(IN FOCUS- SID. POWELL)
“KNOW WHERE YOU FIT!”
The words of veteran, working actress Maria Howell. Maria opens the do it yourself film and tv workshop with witty banter and useful insight on what it means to be a working actor. Hosted at the wonderful Southwest Arts Center in Atlanta, Georgia, event runner Sid Powell, writer/producer gathered some of Atlanta’s best in entertainment for a free teach, question and response workshop.
Maria Howell continued her comical, and truthful wisdom making sure everyone in the room paid close attention to the importance of how to be a working actor in the business. “Don’t compare yourself…be discerning, don’t waste time worrying…” Take it from Maria who’s been a working actress for over 20 years, these are words to live by. Touching on the hot topic of hair, Maria made sure actress’s understood it’s ok to be a fro rockin’, natural hair having, Brown Queen when going on auditions. She says; “that’s what WIGS are for, OKAY!?”
As the evening continued and the Q&A flowed, next in line to speak was voice actor Kozmo Miller. Tapping in to what it means to be a voice actor, Kozmo impressed us all with his wonderful dialect, and tone, he even did a great impersonation of Denzel Washington. His advice? “Make sure you pronounce words correctly…this is very important, it seems obvious, but many do not pronounce words correctly…speech is used to cause an emotion and reaction, its a very serious science, its hard work…as a voice actor it’s important to take an acting class, and to have a director present during your demo recording, not just any director, but one with a resume and history in the business.” Simple advice, but affirming advice for anyone trying to break into the large, steadily climbing voice acting industry.
As the evening went on, everyone in the room felt the positive energy being released, more people opened up, and you could feel the need for more. Screen writer, and professor Caroline Mungo, with her hilarious delivery gave it to us straight, with personal stories to help us relate to her, and wonderful advice on what it takes to have an idea, Caroline set the room a blaze. Most people in the room were film makers, writers, singers, and actors, so as the information surfaced the more the room filled with excitement you could feel. Caroline focused on “script to screen”. She ensured us, “its not hard to find a job in this business…can you come on time, are you cool and able to work with people for 18 hours at a time, and can you be of service? If you can, you will have a job!” With that in mind many of us sighed with relief. With five steps to creating a screen play and having it come to life, Caroline made it easy for us to see, it’s not hard to do, it just takes belief and work.
– Day dream
– Use what you have
– Be conscience of the business triangle (cost, quality, time) you will always have two of the three, but you rarely have all three.
– Be deliberate, make it work
– and finally, stick to your daydream!
After intermission, everyone hurried back to their seats to get free legal advice from attorney Jerry R. Caldwell, Esq. Talk about informative! He assured us on what it means to be a talent, knowing your self worth, understanding that everything is negotiable, and it’s important to invest in yourself, or no one else will. Jerry says there are a few things he always looks for when representing a client before signing anything; “How long will you be in this, how much and when, what am I giving up or receiving, and always, HOW DO I GET OUT” He was stern in saying; “budget for an actual attorney, many don’t even want to spend 45 dollars to copyright their work, but it’s important that you do!”
Last, but not least, Sid Powell, event runner, and accomplished screen writer closed out the event with an ice breaker and great advice. She made us all close our eyes after walking around the room telling us to look at her, and take her in. Once we closed our eyes she asked us to imagine she was a dancer, we opened our eyes and shared what we imagined. One man had to guts to say he imagined her as a stripper, in which Sid was intrigued. The point of the ice breaker was to get a quick insight on step one of creating an idea, “our brains are everything”. Sid simply encouraged the room to go for it, and she beat into our heads the importance of COPYRIGHTING EVERYTHING!!!
Why networking is so important? Because it helps bring together people from all walks of life you’d never expect to meet otherwise. This kind of networking, the kind that does not involve the prim simply giving a card and sasshaying away, is the kind of networking that’s effective. Talking, dreaming together, laughing, and getting to know each other aside from business, this, is true networking.
This was a magical event, a great networking opportunity, great advice, questions, answers, and Brown folks uplifting each other. We even had the incomparable founder of Black Women Film Network, Sheryl Gripper give a few words, which I’m sure encouraged us all. There’s this myth going around that Afrikan Americans do not uplift each other, rather pull each other down, I say, we uplift each other, I say, we love on each other, I say, we are where we are because of each other, I say, we’ll continue this path of positiveness and blessed energy, and if you missed this event, you’ve missed out on something wonderful, but don’t worry, I’m certain there’s more to come.
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