Cost of Living and Cost of Acting - "'I just never think of money as an issue.' 'That's because you have it.'" - Friends

It is extraordinary to me that we live in a world where saying that all people who work full time jobs should be paid a living wage is a controversial statement.

New York is passing legislation that will, over time, raise the minimum wage of anyone working in the fast food industry to $15 an hour. And there are people, even people that I know, who think that this is a bad idea, because then what's the incentive to ever move out of a fast food job? They say that we should have our "priorities straight" and pay specialized jobs, ones that require higher education, more money than customer service jobs.

Now, putting aside the classism (and, if you look at this intersectionally, racism) inherent in those statements I would suggest that the people who say things like that all satisfy two conditions. 1) That they have never worked a fast food customer service job. Because dude, working it is the motivation to move out of it. It sucks. Customers are the worst. And 2) they aren't aware that they're arguing that people who work fast food jobs shouldn't be allowed to pay rent, pay their bills, eat, AND have a life outside of their awful place of work.

And here's where I steer this away from a researched political argument. (I'll come back for that in a later post when I have time to properly research it and hit you all with statistics and hard facts, I'm sure.) This issue means a lot to me because, as an actor who needs day jobs with flexible hours, I have worked a series of customer service jobs in my lifetime. Not only are they terrible jobs to do for eight hours a day five days a week, but they don't pay nearly enough to live on, let alone be an actor.

Because guys, being an actor costs so much. All of the time. I have to maintain profiles on casting websites like Backstage and Actors Access. I pay for this website right here. Headshots, printing those headshots, printing postcards with my headshot, printing business cards with my headshot. Paying for intensives with casting directors where I can give them my headshot. Paying for someone to edit together my reel. Possibly paying for someone to help me shoot part of my reel. And those are all just the basics. Never mind paying for acting classes to actually be a good actor, or lessons in any other special skill I may want to have.

Now, I'm not saying that we should write a blank check to everyone who wants to be an actor because ~*everyone deserves to live their dream.*~ That's not how it works. It's always a struggle to be an actor, and it'd be realistic to argue that things should be otherwise.

But to say that someone deserves to never even have a shot, just because they need the flexible hours of a fast food job? That's inhumane. And elitist.

Huh. Maybe this did become a political post.