Steven Cardona

EP 12: Steven Cardona

IG: @stvncardona

IG: @Innovative_Theatrics

Episode Transcript (autogenerated)

Dane: [00:00:00] You booked it, episode 12. Hey, entertainers and performers of the world. I’m your host, Dane Reis, and welcome to you. Booked it. Where I chat with inspiring entertainers, seven days a week, by digging into their journey. We’re going to discover everything you need to do to be a successful entertainer, you know, because training usually skips that part about how to actually make your skills work for you in the real world.

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[00:01:22] Let’s do this. Okay. Let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Stephen Cardona. Are you ready for the Steven? 

[00:01:34] Steven: [00:01:34] Yeah. Brilliant. 

[00:01:36] Dane: [00:01:36] Steven is a teaching artist for Disney theatrical group, for which he teaches choreography from all the Disney on Broadway shows. Steven is the creator of innovative theatrics, which you can find on Instagram, innovative 

[00:01:49] Steven: [00:01:49] underscore theatrics, 

[00:01:50] Dane: [00:01:50] a new web series featuring musical numbers from New York composers.

[00:01:55] Credits include the Wiz in Scotland, click clack Moo, the Canada and us national tour. The untitled John Mayer project, the little orchestra society concert series, and money shot in new musical. Steven also worked as associate director slash choreographer for Clint. Black’s. Looking for Christmas at the old globe murder for two at second stage slash new world stages slash first national tour yeast nation by the writers of Urinetown and ZM, the zombie musical also written by the writers of Urinetown law and order SVU.

[00:02:33] And he holds a BFA from the Boston conservatory. Steven. That was a quick intro of who you are and what you’ve done, but why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself, fill in the gaps, who you are, where you’re from, where you’re currently calling home and a little bit more about what you do 

[00:02:52] Steven: [00:02:52] as 

[00:02:53] Dane: [00:02:53] a professional in the entertainment 

[00:02:55] Steven: [00:02:55] industry.

[00:02:56] Yeah, sure thing. thank you so much. Yeah, I actually, I I’m originally from Disneyworld, Florida. That’s where I grew up. Okay. Not really. It’s really Orlando, Florida. but it’s just more interesting. I literally grew up in the theme parks. but yeah, that’s a big inspiration for me in all my work for sure.

[00:03:13]I actually. I started dancing when I was six years old, my mother was looking for something for me to do an extracurricular activity and, being a male dancer, it was a totally free to take classes. So why not? That was like the magical answer 

[00:03:27] Dane: [00:03:27] I had the same experience. 

[00:03:28] Steven: [00:03:28] Oh, that’s awesome. Yeah. So yeah, so I ended up starting dancing.

[00:03:32] And then, when I, I got my very first professional job when I was eight years old at Disney world, actually I was in a, the jolly holidays. Dinner theater show is during. So around Christmas time, I was eight years old and I did that for two years before they canceled that show. and then I went to, that’s kind of, when I did a big change in my life is when I went to high school.

[00:03:54] I decided to kind of go of dance for a little bit and I. I decided to try this new thing called theater. so I went to the dr. Phillips high school of visual and performing arts. And that’s where I really found like my love for theater and wanting to do this as a career. Once I did that, I graduated from that and I went to the Boston conservatory, which is where I know you from, got my BFA there.

[00:04:18]I did my emphasis in direction and choreography, and while I was there, I decided, I realized that I really did not want to be a performer. Performing. Well, I enjoyed it. it didn’t fulfill me the same way as building and creating work and being a director and choreographer behind the scenes. So that’s when I ended up, graduating came to New York city right away.

[00:04:40] I ended up meeting Wendy’s side and we worked on several shows together. She worked on the Peewee Herman show on Broadway, a toxic Avenger, off-Broadway various other things. And she really ended up becoming my mentor. And from there that’s, that’s where I learned how to be a director and choreographer really in the city was just learning on the job.

[00:05:02] Currently. I am a part of STC, stager, choreographers union, and I work. As a professional director and choreographer, but also I found my way into the education world a little bit. And as you read in my bio, I worked for Disney theatrical group is one of the many places that I work for. And I get to work in schools, public schools in New York.

[00:05:25] I get to work in private arts institutions. So I get to really utilize both of my skills. And I found that. To be very helpful when also teaching my own choreography or directing in the professional setting, because really essentially all it is is just teaching people. So, yeah, that’s a little bit about me and what I do.

