Survival: I love acting but I have no money

Srarving Artist
A Starving Artist - Photo by: artbandito (Flickr)
Hi everyone,

As I sat down to write this column, I thought “Now what am I going to talk about this week? What is the purpose of these columns again? Why am I even here?” and it occurred to me that I never set out with a particular topic to discuss, but each week one seems to emerge. For example, if you look back over my columns they can be categorised as follows:

Week 1:                  BIOGRAPHY – A brief summation of my life thus far.

Week 2:                  COPING MECHANISMS – I’m drunk and spiritual in equal proportions.

Week 3:                  NECESSARY INTROSPECTION – My childhood was weird.

Week 4:                  NOTICE ME – I’m a performer so I should put on a show.

Week 5:                  I WANT TO KNOW AND DO EVERYTHING – My childhood was weird but I learnt some interesting facts.

So I have decided that from now on I am going to consciously choose a theme, mainly to save embarrassing any more members of my family and so that I don’t start writing variations of the above list. I therefore present you with:

Week 6:                  SURVIVAL – I love acting but I have no money.

Herein lies the quandary of all quandaries, the eternal artistic dilemma. How do I live a creative life, pursuing all the projects I want to and be financially comfortable? And the answer is – I have no idea.

What I think happens is that before we’re born, we’re floating around in some other realm and God says “Alright, you can ALL be artists, but I’ve only got enough money to support half of you. Sorry. Everyone on the right side of the room, I’ll make sure you’re born with good features and consistent vibrato and you’ll get employed for most of your life. Everyone on the left side of the room, again, I’m sorry. You can still be artists, I just don’t know how it’s going to work out for you. Maybe you’ll marry one of the guys on the right. But I’ll make sure I put a soup kitchen in every city so you know I’ve still got your back.”

Then we are born and some of us go from show to show, and some of us find it challenging to crack just one. I have this feeling that when God was dividing the room, I was doing up my shoelace and he didn’t notice me standing in the middle. At some point he’s going to turn around and see me still waiting patiently after the whole room has been vacated and say, “What are you doing here? You supposed to be in the pastry section.”

Anyway, I’m not going to give a lecture on the best ways to stay solvent and creatively satisfied. It’s different for everyone. One thing I have learned though is that nothing can come into your life if you’re operating from fear. Holding onto jobs that make you miserable just for the sake of paying the bills can prevent you from being in the right place at the right time, and from noticing new opportunities when they present themselves. As the wise Leonard Cohen once said, “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

Image by artbandito on Flickr

Kate Walder

Kate is a 2008 graduate of the BA Music Theatre course from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). During her time at the academy she played the role of Linda in Blood Brothers, The Young Wife in Hello Again, Marguerita in West Side Story and featured in the ensemble of Sweeney Todd and Oklahoma!, for which she was Dance Captain. After moving to London in 2009 Kate played the role of Clio in La Dispute at the Soho Theatre and subsequently at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Since returning to Sydney, Kate has written and performed her one-woman show Coffee with Kate: the Cabaret at the 2010 inaugural Sydney Fringe Festival, a show based on a series of weekly columns she wrote for She is currently co-writing a new show with a fellow WAAPA graduate which will premiere later in the year.

Kate Walder

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