I was recently asked by a very talented 18-year-old aspiring Country Western singer whether she should try to get on a singing competition tv show. She was concerned about their requirement that contestants sign management contracts with the show producers. She felt that this would limit her options going forward.

I’ve encountered versions of this question many times from writers, directors, and actors whose motivation for this concern seems to be to keep their options open for a better situation.

Be careful that in your attempt to keep all your options open, you don’t repeatedly reject employment which will expand your experience, add to your credits, potentially lead you to another job (work begets work), and, most importantly, get you tangibly engaged in the business. Anyone who has a job or a contract is “in the game.”  Everyone else is “trying to get in the game.” Once you’re in the game, it’s easier to stay in the game and get more work and more useful contacts.

Remember, contracts can be renegotiated in success, canceled in failure, and they eventually expire…and while you’re under contract, someone other than you is hopefully working to advance your career, because that’s the only way that they will benefit from a contract with you.

Next time you’re asked to do a job, or someone wants to put you under contract (under the proper terms), ask yourself…”Do I want to be in the game, or be trying to get in the game?”