Suzanne Lyons discusses the importance of networking and offers great information on creating relationships within the Entertainment Industry.
by: Suzanne Lyons
Early on in my producing career here in Los Angeles I would be at a party or event and all too often people would approach me and say, “Suzanne, I hear you’re a film producer. I’m an actor, here’s my headshot.” Or, “Hi, my friend told me you’re a producer. I’m a director, here’s my reel.” Or, “Here’s my screenplay,” “Here’s my composer CD,” etc…
It drove me crazy! In every other business in the world we create relationships (or should!) first. Don’t just jump right into action, “Please read my script.” Create a relationship, talk about the possibility of working together, the opportunity and the benefits that could be provided and then, and only then, make a request (take the action.)
Like location is to a real estate agent, the same holds true in the entertainment industry. Instead of “location, location, location”….. it’s “networking, networking, networking.” You want to create authentic relationships with people. In a six week long workshop I led years ago the homework was to have a party each week and at the party (and during the entire six weeks) you were not allowed to talk about your career. So often when we’re meeting people for the first time or we’re in a group of people, we get nervous or scared and we feel comfortable only talking about our jobs and careers.
The idea of not being allowed to talk about your career for six weeks really helped people break that habit. It forced people to talk about something other than their career! So, if you loved hiking, you invited your friends to go hiking and you asked them to bring along the casting director friend of theirs, because you’d done your homework and you knew that she loved hiking as well. Or you knew that director you wanted to meet loved gourmet cooking as much as you did, so you asked a friend of yours who knew him to invite him to your gourmet cooking party. Your friends felt comfortable inviting their friends because they knew you weren’t going to talk about anything other than hiking or gourmet cooking.
During that workshop if someone asked you what you did, you told them. But the whole idea was to get people sharing about the things in life that they loved, the things they were excited and passionate about. Not just their career. It was a lot of fun and what surprised me more than anything was that during that six week seminar the participants got more jobs than in any of the Flash Forward Institute seminars combined! People got back in touch with who they were and all the other wonderful aspects of life that they loved.
By: Carolyne Barry
It is important to understand the differences between “Acting Classes” and “Scene Study”? Up until recently, because I never really thought about it, I believed they were synonymous. Even the dictionary does not differentiate. But after researching the concept, I now know there is a big difference and you should to.
I believe the major distinction is like the difference between a “house-building” class and a carpentry class. One has an instructor to oversee the construction of the project, and directs the student carpenter on what needs to be done to the walls and railings, etc, -helping direct him/her to build that particular house before moving on to the next one. Whereas in a carpentry class the instructor teaches each student how to master the use of each tool, thus making him a master carpenter first, before empowering him to go off with confidence in applying his skill set on most any project. For the actor, who has no clear set of “tools,” he will eventually be lost without his scene study teacher, who in many cases held the actor’s hand until the scene was brought to fruition, – thus giving actors a false sense that they are ready to tackle countless scenes that have yet to even be written. In contrast, in a good acting technique class, the tools to be a great actor are taught first, and then applied to scenes, making the work more about the growth and creativity of the actor than the fulfillment of the scene as the teacher interprets it. In short, a scene study class may make him or her feel good about their work, but in truth they will learn more about their scene than they do about themselves as artists.
For those more dedicated to developing the building blocks to strong techniques (especially new actors) then “acting classes” are the way to go. I personally recommend starting with an acting class with a teacher who is using established techniques or maybe their version of it (which many do). Training this way gives new actors the foundation and tools to eventually not be dependent on their teachers to create quality auditions and work. This is why I am a fan of new actors as well as some self-proclaimed professionals starting their training with ACTING classes.