Tiny Theatre Tips #9: Make The Time

Tiny Theatre Tips #9: Make The Time

Tiny Theatre Tips #9: Make The Time

This tip is not only for theatre people, but for everyone in general…

If you want to be successful, you will put in the time to get there.

If you want to improve, you will make the time to practice.

If you want to master a skill, you will put in the hours necessary to master it.

It doesn’t matter what discipline you’re in. Acting, stage combat, dance, singing, writing, sports, knitting, cooking, makeup artistry, sketching, programming, photography, sewing… anything. Insert your “thing” of choice!

If you want it badly enough, you will make the time to make it happen.

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Tiny Theatre Tips #8: Update Your Resume

Tiny Theatre Tips #8: Update Your Resume

Tiny Theatre Tips #8: Update Your Resume

This is a really simple tip, but it’s easy to forget — keep your resume updated. Every time you complete a new gig, take a new class, or master a new skill, be sure to include it on your resume. When you go to an audition or job interview, be sure to bring along a few fresh copies, just in case. You may have already submitted it online, but it’s nice to have a paper copy as well that the team can refer to in the moment.

If, like many theatre people, you do both backstage and onstage work, it’s a good idea to have different resumes for different situations. For example, I have a resume formatted to focus on acting, one for directing, one for stage combat, one for teaching, and one for writing! It might seem a bit excessive but it’s so much easier than having to re-format my resume every time I need to send it out.

Do you have an online presence as well? It’s imperative nowadays to, at the very least, have your own dot com! My friends Jared, Ben, Nathan and Amelia all have awesome websites. And of course, you’re here, so you know I’ve got mine! Think of it as your own online resume. Add a photo and/or video gallery and of course a contact page, and you’re on your way!

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Tiny Theatre Tips #7: Practice, Practice, Practice

Tiny Theatre Tips #7: Practice, Practice, Practice

There’s an old joke in the theatre world that goes, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.” You may not be trying to get to Carnegie Hall, but no matter what, if you’re an actor-type, you need to practice… and not just during rehearsals.

If you want to succeed at acting, you need to practice on your own time, every day. You can’t just show up to rehearsal and expect to perform at your best. You need to review your lines, your vocal parts, your choreography, your character work — and as often as possible — on your own.

There’s never enough time in rehearsals to get absolutely everything perfected as much as a director would want to, and if you aren’t practicing outside of rehearsal, then your precious rehearsal time is going to be spent re-learning and reviewing stuff you should already know. You can’t move forward and go deep into your character and just generally improve as an actor and performer if you aren’t working and reviewing your stuff frequently. Worse, you’ll be outshone by those people who ARE working hard outside of rehearsal, and you’ll be viewed as a lazy actor who just phones their performances in. You might be a good actor, but don’t just settle for good. Work towards being great.

Focus. Put the work in. Practice, practice, practice.

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Photo Credit: Death to the Stock Photo

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Tiny Theatre Tips #6: Support Other Artists

Welcome to Tiny Theatre Tips, a series of brief posts sharing tips and advice for your theatre life! Enjoy!

Tiny Theatre Tips #6: Support Other Artists

Tiny Theatre Tips #6: Support Other Artists

What do all artists, no matter their discipline, always need? (Other than to get paid… I’ll get to that in a minute!)

They need an audience. They need consumers for their art. They need people to see their shows, buy their paintings, listen to their music, read their books. They need people to know about their upcoming gigs. They need people to share their social media posts. They need to be seen and heard and talked about.

That’s where you come in, dear reader.

I bet you’ve got a project on the horizon. You’ve got a show in rehearsals, or a book about to launch, or a gallery showing, or a new piece of choreography about to be unleashed upon the world. I bet you’d love it if someone reached out and told you, “What you do is awesome. Other people need to know about your awesomeness.”

Why don’t you be that person for someone?

Do you have friends, family members, or even an artist you don’t know but admire the heck out of? Do them a solid and support them. Buy their art. Listen to their music. Put up posters advertising their upcoming performance. See as many live performances as you can. Tweet, share, like and heart all their social media. Write a blog post about them. Interview them on your podcast. Tell everyone you know how awesome this artist friend is. Get the word out. Help them to earn those dolla bills! Don’t just limit yourself to artists in your niche either. Support it all — from circus performers to slam poets to Irish dancers to sculptors to tattoo artists, and everything in between.

And then you know what will happen?

People will start to do that for you too.

Share. Be a supporter and advocate of the arts. Put yourself out there. Get the word out. The world needs more art!

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Tiny Theatre Tips #5: Rest

Welcome to Tiny Theatre Tips, a series of brief posts sharing tips and advice for your theatre life! Enjoy!

Tiny Theatre Tips #5: Rest

Tiny Theatre Tips #5: Rest

I can already see my friends and family rolling their eyes and laughing at me for posting this one, because this is the tip I so frequently and blatantly ignore:

REST.

As a theatre person, you are already familiar with the late nights and long rehearsal hours that go into making a production, particularly around tech week (frequently known as hell week, but let’s not go there, shall we?). “I can’t, I have rehearsal” is always a phrase thrown about by theatre types of all sorts, because they are generally at one of three places: at home (where laundry and dirty dishes are piling up because you are never actually there for longer than an hour), at school or their day job, or, most likely, at the theatre.

It’s so easy to get swept away in the excitement of getting a show on its feet, but it’s also very easy to burn the candle at both ends and forget to take proper care of yourself. That’s why it is so important to make time to rest. Particularly because you don’t want to be a zombie at work/school, and you don’t need to make yourself sick, especially during the run of the show.

If you do get sick during rehearsals, do everyone a favour and STAY HOME. You need to not spread your germs around to the rest of the group, and your body won’t be able to truly heal up if you’re continually pushing yourself. If it’s a performance, then it will depend — if you have an understudy or an assistant, give them a call and get them on that stage or running those cues for you. But if you are *it* and people are depending on you, then you’ve got to push through and get through the performance as best you can. This is why “preventative resting” is so important!

Theatre people need to learn to not figure out how far they can push themselves before their bodies just give out. Before you get to that point, you need to just STOP, GO HOME, and REST. And not just a nap in the seats at the theatre (although I have been known to do that once in a while), but a proper eight hours of sleep in your own comfy bed. No phones, no television, no video games — just pure, simple sleep.

It can be hard to unwind after you’ve been super-energetic and hyped up at rehearsals, or wired from a great performance. Try creating a wind-down routine that helps you get in the mindset to sleep. Perhaps a warm bath or shower would help, or a mug of sleepytime tea, or some soothing music, or a lavender pillow spray. Whatever helps you get the shut-eye you need to keep you going for eight performances a week. Try not to be tempted into going out for drinks or snacks after every show or rehearsal with the rest of the cast and crew. There will always be another get-together.

Know yourself; know your limits; listen to your body and just rest.

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