Do you think it’s luck?

Listen to the episode here.

Tod Fennell is a Canadian film, voice and television actor. His career started back when he was just seven years old, starring in his motion picture. Since then, Tod has been working as a voice actor in video game productions, screenwriting and production.

What are some misconceptions of acting as a career choice?

There is a tendency for people to think that it is the end all or be all. In reality, you do not need to dive head first into the field. There are plenty of opportunities to build yourself up whilst doing other things that might be seen as traditionally more stable. It is also important to recognize that not everybody becomes an award winning actor, however, there are so many more opportunities to work in the field and immerse yourself in the acting career path.

Acting and drama as school subjects hold a lot of value.

Tod started off by mentioning emotional intelligence and the importance of that specifically in the business and entrepreneur field. It is important for building confidence in the workplace and unlocking new potential. Gaining emotional intelligence through acting allows individuals to get better at listening to their coworkers, sympathizing with their experiences and knowing how to set new boundaries to make the workplace a safer and more enjoyable place for all.

Entrepreneurs and actors share a lot of qualities. Both take a lot of caution and pride when starting new projects, almost protecting this new idea like a baby. Both of these careers can work with one another to help build new achievements and ideas. Emotional intelligence helps face negativity and scrutiny from other people who perhaps did not have the power or drive to achieve your goals or take that leap of faith.

COVID and the acting scene.

Touching on a subject that is very relevant to everyone viewing this episode today, Tod talked a bit about how the pandemic has shifted the way acting, theater and movies operate. There has been a rapid decline in interest for visiting movie and live theater. With the growth of on demand entertainment, studies have suggested that the entertainment space will move to being much more casual and mostly from the comfort of the viewers homes. Tod mentioned that on demand entertainment outlets are bad for movie actors and production teams as most of their income come from box office sales. Many of the new on demand outlets do not cover that income.

How does luck play into your success?

Tod started off by saying that “the luck pendulum swings in both ways”. He has been through very bad luck streaks, however, he has also had some amazing experience. The longer you are in this career, the more swings you experience. Luck also comes when you might not expect it. A job that you took on that looked small, could actually take off with the audience. It is an unpredictable job sometimes and can change in a second.

Be patient and you will succeed, however, not in the way you thought you would!

Oh Tepmongkol-Wheaton on overcoming prejudice and discrimination

Tune into our podcast here with Oh Tepmongkol-Wheaton.

Oh is one of Forbes’s next 1000 honoree and is the CEO and co-founder of Ohzone (a 3D fashion tech startup that has been awarded Top Fashion Tech 2021 by Retail Tech Insights.)

Oh’s initial goal was to create a social shopping experience as if you were all in the same place at the same time. Oh places a lot of emphasis on inclusivity and the importance of embracing family values.

As a woman and an ethnic minority, she has often spoken about the attitudes and perspectives she has encountered along her journey in numerous work environments. Oh explains how it is possible to go above and beyond the expectations of others and prove them wrong:

  • She wanted to show how women invent; in a largely male-dominated field, which technology and fashion predominantly is, she wanted to show how women can achieve in the same way that men can.
  • Through creativity: Oh has a unique perspective on creativity. She purports that creativity is how you solve a problem based on experience. As an under-represented minority with a unique background, she is able to bring the experience of how she survives and even how she succeeds. She then uses her inventiveness to solve a problem and innovate for the future.

An example of the prejudice and discrimination that Oh has confronted as a woman and an ethnic minority:

Between 1989-1996, Oh worked at Hewlett-Packard, the computer hardware company. She describes how her boss approached her when she first started as a research and development engineer. He expressed his gratitude for hiring Oh to work at Hewlett-Packard because she ticked two boxes as a company employee: she was a woman and an under-represented minority in the company. He explained that he usually needed to hire two people, but that because of her, he only needed to hire one. This was only the beginning of Oh’s discrimination throughout her life. Despite the abhorrent workplace discrimination displayed at HP, Oh made it her goal to prove people wrong and express what women and minorities can achieve in society, and now more precisely in fashion.

