Sunday, April 15, 2012

what are the realistic stats? To college grads and more!

Sunday musings...

Many who read this blog are music theatre majors or voice majors in colleges and universities.  I hope some of this information has been and continues to be useful to you. 

Many of you are getting ready to graduate from your programs and your expectations are high. 

I have many young singers in my studio, who have moved to NYC hoping to get seen at an audition and get on with a life in theatre.  The reality of NYC and discovering your life in theatre can be a wake up call unlike no other.

I see too many young performers being taken advantage of,  getting discouraged too quickly,  expecting too much,  and simply not having the information they need for realistic goals.

You are entering a profession where,  according to the union stats, about 95% of members are unemployed at any given time. 

The average age on Broadway is 39.  So "I have to book a Broadway show by 24 or  I might as well do something else"  is rather ridiculous isn't it?

Only 1 in 11,000 performers books a Broadway show. 

I am not giving you these daunting statistics to scare you.  Or discourage you.  I am trying to give you a reality check,  so that after you move to NYC as a newly graduated MT creature,  you aren't beating yourself up because you are exhausted, barely making your rent, sleeping on an air mattress with 5 room mates and wonder what you did wrong.

So how you pursue your dream and survive?

A realistic view of what IS demands scrutiny and determination and HONESTY.  Everybody travels their own path.  Comparing isn't fair to you or the person you are looking at. 

First you have to live.  You have to make rent.  You have to live in the chaos of NYC (if that's what you choose).  Figure THAT out. 

What does your CRAFT need?  What does the business expect of you?  Are you willing and able to invest in that?  It doesn't matter if you can get up at 530 a.m. to stand in a NonEq line for an audition if you can't sing, can't act, can't dance.  Are you meeting the demands of your vocation?  Do you know what an NYC theatre audition entails?  Are you truly prepared in order to be noticed?

Honestly,  most are not.  This takes time,  seasoning, experience,  study, and more study.  Even if you have a degree,  you are a young performer who simply needs TIME, and STUDY, and KNOWLEDGE.  Invest in that.  Invest in the reality of you. 

The dream begins to clarify as you discover the truth.  Perhaps you come to NYC thinking you will take the City by storm, or that you are good enough to audition and get a job immediately.  Some can and do.  Most do not.  Perhaps you have the talent,  simply not the time and gestation yet. Perhaps your lack of auditioning needs more technique and seasoning.  Perhaps your craft needs further development in order to compete in this highly competitive business. 

As you begin to see where you are,  who you are and why you are, your dreams will begin to find a reality that will allow you to pursue them with more honesty, more clarity and more definition.

Explore all your possibilities.  Know your strengths and develop them.  Find the people and the classes that will expose you to what you COULD do and where you could do it.  Ask questions.  Never assume.  Understand that 22 straight out of undergrad is barely baked - and in fact, still doughy as a performer and artist.  YOU HAVE TIME.  YOU NEED TIME.  So take it. You won't be behind. Focus on your own path, the reality of the life you have chosen and be smart, realistic and true to yourself.  It's not a race.  Nobody wins that one. 

The journey is yours, and yours alone.

 Your truth is responsibility to your craft,  figuring out what you want to pursue and be the best YOU in order to pursue it.  Then, and only then,  might you grab the brass ring.

 If you get that ring, it won't be a fluke: you will have EARNED it. 

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