Theater Techs Can Work in the Age of COVID

At this point, if you’re associated with the performing arts in any capacity, you may have noticed a slight decline in work. That’s putting it mildly. Our industry has COLLAPSED and with most – if not ALL – of your venues and sources of work shut down through the rest of 2020 (and most of 2021) – you’re probably looking for work wherever you can find it. Not to downplay the stress that we’re all going through trying to figure out how to make ends meat, but there are solutions out there. I’m going to drill into some options that I’ve found that yield extra cash under MY terms. There are a ton of people looking to get their furniture assembled; rooms painted; minor repairs; and yardwork to be done (to name a few).

HANDY (www.handy.com) serve as a middleman service geared towards connecting customers with people with standard household skills. I’ve done a bit of work through HANDY and have found them quite useful as a source of work that fits within my wheelhouse. Go through the application and confirmation process to get yourself into a position where you can start picking and choosing the types of work that you’re signing up for. One of the great things about HANDY is that you can modify (via filters) what work you’re comfortable doing, what times you’re available, and whether it’s fiscally worth it. I don’t drive 2 hours for a $25 job but I can select through the app jobs in my area that fit my schedule. If you do try this out, use my referral code JEREMIAH0416.

CRAIGSLIST (www.craigslist.com) is often overlooked but there are plenty of people looking for folks to complete small jobs or even to hire someone as an employee for more regular work. You’ll undoubtedly spend a larger portion of your time “applying” for gigs and answering adds. Don’t worry. As stagehands, we should be used to selling ourselves based on the services we provide. Make sure you vet the opportunity as best as possible. I like to troll through the gigs and jobs section of Craigslist to make the initial connection and then drill into details regarding scope of work, compensation, and schedule.

ITSATRAVELOD.COM (www.itsatravelod.com) specializes in remote based work. They have all kinds of opportunities like encompass skill sets that we as stage hands often excel at. Worth looking at and bookmarking.

FACEBOOK MARKETPLACE (www.facebook.com/marketplace) is an often overlooked avenue for picking up work and/or selling stuff. Lots of local people who post (free) services that they’re looking for and you can pick up a bit of work here.

NEXTDOOR (www.nextdoor.com) may have crossed your plate but you dismissed it. Don’t! There are lots of people looking for referrals here. You have to sign up (free) and register your “neighborhood” but there are opportunities to mend a fence, paint a room, etc etc.

CONCLUSION
These tips are just some of the options that I’ve come across and have worked in order to keep the electricity on. There are plenty of other options out there. The take away is for you to apply yourself knowing that our industry is likely shot for the time being and we need to be creative. By the way, VOTE (www.vote.org)!

BONUS TIPS
Resumes.
Make sure you have several different versions of your resume handy. I’ve got about a dozen ranging from Customer Service to Production Management. You’ll need to customize your event production resume a bit in order to relate to employers who know nothing about the type of work that is involved in the arts but rest assured, you are qualified. It just takes some translation into the civilian world as it were.

Network.
Connect with your friends and family to see what work is available.

Stay Healthy.
Exercise. Got out for a walk.
Connect with friends (remotely or with social distancing).
Avoid crazy social media negativity.

If you need help trying to figure this all out, don’t worry!
We’re all in it together and I’m happy to lend my own experience to your search.

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