My job is hard, but it ain't show business

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, December 10, 2019, 6:25 PM | comments: 0

There are definitely days and weeks where I feel like my job is difficult to the point of mental exhaustion. But as I've gotten to know some of Diana's friends still working in theater, and indeed social media stalking (figuratively) various performers from shows we've seen, it's clear to me that my job is a piece of cake by comparison. The fundamental difference is that I don't have to continually convince others of my worth just to work.

I'm talking about auditioning. Few jobs, if any, are really permanent in show business. Even if you land a gig in a long-running Broadway show, you have a contract that will not last forever. Maybe you get in early on a show, and you get to workshop it and do an out-of-town preview, and then the show runs nine months and ends because it's not making enough money. And as Diana will tell you, that's not just the on-stage performers, that's everyone, including those Equity stage managers and IATSE guys back stage.

As each gig ends, you have to then fight for the next. Yeah, the technical jobs are hard enough, but performers need to stand in front of people, look their best, convey a personality, potentially sing and/or dance, and hope to be "better" than a hundred other people that they see. And some of it might be on totally superficial attributes, like your weight, your abs or how pretty you are. Most of the time you don't get the job, which probably hurts more than usual, especially if you imagine it had something to do with your appearance.

I admire the people who can do it and stick with it, because constantly feeling kicked in the balls, seeing a therapist and trying not to take it all personally would be exhausting. On the flip side, as difficult as it is, I'm always taken by the way the folks in that industry express all of the feels that come with collaborating with people and doing something that can deeply move others. Heck, sometimes that feeling is at its most intense around the time that it ends. You don't get that in most jobs, and it sounds amazing.

I deeply appreciate the people in performing arts who are able to share their gifts with others. I just hope that the constant rejection is worth the eventual pay off for those who make it and are a part of something amazing.


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