Author Topic: Need to convince my father that this is a good career.  (Read 6515 times)

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Nikki

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Okay, so I am going to school to become a stage manager. My mom is thrilled with this and knows theatre is the only thing that will make me happy and all she wants is for me to be happy. My father on the other hand is not such a free spirit but more the business type.  He thinks the only way to make money is to be sitting behind a desk in a stuffy office all day. I would love to convince him that if I am acctually good at this I will not be misserable and poor my whole life. Do you guys have any suggestions about how to do this?

Mac Calder

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Need to convince my father that this is a good career.
« Reply #1 on: Dec 24, 2005, 11:33 pm »
Re the poor. You probably will be ;-)

But this is the argument I used when confronted with the same sort of situation: Would he rather you be unhappy and hate your life with moderate income, or be extreamly happy, love life and have a little less. Some people are not destined for 9-5 jobs. They work in places like theatres, make a reasonable living, and they enjoy it. That is what life is all about - living, not existing.

MatthewShiner

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yep
« Reply #2 on: Dec 27, 2005, 11:47 am »
listen, if you are in this for the money, get out now.

mc was right, try to convience parental units that you are doing something you love and that will help down the line.  

On the flip side, as a father myself, he is just worried about you, and wants to make sure you are going into a business you will make some decent money.
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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

BalletPSM

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Need to convince my father that this is a good career.
« Reply #3 on: Jan 05, 2006, 07:50 pm »
Give him concrete examples of people who are making a living in theatre.

Do some research on alumni of the theatre program at your school - where are they now?  Did they make it in their chosen profression?  And by make it, I don't mean they're all on Broadway or international tours -- I mean, are they working in theatre?  You don't want to use extreme examples, you want to give him names of your real average joes who are making a living as theatre practitioners.

And most importantly...you have to show him you can do it.  Get out there, get working, and show him it's possible.  If you have community theatre in town that will pay you to SM, get involved (as much as your school schedule and shows there will allow you).  Don't just get through school and then get started on your career...start NOW.

It can be done!  You can make a living in the theatre -- yeah, it won't be a doctor's income...but you'll be able to pay your rent, pay your bills, eat, and even have a little fun now and then.  ;)  Good luck!
Stage managing is getting to do everything your mom told you not to do - read in the dark, sit too close to the TV, and play with the light switches!

Lindsay

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theatre is a business
« Reply #4 on: Jan 06, 2006, 12:45 pm »
I would add that being a stage manager is more business-like than other paths in the theatre. Furthermore, it can lead to very "business-like" jobs such as production managing, and producing that spend just as much time behind a desk than they do onstage.  I would say that going into stage management is so great because it prepares you for so much.  Maybe being a stage manager won't always be what you do, and if you ever decide to try another path, you will be equipped with the organizational and people skills that any job values.....especially if you're good at them!
Lindsay Miller
AEA Stage Manager

MeganTrigg

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Need to convince my father that this is a good career.
« Reply #5 on: Feb 05, 2006, 09:26 pm »
I'm still in college, and have been lucky enough to have two very supportive parents. My grandparents, on the other hand, have tried very hard (and not succeeded very well) to hide their disappointment that I'm not going to law school next year. This year, my school opened a brand new performing arts building, and that gave me an opportunity to take them around on a tour of the building.

There were some unintended consequences of this. Since we were making a full circuit around the building (after closing night, no less), I used the time to do my final clean-up rounds of the theater. My mom said later that it was the first time that my grandparents finally understood what it is that I do backstage. After all, if the average audience member can tell what the stage manager is doing, it's probably because the SM is screwing up. Once they realized it's not some frilly artsy-fartsy job and actually involves responsibility and skill, they've been nothing but supportive. In fact, some of my latest contacts have been through people they've introduced me to.

I don't know if it'll help for you, but I know that actually showing them what I do helped a lot with my grandparents. What we do isn't exactly obvious to those who don't work theater, after all.

centaura

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Need to convince my father that this is a good career.
« Reply #6 on: Mar 02, 2006, 12:20 pm »
I had a hard time with my mother when I chose to be a theatre major.  I had to leave college with, quote, "Marketable job skills".  But, one of the things I learned was that she didn't know anything about the theatre business.  And, she's right out there with the general public.  John. Q. Public thinks of theatre in terms of actors.  If I am asked one more time if I am an actor, when folks ask me what I do for a living, I think I will scream.  Whenever I tell them that I don't act, they get confused looks on their faces, as though trying to concieve of any other thing that someone would do in a theatre.

