2

Author Topic: Best way to Live as a Performer?  (Read 2348 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline tiberiusflynn

  • R/F.com Member
  • Posts: 165
Best way to Live as a Performer?
« on: May 20, 2009, 12:14:05 PM »
I am looking for tips, hints, clues, and/or suggestions.

I want to know the best way to live as a ren faire performer traveling from faire to faire. Personal stories, experiences, anything that anyone would like to share.

I have the skills. Acting, singing, juggling, and some stage combat. I just need advice. This IS what I want to do with my life....at least right now.

Thanks,

 Jack

Offline Merlin

  • R/F.com Member
  • Posts: 1109
  • Magic is what makes the world go 'round.
    • RenSpace Web Site
Re: Best way to Live as a Performer?
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2009, 12:59:32 PM »
Jack.... live within your means.

Prepare to eat little, travel a lot and sleep some.

Most of the performers that I know have 'real' jobs and perform on the side. If you are a comedian... get a good manager to book shows in the neighboring towns during the week.

Get a small camper and find a local KOA or campground...don't plan on staying in hotels all the time. I've got a 1963 model Trail Blazer camper that I remodeled and it's plenty!

Perhaps get a travel buddy to share expenses...pack your lunch, don't eat at the Faire all the time.

Good luck brother.... the world needs more people like you who are willing to sacrifice for our entertainment. Happy people are productive people.


DW
Anál nathrach- Breath of serpent
Orth’ bháis ’s bethad- Spell of death and of life
Do chél dénmha- Thy omen of making

Offline Queen Maggie

  • R/F.com Member
  • Posts: 64
Re: Best way to Live as a Performer?
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2009, 12:00:27 PM »
Create a stage act, and a street personna. Make a video of your work. have a good website. Talk to others also on the road, ask for intros to the Artistic Directors of faires you haven't worked at. Get the gossip about other faires (do they pay on time, do they honor their commitments, do they soak you for every fee they can, do they change the rules mid run when you've got no other options?)

Practice every day. Run through your routines and always look for ways to improve. don't steal bits from other performers, but do ask them for suggestions. It gets around, and you'll be personna non grata if you steal. Read and study all the time about your character and milieux: you'll be astounded at how much it can add to your act, or how it can save your b...acon when someone tries to heckle you or trick you into dropping character.

Start out part time, with other income at first, and add to your gear (camping, props, costumes, instruments, vehicle) as time and funds allow.

Get to know the many different kinds of ren faires out there: some are for profit, some educational, some are fantasy, some exclusively historically accurate, some are single weekends, 'for the love of it' and others are businesses, every one of them has patrons that are convinced that theirs is the 'one true way' Know which type you're at before you start. Don't badmouth the other types, though: it will get around.

Keep adding new abilities: take juggling, learn to tight rope walk, take Shakespeare classes, learn to dance, learn whatever anyone's willing to teach. Be willing to teach others, yourself: whatever you're willing to help with will come back to you (and a rep for helpfulness is good with an AD) a rep for being a PITA, will also turn and bite you.

Know how much you need for living expenses, and for travel so you can negotiate a contract that won't leave you stuck. be willing to prove yourself. Know what's available in the area before you make a final living choice. make sure your equipment is as sturdy as you can afford. always have some rainy-day (literally) money hidden away.
Queen Maggie
wench#617, Bard #013
aka Mistress Mannerly, Goodlief Bailey, Cousin Undine Mannerly, Mother Lowe

Offline Paolo Garbanzo

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 9
    • Garbanzo Juggling Entertainment
Re: Best way to Live as a Performer?
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2009, 06:00:25 PM »
wow.. Queen Maggie said it all I think.

the only thing is what is it that you actually do? and what is it exactly that you WANT to
do?

that will pretty much determine how you're going to be able to live. 
Queen Maggie has it right, though, start small, your local festival, do a couple more, create a small
tour for yourself, then, if you're good, smart, and lucky, you will eventually be able to create and maintain a constant tour.  it's not easy, it's ever-changing, and it's something that you have to commit massive amounts of time and effort to.

"follow your dreams, you can do it, I'm living proof.  BEEFCAKE!!" -Eric Cartman
*Images and URLs not allowed in signature* - Admin

Offline tiberiusflynn

  • R/F.com Member
  • Posts: 165
Re: Best way to Live as a Performer?
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2009, 08:30:57 PM »
honestly....I just want to act. I want to travel living my own way, touring. Preforming and living my life.

I know its hard. I get that. Being in this type of profession is. It always has been. I haven't done it yet because I know I've been afraid too....but I'm tired of my normal crappy every day fulfilling life. I've been a performer since I was 5 and have been doing theatre for almost 15 years...now I work an 8 to 6 job, living a meager life, being bored to death and having no joy.

I'd rather have joy and be poor, then have doldrums and be poor.....

Offline Celtic_Fae

  • R/F.com Member
  • Posts: 363
Re: Best way to Live as a Performer?
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2009, 10:50:30 PM »
honestly....I just want to act. I want to travel living my own way, touring. Preforming and living my life.

I know its hard. I get that. Being in this type of profession is. It always has been. I haven't done it yet because I know I've been afraid too....but I'm tired of my normal crappy every day fulfilling life. I've been a performer since I was 5 and have been doing theatre for almost 15 years...now I work an 8 to 6 job, living a meager life, being bored to death and having no joy.

I'd rather have joy and be poor, then have doldrums and be poor.....

