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Top 10 Essential Tips From Theatre Industry Pros You Need To Know

What do you wish you knew before starting your career in the live entertainment & theatre industry? We asked, you answered! Here are the TOP TEN things theatre and entertainment professionals wish they had known before starting their careers in the industry:

1- Be kind and value kindness in others: When you work with people all day, some of them are bound to get on your nerves.  But it can be really important to be nice to your coworkers.  Relationships are important and you never know who might be your boss down the line.

2- Be patient: Things may not happen as fast as you expected, and that’s ok.  Patience lets you see a big picture of your career and not just a snapshot of the moment you are in.

3- Move on when it’s time: Patience is important, but so is knowing when to look for something new.  When you’re no longer learning, you should consider looking for a new position.  While familiarity is comfortable, variety of experience will help you broaden your skill set and make you more competitive.

4- Give yourself a break: It’s important to take breaks, especially as a freelancer.  It can be scary to give yourself a day off or go on a trip.  You might fear missing out on experience, money, or seeming unreliable.  But in the long term you will benefit more socially, professionally, physically, and mentally from a healthy work life balance than from overworking yourself.

5- Take your health seriously: Health and mental health are not a joke.  Don’t put off your health care until you have a big problem.  It will end up hurting your career more than taking time for a doctor’s visit or spending a bit of cash for therapy when you notice something isn’t right.

6- Maybe you don’t need a theatre degree: For lots of people, university programs are a great boon to their career, but a degree is not always necessary for success in this industry, so make sure you go in understanding the costs.  Also, for technicians going to university, consider whether a technical degree in engineering or architecture with a minor in Theatre might make you more competitive in the entertainment world.

7- Consider a public university: Public university is usually a good deal more affordable than private.  Entering the workforce with less pressure from debt is a benefit sometimes overlooked by folks early in their careers.

8- Learn to budget: Made some extra cash?  Don’t spend it all on partying!  If you learn to budget early, it will be so much easier to get into good habits and sustain your career through dry spells, and to make work choices based on more than just pay rate.

9- Save for retirement: Everyone says it, but it’s so important.  Especially for freelancers without benefits, we need to make our safety net.  If you don’t start now you will be kicking yourself later.

10- Not everyone will understand your passion: …and that’s ok!  You should expect people to not “get it.”  Your passion and dedication fuels you, try not to get frustrated by those who don’t understand and focus on those who do.

Thank you everyone who shared their wisdom and insights!

Featured Photo by Tom Fairchild

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