[00:05:45] I 

[00:05:45] Dane: [00:05:45] really, really enjoy your journey through this industry. And so many people, I think I also forget how expensive this industry is. You don’t just have to be the person singing and dancing on stage. There are so many aspects to the entertainment industry as a whole. Okay. I think a lot of people just overlook or maybe don’t even realize exist.

[00:06:06] Steven: [00:06:06] Yeah, no 100%. I mean, especially as soon as you graduate, as soon as you move yourself to New York city and you realize there’s so many vast components, too theater and Broadway, and it’s not just one thing, it’s so many different things that you can do within the field that sometimes it’s just as fulfilling, if not more fulfilling to do that.

[00:06:28] Dane: [00:06:28] Absolutely. All right, well, let’s move into the next section here. And of course I am a sucker for a good quote. What is your favorite quote you’d like to share with 

[00:06:39] Steven: [00:06:39] our listeners? Yeah, I mean this as a struggle for me, cause I have two really good quotes, but, I think my, my very first quote that I’ve ever fall in love with was it’s kind of, it’s fun to do the impossible, which was by Walt Disney that always stuck with 

[00:06:54] Dane: [00:06:54] me.

[00:06:56] I love that quote and I love that it’s so understated in a way as well. Isn’t it? 

[00:07:02] Steven: [00:07:02] Yeah. Yeah, for sure. 

[00:07:03] Dane: [00:07:03] Great. And how have you applied that quote to your daily life and your career in this industry? 

[00:07:11] Steven: [00:07:11] Yeah, well, I mean, I’m always, I’ve always been a fighter for sure. And, never been afraid of, being in an uncomfortable situation, not in a bad way, but you know, really putting myself out there is what I’ve done my entire career.

[00:07:25]I guess the best way to personify. My work in within this quote is, I’ve always been, even when I was in college, I was really into the Disney’s hunchback of Notre Dame, the stage adaptation, which was in Germany, which was dead Glock now on Notredame. so I ended up. I loved it. I ended up doing a version of it for my in school production for student directed production over at the Boston conservatory.

[00:07:50] And that’s really what propelled me forward. And I remember, reaching out, I was looking around seeing if like Disney was doing anything, nothing, no news about it. Well, I ended up that’s actually. Incorrect. I found out through working at Disney theatrical group. I found out that they were interested in maybe revitalizing hunchback somewhere for the States.

[00:08:10] Right. So aye. Okay. All my friends knew that I was really obsessed with this. And I had a buddy who was working as an assistant stage manager over at second stage at the time. And he said, Hey, so, Did I, you know, cause I, I talked to him about, I found out that the director of hunchback was going to be Scott Schwartz.

[00:08:29] And so he said, Hey, so, did you hear that Scott Schwartz is doing a show for a second stage? And I said, no, tell me more. And he was like, yeah. He’s like, you know, he’s, he’s doing this off Broadway show, you know, it’s called murder for two. so I just thought you’d be interested. And I was like, no way.

[00:08:46] So what’s the first thing I did. I went to Scott’s website. I found his email address and I emailed him right away and I was like, Hey, what’s up? Aye. I really love hunchback. And I heard that you’re going to be involved. You know, I would love to put my name in the hat to be your assistant or whatever. And, okay.

[00:09:03] You know, reach out to me. It was like, Hey cool, awesome. I ended up connecting him with Wendy, the mentor that I mentioned earlier and she ended up getting the job. Choreographing murder for two off Broadway. And so I ended up working with him for a little bit found out that he already had, an associate Jeremy.

[00:09:19] Who’s a really awesome guy, but a really good friend of his. So I knew that, you know, I probably didn’t have a space in there. There probably wasn’t the space for me, within the directorial team, but I, I was still optimistic. Right. And that was basically a no for me, right. Like, no, no. I already got my guy.

[00:09:35] You know, well, then I was like, okay, I really want to do this. So I did some more digging and I found out that chase Brock who choreographed a Spiderman and did the original production of waitress over at art. He was going to be choreographing a hunchback. And so it was like, Oh, that’s amazing. So I ended up finding out that he was doing, a show at the public.

[00:09:58] So I ended up. Helping and working at that show at the public theater with him, it was a winter’s tale because I wanted to get in with him. So it was like, Hey buddy, what’s going on? And I like, got to know him a little bit. And I was like, Hey, do you need an assistant? I can work with you as the, you know, assistant choreographer for hunchback.

