How To Get A Gig
Securing gigs in the stage lighting industry is crucial for advancing your career and showcasing your talent. However, the industry is highly competitive because if you're booked, someone else isn't. Here are some tips to help you get gigs to stand out without burning bridges.
Self-Assessment and Preparation
Before diving into the gig-hunting process, assess your skills, experience, and strengths. Are you slower on the console but a paperwork wizard? Maybe you're an artist with the soldering iron but a shaky follow-spot op. Knowing where you want to fit into a team will help you transition smoothly. What if you don't have any experience? Start with identifying your target market or niche to focus your efforts effectively. Are you drawn to dance, opera, or maybe EDM festivals? The story's moral is: having something specific to gravitate to will help you get there.
Additionally, invest time enhancing your technical knowledge and staying updated with the latest industry trends. All anyone ever does on a gig is talk shop, and having enlightening conversations about new tech will set you apart.
Shoot Your Shot
Every day without fail, individuals get booked for gigs they aren't qualified for. I know you're thinking of someone right now... but how do they do it? They threw themselves in the mix! Don't hesitate to contact production companies, event planners, and venues to express your interest. Imagine how thrilled they will be when someone qualified lands in their inbox instead of someone else. I am not suggesting you volunteer for a job you are sure is outside your scope - but there is certainly no harm in aiming high. Craft compelling resumes and cover letters tailored to each gig opportunity. Utilize online job platforms, Facebook groups, and job boards to find suitable openings. Shoot your shot! 🏀
Networking and Building Relationships
Networking plays a vital role in the stage lighting industry. Before an opportunity hits the internet, it has often been passed around inner social circles via word of mouth: "Hey, do you know anyone available who can program X next week?" You want people to think, "Yeah! I Do!" and think of you. Attend industry events, conferences, and trade shows to connect with professionals. Engage in online communities to expand your network. If you are nervous about having nothing to discuss, just "like" things! Staying connected and engaging with others keeps you fresh in their memory.
Nailing The First Gig
Sooner or later, you'll get an opportunity, so how do you nail it?
Start with getting an idea about the organization/production company you're working with to understand their requirements and expectations. Try to familiarize yourself with the venue, event type, and the creative vision behind it. Any information you can find will make you comfortable quicker once onsite.
Be sure to adopt a proactive and problem-solving mindset, offering solutions instead of excuses. Focus on delivering exceptional work and prioritize making clients happy by exceeding expectations. For example, if you hate red and the client loves red... today, you love red.
Getting Called Back
Securing a gig is just the beginning. Pay attention to details, demonstrate technical expertise, and go above and beyond. By providing exceptional execution, you leave a lasting impression. Building strong, long-term relationships with clients is invaluable. Maintain open lines of communication, offer assistance or advice whenever needed, and demonstrate your commitment to their success. This cultivates trust, loyalty, and the likelihood of repeat collaborations. The goal is to be their go-to person.
In 2023 there is no denying the importance of an online presence. A well-designed portfolio website, active social media profiles, or an engaging YouTube channel can open the floodgates of opportunity if leveraged correctly. Create case studies that delve deeper into your past projects. Choose a few notable gigs and explain the specific challenges you faced, your creative approach, and the successful outcomes. Include details about the venue, the event type, and how your lighting design enhanced the overall experience. Case studies provide concrete examples of your skills and give potential clients a glimpse into your problem-solving abilities. By consistently updating your portfolio, sharing valuable content, engaging with the community, and leveraging social media, you can easily establish yourself as a trustworthy and sought-after professional.
Persistence and Adaptability
Getting gigs can be a competitive and challenging process. Developing a resilient mindset and preparing for potential rejections is required. Understand that rejection is a normal part of the industry, and use it as motivation to improve your skills and approach. Learn from each experience, seek feedback, and refine your portfolio and pitch. Stay persistent and pursue opportunities, as success often comes to those who persevere. Seek feedback from clients, mentors, or industry professionals to gain insights into areas needing improvement. Use constructive criticism to refine your skills, adjust your approach, or explore new techniques. By embracing rejection as a chance for growth, you can enhance your chances of securing future gigs.
The stage lighting industry is diverse, and gigs can come in various forms. Be open to different opportunities and genres, as each experience contributes to your growth as a lighting professional. While you may have preferences or a specific niche, being adaptable allows you to expand your skill set and broaden your network. You may even stumble into a technical avenue you enjoy more than anything.
Remember to continuously learn and stay current with industry trends, technologies, and techniques. Engage in ongoing professional development to enhance your expertise and increase your value as a lighting professional. Seek mentorship and collaboration opportunities to learn from experienced professionals and expand your network.
Securing gigs takes time, persistence, and adaptability. It's a journey filled with ups and downs, but with determination and a proactive mindset, you can navigate the industry successfully. Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth, remain flexible to different gig possibilities, and actively seek feedback and mentorship.
Keep pushing forward, stay passionate about your craft, and let your talent shine on every gig you land. Good luck!