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Student Blog: Words From The Working- Advice From Incredibly Successful Creators

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I reached out to some exceptionally talented people and asked: what’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your artistic career?

Student Blog: Words From The Working- Advice From Incredibly Successful Creators

Hello Broadway lovers, theatre students, and artistic creators around the world! Welcome to the blog as we pass through August. Yes, eager blog-readers, after a long, pandemic-driven wait, I will be back at school before this month ends. Wow.

While I'm excited to return, I also haven't taken a live class since freshman year. I need to re-learn how to exist as my own person, in-person. And I have no idea what to expect.

I recently read another BWW student blog featuring different actors, directors, and other creators sharing the best pieces of advice they'd ever received along their theatrical journeys. The article was short, sweet, and deeply inspiring. I saved it into my "favorites tab," and love to look at it whenever I'm feeling a little lost. With the summer winding down and my college packing list growing, I needed a little inspiration and motivation to prepare for the next chapter of my theatrical journey.

So, I reached out to some exceptionally talented people and asked: what's the best piece of advice you've received in your artistic career? I guarantee you that their answers will move you- whether or not you work in the theatre. Read on for a dose of happiness, motivation, and reminder to continue embracing the unexpected.

"Our journeys are not linear. I used to keep a slinky in my office to help remind me of that fact. Our career pathways, like the rest of our life, ebbs and flows. The second piece of advice I hold close to my heart came from my dear friend (and predecessor at Baltimore Center Stage), Kwame Kwei-Armah. That is to always show up as yourself. It sounds much simpler than it is. In fact, it's one of the hardest things I practice every day. But, it's also the most essential - it's a life line" - Stephanie Ybarra (Artistic Director at Baltimore Center Stage)

"Know your worth." - Mitchell Hebert (Actor, Director, Professor Emeritus at University of Maryland, Teacher at DC Theatre Lab)

"When I was first studying directing, I remember hearing Anne Bogart teach us about being open to finding new ideas everywhere. She spoke about how you never know where a good idea will be coming from - it's a question of how present and ready you are for them. I try to hold this front and center as I move through the world - mindful of the artistry that is present even in the most mundane of moments and how the good ideas are just waiting to be found." - Daniella Topol (Artistic Director at Rattlestick Theatre)

"Go where it's warm. Forget about rooms and collaborators who don't see you. This is vulnerable stuff we do. When I went into rooms I was celebrated in, my artistry was better. I felt safer and could do even more daring work. This career is a marathon, and if you're making great art with people you love- it will reap rewards. It was advice that I got and it took a long time to hear it. So if you're wise...hear it now." - John Andrew Morrison (Actor, Singer, Thought #4/Mother in A Strange Loop)

"Rehearse for the revolution. That phrase truly put into perspective how important our work as artists is, and that our craft can influence the world." - Desi Brown (Actor, Director, Playwright, University of Maryland Alum)

"Remember it's just as much about The Business as it is The Show. The minute you decide to become an Artist, you also become a Business. Run it Well!" - Jessica Frances Dukes (Actor, Special Agent Maya Miller in Ozark)

There's the meeting, and then there's the meeting before the meeting. Always arrive early and chat with whoever is there. That's where the magic can happen. More recently, someone else advised, "Advice is just someone else's baggage. You do you." - Seema Sueko (Past Deputy Artistic Director at Arena Stage, Consensus Organizer, Director, Co-Founder of Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company)

"1. Booking the gig is obviously something you want. But make your objective to book the ROOM. You want to walk out that audition with new fans. 2. Story first. Story first. Story first. 3. When you're not booked on a gig...get a damn job." - Jason Veasey (Actor, Singer, Thought #5 in A Strange Loop)

"Especially for my young Black artists, you have to be prepared for a world that doesn't know how to properly love you sometimes. Find your community of people who do- who will love on you and encourage you. That's how you'll keep a sustainable career. Always take up as much space as you need by voicing your needs. You ARE good enough. And lastly, take care of yourself. When you're healthiest you'll create from a bountiful well instead of from a place of lack and scarcity. In theatre our bodies and minds are our instruments. Respect it." - Jasmine Mitchell (Actor, Director, Playwright, University of Maryland Alum)


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