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Letter to a Young Turg

July 31, 2012


I am so glad to hear that you have so adamantly pursued a career in theatre.  This is a long road ahead, but you have much ambition and are so inspired to do great things.  Your youthful naivety is something that should be relished while it lasts.  Over the next five years you will face many challenges that will only increase in urgency; college and grad school being only the beginning.  I will now impart some knowledge that you will need but will not utilize because you think it doesn’t apply to you.

Save your money!  I know you’re in college and the world is your oyster, but it’s not.  That 401K is not guaranteed at graduation.  You will struggle and you will survive; somehow artists always do.  But don’t make it worse than it has to be.  Every bit of money you get, throw some aside.  Forget it’s there until you NEED it.  There are thousands of random emergencies that can happen to you at any moment. Having that “Oh shit!” money makes a big difference.

Work!  Work hard, work long, work day, work night.  Don’t spend one single day neglecting your work.  Find work.  Find it in your everyday rut.  When the project ends, and the next job is only an anticipation (at best), find it! Read a theatre magazine or hop on twitter and join the conversation.  People are working when you aren’t.  Find them.  Talk to them.  Try to stay in the loop.  Yes, take the jobs you can get to make money, but never forget to do YOUR work.  The work you love.  The work you’ve worked hard to do.  The work you’ve worked for!

Don’t listen!  When people try to tell you that you “should” do anything else OR that you “shouldn’t” be doing what you’re doing because it’s not getting you anywhere or it’s not how your life “should” be:  don’t listen.  Remind yourself that the people who are telling you these things are just that: people.  That you have just as much of a chance as they do to make your life what you wish it could be.  Just because a person loves you doesn’t mean they know what’s best for your life.  You have made the choice.  Pursue your own happiness.

Adapt!  Theatre is ever-changing and so you must be.  Nothing will stay the same and accepting this inevitability you will be more willing to adapt to the situations that arise.  Be the catalyst for change.  Get excited about change.  Old projects end so that new ones can begin.  The change is not always good, but at least you can always count on it.

I’m sure you won’t adhere my rant, but read this in five years and slap yourself in the face.  You’ll understand why, when the time is right.

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