Saturday, June 6, 2009

What are you willing to do for your Craft?

Saturday morning musings...

What is "making" it in this business? I hear this so often, in many different forms, mainly from under 30s, but not always.  I am amazed at how many young performers have come to me discouraged after being in the business maybe 6 months or a year, or even 2 years,  wondering why they haven't "made" it yet...Please pick up your naivete at the door and remember, when you walk into the next audition not to bring it in with you!  

I am not talking about "famous" - that's an animal that has nothing to do with craft, authenticity or artistry.  ANYBODY can be famous for NOTHING. If that's what you are after, this blog ain't for you!

How important is your craft? Your artistry?  If it is something that you couldn't live without - be it singing, acting, dancing, playing - then perhaps a LIFETIME commitment is a place to start.  Are you in this for the long haul?  Or are you dabbling?

Now, don't misunderstand - some people are artists who have a completely different "day" life and their artistry infuses that.  They are not pursuing their craft as job but rather enhancement.  Frankly, I think that's marvellous, and these people aren't dabblers either - they are filling their lives with what they love and finding balance from another direction.

When I say "dabbler" I mean those people who do not fully commit to what they SAY they want; Who fall off the wagon more than they are on;  who talk a good line, but don't walk it or live it.

So, I ask again, what is "making" it to you?  And when do you know when you've "made" it? What if you get yourself so caught up in "making" it that you miss it?

Let me break it down further.  "Making" is an action and it is an action NOW.  It is not passive, whiny or half-assed.  It is NOW, CLEAR, and FOCUSED and COMMITTED.  

You have chosen a business that uses your craft and your artistry as a creative conduit.  My question is this: if you as a human being is never done growing and evolving, why wouldn't the same be true to you as an artist?  And isn't growing, evolving, developing craft and artistry, DOING and MAKING something?  

So, my big question is - why are you waiting?  No one is going to DO it for you; Or MAKE it for you. YOU are going to do and make it.  EVERY SINGLE DAY.   Every single day you commit to your development as an artist you are moving forward and through and making something happen!  

You have chosen a profession that has an approximate 95% unemployment rate -  where there are MANY who want jobs and FEW who get them, because there just aren't enough jobs.   YOU CHOSE IT.  Are you in it for the long haul to see where it takes you? Or are you not?  

And you know what? It's okay if you aren't.   If you decide:  "no I don't want to deal with the long haul of this - I will do something else." Good for you to recognize that! You will still take that artistic spirit into anything you choose to do.

If you decide that your craft is what drives you and you MUST pursue it - then DO IT.  You will find your place or a place will be revealed to you.  "Making" it is every step along the journey - to learn from, grow into, move through - not some pie in the sky nebulous "Now I am THERE" place!

The artistic journey is not one that can be drawn until it has been taken.  There are no direct routes, no plan A/plan B, no time lines, no specifics.  Every body's path is uniquely their own.  

So, are you willing to walk that path?  Are you willing to take a fork in the road and go where your talent leads you? Are you willing to let go of preconceived notions of grandeur or what you might have thought was the "way" and go another direction? Are you willing to let go of the "I must/I must not" in order to discover what IS?

I know when you are in your 20s you want to be somewhere.  6 months or a year is LONG. 5 years is an eternity!  But, you won't realize otherwise until you aren't there anymore!  And the only way to realize it, is to live it and MAKE IT everyday to allow it to take you wherever it leads.

Start asking yourself the hard questions, the real questions: Am I ready to work? Is it more important to take on a role or be seen in a certain venue? If I am offered that job, am I truly ready for it? Is my technique solid enough? Is my spirit strong enough? How many auditions am I willing to do to get an opportunity to work? If I get a chance to do something else that I would never have considered before, will I consider it now? What are my ethical and artistic standards? How do I live those?

And the questions continue...and the questions grow....

So, my next question to you is this: Are you willing to MAKE YOUR CRAFT YOURS?  Are you willing to invest in your artistic development so fully that you live it each day and acknowledge its TRUTH each day and find its LIFE each day? And if you are, why does there need to be a time line? Because, then you are "making" it.  It's happening. And it will continue to happen and manifest in ways you might be surprised to see. Just don't miss it.  Don't be so focused on "making it" that you miss how important the peripheral vision is - and miss an opportunity to "make" it down a path that brings you more!  There is no time line on your craft, on your place.  There is only NOW. Seize it!  Either the business will make a place for you, or YOU will make a place for YOURSELF.

Only the journey will decide that.  Get moving!


  1. Susan, I'm so glad you are doing this blog. Amazing, you find the time!
    Anyway, you mention the youngsters being impatient with the start of their journey. What about at the other end. Older performers don't always know when its time to let it go. Tired or damaged voices, ill health
    etc. make the decision easy but mature yet healthy singers certainly go thru a lot of anxiety, fear or grief when there is no audience willing to listen any more. Finding different material, venues, and a different YOU
    as you put it can be like starting a new career. Any thoughts? I'd love a very real insight in a general sense since you work with the best in the business and see many careers grow then peak. Thanks! Lee

  2. thanks for this question...this is a biggie too! Let me think on it a bit and get back to you...