[00:10:14] And he’s like, Oh man, dude, I already got my guy. I already have like an assistant. I, you know, I’m good. Which was funny. So aye, try it. Every single angle possible. I literally worked with the two top. Creative team members, before the show even went to paper mill Playhouse, trying to get on that show. So I feel like that’s the best personification of it’s kind of fun to do the impossible.

[00:10:38] Now did I do it? Did I succeed? I mean, I guess it depends on your interpretation, right? No, I did not work on the show. But I was so proud of myself because I knew that I thought to the bitter and, and no matter what I could live with that because I tried every single angle. And at the end of the day, I didn’t get the job, but I was okay with that because I realized like there was nothing else I can do.

[00:11:03] It just wasn’t my time. Wasn’t my place. So 

[00:11:06] Dane: [00:11:06] yeah. I love your foresight into seeing who was involved. And obviously you knew the big project was happening, but you, you got yourself a couple of steps ahead. So you could come in and become part of their life a little bit, build that relationship. So then.

[00:11:24] Ideally that that opportunity would have presented itself. And that is amazing that you did that and had the foresight to do all of that. 

[00:11:31] Steven: [00:11:31] Yeah. I mean, it’s tough, right? Because you have to, you have to be a fighter. You have to advocate yourself. You have to, you have to find angles and ways to get into the project or the thing that you’re really excited about.

[00:11:42] But at the same time, you can’t be pushy. You can’t be annoying. You have to be somebody they actually want to work with. So it’s that fine line. 

[00:11:50] Dane: [00:11:50] For sure for sure. Well, let’s get into this next section now. And Steven, of course you are in the entertainment industry, I’m in the entertainment industry. And I think you’d agree that this industry is one of the most.

[00:12:05] Subjective brutally honest and personally emotional industries in existence. And you know, as well as I, that in order to create and to have the successful career in this industry, like you’re having now, it takes a lot of dedication and hard work. And while of course 

[00:12:22] Steven: [00:12:22] there is 

[00:12:23] Dane: [00:12:23] an outrageous amount of fun and excitement to be had.

[00:12:27] There are also our. Fair share of obstacles and challenges and failures that we are going to experience, and we’re going to have to move forward through them. If we want to continue doing what we love. So tell us, what is one key challenge, obstacle or failure you’ve experienced in your career and how did you come out the other side better because of it.

[00:12:49] Steven: [00:12:49] Okay, well, I’ll, I’ll tell you a little bit about this. It was, I was debating whether or not I talk about this particular production. I’m not going to name names. I’m not gonna say names of the production, just to, just to be kind, but I will tell you about this. Cause it was really difficult for me. I, ended up working on a show, with my mentor, Wendy, which she’s.

[00:13:09] Fantastic. I absolutely love her. I’ve been working with her for like nine years. We have a really great back and forth, but we ended up working on the show that had less than ideal circumstances. it was a really quick, week long production. It was just a, you know, fast, quick. Okay. In and out thing. but we did a lot of pre production for it, to get ready for it.

[00:13:30] And the director really wanted to incorporate a lot of dance and this musical was known for tap and Wendy does not tap. She does not know how to do it. I know how to do it. So therefore she kind of gifted me the one big tap dance in the show. So that was my job to do that. Right. I think the actors. Felt a little uncomfortable after a while because they, they had a lot to deal with.

[00:13:59] Right. They were asked to memorize the entire script. They were asked to do this tap choreography. They were asked to do a lot of blocking with only if you really think about it. It’s a seven day period. So really they had about four to five days. Plus, you know, the two days of, you know, performances that we had to do.

[00:14:18] So, you know, the, the, the tension was high, the stress was high and, you know, the schedule was insane. You know, the director had us like splitting up into like three different rooms in order to get this entire show up and running. Right. So at one point when he is in one room, you know, doing choreography with our leads and then I’m with the ensemble doing the tap choreography.

[00:14:37] And it got to the point where I was, you know, the breaking point from them. And I wasn’t. Easy targets. because I was just the associate, I wasn’t the actual carer for the actual director. And, these cast members started just yelling at me in the middle of rehearsal and getting really upset about the choreography and complaining about it.

