Actors, directors, and theatre people in general are busy people. They’re constantly on the the go from one show to the next, and often from one rehearsal to the next! It’s rare to see a theatre person only working on one project at a time. While multi-tasking can be great, it can also lead to burnout and schedule clashes. Read on for 10 helpful tips when it comes to scheduling and conflicts.
1. Buy a planner and use it. Write down all your commitments (and this means EVERYTHING — work, school, lessons, rehearsals, show dates, appointments, etc). Colour code if you have to. If you have a significant other/kids/other people in your household, write down their stuff too. Don’t forget to schedule in time for things like eating, sleeping, homework, laundry, buying groceries…
2. Keep a to-do list in your planner and check things off as you accomplish them.
3. Prioritize. You can’t do everything. There are just not enough hours in the day. Decide what is the most important thing you is and focus on that. (Remember — jack of all trades, master of none. When someone succeeds at this one, please tell me how you did it!)
4. Plan ahead. If you’ve got rehearsal the night before a big assignment is due, you better not leave that assignment until the last minute. Missing rehearsal for assignments or to study doesn’t fly. If you fail to plan, plan to fail.
5. You will have to make sacrifices. Which is more important — going to perform in a show or going to the prom? Only you can make that decision. Know what is a good reason and bad reason to miss rehearsal. Good reasons: illness or a previously planned (and approved by the artistic staff) commitment or vacation. Bad reasons: last-minute tickets to a hockey game, feeling tired from a sleepover, getting stuck in traffic (leave earlier!), “just didn’t feel like going.” Ugh. Good reason to miss a show: you’re in the hospital. Bad reason to miss a show: PRETTY MUCH ANY OTHER REASON.
6. If conflicts do occur, be upfront and honest RIGHT AWAY. Tell your director about conflicts as soon as they occur — even before auditioning, if possible. It may affect if you are cast in the show and what role you get, but it’s not fair to the rest of the cast and crew otherwise if you get cast and then spring on them that you have to miss every single Monday rehearsal because of ballet class.
7. The show you are currently in takes precedence. If you want to audition for another show, talk to BOTH teams of both shows. Tell your current team that you want to audition for another show. Tell the new team about the show you are currently in. Be honest. If the rehearsal dates conflict, your first show takes priority. They were around first, you know. And it’s super tacky to leave your first show’s rehearsal early to attend the second show’s rehearsal. There is nothing worse than hearing an actor has to leave rehearsal early, and then finding out it’s for a different show. It’s a total kick in the teeth to the first team. They took a chance on you and offered you a role when they could have cast someone else. Remember that.
If you want to audition for another show and the audition date conflicts with the first show’s rehearsal, talk to the casting team of show B. Generally they will be understanding and may be willing to schedule you at an alternate date/time. Or they may not. Either way, say THANK YOU! Always be polite and gracious. After all, they are doing YOU a favour.
8. Whatever you do, don’t lie or flake out. You don’t want to be known as the guy who always bails to try and get a better deal somewhere else, or is simply just not reliable — a “Johnny No-Show.” Your reputation is important and you don’t want it to haunt you. Be committed.
9. Remember that you are not the only person in this show. You are part of a team, and your missing rehearsal affects everyone else. It’s like the butterfly effect — one change creates a series of changes that alters life as we know it. Time has to be spent re-teaching you stuff you missed; you might miss out on important notes or big changes; or you might be removed from the scene altogether.
10. You may, again, have to make hard decisions. You can’t do everything. Don’t let FOMO (fear of missing out) get a hold of you. In the end, there will be another show someday!
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