It has been a while since I've shared anything here. The truth is because I've been working. I am so thankful that during a time when many of my collogues and friends have been diving into side hustles or other endeavors I was lucky enough to have had work.
It was a little anxiety inducing and even scary jumping back into an industry so reliant on human interaction. Adding a new department called Covid was a little unsettling, but they were there to make sure all of us stayed healthy and safe. Besides the obvious hurdles the pandemic threw at us, there were some unforeseen issues that arose as well. Usually in film if someone cancels it sucks, but you can call up a replacement within a few hours. Because of testing requirements and safety protocol, what would have only taken a few hours now takes a few days; taking a stressful situation to another level. Thankfully most of the people I have worked with since coming out of the pandemic have been gracious people and understand it is still not business as usual. There have been a few people who still expect things to happen at an ungodly pace, but they are severely outnumbered.
As guidelines change I am looking forward to seeing my colleagues come back to their professions and create some amazing work. I hope that some of the things we realized during quarantining and the pandemic will continue, like video meetings, setting timelines farther in advance to give adequate time to all departments, etc.
At the beginning of December I received an email on my contact page from a young lady who was starting to look into colleges and their programs. She had found my paper portfolio blogs (here and here) and had a few more questions for me.
One question I asked if I could share was, "If [I] could go back, would [I] major in something more specific?" A little backstory; I received my Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies at a liberal arts college before choosing to work on my Masters of Fine Arts in Costume Design at a conservatory program. Below is my answer:
"My answer would be no, I wouldn't change what I ended up majoring in. I believe majoring in theatre made me a more well rounded theatre professional and allowed me to understand the demands on my fellow theatre professionals. For instance, as a designer it is important to know how a garment goes together, sewing classes are important. It is also important to understand what an actor's blocking is so the design is able to be moved in appropriately, Taking a movement class or acting class helped with this..."
I then went on to explain why I believed my liberal arts undergraduate experienced ultimately helped me build up a knowledge bank I still draw from when designing. My love of learning that was cultivated during these liberal arts classes along with different research techniques have aided me greatly when working on a theatre piece.
It was nice to chat with someone a little about theatre this pas year. I hope that all the students getting ready to go into programs in the fall can do so with the same optimism I did when attending my undergrad. I look forward to getting back to our stages when it is safe. Until then, support your local theatres and artists.
Up until now I have been one of the lucky ones. My jobs last year afforded me enough unemployment insurance to just squeak by while waiting for film and theatre to open up again. I started a few projects to keep myself busy and to hold impending doom at bay, but now those "for me projects" are now, by necessity, becoming a side hustle.
Unemployment is running out for many film and theatre professionals. Some didn't even have the luxury of a small unemployment insurance to bank on. I wrote recently about professionals having to leave NYC and mentioned Be An Arts Hero and The Costume Industry Coalition. These projects are important and I highly suggest reading up on both and the DAWN Act. But, some professionals need more than these organizations can supply. That is where the side hustle (now potentially the main hustle for the time being) comes in.
I decided to open an Etsy store. I contacted a few other industry friends who have done the same for some insight. (You can read my interview with my dear friend Kim Griffin about her store a few years ago here) With their help I navigated through opening my shop and posting a few of my designed products.
Although I have made very few sales at the time of writing this, I am crossing my fingers this shop will help me make enough to keep my head above water. Hopefully these side hustle businesses can go back to being side hustles soon. But in the meantime, please check out these film and theatre professionals' side hustles. I will leave links below. Happy shopping.
*Note-rachelsclosetrevival was added after original publishing of this article once her site went live.