I'm currently partnered with a major, royal-court Renaissance actor. He got hurt in a car accident a few years back. He's been hurting, but still doing Renaissance performances. Due to the economy, most of his shows have been cut. Then, his injuries flared up. Guess what? No health insurance. Being on the road as JUST a Rennie actor, and not having a show or particular talent other than interacting with people to back it up with, you don't really make enough to cover insurance. Due to these injuries, he doesn't think he'll be able to make one of his better paying shows this year. Even with that, it's really not enough considering the length of time he's been doing the faire and his character development. He doesn't have a vehicle, thankfully, because he probably would have lost that due to having NO INCOME due to his injuries. As it is, he's at risk for losing his cheap-costing apartment. Moral of the story: he is a well-to-do Renaissance actor. Think. Long and hard. At the end of the day, fun doesn't pay the bills, especially in this economy. Most Rennie actors you see, also do faire stage performances, have another marketable talent, do theatre shows, or have a weekday job. Another Renaissance actor, who plays the king at most of the major FL Renaissance shows, is also at risk to lose his shelter due to lack of finances. It's not the glamour it looks like. It's NOT always fun, even at the faire: you have to show up, stormy weather or not, you just lost someone or not, injured or not (my friend did an entire 8 week faire run on an injured leg). It still is, first and foremost, A JOB. And probably one that is less forgiving than most when it comes to needing personal time if something comes up...and it DOES. What appears to glisten like gold from a distance may leave you feeling very lucky if it were copper and not just fool's gold. Even in Hollywood, there are a lot of would-be actors doing nothing more than waiting tables to make their next meal.

I would, indeed, follow Queen Maggie and Paolo's advice if you are serious about doing the circuit. Limiting yourself to "just being an actor", when most shows pay little to none to begin with to their cast members, isn't going to cut it in the long run unless you have some VERY merciful people in your life who will let you stay with them, give you transportation, and eat their food all for free.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2009, 11:50:42 PM by Kathryn (Fae) Weldon »

Offline aerial angels

  • R/F.com Member
  • Posts: 56
Re: Best way to Live as a Performer?
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2009, 07:02:19 PM »
If you want to make a living at it, and be able to perform full time, you need an act. The people who make money as a street character are few and far between, and the ones who do it full time have put years into their persona, interaction, and networking.  Put an act together, and you may make some real money.  In the meantime, audition for Sterling and Pennsylvania, who pay their street cast and house them, and where you can learn a lot more about the business.

Break a leg -

Allison

Offline tiberiusflynn

  • R/F.com Member
  • Posts: 165
Re: Best way to Live as a Performer?
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2009, 08:18:54 AM »
Thank you all for the advice. I've been trying to come up with an act.....and we'll see what happens.

I understand that its hard, I don't expect it to be fun all the time. I've lived as a professional actor, and I know its grueling. I've worked at TRF and know what its like to have to work all day long whether I just lost someone or not. That's what acting is. Placing aside yourself for the enjoyment/entertainment of others....

Offline Guyinthehall8

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 9
Re: Best way to Live as a Performer?
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2009, 10:27:05 AM »
That's what acting is. Placing aside yourself for the enjoyment/entertainment of others....

Amen to that. But hopefully we manage to have fun at the same time too  ;D

Offline Capt Robertsgrave Thighbiter

  • R/F.com Member
  • Posts: 218
  • The Brigands
    • The Brigands
Re: Best way to Live as a Performer?
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2009, 02:33:37 PM »
Learn to not like eating regularly,  sleeping in cars a lot and not being able to receive snail mail for months at a time !

 ::)

JK - go for it!
If the rum's gone, so is the fun
*images and URLs not allowed in signatures* -Admin
Party like it's 1724

Offline vinceconaway

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 7
    • Vince Conaway Online
Re: Best way to Live as a Performer?
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2009, 12:06:04 PM »
I'd say a key ability is to cut anything out of your life that isn't absolutely necessary and live close to the bone.  Learn how to eat out of a grocery store in a way that doesn't require any cooking.  Someone mentioned an actor who lost his apartment due to bills and my first thought was to question why they were paying rent.  Depending on your budget, tents and RVs are a good way to go and there are many deals to be had right now.  If you do require a home base but are making a go at full time find the cheapest place to live that you can and spend your downtime there; if you don't need to work locally then cost of living is your biggest concern (but try to keep it from being too far from your gigs because gas costs money too).

It sounds like you have a lot of passion and energy and that's extremely important; until you build your skills to a professional level that energy is what will make you fun to watch.  It's also what will goad you into the five or six hours of daily work that it might take to make your dream happen.  And I don't mean any of this to be discouraging, but empowering.  Knock 'em dead!

Vince

Offline Dracconia

  • R/F.com Member
  • Posts: 551
    • Facebook
Re: Best way to Live as a Performer?
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2009, 11:42:51 PM »
Wow, you sound a lot like me! lol I am 20 about to be 21 and have been working at my home faire, Four Winds for six years. I worked with various groups, the last a pirate group for the last three and a half years and I loved it. BUT it isn't what I really wanted. I am starting my own music act and opening my own store online. The store is for beginner rennies, cheaper garb, shoes, swords and the like....(I am turning my pack ratness into a good thing I promise!) I am working the local circut at three faires right now, with a possible opening into TRF soon. (Oh I also am part of a fire troupe) BUT I also work full time, attend college part time and work parties and things on the side. I know what I want and someday I hope to be a profesional rennie...but the day that I can say that that is all I do..well that is far away...for now I am doing what I can and making my network bigger. SO work hard and BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! Even when other things knock you down, or try to BELIEVING is so important :) ...

Drac
PR ~Faire Daughter~
Shake-N-Bake

 

Web hosting provided by www.RangeHosting.us