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Want To Work In Theatre? Start Saying Yes!

By Theresa Snyder

Start saying yes, that’s the advice I give most often these days when younger people ask me what they should be doing to start their careers in entertainment. Sometimes it still feels strange to me that I have been in the business long enough that I’m the one giving advice, but I’m 16 years strong. Maybe it’s strange because the adventure of this job still feels like it’s just beginning for me. I am a costume supervisor who started my career touring on one nighter tours, transitioned to Las Vegas Spectaculars, Cirque du Soleil, Blue Man Group, and then back to touring and finally I have transitioned to TV and Film in Atlanta.

I get questions all of the time, from young people, asking what they should do to be successful in the entertainment field and I answer, “say yes a lot.”

If you are young and starting out or looking to get into the entertainment field, you must to be able to say yes to opportunities immediately. Don’t hesitate, don’t wait for perfect timing, don’t wait for everything to fall into place, say YES.

Yes, I will help you with this project.

Yes, I am available.

Yes, I’m willing to travel.

Yes, I’m willing to relocate.

Yes, I can start immediately.

When someone finally offers you a chance to get in the business say yes and accept the opportunity as often as you can. This business moves fast, very fast, and when someone needs to fill a position they need it done now, right now, and if you don’t take it, someone else will.

I can’t count the amount of times that I needed to fill a position and someone missed out because they didn’t answer their phone or said they need to think about it, then five minutes later that position was gone. A position that could have started or changed their career.

When handing out opportunities, employers rarely offer them to someone twice if they heard no the first time.

Learn to say yes even when that means changing all your plans. If this is the career you want, then know that’s how this business works, it constantly changes all your plans. Saying yes will drastically alter the course of your life. Sometimes, you’ll go to new places, new countries, work with new people, work with new tools and technology, be far from home, be far from family and friends, very far from routine.

Sometimes that does mean missing out on important life things, sometimes it’s terrifying and sometimes it’s incredibly hard, sometimes you learn that saying yes to this career means you have to say no to a lot of things in your personal life. I’m not saying that it’s easy, this business is far from easy or fair, but if you want to be a part of it you need to start saying yes to opportunities even when they don’t seem to be exactly what you want.

You can’t wait for everything to be perfectly in line before you say yes or you are never going to get there. There is no moment in life where everything lines up perfectly to take that perfect job. Because those people who say no get passed by.

I want to hire people who are passionate, excited and know they want it. Of course, there are things you should ask before you say yes, like what job they are hiring you for (I forgot to ask once) and what they expect of you in that job. You should know the dates and hours you are expected to work, the pay you will receive (yeah I forgot to ask that once too). Ask your own questions of course, but as soon as they are answered, be ready to respond to the employer with a quick and passionate yes, or get out of the way for the ones who do.

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