[00:14:57] And, Yeah, and really taking it out on me. And I realized that it wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about the choreography, that they were getting upset about. It was about the entire situation and they made it clear. They said, this is ridiculous. This is supposed to be a, you know, a reading. This shouldn’t have choreography, but at the same time, that’s not my fault.

[00:15:16] That was the director’s choice. They should talk to the director about that. He was the one who said. He, he basically forced us to do this and to have this tap choreography. So I totally understood where they’re coming from, but they were, they were vicious. They were coming at me, you know? so it got to the point that, you know, we took a break.

[00:15:35]we had our, you know, equity 15 and, I went to, he hears about this from, From another stage manager, she comes in and she’s like, she was so kind, she was like, okay. So like, what did you guys accomplish? And we’re looking at our script. And I remember her, you know, she was like talking to like, yeah, I think I want to do this next.

[00:15:51] And then we’re going to work on this. And if you need to just like, take a moment and go outside is totally fine. You can like take a breath, like. Without pausing. she treated it so professional and, gave me the space that I needed to. And I remember I was, it doesn’t sound that bad here, but it was a very stressful situation and it was, they were definitely personally attacking me on this.

[00:16:14] And I remember I went home and I was so the stress that I woke up the next day and. Physically sick. I actually got sick cause I had so many toxins inside me. Yeah. I did not feel good, but I remember aye. Refused to not show up the next day, even though I was actually sick, I was like, I have to show up.

[00:16:35] Even if I have a fever, if I’m like vomiting, whatever, because I was like, I’m not going to let them get to me and I’m going to be professional and I’m okay. Gonna show up, you know? And I always ill. I was awful. I felt terrible. Dang it. I showed. Yup. I was there and I was, you know, it was a way to make a statement of you’re not going to get to me.

[00:16:54] So it was a really, really hard moment, but I’m so happy. I did that because I learned so much. I learned about how to w when I am the choreographer, when I am the director of how to lead, how to take care of my associate, my assistant, how to navigate, The tension is just a little bit more. I think really what it comes down to is communication.

[00:17:16] And just taking a moment to say, okay, we’re all really busy, but like, let’s stop. Let’s breathe. Let’s talk about yeah. What our issues are and how do we move forward? How do we make things better for everyone involved? 

[00:17:29] Dane: [00:17:29] For sure. And I think sometimes when we are in these really high intensity rehearsals, it’s easy to let the emotions get away from us because what we’re doing is already inherently emotional.

[00:17:43] So we’re all ready, giving so much of ourselves and putting ourselves out there being vulnerable. And then do you have just really practical, real life stressors of. Timelines and Hey, you’re opening and a day, really just adds fuel to the fire and it’s, and it’s easy to, to let your emotions go and blow up at someone that really doesn’t deserve it.

[00:18:06] But it’s good lesson. I mean, that story is a fantastic lesson for anyone that w potentially be in your position, but also if you’re the talent and you’re the performers there, and to think about the bigger picture and what’s actually going on and to. Try to check your emotions a little bit before things get out of control.

[00:18:25] Steven: [00:18:25] Yeah. I mean, I, and like I said, I get where the actors were coming from. I just wish that the actors would have waited for a break. Okay. Communicated with me or with Wendy or the director, and just let us know what was going on and we can have a dialogue about it, but really what it comes down to is let’s have a professional conversation.

[00:18:48] Dane: [00:18:48] Absolutely. Absolutely. All right. Well, let’s move to the next section here and it’s to a time that I like to call your spotlight moment. That one moment in time that you realized, yes, I am going to be part of the entertainment industry for I was living or maybe it was, yes, this is what I need to be doing.

[00:19:12] Yeah. The entertainment industry. Tell us 

[00:19:13] Steven: [00:19:13] about that. Yeah, it was a very specific moment for me when I really decided I wanted to do this. I really wanted to be here. And that was I, as I told you, before I went to school for dance. And then all of a sudden I went to high school and decided to go into the theater program.

[00:19:28] I remember my freshman year, I decided to go, my mom and I were going to go to New York city for the very first time I had never been before. You know, and I heard about this brand new musical coming out called wicked. It was literally in previews in October. nobody knew anything about it. So it was like, okay, let’s go.

