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What is the biggest lesson to learn about performing arts?

The performing arts industry is very scary, and I don't have much support. I know there is going to be a lot of lessons I need to learn on my own and was hoping to know the most important one to help me succeed.

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Conrad’s Answer

The performing arts industry can be challenging, and it's important to have a strong sense of determination and resilience in order to succeed. Here are a few key lessons that can help you navigate the industry and achieve your goals:

Persistence: The performing arts industry is highly competitive, and it can take a lot of hard work and persistence to land roles and make a name for yourself. It's important to not give up, even when faced with rejection or disappointment.

Networking: Building relationships and networking with other professionals in the industry can be crucial for success. Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and make connections with other actors, directors, and industry professionals.

Flexibility: The industry is constantly changing and evolving, and it's important to be adaptable and open to new opportunities. Be open to different types of roles, and be willing to take on new challenges.

Professionalism: The industry is built on a foundation of mutual respect and professionalism. It's important to be punctual, reliable, and respectful of the other actors, directors, and crew members you work with.

Self-promotion: In addition to waiting for people to come to you, you have to put yourself out there. Create a website, a reel, and social media accounts to showcase your work.

Continual learning: The industry is constantly changing, staying informed of current trends and developments in the field is essential. Take workshops, classes or seek mentors to improve your craft.

Embrace rejection: Rejection is a part of this industry, it doesn't mean you're not good enough, it just means that this particular opportunity isn't the right fit for you. Use each rejection as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Set realistic expectations: The industry is challenging, it's crucial to have realistic expectations and understand that success doesn't come overnight.

It's important to remember that the journey in the performing arts industry is not easy, but with hard work, dedication, and perseverance, you can achieve your goals.
Thank you comment icon I agree with Conrad's key lessons. Follow the path and keep a clear head. All the scenarios listed are prevalent to you getting started on the right path!!! Tania Forbes
Thank you comment icon Great comments, Conrad. I agree. Finding your Network and staying connected with individuals who have similar goals and experiences will be so helpful. Mentorship and support from those in your field is priceless! Vernita Brewer
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McKenzie’s Answer

These are some really great answers that have been shared but I would love to offer my experience and insight also. I grew up wanting to be a performer, went to a performing arts high school, and performed throughout college, and I have had a lot of experience with feedback and growth. When we are performing and doing what we love, we put so much of ourselves into it and when we get critiques and corrections, it begins to feel personal and can come off hurtful. It is important to for your mental health and confidence not to internalize that feedback but see it as an opportunity to grow and strengthen your craft. But never believe that you are too good for correction and cannot grow me. There is always room for improvement and growth.

Furthermore, if you love performing arts and are passionate about it, do not give up on it. It will be hard at times, anything worth having is, but continue to do what brings you joy.
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Tara’s Answer

The most important thing is that you have a passion for the performing arts and the ability to persevere. If you are a team player, directors will love you and want to work with you over and over again. If you are persistent, someone will give you a chance. Show up for auditions, be prepared, and be ready for anything. Some actors get rejected 100 times before getting their big break. You will need to believe in yourself no matter what. I've found that having a side-hustle gig that can bring in some income but work around auditions is incredibly helpful. Many working actors are also freelance photographers, website designers, social media marketers, online teachers, etc. Also, if you are open to working in smaller markets like Nashville, Orlando, Baltimore, Portland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, etc., you might find it easier to get noticed.
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Tammy’s Answer

