I would like to take a moment to define and perhaps redefine two terms that get tossed about far too freely in the performing arts community (e.g. theater, improv, music, comedy, etc). As some listeners and readers already know, I have a full time job and a child. However, I am also a shitty parent and compulsive creator. So, though these terms have rarely ever been applied to me, I find their common use distasteful.

How it’s used: someone lacking sufficient dedication to pursue their craft beyond the status of a pastime

Common true meaning: someone with a busy life and a lot of responsibilities, who can’t afford to drop everything at a moment’s notice, so they do as much as they can, when they can; typically on non-work days

How it’s used: someone who isn’t good enough or doesn’t work hard enough to get booked for “real” (meaning “paid”) gigs

Common true meaning: someone who isn’t popular or established enough to get booked for paid gigs, but still chooses to pursue their craft with or without compensation; often hesitant to request paid work, believing it must first be earned through diligent participation

I have encountered and personally used these derogatory terms in every performance art I have ever done. I would like to see a day when they are either laid to rest, or properly defined. Until then, to all the “weekend warriors” and “open mikers” out there, keep up the good work. You’re an inspiration to those who understand.


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