Guest Post: Russell Dean Shultz on Shakespeare & Unemployment

What’s going to get you through the hard times? As actors, we all know about unemployment. It’s a vicious cycle that seemingly has no end in sight: you’re unemployed, you audition for a show, you’re hired, you complete rehearsals and the run and then you’re unemployed again.

One writer has taken to to comment on how Shakespeare lessened the depression of unemployment:

Someone once told me that the best way to combat writer’s block was simply to write something everyday, no matter how mundane or insignificant one may think the writing to be.

Shultz in Echo Theatre's "A Most Dangerous Woman"

When I go through periods when I’m not onstage, I read plays, work on Freytags, study books on voice specifically and theatre at large in addition to my voice workout.  I find that articles, unless they are journal articles, tend to reduce my attention span.  I purposefully try to avoid short articles on these subjects, preferring instead to read books.  It’s just too easy for me to fall into the trap of thinking I fully grok a subject from reading what amounts to an opinion piece online.

At any rate, I think it is vital for theatrical artists to find ways of staying relevant for themselves.  Don’t wait for someone to give you a job.  Be aggressive, find something that interests you and work on it everyday.  It can be any aspect of your business, from the marketing to the artistic, but it is incumbent upon us all to keep focused and to make contributions no matter how insignificant you may think they are at the time: remember, your “throwaway” thought can quickly become another’s keystone.

About Russell:  After five years in New York and as many in Florida, Russ is once again proud to call Dallas home.  A Texas native, Russ earned his B.A. in Theatre Arts from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he earned the Dows Award for Outstanding Contribution by a Theater Major and was the inaugural recipient of the David Redford Outstanding Actor Award.  Russ worked in the Dallas area for many years as a professional actor, appearing in such plays as The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing, Romeo and Juliet, The Three Musketeers and on television in Walker, Texas Ranger, Wishbone and Dallas, The Reunion.  Russ has also performed in many industrial films and commercials.

Russell Dean Shultz

Russ was accepted into the University of Florida’s Professional Actor Training Program where he studied voice under Yanci Bukovec, one of the world’s foremost masters of the Lessac Vocal Technique and Marcel Marceau’s performance partner.  Russ earned his MFA on full fellowship, receiving two merit based scholarships, the Hubbell Scholarship and the Christopher Williams Memorial Scholarship, for which he was once again the inaugural recipient.  Utilizing the vocal techniques of Arthur Lessac, Kristin Linklater, Cecily Berry and Patsy Rodenburg, Russ has developed a comprehensive approach to vocal training, focusing on the text as the primary element in character.  Most recently Russ co-directed Oedipus The King, with his mentor Yanci, which toured Athens, Greece this summer. Russ was seen in WaterTower Theatre’s production of Our Town last fall and in The Madwoman of Chaillot at The University of Florida this past spring.  He received critical acclaim in this year’s original production of A Most Dangerous Woman at Echo Theatre and will once again be onstage in Stage West’s production of New Jerusalem in 2012.

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