Forums > Social Discussion > Hobby or Career, where do I stand?

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Posted:Hi there,

I was just wondering what fire or performing in general means to everybody? Is it just a past time, just a hobby? Or is it something worth to pursue as a career?

I have recently found performing arts a passion; I want to learn as much as I can (not just in fire art). I suppose working in the circus would suit me best but circus seems hard to get into. If your young, than it helps if your family has a background in circus, otherwise you have to build your talent until some recognises you.

My parents will support me in whatever decision I choose to make but they worry if I will have enough money to get by, is this just an old stereotype?

Thanks,

Matthew OKeyes


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ado-p

Pirate Ninja
Location: Galway/Ireland
Member Since: 13th May 2004
Total posts: 3882
Posted:Me too. smile

Someone said to me over the weekend that its an all or nothing descision. Sounds about right to me.

I hope you find something that brings you oodle's of joy.


Love is the law.

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strugz
strugz

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Southampton - Possibly...
Member Since: 6th Mar 2002
Total posts: 3964
Posted:id love to jack in my "real" life and spin for a living............

At the moment i perform outside of work, socialise in spinning scenes so my life is work work work, spin spin work.......

Its difficult to do both and i think im only going to last another year or 2 doing both before i quit my job and spin full time whilst travelling biggrin

So in a sence id agree with Ado-p - its all or nothing as doing both involves burning the candle at both ends, which in short means - live fast - die younger rolleyes

But hey - im having fun ubbrollsmile


"...We don't stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing......."

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ado-p

Pirate Ninja
Location: Galway/Ireland
Member Since: 13th May 2004
Total posts: 3882
Posted:Written by: strugz

its all or nothing as doing both involves burning the candle at both ends, which in short means - live fast - die younger rolleyes




yep, thats bang on. im finding it harder and harder to work the two at the same time. To the point where my boss sat me down and asked what my priorities are...

i took that oppurtunity to hand in my notice for next august. smile


Love is the law.

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Sniper
Sniper

Snoochie-boochie-noochies!

Member Since: 24th Jan 2005
Total posts: 663
Posted:welcome to JSA land ado biggrin

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spritie
spritie

Pooh-Bah
Location: Galveston, TX
Member Since: 9th Sep 2001
Total posts: 2014
Posted:For me, spinning is just a hobby. I've made money off of it from gigs here and there, but it's not something I'm interested in persuing full time.

I think in order to persue it as a career, you need to be skilled at many different objects (not just fire poi) and you need to work at interacting with the audience to really get them to like you and enjoy watching you. That part takes work, and the monetary rewards from it are not all that great (i.e you could easily make more money with a regular full time job).

So, I'd figure out the reasons you would want to make a career out of performing, figure out if you could support yourself by doing so, and then go from there.


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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:spritie is talking sense.

Many of the jugglers, and more recently, spinners, I know, who've followed the path of making a living out of their passion, have found that it ceases to be a passion.

When you spend all day doing what you once loved, and having to compromise it to fit into audience expectations, the last thing you want to do in your spare time is continue it as a hobby.

Not true for everyone of course, but it does seem fairly common.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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Fine_Rabid_Dog
Internet Hate Machine
Location: They seek him here, they seek ...
Member Since: 26th May 2004
Total posts: 10530
Posted:oh man, i wud so love to go pro... my mums bf and i have been talking about it, website and all... but i just dont think we're good enuff frown

but its still my dream....


The existance of flamethrowers says that someone, somewhere, at sometime said "I need to set that thing on fire, but it's too far away."

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KaelGotRice
KaelGotRice

Basu gasu bakuhatsu - because sometimes buses explode
Location: Angel's Landing, USA
Member Since: 21st Jul 2003
Total posts: 1584
Posted:Going pro seems remarkably tough...

Props to all of those out there pushing themselves to it! Keep at it.


To do: More Firedrums 08 video?
Wildfire/US East coast fire footage
LA/EDC glow/fire footage
Fresno fire

<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ubbrollsmile.gif" alt="" />

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Frodo
Frodo

old hand
Location: In a van
Member Since: 30th Jun 2003
Total posts: 1092
Posted:i love it...

i work in a pub minimal hours a week.. but other than that! spin spin spin spin juggle.. lol


passing through, this world still lives.

