"Survival Is Paramount!" ***DUN DUN DUN***

Alright, a touch dramatic, I agree. But it’s true, isn’t it? We really can’t pursue any kind of career or interest if we aren’t living. So perhaps the drama is warranted?

Okay, let’s see. What are we told as children are the basic needs for survival?

Food. Water. Shelter.

And in order to acquire these things in our modern society, we require money. Which means jobs.

***HOORAY!!! PEOPLE ARE GOING TO PAY US FOR THE ART WE LOVE TO CREATE AND THEN WE CAN JUST AFFORD TO LIVE AND CREATE ART AND BE HAPPY!!!!*** Wait, no? What do you mean, “no”? I have to get a what?

 

The Survival Job (aka Day Job)

Okay, cool. So now that our hopes and dreams of simply being artists and being able to live have been crushed, what do we do for money?

Of course this will differ depending on where you live, what kind of art and jobs you have available to you, the basic cost of living where you are, what type of lifestyle and income level you are willing to live at, etc. For me personally, I can only speak to the experiences of myself and those around me trying to make a living as artists in NYC - the city with the second-highest cost of living in the US. Oof.

Now, the standard joke in NYC is that no matter where you go out to eat, your server is likely an actor. (“Don’t ask too many questions, dear. He’ll start monologuing at us!”) Well, this is definitely a stereotype for a reason. The service industry is one of the best ways for, specifically performers, to get a job and start making ends meet when arriving in the big city! Why?

  • Turnover in staff is fairly common, so jobs tends to be available.

  • NYC is a food capital in the US and has staggering numbers of bars and restaurants.

  • Scheduling is often flexible. (Perfect for auditions, callbacks, rehearsals, gigs, etc.)

  • Tips Tips Tips.

  • Your job is often still available to you if you leave the city for a job and then come back.

  • Training is usually necessary, but it doesn’t require extra schooling.

  • Tips.

So yes, this is a stereotype, but many of my friends still work in the service industry for all of the reasons mentioned above (and more) and are quite content with that! As for myself, I tended bar in Broadway houses for the first year and a half after I moved to the city, and made good money doing it. After a while, though, it began to crush my soul a little too much and I left that job, but that was certainly a personal decision. Everyone feels differently about it!

 

So…What Other Jobs Do People Do?

There’s actually a ton of variety in the day/survival jobs that are available to people living here, many of which could be available to you based upon specific or niche skill sets! Here’s a list of just some of the ones I know of:

  • Theatre Artist (Me included! Excellent way to stay in the Arts!)

  • Musical Direct and/or Vocal Coach

  • Web and Mobile Coding

  • Website Design

  • Photography and/or Headshot Photography

  • Production Intern/Assistant/Associate

  • Non-Profit Work (Theatre-related or not!)

  • Office Assistant (Law, Medical, Corporate, etc.)

  • Customer Service

  • Retail

  • Management

  • Real Estate (Becoming quite popular)

  • University Staff (Many varied options here)

  • And so many more…

 

How Do I Know What’s Right For Me?

The 3 best pieces of advice I could possibly give when looking at what survival job to take would be this:

  1. Take whatever you can or need to in order to get started. You can always change it later!

  2. Where are your skills going to be valued? If you have a something to bring to the table (or desk or piano bar), find a way to use it!

  3. If you think a job is going to Drive you Insane, Make you Angry or Sad, Leech All of your Time, or anything else terribly negative - it’s not going to be worth it long-term. Making the money you need to survive should not cost you all of your time, mental health, and happiness.

 

Well, What Do You Do?

I’m lucky. Very lucky, and I know this about my situation.

Two weeks after I moved to NYC, I answered a Backstage advertisement for a Musical Director/Pianist position at an after-school private studio on the North Shore of Long Island. Over 7 years later, From Stage To Screen in Huntington, NY is still my home base!

