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A Night of Casual Education and Building Relationships

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I had the pleasure of attending the Rel/Event Series Part: 1 in November and Part: 2 a few weeks ago at The Globe Theater in Downtown LA. This expansive space was a mix of old world Hollywood and modern LA innovation which made it the perfect space for the Rel/Event Series. What is the Rel/Event series you may ask? On the surface it looks like a red carpet event all about mingling with amazing panelists such as Alan Wenkus and Patrice Avery but it is also about the other attendees you meet. It is the place to meet other like-minded industry folk who are interested in learning from the journey of panelists who have experienced the same challenges that are currently staring you in the face. It is about about being inspired by others and learning from your role models.

Some of my favorite tidbits from the evening included Joshua Allen, a writer on Empire, saying, “Even BS is fertilizer if you use it the right way” when discussing low points in his writing. Stephany Folsom, the screenwriter of Thor: Ragnarok, discussed her difficult journey and how the “wins wouldn’t be as fun if you didn’t have to fail along the way.” Jazmyn Simon also discussed the struggle in the journey and how “as soon as you reach a goal, it instantly changes.”

The panelists didn’t only talk about their struggles. They reveled in their successes and shared some funny stories about their time in the entertainment trenches. One of my favorite points in the evening was from casting director Marci Liroff discussing an actor sending a headshot via carrier pigeon to her office. Talk about thinking way outside of the box (maybe in a not so great way).

The takeaways were endless as I enjoyed panelist of actors, writers, casting directors, talent agents/ managers, and producers. I have never seen such a well rounded group of panelists with so much knowledge to share.

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I had the pleasure of chatting with the founders, Erman Baradi and Emily Guglielmo about the inspiration behind their event and their plans for the future.

What was the inspiration for this event? 

Erman: Growing up on the east coast I always wanted to attend events that gave me access to industry pros. Hence, this enabled me to not only connect with them but also allowed other dreamers the opportunity to connect. Inspiring others is itself the inspiration to it. I did one on my own then approached Emily to partner up.

Emily: Erman and I have been partners on a different convention conference and wanted to start something we can call our own and create a company we can watch grow!

How do you see this event growing? 

Emily: I see this event growing to levels all around world and the Rel/Event Series becoming international. We will expand to do conventions and concerts too!

Erman: There’s definitely an expansion of topics in the works, as well as a more diverse audience. Some people would advise to be audience specific but diversity is what makes the series appealing.

What is your long-term goal for this event? 

Erman: I’d like to see growth towards international events and even conventions. Anything is possible as long as there’s the people’s support.

Emily: Long term goal for Part: 2 is to get us as a brand known so people will become fans and come to our next event Part: 3!

Do you feel that this event was a success? 

Erman: It was definitely a success. Audiences loved it even if there are fires to extinguish behind the scenes.

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Takeaways/ changes you will make for next time? 

Erman: There was an intimacy in our first event that was compromised due to a bigger setting. I personally would like to return to that communal atmosphere. You could be sharing a row with a big Hollywood producer and not even know it until you make conversation. 

And that, is the whole point of the Rel/Event Series. A chance to mingle with your fellow creatives, learn from industry professionals, sympathize with peoples’ struggles, and laugh with their loony stories. Basically a chance to learn, grow, and build relationships in a beautiful old-Hollywood setting.

Deborah Lee Smith

About Deborah Lee Smith

Deborah Lee Smith is an actress and producer whose love of performing, storytelling, and new experiences has led to filming projects around the world. Originally from LA, she studied Theater and English Lit at UC Berkeley before moving to Australia to pursue her master’s degree in Film Production. She started acting in the Australian film industry before returning to LA and diving head first into acting and discovered a love of producing. Currently, she has two films in post-production that she has starred in, and has received several awards for her acting and producing work. Additionally, she has partnered with another incredible female producer to create Deep Sea Pictures, a full-service production company that has several projects in various stages of development. She believes in working hard, playing hard, exploring the world, and supporting others to tell stories that expand our understanding of the world and the people, places, and things that reside within it!