By Shannon Moore
If you’re an aspiring actor, there’s one thing I am sure you can agree on, trying to pay the bills while juggling casting calls and auditions is like having two full-time jobs. It’s overwhelming, not to mention, stressful. Finding a consistent “survival job” is the key to maintaining your sanity, and also your wallet.
Many aspiring actors moonlight as servers, baristas, and bartenders to make ends meet. But even in the restaurant or hospitality industry, you have to be available and work a somewhat rigid schedule. Oftentimes, actors find themselves at a loss when trying to fill in the gaps between acting gigs, auditions, and part-time work. We’ve got the perfect solution for you – live marketing events (AKA experiential and/or event marketing). Working in the experiential industry is a fantastic survival job for actors. It offers flexibility, great pay, and even networking opportunities.
So, you may be asking yourself what is experiential marketing and what does the job entail? Experiential and event marketing allows brands to promote their products and/or services to consumers face-to-face. Typically, marketing events take place at festivals, concerts, sporting events, retail locations, trade shows, or anywhere else that has many people in one spot. The goal of live marketing events is to give a brand a face and a voice. As a result, the events drive brand awareness and form relationships with consumers which plays a significant role in gaining loyal customers.
Those that work live marketing events are often referred to as brand ambassadors. Brand ambassadors are responsible for promoting a brand to consumers through interactions and conversations. They communicate targeted brand messaging, distribute premium giveaways, and guide consumers through any event activities like games, photo booths, and so on.
In addition to the brand ambassador role, there are more specialized roles that often call for acting experience. A few of these include:
This role is very similar to a brand ambassador but it requires a little more training. Product specialists are required to communicate product specifications to consumers, answer more technical questions, and be well versed in all areas of both the brand and the product or service being offered. Hence, the reason that many automakers and technology companies use product specialists to represent their brands.
Almost all hosting and presenting roles require acting or similar experience. Presenters take the stage at trade shows and conferences, and relay timed brand messaging to a crowd of attendees. They are required to have an amazing stage presence, the ability to speak to large numbers of people, and they must have the perfect voice.
This role almost always calls for some acting experience. Just like the title implies, a costumed brand ambassador promotes a brand in full costume. Oftentimes, costumed brand ambassadors work as part of a large publicity stunt, flash mob, or street team. They memorize lines and messaging to convey to passers-by.
Costume characters and mascots are hired to dress as brand characters in full body character costumes from head to toe. Sometimes their role is silent, but nonetheless, actors make great costume characters and mascots because they know how to interact and put on a show without saying a word.
Experiential marketing jobs offer the ultimate flexible schedule. You can pick and choose the jobs that you can commit to and want to apply for. Once you register with an event staffing agency, you will receive job announcements when opportunities are available. If you are interested, you can apply for the events that work with your schedule. Day-to-day or week-to-week scheduling is ideal for you to prioritize the demands of your acting career. Just keep in mind, if you commit to working an event, don’t bail out last minute for an audition. Agencies are quick to remove workers from their staffing pools for last-minute cancellations.
If you have a busy few weeks or months filled with acting jobs or auditions and don’t have time to work events, no worries! Just because you register with an agency doesn’t mean you have to work a set schedule or a set number of jobs in a given time period. You work when you can, around your schedule, and on your terms.
Hourly rates for brand ambassadors vary from $16 – $30/hour. The more specialized roles can pay even more.
Experiential marketing events aim to be exciting and draw a crowd. For some activations. this means creating a scene to attract people in. You’ll be able to use your acting skills in creative fashions to get the attention of the crowd and lure them over.
Meeting industry peers and connecting with brands and agencies is a great way to expand your personal and professional circle on all levels. You never know who you’ll run into, who you’ll be working with or for, or who is watching you perform.
Learning about human behavior and interacting with people will expand your acting capabilities. Engaging with people, having conversations, connecting with and observing people in their everyday life offers a unique learning experience that will help you grow as an actor.
Even if a specific event job doesn’t require acting skills, it’s undeniable that the traits of actors fit perfectly with event work. Great brand ambassadors have an insanely outgoing and personable personality, a fearlessness in drawing attention to themselves, and the ability to memorize talking points and communicate those points with an audience. Do those skills sound familiar? Wink-wink.
A survival job doesn’t have to be miserable or create roadblocks in your acting career. Some, like experiential marketing jobs, can actually do wonders for your career. For starters, it helps pay the bills. Secondly, it allows you to take center stage and do what you do best – communicate! Finally, it allows you to continue to pursue your dream of acting because flexibility that experiential marketing allows is clutch.
ATN Event Staffing is a leading event staffing agency for the experiential and event marketing industry. We staff all types of marketing events across the U.S. and Canada and we are always looking for new faces to join our team. If you are an actor (or a people person) and interested in working for ATN, please click below!