There are a lot of great responses to your question already. I got my Bachelors degree in Theatre Arts several years ago (have since gone back to school got a masters in education and switched fields all together) but it wasn't until my senior year that I really understood what it would take to make it in this field so I think it is wonderful that you are asking questions already and getting a sense of what you will need to do before you start. Like Tara said, and as a former teacher of mine told us, you must be prepared for A LOT of rejection. You will need an agent and you will need to go to 100s of auditions against 100s of other really talented people and hope to receive that one call back which might also end in rejection. This field can be very cutthroat and there is a lot of competition. You have to persevere and be prepared in your own heart and mind to face criticism on a regular basis. Every audition is a new opportunity for not only a job but also a chance to learn, hone your skills and grow for the next one. It could take YEARS to land the role or job you are striving for. So having an additional side income is also a great idea. You also have to be prepared to go live and work where the opportunities are, which for me was something that I had not considered before starting undergrad. One of our college professors basically said you need to be ready to graduate, move to NYC or LA (for acting) and live with a bunch of roommates, sharing a tiny space on bunkbeds, paying crazy rent prices, audition on a regular basis all while continuing to hone your own craft through workshops, self promotion, networking and doing everything you can to land that job. Harshly, he also said if you've got dreams of a marriage and family and a home with a picket fence that you might need to reconsider as this life does not initially lend itself to taking both those roads at the same time. Obviously that is a bit extreme but truthfully the life of a performing artist is often one that needs to revolve around that career- do your research, know the areas where jobs are present and be prepared to move there, make connections, build your resume with related activities and events and go for it! Hope that helps! Good luck!
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Brittany’s Answer

Hi there, Being a Performing Artist/Writer/Author, etc. I can share some thoughts moreso regarding perspectives that continue to help me.

Being an Artist is Who you Are no matter when or where you do it.
Knowing that means view your passion and career for longevity. You may have seasons where you aren’t actively doing All the Things You’d like to creatively, but you can bring Creativity to everything you do - even in those seasons.

If you are solely wanting the world to like your social media posts about your art - well, let’s just say, Refocus your Affirmation on deeper things.
Like what do you love about creating & performing? Is there a message behind your work? Inspire people, share your story, be open to new ways to hone your craft and get better, explore, make mistakes, do better, but ultimately Remember your love for the arts.


I began as a poet/singer/writer.
I became a versatile creative (Positive Hip Hop, Spoken Word, Playwright, Author, Speaker, etc.) along the way, by deciding to branch out, try new things, Believe in myself. Network & support others, without comparing, or tolerating discouraging thoughts.

The latest great moment for me was singing the National Anthem at the Allegiant Stadium (Home of the NFL Raiders) for a TV/Filmed Veteran’s Day Game. And I’ll be singing at Thomas & Mack here in Las Vegas for Valentine’s Day.

Mind you, last year I was the Least active in the performing arts scene - but received the most awards for the inspiration and enrichment I bring to the community around me. And I believe these and other things you can embrace along the way could help you too.

BrittanySoul
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Leslie’s Answer

Hi there! I have a daughter who is currently in college as a performing arts major in Commercial Dance. My daughter started dancing at age 3. About age 6, she showed a genuine interest in it. She started competing with a local dance studio from ages 7-14. My daughter was really passionate about dance and shared that she wanted to be a professional dancer when she grows up. As a parent, I decided to invest in her growth and development as a dancer. She had years of technical training throughout the years in ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, contemporary, lyrical, etc. She joined a dance studio, she attended summer intensives with Debbie Allen Dance Academy, Alvin Ailey, Boston Conservatory, Dance Theater of Harlem, and The Broadway Collective, and several master classes with some of the best choreographers in the industry. She attended a performing arts high school from 9th - 12 grade. I suggest looking for opportunities like this as there was minimal cost involved due to it being a public school. She was able to use her gift of dance in musical theater where she obtained a love for not only dance, but also acting and singing. She is now a triple threat performing artist. She auditioned for several colleges and was accepted in NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Florida State University, Boston Conservatory, AMDA, Point Park Univ, Pace University in NY, and a few other colleges with dance programs. She decided to attend Pace University in NY. She is now a Junior. While attending college in NY, she has gotten the opportunity to perform in Disney's Hercules in NJ this year. She is getting to do what she loves while furthering her education. She will earn a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts Commercial Dance. Never give up. Seek scholarships and invest in training. Good luck!
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Tania’s Answer

I would say that having confidence in yourself is key to get you going in the right direction.
Trust yourself. Don't be afraid to ask for advise.
Don't be afraid to fail. Failing pushes you to get to the next step of where you really want to be.
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