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OPTIONS FOR PERFORMERS

Friday, January 3, 2014 in The Basics|93 comments
By: Rachel Bress

Many performers love to be onstage and know they want to perform for the rest of their lives. Some performers are pursuing onstage careers and are also looking for ways to add balance to their lives and supplement their incomes.  Other people love to sing, dance or act and know they want to stay in the entertainment industry, but aren’t sure if they want to be onstage.  No matter which category you fall into, exploring some of the many options talented people have in the entertainment industry may help you discover a career you love just as much as, if not more than performing. And while there are a few people who are able to perform and support themselves by being onstage for their entire lives, most people get to a point where they want to, or have to do something else. It’s never too early to start planning and exploring some of the very exciting career options for performers. 

HOW TO GET STARTED:

The first step is to discover what your interests are in addition to performing.  Study the entertainment industry. Search the internet for jobs that are being offered in different entertainment mediums. Figure out what your strengths and interests are as well as what you do in your free time. What you do for fun might help you identify skills that employers could use.


Don’t know where to begin? Start by asking yourself these questions:

Are you a visual person? Try:
Advertising
Art Direction
Web design
Photography
Interior Designer
Set Designer
Art Director
Costume Designer
Film editing
Are you an organized person and a leader? Try:
Stage management
Company Management
Production Management
Produce
1st AD / set runner (film)

Do you like to read or write? Try:
Social Media
Content writers
Script writers
Book Writers
Editors
Script Reading for a film company
Journalist

Do you have an eye for talent? Try:
Casting Director
Agent
Extras Casting Agent (TV / film)
Talent Scout 
Promoter

Are you interested in fitness? Try:

Yoga Instructor
Pilates Instructor
Personal Trainer
Physical Therapy

Do you love working with kids? Try:
Movement and Music Therapy
Opening a dance or voice studio
Arts Administration

Most importantly, throughout your search be honest with yourself about what catches your eye. Don’t pursue something just because you think it sounds “cool” or because it has potential to make a lot of money. We all know that if we don’t like something, we most likely won’t be good at our job. Why not choose to pursue something you love?


WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP?


1. Research. Once you’ve identified your strengths and know what jobs interest you, the next step is to figure out how to build a career in your chosen field. Do your homework. Study the job positions so you are extremely familiar with what you are applying for. You should know what skills are necessary when applying for certain positions as well as what skills will help make you stand out.

2. Gain Experience. Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to contact companies that might be in positions to hire you. A wonderful way to get started is to intern at an office related to your interest.  Companies love the words “want to gain experience” and are often open to letting you work for free.  Most interns who are good at their job, dedicated, and hard working will eventually get hired. Patrick Goodwin (current agent at Telsey + Co.) says, "....my internship experience with Telsey + Company was invaluable as I was able to work very closely with the casting directors to learn about every step of the casting process. There was no better way to prepare myself to work in this industry than that internship. Having the first-hand internship experience is better than anything you will learn in a textbook, and for anyone interested in being a casting director, it's a must."

3. Seek Work Opportunities. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and tell people what you are seeking.  Ask friends, people you have worked with, teachers, anyone who might have some information or who might know someone to connect you with.  Thankfully, there are a good number of places for you to turn to seek help if you feel like you aren’t able to make the appropriate connections to get you in the right doors. Stage Door Connections’ Career Management services do just that! Check out our current page or call us directly if you don’t see what you are looking for.

4. Work Ethic.  make sure that when you do get an interview, or better yet, get hired that you are as good at your job as you can be.  As we mentioned in our HOW TO GET A HEADSHOT THAT GETS YOU THE JOB article, “Any person with a good camera can advertise themselves as “headshot photographers.” However, that doesn’t make them good.” The old saying “You only get one chance to make a first impression” is so true. Obtain whatever certifications are necessary or helpful and practice your skills until you are 100% confident. 

If you follow these steps, you are sure to have many career options presented to you, should you decide that it is time to look beyond performing.

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