There are so many possibilities out there, you know?
Date: June 3, 2015
Days Spent on Project: 834
Location: NW Portland, OR
Person I would have sent it to: Back in the summer of 2013, I was determined to find an agent.
I know a lot of designers who do have them. Some of those designers are roughly my age and experience. Some of them got representation soon after finishing grad school. I had no reason to believe that I couldn’t get one, that I didn’t qualify enough as a designer to have one.
I did some research, and found one agency with an office in New York that represented theater and production designers. Being bold, I took an agent’s name who seemed to have a roster of clients whose names I recognized.
I emailed her one day; I explained the situations I was just in at the last two jobs and that I was curious to know if having an agent might help protect me if those problems arise again.
Kate, for her part, let me down gently. Seeing my resume, she didn’t think I was ready for an agent. I was still assisting and working as an associate. It might have been a little premature.
It hurt. It did. But, it was even more reason for me to wake up and see the writing on the wall: If I stayed working as an assistant, I would never have control over my career, my contracts, or my fees. I’d always be dependent on the designer-in-charge to work out the number of weeks I was needed, the amount I’d be paid, and keeping me on board a production.
I left Actors Theatre of Louisville in 2003 for the Yale School of Drama. I did so because I wanted to design. I didn’t want to hit the glass ceiling so young in Louisville, itemizing receipts, doing returns, making paperwork, running errands, and so on. I wanted to be a designer. In order to improve my skills and my thinking, I went to grad school on the east coast so I could get to New York.
There I was, in New York, in 2013, completely depressed and angry that I was still without control over my career. Without contacts to help. Without a network. I felt isolated and alone.
So, I knew then that I needed to get back to my goal. I needed to design, whatever the show or the production or the budget or the fee. I needed more experience and more contacts and more recognition to get back in the game…
Funny how I’m in Portland, OR now, working as a shop manager without any hopes of designing.
Unless I think way outside of the box. Which I’m starting to plant the seeds for. Hopefully.
Music I listened to while sewing: Florence and the Machine have a new album! (Or at least, new to me…)
Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: I left my cell phone at home today. I guess this isn’t a bad thing- certainly not the end of the world- but I feel a bit lost right now.