Survival Jobs for Performing Artists: Interview with Actress Kate Zulauf
Interview by Lauryn M.
How many years have you lived in NYC?
I have lived in NYC on and off since August 2013. Leaving for various contracts.
How was looking for a survival job when you moved here?
I found it pretty easy to look for survival jobs. I mainly used craigslist and playbill.com to find performer friendly jobs. I worked everything from reception, to promotion in Times Square, to being an Elf in Macy's Santaland.
How did you become interested in working with a temp agency in the city?
My friend Danielle, who is also an actor, had been working for a temp agency. She mentioned how she was able to get temp work that fit around her audition and babysitting schedule. This was interesting to me because for audition season 2017 I wanted to focus solely on auditioning. I had just come back from a great paying gig and I used my savings to pay for my life in NYC rather than getting a day job and battling choices between working and auditioning. However, I love to take classes and I had some time to spare, so temping seemed to be a great fit to get some money but not have to dedicate all my time towards a day job.
How long have you been working with a temp agency in the city?
How did you hear about your temping job opportunities?
I have a "temp agent" at the company I work for. I supply them with my schedule about two weeks out and they see what jobs they have coming up. They then email me with what they have available and I confirm on whether I am still available or not.
What different types of training did you need?
My company did not require any additional training.
What types of temp jobs have you had?
Reception, registration and coat check.
Do you believe working with a temping agency is a reliable, flexible, enjoyable source of income, while pursuing a career in the arts?
Temp work is definitely flexible and can be enjoyable. The people I have worked with have been very kind and I've gotten along with them. However, I don't believe someone can live off of temp money, maybe eventually if you're choosing to look for full-time work. However, as an actor, I believe temping to be solely supplemental. You can make anywhere between $13-17/hr and maybe additional tips, depending on the event. The shortest job I've had is 4 hours, and the longest is 10 hours. Jobs are not always available either. I had a dry spell of about two weeks, which was hard.
Would you recommend working with a temp agency to new artists in the city?
I think it is a great place to start while still getting your feet wet and looking for a more reliable part time job.
Have any other comments or concerns you would like to share?
I could probably work more often if I gave my temp agent more full time availability. However, I believe in dedicating a majority of my time to auditioning. That's the reason I am in the city. They like when people are kind, courteous, and take initiative. You are sometimes very much on your own at these jobs. So, you have to be able to do things without being told.