The list begins ...
- Take Classes. One of the joys of being performing
artists is that we can continue to grow throughout our working lives.
There are always new things for us to learn, new aspects of our crafts
to examine, new endeavors to try. Why not try something totally unrelated
to your strong suit? After all, at the basic level, creativity is creativity.
Very often, attempting something new allows us to gain perspective on
our primary art form. Study painting. Attend a writing workshop. Take
some dance or acting classes. Learn about photography. Do macrame. (O.K.
Maybe not macrame.) Why limit oneself to a narrow focus? Expand! Maybe
you'll never use what you learn directly. But the insight you gain will
enter your consciousness and, therefore, your work.
The public library is a cheap hobby. If you're an actor, perhaps you
can find some new monologues to audition with. If you're a musician,
maybe you can identify new music to work on. Better still, read something
that will expand your horizons, something that isn't directly related
to your craft. Because of the demands of performing, it's easy sometimes
to become insular. We often limit our input only to those things that
are connected somehow to projects we're currently working on. So, when
you have downtime, it's a great opportunity to wander down unfamiliar
- Earn Some Money. Show me a performer who has enough
money, and I'll show you ... well ... a star. Or maybe a trust-fund
baby. In spite of the perception of glamour that the general public
has about performing artists, the vast majority of us live hand-to-mouth
(including some "stars"). More often than not, performers
scrape by on subsistence wages. So, if you're not working in your chosen
craft, why not use some of your downtime to figure out another way to
earn a few bucks and maybe even get ahead a little bit? Sometimes taking
some time to establish a money-making venture can be the best long-term
strategy you can make for your performing career. And accumulating a
nest egg may enable you to take on a future project that is artistically
near and dear to you that you might otherwise have to turn down. Will
it take time? Yes. Will it sometimes make you feel like you're burning
the candle at both ends? Yes. Is it worth the effort? Yes.
- Become a Producer. Instead of sitting around bemoaning
the fact that no one will hire you, maybe it's time to find a project
that you can become the momentum behind. Start small. But start. Some
of the world's most renowned performing arts organizations got started
in exactly this way, with underemployed, alienated or disgruntled artists
getting fed up and starting their own organization (and, ultimately,
seeing their own visions realized). Join together with your fellow artists,
determine what your collective artistic vision is, and go for it.
The list continues
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