Author Topic: Trouble Finding Support.  (Read 4713 times)

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Kilodolcevita

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Trouble Finding Support.
« on: Mar 20, 2008, 11:54 pm »
As a soon-to-be high school senior, i've been looking at College options for Stage Management/Technical Theater for the last few months now, but i'm having trouble convincing my parents that working Technical Theater is something that I really want to do for a career. The biggest challenge that i'm facing is that I'm the first person in my family to ever pursue any interest in Theater, so relating my love of the craft is getting harder and harder. My father mostly supports me, but my mother "doesn't really see a career" coming out of the Field, which i think is largely due to the fact of her almost nonexistent theater attendance history, resulting in little appreciation for it all. It sounds childish, but she constantly tries to turn me towards other careers (coincidentally with LARGE paychecks) convincing me that it's only a hobby, and that i could do better things. I know that money is important, but i don't want to let it be The Priority when it comes to pursuing careers. I'm happy SMing or doing whatever's needed to get a show going (which is perfect for a person like me who values authority, detail, commitment, and organization).

i'm sure there's been a post about this before, because i can't be the only one this has happened to before. i just need some suggestions for the situation i'm in, or even your own experiences, relative or not. The solution may be so simple, but Anything would help, really.

sievep

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Re: Trouble Finding Support.
« Reply #1 on: Mar 21, 2008, 12:58 am »
You are certainly not alone.  I think many of us had, or are having similar experiences.  My parents were not supportive of my choice to go into Stage Management, but the best revenge (so to speak) is living well, and being successful in my career now really wows them and they are very proud of me.  If you are going to do it, go for it, and just keep working as hard as you can, learn as much as you can, and be as successful as you can or want to be.  Your parents will eventually see that you can and will make money at this . . . .sure, you won't be bringing home a doctor's paycheck, but you'll be doing what you love.  Life is WAY too short to wake up every day hating life or your job.

It might sounds like too much of an optimistic approach, but I say go out there and show them what you can do!  They'll come around eventually, and it may be hard until then, but you'll make it if you put the effort into it.

Hope this helps, and keep us posted.
"This lovely light, it lights not me" - Orson Welles

centaura

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Re: Trouble Finding Support.
« Reply #2 on: Mar 21, 2008, 10:00 am »
The only way to convince a parent is to do it and be successful.  They forget that its really easy to tell someone else what they 'should' do, and at the end of the day, they are just trying to think of your long term well-being.  They want you to have a well-paying job so that you don't want for anything, and their only concept of theatre is the idea of 'out of work actor waiting tables'.

My mother was against me getting a theatre degree; I was supposed to leave college with 'marketable job skills'.  Twelve years after graduation - theatre has taken me to 48 of the 50 states, a year in the UK,  I have only ever worked in theatre or theatre related jobs, and am now in a full-time, year-round position, with good benefits.  She keeps telling me what a wonderful person I've become, how well-rounded and experienced I am.  A decision she was once totally against she now thinks is a great choice I made for my life.  Convincing her at the time that it was?  Not possible.  Showing her by being successful?  What I've now done.

I wouldn't stress too much right now about convincing them, unless its a matter of 'they won't pay what they've promised to' unless you take a degree that they approve.  And if that's the case, the best way to show them that you're serious is to take out your own student loans and be self sufficient.  Just thank them for their well-wishes for your future, and say you want to do something that you love and that your research has shown you you can make a living doing.

-Centaura

avkid

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Re: Trouble Finding Support.
« Reply #3 on: Mar 21, 2008, 04:05 pm »
"Get a real job"
I can't tell you how many times I have heard people say their parents told them that.
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If you do what you have chosen the absolute best way you know how, they will have no reason to be ashamed of you.
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A decent idea might be something like having a business minor in college as a backup to reassure your parents that you haven't "put all your eggs in one basket" so to speak.
Philip LaDue
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camogirl

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Re: Trouble Finding Support.
« Reply #4 on: Mar 23, 2008, 12:51 am »
i suggest telling your parents that you'll a minor in a subject that relates to theater but is a little more marketable. (one of my friends had to do the same thing, but she's a little crazy and is completing a double degree. )

i got my parents to be a little more receptive to the theater degree when i told them i would get a minor in education. that way i could always be a teacher if theater didn't work out.

adrianej

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Re: Trouble Finding Support.
« Reply #5 on: Mar 23, 2008, 01:08 am »
I told my family at thanksgiving that I wanted to pursue a career in theatre...My uncle told me that i should serve the food because I would have to get used to food service. Don't worry. It will work out.