For me, I never really got approval in college, but as I've managed to stay employed, pay my bills, and even have some great experiences since then, she's finally come around.  For her, I had to convince her that the idea of the poor actor waiting tables does not apply to backstage personnel.

-Centaura

jazminhupp

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« Reply #7 on: Mar 17, 2006, 12:13 am »
Stage Management teaches you skills that can transfer to almost any industry.  Tell your Dad it's management at the core and everything needs management.  Film, TV, Theatre, Dance, Company Parties, Weddings, Commercials, on and on....

samthestagemanager

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Need to convince my father that this is a good career.
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2006, 02:48 am »
I had the same problem with my parents. They couldn't understand why I didn't want to be a business major and run my own business. They are eventually accepting the fact that stage managing is what is going to make me happy and the fact that I am gaining respect at my school and in the community as a stage manager.

ESM_John

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Re: Need to convince my father that this is a good career.
« Reply #9 on: Jun 18, 2006, 09:37 pm »
My director is always saying how, as much as he loves seeing new kids venture off into the theatre world, it hurts him inside, becuase he knows that even if youre REALLY good, that you'll meet up with other people that are REALLY good and then youre not guaranteed of a job.

Like everyone is saying, it really comes down to if you are happy...Money of course is somewhat important but its really a choice and a balance.

Good luck!

vap12

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Re: Need to convince my father that this is a good career.
« Reply #10 on: Sep 16, 2006, 06:00 pm »
I just informed my parents that when I graduate from college this May I won't be pursuing architecture, law, urban planning, or any other "respectable" or "normal" profession. Eventually they noticed that I was actually serious and after a bunch of "you're going to be poor" lectures they got over it. It helped that I stressed the management side of the field and told them that I would have many of the skills needed to do event planning or an assortment of other careers that require organizational & people skills, attention to detail, ability to multitask, problem solve, and think on the spot. It also helped that my boyfriend wants to be an actor. It makes stage management look as wealthy and stable as accounting.

fuzzy_7

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Re: Need to convince my father that this is a good career.
« Reply #11 on: Sep 16, 2006, 11:07 pm »
I came out to my parents at the same time that I told them that I was going into stage management. Although they thought poorly of a life in the theatre, they really couldn't stand the idea of me being a homosexual. I find that overshadowing the stage management issue with something else more "dramatic" worked for me. Now my parents don't mind the stage management aspect but have accepted that all of this is just part of who I am.
Derek A. Fuzzell

Mac Calder

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Re: Need to convince my father that this is a good career.
« Reply #12 on: Sep 17, 2006, 03:33 am »
I know the overshadowing can work quite well.

I saw my best friend come out of the closet that way, as well as tell his parents he was going into fashion design... His father was one of the most homophobic people I knew, now he calls his son "his little fairy" in jest, and they are closer than they ever were before.  It worked for him.

However it can also backfire a bit (okay, a lot) - an aquaintence of mine told her parents she was getting married to a guy they did not approve of, and thought to overshadow it with the "and I am pregnant" thing... Irreparable split in their family now.

I guess if you choose this method you really have to be careful.

s.cable

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Re: Need to convince my father that this is a good career.
« Reply #13 on: Feb 27, 2007, 11:29 am »
I had to do exactly the same thing - my dad's a management consultant, and doesn't 'get' theatre at all - I had a bit of help in that his boss told me (in front of him) that he'd hire someone out of a degree in theatre faster than most, because we get to take a project from scratch, all the way through to realisation, with real money, and real people - there is no better experience for business and life..
it's probably a little late looking how long ago you posted this, but in case you need any reassuring tactics as you continue in your career!
even if you don't ever want to leave theatre, one way may be to say to him the above, with the suffix, even if I don't ever go into theatre, it's a brilliant way into any career!
:D
xx

Scott

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Re: Need to convince my father that this is a good career.
« Reply #14 on: Feb 27, 2007, 01:23 pm »

Always good to point out that the only "business" in the United States anymore that does not suffer a trade deficit is the entertainment industry.

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