The Creative Industry:
The Forgotten Casualty of Coronavirus
Some people are born to perform. They naturally have a charisma that just demands to be seen or heard. Maybe you have a talent, or you might describe it as more of a skill, that put you in front of an audience and then you were hooked. That’s how tour bus loads of actors, musicians and other creative performers feel. You have that moment of realisation when you hear applause coming at you and you know that this is how you want to spend your life. You want to entertain, to inspire and to feel the buzz. You want to taste the adrenaline before you walk out onstage. We know and we get it but, we’ve hit a snag.
With 2020 being the year from hell for many of us, performers certainly got a seriously raw deal. Theatres closed and productions were forced out into the great British weather if they wanted to continue. Filming was paused and struggled to start up again. Concerts were banned and even jam sessions were halted as gathering became next to impossible. Now it’s a whole other year and the landscape isn’t much different for the arts. So, what are you going to do with all that natural creativity? Is it bubbling up inside you? Maybe the frustration of not being able to perform and do what you love is making you snap at your friends and family.
At House of Tours, we want to help performers, musicians and those used to the touring lifestyle to find a little peace in this crazy storm. So, we’ve put together some helpful tips to help your mental health and provide an outlet for all that creative juice.
1. Get some perspective.
Nicky Spence writes for the Incorporated Society of Musicians that “from a mental health perspective, […] it’s essential not to associate a lack of current activity with a lack of your usual place in the profession itself. We have all been displaced by this crisis, but we must believe that our personal place within the music industry still exists.” There you have it: don’t undervalue yourself. Just because you haven’t worked in what feels like decades, that does not mean that you aren’t still a performer. If it’s in your blood, then it’s in your blood and no amount of binge-watching boxsets is going to change who you are on a fundamental level.
You might have been forced to get a temporary job that is feeling more permanent right now. That’s OK. If you’re stacking shelves in a supermarket because you need to pay the rent or you just couldn’t deal with the huge stretch of spare time you’ve been given, that doesn’t mean you’re a shelf-stacker. You are still an artist and an awesome one. You have skills and talents other could only dream of. That is still who you are, and this is a temporary situation.
2. Get your hustle on.
Nicky Spence writes that “Many musicians are born hustlers,” but what does that mean? It means that no matter how much natural talent you’re born with, to get where you are now, you must have put in the graft first. A baby can be born with its feet in fifth position but that doesn’t grant them access to the Royal Ballet School, now does it? They have to work for it, put in the graft day in and day out for years, even when it hurts. That’s hustle and it might come naturally to you as a performer.
Performers, particularly touring performers, are used to working exceptionally hard, not just to get to a point where they can claim they make their living from their art. Michelangelo said that “If people only knew how hard I work to gain my mastery. It wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all”. We feel you, but we’re not talking about that. We’re not even talking about the thousands of hours of practise and rehearsal to get your skills to a sellable level, nor the emotional work you have to do to boost yourself up after ever audition you didn’t get. That’s all hard work, but those are still things you can do now. You can still rehearse, not with others perhaps but you can still practise your art alone. We know you miss your band, troupe or company but you’ll see them again. In the meantime, you still need to spend time boosting yourself up and reminding yourself that this isn’t your life. This is an intermission, and you will see better days than this one. But we aren’t even talking about that. We’re talking about the consistency of getting up everyday with a purpose, a schedule and way too little time allotted for everything on it. That drive that performers have, to fight to get your art seen and heard, despite all the obstacles in your path.
We think you might benefit from finding a channel for that energy. That could be a part-time job, an online course or learning a whole new instrument as an example, but we encourage you to find something to apply that learned skill of hustling to or you might find yourself feeling adrift and scared of the future. Don’t be scared, be active.
3.Get your act together.
We’re not rubbing in that fact that you can’t perform right now. No really, we want to open up your eyes to the opportunities for your art to still get out there, even now. That’s why you love performing, right? You love to entertain, to inspire and to feel the buzz of a live performance. You still can do that through live streaming. If you are a musician, then by now you’re probably an expert in self-taping yourself playing or singing at home. Well, why not step it up and perform live for the camera. Think about it, the thrill of knowing that people’s eyes are all on you, you don’t even know how many people. Maybe dozens, maybe more, just like when you can’t see past the first few rows because of the lights. It is totally possible for you to perform live to your fans in a professional and exciting manner.
That’s what we’ve been working on at House of Tours, making it possible for musicians and other performers to get their art to the people who need it. Because art isn’t self-indulgent, it isn’t just for the performer, it’s for the audience too. John Lubbock said that “as the sun colours flowers, so does art colour life.” Hands up who thinks life could use a little more colour right now? It can’t be just us. We need art to inspire and uplift us. That’s what you do as a performer, you create joy and colour. So, why not seize the opportunity to get your art to the people who are locked in their homes and locked out of the biggest joys in life? Video jam sessions with your band might feel impossible, so you’d think that video streaming a whole set would be madness. Click to see how we can make it not just possible, but great.
Stay safe and stay sane out there, you creatives.