December 08, 2012

Chickens, #hashtags and other fables

DECEMBER 8, 2012

When I first started auditioning for opera companies, the internet was in its infancy, social media was non-existent and email was a thing you used in the computer lab once or twice a week. 

I couldn’t simply “google” it, and the only info I might have on a company, school, or program, was the brochure found on the bulletin board at the Music Faculty saying, “DO NOT REMOVE.” Thus, scheduling auditions for companies outside of my hometown involved:

• sending a snail mail resume, photo & recommendation letter(s)
• calling a week later to follow up to see if they had received my request
• later scheduling an audition with the assistant to the General, or Artistic Director (who would remain a mystery “POWER OF THE OPERA UNIVERSE” until game day.)

It was all very civilized and slightly standoffish but, in a good way: 
We all knew our place. #pishposh #cheerio

Auditions TODAY? 

Assuming that I have already followed, clicked, googled and YouTubed:

• My agent (and I) send everything electronically (and quite often have a reply within an hour)
• I make sure I FOLLOW and LIKE their company in every capacity possible
• research online, that the Artistic Director loves cats, Rick Mercer, and has an affection for wine and quilting. 
• restrain myself from casually mentioning that I “liked” photos of their bathroom reno (which might put me into a stalker category instead of contralto) and pretend that I haven’t seen them wearing a feather boa and a lampshade on their head at their last cast party...

My BEST electronically influenced audition encounter was when a music director said to me, 
“Oh, It’s you... I just ate your CHICKEN!” 

I politely said, “Umm...I beg your pardon?” 

“your pianist forwarded the recipe for Chicken Marbella, It’s AWESOME. 
So....what would you like to sing today?”  

You just never know where your:

• email
• post
• photo
• or tweet 

will next reveal itself. 

I often wonder if we are truly aware of the impression we leave when we MISJUDGE our social media footprints and potentially influence our professional $ relationships (she says as she writes out her life on a blog).  #irony

Granted, the lines of e-professionalism have the potential to become pretty blurry in artistic communities, as we are not fans of censoring our opinions or expressive nature. 

But after:

• witnessing MORE THAN AWKWARD conversations on TWITTER
• receiving EMAILS intended for OTHERS (this is a biggie)
• reading easily MISINTERPRETED comments and photos on FaceBook 

I wonder (yes, myself included) if we really know what the heck we’re doing, as we’re so busy trying to LOOK busy, ultimately not paying attention to the message we're actually sending! 

 *aside: I don’t get Instagram. 

How many MORE places does one really need to post one’s self, taking a picture,
accessorized by the back of one’s phone, in a mirror? 

In general, I would venture to say that there are 2.5 camps in our performers’ circle who depend on their social media footprint to connect: 

#1  Those looking to BE HIRED: Singers, instrumentalists, actors, dancers etc.
#2  Those looking to DO the HIRING: General Managers and Artistic Directors
#2.5 Those who do BOTH: Directors and Conductors

If you are in CAMP #1. You may want to ask yourself:

“Will this email or post, in any way, cause people to question my credibility or talent as a performer... will the producers trust me with their $$$ show? 

If you are in CAMP #2. You may have considered:

“Will this email or post, in any way, cause people to question my credibility or talent as a producer...will the donors still trust me with their $$$ money?”

If you are in CAMP #2.5 

You may want to play it safe and just post pictures of your pets until camps #1 & #2 sort out their e-drama.

Clearly, today's blog has been handcrafted with scientific evidence (my eyes and ears) realizing that we are all doing our best to be:

authentic and thought-provoking 
• funny and wonderfully engaging 

As we figure out how to make social media, and our electronic connections WORK in our FAVOUR (‘cause let’s face it, it’s here to stay) let's remember what my friend P-LO always says, no matter the media you choose: 

“If you wouldn’t post those thoughts on a BILLBOARD 
then don’t post them on the internet.”