How to be noticed by the hiring powers

I assume that all of you artists out there know that you have to be proactive in order to make a living out of your art: replying to ads for gigs every day, telling everyone that you're available, giving away business cards, having a website, a resume at hand, headshots, etc...

I've just recently came to realize that being proactive is not enough these days, and that more and more people are being more than PROactive, they're being PREactive.
Let me explain. Here are three good things to do as a preactive artist:
  • Reply to ads that are NOT for you. For example, I wanted to hire this drummer I had worked with for a show, but he wasn't available. I had previously posted an ad for a bass player, and this one drummer had let me know that he was available and interested in playing the show. When the drummer I wanted didn't work out, guess what?  I didn't post a new ad and sort through thousands of emails, I contacted that one drummer that stuck out of the pile of bassists, and he's been the drummer of the show ever since!
  • Contact the people that are in charge of a project you want to be a part of. I had been working as a pianist for this theatre program for a few years, and I had told them that I wanted to music direct, but they never did musicals. Well, they did decide to do musicals, but by the time I learned about it, the director of the program (who didn't know me), had hired a music director. I thought that the job naturally belonged to me, but you know what? A new music director from the area had contacted the director of the program as soon as he had heard about the show, and he got hired for it. Two lessons in there: tell people you don't know that you want to be a part of their project, and know people who are in charge of hiring at your work place.
  • Help the person in charge of hiring with something that matters. I was looking for singers to work with, and after auditioning a bunch of people I found this awesome girl, nice, pretty, and of course, a talented actor and singer. That was enough for me, but before she had even come in to audition, she had let me know about this other singer that would be interested and put us in contact. When that singer didn't work out, she told her friends about my project, and had somebody else email me, that ended up doing the show. Do I want to work with her again? You bet!
Do you think preactive is the way of the future, or do you think it's not worth the effort? Have you ever been preactive?


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