By Maria Aparo
It’s summer time! A time for sun, fun, and if you’re an actor…. very little happening in the work world. TV shows are on break, summer stock seasons are in full swing, and if you didn’t already get a summer gig, you may find yourself staring at the same stale list of breakdowns from earlier in the week. Long story short, there’s not a heck of a lot going on. So, how can you continue working on your craft and career during “slow seasons?” Here are 5 tips to help ward off an artistic existential crisis or, at the very least, keep you entertained in between gigs.
1: WORKSHOPS, CLASSES, AND COACHING
Maybe now is the perfect time to try that workshop, go to that networking event, meet that casting director, or finally be able to work with that elusive coach who’s always booked. For a fairly small investment, you can spend your summer working on your craft or expanding your network. Places like Actors Launchpad and One On One are great places in NYC that provide community classes, accountability groups, and more.
2: SUMMER READING
Remember back in high school when you were assigned summer reading? Now think about how many times as an adult you’ve said things like, “oh I wish I had more time to read…” Welcome to your summer reading program! Read anything you can get your hands on. Read anything that inspires you, that’s been recommended to you, or anything written by or about artists you admire. You may find new audition material, discover a new playwright, or gain valuable insights based on someone’s biography. Best part: no required essays!
3: PRODUCE SOMETHING
I know, “produce” sounds scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Especially when it doesn’t mean millions of dollars and Broadway credits. Instead, put together a monologue/short scene night with friends, or gather your filmmaker friends and create a short you all can use to showcase your talents. Do something with it, or do nothing with it! Make it big and flashy, or just a small gathering at someone’s place with friends. But get up/out/on and do something that lets you take your talents for a spin.
4: GO MAKE FRIENDS
Because doesn’t that sound less scary than “networking?” Whatever you call it, there’s no way around it; in any business it’s good to build relationships and know what’s going on in your field. So now’s the time to do it! Say yes to your friend’s invitation to see her new show. Why not go to that industry mixer you saw on Facebook? “I won’t know anyone there…” Good. Your goal is to make at least one new friend. “I don’t have any business cards or promo material….” No problem! Tell people what you do and give them your info the old fashioned way if you hit it off. There are no excuses: Get outside your comfort zone and see what’s out there. You’ll soon find that the people you meet will quickly lead to opportunity when you share what you’re doing and what you want to be doing with the world.
5: TAKE A VACATION
The best actors have rich life experience to draw from. So what do you have to offer a complex role from spending the summer slogging through your day job and sitting in front of the AC unit? Go on the adventure, meet new people, go see your grandparents, just get out and start living in whatever your means allow. Be open to experience what your surroundings have to offer and don’t be afraid to let yourself have fun! The time will come quickly when you’ll be wishing you had a day off to play.
Whether it’s a slow time of year for everyone, or you’re just experiencing your own lull in opportunity, there are many ways to continue your education and further your career. You’ll be able to not only keep yourself from going stir crazy, but you’ll be refreshed and ready as soon as things start to swing back into action. What will you be doing this summer for your career? Maybe you have your own tips on how you deal with slow seasons. We want to hear from you.