[00:19:46] We land, we get to New York city. And I was like, Oh my God, this place is amazing. Like the city, like the smell, the traffic, the huge buildings, the billboards, the lights, everything. I was so excited to be there. You know? And I specifically remember getting into the hotel, like, you know, when you get into the hotel and they’ve got all those like, kiosks with all the Broadway, like bills.

[00:20:10] I get like brochures. That’s what I’m looking for. The Broadway brochures. I was so excited and I went in, I looked up and I was like, Oh, let’s find this a wicked thing. Let me see if I can find any pictures and stuff. And I was excited. And then that was actually my first Broadway musical without realizing what it was.

[00:20:25] It wasn’t wicked. When I saw it, it was just, you know, this brand new musical and. I will say it wasn’t necessarily about, well, I do have a, a very soft spot in my heart for wicked, because it was my first show. It wasn’t necessarily about wicked. It was about seeing. Professionals on stage, seeing the lights, the costumes, seeing this incredible caliber.

[00:20:47] Okay. And I remember this my entire life I had always struggled with, I really love dance, but I don’t know that I want to do this for a career and I’m not talented enough. At least the demons in my head were like, I’m not talented enough to like, do dance. I can’t be in a ballet company. I can’t be in a modern company, but I didn’t know what to do.

[00:21:06] And I knew this theater thing existed, but like, I don’t know some, like didn’t drastic connections. Didn’t like, cool. Make it together to realize like, Oh, I can make a career out of theater until I saw this show. You know, I saw this show and I went, Oh, Oh, and to me it was like, Oh, this is where I’m supposed to be.

[00:21:26] Oh, I get it now. Like, I know my path now, this is what it is. And that was, ah, I just can’t even describe the sense of warmth and joy and excitement and passion that I felt once I finally realized this is where I was supposed to be. 

[00:21:42] Dane: [00:21:42] I love that story. And let’s piggyback on that question real quick. And let’s talk about your number one, booked it moment.

[00:21:51] Walk us through that day. What was going on in your life? And what about that moment? Makes it your favorite? Booked it a moment. 

[00:22:01] Steven: [00:22:01] I love that. Yeah. I mean, to be honest, there’s so many books at moments for me, it’s every single time I get the call, which is always so exciting. but if I had to pick one time, that was really exciting for me.

[00:22:14] It was when I did. Looking for Christmas at the old globe. I mean, things in the, the director choreographer world run a little bit different than actors. it’s it’s less of like someone calls you and says, Oh, Hey, you booked the job. Congratulations. It’s more of a conversation. Right? So we, we talk, we like flirt a little bit like dating, right?

[00:22:34] You flirt with the director, you flirt with the choreographer, you flirt with the producers, you like say, Oh, maybe we’re going to do the show maybe. Yeah. We’re going to do this. Okay. So it’s like more of a gradual thing. It’s never a okay. Congratulations. So you got the job. It’s more of a, yeah. We kind of work our way together and then we do the show together.

[00:22:51] Right. So that’s kind of how it works. So it’s less of a, Oh my gosh. You know, I got the call for me. It was more of what I was doing. One of my goals. I ma I set a bunch of goals for myself at the top of okay. Of the year, one year. And, I made a whole bunch of lists of things that I wanted to do daily things I wanted to do.

[00:23:09] Once a month, things that I want to do every three months and then like big goals for the entire year, I made really attainable goals, but then I also made really impossible goals, which kind of goes along with my quote. But, one of my impossible goals, I was actually too be an associate director of a show at a regional theater, a major regional theater.

[00:23:32] And I thought, there’s no way that I’m going to do it. It’s like, how am I going to do this? Like, this is what I want to do, but who knows? And, I remember, you know, we were working in the summer doing pre-pro for the show, getting ready, and I completely forgot about these goals until I just kind of.

[00:23:49] Reflected and realized, Oh my God, I did it. I literally, it was able to make this impossible, crazy goal happen. And it made me think, wow, that’s like the power. I mean, the power of just putting it out there and just writing it down on a piece of paper and just thinking about it. And I totally forgot about it.

[00:24:11] And somehow it came into fruition. So it definitely made me realize from now on, I’m definitely always going to be making goals for myself, but always to make those impossible goals. Cause you never know what’s going to 

[00:24:24] Dane: [00:24:24] happen. I think that is a fantastic story, that it all, it came to fruition and I think us as entertainers or anyone that is in the entertainment industry, we.

