Some of my Civic Theater students and Fringe producers.
I am employed full time as the LifeRaft program director for the SAG Foundation. I have been at the job part time since October, as I did not want to bail on my teaching commitments half way through the semester. First you might be asking, what is LifeRaft? The LifeRaft program is a series of professional development workshops and seminars to help educate actors about the business side of the entertainment industry. The transition is I will no longer be teaching at the university.
On so many levels taking this job was an obvious decision for me. A 401(k), health benefits, and pension would be something I never would receive as an adjunct professor. The school that I was teaching theater courses at was not ready to offer me a full time position. Also the Foundation job lies within my field and allows me the opportunity to meet so many industry professionals as well as the freedom to continue to audition.
With all that being true, I will also miss the APU Theater students and the work I was doing with them. I felt I was just starting to find my niche as a faculty member. Through teaching courses like Theater Education and Civic Theater, I was beginning to facilitate discussions around applied and community-based theater. Showing the students that they had more options than New York, Chicago or Los Angeles. Through starting the APU Fringe and 24 Hour festival the ideas of arts entrepreneurship were entering into the students minds as they had to learn how to produce their own work. It inspired me to have one student take her one-woman show to the Hollywood Fringe Festival, and I have two student producers wanting to go to the PAVE Symposium in Phoenix. These two students are from Mesa (just outside of Phoenix), started their own theater company that Linda Essig, head of the PAVE program, wrote about, but not until I talked to them about it, and made this connection, that I encouraged, more like demanded, that they go to the symposium. It also looks like there will be a handful of my civic theater students and Fringe producers that will be going to the ensemble creation techniques workshop led by the Ghost Road Company.
All this to say, as much as I am transitioning further into the film and television industry, so will this blog. While I deeply care about civic, community-based theater and arts entrepreneurship it is becoming clear that is not where my time is meant to be spent. At least not as this time in my life. That being said, I will not be completely off the map from those conversations. Anything I read from that field I will probably post on Facebook and Twitter (@dennisbaker), but not write much about it here. Though, Scott Walters has decided to go positive and start a whole new blog, that alone will need to be shared and tweeted about.