In social and business situations get to know the person next to, behind, in front, diagonally or even across the room from the you: The person nearest (or farthest) from you might provide the means for your next work opportunity. And with over 90 Equity Membership Candidates (EMC) in attendance at the December 8, 2014, National EMC Meeting, the topic of networking was front and center. Kevin McMahon, Equity Councilor, welcomed EMCs via a national video hook-up which linked Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City.
Nick Verina, former EMC and Equity member since 2005, gave advice to the future members for their journey towards Equity membership. Verina, who appeared on Broadway in the revival of Follies, as well as seen across the country in the national tour of Grease and in the Chicago production of Altar Boyz, shared four pillars for making it in the business: misconceptions, control issues, having a personal story and operating a small business:
- Do your best to keep a realistic perspective on the business — it’s easy to allow misconceptions to cloud one’s judgment. Every career will have ups and downs.
- Take a step back from control. Ask yourself, “what can and what can’t I control?”
- Be yourself — that’s the key element directors and casting directors want to see.
- Focus on longevity; don’t get bogged down with day-to-day challenges.
Verina also encouraged EMCs to go to every audition that they can: “You have no idea what doors it could open in the future.” For Verina, an open call is how he got his Equity card.
The National EMC Meeting provided EMCs with information regarding the union, the EMC program itself and organizations that are available for assistance, such as the Actors Fund. Locally, each city covered auditions and EMC protocol, the website and participating with the union’s social media.