From photos seen, March 17, 2018, St. Patrick’s Day was a big day for many in the Michigan film community. It was the day an estimated 150-200 people gathered at the Mt. Clemens Emerald Theater for a day of networking. Organized by Garrett Thierry this event was called “Michigan Actors to Hollywood Talent. ”
Sponsored byTel K. Ganesan and Kyyba Films the event included the following speakers Joel Paul Reisig, Nicholas David, Coke Horner, Daniel Mark, Sam Logan Khaleghi, Andre Ray, Charlene Jeter, Michael James Alexander, Rich Goteri, Michael Maurice, Sebastian Twardosz, and Harley Wallen,
As Garrett said that this is going to be the first of many such networking events, we thought it important to talk with Garrett and get his ideas and impressions regarding this event.
“Regarding your event “From Michigan to Hollywood Talent” last weekend which took place at the Emerald Theater, Mt. Clemens, I understand it was really well attended. How many people were present for this event?
I do not have an exact number, but my final estimate is that between 150 and 200 people attended. Several could not stay for the entire event and others came for the networking portion.
Speak about your relationship with many of the film makers who attended.
Wow, I really like this question. Back when I was a teenager my main focus was pursuing Major League Baseball, but I always knew deep in my heart I was going to be an actor in Hollywood. With this in mind, I learned early on that the entertainment business was a relationship business and establishing strong connections with like-minded passionate people is the lifeblood of creating a thriving and sustainable career.
When I really started networking at 19 years old I began as an extra finding my way onto as many film sets as I possibly could in Michigan. At each opportunity I always tried to make my best first impression but would also seek others that appeared to have an “It Facor,” or that I sensed were as true and focused about creating a career an actor as I was. Over the course of 10 years my Michigan network has found the following list of names to scratch the surface of those out here creating, connecting, and truly moving and shaking.
The following list of speakers I’ve worked with on many occasions and could tell many stories about times on set, auditioning, or at networking functions.
Daniel Mark, Crystal Creek Media, Michael James Alexander, Westside Warrior Films, Coke Horner, Charl Washington, and Desmond Lamont, Urban Ency Educo Entertainment, Nick Holland, Diamond Dead Media, Paris Jones and Andre Ray, Paris Films, Sam Logan Khaleghi, Kyyba Films, Harley Wallen, Painted Creek Productions, Joel Paul Reisig, Be Your Own Hollywood.
Several of my favorite success speakers such as Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, Les Brown, Malcolm Gladwell, Brian Tracy, and many others speak on the significance of building Mastermind Teams or groups. and I’m fortunate to have surrounded myself with so many talented, likeminded and passionate people. Something special happens when you infuse so much creative potential into one group; possibilities for creating are endless and the positive energy within these groups is special. Most of the speakers at my event have rubbed shoulders with each other and many have worked together and whether consciously or not demonstrating the strength of a mastermind alliance. An example of a creative community, one of the directors calling me or one of the directors above and discussing his need for a given location for a particular scene. Having solidified so many positive relationships, I’m often quickly able to tap into my network, narrow down and find business owners willing to contribute to the filmmaking projects.
Of course the list of Michigan talent is much larger, there are so many more passionate people that I’ve had the privilege to work alongside, to laugh and share meaningful moments with at auditions, behind the scenes, on camera, and at premieres. As my career continues to evolve and new projects spring forth, my sincere hope is to inspire others to create careers that are based upon meaningful relationships built on shared passions.
In addition to the filmmakers, who else of note was there?
Close friend and film producer, Mark James whom I’ve known for a few years now happened to be in town and was able to stop by. Mark and I have been kicking around a few concepts for a feature film based on some excellent pieces of literature that are now being adapted to screenplays and I was also fortunate to attend one of his Los Angeles premieres for the feature film, Pocket Listing which premiered in Los Angeles, California starring Burt Reynolds.
Also, I understand that you had someone fly in from out of state to attend this event. Who would this have been?