Why should hard work pay off?

Oh describes how hard work has aided her throughout her life with a powerful anecdote. After failing her college entrance exam in Thailand, Oh relocated to the United States. She grafted in almost every aspect of school life, but most specifically in mathematics, despite having very little know-how of the American school system. Through a lot of hard work and dedication, everything seemed to fall into place. Oh needed a breath of fresh air, and mathematics provided it. In the face of prejudice and discrimination, Oh returns back to maths. She says that in times of hardship and difficulty, one must find an activity that feeds your ego and something that you know you through hard work, you can do well in. 

With the use of your technology, do you see this platform taking over traditional fashion shows? 

The whole premise of Ohzone is to become more inclusive and accessible. Oh’s use of 3D technology is designed to make fashion more inclusive; she wants her technology to include people who have been left behind or who have been unable to be a part of traditional fashion shows. She feels that her technology is democratising virtual fashion for the better. This demonstrates Oh’s commitment to allowing small and/or medium-sized fashion brands to participate in the next wave of fashion.

The fashion industry is exclusive, or rather focuses on exclusivity. Through this new form of fashion, it will open a whole new world for people who haven’t yet been able to experience it. Oh divulges that it is finally time to hear different voices from a younger generation! 

What is one piece of advice you would give to the younger generation?

Apply yourself; failing to try is the first step toward failure. It’s fine to fail, but failing to try is unacceptable. You must strive to succeed in life!

Steven D. Lavine on building resilience and being bold in the arts

Steven D. Lavine is the former President of the California Institute of the Arts and he is currently the chairman of the American advisory board of the Thomas Mann House. 

The interview covered a wide range of topics, including Lavine’s lifelong influences, the recent release of his new book Failure Is What It Is All About, and advice he would give to any aspiring artists.

Steven has published a book on his life, the influences on him, and the ideals that shaped his thoughts about what art should be. The book tells a number of essential anecdotes about on-the-job learning, about uncertainty and fear, and how we learn to deal with them. The book is essential reading for any young student interested in pursuing a career in the arts.

Throughout the interview, Steven offered a lot of advice to prospective artists interested in any aspect of the arts.

  1. Never let yourself be intimidated – remember many professionals in their respective sectors learn as they go. 
  1. Don’t get swamped by the noise – if you just do what other people do, if you follow the course, you are up against the crowd. Figure out what you have distinctly, that you can contribute. 
  1. Be open to the people around you –  be open to the influences around you. It will increase your capacity and capability if you are open to other people’s opinions and ideas.

Who were some of the most influential artists in your life?

Steven was quick to point out that all of the arts provide the same thing; a deeper understanding of human life. In addition to providing a deeper understanding, the arts also provide a spiritual uplift. Johann Bach, Bertolt Brecht, and even Steven’s mother were among the most influential artists in Steven’s life. Bach sustained him. Brecht, on the other hand, provided him with a socially engaged form of art, one that forced him to question his worldview.

What piece of advice would you give to young students if you could?

Never let anyone intimidate you. By all means, approach the world with respect. However, never waste your time by being intimidated. 

‘Art brings us back to ourselves’

 With art you can leap forward, and imagine what else is possible with the world.

Why a handshake is a sign of modern societies weakness? – Alan Baker

Our podcast can also be listened to here.

Quick Summary

Alan Baker is a successful martial arts expert based in the United States. In this interview, we covered topics that revolved around discipline, weakness, and taking challenges as they come. As a professional, Alan has had many experiences with various kinds of people. Alan shared his insights on how to get along with people you may not be similar with and how to build those people skills. The main focus of this episode was on attitude and human interaction.

If you could leave the youth with one piece of advice, what would it be?

You don’t realize your potential yet.

“As a person, you should be adaptable and flexible.”