Ben Crane '17

Ben CraneMajor: Popular Music
Hometown: Winchester, England, UK

Describe your current job role:

I am a Walt Disney World entertainer and specialty performer and belong to the Actors' Equity Association. I'm also a professional musician and lead vocalist in my band Rocket To Anywhere

What professional experience(s) did you have prior to your current job role?

I’ve held multiple leading roles in theater productions, as well as full-time positions at many churches , such as music director, creative director, creative department administrator and worship leader. I’ve also written and sold songs to professional outlets and performed in many venues both solo and with backup. My band, Rocket to Anywhere, played at SunFest 2017 in front of 2,500 fans. 

What do you know now that you wish you had known about being a working professional?

I wish I had known more about managing personal finances and the business aspects of the music industry. I got a position in my field as soon as I graduated and had to create a crash course in being an independent business owner. I learned that nobody else knows you like you do, so be sure to study important financial strategies within the context of your own needs and habits.

"Knowing now that there are so many resources available, I wish I had been more willing to ask for help..."

How did PBA prepare you for the world of work?

PBA's popular music department, especially Assistant Professor Roget Pontbriand, supported my extracurricular music projects. He encouraged me and my band mates to explore our own sound and gave us the freedom to write our music and showcase it for our peers and faculty. Professor Mark Aliapoulios understand my voice and made it a baseline for my vocal coaching over four years.  Every day, I use his invaluable tools about how to make the most of my instrument and preserve it over the course of my career. The theater faculty, namely Professor Allen McCoy and Adjunct Professor Janda Taylor, invested in me as a stage actor, despite my not being in the theater department. I realize now that I'm in the roles I am today because of what they taught me. 

What advice would you give to current PBA students and/or young alumni who are about to start their first professional full-time job?

Invest in yourself. Few in the entertainment industry will  support you, if you don't strongly believe in yourself first. Decide your brand and work on it. Promote yourself on social media and create and pursue performance opportunities, including commercial work. Don't be afraid to spend time and money on productive classes.

You can learn something from every person or experience you encounter. The best lessons I have learned have been observing others - responding correctly or incorrectly - to a situation. It can be discouraging to hold a job in a field that you don't see as your future but stay positive. There is a very good reason you are in that role. It is preparing you for something so much better to come. Remember, the reputation you earn as a  hard and efficient worker will follow you the rest of your career.

Have you been mentored by anyone in your professional field since entering the workforce? If so, what impact has that had on you?

The amazing pastors I have worked with made me strong in both my faith and my belief in my own abilities. I thank those incredible PBA professors I mentioned earlier. who treated me as much more than a student.  And here at Disney, I have an amazing support and management team that is encouraging my success in the company. 

Spotlight posted in June 2018. For current updates from Ben, visit his LinkedIn or visit his website here. For the latest updates on Ben's band, visit here