Sunday, September 5, 2010

what can you be SURE of?

This is often the time of year we reassess,  recommit,  start to make plans and focus!

So many of you are frustrated with this business.  I hear you.  Thanks for the emails and messages.   I wish I could tell you there is a straight path that will allow you to make a living with your talent and your artistry.  Sadly, there is not.

Only YOU can make the decision whether or not you want to be bothered.

Do you want to be bothered - and if so, be bothered with what?

And do you know what you can be sure of in this business?  And how seriously do you take that?

Perhaps one of the biggies that you can be sure of is that you WILL be lied to!  From all sides!  You will be told a blatant lie to your face, for often no reason than just to not have to engage in the truth!  Or be told a half lie that isn't really the issue...

Here are a few I heard this week from clients and colleagues:  LIES.

1.  You are too fat (size 8) for the role.
2.  You are too pretty for the role.
3.  We want a POP voice for Guinevere in Camelot...
4.  You have an accent.
5.  You have too much facial hair.
6.  We know you've been offered another contract for the same time and don't want to give you the impression you are that talented.
7.  We can't pay you your regular fee for next season because I need to pay for health insurance for my violin section.
8.  Nobody wants to hear you this season.
9.  Don't ever expect a music director from a major theatre will be interested in you.

Yes, I am NOT lying.  I have heard ALL of these in the last 2 weeks.

If you try to riddle out the half truths and the lies you will drive yourself MAD.  This you also can be sure of!

First, KNOW THE SOURCE of the comment.  Often you will get a half truth from someone who is simply trying to cover THEIR butt.  Doesn't make it right, but it happens.


You have to dismiss it, and more on.  Know who you trust and WHY, and who has to still EARN your trust and WHY.

So, lies are part of our business.  Two-facedness is as well.  Welcome to the business of show - and frankly, welcome to LIFE.  It's sometimes just a little more colourful in the business of show.

Recognizing the dirty laundry of our business is part of surviving the business.  Knowing how you are going to handle rejection,  lies, cheating, back-stabbing in order to survive is important.  Knowing what you need to do to balance that negative with positive is KEY.

What can you be SURE of in the positive?  What can you work toward and aim for?

Again, it depends on what constitutes positive for you!

Do you have have a supportive and engaged team around you?

Do you pursue your CRAFT everyday for the sake of craft?

Do you have work or prospects of work?

Do you have auditions or prospects of auditions?

Are you feeding your artistic soul each and every day?

What gives you JOY outside your craft?  Do you nurture that as well?

What can you do to create projects for yourself and not just wait on someone else?

And simply,

Do you want to be bothered????

You are NOT A FAILURE if you decide to explore another path, or take a leave of absence, or simply go another direction in your life.  You are a winner because you are following your NEEDS.

No matter what you decide to DO,  you are always an artist.  You just might not be making a living being one.  The artistic soul and mind and spirit is nurtured or not nurtured and never has anything to do with a pay cheque!

Often, artists are good at MANY things.  They could go many directions for a life path.  This is exciting and frustrating because sometimes we just have to DECIDE.

You can be sure that you have MANY choices.  You are NEVER STUCK unless you want to be. That is also a choice.

Only YOU can decide where you want to be and what you want to be bothered with and for how long!

You can be sure that the business will allow you entry, or you will make a place for yourself, or you will simply say "no thanks" and create another avenue of creativity and life for yourself.

You need to be sure of what you are striving for.

If you have lost that focus, it is time to re-assess and re-familiarize yourself with why you are here.

Many years ago,  someone changed my life by asking me that point blank:

"Who are you, and why are you here?"

I took a breath to answer and realized I couldn't.  It was a huge moment for me and a turning point in all aspects of my life.  Sometimes we can be sure we aren't sure at all.

So,  I take that question and ask you:

"Who are you,  and why are you here?"

Only you can answer - or not.  And only YOU can decide whether you are worth the time and exploration to discover the answer or create the answer in the life and in the business you NEED to be in and PREFER to be in.

You can be sure that there are many negatives and many positives in this business.

You can be sure some will like what you have to offer and some will not.

You can be sure you will be frustrated, angry, confused and disappointed at times.

You can be sure you will have "a-ha!" moments, great discovery and freedom in your artistic day to day discoveries.

You can be sure you will be tired.

You can be sure you have a CHOICE in how your respond, how much you invest,  and with whom you invest it.

You can be sure you have a choice of whether you need/want/prefer to be bothered.

You can be sure that those choices are neither good nor bad, but simply what is right for YOU at the time.

You can be sure you have the freedom to change your mind; to follow your heart, your soul, your logic as it leads you.

First, know WHO you are and WHY you are there.  The rest are details.


  1. Thanks for these thoughts Susan:)

  2. Love this post. It came at a time when I really needed to hear it! Thank you.

  3. I went to a theatre audition today, having no prior experience in auditioning even though I was singing since the age of 6. I didn't make the cut. I have accepted it, I am competing with people who have had alot of auditions prior and who have majored in theatre arts, and with people who grew up around family members who have done it. I will have to be consistant. Atleast at the end of the day I can look back and say that I never gave up and gave in but remained steadfast in my dreams whichever route I chose to take. The artiste within me will continue to live on and as long as I do not loose this and mistakenly given it up, then I have remained true to my heart.