How to Create an Effective Routine as an Actor in Training
Anyone familiar with the acting industry knows that actors rarely follow a normal 9 to 5 routine.
The odd hours and long days both on weekdays and weekends can make it difficult to find or stick to a routine that works. This in turn can have a detrimental impact on an actor’s physical and mental health, along with their career progression as a result.
So how, as a working actor, can you ensure that you are still able to make the most of your time, remain motivated and reach your career goals?
One solution is to create a routine or series of routines that suit your needs and acting lifestyle.
What Is A Routine Exactly?
Most of us follow a variety of routines whether we realise it or not. Routines don’t have to look like a strict schedule with every minute accounted for from the moment we wake up until we go to sleep.
The way you shower or wash your face in itself is a mini routine. A routine simply means a way of doing things as part of your regular everyday actions.
Are Routines Important?
Yes. Routines, no matter how strictly we follow them or not, give valuable structure to our days.
Research shows us that routines help to support better mental and physical health while also helping us be more productive and positive.
For some of us, daily routines come more naturally – particularly if you work in a regular 9 to 5 job where you have to be present at specific times.
In this scenario, we tend to structure other tasks around this commitment and create a schedule that meets our needs and keeps us on track.
For actors, this is a lot more challenging as work can ebb and flow and there is often little consistency.
Without a routine to follow, this can be quite destabilising and negatively impact many areas of daily life.
Why Have A Routine As An Actor?
The lack of consistency in an actor’s working life is certainly a challenge.
For anyone who works set hours, it’s tempting to think that the life of an actor, which offers more autonomy, would be bliss!
Who wouldn’t love the freedom to just watch TV all day between jobs, sleep in, stay up late, sit at the beach and do whatever else you feel like, right?
Ask most actors and they’ll soon set you straight.
This ‘downtime’ can actually be quite stressful. Worrying about money, feeling like life is passing you by, boredom, working a temp job you hate just to make ends meet… It’s not all it’s cracked up to be at times.
One way to manage this is to take charge of your available time and create a routine that creates some predictability and structure.
Doing so will help you become a better actor and one that is better prepared to weather the natural ups and downs of the industry. We guarantee you’ll be more motivated and productive, feeling less stressed as a result.
What Does A Good Routine Include?
Firstly, an effective routine for an actor needs to be flexible. Be open to swapping things around to suit and tweaking it to meet your work commitments as they come in.
The main goal is to create a general pattern of doing things that keeps you motivated and moving forward.
Your routine should include:
Good Sleep Habits
Lack of sleep is known to be detrimental to your overall mood, creativity, productivity and general health. It can also cause memory problems as sleep supports the conversion of short-term memories into long-term ones.
Adults are recommended to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night with the most restful of this occurring in the hours before midnight.
Aim to be in bed when possible by around 10 p.m. and wake up around 6 a.m. This gives you ample time for productivity during the day and the necessary rest you need to be at your best.
When working, meal breaks can be hard to take. Start your day with a nourishing breakfast wherever possible and be sure to keep a variety of healthy snacks handy and plan easy-to-make meals.
Remember to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water too!
Exercise is so beneficial for actors. It helps build strength and endurance for long days on set, is a great mood booster, supports longevity, better health and much more.
For many actors, a certain physical appearance is expected to be maintained while in a specific role or is sought out by casting directors.
For all these reasons, exercise should be a priority in your routine. If you hate the idea of the gym, try walking with a friend, swimming at the beach, or doing yoga.
There are many ways to exercise so find something you enjoy and it will be easier to incorporate into your routine.
Taking Time For Creativity
You’re an actor because you thrive on creativity and self-expression. Be sure your routine provides time to engage in something that fills this cup.
This could look like:
- Journalling new ideas
- Working on your own script
- Practising new accents
- Recording yourself performing a scene from a film and watching it back
- Rehearsing a new script
Attending Acting Classes
Whether you’re consistently working or not, continuing to invest in yourself and growing your skills as an actor through classes is vital.
Most acting schools offer a variety of class times to make it easier for students to attend around their other commitments. They understand the nature of acting work and the need to be flexible.
Regularly attending acting classes is also a great way to socialise and network. During quieter times this is beneficial for your mental health and staying in the loop of the industry.
Even when not working, your routine should still give you time to just chill out. Whether this be with friends and family or bingeing some Netflix, you deserve some time to relax.
Struggle to take downtime? Try listening to an inspiring podcast about someone or something to do with the industry or checking out a new art exhibition. That way you’re still taking a break while feeding your creativity and desire to grow.
Bills need to be paid, appointments attended, emails answered… it is inescapable. Make sure you schedule time to regularly tackle these things so they don’t get missed or ignored.
This is also a good time to engage on social media, update your online acting profiles and check for new audition postings.
Don’t forget to do a financial health check periodically too, money is often a cause of stress for actors and hiding from it doesn’t help.
Staying on top of this can help you navigate periods of less work more easily. It also provides you with greater freedom to take on jobs you really care about instead of ones to simply get paid.
Example Routine For Actors
The beauty of your routine is that it is uniquely yours. So long as you find time to prioritise the most important tasks, you can swap things around to suit your situation.
The following is a basic routine outlining one way in which an actor may spend their time productively between roles.
You may like to create a secondary routine to fit around your work commitments when they arise and then swap between them as needed.
|6 am – 7 am||Wake up|
|7 am – 9 am||Eat breakfast, exercise, do laundry|
|9 am – 11 am||Read a script, journal, write|
|11 am – 1 pm||Lunch, run errands, housework|
|1 pm – 3 pm||Engage on social media, answer emails, pay bills, check for auditions|
|3 pm – 6 pm||Attend acting classes, workshops, engage with your mentor|
|6 pm – 10 pm||Eat dinner, read a book, spend time with loved ones, watch TV|
|10 pm – 11 pm||Go to bed|
Starting A New Routine
Sometimes the hardest part about a new routine is starting it. If you feel daunted at the thought of so much change at once, you’re not alone.
If this is you, we recommend starting small. Try introducing a new sleep routine first and build from there. Over time, these changes will become your new normal and be easier to do.
If you miss a day or feel like you failed to be productive despite your best efforts, it’s okay! Simply start fresh the next day and remember, if something in your routine just isn’t working for you, change it!
Make The Actors Pulse Part Of Your Routine
At The Actors Pulse, we have decades of experience working with actors of all skill and experience levels.
Whether you are between roles or consistently booked, attending our leading school for the Meisner Technique will help you continue to grow and succeed as an actor.
Providing a great opportunity to network and socialise with like-minded individuals while honing your skills, our classes are a valuable addition to your routine as an actor.
Call 0414 475 515 today to learn more or get started.
Billy Milionis is one of the few Australians to have ever studied under the legendary master teacher, the late Sanford Meisner. Billy has also studied story structure and scene analysis techniques with John Truby and later at UCLA. He has also spent several years doing improvisation in Hollywood with the L.A. Connection. In addition, he trained in the technique of Stella Adler, Practical Aesthetics and Lee Strasberg’s method.