Author Topic: Jobs Between Contracts  (Read 2348 times)

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Jobs Between Contracts
« on: Aug 10, 2017, 10:46 am »
Just curious what other people in the stage management industry do for income when they don't have a contract lined up.

I just graduated and I was lucky enough to have summer SM employment right away, but now I have no leads for the rest of the year, and possibly until next summer. I've had interest but nothing solid, so something may pop up, but I'm not sure what I'm going to do until then. I could apply for a job in retail or at a restaurant or something, but I feel like no one will hire me if they know I might disappear as soon as I get offered a SM gig.

Looking for advice or just stories of your experience!


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Re: Jobs Between Contracts
« Reply #1 on: Aug 10, 2017, 04:30 pm »
I'm not sure where you're based, but in NYC many people in theater (actors, directors, stage managers and more) have multiple jobs they can use to support themselves (and our ridiculously high rents) in between theatrical jobs. Here are a few of mine, and how I counteract the "they won't hire me because I might disappear" issue:

Babysitting: I don't work for one single family full- or part-time. I work via a number of babysitting apps, and most of my clients are either in need of one-time care, or infrequent care -- many times it's a stay-at-home mom who is looking to do errands or go to a doctor's appointment without the kids in tow. I have a handful of repeat families, but no one is SOL if I'm not available because I have rehearsal or a show. I'm also very upfront about that when I begin a relationship with a family.

Dog walking / pet sitting: Dog walking follows pretty much the same method as babysitting. I work via an app, so I can accept walks that work for my schedule, and I can not accept walks that don't. For pet sitting (especially if I am asked to apartment sit for the duration), it's very easy. I can most likely still do a theater gig while living in someone else's apartment and walking the dog or feeding cats. But if I can't, then the pet owner will certainly have another person available.

Event work: I was lucky enough to be hired by an event planner (weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, etc). I can work in the office doing prep for various events when I have time, but she doesn't depend on my presence, so I'm able to work or not work as needed - I even have done some paperwork for her remotely on a day off while I'm working out of town. I also work as an on-site manager during events. She'll ask me if I'm available for a handful of dates and will take me when I'm available, and move on to one of her other assistants if I'm not.

Website building: This isn't by any means a steady gig, but I've been hired to build a few websites for people. I make sure that when I plan out the timeline with them, I take into account any other time commitments that would detract from my time working on the site.

Computer help: My event planning boss is not great with computers or technology in general. And neither are a lot of her friends. She has recommended me to many of her friends for help with technology, paid hourly. I've transferred files to external hard drives, obtained lost WIFI passwords, set up new iPhones, taught one woman how to sync her iPhone, and more. I am able to arrange these meetings to be scheduled around my other commitments.

Online: I recently joined UpWork, and have done a few jobs found through their listings where I've done transcriptions from audio files. There are a wide range of types of jobs on there, including Remote Assistants, and other things that don't interest me. But it's good to know that it's there.

That's how I keep myself afloat between productions. And how I've avoided ever working in retail or a restaurant.
Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos. - Stephen Sondheim


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Re: Jobs Between Contracts
« Reply #2 on: Aug 11, 2017, 09:56 am »
I'm lucky to be able to stay in stage management work for most of the time, with only a few weeks off between shows.

My main "side hustle" is pet sitting/house sitting. I don't do any of this through apps, I do it all through word of mouth (friends recommending me to their friends). I also have lots of friends who walk dogs through the Wag app, and several who work for agencies (but the agencies are more of a regular day job, whereas the app you can pick and choose when you work). I also occasionally babysit - I really have one main family anymore and mostly I just come in once every few months when their kids' daycare is closed.

I pick up non-stage management part-time work at theatres such as SM or crew for events/rentals, house management, selling concessions, audition monitor etc. I know other SMs who also do overhire work as electricians, carps etc but I don't personally.

Transcribing audio through (this is really time consuming - I'd say expect to spend bare minimum 4 times the length of the audio clip working on it.)

Proctor SAT/ACT practice tests through a tutoring center. I also know people who do the test prep tutoring but that's also more of a regular job. I've only proctored, which is just a few hours early on a Saturday morning and all you really have to do is just set timers for the sections.

I'm on the email list for a market research company in my area. I've only actually done one interview through them so far but I made $125 for less than an hour of "work", and it was a one-on-one video chat interview. I haven't yet qualified for any panels (usually because my demographic is already filled).

I don't substitute teach but I've heard it's a pretty good gig, and it's usually very last minute notice - like morning of or day before. Basically you just have to get up really early on the days you want to work and check to see if there's anything open.


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Re: Jobs Between Contracts
« Reply #3 on: Jan 02, 2018, 07:19 pm »
Substitute School Teacher!

I work in my city and in a surrounding county as a sub and it is so convenient. So long as I am able to work once at least every three months they will keep me in the system. Plus you get to pick your own shifts. You can try and plan weeks out or even look day of to try and find jobs. Really the only downfall is no summer hours. Other than that so long as you can tolerate kids and an early morning, being a sub is a great "between jobs - job."