LCSM

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Re: Trouble Finding Support.
« Reply #6 on: Mar 23, 2008, 06:53 pm »
I've also gotten constant warnings about the lack of money and jobs in the theatre buisness from family as well as family friends. However, I think it might be that adults feel they should warn you about all the possible consequences to balance out the I-can-do-anything attitude that students have when they start to plan futures.

Don't throw asside what your parents have to say, but make sure they understand that this is something that you love doing. Good luck!

TheatreRacer

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Re: Trouble Finding Support.
« Reply #7 on: Mar 25, 2008, 01:12 am »
I actually had the exact opposite happen to me. I went into college as a Journalism major, Drama minor because of my fears of making too little money in Theatre. My parents tried to convince me before I started college to switch majors because they knew how much I enoyed theatre. I ended up switching after a year, and my parents were thrilled (and I couldn't be happier.

I think the reason my parents were so supportive is because they came to my shows in High School and always talked to my director about how good I was at it. Thats what you have you have to do, ask your director/Drama teacher to call your parents and tell them how good you are at theatre and what a good choice it would be for you. They may believe it more coming from your teacher.

chops

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Re: Trouble Finding Support.
« Reply #8 on: Mar 25, 2008, 02:51 am »
My mother never understood what I did until I brought her to a concert that i was coordinating.  I flew her and some friends out to see the one of their favorite bands and all the sudden what had been a hobby and waste of time to her became the coolest job in the world.  I took the time to show my mom the pre production things that I had done and how involved i was in the production.  It was also cool to show my mom how everything came together.  i grew up in a little bit of a hippie family so when i told my mother that I had helped make 40,000 people happy for a few hours she understood what I do and why.

One thing that has helped out a few of my friends is to take their family to the theatre.  Afterwards they sit down for coffee and explain how everything they saw works.  Then they explain that they want to orchestrate all of that and produce art that people actually pay to see.  Then again that is my hippie way of looking at things. And if that doesn't work, show them how much a union stagehand makes and ask your parents to compare that to their salary. 
Peace,

Chops

loebtmc

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Re: Trouble Finding Support.
« Reply #9 on: Mar 25, 2008, 02:25 pm »
There was another discussion on this topic on the old site (someone more web-savvy than me can link it) but frankly, even fellow theater pros, including the actors we spend hours with for months and years on a show, sometimes don't understand our job - which always amuses me.

My dad didn't get why I couldn't find 10 minutes to call him during tech week let alone what my job entailed until one day, when he actually came to a tech-heavy show and, while waiting for me afterward, watched me run around to do the close-out, give some tech and actor notes, ask my asm to do xyz, have actors check out w me and (not planned) express appreciation for solving this problem or that problem - all of a sudden he had a "click" - from that point forward, he began to chat up stage managers at every show he attends and ask questions, and now he at least sorta kinda understands and totally approves.

MatthewShiner

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Re: Trouble Finding Support.
« Reply #10 on: Mar 25, 2008, 11:46 pm »
Another thread on this topic can be found at http://smnetwork.org/forum/index.php/topic,823.0.html

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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.

MatthewShiner

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Re: Trouble Finding Support.
« Reply #11 on: Mar 26, 2008, 12:07 am »
Obviously as a web-site that is pro-stage management, there is going to be a lot of support and love from your fellow stage managers.

BUT . . . let me be a dissenting voice.

Let’s be honest here, not everyone who wants to peruse a career in the theatre makes a living at it.  Lots of people work very, very hard at this career, and never “make it” at the level they want to make it.  You are a junior in high school, there are some many ways your life could go, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.  Go to college, get a good general education and watch as your life unfolds.  Do theatre, but don’t feel like you need to specialize in stage management and make it your life choice now.  (Hell, I thought I wanted to be a minister at the age of 17.)
I feel like many young people decide they want to go into theatre, for whatever personal reasons, and find stage management – either as an early choice from high school, or trying very hard to find a place to fit into theatre, a world they love.  And the put a lot of time and effort into at the undergrad level (and even the graduate level to be honest) without a really good idea of what this career is . . . and the pitfalls.  I know that I have tried to point this out before, but this is not an easy job, this is not an easy career, this is not an easy lifestyle.  There are easier ways to make a living – and it doesn’t mean you need to give up you love of theatre.  You know, I don’t do theatre now because I love it, I do it because it pays the bills.  (In fact, my love of theatre is all but squashed by working on it – I pretty much don’t see theatre in more -  I don’t walk into a theatre unless someone is paying me.)


Now, go out and do it – if you believe it is totally right for you, but know it’s not an easy path.  There are a lot of us who do this for a living 52 weeks a year, there are a lot of us here who do it for love when they can.  If you make this your career choice, then you will need to work hard to follow those dreams – you will work very hard.  If at some point, you realize that this is not the path for you – you will want to have a good, solid general education. 
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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.

 

riotous