After piecing together work in several other places in addition to STS, I made a big move about 3 years in to work solely at the studio 5 days per week - playing for musical theatre classes, teaching voice lessons, and musical directing shows. Now I teach 33 private voice students, play for 4 classes, and MD 1-2 shows per year. I am thrilled that I am able to spend my time making art and money simultaneously because of my niche skills. I am truly lucky.

Also, quick shout out to New Hyde Park High School, where I MD their spring musical annually! :-)

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So. We need to survive in order to make art - it’s a necessary part of life. But there’s a world of options out there. Be good to yourself. Find a good balance. Use your individual skills and knowledge. And find what is right for you! Cheers!

Why-Oh "The Glamorous Life"?

Ah, the Glamorous Life: The picturesque life of the Theatre Artist living their dreams in the Big City. Fun, Freeing, and Fulfilling! Right?

Well, sometimes.

As amazing as spending your life doing what you love can be, there’s so much more that comes along with living as a full-time theatre artist. And most of it is rarely or never talked about! Sometimes it’s Glitz and Glamor, but other times it’s Rejection and Ramen. So why not discuss it all?

Join me as I explore the everyday, behind-the-scenes, and real life stories of what it takes to make this journey happen. From the triumphs and joys, through the mundane and taboo, to the sorrows and frustrations. What is it like to live as a theatre artist? What kind of unique experiences do you have? What is the good, the bad, and the could-really-use-a-touch-up? Read, watch, subscribe, and come find out!

But Who Are You, Michael?

An excellent question! Who is this guy who says he knows what it’s like to live life as a theatre artist?

Well, you are currently on my website, so there’s plenty of information about me right here! Buuuut here are the basics. My name is Michael Radi and I am a Musical Theatre:

  • Composer

  • Lyricist

  • Librettist

  • Performer

  • Musical Director

  • Vocal Coach

Whew! Sometimes I forget I do so many things! Basically, I spend my entire year doing some or all of these things both as part of my professional career and my “survival job” (more on that at a later date).

My experiences have run the gamut from educational theatre camps through professional readings, workshops, productions of all types, and Broadway concerts at venues like Feinstein’s/54 Below and the Gershwin Theater (“Wicked!” BUM “Wicked!” BUM “Wi-cked!). And though I’m not on Broadway (yet), I’ve worked with plenty of people who are - many of whom I’d bet you’ve heard of before!

 

But Like, What Are You Going To Post?

Man, you’re just full of great questions today! Here’s what you can expect to see on this blog.

Weekly Posts

Once a week I will write a full blog post. About what, you ask? Hopefully a great many topics all relating to “livin’ the dream,” as we like to say. You can expect to see things like:

  • Stories of Experiences (Crazy, Awesome, Ordinary, or Other)

  • Exploration of Topics (Taboo or otherwise)

  • Opinions (That you are welcome to disagree with)

  • Theatrical Reviews

  • Questions and Quandries

  • Career Updates

  • Answers to Questions (I love audience interaction!)

  • Guest Posts (I mean, who wants just my thoughts all the time??)

In-Between

And to satisfy your cravings otherwise through the week, I will be posting little snippets of Pictures, Videos, and Stories on my Instagram account, which will link up to this website as well! There I will be posting:

  • Behind-the-Scenes Content

  • A Daily Life Series

  • As Much Realness As Possible

I find so many of us spend our Social Media lives making ourselves and our experiences looks as incredible as possible. But sometimes, it’s just not true. I hope to take the look-at-how-awesome-my-life-is filter out of my posts and just be as real as possible.*

*Personal, non-blog posts may differ ;-)

So if you want more of The Glamorous Life through the week, either:

  1. Follow Me at: @radimichael

  2. Or Follow the Hashtag: #theglamorouslifeblog

 

OMG, Will Your Posts Always Be This Long?

Nurp. Definitely not! Some might be longer than others, but I thought it was important for you to get a sense of who I am and what I’m setting out to do! I do hope you will choose to follow this blog here, on Instagram, on my Facebook page, or on Tumblr (michael-radi-the-glamorous-life.tumblr.com).

I look forward to sharing my glamorous life with you!!