WARNING: The opinions expressed below are DEFINITELY those of The CoLab Theatre Company! Learn more at www.colabtheatre.org!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


New Copies of Headshots: $100
Gym Membership: $67/month
Haircut: $45 (plus a tip!)
Hours Spent Waitressing: $ Exposure to germs and obnoxious people minus weekends
Getting the Part: Priceless

It's not easy being an actress. I'm sure it's not easy being a financial consultant either but this isn't a blog about financial consulting. (Side note: Remember Mad Minutes? Teachers gave them in elementary school - you had 60 seconds to do 60 math problems? I used to "lose them" because I would get so nervous I couldn't fill them enough of them in. So I guess financial consulting was never really in the cards to begin with but that's besides the point. Plus I'm yawing just writing financial consultant title four times in as many sentences. Blech. Moving on.)

The point is, it would be one thing if holding the title "actress" only meant bearing your soul and dealing with rejection and waitressing to make ends meet. BUT it actually means NOT having a steady, fabulously salaried job while ALSO paying rent and dishing out money for a career that doesn't pay. I get asked at least once a week, "If you're so serious about acting, why haven't you moved to New York?" It's not just that I have friends and a life I enjoy here in a city I'm not ready to leave - it's also because New York is a billion times more expensive that Boston! (Also, the Yankees suck.)

So what should we do? At 23, it seems pretty reasonable to work at the restaurant 40 hours/week, attend rehearsals, spend months of savings to jet off across the country, pay for headshots and gym memberships and acting classes, and continue to do what we love, but where does it end? When I'm 33, will I want a family? How am I supposed to help support my family on my actress's salary? It's a little scary to think about. This hasn't been on my mind because I'm responsible enough to consider what will happen ten years down the road. I'm pondering my financial state because of what's going to happen in August. You're going to read an audition announcement soon for Play., our inaugural production. We're financing this out of own pockets, something I am happy to do because I believe in The CoLab, but it's another expense to add to my list. I'm not asking for a pity party, these are all choices I've made but it still drives me crazy that I'm part of an industry that is expensive to live in and painful to live out of. What would you do? I guess choosing acting compromises my financial quality of life, but what are the costs of compromising my emotional quality of life? For this proud actress, that's not a cost I'm willing to incur. And you know what? I'm still scared of trying to do 60 math problems in 60 seconds. But I'd be more afraid if I was considering quitting something I love just because I don't see the benefits from it on my bank statement. Stay tuned, sports fans, with a summer filled with my new show and plenty of CoLabness this girl is back in the game.


  1. Speaking as an IT Consultant (> financial consultant), I am still terrified by the amount of money you have to spend. I mean, Jesus Tap-dancing Christ.
    - Look into Planet Fitness. Their gym is $10/month with no contract
    - Find a small local hair salon. That will probably cut your hair bill in half. (I think. One of the blessings of being a dude is that I can get a cut, a shave and a massage in downtown for $33)

    And the Yankees do suck, and NYC smells funny.

  2. Erica, speaking as a person who willingly gave up theater just for a single year to come be with the man she loves while he waits for immigration....

    NOTHING could ever make me quit theater for good. This year has been one of the most bittersweet of my entire life: I finally got to be near the man I love after two years of long-distance, but it took me away from the thing that sustains my soul-- theater. Let me just say, your thoughts on the sacrifices and joys of our industry really strike home. We've got to stick together and help each other through the worst of times, and be there to celebrate together in the best. I'm so excited to come home to Boston and get back in step with you all... please let me know how I can be involved in the show in August!

    See you soon! Cheers to the artist's life!

  3. I'm so glad that you posted this. This is what I ponder about EVERY SINGLE day of my acting life and I'm 26. Let's celebrate what we do have -- a healthy dose of humor and most importantly, life itself!

  4. I love this post.
    It has a life of its own.
    A little blog spirit.