Sunday, January 2, 2011

Getting Back to Normal, Utter Irony & Freebies

Well, seems I'm getting closer to a new day job. Hopefully, it will finally be the elusive day job that will pay me a fair wage, allow me to do new things & not demand me to give up my entertainment work. In fact, I think my entertainment work is actually an asset to this one! Guess it helps when you can talk to people about their business; not to mention how many people are eager to talk to you in my industry if you're an attorney.

So now it seems I've gotten new Twitter followers (one of whom is apparently one of those "evil" private law firm partners) & someone I actually respect got a law firm partnership.

Now, again my utter incredulity at those events takes over. Nearly everything I read & hear about concerning private law firms is that there's no humanity among partners + to become one, you'd better be ready to scrawl the word "Slave" on your cheek while acting precisely like one. Not to mention that if you put in 110%, you'll only be rewarded by getting laid off. It seems my spouse's employer acts in much the same way but you have to deal with even scuzzier people on a daily basis (they're better known as the general public).

I completely wonder how I, an anti-lawyer who is so strong willed, could possibly engage or influence anyone who follows a point of view that might as well be Chinese to me. I know for a fact no law firm would ever hire me unless it was as some insignificant, since nothing I could bring to the table would be valued in that environment.

Can anyone else figure that out?

So I did decide to finally listen to a friend who said I could create a stand up routine w/all my ex stories. Actually, I'm going in the direction of a "one woman show" since I have a venue planned & can definitely talk within the time limit.

The reason I chose to do this is because I didn't want to just be part of the chorus in a bar association performance this year. It's not worth my time to do that since I'm not getting anything else to do where I'm noticeable on stage, I'd have to pay to participate b/c of travel costs & I could do PAYING extra work in that time.

Not to mention that I'll likely be busy attending night events for my day job so I may not even be able to go in the first place.

This open mic attempt will at least be something I can do by myself & if I've paid for travel, I'll at least get to be onstage by myself, create my own act & call my own shots (you'll probably learn things about me & my life that aren't covered in this blog). Considering I have other performance opportunities and actually work in the industry, it's a regression for me to do that when last year I DID have some acting time by myself & proved I could do it well. I don't think I'm being a diva when I want to do more than just be in the chorus. I just see no net gain to me doing the stage equivalent of extra work + paying for the privilege to do so.

One major downside to working as a professional performer is that you view stage performance gigs in a business lens before you ever view them as "fun." If you think about this, a professional can't just perform "for fun."

First off, your resume is dependent on what you do. If you spend all your time doing free work, the world will expect you to do it forever. You're not going to get professional, paying opportunities if you're doing it for free.

Second, things like the bar association or groups that aren't made up of professional filmmakers or other industry types aren't usually going to help you. Industry pros could give you future work or help you later on. Unless some powerful patrons who scout for industry work attend events run by non-industry pros (which only seems to happen on TV), you're not going to get future, professional work. You can be a bar association star but that doesn't mean you'll ever get to Hollywood.

Consider a classmate of mine who was a high school star but is now an actor cliche. I had to cut this person out of my life b/c of the whining about not being famous with no tangible action on this person's part to improve the situation. Yeah, working w/non-professionals was REAL helpful there.

Third, if you are in this business long enough you'll reach a point where it's not worth your time or beneficial to take certain types of roles. I saw one ad looking for a role that would fit me perfectly but there's no way I'd do it for NO PAY when I'd get at least deferred pay elsewhere.

I was very respectful about the fact that I don't offer legal services or acting services for free unless it's for friends & the person who responded was very gracious about it. She acknowledged that everyone gets to a point in his/her career when non-paid work is no longer acceptable & I had no reason to feel bad about laying down those terms.

After that, I thought about it & believe she was probably right. I've done a lot of free performances & it's not like I've lost my touch. Unless there's going to be some meaningful contribution unique to my personally doing something, only industry friends will get freebies. Otherwise, I'm only doing free work that I get full control over.

Oh, and the Your Turn to Rant contest expires Monday. Feel free to send in those rants; go to the entry entitled "Your Turn to Rant" for details.

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