Business of Entertainment Panel Gives Florida Students Invaluable Insights Into Entertainment Industry

Professional artists return to the Bay Area to convene in St. Petersburg and share with the youth of the community.

St. Petersburg, FL, August 26, 2017 --( On August 19, 2017 teens of the community of St. Petersburg, Florida were given the unique opportunity to hear professionals in the entertainment industry give their insights and guidance about being part of this very competitive and sought-after field.

From Writing the Vision to Living the Dream™, hosted by Bay Area Studios Foundation recruited young professional adult artists inviting them to return to St. Petersburg.

Four panelists very generously took time out from their packed schedules to travel from various parts of the country, and spoke for nearly two hours to an intimate crowd ranging from local high school and middle school students and community members.

Three Gibbs High School PCCA Alumni Martina Sykes, who was last seen in Broadway's Motown: The Musical as well as Motown: The Musical National Tour, J. E. White Singer, songwriter and recording artist who is scheduled to release her EP project "Who I Am" later this year, Hailey Ross a child performer turned marketing specialist in sports management, and Countryside High School graduate Raymond L. Bennett who performed in the Broadway cast of "The Wiz" along with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring The Rockettes.

They were joined by St. Petersburg native and moderator Monica D. Hardwick, founder of Bay Area Studios Foundation.

"As I have reached out to many of our St. Petersburg natives in the arts industry over the years, I have made it clear that it is important to not only financially support efforts kids are making in the arts, but also find a way to be involved,” noted Monica D. Hardwick. “At the same time, our youth need more exposure to individuals who have put in the work, so putting together this panel was a way to address both of these needs. It’s truly a win-win, for both the panel participants and youth.”

“I am extremely grateful to our panelists who are giving so generously of their time and expertise,” Hardwick added. “Our youth have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of how their discipline may lead to a career in performing arts. For some this could be a tipping point.”

The panel gave their observations of how artists and athletes are entrepreneurs. Explaining the importance of creating a space for themselves to have an audience. Other areas covered included the benefits of joining a guild, and how to start a career in entertainment.They also stressed the importance of having a great work ethic. Gaining more knowledge of the industry, showing up on time were also sited as key to standing out above the rest.

Other advice given included, be hungry but perfect your discernment, pay attention to what you do well and create compelling content.

“The one guarantee about this industry is unemployment,” said Martina Sykes. “You could shoot the film, do the press and promotions for it and still have your character killed before the movie begins."

At the end of the discussion, journals were distributed and the attendees were asked to write five things they did not like about themselves followed by five things they love about themselves. The kids were given directions to destroy the paper detailing the things they did not like and post the paper listing what they love on their mirrors at home.

Attendees enjoyed being able to approach the gracious panelists after the event receiving contact information.

Those in attendance had the rare opportunity to add to their own college experience and education by learning first-hand from four remarkable industry professionals.
Bay Area Studios Foundation
Mia Blackmond