Author Topic: Being realistic?  (Read 3049 times)

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sourc3

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Being realistic?
« on: Aug 02, 2007, 11:39 pm »
Just looking for some advice from those who have been in the theatre a bit longer than I have.

I'm currently employed by a large corporation. They're growing tremendously right now, and I basically have a guaranteed career out of the deal. I could (theoretically) move on up the ranks for the next 30 years, while letting my fiancee/wife do the theatre thing and me sitting in the wings being supportive, retire at the age of 60. BUT, as you all know, there is something about the allure of SMing that I just can't put away. All of that having been said, is it feasible to try to balance a full-time career with SMing? The industry I work in is retail, so hours can be crazy - but flexible. Would it be worth it to spend the next few years working off my student loans and SMing smaller shows, then (trying) to break into more full-fledged SMing once I've gotten to a point where I'm somewhat financially stable? Is there money to be made SMing? I'm not in it for the money really, I'm in it because it's so fulfilling for me, and that's what I want with my life. I have just come from a family where money was always tight, and I dread putting my family through that as well if I focus on stage managing and walk away from a more financially fruitful career.

Any thoughts?
-David

StageMgr2Stars

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Re: Being realistic?
« Reply #1 on: Aug 03, 2007, 12:12 am »
Do what makes you happy.


If you love theatre and it will make you happy and your family could still function, then do it. If you know you will be living our of a cardboard box then take the paying one. But BE HAPPY!
-C-

centaura

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Re: Being realistic?
« Reply #2 on: Aug 03, 2007, 08:10 am »
A lot of folks who have well paying day jobs, but want to keep the feet in the water, volunteer for community theatre.  By the time you get into the well-paying SM jobs, they're generally full-time positions that I'm not sure that you'd be able to balance with another full-time career-track job.  Another question is health insurance and retirement benefits - do you currently get both at your job?  Those are big issues.

Now, I am also a big proponent of doing what you want to do, I spent my twenties without insurance, in low-paying jobs for the fun of it, and survived without any major health crisises.  But you say 'fiancee' - does this upcoming union propose to have kids follow it?

-Centaura

Rebbe

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Re: Being realistic?
« Reply #3 on: Aug 03, 2007, 11:58 am »
I think it is feasible to balance a full-time career with SMing, if you choose your shows wisely, maybe taking on a limited number of shows per year, and only those with a light rehearsal/performance schedules.  Being realistic about how much you can, and want, to juggle, would be key.  You’d have to find it meaningful, rewarding, and fun to work on small projects that can work with your other commitments rather than, say, a LORT musical.  I think it would probably be easier to be corporate now and theater later than vice versa, but I’m sure either could be done.     

Getting your finances together before you make SM your bread and butter is also a reasonable plan.  Whether doing that is worth it to you is a question only you can answer.  Same with the money; it’s all about your individual priorities.  You can look at Equity salary tables online, right now, and do the math.  Is that enough money for you?  Are you even sure you want/will be able to join Equity?  Many SMs live off of their work in theater, but I think just as many have other jobs, too.  If marriage is in your near future, this whole issue is something you should probably work out together with your fiancé.

There are lots of ways to keep SM a part of your life.  Whatever path you choose right now, realize it is not the path you need to stay on forever.  One of the most wonderful traits among thespians is our ability to be flexible and adapt to changes.   

 
"...allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster."  (Philip Henslowe, Shakespeare In Love)

nmno

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Re: Being realistic?
« Reply #4 on: Aug 03, 2007, 01:34 pm »
I reiterate the fact that you should talk this over with your fiancee.

I would also add that if you seriously decide to go the path of "I'll make money in job Y and once I've done that then I'll persue SMing", that you should very specifically define what "Financially stable" means to you.  Frankly, if you keep it general, you'll never feel like you have enough money to make the leap.

Can money be made? Sure.  You can go on tour and make $1600+ per wk, plus $800+/wk in perdiem...  But these jobs are hard to come by and require a big sacrifice.  Obviously there are regional gigs...  Take a look at the market you are in: Are there a lot of theatres in your area, what kinds of contracts are they on, how long have the PSM's been there/ what's the turn-over of SM position (is it the same SMs they hire year after year and you have little chance of getting in unless one of them retires or dies; and if that's the case, how old are they  ;) )?

Also, if you decide to leave your retail job for SMing and it doesn't work out, how feasible is it to get back on track in the retail career (some careers it's easy to get back in; others, being away a year means starting back at zero).  Knowing this may make it easier to leap.  Nothing is permanent.

But maybe keeping your job will give you the security you need and doing community theatre as "extra-curricular" will be enough to satisfy the itch.  Is it just the "smell of greasepaint" that you are missing? or are you feeling like there are skills you aren't tapping into at your current job and THAT's why you are seeking out SMing?

Sorry, few answers here because frankly you are the only ones who knows what's right for you.   

sourc3

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Re: Being realistic?
« Reply #5 on: Aug 05, 2007, 02:05 am »
Definitely something the Fiancee and I have been discussing. It looks like after we graduate, we're going to move to Pasadena, CA (suburb of LA) where she'll attend Mimestry (http://www.aiminternational.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=204, we're currently working with Todd and Marilyn here in Grand Rapids) and get her 2nd B.A. through that, as well as develop some contacts, as many of the individuals there have contacts throughout the world - both mime related, as well as straights plays, etc. While in Southern Cali, I'll be doing the majority of the breadwinning, so probably sticking with my retail job for now, but once we get done with that, looking to move to either Seattle or London and pursuing theatre there. Kids aren't in the picture for the next 6 or so years at least as we don't want to try to raise children while both doing theatre, which is both of our passions.

Thank you very much for all the advice, you've definitely given me some more insight into what is/is not feasible, as well as where to get started.
-David

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