The Contrast

The Contrast
Lift Big, Sing Big, Look Great Doing It.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Off Season

Like in the sport of bodybuilding, you go through seasons of competing and then seasons of growing. Seasons of making gainz, of putting in lots of quality time in the gym, being in a caloric surplus. It's called the off season. You may have heard this term used with Other sports as well.

We as actors and performers go through many seasons as well. Audition season is one of the more common ones talked about because it's one of the more miserable and usually sparks some of the more entertaining stories or commiserating banter.

The Seasons

There are also pretty general performing seasons. There's Summerstock for places that perform multiple shows within the context of Late May through August, The Fall and Holiday shows that are around September through December, and the Spring Shows that cover January through April. Tours of course break the mold and go through most of the year.

If you're a lucky kitten strong enough to push their way through the rest of the litter to mama's teet, you've got yourself at least one per those three seasons. However, even this will leave you with lots of flex time in between shticks. Even if the show you're in has a one month run at a theatre with a one month rehearsal period, that still leaves you a few months "off."

This, my friends is your off season...

It's true that if you're fortunate you have less of an off season. Which may or may not be fine depending on how you feel about your product. If you feel like you're producing crap and that you will soon burn out, then I suggest you make yourself have an off season. If you're in a position to say "no" to things, it might be best for your future to say that magical little word.

However, there are others that are just lucky enough to book one decent sized gig per calendar year. In this case you have a lot of time in your off season. In this case there is only so many applications you can fill out, so many resumes and head shots to send,

What to do with your off season:

Now, I'm not a life coach, a career coach, your mom, dad, or mentor. I'm just sharing with you my philosophy when it comes to the in-between stuff while you're waiting for your career to build up the momentum you desire. I'm all for chasing down leads and getting the small gigs that buffer the big lands, but sometimes the well has run dry and you are in a holding position. But as a dude that loves to work towards my goals, waiting is death, and I ain't ready to lay in my coffin.

Prepare for your next thing

You should obviously make sure you're fully prepared for your next project. Learn your lines, learn your notes, rhythms, the story, dig deep and find the piece of that character that lives within you and pull it out in full force.

Develop Your Craft

Develop your instrument as a whole. Become more disciplined in your practice. I've recently accepted the benefit of reading and can be seen with a book in my hand or text on my screen as I survey the world for the right knowledge that will take me to that next level. Books are cheap, they're practically free, and usually the investment you make on any book will have immense returns if you apply the knowledge you've learned.

Become a more interesting person

Sometimes we performers lack things to talk about. We generally get trapped in the same back and forward of what we've performed, who we performed with, and Netflix. I'm plenty guilty of this, and I'm trying my best to make the things that come out of my mouth more than gym, gym, singing, singing, Netflix. I'm by no means trying to be a jack of all trades, but I like to hear how others live their lives, how they justify their actions, and how they find the beauty and art in their craft. This American Life is pretty good at opening the window into other worlds.

Get a Bankroll

Not a lot of people can make a full time living as a performer. Many have to have other jobs or other means of income. It's difficult pullin' down full time cheddar doing a job that you may only have three or four jobs a year, definitely when commin' up the ranks you've got to accept the necessity of survival jobs.

Get Stronger

This could also be titled "formulate healthier habbits." You know, gain control of your diet, exercise, practice things that will solidify your mental health, meditate, yoga, blah, blah, blah. I personally think having a good long streak of just focusing on getting stronger is the best thing you can do for your body in terms of health. But I'm biased, so do what you want to do to feel healthier.

Whatever you decide to do during your off season, make sure you're growing in one way or another. Financially, spiritually, academically. Just find something to invest the kind of energy to put into your creative projects and come out the other end a better version of yourself.

Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro

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