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Steve Aaron-Sipple, Actor

Actor Steve Aaron-Sipple: A day in the life of…

An actor who has featured in BBC shows such as Cuckoo (2012 – ) and Eastenders (1985 – ) describes his unpredictable work life and his typical day when he’s off set.

Steve Aaron-Sipple will also star in Cam Girls (2021) (yes, you get the idea…) and feature in a number of films and tv shows in 2021 and beyond, including The First Detectives (2021) and Creatures (2020).

BBC Series Cuckoo, Greg Davies Andie MacDowell
Steve Aaron-Sipple in BBC Series Cuckoo, starring Greg Davies, Andie MacDowell

Steve delves into how his usual day off set could change at any moment with a call from his agent and how he balances this with his family life.

An actor’s day can vary depending on one major factor, whether they’re working that day or not. In most actors’ cases it’s an ‘or not’.

I think the first thing people need to know is that like 99.99 percent of actors are out of work (please don’t quote me on that statistic, I’m only using it for dramatic effect).

But it means that actors spend most of their day figuring out the best way of getting work, whether it be applying for jobs, liaising with your agent as to why you’re not getting jobs.

If you’re lucky enough then you’re auditioning for jobs – or even luckier, preparing for a job that you’ve already booked.

A working day as an actor is pretty self-explanatory (you arrive on set, you act, eat, go home – you get the gist), so I’m going to explain a typical day of when I’m not on set working.

I got a call from my agent on Monday telling me I had booked a job and would be flying to Spain on Wednesday.

The life of actor Steve Aaron-Sipple: unpredictable work schedule

Most people have set routines. They work set days, and need to be aware and alert at these set times. They can plan their personal lives around this. Actors do not have this luxury.

We do not always know on a Sunday night if we’re working the following week at all. Work could be sprung on us at any moment.

An example of this was last month: I got a call from my agent on Monday telling me I had booked a job and would be flying to Spain on Wednesday.

I thought ‘Great! I’ve got work, exciting work, but now I have 48 hours to organise all my affairs and cancel anything I had planned to do this week.’

Throw a COVID test in the mix just to make it harder!

The Morning Routine

Trying to create a morning routine even when you’re not working is really important. Sometimes the hardest part of the day is trying to motivate yourself to get up (coffee helps).

So, I like to wake up early most mornings because my daughter doesn’t let me sleep in, but also because I’ve read somewhere that you need to wake up with determination to be able to go to sleep with satisfaction. It’s cheesy, I know, but any self-development routines that help with the uncertainty as an actor is useful.

I then move onto exercise. I feel like most of the things that happen in the acting world do not happen too early.

British Actor Steve Aaron-Sipple
British Actor Steve Aaron-Sipple

Waiting for your agent’s phone call

I very rarely hear from my agent until past midday if she has something to tell me, and I don’t see many castings go live until mid to late morning.

So, exercise is always happening first thing in the morning – whether that’s weights in the garage or just going for a long walk.

I also like to utilise my exercise time to listen to something other than music, whether that’s an audiobook or a podcast.

It’s a double whammy – I’m exercising my body and learning at the same time; it also takes my mind off the workout.

Research and networking: Spotlight and Mandy

Now it’s time to do some work towards my acting career. This is usually me sitting down at a laptop applying to castings on various sites or working on my online presence as an actor.

I use Spotlight and Mandy. It can also be me trying my best to network.

By network I don’t mean emailing casting directors or producers with a blanket copy/paste email saying, ‘Hire me!’

For me, it’s just researching the industry, learning about who casts your favourite shows, what up and coming actors are doing and how they got there, what films are currently casting and maybe get in touch with your agent to push you for them.

Actor Steve Aaron-Sipple on film set
Actor Steve Aaron-Sipple on a film set

IMDb Pro: an invaluable tool for any actor

I pay for IMDb Pro, which I think is invaluable. Not only do you get to create a presence and online CV for yourself, there is information about every production ever made on there; a great source for research and networking.

Acting training

After about an hour I need to have a break. I lose focus quite easily when sitting at a computer (I mean, it took me 5 attempts to write this article!).

This is where I might do some acting training; hopefully by doing an audition I have been asked to tape for a project.

Self-taping is the future of castings. So, I really try to get better at it.

I’m lucky enough to have a few friends who will always help me with my tapes. My partner helps me in the evenings but with a child either running around or sleeping it’s not always the logical option.

Self-taping: the future of casting jobs

So, I will utilise the few hours I have in the early afternoon to get any tapes done, or work on some monologues or audition techniques to better my chances of securing work.

By the mid-afternoon there is normally a new influx of castings going live on the sites so I will again see if I fit the brief of any and apply where I can.

But normally this is around the same time that I need to do the school run – having a family and a home to keep running can be a challenge around being an actor.

But I’m so lucky to have such an amazing and supportive partner. A stable homelife with an unstable career can be difficult to balance. I feel like having that stability in my personal life helps me really focus properly on pursuing my acting career.

It’s about researching the industry, learning about who casts your favourite shows, what up and coming actors are doing and how they got there…

Evening routine

Evenings in my day are family time, though I do struggle to completely let go of anything to do with acting. I really try to give all of myself to my family when we’re all at home.

As an actor you could book a job tomorrow that takes you away from elongated periods of time.

Then it’s time to go to the club duvet – the land of the nod.

Leaving the 9 – 5 job behind

When I used to work a nine to five office job, going to bed was the worst time for me, mentally. I would dread falling asleep as it meant I would need to wake up and live the mundane safe life I was creating for myself.

Now falling asleep I dream and wonder of the possibilities of what tomorrow may bring. As an actor it can be hard at times.

You have moments of insecurity, self-doubt, uncertainty, and anxiety. But the fact is that there isn’t a specific ladder to climb to the top and ultimately become a successful actor.

An opportunity to fulfil your acting dreams.

You could get your break at any minute. You could wake up not knowing that today is the day your life could change and you’re presented with an opportunity to fulfil your dreams.

That overrides any seeds of doubt I have.

A quote I remember constantly is ‘luck is where preparation meets opportunity’. In the days where I’m not working on set, I try to utilise the preparation side of that quote, so I can give myself the best chance when an opportunity presents itself.

Credits

First editor: Daisy Jayne
Second Editor & Artwork: Richard Williams
Images courtesy of Steve Aaron-Sipple