For those graduating: Now what?
You just had your final college class this week…forever. What! How did that happen? While it may feel like your parents just dropped you off for your freshman year yesterday, it’s now time to enter the real world. And for a performing artist, this can be a little scary!
Don’t let fear guide you. Instead, make a solid and practical game plan for the first year out of school. After all, there is no right way to pursue a career in theatre, music, art or dance – so making a plan that is unique to you is essential.
Here are some tips on how to tackle your first year out:
Finding A Home
Depending on your art form, you probably feel like you need to get to a big city to make sure you have the most amount of job opportunities at your fingertips. This is most likely very true. But which city is right for you? Most performing arts students flock to NYC after graduation, but there are other cities that are very much worth exploring. LA, Chicago and Boston may have exactly what you are looking for with potentially less competition in your chosen field. Make a list of what jobs/opportunities are important to you and research each city before deciding on one.
Dealing With A Day Job
No one likes to think about the reality of needing a day job. However, with rent, transportation to and from auditions and you know, essential things like eating – you are going to need income. If you are lucky, you’ll be making a living in your chosen art form right off the bat – but this is very rare, so don’t in any way count on that. So, how do you find a job that will pay the bills but won’t keep you from auditions? This is the age-old question. First decide if you want a job that is closely tied to your industry or something that is far from it to separate the two.
If you want a job that utilizes your skills, some ideas include:
- Teaching (after school theatre/music programs, creative drama classes)
- Being an accompanist (you can play for auditions that fit in your schedule)
If you want a job outside your passion, some ideas include:
- Waiting Tables/Barista (schedules vary with these jobs, making it possible to attend day time auditions)
- Working at a Gym (schedules also vary greatly in this field so you can build a schedule that works for you)
Setting Attainable Goals
Booking your first Broadway show and starring in your first full-length feature film might be just a tad daunting and unattainable for your first year out of college. Make small goals that you should (with some grit and drive) be able to obtain. Here are some ideas of attainable goals while you tackle your dreams:
- Attend one audition a week (They are out there! Find them and hold yourself accountable!)
- Practice each day for a least an hour (Grab your instrument or the latest monologue you are working on and get in those practice hours!)
- Make an effort to connect with someone in your field once a month (Have a friend who just landed a great agent? See if you can take her for coffee to pick her brain.)
And those are just a few goals. Have fun and come up with your own. Tape them on your fridge and remind yourself to stay motivated even when things might seem bleak.
You got this!