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  • Writer's pictureOther Marsha Mason

Show business and Creators! aka: Actors and (show)business

Note: mowshreads is a neurodivergent writer-actor

Actors can suck at the business side of things.

We’ve already been ripped open emotionally to find the vulnerabilities required to infuse the characters we play with an authentic life, and then patched back together so we can find them again, safely, when we work.

Each audition needs different elements, different energies, different emotions with a learned muscle of ‘leaving it in the room’ and forgetting about it the second we hit the door, no matter what level of desperation we may be in.

Being gig workers, we’re already juggling how to fit those auditions in around our pay-the-bills jobs. Of which we generally have more than one.

Add Covid and suddenly having to level up with what seemed like hundreds of unfamiliar software programs, proper lighting, proper sound, learning to edit and trying to edit on a phone, which leaves me cursing all the words since soft keyboards are a sworn enemy.

Plus, I have ADHD. Which is a relatively new diagnoses, but has been my unknown ride or die my entire life.

Artists run into emotional bandwidth issues, with just the space they need to hold for what they do. We understand there IS a business side. It’s show business. (Or, show business, as the algorithm would prefer me to write it.) Someone like me, who’s naturally curious, knows about things like taxes, or that there’s marketing, or other ways to use what I do to create income.

But I don’t always know what that might be. Or how to use those things to my advantage. I don’t think that way. I’m neurodivergent, there are a lot of things that make sense to me that leave people looking at me like I’ve been on too many Reddit or Discord threads. I just don’t have an affinity for how those things function.

It takes practice. It would have been so helpful in uni to have a required business credit instead of the part of a part of semester we had. And what I remember were things like headshots, resumes, casting offices and the like, obvious tools we’d need to start the grind.

But I don’t remember anything on applying for grants, or even that there were grants, and what they might be called. There was nothing about having a strategy for your career, or understanding how much of our business relies on communication.

We weren’t even given a CAEA handbook to become familiar with the Canadian Theatre Agreement, or the ACTRA Commercial Agreement or IPAs, agreements we hoped to work under. We really should know how to read a contract, even if we landed an agent.

I think any kind of business class an artist can take they’ll find to be helpful: administrative, financial, marketing. We are, after all, small businesses of an entrepreneurial nature. Planting that thought should start day one, whether it’s the first day of theatre school, or the day you decide you seriously want to take a shot at the arts.

Required, for life, really.

So. You want to be an actor? Take a business class.

Painter? Take a business class.

Create tiny dioramas of crime scenes for the police to use in detective class? Take a business class.

And maybe a psychology class, what is going on there? Personally, I LOVE that.


(but consider taking a business class, it could really help you get those little scenes out there)


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