[00:24:36] I’ve been accused of being big dreamers. Right. And some people will cuckoo on that and put it down. But I believe that if you can’t dream about at first, there’s not a chance it’s ever going to be real because I can’t. It’s never been conceptualized. You’ve never even entertained the idea that it could be a possibility.

[00:24:57] Steven: [00:24:57] Can I add one thing to this? Is that all right? 

[00:25:00] Dane: [00:25:00] I feel like 

[00:25:02] Steven: [00:25:02] I hear a lot from some people sometimes when they say, you know, you know, if you can do anything else besides be in the theater industry, do it. Don’t be in the theater and I’ve, that’s always been a problem for me because the arts have always been inclusive to me.

[00:25:17] They’ve always been welcoming. They’ve always been a safe place and somebody has to have the job, right. I mean, someone has to get hired for the job. Someone has to act it. Someone has to do the scenic design. Someone has to write it. Someone has to direct it. Someone has to do it. So why not? You. Why can’t you be the one who does it, you know, so for me, it’s just, it’s put it out there, work your hardest, work your butt off and make it happen because someone’s got to do the job.

[00:25:47] Dane: [00:25:47] Exactly. And it is a giant industry. 

[00:25:50] Steven: [00:25:50] Yeah. 

[00:25:51] Dane: [00:25:51] And there’s lots of work to go 

[00:25:52] Steven: [00:25:52] around my gosh, for sure. 

[00:25:54] Dane: [00:25:54] All right. Well, let’s take a moment to talk about the present. What projects are you working on now? What are you looking forward to? And of course being amidst this global pandemic, how do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?

[00:26:10] Steven: [00:26:10] That’s a loaded question, man. Yeah. I mean, let me go to the last. yeah, I don’t, I mean the pandemic, right. It’s crazy. I mean, we’re looking at probably Broadway being closed for an entire year. You know, what, what do we do? You know, and I think people are, are doing the best that they can, to make art and make theater.

[00:26:25]I will say that one of the projects that I started and had a pause obviously was innovative theatrical, which is my own little company, as I said, I really love. Working on brand new musicals. And part of my goal was I wanted to really work on my craft and I wanted, to at least once a month, you know, choreograph and direct and block something, just get a bunch of friends together and do something to, to exercise my craft.

[00:26:52] And that actually ended up morphing into my own little YouTube channel. and I ended up reaching out to a bunch of composers and I asked them, Hey, can you give me a. A news, a song from one of your brand new musicals that nobody’s ever heard of before, and I’m gonna put it on film and I’m going to get a bunch of actors and make it almost like a proof of concepts thing.

[00:27:12] And they’re like, yeah, of course, you’re gonna pay for this and get, you know, get studio space and for somebody to like record this and, you know, we get a proof of concept. Absolutely. So. so yeah, so essentially I started this project where I work with brand new composers. I am really, essentially the only thing that remains consistent in the projects that I’m directing and choreographing everything, but brand new actors, brand new dancers, brand new composers, every single episode, which is really fun.

[00:27:42]so again, I get to work on my craft and then I also get to, you know, share other people’s work. It’s really a win win for everybody. The actors. Get a chance to work with brand new composers, get to, you know, have, you know, really high quality footage that they can use for their reels, the composers that, you know, proof of concepts, work that they can then share to producers.

[00:28:01] And then me, well, Heck, I get to work with everybody. You know, I get to work with new, new actors all the time, new writers. So really it’s a win, win for everybody. So it’s a real passion project for me. And I really hope that I can start picking it up again. And do you know, season two, once this pandemic is all over for sure.

[00:28:21] Dane: [00:28:21] That’s fantastic. And it’s really, I think it’s really gonna open up. A lot of opportunity for a lot of different people, because you’re kind of, you’re kind of playing connector for so many different parts of this industry. And that is fantastic. 

[00:28:35] Steven: [00:28:35] Thank you. Yeah. I mean, one of my, one of my missions and one of my goals for the company is I’m also.

[00:28:41] Two put people minorities to the front and leading roles. And I did this way before, we had this, you know, very clear, message and a desire to, To showcase our people of color. And I think that was, that was always really important to me that not just, I see in theater today that we have a lot of people who are of color, of different ethnicities, who are in the ensemble.

[00:29:06] Like we have our token, this, our token, that, which is kind of important, you know? So one of my goals was to make sure that like, that I had these characters, these lead roles being played by minorities, and make sure that we’re having strong representation. 