The special guest was my Uncle Sebastian Twardosz, truly one of the most important people in my life. I consider Sebastian my mental Mickey Goldmill, whom you may know as Rocky Balboas trainer or the actor Burgess Meredith from the Rocky franchise. During my life, Sebastian has challenged me and expanded my worldview unlike any other person. While I was in high school, he was an Associate Producer on Mission Impossible 1 and 2 with the biggest movie star on the planet at the time, Tom Cruise. Also during high school, Sebastian flew me out to his office that was on the Paramount Studio lot and invited me to the Sundance Film Festival. Sebastian has had a successful career in Los Angeles, that spans across three decades and continues to thrive, when he is not helping filmmakers secure distribution on their finished projects he teaches at The Insiders: The Art and Commerce of Hollywood at the University of Southern California.
How long did you prepare for this event and how long had you promoted it?
Back in the fall of 2017 I was looking through the Michigan Actors to Hollywood Talent Facebook Group and noticed it had grown to nearly 2,000 people. As a result, I said I am going to bring this group and community together. In late January, the idea came to me to bring together all of my colleagues that I spoke about earlier and foster an environment for other aspiring actors to network and mingle with these individuals and have the opportunity to collaborate on their next projects.
Did you find the Emerald Theater an adequate venue for this event?
Definitely, Cecilia Zavala, the Emerald Theatre event coordinator was pleasant to work with and went above and beyond to help bring all the elements together to make the event possible. Also, the owner
Was this event captured on camera? How long will it take before this is available to the public?
Actually thankfully yes, the funny thing is when your friends with several Directors, camera equipment and knowledge to use the equipment is accessible. Close friend Daniel Knudsen offered to set up some extra lighting and camera equipment. Currently, Daniel and I are in the process of editing and preparing a final cut to post to the Michigan Actors to Hollywood talent group page, as well as individual videos for each speaker to send to each person for their own usage.
Do you think you will promote another such event? How soon?
I do intend to have another event, within the next 4 to 6 months. This first event was a solid learning experience I was fortunate to host and I am continuing to gather information from attendees to make the next event more successful. My sincere hope is to inspire other aspiring actors into action and create a networking environment that allows aspirants to put their best foot forward in front of producers, writers, casting directors, and directors in an environment that is not the audition room and more comfortable and relaxed.
For the actors attending this next event, do you have any words of advice?
Honestly yes, when attending a professional networking event in the automotive business or any other industry, know the times, read the industry publications such as The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline Hollywood, Indiewire, and Variety. Someone striving to be a player in the Automotive Industry would not attend a networking event without relevant knowledge about the competitive landscape or the state of current affairs. To connect meaningfully with Agents, Managers, Producers, and other key Above-the-line creatives contributing relevant information with substance will make a meaningful and potentially lasting impact. Now with respect to aesthetics, often times people ask me how to dress or prepare for this sort of networking event? My response is, how would you dress on a first date? You want to put your best foot forward and present your best self and make a strong positive first impression.
Let’s not forget your sponsor. Would you like to offer him a shout out?
Yes, Tel K. Ganesan, Founder and CEO of Kyyba Films, we met on the set of Devils Night: Dawn of the Nain Rouge. During this project, we connected briefly and I asked him if he would meet for coffee to discuss my connection to the film business and how we can establish a mutually beneficial relationship. I am very fortunate to have met and learned from Tel, he has made a positive and meaningful impact on my professional development, encouraging me to execute the first Michigan Actors to Hollywood Talent event.
Be on the lookout for Kyyba Films first film project, Devils Night: Dawn of the Nain Rouge. Devils Night is going to leave an impact, Director Sam Logan Khaleghi and Director of Photography Istvan Letang teamed up to capture incredible imagery of locations throughout Detroit. This films is set in modern days and tells a story about a legend that originates back to the early French settlement of Detroit, Michigan.
Be on the lookout for future Kyyba Films opportunities.