. But one man’s hobby is another man’s profession. It also makes perfect sense that if you spend so much of your free time working on something as a hobby, you’re going to get pretty good at it. If you’re good at it and passionate about it then that’s already half of the battle towards making some money from it.
So this year, as always, there seems to be far less paid acting work coming my way in winter, but I have been spending much more time creating a voice demo and pushing it out to different voice recording studios, doing auditions etc. The result is a lot more voice work this month, which covers for the lack of filming work available. I have more time to write and work on lots of other projects too, which, even if they don’t come to anything all amount to progress.
Key things to note if you are planning to turn your hobby into a career:
*It should be something that you devote most of your mental energy towards. Half arsed never gained anything.
*You need to put yourself out there. Especially in any creative pursuit, the key is to meet like-minded people. Join writer’s circles, go to acting classes etc. The key to success these days seems to be that inescapable word ‘networking’. It’s totally true. You might feel as though you are being given more help and favours than you are able to give initially, but once you are more established and already have a good network, then you can repay those favours by helping others who are passionate and dedicated and trying to find a way in.
*Practice all the time. Success is most often a bye-product of hard work and dedication. To get good, and to get noticed, you have to just go for it. Over-coming the natural nerves is also necessary to progress. Learn to accept failure and move on gracefully to the next opportunity. To feel reassured as an actor, all I normally do is take a look at IMDB and I quickly realise that every year there are some 10,000 filming projects being made around the world. That’s a lot of roles for actors to fill. Play music live, do open-mic stand up as often as you can, make short films, audition for anything you can, write…
*Never stop learning. Only an idiot ever feels they have learned all they need to know. A wise man knows that there is always more information that he can fathom that he does not yet know
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