[00:29:20] Dane: [00:29:20] I love that. Well, let’s move on to one of my favorite sections in the interview.

[00:29:25] It is called the grease lightening round. I am going to ask you a handful of questions. I want you to answer them as quickly and concisely as possible one after another. Are you ready? 

[00:29:37] Steven: [00:29:37] Go grease, lightening. 

[00:29:39] Dane: [00:29:39] Let’s do it. First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career in the entertainment industry?

[00:29:47] Steven: [00:29:47] Nothing was holding me back. the, I guess I just had to discover that I really wanted to, be a director choreographer. That’s when I had to make that shift to careers. 

[00:29:56] Dane: [00:29:56] Great. Second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? 

[00:30:03]Steven: [00:30:03] best piece of art advice from Wendy. Wendy told me don’t be afraid of quitting your day job as a server.

[00:30:09] The work will come and I quit my job as a server and bam I’ve been directing choreographing ever since. Beautiful. 

[00:30:16] Dane: [00:30:16] Third question. What is something that is working for you right now? Or if you’d like to go pre COVID, what was working for you before our industry went on? Pause. 

[00:30:27] Steven: [00:30:27] Something that really worked for me is I’m currently, as I said, I’m an educator as well.

[00:30:31] Some currently still building sets and stuff for my young performers. I’m still staying active creating curriculum and doing work. So I think what’s really helpful. When we’re all stuck inside is making sure that we’re still finding ways to be creative. 

[00:30:47] Dane: [00:30:47] Absolutely. And the fourth question, what is the best resource?

[00:30:53] Whether that’s a book, a movie, a YouTube video, a podcast, maybe it’s a piece of technology that you found is helping your career right now. 

[00:31:02] Steven: [00:31:02] I would recommend brainstorm by Don Hahn. Again, Disney lover. This guy produced beating the beast lion King, all the movies that we grew up in loved. And it’s great on bring your own inner creativity.

[00:31:17] Love 

[00:31:17] Dane: [00:31:17] it. And the fifth question, if you had to start your career from scratch, but you still had all the knowledge and experience that you’ve collected from your career in this industry. What would you do or not do, would you do anything differently or keep it the same? 

[00:31:34] Steven: [00:31:34] I would definitely keep it the same.

[00:31:36] I would keep on fighting and, keep on putting myself out there and networking. I think that’s the biggest thing, right. Is just, don’t be afraid to, to seize opportunities when they come up. 

[00:31:45] Dane: [00:31:45] Bye. Fantastic. And the last question, what is the golden nugget knowledge drop you’ve learned from your successful career in the industry that you’d like to leave with everyone?

[00:31:58] Steven: [00:31:58] Don’t worry about the money. The money will come. Don’t worry about finances, paying your rent, paying whatever. The biggest thing is. Don’t let money stifle your creativity. That’s 

[00:32:09] Dane: [00:32:09] fantastic advice. And to wrap this interview up, Steven, it is time for you to give yourself a plug. Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you?

[00:32:20] Is there anything you want to promote? 

[00:32:23] Steven: [00:32:23] Cool. Hey everybody, if you are a young performer, I’m currently doing classes. we’re doing classes on a, at school right now, with, I’m partnering with theater works USA. so teaching some on Broadway classes, they are so much fun. So I’m doing that right now.

[00:32:40]but also, yeah, take a look at my YouTube page. Innovative pediatrics. You can also check me out on Instagram. Innovative underscore. Yeah. Some of that content. 

[00:32:52] Dane: [00:32:52] Beautiful. Well, Steven, thank you so much for joining me today. It was wonderful to catch up and to have you on. 

[00:33:00] Steven: [00:33:00] Yeah. Thank you. Thank you so much for doing this and providing this opportunity for me and, break legs, everybody.

[00:33:06] I hope that you keep on striving to make your careers happen and make joy throughout this, this time, have a reflection. 

[00:33:16] Dane: [00:33:16] Thank you so much for joining us today. My one call to action for you is to go to youbookeditpodcast.com and join our free email community. Where we dig deep into a continually growing resource of truly actionable things you can be doing right now to help you advance your entertainment career.

[00:33:37] Don’t miss an episode. We have a new guest, seven days a week search for you, booked it on Apple podcast or your favorite podcast app and subscribe today. All the best to you. We’ll see you tomorrow.