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Icarus
member

Member Since: 30th Sep 2003
Total posts: 165
Posted:I think the all or nothing is [censored]. I work three part time jobs (about 44hrs/week) which means i get resonable money. I sell equipment at weekly and monthly markets and am registered with several event managers who find me gigs in the evenings. I realize how lucky i am in that i work in areas i am passionate about and i manage to fit fire-performing around these... tis not quite a career, but certainly more then a hobby.
PM me if you have any questions bout insurance etc... i see we both live in the land of Oz smile


... simplify ...

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Posted:Wow, thanks for all the response!



As I said before I dont just want to spin fire although fire is what got me into love with performing, Im learning magic, contact juggling and anything I can just about get my hands on so doing just fire gigs arent going to cut it for me. I would really like to join someone Circus Du Soleil but knowing how to get there is something I am unsure of. I know this isnt quite the area you guys know well but tell me what you think anyway: Do I go on to uni with The National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA nica.swin.edu.au/)? I am getting in contact with CirKidz in South Australia (http://www.cirkidz.org.au/circus_troupe.html), I think that would probably be a good start as they do regular performances and so on. Is there anything Im missing? Like any other courses I could do at uni, people I could talk to?



Thanks for the help,



Matt.

EDITED_BY: Matthew O'Keyes (1113986708)


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ado-p
ado-p

Pirate Ninja
Location: Galway/Ireland
Member Since: 13th May 2004
Total posts: 3882
Posted:Nice one icarus, sounds like your doing a very good job of working hard and playing hard.



if i could just get that working hard bit down i would be set smile



wave for *sniper*


Love is the law.

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tainted
tainted

addict
Location: London
Member Since: 22nd Oct 2004
Total posts: 422
Posted:Im in my final year of college (i finish in 2 months thank god) but ive choosen circus to be my career and yes you do need to have at least a basic knowledge of other areas of perfromane (everything from dance to juggling), Bit I would rather be doing this all day than work 9 - 5 beerchug juggle

There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers...

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Pele
Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:Get into a circus school. It is your best way into a circus and to get much diversity training.
I know several people who have been through Cirque Du Soliel auditions, and technically been accepted into CDS. All of them have been on waiting lists for at least a year if not more.

Take dance, movement, acting classes as well. It is not about what you can do with the prop as much as what you do with the audience too.

The thing about performing is that it is not based on the love of the arts you do. That is work, and alot of it. Do I love what I do? Absolutely...BUT there is a business to it. You have to know contracts, laws, insurance, pricings, etc. You have to know how to connect with a crowd, make a costume, live on a stipend and still deal with egos of those who hire you or that you answer to with style and grace.

By virtue of being a performer I am also a writer, a costumer, a producer, a promoter, a director, a make-up artist, a graphic designer, a contract/legal paper writer, an accountant and a business woman.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that you will be your own boss. Not even close. I answer to the producers, promoters, club owners, fire marshalls and police. I have to make sure they are all satisfied before I can even put on a costume and make sure the audience is satisfied. And they are the ones who decide if I continue.

Sometimes, I come home with a pittance of a check. This past week I drove 5 1/2 hours to a show that ended up with what was supposed to be my performing for an hour or so to my doing two sets (no problem), our car being towed away and getting it out of hock taking all the pay money +more, so we had to drive 5 1/2 hours home instead of staying in a motel as planned. I had a boom mic so close to my poi that I nearly wrapped it, and had to tell him to get back, but he thought he was above me so he didn't listen...and I was being interviewed at the same time I was performing so I had to be attentive to the interviewer as well as to the poi, the audience and my surroundings. That is not uncommon, for all the performing I do (and I do alot of different styles, because the more you limit yourself, the less work you get).

It is work. I've known alot of people who have tried to make this passion, this hobby, into a career and ended up resenting it. Spinning, circus, sideshow, dance and acting has never been my hobby. I have *never* looked at it as something I do in the back yard for fun. I don't go to meets and spin for the hell of it. I don't tend to go to dance clubs alot. I practice, rehearse and drill, even when I end up at a social event. This is my job. Paper pushing, costume sewing, shmoozing and smiling when I want to scream, good shows-bad shows and everything in between, it is my career. And to stay on top of my job, I *have* to constantly upgrade, change, add into and enhance my performances.

Unlike many careers where you can go to school and get a job and make your salary with minimal educational upgrades or out of pocket expenses after school, performing is not like that.
My friends who work in the tech fields (Xerox and Kodak) go each day, get out, take their pay and live *very* comfortably on it.

