Job Title: Private Tutor, Public Speaker
Type of Company: I train kids through the use of acquired theatre skills and provide theatrical support for guest speakers in church and conference venues, illustrating their points with comical and dramatic characters.
Education: BA, French Language and Literature, Smith College Certificat pour Eleves Etrangers 1e et 2e degres, La Sorbonne, Paris
Previous Experience: I was the sole proprietor of a direct marketing business that demanded training and supervisions of teams.
Job Tasks: My "job" really doesn't feel like a job, which I think will be the case whenever you are your own boss. My skill set and network of honest, encouraging contacts led me to pursue opportunities to present dramatic monologues coordinated with the topic addressed by the main speaker. That is what developed into my own business.
I will work with the host organization to learn what the conference theme is and how the main speaker is going to address it. I will speak to the coordinator about time and stage restraints, and meet with the planning committee or speaker in advance, if necessary. At that point, I will either write a piece specifically applicable to the group or adapt one of the monologues in my repertoire to suit them. I do perform in character, so I am always on the lookout for costumes, accessories, and props.
Whatever the needs of the group, I will either arrive at the event in character or mingle as myself with the audience until it is time to get backstage. The time both before and after the monologue can be very much part of the message they want to convey. The other piece of my business is the acting studio for pre-high school youth. Learning the basics of stage presence, voice projection, and being part of a cast, the kids get to express a form of personal creativity in a safe, disciplined situation that equips them in broader ways for life in general.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: It is wonderful to teach and speak to the heart of an audience through art, whether that is music, graphic art, or drama. The response is much more personal than it would be to a regular lecture and demands more of the individual, so gives it a greater impact.
The challenge is in the writing, where you want to address the issues thoroughly but concisely. This is where you tap into resources in your life and incorporate the life experiences of others that may not be yours.
Job Tips: Keep learning. Take acting classes; get involved with a volunteer community theatre; accumulate an inventory of resources, both training and material you can use in your own sketches; get really comfortable with finances, because this, after all, is your business.
Keep a running list of ideas. Your observation skills will increase as you make note of what you see, as you listen to what others are saying, and as you find yourself putting pieces together for another character.
Additional Thoughts: I cannot emphasize enough the importance of doing what you are wired to do. Your PERSONAL (not your parents', not your insurance company's) investment in a personality or skills test will pay you back a hundred-fold, mainly because you will not waste your time on endeavors that you are not equipped for, and where ultimately you will most likely to fail.
Find out what you are made to do and do that, even if you have to start at the ground floor. If you are where you are supposed to be, you will climb fast, and everyone you interact with will be supportive of your success because you are succeeding with grace and integrity.
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