Social Distancing Gig Guide: Tips for the COVID19 Downtime

To say things are crazy right now would be an understatement. Our team met to decide how to move forward through the current environment and have come up with a guide, that we will update, with as much information as we can find to help YOU get through the challenging next few weeks.

This guide should be helpful for anyone in the Event Production industry including Stage Managers, Lighting Designers, Stagehands, Lighting Techs, Grips, Riggers, Electricians, and all the other jobs in the field. We’ll provide an all-encompassing rundown of things you can do to better your position in the industry during this downtime, why it’s important to find the silver lining in all of this, and 8 tips you can start using now to better yourself for the future.

Table of Contents

Consider Using Your Skills to Hold You Over

Most of us have more free time on our hands than we’re used to. Start spending some of that time you’re used to working each week on finding different work. Staying busy using the skills you already know can strengthen those skills while also giving you a little piece-of-mind. Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas:

  • Have a skill like Web Design or are you able to teach what you already know? There are sites that allow you to list your skills and other people can hire you to do a job. This can help you brush up on those skills and provide an income.
  • Reach out to your friends. Social media is a powerful tool, and just making a simple post seeing if anyone needs your skills could be a goldmine.
  • Be willing to take on work (even part-time work) that isn’t necessarily related to your skills. Many grocery stores are desperate for help right now.

Look for Relief Programs

Take some time to search online for applicable relief programs that are available to you. We’ll continue to update this post and write deeper dives into each section as we find helpful information, so stay tuned. If we see opportunities for relief, we will post them here.

Learn Something New

This will end up being our largest section and the one that we do the most extra content for. There is no better time than now to start building your skills and making yourself more valuable. Focus heavily on learning one of the following skills, or try to learn a basic overview of the ones that interest you:

  • Lighting Programming
  • Lighting Design / Plotting Software
  • General Coding knowledge
  • Specialized Control Software
  • 3D Modeling or Animation Software

Revise or Rework Your Resume and Online Presence

When was the last time you updated your resume? Do you have a website? Take the time to really look at your resume and find ways to make it current. We will share tips and techniques to help you build a world-class resume over the next few days. And now that you’re learning one of the skills above, you’ll have something new to it!

Websites aren’t a necessity, but they are incredibly affordable now, and most are very simple to design and publish. Again, we’ll be sharing a ton of tips to help you with this over the next few days/weeks, so check back often if you’re ready to create an online presence.

How are your social media accounts? This is the easiest to fix or clean up. In our industry, Instagram is king. There are some basic rules to follow to really start gaining followers and showing off your work. We’ll cover them all soon!

Make New Friends and Reconnect With Old Ones

We get it, making friends as an adult can be difficult — especially when we’re all practicing Social Distancing — but it’s not impossible. There are a ton of groups online with people who share your interests. Start getting involved and you will naturally make new friends.

  • Let your new friends know what you’re skilled at. Find out what their skills are. This is a good time to trade or barter your knowledge with someone who can provide you with knowledge. Maybe they know Vectorworks and you know how to build a website. Try working together to see how you can both help each other out.
  • There are a lot of online groups for our industry where people ask questions. Jumping in with an answer is another way to make new friends.

It’s also a good idea to reconnect with your old friends. Even if you haven’t spoken in years, now is a good time to reach out and check on them. Maybe go through their Facebook page and see what’s new in their life so you have something to discuss, then CALL them. Yes, that texting machine you have can actually make phone calls too.

Start Facetiming more. Since we can’t go to a bar and socialize with our friends, try a video group chat over beers. It might sound silly, but it will keep you in good spirits and strengthen your friendships.

Cut Back on All Unnecessary Expenses

Cutting back on expenses might sound difficult, but it might be easier than you think. When was the last time you looked through your credit card statements? Pull up the last three months worth of statements and go through them to see your expenses. Chances are, you have one or two monthly subscriptions you forgot all about that you can cancel. Or maybe you didn’t realize how much you were spending on Steam games. Either way, reviewing your credit card and bank statements can give you amazing clarity about your spending and help you find places to make cuts.

It’s also a good time to prioritize the essentials and cut everything else out. Since we’re practicing social distancing anyway, maybe you can start making your own coffee at home instead of making that Starbucks run. If your gym is closing down temporarily, try calling to see if they will pause your account until they reopen.

We’ll be sharing a list of ways to cut back on expenses soon, so check back often.

Remember This Feeling

If there is one thing you absolutely MUST take out of our current situation is the feeling you have right now. Remember it! We’re all feeling our share of anxiety over the Coronavirus and how it’s changing our work environment — don’t forget that anxiety once the gigs start coming back. Try to stick to the money-saving tricks you adopt during this period and start an emergency fund. That way, the next time something hits, you’ll be better prepared to handle it.

Stay Healthy

This probably goes without saying, but let’s all do our part to stay healthy. Outdoor walks are encouraged, as long as you keep your distance from others. Go on Youtube and find a bodyweight workout to try at home. Washing hands is crucial, but your physical and mental health are equally important. We will be updating this page with creative ways to stay healthy, cheap meal plans, and maybe even some yoga tutorials.

Conclusion

We wanted to provide you with a general outline of what you can expect from us over the next few days or weeks. We’re all in this together, and we’re using our downtime to try to find as many tips and tricks as we can, to help us all get through this and come out stronger and more valuable on the other side!

  • This page will be updated regularly with links to other posts we create that go deeper into each topic.
  • We’ll share all new posts across Facebook and Twitter.
  • Our instagram will probably look a bit different than you’re used to seeing. We’ll still have pictures of gear occasionally, but we really want it to make it more helpful to our followers, so expect a lot of what you see here to show up there — in a different format.
  • We’ll be taking to our Instagram stories to find out what you all are interested in hearing more about, or sharing fun or inspirational things we come across.
  • And don’t forget that we have a big announcement regarding software training. We should be announcing that within the next 24 hours!!!

Need help? Call our office at (404) 872-0553