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Career change (out of theatre)

Discussion in 'Education and Career Development' started by JustAShadow, Oct 12, 2016.

  1. JustAShadow

    JustAShadow Member

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    Location:
    Rhode Island
    Career history so far: decade as a TD/ME, plus the background that gets you there, plus some design work, both scenic and lighting.
    So, due to a number of circumstances involving relocation, a lack of available employment opportunities in the new location, I am looking to move to a different industry.
    To anyone who has successfully made the transition out of the arts, how did you go about it? What were the biggest challenges you faced? How do you redress a resume to highlight skills you have acquired and their applicability to other jobs? I would very much like to continue working with my hands, and I think my skill set would dovetail nicely into furniture making, cabinet work, home renovation/restoration. Thank you for reading, and for any thoughts you can share. Cheers!

    Edit to include: I am bound for the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2016
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Luckily for you there is a massive drought of skilled craftsmen out there. Start calling construction companies and remodelers. Talk to them about your skillsets. You'll find yourself on a jobsite rather quick. That industry is kind of like ours... when there is work you can never have enough people. Also, they are more of an interview on the jobsite type. Right now there is a ton of work in most places. You are a bearded man wearing flannel. Grab a hammer and get to work.
     
  3. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Occupation:
    Project Manager, Stagecraft Industries, Inc.
    Location:
    Portland, Or.
    Putting this in as a reminder to me. I'll come back, after work, and write you a novel. 'cause this has been my life for the last few years.
     
  4. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Occupation:
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    .....and then I developed a screaming migraine at work, finished the next six hours then went home and collapsed onto a comatose state with great drugs coursing through my system....


    I've got a bit o' time this morning so let me say that, from my experience, it can be scary contemplating that move from Theatre to "The Real World" but it doesn't have to be a complete paradigm shift in your reality. Over the last few years at my last theater I was beginning to transfer out of the shop and spending more and more time at my desk like a real TD. I was able to hone a bunch of skills that I had used for years but was really only playing with; Scheduling things via calendars and tasks in MS Office rather than on a legal pad and a desk blotter. Really learning how to develop great multi-page spreadsheets to track inventories, shop hours, etc. All of these skill, plus my <our, as TD's> skills in Carpentry, electrical, Paint, yadda, yadda, yadda, ALL of these transfer over into the real world. At Present I'm a Project Manager for a company that does the "build-out" of theatres. We make curtains install Rigging systems, we make transfer switches, company switches, build and install line-shafts... We are a "theatre company" we're a Construction Company but all that Theatre knowledge folds right into what we do. The construction world uses different software to schedule things but it's still a schedule. If you look at 'Phases' the way you look at 'Scenes' it's pretty much the same thing. Now, if you really want to stay in a "creative" field, you can do what I did for the last couple years, find a Scenic and or Display house, I was at Acme Scenic & Display, until they stopped doing the scenery thing, but ther are tons of production houses making window displays and store fixturing, specialty display for retail and trade show. All of these places need good Theatrically trained folks that know the tricks to building temporary items Quick, Cheap and Fast.

    I guess ultimately it's a matter of having a lot of confidence in the skill-set you have developed as a TD; Carp, Electrcian, Painter, Welder, Plumber, Rigger, Project Manager, Engineer, Creative Problem-Solver.... and realizing you are just as qualified, if not more-so, than most of the kids that just graduated ITT or DeVry and you don't have the 'attitude' which puts you miles ahead in employers eyes. Don't Lie on your resume or you Linked-In page, don't say you're a "Mechanical Engineer' but you can certainly list "Mechanical problem solving" or creative Problem solving or some such as a skill. Hell as soon as I put "Project Engineering" on my Linked in Page I was FLOODED by companies from all over the region and country.


    That's my " You can do it" speech, I hope maybe that helps a little. If there are any specific areas you are looking for help in yell. Feel free to look at my Linked-In page if you want to see how I translated Theatre Skils into "Real World Skills".
     
    Blassiter, JustAShadow and Scarrgo like this.
  5. StradivariusBone

    StradivariusBone Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Occupation:
    Facility Manager/TD
    Location:
    Space Coast, FL
    There's a motto for life if I've ever heard one.
     
    Robert, Blassiter, Van and 2 others like this.
  6. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    You do realize that western Mass is home to one of the oldest Shakespeare festival companies in the country, Shakespeare and Company. Not to mention Tanglewood and Jacob's Pillow. There are plenty of arts organizations around the area to get involved with.
     

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