Good question! IMPORTANT question! Also? Complicated question. We all have “sour grape” moments, when we wonder why someone (who is CLEARLY an inferior artist…) is getting oodles of work, but we’re left out in the cold. It’s not fair, right?! Well, not so fast…
What Goes Into Hiring
The first thing to understand is what goes on on the other side of the casting table. For a more in-depth take on this, click here. Quick considerations:
1 – do you have a reputation for being easy to work with, or would you give Shannen Doherty a run for her money?
2 – are you SURE you’re as awesome as you think? How’s that technique? How’s your performance quality? Just askin’….
3 – do you only perform on one apparatus or do you have two solid acts ready to go tomorrow?
4 – ever pulled a Charlie Sheen? How’s your reputation? Are you always late? Flaky? Do you get back to people ASAP on things? Reputation is HUGE.
5 – are you chained to a day job? How’s your availability for gigs & rehearsals?
6 – have you been whining about how you don’t know ________________? (about rigging, how to get work, who to submit to, etc.) How pro-active are you at continuing your education and shoring up your weak spots?
What You May Be Missing
That “sub-par” performer you’re hating on must be doing SOMETHING right! Your job is to figure out what it is. Does s/he:
1 – have a great website chock full of photos and video?
2 – cultivate good relationships with companies who hire circus artists by updating them regularly on skills, acts, and shows?
3 – have at least two performance-ready acts suitable for events or shows? An aerial plus a ground act is GOLD, though two aerial acts can work too.
4 – pound that pavement? How many doors have YOU been knocking on? Producers aren’t just going to magically come to you!
5 – constantly network and surround themselves with amazing people? Make a concerted effort to learn about aspects of rigging or the business that they don’t know?
So, what if they’re working all the time because they work for peanuts? That, my friend, is another story. Don’t do that – it’s silly.
Stash Your Ego and Learn as Much as You Can
Here it is in a nutshell: as the circus industry floods with aerialists (and oh – is it FLOODING), only a few will work. Why? Because only a few will treat it like a business. You will not know everything day one out of the gate. In fact, you will never know everything. Some of the best advice I ever got:
1 – surround yourself with the BEST people
2 – learn everything you can. Everyone has something to teach you – even if it’s a cautionary tale.
Pay attention to what other artists are doing that seems to be productive, and take note of what isn’t. If you’re not working, you must take a long, hard look at why, and not be afraid of the answer. Find yourself getting defensive? Fear. Making excuses? Fear. Your artistic future is in your hands – how will you shape it TODAY? You have more power than you can imagine. Get busy. Spend less time chewing sour grapes, more time building AN EMPIRE! 😉 Love and pull-ups, Laura
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