At the same time, it was really valuable. Some things they discussed were very helpful. And the stuff I already knew? Well, it's good to know how much I really know. Seriously, if I already know 80-90% of the information given over three-and-a-half hours, I must be doing okay.
Plus, whether you know it or not, it's always great to hear it straight from the proverbial horse's mouth. You get all the texture and nuance that way.
I wish someone had told me this stuff years ago. Nobody did -- not even my agents. Basic stuff, like always call your agent back in under an hour, to more complex stuff, like when and how much you should improvise in an audition. Looking back on that first year or two, I seriously had no idea what I was doing. At least I didn't know that I didn't know. That would have been horrible.
As it was, I went to a bunch of auditions right out of the gate and seemed to be doing okay. Then there was kind of a long hiatus, at least with the top agency in town. I know now (and it was kind of confirmed tonight with what I heard), that they likely determined I needed more experience and training and moved me to the bottom of the stack.
Anyway, the biggest lesson they went back to over and over? LISTEN. Listen, listen, listen!! So few people, in any occupation or situation, actually listen. It's something I've struggled with myself, but I've gotten much better at it.
It was a really fun and fascinating night. It's hard to imagine being that entertained and compelled by three-and-a-half hours of discussion about, you know, my regular career. Which should tell ya something ...