On Top of Everything Else
I have been busting my butt for several years in a row maintaining my network of contacts in both sectors of theatre and physics. This network includes universities, small businesses, and non-profits. I have fulfilled my LinkedIn mission statement to the letter. It states, “To secure some challenging and compelling projects exercising my leadership and problem solving skills while utilizing my design and engineering education in the pursuit of true artistic vision. Preferring a self-managing freelance work environment while collaborating with a dedicated team of professionals and working toward a positive impact on the community and humanity.” What does this look like week to week? In one word, alot.
I have secured many to hundreds of challenging and compelling projects, one of which was moving an entire city based scenic studio out of downtown and into a brand new facility with The Huntington Theatre Company. Problem solving skills were a must and keeping it organized was no easy feat. As for projects which required more design and engineering skills on my part, I find myself opportunities online answering ads. From these connections, I have worked tirelessly for several New England scenic studios and even mustered the energy to idependently build the set for “Damn Yankees” in Milton, MA. This self -anaging endeavor gave me another checkmark on my mission statement, exercise leadership. I look to the students at Wheaton College in Norton, MA for assistance and try to teach stage craft as we move throught the build process.
I have worked at Wheaton College for the past 3 years as their Technical Coordinator of the Arts on top of everything else. This job affords more than the weekly wages; it offers a seat at an inspiring lecture, backstage access to performances, a walk through an art gallery, free work out facilities, and access to so much more. Now that my altruistic needs are met as a life-long learner, there is still the need to fill my bank account. I do have mouths to feed at home.
A self-managing freelance work environment sounds all well and good, fun even, but what happens when there is still not enough moo-la? So, we teach. Yes, I took a few teaching positions this past year . . . on top of everything else. Thinking this would ultimately be my positive impact on the community and humanity, unfortunately, it ended up feeling like babysitting and only added stress. These teaching jobs at art facilities and alternative schools did get us back in the green but left me feeling beet red.
The closest I have felt like I have had a positive impact on my community and humanity is when I produce material with other dedicated professionals. Collaborating with Sleeping Weazel productions calling out the nations’ deplorable has placed me on a woke-people mountain top. I am ready and willing to lend a hand to the students and community members around me who wish to see the view from up here. Whenever I have a comfortable budget I hire folks who will appreciate the project most.
I actively volunteer my time and talents to passion projects run by colleagues . . . ON TOP OF EVERYTHING ELSE. One day, here and there, just for fun, or just for the chance that they could help me someday. I have helped friends read for self-tape auditions, judge a science fair, appeared as the host of a dinner theatre, and assisted the library in presenting a play for the teen community (just to name a few). My most creative and difficult projects is my own brain child. My YouTube episodes, “Physics For Show”, with behind the scenes access and detailed physics explanations have been my greatest joy. Working closely with my production assistants, the episodes get better every time with no budget whatsoever.
Please forgive me. This summer, I am taking a break. I don’t think I can afford it financially, but I can’t afford not to either. Mentally, I need to sort out what I am committing myself to and what my talents are worth. I am soaking up the summer sun and not sweating it out my pores in a dusty scene shop basement or stuck in a freezing cold sound booth. I will read the books on my book list and play with my kids in nature exploring. I know when the summer air cools down the tide of jobs will rise again. What will it bring next?