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“Learning The Business Side Of Show Business Is Just As Important As Honing Talent” 5 Insider Tips with Kate Pazakis

What is your “backstory”?

I am a former Broadway/Cabaret performer and lived/worked in NYC for 17 years. I created and hosted a late night cabaret show that ran in the village for a decade from 11pm-4am every friday night. During that time I did many plays, musicals and concerts, yet I still felt as though something was missing. After my dream job of doing South Pacific directed by Bartlett Sher, I decided to move to Los Angeles and change my focus to producing and writing. Over the last 4 years I created the UMPO series. It is an “Unauthorized musical parody” series that lovingly pokes at cult films and their stars. When I moved here I met my husband on a dating site and now we have a son who is almost 2 and definitely destined to be a performer.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your acting/directing/performing career?

The second day that I moved to Los Angeles,I was sitting at Sunday brunch with friends when I got a text from my friend Stephen Oremus. He asked me if I was in Los Angeles yet and if I wanted to audition for South Park. Of course I said yes. He said that he would give my number Anne Garefino, the Executive Producer of South Park and to make sure to pick up any unknown numbers. 4 minutes later my phone rang. It was Anne. I ran into the bathroom at the restaurant. She asked if I had a smart phone and if she could email me audition sides. I said yes. She said to check my email and I confirmed that they were there. Then she asked me to start at the top. Cold Read. South Park. 2 mimosas. I laughed thinking she was kidding. She wasn’t. So I read them. She laughed and asked if I could come do the Broadway Bro Down episode written by Bobby Lopez. Oh and it starts Tuesday.

I said yes. It was probably the coolest gig that I have ever done.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I love the UMPO series. It is this funny little series with a hilariously small budget in a room with 4 poles that make the space difficult. Yet, it is like the the little train that could. People keep coming and the shows keep selling out. It has become a hot thing to do in Los Angeles. It is my baby and my passion. Aside from my son, I have never been more proud of anything that I have done.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

I did a show in NYC called A BROADWAY DIVA CHRISTMAS. I was featured in the ensemble and understudied Ellen Greene. I shared a dressing room with her and loved hanging out with her. Two years ago she came to a show at Rockwell and loudly introduced me as Kelly and said we did Guys and Dolls together. She said she was tough and gave me notes every night.

haha. Note. I have never done Guys and Dolls and my name is not Kelly.

What do you do to “sharpen your craft”? Can you share any stories?

I try to write 50 words every day. Good or bad.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I think the UMPO series and the Rockwell has become a home and a safe space for so many performers in Los Angeles. Community is so important and I strive to keep creating projects and building this crazy little family.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

I wish that:

1. Someone would have said that learning the business side of show business is just as important, if not more important than honing talent.

I have found over the years that those skills have gotten me further than anything else.

2. I was encouraged to find a school or program dedicated to young character actors. It is a special and different skill that tends to get pushed to the side for leading men and women. I never felt that as a young character woman that the correct training was available. So many programs now try to create carbon copies and push everyone into a narrow box instead of embracing what makes them different.

3. I was encouraged to stay in dance class when I thought that 18 was too late to start. I still wish that now at 41.

4. I was encouraged to create my own projects from a younger age instead of waiting to fit into someone else’s vision.

5. I knew that it would all work out the way it is supposed to.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)

Rachel Bloom. I love what she created with Crazy Ex Girlfriend. She is a powerful lady boss and nothing is getting in her way.

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