I work all day on business, creating concepts, etc. I take my pay and repair tools, buy new ones, pay for my websites, make costumes, pay for gas to drive places, pay the printing company for promotional items, pay for insurance, etc. And after all that is said and done, I hope I have enough left over to live on. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't and I try to make due. I teach performance arts (mostly dance) at a dance studio to help make up the difference, which is insanely taxing on me as well.

There are no sick days. In the past month I have performed a show with a kidney stone which gave me a raging fever and alot of pain and another two shows with a broken toe. If I don't do it, I don't get paid. And I couldn't take pain killers because they make me dopey and I wouldn't have put on a good show. I have performed where I have come off the stage, threw up in a garbage can and went back on smiling. There are no understudies or take-backs.

For performance to be a career, in the end it *is* all or nothing. It takes your heart, soul, sweat, tears, and blood. It is an all encompassing thing. I breathe, eat and sleep it. You can keep it as a hobby that brings in a stipend and maintain a job as well. I did that for years. I know tonnes of people who do this, and really, I would suggest it. But it will keep you from doing alot of things, like touring, etc. It only keeps you from them if they are an option for you anyway. Many I know are happy with satellite shows they can travel to and back in a weekend. That can create burn-out pretty quickly and a pace must be set.

There is *alot* to concider here. Do not discount all of your other options.
Performers do not get health insurance (for those in countries who have to pay for it), we do not get a retirement package or social security. We get screwed come tax time (when you make enough to file, that is). Our job comes with higher legal liabilities than most, which we have to pay for.

Think long and hard about what you want in your life. Do you want kids and family? Do you want a home and material things?
These are all affected and effected by being a performer.
I'm not saying it is impossible. I am a mother, someday I hope to be a wife. We are buying a home, etc., but I have had to make *alot* of compromise, sacrifice and such to be a professional performer.

I have been performing for well over a decade now. At first off and on, and then more permanently. I am still learning, growing and paying into it...and that will *never* end if I expect to continue to get work.

I am not complaining. Those on here who know me can attest that without this I am miserable. I did try to quit several years back, and I couldn't. This is not what I do, it is who I am. I am miserable when I am not working on a show. I am depressed when a show ends if I do not have one lined up. It goes well beyond passion and into the realm of obsession, all aspects of it, not just the using the props and standing in front of an audience part.

Think long and hard, and know that you have options and are not locked into any decision you make until you sign on the line.

Best of luck to you.
Pele


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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ado-p
ado-p

Pirate Ninja
Location: Galway/Ireland
Member Since: 13th May 2004
Total posts: 3882
Posted:Thankyou pele.

smile


Love is the law.

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flamazine
flamazine

journeyman
Location: Manchester
Member Since: 25th Apr 2005
Total posts: 91
Posted:I gave up my straight job to perform for a living. I've sunk thousands of pounds into it and haven't made much back yet but it's getting there. If you can come up with a show that people like and keep working on it you can make a career out of it but it is not the skills you have at poi/juggling/staff that make it. It is how you connect with your audience. I'm rubbish at circus skills but I'm not scared of fire and I'm quite good at connecting with the audience. I make people laugh. If you can do that you should be OK.

He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy!

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Pele
Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:My pleasure ado-p wink

Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Posted:Thank you so very much Pele,

That really clears my head. I think with this profession there are so many different roads to take; its sometimes hard to decide where to turn.

I cant believe how committed you are to performing your show, I understand that if you dont perform it starts to get hard to pay the bills but I dont think everyone would perform with a kidney stone, broken bones.

Have you always been freelance, do you eventually want to work with a group or company?

As for me, I called Cirkidz and now have a class every Friday of the school term (when it starts). They give us some time in the lesson to practise something that we want to; of course Ill be using that time for staff & poi. After the lesson Ill go straight to South Aussie twirling meet in the city, which works out pretty awesome because I live about an hour away from the city and cirkidz. AND Ive finally saved some money to buy my first fire staff from dub on Thursday!

I would like to see the world but not just by myself, thats another reason that I think circus would suit me down to the ground. I absolutely love material things and also cant afford them so its best if I dont have the room in my suitcase to want them. I'm great at drama compared to everyone in my class and I have a great personality to connect with people (well I think so anyway). Ill have to get my act together and buckle down at school as I think they say. Not only that but Ill have to learn to do the splits, flips and other gruesome tasks if I want to be accepted into uni (NIDA).

Circus Oz here I come! wink

------------
Matthew OKeyes


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