8 Things to Think About When You Move To a New City (For the Theater Artist)
1. Get your headshots done BEFORE you move to the city.
Surprisingly enough, the money stress you had during your senior year of college is NOTHING compared to the expenses that will hit you like a 1000lb grand piano once you are a graduate. Paying rent, student loans, public transportation cards, utilities, the list goes on. Aside from the expense aspect, getting headshots done before you move is essential because then you are 1 step ahead of the game. Freshly printed headshots and resumes enable you to audition and submit to any theatre company you are interested in moving forward.
2. See as many shows as you can!
The best way to get to know a theatre community is to see shows. Find out what companies you’re interested in or admire. Whether you’re seeing storefront or regional theatre work, both are going to benefit you. Learning about which companies produce what can make the headshot/resume submission process a little easier. The more you know, the more you grow. Financially, sometimes seeing shows regularly can’t fit in your budget. If so, keep your eye out for industry nights, rush tickets, and any other deals. Aside from the logistics, seeing theatre is so important and way too much fun!
3. Limit yourself to couch-surfing for only a month when finding an apartment.
Couch-surfing is a great way to start off as you familiarize yourself more with the city and potential neighborhoods where you may like to live. However, living out of a suitcase and not having your own space for a long amount of time can be pretty draining. It’s a fun experience with wholesome memories making a stranger or best friend’s couch into your resident bed. Nevertheless, the main point is to find a home. Once you’re ready to apaetment hunt, make sure you give yourself PLENTY of time. It’s better to look too early on than to spend your last 4 days before your couch is no longer available or your lease is up to frantically sign a lease. Trust me, it’s not fun.
4. Find a day job that makes you happy.
Theater isn’t always going to be there for you, unfortunately. Shows open and then they close. In order to keep your passion alive you have to spend most, if not all, of your days happy. If you’re spending 40 hours of your week hating life, then that is 40 hours wasted. The happier you are, the more successful you’ll be. Your energy, motivation, and determination will disappear if you spend all of your time stressing and complaining about how awful your job is. Life is too short, as cliché as it sounds, so quit the job that gives you a migraine and find something worth getting up for.
5. Find ways to express your artistic endeavors.
Whether that means singing in a practice room or writing a screenplay. Keep busy. Find time to explore what other artistic gifts you have to offer. The more you explore, the more you learn. Just because you were god-awful at a piano a few years ago doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever play again. In order to be a successful theater artist, you need to be versatile, so why not try something new?
Rely on your feet to take you wherever your heart leads you. There’s no better way to learn a city than to grab your essentials and then see where the day takes you. Not only will you become familiar with the city more quickly, you’ll also reduce stress by being away from any distractions in your life. Seek out a possible brunch spot or places to thrift. Find a peaceful park that pairs perfectly with your book. Smile at a few strangers. Exchange a few words with a tourist. Exploring makes the city seem a lot smaller in the best possible way. And boy, there’s nothing better than a little sunshine on your face.
7. Never stop searching.
Searching gives you something to believe in. It gives you something to look forward to. It gives you something to dream of. Search for auditions, search for a new job, search for the perfect lunch spot, search for the right people. Actively living and looking for something more is going to fuel you to get where you’re supposed to be. If we settle for everything we have at this very moment, then what is there to look forward to tomorrow? Search for what makes you happy. If you’re searching, then you are actively NOT giving up.
8. Spend time with people who make you smile.
There’s no better medicine then a great laugh shared with amazing friends. People who make you feel less than your best aren’t worth it. Simple as that.
Great risks are accompanied with great learning experiences.
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