(from BackStage West, Best of Los Angeles – July 20, 2006)
Best Place To Meet Other Actors
The Actors’ Network
Many actors float from acting classes to workshops to networking events making superficial connections that don’t last. The actors who hang out at the Actors’ Network have a different purpose. “They’re looking to create change and development in their careers, not to bitch and moan and complain,” says Vice President Paulo Andrés. For this reason, the Actors’ Network has become known as a place for proactive actors to meet one another.
When founder and President Kevin West created the organization in 1991, he had a simple goal: to educate actors and debunk common myths and misperceptions about the industry. “I just felt like there was an awful lot of information out there in our very subjective profession that we weren’t sharing with one another in a very effective way,” he says.
For the past 15 years, West has done his best to remedy the situation by bringing actors together through his organization’s various resources, which include events with industry guest speakers, topical discussions, a library brimming with 3,000 titles, a demo-reel editing bay, power groups, and auditions held at the organization’s studio space.
The Actors’ Network, which currently has 650 members, doesn’t discriminate or segregate based on actors’ experience levels. Actors just off the bus from Idaho have the opportunity to learn from veteran performers; vets can refresh their enthusiasm for the craft by interacting with amateurs. With business curriculums available that require actors to set goals and reach them month after month, the Network helps actors build not only lasting relationships with one another but also viable careers.
Andrés proudly says the Network’s members possess a certain seriousness and dedication toward their craft, and that’s why 265 of the Network’s members have been with the organization for three years or more. “I love the fact that actors are finding our organization as a place to meet other people, because we don’t hang that on our front door,” he says, admitting that the acknowledgment that actors named this the best place to meet others gave him a warm, fuzzy feeling. “So the fact that this is an element that we’ve kind of created without knowing we were creating—that speaks to me a sense of community, and I love and am proud of that element of the organization.”