“Have a back-up plan.” – Matt Abercromby
The idea of developing a backup plan tends to divide people.
On one hand, there’s something to be said for having an ace in the hole. Matt himself says that having an income from marketing let him go to auditions for acting gigs without sweating. It gave him the confidence to be a bit more reckless.
In Matt’s experience, casting directors notice desperation – it can hold you back from fully inhabiting a role – and few things tend to make you as desperate as a make-or-break situation, when you need to land the role or get evicted. Or starve.
“Don’t rush into anything,” Matt suggests.
On the other, actor George Clooney is known for his response to his father when the elder Clooney advised George on having a backup plan in case acting didn’t worked out.
“If I have a fall-back plan,” George said, “I’ll fall back.”
Worldwide singing star Seal also gave his protegees on the first season of The voice Australia similar advice – he handed them all a folded piece of paper which he told them all to open at the same time.
On each piece of paper were the same words: There is nothing but this.
It’s a tricky situation. A backup plan accepts that the world is bigger than you. That no matter how good you are, it’s possible that someone else could be better on the day, or simply more in line with the vision that the people hiring you have for the work they need done.
Yet it could also lead to deciding that it’s okay to not give your all.
Committing yourself fully to something requires a lot of trust in yourself. That other opportunities will appear even if this one doesn’t work out and that you’ll handle everything else that comes along in the meantime.
Yet it can also push you to give of yourself like nothing else could.
My opinion? Rather than make a “main plan” and a “backup,” create two things that you love doing about as much as each other and that can each cover your living expenses. Maybe they’re writing and podcasting. Maybe they’re acting and marketing.
Whatever they are, make sure that neither feels like the “lesser” or “settling” option – so that you’re stepping sideways instead of falling back.