Self-marketing. It kind of leaves a bad taste in the mouth, no? Yet as anyone who has ever interviewed for any job ever knows, you forego that skill at your own peril. This is especially true of any kind of artist, because you are your commodity. And if you don’t sell yourself, nobody’s going to do it for you.
Last week I happened to get an invitation to an online survey from my alma mater college of the arts. They wanted to know, among other things, how prepared was I for a career in the arts?
Well, let’s see.
Ability to problem solve and analyze? Check.
Thorough knowledge and practice of performance technique? Check.
Interpersonal skills that enable you to look people in the eye and make coherent and intelligent things come out of your mouth at the same time? Check and check (most days).
Self Marketing skills?
Alas, other than a fuzzy working definition of “networking” that boiled down to a mental picture of well dressed, cocktail-holding people standing around name-dropping at one another, I really had no good understanding at age 22 of how to sell myself.
My post-grad certificate from the School of Hard Knocks has shored up my education considerably, but even so, I sometimes find myself in the thoroughly uncomfortable position of figuring out how to make one success translate into another.
After Unified auditions in March, I wrote thank you notes to the auditors, including a note about my upcoming projects. It took way too long to do it – I don’t mean the 6-7 lady-hours of doing handwritten notes, I mean the fact that I wasn’t getting around to it until June. True, the hot iron I ought to have been proverbially striking was closer to lukewarm, considering the heinous disaster that was my vocal audition, but still.
And then we come to today. Due to circumstances that have nothing to do with talent and working relationships and everything to do with schedules and the fact that I live in Atlanta where a ten-mile trip takes an hour and a half, I will not be doing the choreography project that I usually do in the winter time slot. It’s a bummer because I am so hard-core in love with the prospect of choreographing right now.
I have a generalized feeling that I should be hustling but am not really sure how to go about it. In the meantime, I’m starting a serious writing project this fall – more on that later – and I have an acting gig on the horizon and a possible directing gig later in the spring. In the meantime I’ll be picking up dance classes when I can.
So if you happen to know anyone who is looking for a good choreographer, send them my way. I’ll be the surly-looking chick at Chocolatte who just spilled decaf on her laptop wearing this tag.
So what do you think – is self-promotion a dirty word? What have you done to sell yourself lately?