Last week, we published a collection of sentence- or paragraph-long words of advice from locally and nationally acclaimed artists in the performing arts. We had asked them one question: If you were to give one piece of advice to a new artist, what would it be?
We continue this week with more advice. And, as with the last batch we published, the suggestions given are generally as useful for the experienced performing artist as they are for the beginner. Enjoy!
Work harder than you think you can work. Work harder. They still may not get your message. That's OK. Keep at it. If necessary, leave town. Find love. Lots of it.
Charlie Bethel is an actor, writer, and producer.
What I would say is if you make the risky choice to go into theater, don't keep knocking on a door that won't open -- look behind you at the one that might be open already or down the hall, or in another building, or another city even. Stay open.
Joe Chvala is a dancer and choreographer, as well as a founder of the Flying Foot Forum.
Find the people you want to make work with and make it. Try to keep you head down and you your focus in (on you and your people) and don't let a lot of outside interference get in the way of what you want to do. Living and making work in a smaller city (i.e. not New York) can be a good thing. Socially, make sure you venture out of your "usual milieu" to find friends, cultural events, food. It is really easy to get into a rut of sameness -- seek out that which you do not know.
Lisa D’Amour is is an OBIE-award winning playwright and interdisciplinary artist.
Take a good look in the mirror and ask if you’d be happy working 80 hours a week, living uninsured and hand-to-mouth. Are you patient enough to toil for a decade or more with no guarantee of achieving “success?” Be brutally honest. You must determine that you need to do theater because you like the Giving, more than the Getting. If you can do that, then work hard as you can to find your own voice. Accept that sometimes the story you’re telling may be one no one wants to hear. Aspire to the good opinion of people you respect, but never believe your own press. And remember that how you treat your collaborators will influence to a great degree the quality of work you produce.
Joel Sass is one of the Twin Cities’ most acclaimed directors.