10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me

Americans for the Arts posted a summary from the Arts and Science Council’s emerging leaders program session entitled “For Women by Women: No Really…Things We Wish Someone Had Told Us at 25.”  The post reminded me that a month or so ago, my colleague and friend Vickie Scott from UC Santa Barbara asked “What are the 10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Just Starting Out?”  It was late when I received the email request and I hastily dashed something off to her.  Lightly re-edited, and in no particular order, here is my list:

  2. Your life outside the theatre is more important than your work inside the theatre.
  3. You don’t have to live in NY/work on Broadway to be a successful theatre professional.
  4. Just because your union sets a minimum scale doesn’t mean you have to accept that minimum.
  5. The people you meet in college and grad school will be your friends and collaborators for the rest of your life.
  6. It’s better to learn from the mistakes you make than to avoid the risk of making the mistakes in the first place.
  7. Sometimes, you have to just do it.
  8. If you can keep your eyes open to unexpected opportunities, you may see unexpectedly positive results.
  9. Knowing how to read music and speak a second language will serve you well.

Today, #6 is my favorite but that could change tomorrow.

[PS. #11 is from the end of Craig Lucas’s Prelude to a Kiss. “Old Man: Can I give you two a piece of advice? Floss.”  What’s on your list?]

Carpe Futurum temporary tattoo from Tattly. Design by Kelli Anderson

About lindaessig

Linda Essig is Dean of the College of Arts & Letters at Cal State LA and principal/owner of Creative Infrastructure LLC. The opinions expressed on creativeinfrastructure are her own and not those of Cal State LA. You can follow her on twitter @LindaInPhoenix.
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5 Responses to 10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me

  1. Pingback: Personal Symbiosis | Creative Infrastructure

  2. This is wonderful! A needed read today.

  3. #9 sounds intriguing, how so?

    • lindaessig says:

      Many ways. For one, we live in a global arts and culture community, the members of which speak many languages. Being able to communicate with others as equals seems important. We live in Arizona. Many of the people I work with — including my students — are bilingual. I wish I were, so that, for example, when I sit in a planning meeting to discuss a festival of Mexican-American arts and culture I can both understand all and be understood by all. I used to have enough knowledge of French to get by in Paris or Montreal, but I’ve lost it over the years. Music too has a language. In writing about that though, I was think a bit more specifically about my designer training. If a lighting designer is going to work in opera or dance, they darn well better be able to follow a score. More generally, it’s helpful when working with musicians to be able to understand some of the vocabulary of the field (true of dance, theatre, and visual arts, too). BTW, I credit my high school Latin with improving my English vocabulary and grammar.

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