Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Disconnect

Wednesday musings...

I have had several conversations this week, and even this morning (!) about the disconnect of investing in SELF and in the development of CAREER within this business.

If you truly want a chance at a CAREER, you need to invest in the craft of you, and the business of you.

The craft of you involves development - from lessons to classes to workshops to masterclasses - and then involves sifting and taking time to allow the knowledge to become reality.  It involves going to theatre, going to film, going to museums and art galleries;  listening to music;  experiencing dance;  and on and on.

The business of you involves commitment - learning how to present your calling card - from business cards, to head shots, to resumes, to websites, to promotion, to self-presentation.  Learning what your product is and PRODUCING if for others to enquire and then hire you!

The first point of recognition is that it costs money to make money.  If you are unwilling/unable to commit to the cost and the commitment of building craft AND business, then the business isn't going to hand it to you!

If you call yourself an artist, then it's time to get creative!!  Creativity isn't laziness nor whiny-ness, nor expecting a handout.  Creativity is sacrifice and often making compromises to get the BEST FOR YOU.

If you truly want something, you make it work. You figure out a way.

You can't always get what you want - in the time you want it.

Just as all of this commitment takes time and money,  so does the reverse.  You might whine and cry and moan that everything costs, but you wouldn't like it much if someone hiring you was moaning about paying YOU either.  It goes both ways.

Let me give you a personal example:

I received an email from a potential student.  She had been referred to me from someone and wanted to really work on her voice and wanted to work an hour a week and wanted more details.

Now, my fees are by no means outrageous by industry standard.  However, this young woman decided my rates were too high for her and because she REFUSED to consider another possibility and wanted to study once a week and couldn't afford it,  she decided to go with a cheaper teacher.

More expensive doesn't mean better,  HOWEVER,  if she had REALLY wanted to see if what I could offer her was what she was looking for, she could have come in for a consultation and made a decision.  Maybe she couldn't afford to study weekly;  maybe she would have had to study bi-weekly; or maybe weekly but a shorter lesson.  She might have discovered that less was more!!!  However, she was UNWILLING to look at possibilities that would have still allowed her an opportunity to work.

This is a disconnect.  This is a lack of awareness of what you WANT versus what you can ACHIEVE.

Another example:

What is the IDEAL calling card for up and coming singer/actor?  If there's nothing on that resume yet, you better have a kick-ass head shot.  WE SEE YOU FIRST.  Head shots are an INVESTMENT IN YOUR BUSINESS.  The BUSINESS OF YOU!!!

You do not need to invest in the extremes - either thousands or Walmart!!!!

Investing in a great head shot takes time to explore who is taking great head shots!!  Talking with photographers, looking at their portfolios, discussing possibilities is CRUCIAL.

If you find the photographer for you and you can't afford it, then you SAVE YOUR MONEY.  You make a decision to INVEST and COMMIT and do what it takes to create what you NEED.  Or you recognize what the industry standards are,  make a dollar investment and find the photographers in that range.

You will not be taken seriously if your head shot is not a professional one.  Simple as that.  A snap shot is NOT a head shot.  A Sears Portrait is NOT a head shot!!!  If you think the business doesn't know that, you are sadly mistaken.

Make a decision.  COMMIT TO IT!!

Creating YOU as business requires TIME and MONEY and PLANNING!  Budgeting for your business is just as important as anything else.  Budgeting for your craft is also important.  You can't always have everything NOW.

You sometimes have to wait.  It's not all or nothing.

As your career begins - you need to recognize and invest in the "beginning" requirements.  You need to build a resume, you need a head shot, you need to be able to DO what you say you are!!!  You need to invest in lessons, classes, knowledge!  You might not be able to do it all but you can do some of it!  You might not be able to do it all at once, but you can budget towards it!

You always find a way to get what is important to you.  If you say you can't afford voice lessons, but you bought the new iPhone - that was more important.  Simple as that.

If you say you can't afford head shots but you get your nails done weekly and eat lunch out everyday, you have made a decision of what is more important.

Learning to recognize and acknowledge what you are WILLING to do, and then ABLE to do to make the craft and the business of you work, is CRUCIAL.

You can't have it all - not right away.  Learning how to prioritize your needs and your wants is crucial.

If you NEED a head shot - because you are just getting started, or the business keeps telling you it's time for a new shot - then it is UP TO YOU to figure out HOW you will do that.  If you want to be taken seriously,  you need to INVEST.

If you NEED that class - then figure out what is less of a priority to accommodate it!

If you NEED a new audition outfit - figure out what you don't need to be able to afford it!!

If you cannot afford that symphony ticket, perhaps there's a concert in a smaller venue that allows you an opportunity to hear great music for less.

It is not all or nothing!!!  It is not looking for a 'deal' or a handout or a freebie.

The business is waiting to see what kind of commitment you are willing to give to yourself.  Lip service isn't enough - the follow-through speaks VOLUMES.

If you say you are a singer - then BE ONE.  If you are say you are an actor - then DO IT.

Moaning and groaning doesn't win friends and influence people.  It simply shows a lack of awareness and unwillingness to get the work done.

None of us have had it "easy".  We have all had to work to be where we are.  So do you.  Commit, sacrifice, invest, get involved, get creative to make your craft and your business truly your own.

Do not disconnect!!  Do not assume cheaper is easier;  or that more expensive is better.   Discover what you NEED and proceed from there.  You either compromise, or you wait to make sure you can achieve what you NEED.  Do not assume because you are talented that the world owes you a deal.  THAT is a disconnect!

With ANY talent comes responsibility.

If you say you are - then be responsible!  To your talent, to your craft and to your business.


  1. Great post, Susan! Particularly about the headshots - I know of someone who had beautiful headshots done, but refused to buy any of them because they were 'too expensive'. She also complained about the price ($100 for an hour, which is pretty freakin' fantastic if I do say so myself..) - so she got a friend to do them for CHEAP..and that's exactly what they looked like! Headshots are an investment, as are lessons, workshops, etc etc. There have been times where I can't afford something at the moment, so I have a specific savings account for that stuff - because it's that important!!!!

    Love this!

    - Breanne :)

  2. Well said! We need the best possible resources for our training and marketing, and we need to invest in the choices that are best for us rather than go bargain shopping. I wish that colleges and conservatories would address the business aspects of our profession far more than they do - starting with pointing out that this actually is a business. Performers aren't taught to market themselves, create long-term goals, network effectively, etc. They get their diploma, cross their fingers, and just try to survive until that big break comes - not a good business plan!

  3. Another wonderful post, Sis! When you make quality of yourself, you will attract quality!

    Thank you, quality lady!

  4. Love the post! All true, true, true.
    Thank you!

  5. This is SO true of ANY business. I coach a lot of people in my day job (HR) on why they did not get a particular office job. People write crappy resumes and wonder why they don't get screened in to an interview.

    People get an interview but, do not invest in the time an/or energy to PREPARE for the damn interview. So, they bomb it.

    We live in a society where everyone thinks they can get things for cheap/free. As a new mom, I know very well that I am taking a hiatus from singing. However, I still practice, when I can. I am convinced that I practice more than some singers that SAY they really want it, yet, spend most of their time surfing the net or moaning and groaning that their coach is not helping their career.

    I will say it again, one has to be ready to grow, in order to grow ...