Petrea Burchard is an actress with a plan
I met Petrea many years ago, and she is one of those actresses who makes you feel comfortable and who cares more about what you have to say than what is on her own mind. She is a great listener and she studies people well. She has a softness about her that makes her strong and confident. When I found out that she is a writer, it made all sense.
Petrea Burchard studied Shakespeare at the British American Drama Academy and joined SAG in 1988 and AFTRA soon after. She has performed on stage, appeared on TV, commercials, films, indies, and she worked—and is still working—in voiceover, which is still her main source of income.
Petrea’s first career choice was writing (she majored in it) and she wrote her first fiction at the tender age of six. During her acting career, she started writing “Act As If” for NowCasting‘s ActorsInk eNewsletter, where she wrote mostly humorous articles about embarrassing auditions, the people in the biz, about mistakes that we make, and all kinds of dumb stuff that happens to us all during our acting career.
Writing, be it fiction or non-fiction, requires a lot of positive support from friends and family, and Petrea was lucky that she had people around her who were generous with their time, who understood her flexible schedule with her creative endeavors, and she had good acting and writing teachers.
I’ve been following Petrea’s writing and photography on Pasadena Daily Photo (now called Living Vicuriously) for many years now and I’ve not only been enjoying her writing and beautiful photos, but I am amazed how many followers she has attracted with her simple topic. Her latest fiction Camelot & Vine, which was published last year, is available online and in stores and it has some beautiful reviews. Be sure to read them on Amazon and if you like reading books, support a fellow actress and purchase her book. Camelot & Vine is about a failing Hollywood actress who loses her job, her boyfriend and maybe even her sanity on the day before her 40th birthday. She gets drunk, hops on a plane, and falls through a gap in time, landing in King Arthur’s 6th-century war camp.
Petrea is, as many writers nowadays, also her own publisher. She wanted to be in control of her publication and so she established her publishing company Boz Books. Boz Books has been a success, and Petrea is about to publish her second book Act As If, which includes the columns she wrote for NowCasting. Act As If: Stumbling Through Hollywood With Headshot in Hand includes the best columns from her four-plus years of writing it, all updated and edited. Petrea says: “Act As If “should be a fun book for actors trying to navigate Hollywood in painful high heels while using less-than-satisfying sides as their maps and illegal parking spaces as their rehearsal rooms.
I asked Petrea about her health insurance and her retirement plan, as I know lot of actors are struggling with saving money and having a health insurance can be difficult to get to. Petrea said she has qualified for health insurance through both SAG and AFTRA and a she has been smart about a retirement plan. When she had a full-time day job, she put aside as much as she could into the plan. She says, “Any actor who has this opportunity should take it. It’s a short trip from 25-60, and you’re going to want that money when you get there.”
If you’re considering starting your own blog, or have thought about applying to write for an online publication or a local paper, Petrea’s advice is simple, “Write a lot and write often. Like any art, if you want to be good at it, practice is the best way. And study the craft. The value of a good teacher can’t be over-stated. If you want to earn money at it, study the business just like you would the acting business or any other. And continue to study the craft.”
If you have a second career, please email me and I will feature you in one of my upcoming articles. Please put in the subject line: “Actor/Actress with a Plan B”. Tell me your name, what you do, how long you have been doing it, and please include a photo of you (at your Plan B job) and a link to your acting and Plan B website.
Enci is a Mother, Actress, Artist and Activist.
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