This Soaring Solo blog focuses on how develop your solo show package.
“Find out who you are and be that person. That’s what your soul was put on this Earth to be. Find that truth, live that truth, and everything else will come.” -Ellen DeGeneres
As an ambitious twenty-something living in the Big Apple right after graduating college, I had one goal, and one goal only, to become a famous television actor.
At that time, my entire life revolved around that dream. I dropped plans at a moment’s notice to hop on the subway and book it across town for a last minute audition. I cut holidays short with my family in the Midwest to ensure I was back East just in case my agent called with a gig. I didn’t have much of a romantic or social life because most of my free time was spent obsessing over my aspirations. I lived frugally, putting every asset I had toward headshots, acting classes, and anything else I needed to pursue a career in this industry.
Even with all of those efforts and some mediocre success along the way, I knew that in order to really achieve my objective, I needed to find a unique way to grab the attention of agents and casting directors in a city that was oversaturated with hungry actors looking for their big break.
With that game plan in place, I assessed that a skillset of mine was being a chameleon who could morph in and out of characters, and I also acknowledged that I had been a writer since I first learned how to pick up a pen. So, I thought to myself, “How about I use these talents to create a stage showcase of all of my characters and just link it together with a basic storyline.”
And from this career-minded idea, my first solo show “OBLIVIOUS TO EVERYONE” was born.
I had no clue that from this kernel of an idea I would stumble upon my life purpose, and that my purpose was not at all what I once thought it was going to be.
While my first solo show did lead me to book many acting gigs, afforded me an incredible management team, and allowed me to tour all over the world, it was not until I started being asked to teach what I do to others that I discovered my true calling.
When I stopped trying to force my goal of television stardom and surrendered to the path that was divinely unfolding before me, I unearthed profound purpose in my work and a depth of joy that my acting ambitions had never given me.
All of a sudden, watching my IMDB credits climb was of zero significance to me. My passion became unlocking the story inside of each person through the art of solo theatre.
Performing my show became only one aspect of the total package that I offered as a solo artist. I began doing residencies at Universities, workshops at churches and conferences, and individual coaching all centered around teaching others how to write and perform their own one person play.
That said, solo theatre is actually a fantastic vehicle to reach television and film success. Just look at John Leguizamo, Whoopi Goldberg and Phoebe Waller-Bridge to name a few!
Therefore, my point is certainly not to talk you out of fame and fortune. Instead, my goal is to inspire you to investigate the complete package you can offer the world as a solo artist beyond just performing your play.
That said, I am dedicating today’s blog to helping you hone in on your particular zone of genius and how you might bring that skillset into the marketplace as a solo artist.
1. What is a special skill that you utilize in your life or in your one person play that you can help others to learn?
For example, one of my clients Diana is a hysterical improv and sketch comedian. So, she is able to perform her show SHATTERED and then offer a workshop alongside it that focuses on utilizing comedy as a device to have difficult conversations and express hard feelings.
Another client of mine, Kamakshi, has a Masters in Spiritual Psychology and is deeply in tune with healing and processing past traumas.This rare attribute not only allows Kamakshi to give an honest and vulnerable performance of her one-woman show “WILD AT HART,” but it also enables her to guide others through their own painful past and into meaningful transformation.
Then there is my client Kevin who is a tremendous poet and actor. So, when he walks off stage from performing his award-winning, one-man show “VERSATILE,” he often steps into a session with someone who wants to learn about writing riveting poetry or deepening the emotional truth of their performance.
All three of these clients have located gifts within themselves that they can pay forward in addition to their contributions as solo artists on stage.
2. Who is your ideal client?
You might be thinking you have no idea who your ideal client is. As solo artists we are more prone to considering who our audience is, not who our clients are. Yet, if you are interested in taking your work off of the stage and out into the real world, you must start considering who can benefit most from the things that you tackle in your solo show.
For instance, who private messages you after your performance wanting to continue the conversation you started on stage? Who waits for you in the lobby after the show and just opens up to you about how much they related to your story? Who bombards you with questions during your post show Q&A?
These are all things to pay attention to because it is showing you who wants more of what you have to offer long after you have bowed and walked off stage.
3. What message is in your mess?
Most of our solo shows have a lot of drama. I like to call this our “mess.” From this mess, we often find our message.
Not only is your message a powerful monologue at the end of your solo script, but it is often a solid premise for an offering off-stage.
