Looking For A Survival Job?

Hey, there!

I was talking to a new client recently, and he was asking about what to do for money, so he could safely pursue his VO career.

Financial safety is one of the prerequisites for having a calm, centered and effective approach to a performer’s existence. Trying to figure out how to pay the rent, where your next meal is coming from or how to pay for classes can be completely frustrating to an artist.

In the past, I’ve given you a few tips on what to do about achieving financial safety, and even recommended a survival job or two.

And I found a site that lists survival jobs as they become available, and I want you to know about it.

It’s called Survival Jobs for Actors, and it’s a site that delivers just what it says: survival job leads, opportunities and advice on how to score them.

It’s run by Michelle Dyer, an actor herself.

And the listings are available for free – she doesn’t even ask you to register for the site.

Here’s an excerpt from the About page on the site:

Michelle can still remember sitting on the floor of AEA, packed in for an audition, scooting from friend to friend asking for temp agency recommendations. “There has to be a better way” she thought… and Survival Jobs for Actors was created. This site is a resource for actors, so they are able to pay the rent while following their dreams!

This site has listings and advice for non-acting work, which are often referred to as Survival Jobs.

They were recently featured in Backstage, and they have listings for Los Angeles, New York and other locations.

Survival Jobs For Actors

What is the best advice you have for fellow performers on how to find a survival job? Maybe you’d like to share your absolute favorite, or absolute worst survival job you’ve ever had. Do so in the comments below.

UPDATE: since this article was published, lots of actors have offered their suggestions for what they do, and one wrote me with an article she’d written about her survival job. Chelsea Rivera, an Atlanta-based actor, keeps herself in safe financial shape by being a mobile notary. And what is a mobile notary? Chelsea explains it all in her article here:

Hope this helps!



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  1. A fantastic “survival” job for an actor is working as a standardized patient at a medical school. Pay varies, depending on if you are with a medical school or private company, but it is a field where acting skills can come in handy. And it is very flexible. Many actors in my area do this kind of work, so the job also becomes a way to network with other actors. Yeah, we got a lot of jokes about the job being like that Seinfeld episode where Kramer portrays a patient, but it is not quite like that. The main part of the job is portraying believable patients for medical students who can then practice their communication skills with you. Medical students can practice all kinds of situations – like dealing with an angry patient, breaking horrible news, learning how to show respect to others, and expressing empathy. I’ve portrayed a very wide range of patients, and it is the kind of job where you feel like you are making a difference in the world.

      1. Google “standardized patients” and you will see a ton of universities that pop up. Also, some hospital networks hire directly, too. Another term used is “simulated patient.” There are private standardized patient companies, too, and those jobs often pay at a higher rate. Standardized patients are used for disaster relief training, psych training, nursing schools, dental schools, pharmacy and physician assistant schools. I did this job for nine years at University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine, and was on the training team, until I switched more fully over into voiceover work. I will probably get back to SP work someday.

  2. Hello,
    Yes, I work as a Standardized Patient in Boston. I second what Karen Merritt wrote. If anyone needs some inside info into the Boston market, feel free to track me down.