CriticalDance Forum

Resumes and the Freelance world
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Author:  BabsLights [ Thu Mar 01, 2001 5:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Resumes and the Freelance world

I am wondering, those of you who make your living exclusively through freelance work, what the the return is on sending out resumes, to getting a job. How many resumes, or calls, etc, have you had to send out, before you see some sort of return. <P>I know a lot of the business is who you know, but I also know people have to work it, too.<P>So, how do you "work it"?<P>

Author:  salzberg [ Thu Mar 01, 2001 8:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Resumes and the Freelance world

It's coincidental that you should ask that now, when I'm just starting to send out resumes to drum up work for next season. I'll probably have sent out about 100 resumes by the time I finish; if they bring in 3 or 4 additional gigs, that'll be a success.

Author:  BabsLights [ Fri Mar 02, 2001 5:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Resumes and the Freelance world

And how did you decide who to send to? Did you do a blanket broadcast, or did you target specific companies? And if so, how did you select who you sent the resume to?

Author:  salzberg [ Fri Mar 02, 2001 5:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Resumes and the Freelance world

I started by sending resumes to the major performing arts companies in and around Sarasota. Makes sense, right? Well, maybe. They're more likely to have heard of me, but that's a 2-edged sword. Sarasota, like many small, provincial cities, believes that "an expert is someone who's 50 miles aways from home"; there's the belief that no one "local" could really be very good. I compensate for this (or try to) by mentioning early in my cover letter the shows I've done with Dance as Ever in NY, mentioning that the more recent production featured Peter Boal and quoting the <I>DanceView Magazine</I> review*.<P>After that, I looked through the modern and ballet listings at the <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank>Open Directory Project</A> (Funny story: while looking through the modern listings, I was muttering to myself that it would have been helpful had the category editor included in the site descriptions the city each company is in. Then I remembered that I <B>am</B> the category editor), selecting the companies that seemed to be the most likely prospects (let's face it; ABT is not likely to need me, and Podunk City Ballet Theatre and Tap Studio is unlikely to have the money to import a designer).<P>Now I'm perusing the member theatres list of the Theatre Communications Group.<P>I also, of course, respond to the appropriate ads in ArtSEARCH and on the various online theatre jobs pages.<P>If none of the above strategies work, I guess I'll go downtown and slip copies of my resume under the windshield wipers of cars.<P><I>* "It was an extraordinarily moving piece, especially the elegiac last song. . .where the effective lighting (by Jeffrey E. Salzberg) seemed both to box the dancer in and to elevate him above all human suffering."</I><P>------------------<BR>Jeffrey E. Salzberg, Lighting Designer<P>Online portfolio: <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> <BR>This Day in Arts History: <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A><P><BR><p>[This message has been edited by salzberg (edited March 02, 2001).]

Author:  DT [ Fri Mar 02, 2001 6:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Resumes and the Freelance world

Most of the freelance work I got was through connections. I once sent out 300 resumes and got 0 response not even a thanks we got your letter. As we know companies are constantly understaffed and if the AD is the one who makes the decision good luck getting a response!! What I found successful was to look through Arts search etc. for companies looking to hire full time and send a resume and letter saying you couldn't accept full time work but if the didn't fill the position in time you could pinch hit this works especially well with design and SM positions and I made a list of everyone I knew in the business and called them every two months or so to ask if they had heard of any work. This worked well and I stayed busy four four years!! A former assistant used this method to break into Industrials and now makes $600 a day plus expenses, and has worked in 8 countries plus the US in the last<BR>three months so careful what you wish for. He is on the road all the time. Long story short save the postage and burn up the e-mail and phone line!

Author:  salzberg [ Fri Mar 02, 2001 7:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Resumes and the Freelance world

Oh, I do the email/phone thing, too, but my mailing experience has been different than yours; I've always more than broken even on it.<P>Then again, I've never been particularly good at networking, so that makes mailing a much more appealing option.

Author:  salzberg [ Sat May 12, 2001 4:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Resumes and the Freelance world

Update (because I <I>know</I> you're on tenterhooks) *:<P>I've sent out just under 150 resumes. Most, of course, have generated no response at all. Several resulted in boilerplate "We have no openings at this time" letters.<P>Of the others:<P>A civic ballet company in Florida asked me to send a videotape of my work (I hate doing that -- stage lighting does not translate well to video, even when the videographer is first-rate).<P>A civic ballet company in the midwest has offered me one show in February.<P>A small professional company in the northeast is considering me for all three of their productions next season.<P>I had a very nice interview with the artistic director of another small professional company, who said three times that he thinks we'll be working together, one time being so specific as to say that they'd probably book me for one show next season "to see how we like working together".<P>I calculated that each letter/resume combination costs me about 60 cents (4 sheets of paper, one envelope, postage, ink) not counting my time, so it appears that -- this year, at least -- the mailing campaign will more than pay for itself.<P>DT is right, of course, in that networking is more productive than blind mailing -- for those who are good at networking. I'm not, so I have to fall back on those skills I <I>do</I> have. Your mileage may vary.<P>* What <I>is</I> a "tenterhook", anyway?<p>[This message has been edited by salzberg (edited May 12, 2001).]

Author:  Basheva [ Sat May 12, 2001 6:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Resumes and the Freelance world

From the New Oxford Dictionary of English:<P><BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>noun - historical - a hook used to fasten cloth on a drying frame or tenter.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Whatever you want to know - just ask.<P><p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited May 12, 2001).]

Author:  salzberg [ Sat May 12, 2001 7:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Resumes and the Freelance world

Why is it when I'm in a store and walk up to a window or counter that's clearly marked "Information", the person behind it never knows anything truly useful, such as "What's the capital of South Dakota?"

Author:  Basheva [ Sat May 12, 2001 7:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Resumes and the Freelance world


Author:  LMCtech [ Sat May 12, 2001 11:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Resumes and the Freelance world

I think this can depend on what you are trying to do. When I was working independent films, networking was the way to go. But with costume shops, mailing is the way to go. My husband gets most of his design work networking, but he doesn't like to send resumes. I got my present job sending a resume, but it's more corporate than artistic and all of the costume work I've been doing has come word-of-mouth from dancers and choreographers I've worked for. I think it may be best to do everything, then all our bases are covered.

Author:  Elaine [ Mon May 14, 2001 2:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Resumes and the Freelance world

It's so very much like all aspects of dance, and I guess the arts in general. You throw a lot out there, and you hope one bites. Dancers do it, the designers do it, the development people, the choreographers, the marketing people, etc.

Author:  Priscilla [ Mon May 14, 2001 9:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Resumes and the Freelance world

Speaking of "dancers do it", now I'm off to figure out where in C-D to put a thread about "what IS my dance resume supposed to be"!

Author:  salzberg [ Tue May 15, 2001 12:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Resumes and the Freelance world

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Dancers do it, the designers do it,<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Even educated fleas do it.

Author:  Maggie [ Tue May 15, 2001 5:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Resumes and the Freelance world

Educated fleas not only bite, but perform in circuses as well. Therefore, they must also have some sort of resume.

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