Through my work with Choreography Lab, I often find myself asking people open-ended questions that utilize a bit of magic. For instance, I will ask choreographers “if they could magically find themselves choreographing a large full-budget revival of any musical, what would it be and why?”, or I’ll ask composers, “if you could magically have any director or choreographer in the world work on your show, who would it be and why”? These questions are incredibly enlightening for so many reasons- they provide insight into not only a person’s artistic tastes but also help me see how a person thinks about the creative process.
While you might not be working on a specific show or choreographing a dream musical right at this moment, you certainly have your own hopes and dreams for your artistic career. You most likely have at least a sketchy outline of an answer to this question, but are you able to get really detailed, and really nuanced with your response?
I believe that everyone needs to ask themselves very specific questions in order to craft a personally satisfying creative career. A creative career requires nuance, specificity, and a dedication to detail- and I think there’s no better place to refine those skills than on your own dreams for yourself.
For instance, what does your dream performance career look like? Is it about performing in a Broadway show? Why? Or is it about creating your own work that you have a personal stake in? Why? Is it necessary for you to make all of your income from performing? Do you want to only take acting work that you are personally connected to, or would you do anything so long as it is performance-based? And Why?
Discovering the answers to these questions early on in your career can save you years of stressful times and heartache. For example, you might say to yourself, “you know, self, if I’m not doing actual Shakespeare, I would rather be designing websites”, and you can then orient your life along that rubric- no auditions for commercials, no hustling to book a web series- just making yourself the best Shakespearean Actor/Website Designer that you can.
On the flip side of that, you might say, you know, I want to pursue a film and TV career, and I’m also interested in Voiceover work. And since I’m pursuing both of these avenues, I don’t think I want to try to pick up another hustle based career at this time. If I find myself short of money one month, I’ll cater/waiter. But you’ll know that YOU consciously made that decision.