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My Epiphany

Jeff Linamen

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In the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning I had an epiphany. It wasn’t a new thought. It was so obvious and had been in my head for a while. Sometimes though, a clear realization suddenly hits you like a ton of bricks. I waited before I shared because I felt like I needed to let a few things play out first.

No more theatre.

Let me explain.

If-you-really-love-something-set-it-freeIn addition to trying to find gainful employment in the industry for the past year and a half, I had spent nearly six months of the past year, working on a plan to produce my own season of five shows– that was to begin the end of January 2015. After waiting for months, I’d finally received dates but by then it was too late to market, sell and produce a theatre subscription series effectively and be ready to open by the first set of dates. I could have still thrown something together for the first show– but with no assurance of an audience. I’m not in the financial situation to do anything that is a likely, losing proposition nor do I want to. (There were more “complications” that I’ll go into in another blog post.) So, I felt I’d reached another dead end.

My epiphany was quite simple. I’ve come to the realization I don’t need to do another production. I want to– but want and need are two totally different things.

If I never have the opportunity to work on another show– I’ve done pretty much every thing in every area of theatre that anyone can possibly do. With over 30 years and more than 200 productions under my belt; including the production of my top two bucket list shows– I think I can say, I’ve pretty much done it all.

Don’t get me wrong, I have not lost an ounce of my passion or creative drive for live theatre. I just feel I’ve come to a point that it’s time to let it go. If opportunities come up– great. If they don’t, I’m okay with that too. I’m not going to obsess over it anymore.

I don’t really want to work on vanity productions… work for less than I’m worth without substantial creative rewards… or donate my time to efforts where my passion and commitment is greater than that of anyone else involved.

My last production, Spring Awakening, was a thoroughly rewarding experience. Maybe that’s the best way to go out.

After a year and half, the job search– inquiries, applications, interviews have been a huge disappointment. Especially when I see so many of the people being hired are younger, inexperienced and/or friends of somebody making the hiring decisions. I’ve watched a number of the positions for which I applied and was past over, be reposted a short time later. I’ve watched organizations hire the wrong people and a short time later– they are looking for a bail out. Other positions, particularly those a substantial distance away, don’t pay well enough to make the commute worthwhile or only offer poverty level wages for exempt, full time hours.

CreativityDefI’ve also noticed a large number of organizations are only seeking part time without benefits but with full time expectations; or unpaid interns to fill what should be full time paid positions. I understand for many organizations, this is their only choice, or final attempt, to stay afloat. Quite a few long-standing organizations are on the edge of financial collapse and a number have shut their doors in the past few years. Many arts organizations are struggling to survive. What they really need is someone like me, with the experience and background to help them stabilize their company and infuse their efforts with new growth.

Office politics and financial instability are killing many fine arts institutions. That, and poor leadership without vision.

So I’m going to stop frustrating myself in the search and instead, focus on being productive through other facets of my creativity.

Less looking and more doing.

leo-burnett-on-creative-peopleI know the right situation is out there, whether it’s yet to be discovered or I create it myself. The time for me to act is now. I’m really tired of waiting.

Maybe that right management or creative theatrical position will turn up. Who knows? I’m not going to wait for it though.

It’s a new year. So, on to new challenges, new adventures and new discoveries.

Writing, photography, design… creative management, consulting, branding, marketing… who knows where I’ll end up. I have more creative interests and talents than I have time to pursue. Maybe pursuing one of my often overlooked interests will leading be in an entirely different direction.

Wherever it is, I’m sure the journey through 2015 will be an exciting one.


1 Comment

  1. Susan bieschke says:

    BRAVO ! I think you have enormous talents in so many areas that you will be successful in ANY/ALL that you choose to pursue. Best of luck on your new adventure in 2015. The FAVES I know about . . . Dogs, Decorating and Photograhy.


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