I'm Kirsten, and I'm an actor and writer
Describe your job
Acting-wise, it’s a lot of waiting around. I check casting opportunities on Spotlight every day and email casting directors when something comes up that I’m interested in.
Writing-wise, I'm currently working on my production The Secret Diary of A White Supremacist. I'm spending most of my time fact-checking my script and editing it, then sending it to my director for feedback.
I also read a lot as I’m looking for a new script idea currently. For the most part I spend my days at my ‘day job’ - I usually work as a receptionist.
What are the most important skills you need to do your job?
Self-motivation, a thick skin, empathy, patience.
Practical skills like the ability to fill out tax returns and be responsible for your financial incomings and outgoings throughout the year, a strong memory and good sight-reading abilities (for last minute auditions/self tapes). You also need to get to grips with video/sound editing as well as having a healthy social media presence.
Basically being your own boss!
I left school and...
took two years out to decide what kind of career I wanted to have.
Worked in a supermarket for a year, then an office, then when I decided to go for straight acting (not musical theatre) I applied and got into drama school and studied for 3 years.
I worked solidly for a year after graduating, the next year I worked once and the next year, work dried up altogether. During all this, I spent three years writing a play and this year it’s being performed in London.
I’m most proud of...
The Last Ones by Maxim Gorky at the Jermyn Street Theatre. The production company was Upstart Theatre.
It was just a lovely experience - I got to work with recent grads like myself as well as older actors who’d known fame and success or had been getting by for years on smaller jobs, and they gave me so many lessons and stories to absorb.
It was one of those jobs that you wish could last for a year rather than just a few short months.
Before I started my career, I wish I knew…
Being a ‘starving artist’ isn’t romantic or glamorous, and you will absolutely need a side job to pay your bills and eat.
There’s no shame in it, and waiting for a long time for your big break isn’t a reflection on your talent, it’s completely normal and can help you to grow and improve.
Also, you’ll have to watch a lot of people succeed faster than you even if they haven’t worked as hard - the industry is inherently unfair and you can’t control it.
You just have to make choices that are right for you and ignore what anyone else is doing.
A mistake I made which you can avoid repeating is...
My biggest mistake was neglecting all other subjects at school other than Drama which I didn’t even need to study to go to Drama School.
I had a shot at a great education and I wasted it because I assumed that I would just become an actor and therefore didn’t need to learn about anything else.
I wish I’d been more open to other paths and not looked down on other jobs - I thought a detour was a failure but now I wish I’d taken more and had more varied experiences.
So, what’s next?
I’d love to keep writing - my dream is to have something performed at the Royal Court.
I hope to get my acting career back up and running as a result of performing in my own work, and would love to work in TV.