Day in the life of
Actress – Stacy Harris
The acting bug first bit when I was cast as Rebecca Nurse in my high school’s production of The Crucible.
Every acting job is different. Some cast only union members. Other calls are open.
Sometimes, even though there are onset wardrobe options and stage makeup artists, we may be instructed to bring as many as three changes of clothes (seasonal, dressy, business casual, depending upon the scenes) and/or to do our own makeup before we arrive. Those who have never acted may be surprised to learn that stage makeup is very exaggerated and, obviously, does not appear to audiences to be as overdone and garish as it does when the actor looks in the mirror.
On set, there’s a lot of “hurry up and wait.” How much depends on several factors including how many scenes you’re in and how many retakes are involved. The latter are due not only to actors who may not remember their lines or who have to adapt to last-minute script changes and so forth, but to getting the right audio levels, lighting and other technical issues. Then there are the times actors, working under hot lights, have to have their makeup retouched before a scene proceeds.
Because the days are generally long – I once worked an 18-hour day – the perks include a guaranteed eight-hour minimum (Even if you are only needed for, say, 3 1/2 hours, you are paid an hourly wage for eight hours and, after eight hours, time and one-half.)
Long days necessitate onset catering. Depending upon the production budget, the quality of the food and the number of choices can rival that of the best restaurant. Another perk, when feasible, is the availability of snacks throughout the day that are readily available in the holding area.
There’s lots of camaraderie among actors which I enjoy. We share knowledge of upcoming shoots and opportunities to audition and we trade ”war stories” about past projects.
Acting, for all of its glamour, is a job and unless you are ill you are not only expected to arrive on time, after you’ve accepted a job you are considered ”booked’ and, as you can’t be replaced at that point, should you cancel you risk being blacklisted by the production company that hired you.
Acting often brings bragging rights. I might not be as big a name as Tom Selleck, but people are amazed to learn that I shared a scene with a pre-mustache Selleck before Tom was a household name.
Acting opens the door to related opportunities in the industry such as writing scripts, being a script consultant, researcher or other crew member.
play parts in stage, television, radio, video, or film productions, or other settings for entertainment, information, or instruction. Interpret serious or comic role by speech, gesture, and body movement to entertain or inform audience. May dance and sing.