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Survival Guide for Performing Artists

Making Money
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Survival Guide for Performers: Highlights

Discount Dance Supplies
Audition Listings
Web Design
Performers' Publicity
Auditioning
Headshots
Living in NYC
Personal Safety
Apartment Hunting in NYC
Sublets
Health
Saving Money
Making Money
Sheet Music Stores
Did You Know... 
Other Resources 

HOW TO MAKE MONEY (legally!) 
in New York City 
while waiting for your Big Break

$  $  $  $  $  $  $  $  $  $  $  $  $  $  $  $  $  $ $

Performing - Temping

 

Singing/Acting/Dancing

 

 
Kids’ programs (Education at the Met, NYCO Education Outreach, Arts for Anyone, Opera on the Go, Opera Adventure, etc.)
Church Choir/Soloist/Cantor Jobs
Temple Choir/Soloist Jobs (especially during High Holy Days) - if you’re not Jewish, you may only sing in a Reformed congregation, but there are plenty of them
Teaching
Singing Telegrams
Industrial Shows & Corporate Entertainment
Make your own event (Recitals, pops concert programs, educational programs, etc.)
Stand-up comedy
Playing characters at parties
Voiceovers
 

"Temping"

The most popular and reliable means of supporting yourself between auditions and gigs, "Temping" is working as a temporary office worker in the Corporate World.  There are many many temp agencies in New York City, and around the US.  Some offer health insurance,  direct deposit (very handy), referral bonuses, vacation pay, etc.  It is rare to find one which offers all these benefits, and if it does, the pay is usually rather low.  Sometimes the difference between a high wage and a low one  is only the agency itself.  You should, therefore, shop around to find one that provides the benefits/pay package you desire. Backstage (a show business weekly paper) has an annual issue devoted to rating and comparing NYC temp agencies. Consult the phone book to find temporary employment agencies in your area.  

Work as a TempWhich skills make the most money? Computer skills of course!  You need to know at least one major word processing program (Microsoft Word is replacing Word Perfect in most large firms, though some law firms still use it) and one major spreadsheet program (Microsoft Excel is more common than Lotus 123)  to get some of the better temp "gigs." Desktop publishing/Graphics positions sometimes pay even more. PowerPoint is an easy program to learn, and in fairly big demand. If you want to go for Graphics jobs, be sure you know Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator as well as Quark (all for the Mac). 

Many performers and others with only basic skills (filing, answering phones, etc.) are able to get started with temp agencies and then learn computer and other skills on the job. 

READ MORE about Working with Temp Agencies.

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Last modified: May 31, 2004