StageBuddy: What steps did you take to ensure the success for The Growing Studio?
Daniel George: I hired Steve Edlund who was my assistant director for "Sister Act the Musical". He is absolutely brilliant, and I knew having him on the team we would be successful. There are about five of us who meet once a month to talk about today's theatrical world and what actors need and what type of classes we would want to take; I believe that has helped us to stay current on the map.
SB: What have been some of your biggest challenges and what have been some of your biggest accomplishments?
DG: Sometimes we think a class is going to sell really well, we bring in 'Casting Director A' who is currently casting a show, and we hold a class with her that week...and no one signs up. We also grew really really fast, and sometimes keeping up with the demand can be challenging. And [there's also] the challenge of competing with other studios offering similar classes.
As far as accomplishments, we got Jerry Zaks, who is a four-time Tony-winning director, an icon of theater who was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame last year, to teach a class for us. It was one of the most magical three hours ever. We opened an office in South Florida... [And we have a program called] the Showcase Class, [from which] over a dozen of our students have signed with representation.
SB: Who are your mentors?
DG: My biggest mentor for the studio is Jen Waldman. She has an unbelievable studio -- a technique based school I went to one summer when I was still in college -- and it really changed me. She is really brilliant and knows how to work with actors. She's very proactive about instilling the change you want to see; you must go out and do it.
SB: What was your first successful business venture?
DG: Successful, you say! My very first business venture was sitting outside my house with a lemonade stand when I was about four -- definitely too young to realize I lived on a dead-end street.
But a successful venture I had early on was a non-for-profit. I started a toy drive in high school for kids who couldn't afford toys for Christmas; we got a local church to participate, and we got donations of toys and books from all over Miami. The first time we did it, we had 50 kids and that was great; and the next year, we had 200 kids. We hired a Santa, got Wendy's to cater the whole event. It was really special.
SB: Where do you see The Growing Studio a year from today?
DG: A year from today I see The Growing Studio opening up a third office and bringing theater, castings, classes, and agencies to places other than New York City. I see us continuing to do what we do and growing upwards and onwards. We'd really like a home of our own in New York City and are looking at a couple of possibilities right now.
SB: What advice do you have for the aspiring artist in this industry?
DG: Something that's been proven to me: it's never about talent, ever. It's about dedication and humility. It's really a combination of those two things, because if you're here in this city, chances are you're talented, chances are you worked really hard to get there; and you really love this so you spend a lot of hours doing it, and you're good and skilled. But it's the ones who are ambitious and dedicated and who go for it who really succeed. Keeping knocking down the doors. Keep taking classes. Keep auditioning. Keep going for it. That's the only way it's going to happen; no one is going to hand anything to you.
Founder + CEO