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Career Story: Journalist And Theater Producer

Journalist And Theater Producer

Job Title: Journalist/Theater Producer

Type of Company: I write about travel and have a production company that produces theater.

Education: BA, English, Pomona College •• MA, English, University of Washington

Previous Experience: I worked as a theater box office treasurer before moving into journalism and then, more recently, back into theater.

Job Tasks: Because I'm combining two very different jobs, it can be quite a challenge. My journalism job means a lot of travel. And I'm not just lying on beaches all the time, when I go out of town on assignment. I'm usually up by 5:30 am and at work until midnight. The exact nature of what I do depends on the assignment; if I'm writing about dining, I'll be visiting a lot of restaurants, interviewing chefs and, of course, sampling the food. If I'm doing a general "destination piece," I'll visit hotels, attractions, museums, etc., trying to get a feel for the place and what it has to offer. The theater producing job, meanwhile, requires that I be here in Philadelphia, so I have to schedule travel around the times I have a show coming up. When I'm working on a show, I'll be working with designers to create a poster and flyer, updating my company's website to include the current show, and contacting local journalists to publicize the show. Here my journalism work is very useful as it's given me a lot of contacts in the media, and I know how to write a press release that will grab people's attention. This is the producing end of the theater work; often I'll also be directing the show, which means I'll hold auditions to find the actors, schedule and hold rehearsals for 3-4 weeks before the show opens, and work with set, lighting, costume, and sound designers.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is without doubt the freedom it offers. I set my own hours, and I work for myself. The difficult part is a) the lack of a steady paycheck, and b) having to constantly drum up clients and audiences. Constantly selling a product (which in the case of journalism is, basically, myself) can wear on the spirit.

Job Tips: You need to constantly be out there pursuing your career rather than just declaring yourself an artist. As one friend reminded me: "The only thing that's guaranteed is that they won't publish it if you don't send it to them." Steel yourself against rejection, because it will happen all the time no matter how good you are. Do that audition; send that query to an editor. When they say no, do the next one.

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