After reading an article on FastCompany.com about Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, regarding the hidden trials and tribulations of successful creative artists arriving at their success, I knew I had to write about a recent victory. Look, great things happen to me all the time, but this is probably the most fortuitous occurrence of my entertainment career to date, […]
I once was a member of the now defunct, yet prestigious The Actors Network also known as TAN. Kevin E. West, actor and founder, created and ran the brick and mortar space for 20+ years. It was his way of paying forward resolute information about the entertainment industry, notably, Hollywood. He would tell us how he’d made every mistake a young actor could make, moving to Hollywood, and how he was conscious enough to recognize his mistakes, learn from them and put structures in place that would allow him to make better choices and strides as an actor. Thankfully, he was compassionate enough to share his vast knowledge with the members of The Actors Network.
Kevin would have, top-notch, industry heavy hitters, come to speak to us, almost nightly. They’d demystify all that happens behind the scenes, valuable and priceless information. I learned a great deal on how to navigate Hollywood, how not to squander my time and energy and how to focus on what served me best, as an actor and in my life. That place was a plethora of knowledge and insight, I must admit, I miss it, but I’m grateful to have spent 4 years soaking up the information that I still use to this day. His motto was “Help Me, Help You, Help All Of Us.” Tan was a tightly knit community of, camaraderie, focus, and passion. Kevin just released a book called “7 Deadly Sins – The Actor Overcomes” I’m purchasing my copy today.
One of the things, out of hundreds, that I learned at TAN was, asking agents or casting directors for an internship. Interning can the best on-the-job training for an actor or anyone really. Interning allows us to see just how much is out of our hands and it takes away the neurosis of the “I Shoulda, Coulda, Wouldas.” Most importantly, you build a rapport with the agent or casting director that allows you to forge a long lasting relationship and if you’re lucky enough to be a reader, you get to see the high percentages of people who are not well prepared or allow nerves to ruin their audition. It’s baffling. But, you also get to see the actors who are profound experts at their craft and auditioning.
Last year, around May, I had a lot of time on my hands and I was using it to binge watch television, unapologetically, my favorite pastime. The month of May is typically an industry wide slow month, due to Upfronts. Upfronts are presentations where the major television networks preview their upcoming fall and midseason series for advertisers, the press, and the other networks. For TV development, they are the ceremonial end of pilot season, where the year’s works are displayed. When Upfronts take place, broadcast television and commercial auditions become sluggish until the Upfronts are complete and all the of the ad dollars have been spent. In a nutshell, studios spend millions of dollars wining, dining and entertaining the ad agency and corporate brands to have them return the favor by purchasing commercial time slots, up to billions of dollars. Continue reading