from #IAMTCLXA to #WEAREALMA
Well hello fellow people of EARTH! How great to see you! alllllllll of you :)
For those that don't know. I wanted to do a quick re-cap of what seems like an eternity on a little venture I have been on, and continue to be on, but in a different way.
In spring of 2015 I decided to start a facebook group that would cater to housing LatinX artists for the purposes of reaching actors for upcoming film/theater casting opportunities. Needless to say the group expanded to reach over 50 members in this group called Twin Cities LatinX Artists Network.
I never knew that we had so much talent out there.
An idea sparked. The Birth of Twin Cities LatinX Actors. (TCLXA)
TCLXActors would cater to aspiring and established artists/actors by providing them with information on RESOURCES/TRAINING/NETWORKING opportunities. Connecting them with several artists (casting directors/photographers/artists) that were willing to provide low cost/no cost workshops to nurture upcoming talent. It seemed like the PERFECT venture.
I wanted to start this business venture to support our Latinx identified actors or those who wanted to know more about becoming an actor in the Twin Cities. I felt like this was an important topic, and wanted to show my latinx artists that we can create something for us, if no one else will! and make it something truly special.
But I couldn't do this alone....or could I????
I went on to talk to several mentors and leaders in communities including: Tio Louis Perego of PRIME LATINO MEDIA, Bienvenida Matias adviser and founding member of IN PROGRESS, Paulino Brener local actor and language teacher LEARN WITH PAULINO and Pedro Fonseca actor/writer/director/producer a talent of his own....on ways to grow, expand the TCLXA brand.
I soon realized there was much more work to be done than just implementing an IDEA. I was taught the value of structuring an organization, coming up with a business plan, marketing plan, social media understand, recognizing weak points/strong points, engaging an audience, figuring out if this was a for profit, non profit or volunteer led organization.
aahhhhhhhhh!!!! so much!
After several months of organizing TCLXA and coming up with the concept of what I wanted TCLXA to look like.
These are the people that made the biggest impact and the journey that led to the FINAL DECISION OF TCLXA'S DESTINY.
It was because of him, that I was given the most valuable learning tools of all. Business Structure/Planning 101. The fantastic Tio Louis Perego with Prime Latino Media. He guided me through the principles of starting business, and asking the really important questions "GIVE ME THE MOST SELFISH REASON WHY YOU WANT TO DO THIS" (Because that would be my biggest motivator in getting things done).
That's what sparked the fire in my butt to get things going. Things were going fantastic, i was motivated, i felt a sense of purpose, and felt energized that I was going to be responsible for helping SO many people.
A while later....
I felt like I was losing my way, and confided to Tio Louis about the difficulty and challenges I was encountering, and the fact that I had to cancel workshop because of my lack of preparedness and readiness to present this organization to the world. This is the moment, where Tio Louis connected me with an amazing woman who I have had the honor of meeting to get more insight and advice, he shared her with me, because he felt like I was ready to move to the next steps.
BENI MATIAS. Adviser, Member, Founder, a lady of many talents.
We met at a reunion for IN Progress, located in St. Paul, she was in town for a bit. I got hang out with her and the rest of the In Progress family, we chatted in the most family feel type of environment you could ever go into.
A week later I followed up with her once she was back home in New York...I sent her all my business/plan/structure/data that I could formulate into few page document. (HERE GOES NOTHING)
We spoke on the phone one fine afternoon. and she broke it down for me.
The Biggest Takeaway of all:
She asked after much review: "Why are you doing this?"
She knows as well that it takes hard work, time. lots of time to build an organization.
ME: "I want to do this so I could eventually make a living off TCLXA so I could focus more on my Acting."
Her response: FOCUS ON ACTING because TCLXA will take you away from what you love the most, your family, friends, acting work. You'll be too focused on accomplishing everything but what you love to do.
AND THERE YOU HAVE IT! that was my AHA moment. Like. everything fell into place! I no longer had to stress myself out in figuring out my purpose, and trying to make people really support this cause. Not to mention HOW CAN I HELP OTHERS SUCCEED IF I MYSELF AM WANTING TO GET TO THE TOP.?
Beni, I thank you for really opening up my eyes. Also, for providing me the advice, to let things grow organically and let them become what they must. The people dictate what the mission is. That's something I learned. I took away so much from our conversation, and you have no idea what a blessing you are to me. <3
Not too longer after my conversation with Beni..well maybe a couple months down the road I followed up with Tio Louis yet again to get some perspective, and additional guidance, i found myself yet again with few negative thoughts and my progress on TCLXA, and where I was with it, and a new topic I needed guidance on. I told him that I was in conflict with my mind over a new organization that had started founded by Nora Montanez Patterson. (Alliance of Latinx Minnesota Artists-ALMA)
I vented...passionately in the best of ways...here's the breakdown of that conversation.
(I felt unsure of what to do, I knew that both of our organizations were TOP and that there was nothing like that in our state, and that we both serve the mission of supporting one another and the Latinx artist community.However, there were clear difference from one another. TCLXA was not about advocacy and that's something that the Alliance of Latinx Minnesota Artists could do! Add to that, that the potential of combining both our services could just make things so much better for everyone. Also, UNIFYING us. The service of providing Resources/Training/Networking, developing the artist database would still continue to be provided, among workshops for actors, artists, just more and more and more to what TCLXA could ever be by itself. )
To summarize, he put it simply
"Dorothy, you know your way home, just click your heals and make it happen" (something to that extent at least)
Tio Louis, I am beyond grateful to you for all the guidance you bestowed upon me. For your patience, encouragement and understanding of ME! and this IDEA. I'm happy to have you consider me as part of the Prime Latino Media fam. <3
Additional Thank Yous:
Paulino Brener (this guy is a genius when it comes to Social Media/Marketing) holy cow!!!!! Thank you for being supportive of me and my intent with TCLXA from the beginning. I hope that I may repay you in the future for what you assisted me with. SEO...what is that ? ;) Just kidding!
Pedro Fonseca!!! my man! a friend, a colleague of mine. Thank you for sticking with me, and for just taking my wild, and sometimes confused way of relaying information. For settling my insecurities, for being open minded and helpful to me during this process as well. You are my hero! You literally helped me put out my mental fires. Thank you also for your willingness to contribute as an adviser to me as well, and being so cool with just going on board with whatever was happening IN THE MOMENT.
I did make the decision. I decided that it was best to merge and create unity between TCLXA and ALMA. So as of April 2017 I am not just a TCLXA, but we are ALMA! I am a Twin Cities LatinX Actor forever, and a new ally, and proud server/adviser/member/contributor to an upcoming and soon to be great organization for the Alliance of Latinx Minnesota Artists!!!
I look forward to continuing to develop and build our Latinx artist community with ALMA!