When I first moved to NYC my plan was to audition, book a job, do that job, and repeat.
Yes, I thought some waitressing would be involved, but I did not fully understand “the struggle” that ALL OF US go through as performers. If you are anything like me you’ve gone over a year at a time without feeling “booked and blessed”. When I first moved here and started feeling “the struggle” it quickly made me feel unmotivated and unworthy. Those feelings made me stop putting myself out there. I stopped auditioning. I wasn’t in class. I was basically waking up, working as a waitress and sleeping. I was not happy. I was feeling hopeless.
So what changed? I’m still not booked and blessed. I’m still not where I hope to be down the road. Instead, I started creating my own opportunities. And now? I feel like things are moving forward. I feel like I am putting myself out there. I can feel myself gaining exposure. I feel a sense of momentum. (Don’t get me started on how important momentum is!) Yes there are still hard days. We’d all prefer working on Broadway, but this career is about the journey.
So as you may or may not know I started a theatre company with my roommates and fellow college alumni that is solely dedicated to creating new work and keeps us working on projects every month of the year. (Check us out at www.thousandfacedtheatre.com!)
HOWEVER IT DOES NOT HAVE TO COME TO THIS! My advice would be to think critically about your journey and what part you can play in it. How can you get yourself out there? If creating your own opportunities is the answer, I hope this list will help you!
IDEA. What do you want to put out there for people? This is the hard part. Think about what YOU want to show people about YOU and what would accomplish that. My first idea was Typed Out: A Miscast Princess Cabaret that launched our theatre company at 53 Above in March 2018. Put simply, I wanted to show that I can play a princess even though I’m 5’10’’ and curvy. I also knew that a million other woman feel exactly the same way for a huge variety of reasons. Keep in mind that ideas with more performers will make it easier to sell tickets.
ORGANIZE YOUR IDEA. Start with your dream idea for the show. Then strip it down to the most bare bones way this show could happen. What do you ABSOLUTELY NEED?! The show will literally not happen without these things.
DECIDE ON A BUDGET. Start with the list of things you absolutely need and put those into a budget for the show. Use excel or a word document. For a cabaret, I’d estimate a 50/50 split on tickets sales with a fee to your house management being about $150. Every contract is different, but there is the possibility of making money to go towards your budget. However for many theatre venues you will pay the venue in advance and collect 100% of ticket sales. Based off this knowledge, do you need to start a fundraiser? How many tickets do you have to sell to pay yourself off?
TIME FRAME. You’ll need give the venue about a 2 week time frame your show could live in. Give yourself 2 to 3 months to plan the show.
PEOPLE YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT. If there is a music director, director, or performer that you cannot do the show without, you need to know their availability before reaching out to the venue.
POSTER. Most venues will require a general poster before confirming the show with you, and you will want this for publicity anyway.
VENUE. Where is this going to take place? The Green Room 42? Shetler Studios? Coordinating details with the venue can be the longest and most complicated task. They will need forms and publicity information before confirming with you. Usually you can find contact information for venues on their website, but sometimes you will need a reference. If you know someone who as done a show there, just ask them!
PRODUCTION TEAM. Bring on your Director, Music Director, Stage Manager, etc... Who is going to be rehearsing the cast and making sure everyone knows what’s happening? If emailing and coordinating with people in not your strength make sure someone on your team is responsible for this.
REHEARSALS. Your life will be so much easier if your performers apply based on being available for rehearsals. SO MUCH LESS COORDINATING!
PERFORMERS. Put up a Backstage post or ask your friends. Remember it is important to bring people in who will bring people to the show. It may be important to require that people sell tickets. Does it suck asking people that? YES! Your show being cancelled because tickets aren’t selling or paying fines would be a lot worse.
PUBLICITY. Make a Facebook event. Post on your personal page. Post literally all the time. Create ideas of different ways to post about your show. Our company has a publicity calendar with all our ideas for posts. REACH OUT TO PEOPLE INDIVIDUALLY AND ASK THEM TO COME! THIS IS VITALLY IMPORTANT. Sometimes it also kind of sucks because you know people are poor, busy, and you don’t want to feel pushy. The fact is just posting on your Facebook and Instagram will not be enough, especially when you are first starting.
RECORDING THE SHOW. It is so important to have videos of the work you are doing, especially with electronic submissions becoming such a huge part of even getting auditions.
YOUR PERFORMANCE. You will have a lot going on, but you need to fit in doing the homework and making your performance solid.
DO THE DAMN THING AND LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE!!
Yes it is kind of a lot. Yes you should probably start on a smaller scale. YES YOU CAN DO IT! I’d be so happy to answer any questions.
Most importantly creating my own opportunities has made me feel better in my life and in my process, and I hope it will help someone reading this! I believe everyone’s journey is entirely their own and most of all you should do what’s right for you! Thanks for reading and thanks to AT for this amazing community! Love you all!
P.S. Check out what I’m working on right now! (And buy a ticket so my show doesn’t get cancelled!) I’m super jazzed about it, you’ll see many familiar faces, and I would so grateful to see you there!
Miranda Luze is a NYC based artist! A graduate from Drake University, Miranda is the co-founder and Producing Artistic Director of THOUSAND FACE THEATRE COMPANY. MirandaLuze.com @miranduhluzer