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The Your Ladders Blog

There are a lot of things to think about when you're navigating a performing arts path. These blog topics will help.

SUPPORTING OTHERS

I talked about networking a couple of weeks ago. I want to drill down on one aspect of networking, and of being part of a community. How good are you about supporting the work of others?

In the performing arts a scarcity mentality can grip us easily. There aren’t enough jobs, there aren’t enough opportunities, there aren’t enough. From that comes the “why them and not me” feelings that get fed by jealousy.

I want to encourage you to reject this, and support the work of others. You didn’t get cast in a show, but a friend did? Go to the show and clap the loudest.

You don’t like the work of a particular artist? Go to their latest work. Have they improved? Do you have greater appreciation for it?

Are you an automatic critic? I found that I wear that hat sometimes, especially in theater, where I understand the work the best. One day I went to a show by myself, and the inner critic started. Then I looked around, and saw dozens of folks having a...

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GRATITUDE

On Thursday, here in the United States, we celebrate Thanksgiving. In this blog post I want to focus on the gift of gratitude.

I understand that the path of being an artist can be, and often is, very difficult. Burn out is real. Making a living is difficult and requires a lot of juggling. Disappointment can be part of the journey. All of this is true, and are issues I talk about in other blog posts, and in my classes.

But today I am going to encourage you to stop, take out a piece of paper, and grab a pen. Ready? Now write down numbers from 1-25 along the side of the paper. Beside each number write down something you are grateful for.

This could take five minutes, or three days. The list could include profound items, or an acknowledgement of your favorite hot beverage.

Now, look at your list through your artist’s lens. How many things on the list reflect your artistic life? I’m hoping at least half of them. If not, can you revisit the list with that intention? Can you...

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HELP FOLKS FALL IN LOVE

How good are you at helping folks fall in love. . .with the performing arts? Here are 5 things to consider as part of our #5ArtsThoughts series!

 

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SKILL BUILDING IN THE ARTS

Opening Your Ladders has required me to learn a lot of new skills, and that’s been thrilling. It’s also required me to rethink a lot of strategies. Again, thrilling. Scary and exhausting, but thrilling.

In my writing life (I write crime fiction), I remember sitting next to a well published author at a character workshop. I mentioned that I was surprised to see her there. She told me that she always sat in on workshops, and in doing so she always picked up a new idea. It helped keep her fresh. A light bulb went off.

As a performing artist, I want to encourage you to continue to build your skills no matter where you are on your career path. If you’re interested in building skills towards producing your own work, or you want to ground your career with some business planning, then Your Ladders has been created for you. Look at the Footing Your Ladder course--it provides the planning skills you’ll need.

What other skills can you develop? If you’re a singer,...

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YOU'RE TAKING NAMES!

As part of my ongoing #5ArtsThoughts series, I'm talking about taking names. If you're in the performing arts and you're not taking names, here's five reasons why you should!

Do you have names, and you aren't sure what to do with them? Check out my Spotlight On Spreadsheets class! For just $99 I'll show you how to use spreadsheets in addition to spreadsheet use for budgeting, audience development (taking names) and career development. The course has great value, but is priced to be affordable for artists. I also have a monthly installment option.

 

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CREATING A LANDING PLACE FOR YOUR AUDIENCES

Do you have a landing place for your audiences? What do I mean by that? Check out this #5ArtsThoughts video to find out more.

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Intro to #5ArtsThoughts series!

I've decided to start a series of videos I'm calling #5ArtsThoughts. Here's a intro video to the series. Feel free to subscribe to them on YouTube, or check back on the blog. I'll be posting them here as well.

 

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NETWORKING

Networking is a word that strikes fear in many folks. It sounds so, well, calculating. And formal. But networking is more than that, and should be part of the toolkit of every creative person, since they have the communication and connection skills to do it. In fact, they probably do it without knowing that’s what they’re doing.

What is networking? It’s getting to know people with shared interests. Ultimately, networking can lead to career advancement. I’ll cover that in another blog. For now, let’s talk about the do’s and don’ts of successful networking.

DO show up. Showing up means going to shows to support other artists. It means volunteering on boards, or on special events, to help out folks.

DON’T always go into events thinking “what’s in it for me?” Be present. That will be enough.

DO talk to people. I know many artists who are introverts. I’d include myself on that list, believe it or not. But that...

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TRANSLATING YOUR RESUME

As a performing artist, there are times when you may need a more traditional resume and you have trouble translating your skills. Let me help you with this.

Your career is a small business, and you do a lot to support that business, including marketing, budgeting, promotion.

Are you a producer? You schedule, budget, set and meet goals.

As a performing artist, you collaborate, meet deadlines, adhere to schedules.

The next step to translating your skills is to remember this. Most folks don’t understand the arts. If a stage manager is looking for a job in event planning, we all know that they’d be great, because we know what a stage manager does. But most folks don’t, so handing them a show resume doesn’t help. What does help is translating your skills, using a resume format suitable for the field, and letting them know how your skills align with their needs.

I work with artists to build a solid resume for gigs that help them pay the bills. If you go here,...

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NEVER STOP LEARNING

One of the hardest lessons for me to learn in my life is that you’re never done learning. Actually, the hardest part is that I need to accept that’s part of the process. I am a fiction writer, and every time I sit down to start a book I’m convinced I won’t be able to do it. Every first draft is terrible. But editing and polish, plus a lot of practice, teaches me that at some point the book will be ready for readers.

As performing artists you understand that you have to practice your craft in order for it to remain fresh. You also have to take classes and learn new techniques in order to continue to grow. As your craft matures you need to acquire new skills. Some of them are to add depth to your work. Others are to adjust to a new phase in your career.

When you feel stuck as an artist, one of the best ways to reboot is to learn new skills. They can include business skills to help you produce your own work, or take better control of your career. They could also...

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