For example, my client TL is a self proclaimed sex and love addict who explores these themes in her one-woman show “THE BOOK THAT WON’T CLOSE: CONFESSIONS OF A LOVE ADDICT.” She uses this experience of addiction along with her training in BDSM, sacred shadow and erotic awakening work to help clients authentically express themselves in their writing.
Another client of mine Michelle found herself in an abusive relationship for many years that nearly took her life. Not only did she write and perform an empowering one-woman show “BUT I LOVE HIM,” but she also went on to start a non profit, lead seminars, book speaking engagements, and write a book all on the themes of domestic violence.
Or to use myself as an example, in my second solo show “ZE” I created an alter-ego “Tessa” who was Queer and closeted due to her religious upbringing. Inspired by my own life struggles, I was able to tour the world performing ZE and then lead post show discussions about the LGBTQIA+ community, homophobia, and learning to proudly step out of the closet and love freely. This was how I turned my own “mess” into a message that could help others.
So, I hope you will ponder the three questions I listed above and discover your own powerful package as a solo artist that extends beyond the 60 minutes you spend sharing your story on stage.
I believe that our solo shows are very important, but they are just a portion of all of the tremendous value we are capable of bringing to the world with our work.
Well, solo artists, I sincerely hope that today’s blog gave you some insights and inspiration as you continue along on your solo journey. It may not be easy, but it is so worth it!
Enjoy these Solo Theatre Resources to further guide you on your solo journey!
Tune in and Support the Soaring Solo Community as we share our stories from stage!
Award winning Director & Developer, Jessica Lynn Johnson, hosts a slew of powerful solo show script readings and full staged productions addressing various impactful and inspiring topics.
This enticing lineup can be found by CLICKING HERE FOR MORE INFO.
Start writing your own solo show one Freewrite at a time with “FREEWrite Friday”!
Join BEST NATIONAL SOLO ARTIST WINNER Jessica Lynn Johnson for FREEWrite Friday!
Utilizing thought-provoking writing prompts, Jessica will lead you in writing exercises that are sure to assist you in the development of your solo show.
A One Person Play is not typically written in one fell swoop. Rather, the Soaring Solo Methodology teaches that the creation of Solo Art is much like that of creating a Mosaic…one beautiful piece at a time.
All that is required to attend this inspiring event is a willingness to explore, having a pen, paper, or some other means of capturing your thoughts, the ability to access Zoom, and signing up on this page as your official RSVP.
We look forward to having you join the Soaring Solo Community in this event because your story matters!
CLICK HERE TO RSVP and obtain the Zoom link and password.
Attend the Soaring Solo FREE One Person Play Development class ONLINE!
No matter where you are in the creation of your solo show, idea phase, curiosity phase, full draft written, touring the festival and college market,BEST NATIONAL SOLO ARTIST and Founder of Soaring Solo, Jessica Lynn Johnson, will meet you where you are at and take you to the next level! All that is required to attend is a willingness to explore, a pen, and some paper. No previous writing or performance experience necessary, and no need to have written anything to bring to class. Each week Jessica will guide you in exercises to help generate and stage NEW material! So come and meet other creatives in a supportive space for expression and exploration! The class is ongoing and so you may pop in and out as you please as long as you RSVP by clicking here for this FREE ONE PERSON PLAY CLASS.
Schedule an Online Coaching Consultation with Jessica Lynn Johnson to discuss the possibilities for your solo show!
Jessica brings her 15+ years of solo theatre expertise to work privately with solo artists from all over the world on an as needed basis.
A 1 on 1 Consultation is for you if…
-You are curious about creating a solo show, but you need writing prompts to help you generate material.
– You are tossing around ideas for your solo show, but you need some accountability and encouragement to commit those ideas to the page.
-You have already written some material, but you need expert feedback on editing, story structure and play formatting.
-You have a great first draft, but need guidance on how to utilize multimedia and solo theatre technique in order to make your show a dynamic piece of solo theatre.
-You already premiered your solo show and now you want some tips on how to tour colleges and festivals, and garner accolades and great reviews!
-You have heard great things about Jessica’s work and you’re curious about hiring her as a Director & Developer for your solo show, but first you want to feel her out and see if she is the right fit for you and your project.
Wherever you may find yourself on your solo journey, Jessica will help you overcome whatever immediate obstacle stands between you and your solo success.
If you resonate with many of the things on this list, then take the next step by emailing SoaringSoloArtist@gmail.com for more information.