Friday, May 22, 2009

Building Craft/Building Business

Several conversations with students brought this to further light...

Even though craft and business are very different animals, perhaps it's time to see "the other side" more fully! Or at least recognize certain aspects of them.

As an emerging and developing artist, if we want to work in this business (I am thinking primarily music theatre right now) we must continue to hone our craft - build our instruments, develop our knowledge, give ourselves every opportunity to find those teachers and those classes that can challenge and evoke in us what is our best! HOWEVER - there is the other side as well...the side we dislike, namely auditioning, being seen, trying to be seen etc etc.

Let's face it - we have chosen a business where 95% of us are unemployed at any given time. Even in great economic times!  So we will be out of work in this field a great deal over the course of our lifetimes.  How do we "armour up" for that business side as artists?  

I think, as hard as it is, we have to look at ourselves as product. We are selling something - so as the saying goes "what kind of ho will be you be today"? Sometimes it feels like that. However...

Business is NOT personal. Business is NOT emotional. Business is business. Find that side of you. GRAB IT! USE IT!

What are you selling? How do you want to be seen? SIMPLIFY if you can.  Obviously many of us are rather complex creatures and therefore our talent is complex and can't always be put in a box - thank god - but that's what makes the business happy - soooooooooooooo....

Figure out HOW you present yourself to allow them to see you as you want to be seen.  You can't control many things in this business, infact, most things are out of your control, but finding this can truly make the path a little clearer! And do not be afraid to state how you see yourself, what you see yourself best for - don't allow the business to guess - JUST TELL THEM! Be assertive - it takes the guess work out!

Learn to network - especially in this digital age, it makes it easy! Get your name out there! Don't be afraid to just ASK QUESTIONS of people that may be in a position to hire you! Come on now - you are an actor - so if it makes you nervous to do it, then ACT! Create the persona in order to get in the door!

And to those of you who get in that audition line with NO craft - it's time to find some! Wanting to be in a show with no training, development or knowledge is not going to get you far.  Dare to have to pride and some commitment to the theatrical process and get into voice lessons, find a great acting teacher and a class, take some dance lessons! Don't assume that because you went to drama camp in junior high that you will be given a gold star for that now.  If you don't think you need any further training, then maybe you need to be famous somewhere else and allow the people who have true respect for the art of theatre a chance to get a job so they can create something.  

Just some thoughts for a Friday back to my coffee!

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