The Los Angeles Method
May 2017 | Sofia Simeonidou
Sometimes I interview people for whom I feel I could write thousands of pages. Like with Theodora. I’m glad I have it good with words. Or I wouldn’t be able to share with you all the great things we talked about. She’s a believer. Like all masters. Reach out.
What is the Los Angeles Method?
The Los Angeles Method is a dynamic combination of acting and personal development techniques. The training courses are in the form of workshops, private sessions, or online courses. It’s created organically throughout my years of directing.
How did it start?
I left Greece, where I originally come from when I was 16 years old. I moved to New York where I lived for a little over a decade. I was studying, working, and commuting between NY and LA to follow training courses with acting and life coaches. Back then, 20 years ago, life coaching wasn’t so popular; it was rare and expensive. My teachers were the best in their field. So I learned from the best. I was like any other actress in New York, waitressing tables, trying to make ends meet financially (although I had my a safety net). Then one day I decided to push forward. I got 5 people together and we created a company. We’d rent Broadway theatres, and put up our own productions, all by ourselves. When I was directing, I’d introduce and incorporate in my shows everything I’d learned so far. I took all these training knowledge, whether it was yoga, acting techniques, personal development (I studied a lot of NLP), and sync it into my directing. The audience in my productions would come after the show and ask for more information. That’s when we created the first workshop. And that’s how it evolved. At first, it was only for actors, but as time went by and more people were interested I created another programme for business owners. This is how The Los Angeles Method for business people was created. I took all the information that I use for my actors’ training and I developed a programme that non-actors can understand, and benefit from.
Where did it come from?
The need makes you creative. Also the combination of talent (because I’m a talented person), the knowledge (because I constantly educate myself), and me being in an environment with creative people, experiencing my vulnerability…this is how it was created. I organically created a product that people liked. And I pushed forward. And it has always come back to support me. Keep this.
What about acting?
Acting is in my essence. Acting is the reason I have been successful in my life. After New York, I went back to Greece, and I was fortunate enough to be in one of the best sitcoms of the time. It was a big success; people would come up to me on the street to say hello, and all that. The fact that people recognise your success creates a different dynamic. So I stopped with the workshops and started working as an actress. I also started doing little gigs abroad; I’d be invited to Paris for a workshop, or in London for another.
And then I met my partner, the love of my life. He moved to Rome because of his job and I followed him. I got an agent there but acting jobs for non-Italian speakers were scarce. That’s how I went back into doing workshops again. You create your reality.
What’s your calling?
To find my voice by helping others find their voice and acting on it. The person who comes to my workshops, the audience in my productions, these people are me 5 years ago. 10 years ago. I know where they are now, and I know where they can go if they do certain things.
I organically created a product that people liked. And I pushed forward.
And who are your clients?
Actors, non-actors, entrepreneurs, coaches, small business owners. I have many women clients. The subject of women empowerment is something I hold very close to my heart. I believe in gender equality, but we don’t live in an equal society and that upsets me. So I’d say my clients are mostly women who have decided to make a change. I can only help people who are open to solutions. I can help people who are determined to succeed but don’t know how.
It’s the nature of my business. I worked for big companies, in a corporate environment, but as a freelancer. I need to be out there in order to help people. If I was to be safe and settled in an establishment I wouldn’t feel the energy of the society. I have to go out there with my art and talk about matters that aren’t working for us. I need to be independent in order to do that. In my line of work, whether it’s the theatre productions or the personal development training courses and workshops, I need to be in the 1st line.
But I had a 9 to 5 job before. Or even a 9 to 9 sometimes. I was an assistant to a famous photographer in New York, I was a dog walker, and I was waitressing tables-sometimes all in one day. So I know what it means.
Did you ever think of changing your career, follow a different path?
Never. Never. I knew what I wanted to be ever since I realised who I am.
How do you know you are on track?
The more evidence I have of my success, the moments of self-doubt become just that: moments. I go into my exercises, my techniques, and realign myself. If I’m on the wrong track I’ll know, because there’ll be no results the way I envisioned them to be.
That’s an important section of what I teach at The Los Angeles Method. Plato talks about our soul being a carriage with 2 horses and a driver. The driver is the mind and the 2 horses are the heart and the gut (the desire). So in order for you to be successful, your mind/your logic needs to be aligned with your emotions and your desire. The desire will give you the tools to make it possible. If something isn’t possible that tells me that either my desire is not strong enough or logically I didn’t put it together well. So I go back to the drawing table and I focus.
If I hit an obstacle, a challenge, I know there’s a different way.
Are you flexible with your goals?
I have a couple of goals that they’re set, they’re there. The way to achieve them is flexible. If I hit an obstacle, a challenge, I know there’s a different way. My way or the highway, I’m very flexible with that.
What are the challenges?
Being there for my partner. Knowing that I need to stop working when he comes back from work in the evening. It’s “shutting down” my working hours. I’m thinking of my business 24/7. I’m very grateful for my partner and all his support. He’s in marketing, so he’s also supporting me with his marketing knowledge.
And yes, another challenge is money. Money is good energy and I want them in my life. I want to make a lot of money, and then I want to put the money back to create new things. It will help me, it will give me the freedom and will also give the tools to others to achieve the freedom and success they deserve.
Setting up a business in a foreign country. How easy or difficult was it to build a network?
Well, let me just say that my family name can open some doors. For example, I had the support of the Greek Embassy and the UvA Greek studies department for my 1sttheatre production. I was here only 6 months. But a name alone can’t keep a door open. Whatever energy you have and you put on something, that’s the energy you’ll get back. Similar energies attract. So even though I knew no one in Amsterdam, within 2 months I was able to have the 1st audition for my 1st theatre production. And I had already my first scheduled workshop. I attracted people who were very supportive, and who were in key places for my networking.
How did you do that?
By moving around. I went online, on Social Media. I put myself out there, I posted about what I’m doing, what I’m looking for. I reached out. I connected with organizations, like the amazing Professional Women’s Network Amsterdam (PWN). PWN gave me the platform to give a workshop for their members. That’s how I started with my first clients. And then they were 3 or 4 women who were a great power for me so that I can move up. It was a combination of my energy and the support I received to promote my work.
What’s your advice to someone starting now?
- Make sure you offer a product that has value.
- Believe in yourself.
- Visualise what it is that you want, be as specific as possible. Our mind creates images and those images feed our unconscious mind, which is the creator.
- Go out there, be vulnerable, and put yourself in uncomfortable situations.
I went online, on Social Media. I put myself out there, I posted about what I’m doing, what I’m looking for. I reached out.
What time do you wake-up in the morning?
And do you have any breakfast?
No, usually not.
What’s your favourite quote?
- Learn the rules like a pro so that you can break them like an artist (Pablo Picasso).
- Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid (Albert Einstein).
Favourite tools/apps that make your life easier?
Everything Social Media. I love Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Evernote is also a great app for my work. And then my editing programmes of course.
Your future plans?
I’ve been doing workshops offline all these years now. This year is the year to take it online! This is the year to reach more people, no matter where they reside. I want my training to have a positive impact on as many individuals possible. Most of my training courses are now online training courses. We already launched the creative leadership cycle 1 (which also has a real-time support from me through the Facebook group). The membership site is on its way, the Show Up-Brand Up will be launching end of 2017.
For all of you, who would like to get started and take control of what you experience, you can download the free training “How to write and direct the script of the life and business you want and deserve” here: http://www.theodoravoutsa.com/getstarted/
Get in touch with Theodora.