Be careful on the way up…

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I have had three reminders this week of the need for everyone on their journey in this business to remember the oft quoted phrase “be careful on the way up…”

Just in case anyone needs to be reminded, I decided that a quick extra blog was needed for me to vent my concern. The theatre business is a very very small industry. It is populated in the main by lovely people, who care passionately about their work, and make great people to have in a company.

There are a few people I have come across who I wouldn’t want to work with again. I’m sure I’m on the not-welcome list with someone too. Not too often I hope. I was having a meet with another producer and we were talking about a project which was in a bit of difficulty. In the midst of it one person, who should have been there to support when trouble strikes, threw a wobbler and made the situation worse. They were warned to be careful, cool it, stop being a bit of a fool. They didn’t take the hint. And now they have got themselves a bit of a bad reputation. It takes a long time to live that down.

I was chatting to some actors recently who had been in an audition, and I asked them who they had been seen by. They knew a couple of the people, but had no idea of some of the most useful people they had met at the event. In this case it was the person who showed them into the room, and the person sitting to one side at the auditions. When I told them the names/potential of those extra people they suddenly realised the audition was more than just a quick speech to a director – but too late the audition had already happened. So moral of the lesson, never underestimate the importance/usefulness of anyone that you meet. Especially the receptionist.

And remember some people choose not to blow their trumpets about their life and career. They may play a much quieter tune. All you need to do is ask, and you may find out some rather useful things about a person, and (selfishly) how they could be useful to you in your career.

And my third example is overhearing two people being immensely rude about a project/show they had seen, without any basis in knowledge or understanding, whilst standing very close to the people who had made the project, and were potentially rather useful employers. In New York there’s the “three blocks rule” – don’t loudly criticise an event until you have walked at least three blocks from the theatre…and even then do so at your peril. New York is a small town.

So three examples of being careful what you say, who you say it about, who you ignore, to notice everyone, and how to be careful on the way up. Just saying.

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