Written By Melissa Cabey—
Finding Your Community
- Find dance classes and/or acting classes that you’re able to take weekly that push you to do better, but also feel like a safe place to learn and grow. The people in these classes will become an integral part of your life in NYC. Don’t be afraid to build those friendships outside of class, too!
- Find a voice teacher who is also a kind person. Someone who will root for you and be in your corner. Get recommendations from friends living in the city to help you find the right teacher for you.
- Find an apartment with people that will bring positive energy into your life. Sometimes rooming with friends who will be going for the same auditions or roles won’t be the most healthy choice.
- Rooming with the opposite gender, someone who's a singer when you’re a dancer, etc. can create a healthy balance. They will still be able to relate to you in terms of pursuing theatre, but you won’t be with them all the time or competing for jobs against them.
- Find one that will be flexible with you. Auditions can pop up last minute, and you need to be able to move things around.
-Working for a smaller, individually owned company can be a lot easier than working for a big chain one. Usually, they are more lenient and personal with the schedule as opposed to a big corporation.
- Figure out what will work for YOU. Different people thrive in different environments.
Here are some examples:
front desk at a gym or spa
any niche thing that you enjoy that could make you $$ (freelance writing, selling art, etc)
- Know that it’s okay to do trial and error. It took me years to figure out the balance of my day jobs. If something isn’t making you happy, search for something else. It’s ok!
- You’ll want to create a budget for yourself that is realistic. Nobody wants to live the starving artist lifestyle.
Write out all of your expenses (rent, con-ed, wifi, dance classes, voice lessons). Then, do a test run for a week and see how much you spend on groceries. Add that to the budget, and then add around $150 a week for random things like entertainment, healthcare, and random necessities.
- Get a credit card that has rewards, and pay for most big expenses through that. Then, immediately pay it off. I use the Bank of America cash rewards card, which gets me 2-3% cash back on all of my purchases.
- When you are #bookedandblessed, make sure you don’t blow all of the money that you earn! With every contract you do, a new budget should be created. Your goal should always be to come back to the city with as much money in your savings as possible.
- Everyone in their first year living in NYC put a lot of pressure on themselves to go to every single audition. That leads to burnout really really quickly. You don’t need to! Go to the auditions that you genuinely want to.
- Keep an audition log! Write down:
What the audition was for
Where it was
What you wore
What you sang/danced to
Who was in the room
How you felt/any callbacks
This will help you track everything so that you can remember how the year's audition season went. It’s nice to look back and gain perspective on all the hard work you did. It also will help you remember what you’ve done for certain people, etc.
Health and Wellness
- Remember that fueling your body is important. Find cheap and easy meals that will give you lots of nutrients. It’s possible, trust me. There are many more options other than ramen noodles and PB&J.
- If you are able, get a therapist. That will help you immensely in this transition (and throughout life in general)
- Remember to take time for yourself each week. Whether that means taking time to read a book and relax, go out with friends, or have a long phone call with a parent – anything that makes you feel reconnected to yourself.
- Remember your WHY. Why are you pursuing theatre? What is the driving force behind your motivation? Pinpoint that thing and don’t let yourself forget it.
Those are my major tips for succeeding in your transition to the NYC artist life. I hope this list was helpful, and I wish you the best in your journey!
Check out my Youtube Channel for more videos filled with advice and fun theatre-related content. I am also on Tiktok and Instagram! Don’t be afraid to reach out to me with any questions you may have. I love to help!