From Acting Class to Business Strategy

Learn how local business owner, Dennis Connors, founder of NextGen Acting, implements lessons from the acting studio into his business workflow.

What can business owners possibly learn from the craft of Acting?

As a film, voice over, and theater actor with 15 years of experience in the performing arts industry, I’ve learned valuable lessons that have helped me succeed not only in my acting career but as a small business owner.

Whether you are an actor, a small business owner or simply someone looking to improve your personal and professional skills, I believe that there is something to be gained from the lessons I will be sharing below.

It’s all about your scene partner!

During that moment before I enter the scene as any character, I think about the immediate things affecting my senses — the temperature of the environment the character is in, the smell that might permeate the imagined space; and, how my character thinks and reacts to those senses.

Then — on to the stage I go. In front of the audience, I remember the wise words of my acting coach,  Brad Fleischer, “Make it all about your scene partner!”

One cliché in the theater world that I find to be generally true is that you look good when your scene partner looks good. People come to the theater to see that emotional connection between actors, which is only possible by the actors listening and responding to one another and “making it about each other.”

In a business setting, it’s important to remember that our customers or clients are the lifeblood of our company. Without them, we wouldn’t have a business to run. Therefore, it’s crucial to focus our attention on them, being mindful of their needs, providing value, and meeting their expectations. By putting their needs first and being fully present with them, small businesses can create meaningful and rewarding experiences for the people they are serving while also growing their own business.

Goals, Tactics, & Obstacles

Imagine you were cast to play a role in a local theatrical production — how would you go about preparing? Yes — you would need to memorize the line, but then what next? Just continue to recite it, until it just feels right?

Professional actors need to have a craft — a process they rely on to create their characters and prepare their scenes.

When working on a new audition piece, I will often ask myself what does my character want (objectives)? How are they going to go about getting what they want that appropriately matches their character and the relationships which are showcased (tactics)? What is going to get in the way and how will my characters realistically react to those story beats (obstacles)?

This acting craft translates perfectly to entrepreneurship.  To run a business, you need to identify your goals in relation to your audience. You need to identify the best way of achieving those goals — by evaluating your programs or products and how they relate to your audience.

And, it would only be prudent if you identify any challenges that can get in the way of your business thriving — by identifying any real obstacles and strategies for dealing with them should they come.

Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse

Practice is essential for improvement and success.

For actors, rehearsing is an integral part of the process of bringing a character or production to life. By rehearsing, actors have the opportunity to try out different choices, explore different nuances of their character, and fine-tune their performance.

Rehearsing is also a way for actors to build muscle memory and develop the skills and habits that will help them succeed on stage or on camera. By putting in the time and effort to rehearse, actors can become more confident and proficient in their craft, leading to better performances and more successful careers.

As a business owner, it’s important to constantly be learning and growing in order to stay ahead in a competitive marketplace. This may involve rehearsing your pitch, practicing your public speaking skills, or simply putting in the time to become an expert in your field.

By rehearsing and practicing, entrepreneurs can build the skills and knowledge they need to succeed, as well as gain confidence in their abilities.

The You, the You, and the You

Spoiler alert — I am villainous in many of the roles I’ve played, including Kyle in the horror-slasher, The Canyonlands, or Magnus in the hit family podcast, Six Minutes…

Trust me — I am an angel in real life! In the entertainment world, there are the roles I can believably play; in real life, there’s the person that I believe myself to be; and then, there’s the objective version of me.

This is the concept of “The You, the You, and the You” which is particularly useful for actors, as it helps to understand the different layers of our own identity. There is the person others perceive us to be, the person that we believe ourselves to be, and then the person that we are objectively.

The concept of “The You, the You, and the You” is also relevant for small business owners. As a business owner, it’s important to be aware of how you are perceived by your customers, employees, and the general public. This can help you to make informed decisions about your branding, marketing, and overall business strategy.

For example, if you are trying to position your business as a leader in a particular industry, it’s important to be aware of the perceptions that others have of you and to make sure that your actions and messaging align with the image you want to project. By understanding the different layers of your identity and how you are perceived by others, you can create a more cohesive and successful business.

Schedule a commitment free consultation with Dennis Connors.

NextGen Acting is a Performing Arts School in Central NJ for people of all ages, backgrounds, and performing arts experience levels, founded on the belief that no matter what you do, performing arts classes will equip you with transferable skills to be even better. Looking to implement these acting skills into your business workflow, how to utilize actors to better your small business, or enroll your children into our acting day camps and after school programs for kids and teens, schedule a commitment free consultation with Dennis Connors at NextGen Acting here.