Is Having A Back-Up Plan Really So Bad?

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  • Nikki Scamuffo

I’ve heard many differing opinions about my budding career in the entertainment industry. The words brave, risky, difficult, unstable, and exciting come to mind. These differing opinions come from people both in and out of the entertainment industry. The point is, everyone has an opinion about your career in the arts.

However, you’ll often hear about having a “back-up” plan, especially if you’re on the performance side of the arts. Some people highly discourage having a back-up plan because they feel that it will make the performer less passionate about their work. Others think that performers need a back-up plan to survive. These differing opinions can get confusing for a performer; you want to stay passionate, but you want to be responsible. So, what do you do?

Honestly, my opinion is to listen to your heart and take everyone’s opinions with a grain of salt. Some performers won’t want the distraction of a back-up plan, so they’ll opt out. However, some performers may feel like they’re floundering without any form of security. Overall, you need to analyze how you work best as an artist and as a person. If you’re constantly stressed about your finances, will you be making good art? If you’re constantly stressed about a full-time job, will you be making good art? In the end, the decision comes down to the artist.

Personally, I’m bad at making decisions! That’s why entering my college career as a musical theatre major felt right and wrong at the same time. Of course, I’m majoring in my passion, but I’m a person who likes to have a lot of opportunities, options, and stability in my life. So, I made a bit of a compromise.

I have a musical theatre major which teaches me about the art of acting, voice, dance, stage management, stagecraft, and even scenic design. However, I also have a double minor in business & entertainment and entrepreneurship. Right now, I’m super busy during my semesters, but I feel that I’m covering all of my bases. 

My two minors are allowing me to work in all aspects of the entertainment industry. Even if I’m not necessarily performing, I can work in artistic direction, production, casting, management, and much more. I’m someone who just loves to be involved in the entertainment industry in any way that I can, so for me, giving myself a lot of options was the way to go.

My way is not necessarily the right way! My way is what, so far, is right for me. If a performer is only happy when they’re performing, a back-up plan may sound like a career death sentence. However, if the performer is comfortable pursuing a few interests at a time, they should consider a back-up plan. But overall, listen to yourself as an artist and a person for the answer. Only you know how to make your best art.