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Lauren, actress, Atlanta, GA
Just in case you haven't thought about it, there is a lot of work for cruise ship entertainers. Working as an actor on location on a cruise ship was one of the most fun acting jobs Ive ever had to date. It was just plain fun. The acting job itself fits in the category of industrials, which are corporate events and videos for which actors, presenters, hosts or voice-over talent is most often used. Cruise ship entertainers in general do a wide variety of jobs, including, singing, dancing, magic, miming, clowning, for example.
Many Cruise Ship Entertainers Are Actors
This particular job of mine was a video that was to be shot over four, two-week periods (eight weeks in all). It was in support of an English class that the cruise line was sponsoring for its mainly international staff. The entire crew of the entire fleet would be taking the course and seeing the video in some one hundred small episodes on their televisions in their cabins. The number of people who saw the video was in the neighborhood of fifteen thousand. We two actors were just a small part of the many cruise ship entertainers on board.
The storyline was about a wacky couple on a cruise ship that was always losing each other and doing the wildest things. I was the husband in this couple and the only other character was another actress who was my wife. We shot on location on the cruise ship while it was at sea. That means we had to take four, two-week cruises. The first was from Copenhagen, Denmark down the west cost of Europe to Italy. The second was from the west coast of Italy down past Sicily to Egypt, Cyprus, Greece and back to Italy. For the third and fourth cruises we were flown to Miami and then set sail on a Caribbean cruise. Not a bad job at all!
The Work Days of Cruise Ship Entertainers
We usually began shooting around 10am, which was great, because then I had time to go to the gym on board in the morning, shower and have breakfast without having to get up too early. I did that every day. Then we usually worked throughout the day shooting on location in different areas of the ship; the bar, restaurant, in the cabins or in the lobby. The work days rarely went beyond 6pm, so we really cant say that we worked out butts off! The other cruise ship entertainers worked evenings so they usually had their days free.
It was funny, because in this little job of acting on a cruise ship, we experienced what it must be like when you become a big screen star. We shot the first set of episodes on the cruise ship and then we had a two month break before the next cruise. In the meantime the first set had been edited and was already being shown on the ships. During the next cruise, it was crazy. The crew began to recognize us around the ship, stop us and want to talk. They commented and told us how much they liked the sitcom. They would talk about specific scenes. Some even wanted their pictures taken with us. Other cruise ship entertainers enjoyed a status that was similar, but you know what the effect is when you see someone on film and then you see them in person. Thats what happened with us two actors. It was kinda cute.
According to my standards, the film crew wasnt the best example of professionalism. They were often late, disorganized and made a lot of changes to the script as we were shooting. At times it didnt really seem like they needed actors, but rather just people who looked the part to memorize the lines. They did want a character though and I gave them a character. Tom Smith (my character) was a wacky, crazy, simpleton; a nut who was full of himself, physically fit, thought himself to be a ladies man. He was a real nut case. Acting on a cruise ship gave me a huge dose of motivation. I was psyched and I poured all that motivation into this wacky character! I/we would liked to have had more time to prepare each scene, but often times it just wasnt possible. The director didnt give us the time. Sometimes when they were in make up (which often took a lot of time), we got line changes to practice. When I finally got how they wanted to work and after suggesting a more effective way to which I didnt get the response I wanted, I decided to roll with the punches and just have fun and do the best I could. I decided that the character was the most important thing and so I concentrated on that. In the end, the director was happy, the customer was happy and the spectators were happy.
The End Result
The end result wasnt bad considering that it was my first real acting job of any significance about three years ago. When I look at the performance, I cringe, but I can imagine that many of us actors do that while looking at our early performances.
I got paid about 300 (euros) per day for the job, plus expenses. It wasnt a lot, but I accepted it for that type of job three years ago and also for the fact that it was a contract for eight weeks. Its nice to know that you have steady income sometimes. Its the same way in my consulting business. Sometimes I have customers with whom I work three to four days per month for six or nine months. Its a form of security. In this case that meant fifty-six days of work at three hundred euros a day. That was more than fifteen thousand, so that was ok for me at that particular time, especially for that kind of job. Its also something that cruise ship entertainers can enjoy. They work in a nice environment and get steady pay, doing what they love and not doing back breaking work.
Cruise ship entertainers have an opportunity that actors often overlook. On those cruises there were shows each night with actors, singers, dancers, comedians, magicians. I actually stumbled upon that opportunity that came to me by word of mouth. If you actively look for those types of opportunities, there are probably many. At this point it is not one of my priorities or I would try myself to take another cruise and make some money doing what I love at the same time.
You might want to have a look at this link to see if you could soon be one of many cruise ship entertainers!
Go here to find out more about cruise ship job opportunities.
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