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Bri Cooper Business Entrepreneur


By Bri Cooper

Welcome to “B” School For Performing Artists

Bri cooper, welcome to “B” School for performing artists.  This series will include information that will help you to become more business savvy when it comes to your business as a performing artists. I have over 20 years’ experience in the field of music as an opera singer. I earned my M.B.A. with a concentration in International Business, as well as a specialization from Northwestern University in Social Media Management. I have always been a multi-passionate person and knew that understanding the inner workings of creating a business and livelihood that you love within the industry is important. If you are wondering about the” B” – it represents so many things Be, Business, Bridgette and yes I think of myself as (flaws and all) the Queen Bee. So enough about me, let’s get to you.
The 3 B’s: The Foundation of Success

1) Be Prompt – It seems like common sense right? I cannot tell you how many actors, singers, performing artists in general, that I have seen “let go” because of chronic lateness. Take a long look at yourself, is this you? When I toured with Opera companies and Broadway companies, it was not tolerated and three strikes they did not kick you out but they definitely let you know they were looking at you, tracking you and holding you accountable when contract renewal time rolled around again.

Ask me how I know. Fast forward to when I decided to “settle down” (no such thing) and got married. I took on a regular job, had a child but that acting bug would not let me go. I wanted to experience television. Now, I will tell you, I took on way too much. I was trying to make a positive impression. On the fourth day of filming,  I showed up late after getting off work late, picking up my daughter from day care, making dinner for my now (ex) husband, then getting lost on my way to the set. Luckily, the Production Assistant saw that I was frantic when I finally found the location. She said “You are so late listen, we have been watching you but as a sister to sister don’t ever be late. They do not want any excuses, they are running a million dollar business and the show has to get done on time. So whatever you need to do fix it and don’t be late again.”  That was the end of that discussion.

The next day, of course I planned things out a bit differently and was there ahead of schedule. The following week my agent called and said “They asked about you, I told them you are an opera singer. They want you for a small role but it has a close up and it is with the two leads of the show. One line. You interested?” The rest is history. People learn more about you from just watching you then what you think, even before you open your mouth, they have you summed up. I was never late again and I had an amazing experience on the set.

2) Be Selfish – This business will drain you if you let it. When you think about it, if you are passionate about your craft and performing, every time you perform, prepare and even go out for an audition you are giving a piece of  you. If you do not take time for yourself and allow people to run you, or allow yourself to take on too much, for fear of an opportunity not rolling around again, then you are high risk for being drained, as in nothing left to give. You hear about celebrities being hospitalized for exhaustion all of the time.  As an artist, we already know what we are getting into. We already know that we might have to work 5 jobs at a time. Which means you are already burning the candle at both ends, not to mention when you take on the added responsibility of a family and maintaining a home.

Remember the story I just told you about being prompt? Well, if I had just been more selfish with my time, I probably would not have been late. If I told my (ex) husband to pick up my daughter, if I had prepared dinner the night before and put it in the freezer,  I would have been able to leave earlier to get to the set. I had to learn how to “B” selfish with my time. So get your rest, learn to say no, spend time preparing the night before, if not a couple of nights before. It will go a long way in your auditions and performances.

3) Be Committed – Your role as a performing artist is to stay committed to the character and to commit yourself to the audience during the performance. Being committed also means that you understand what you are getting into and even if you absolutely end up hating the job, if you stay committed to the task at hand and focus on the goal, people remember you because of your great attitude and your willingness to stick through it with a smile. I have to add, if you are in a situation where you are being mentally, physically or verbally abused, run don’t walk to the nearest exit. That being said, if you are in a situation where it is a matter of just not getting along with a co-worker because of personality differences, try to stick with it. You might just make a new friend, make a great impression, and be remembered in a conversation when it comes to casting.

As you can see, the 3 B’s go hand in hand, you will not have much success with one and not the other. If you are doing one, 9 times out of 10 you are organically incorporating the other two. Share some of your foundations of success with Urban Buzz! Use HASTAG #3BsOfSuccess and join the conversation by sharing your experience.

Bri Cooper is an Opera Singer, producer and host of TV and Radio’s Operaluscious and Urbanbuzzmag.com guest writer and Key Player. She has performed on stages internationally and featured in Black Enterprise Magazine, Scholar Magazine, ABC Here and Now, NASDAQ “Ignite your Ambition” campaign and named one of the 25 Women Changing the World by Conversations Magazine. Please follow Bri Cooper on Twitter @BridgettCooper, FB: Bridgette Cooper, Mezzo Soprano, Instagram: The Mezzo Maven. Visit her website www.bricooper.net


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