More often than not, college graduates and early career professionals feel like they have no idea what they’re doing. In a competitive environment like the arts and entertainment industry, getting your foot in the door sometimes feels like a scary pipe dream. But what if you had someone in your corner that you could come to with all of your questions and that wanted to see you succeed?
That’s pretty much the entire point of mentorship. We’ve been through it all before, we made mistakes, and we want to share our experiences with you.
They help you navigate the in-between
Once you get out of college or your training program, you lose structure and your safety net. You learned the skills, the tools, and now you’re somehow supposed to carve a career for yourself. A mentor who has walked in your shoes before is invaluable to have because they can show you the ropes. At Off The Lane, our Mentors not only care about your creative pursuits, but they also care about your overall well being. While mentorship often looks like helping you get projects off the ground and working on your portfolio, it can also be how to find a good survival job while you’re pursuing your passion and how you do your taxes as a freelance artist. Mentors can answer the questions you didn’t even know you had to answer.
“The guidance that my mentor provided to me was a beacon of light in the fog of uncertainty surrounding the transition to the professional world.”
— Ryan, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, MP2 Mentee
You can learn from their mistakes
You will indefinitely make mistakes in your life and on your career journey. But that doesn’t mean some aren’t preventable. As you’re going through your steps to success with your mentor, they’re bound to share a story or two where they took a wrong turn. Whether it was forgetting to make extra copies of sheet music or not paying rent on time, hearing what happened to them can serve as a helpful reminder and often warns you of something you didn’t even know you had to worry about.
“Working as a mentor with Off The Lane has allowed me to provide the answers and the guidance that I would have wanted when I first moved to NYC to pursue my dreams.“
— Annette, 2020 Mentor
You build a meaningful relationship with each other
The relationship between Mentee and Mentor is mutually beneficial: you get the help you need and they get to give back to a younger generation. It’s a rare kind of relationship that does wonders for your personal and professional development. When you get to a new city ready to take on the world, having someone there already cheering you on can help improve your confidence. At the end of the day, we all just want to feel supported on our journeys, and that is what’s so special about the Mentee/Mentor dynamic.
“What warmed my heart the most about OTL was the time and effort they put into finding a compatible mentor for me. They meet you where you are and encourage growth without the iron fist mentality.”
— Jasmine, Elon University MP3 Mentee
Your Mentor can help you network and build connections
The internet, your school’s career center and LinkedIn have always stressed the importance of networking, but it’s still very daunting. But the good news is, all you need is one person to get things going. Your Mentor is the first person in your new network as a young professional. As they’re helping you get your feet on the ground, sometimes they will connect you with someone who can help you more than them. Maybe you’re looking to produce a short play and your Mentor may know just the right person to find you a venue. Especially in the arts and entertainment industry, artists are trying to prevent gatekeeping so the industry can thrive.
“It is a great way for our community to welcome its new members and ensure their success. It normalizes/unifies artists’ career path to creating a career, rather than it remaining a free for all, do it yourself. We need more of that.“
— Tristan, Mentor 2020/2021
So how can you get a Mentor? Apply to Off The Lane’s Mentorship Program!
There is no singular right path for success, especially when you’re in a creative field. Mentors understand this and are willing to work with your own unique path. At Off The Lane, the Mentorship Program is built to connect you with artists that want to help you however they can. We match Mentees with Mentors that fit them best, from area of focus to personalities. Our goal is that with the help of a Mentor, you are able to gain confidence as you begin your professional career. It’s such an exciting time in your life and we are so grateful to help you fly!
“Our entire team at OTL saw the need for a Mentorship Program for aspiring artists making the move to NYC. Having someone to show you the ropes and provide useful tips is a game changer… Not to mention being a part of a like minded community when first arriving in NYC! This is something we all wish we had. “
— Kristal Mallookis, President