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  Best Practices for Classes, Rehearsals, Etc Question 2Jul 04, 2014 6:24 PMGai Jones
  RE: Best Practices for Classes, Rehearsals, Etc Question 2Jul 06, 2014 3:28 PMAlan Strait
  RE: Best Practices for Classes, Rehearsals, Etc Question 2Jul 07, 2014 3:29 PMChelsey Cavender
  RE: Best Practices for Classes, Rehearsals, Etc Question 2Jul 09, 2014 1:31 PMJeffrey Davis
 

1.
Best Practices for Classes, Rehearsals, Etc Question 2
From: Gai Jones
To: Open Forum
Posted: Jul 04, 2014 6:24 PM
Subject: Best Practices for Classes, Rehearsals, Etc Question 2
Message:
Another topic which surfaced in one of the Best Practices sessions at TF 2014 addressed the topic of: How can secondary theatre training be improved in regards to prepare the student about the "real world" of gainful employment after obtaining a college/university degree with an emphasis in any of the following: Acting, Arts Ad, Design, Directing, Dramaturgy, Musical Theatre, Playwrighting, Technical Theatre, Theatre, Theatre Education, Theatre History, etc.?
What are your best practices for Schools to Careers, Jobs, Being your own business manager, realistic survival skills, etc? How do you prepare them for a profession in which jobs are scarce, and pay may be low? What are your best resources?
Looking forward to your ideas.
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Gai Jones
Ojai CA
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2.
RE: Best Practices for Classes, Rehearsals, Etc Question 2
From: Alan Strait
To: Open Forum
Posted: Jul 06, 2014 3:28 PM
Subject: RE: Best Practices for Classes, Rehearsals, Etc Question 2
Message:
I always tell the kids to have an and theatre option.  I have not been teaching long but most teachers are lucky to have a few kids make it on to professional careers and support themselves doing just theatre.

I think theatre is great but does not always have to be the career and tell kids to prepare for that outcome.  Study business and theatre.  Study education and theatre. Study communications and theatre.  Maybe they can find a career in the theatre world they were not expecting but they can also find a job where they can also participate in community theatre or other local theatre options in their free time.

Even for those kids who have the chops to make it professionally, we've seen and heard from various professionals how important it is to have a more comprehensive view of what needs to be learned, that accidents or injuries happen or you'll need to make that smart money focused choice and you'll want that economics class you took in college to help you out in making the right choice.

There are plenty of opportunities out there for people in theatre, its up to the kids to find what is right for them.
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Alan Strait
Teacher
CCSD
Henderson NV
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3.
RE: Best Practices for Classes, Rehearsals, Etc Question 2
From: Chelsey Cavender
To: Open Forum
Posted: Jul 07, 2014 3:29 PM
Subject: RE: Best Practices for Classes, Rehearsals, Etc Question 2
Message:
When I was studying acting in college, we had a professional join us for a class who drew up a diagram of priorities. Several small circles filled with valued, though less important items, looped around the perimeter of one large circle which contained the priority of highest personal value. Career/Job was not it for her, but it may be for some. I think it is vital for students to identify (as best one can at 18) their priorities in life. What does success look like to them? Is it making it on Broadway? As a successful regional actor? As a wife and stay at home mother? As a high school theatre teacher? Whatever it may be, students should be encouraged to own their dream. There should be no shame in desiring a bustling life in NYC as opposed to a cozy life in the suburbs, but there should be a solid sense of reality available to them. Students need to be made aware of how incredibly difficult yet fulfilling the pursuit of a professional acting career can be. They need to know that they will have to have a day job. One that allows them to make rent, pay for food and get to auditions.  They also need to understand that there are many other careers in the field of theatre that will allow them to remain immersed in the art form they love without making certain sacrifices. I have found that Acting Professionally by Robert Cohen is a good text to use, however, there is really nothing quite like first hand testimony. Bringing successful individuals from many different theatrical careers into the classroom will help students to see what the possibilities look like for them. I think it's also a good idea to bring in individuals who tried their hand at a life in the theatre but then found success in other fields, encouraging tunnel-visioned students to remain open to other possibilities.  

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Chelsey Cavender
Membership Service Specialist
Educational Theatre Association
Hamilton OH
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4.
RE: Best Practices for Classes, Rehearsals, Etc Question 2
From: Jeffrey Davis
To: Open Forum
Posted: Jul 09, 2014 1:31 PM
Subject: RE: Best Practices for Classes, Rehearsals, Etc Question 2
Message:
There is a LOT here to comment on - books have been written... I will say this in response to the idea that you should council kids to have a back up plan.  I tell them to follow their heart, if they need to act (and you should only go into this profession if it is a NEED, it's too hard for anything less) then they should go for it no holds barred.  That means getting the best training you can and committing 100%.  Most won't make it as actors - that's the reality, but I think if you go in giving it less than 100% you are pretty much guaranteeing that outcome.  If you don't have another passion - say being an architect- then if you don't make it as an actor you will be entering the job market at the entry level position - and for that, nobody cares what your degree is in. My experience is they even like the theatre degree because to them it means you are comfortable public speaking etc.  The other choice at that point in your life is to go back for a MA in something else.  If you do have another passion, then you should probably do that.  Most of the jobs in the world do not require specialized training - the ones that do - arts, engineering, medicine, law, etc. you need to dedicate your life to.  If a kid double majors or minors in acting to "hedge their bets" but they plan on being an actor, then they are really just hurting themselves by not training as hard as their competition.  Doesn't mean they won't succeed, but it seems to me like they are stacking the deck against themselves.
So that is the advice I give to students and parents.  To prepare them for that strong secondary education, I stress professionalism in my training.  I try to be sure that they move to that next level of training with strong professional habits in place already.  The rules of professionalism that actors live by are highly valued in every career.  Being on time, hard work, etc. - that training will help them even if they don't make it.  
As for what I would like to see in secondary ed... I obviously like immersive programs with acting training, movement, speech, tech, stage combat, the works!  I would like them to also stress professionalism (most do) but also classes in marketing yourself, the business end of theatre.  I would love it if students left a program with a fully vetted headshot and resume and a good idea of what to do with them.  

Anyway, that's my .02
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Jeffrey Davis
Plainsboro NJ
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