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HOW TO PURSUE A CAREER AND PAY THE BILLS

Friday, January 3, 2014 in The Basics|81 comments
By: Rachel Bress

Waiting tables is an easy answer for how to pay your bills while pursuing a performing career . It has flexible hours, you can make good money, and you can work at night and still leave your days available for auditions and classes. However, every hour you spend serving dinner is an hour that you aren’t learning anything about your field. While we are not suggesting that you cross waiting tables off as an option or quit your lucrative night job, why not consider making some money in the industry in which you are trying to build a career?

The ideal job is one with flexible hours and compensation, but, more importantly, it is one where you can learn something to improve your own audition and performance skills and/or connect with people who can one day hire you.

Here are 6 ideas to get you thinking:


1.  Put yourself in a position to observe auditions.  The best way to improve you audition technique is to watch auditions.  You will instantly learn what works and what doesn’t work when presenting to a creative team. A few ways you can get paid to watch auditions include: becoming a reader, interning in a casting office, working as an accompanist.



SUGGESTIONS:  
- Watch for job listings on sites such as Playbill.com.
- Contact well-known casting offices in your city about your interests.  Present them with a professional cover letter, resume, and demo reel.










2. Work as an Usher or in marketing or concessions at a Broadway theater. You get to watch the show every night and see and learn from new cast members and their artistic choices.  Imagine being able to have seen the last 6 cast changeovers in Wicked and learning from the cast members individual takes on different scenes.

SUGGESTIONS: 
- Watch for job listings on sites such as Playbill.com.
- You can find merchandising jobs by going to the box office of a Broadway show that hasn’t opened yet and asking for contact information of the merchandising manager.
This website hires concession workers for Broadway Theaters.
- How to become an Usher: here.  

3. Work-study at a dance, voice or acting studio. Often you don’t get paid but can get discounted or free classes, studio rental or use of equipment.  Teachers meet hundreds of students, but your face will become familiar to them. They will know your name and know that you are trying to make money while pursuing your career.  In addition, work-study can often lead to assisting teachers or performing in showcases they are presenting.

SUGGESTIONS:  
- Contact or look at the website of your favorite Dance, Singing or Acting Studio and inquire about their work-study options.


4. Teaching! Again, this might seem like an easy answer, but if you do it correctly, you can learn a great deal from teaching.  Challenge yourself to choreograph a different style every week, or search for unique songs and scenes for your students to work on. Learn from your students, observe what works and doesn’t work when performing, and incorporate that into your own technique.

SUGGESTIONS: 
- Look for advertisements on Playbill.com for teacher requests.
- Look for advertisements on bulletin boards at studios around the city. 
- Substitute teach for your peers who have regular teaching jobs.


5. Connect with an entertainment or catering company. These jobs are great because they often pay very well and require a short-term commitment. A lot of times they hire successful and up and coming choreographers and musical directors to create their events. These gigs no matter how big or small are great ways to meet new industry professionals and also other performers.

SUGGESTIONS: 
- Some great entertainment companies to check out are: Barkley Kalpak Agency (check out our upcoming seminar with Jeff Kalpak and Lynette Barkley, owners of BKA) and Total Entertainment.
- Keep your SDC casting profile updated for easy online submissions and to be included in SDC’s Entertainment Division.


6. Sale Associate – Working for different websites that sell sheet music, dance instructional videos and scripts is a great way to discover a wide variety of material. By helping others search for new ideas, you will expand your own personal database of go-to audition and performance material as well as tools to help you improve your technique.

There’s one more benefit…you may discover that your day job provides a welcome balance to the auditioning world and will be a source of energy and joy as well as income!

Still looking for ways to make money while pursuing your performing career? Check out our Options for Performers articles to give you a variety of suggestions of career to pursue that could help supplement you income!

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