Dear Co-op Student,
Let me introduce myself. My name is Divan Meyer. I am also a co-op student who specialized in Theatre during my placement from the year of 2016 to the year of 2017. I want to give you a little introduction in what one actually do when you work in a Theatre. My placement was with Ovation Performing Arts Academy and I explored the fields of an actor, production assistant, Costume designer, Stage and Props Manager.
Now I gave you a list of positions which you probably have no clue of. Let me explain. An actor is a person who takes words from text and creates a full three dimensional person. There is more to it but Ill leave that to you to explore. Going onto the next position a Production Assistant. Now there are two types of production assistants, the one position works in Theatre and the other one on Movie Sets. In the first type one will be responsible to keep track of schedules, contact info, dates of the shows, the venues and any rehearsal days. On performance days you would be helping setting up the stage, as well as the breakdown of the stage. Basically you assist the director's needs. The second position is a Set Production Assistant also known as a SPA/S'PA the job description is pretty much equal however a SPA is also responsible for making sure the actors are close by for their scenes in a movie set. There can also be over ten SPA's depending on the size of the production. SPA's also announce when it is time to be quiet for filming. Onto a Costume Designer. In essence the costume designer creates clothing in order to make the characters come to life and to express their personalities. Finally a Stage and Props Manager. They make sure the stage and props are ready to go when the curtain comes up and its all in order when the curtain is down.
If you want to be successful in this placement there are two things you need to be able to do. You need to be flexible and you need to be able to take direction. The Entertainment Industry is a very fast paced Industry. Have you ever heard of the expression "Hurry up and Wait". Thats showbiz for you. You will be doing a tone of multitasking all in the last minute. In order to be successful you need to find a way to get it all done in that last minute. That being said you need to be able to take definite direction as well. If you cant set aside your life from show-business and focus on executing your orders, you will not be able to be successful in this field.
The biggest challenge I had in my placement was organizing. Since I had multiple things on my plate, I needed to organize the different tasks I had to do daily. Thing is life can get in the way and then you need to adapt or work around it. You need to learn how to organize yourself in a minute, because everyone working outside and inside the show will depend on you for it. Luckily I found a way to organize myself by asking myself one simple question. "What needs to be done yesterday?" Organize the deadlines in priority from the least to most important and get to work!
I am so grateful for this placement. I have had so many experiences that I never thought I'd even be able to experience.I got to meet people and do things not a lot of teenagers my age would say they have done. This was honestly the best decision I have ever made. I have made connections in the Industry, have worked on a variety of projects and even got to ask experienced artists and actors for tips on how to survive in this type of industry. I broadened my horizons and I have gained so much more knowledge and experience. On top of that I have become a better artist, a better actor and I have been given a chance to really explore The Entertainment career further.