FYA Canada

Fulfilling Young Artists – Vancouver

About FYA

Fulfilling Young Artists is a mentorship program, where young actors, writers and directors are paired with experienced professionals in their field. They will meet once a month for 6 months, and receive coaching and guidance on leading a more fulfilling life as an artist. There are 20 young artists in the program. Mentors volunteer their time, and the program is free for participants.

The program was created in 2010 by Sage Brocklebank, a Vancouver/Los Angeles based actor while participating in the Landmark Education Leadership Program. “When I started out as a young actor I often felt stranded, and uncertain as to which actions to take. This program is created to provide guidance and structure for young artists. In addition to monthly meetings, proteges will be given the opportunity to accompany their mentors to rehearsals, to auditions and on set. This gives them a realistic view of their field.”

Mentees are expected to meet with their mentor once per month for three hours, at a location of the Mentor’s choosing. Mentees are responsible for their own travel, and for ensuring that monthly meetings are kept. Mentors help with goal setting, provide advice and assistance wherever possible, and hold Mentees accountable to do the work involved in meeting each month’s “benchmark” towards their one year goal. 

Once a month there will be a group meeting of Mentees, including a panel discussion by several Mentors with expertise in a given subject.

Louis Ferreira participated in the FYA mentorship program in the winter of 2014/2015, with Eric Banerd as his assigned mentee. Please visit Eric Banerd’s Page here at The Friends of Louis Ferreira.

Sage Brocklebank has kindly agreed to an exclusive interview for Ferreira Fest 64, and you can now read it below.

For more information about FYA please visit the following sites:

To submit an application to become a mentee, click here.
Watch the video of the last cohort’s final presentations here:

After our interview with Louis’ mentee Eric Banerd in Ferreira Fest 63 it seemed fitting to hear from the founder of the Mentoring Program where Louis and Eric met.

We’re so thrilled to bring you this exclusive interview with Sage Brocklebank, who together with Patrick Sabongui developed FYA – Fulfilling Young Artists.

Sage Brocklebank, running lines before an audition.

Listen to the interview sound clip here:

Interview transcript:

FF – Hi Sage, this is Bea from Ferreira Fest. We’re so happy to have you talking to us this month. And, to start out with, tell us a little bit about FYA—Fulfilling Young Artists. What is it and how did it all start?

SB – Oh, well, first of all, thank you for having me on your newsletter. I took a peek at your last newsletter and I think it’s pretty great what you guys are doing.

FF – Thank you!

SB – FYA is a non-profit, volunteer based mentorship program where we pair young actors, who are aged eighteen to twenty-four, with experienced professionals.

The program started, I was doing a course through Landmark Education called a Self-Expression and Leadership Program where you create an organization to benefit your community. And I had this idea for a type of mentorship that would provide a bird’s-eye point of view feedback for younger actors.

It was something that I’d recognized in my career that had been missing. And I guess something that I really recognized that in our society doesn’t happen as much now, is mentorship, like back in the old days if you wanted to be a blacksmith or a cobbler you’d go train and intern with these guys for a few years and you would learn from the professional.

Sorry, you’re hearing crazy noise in the background here. I’m actually right now working on a film, a short film, called Ariel Unraveling, which was an FYA project. It’s written by Mary Galloway, who is an FYA graduate, and directed by her mentor, Carmen Moore. And it’s co-produced by Patrick Sabongui and myself.

FF – You started FYA out of a personal and a perceived need in the artists community, for all intents and purposes, an old fashioned apprentice/mentorship relationship?

SB – Yeah, yeah. I felt like it was something that I recognized had been missing from my career and I would have benefited a lot from it. It would have saved me a lot of time. And something that just provides a lot of value, and I guess I didn’t realize this when I started the program, but, it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement between the mentor and the mentee, where both people are really contributing towards one another and there’s a real sense of fulfillment. So our program is FYA, which is: Fulfilling Young Artists. We’re not really concentrating on getting actors work, or getting actors fame, or getting actors money, we’re interested in what it is that fulfills you artistically.

Quite often what fulfills you might not pay the bills. But we look at balance, and understanding what it is that’s going to have you feel fulfilled and satisfied so that you can have longevity in your career. What that means to each person is completely different. For some people it means taking up a pottery class on the side, or poetry or writing or beat poetry, it could be any number of things.

We focus upon what it is in your life that’s going to help you find balance and fulfillment in order to help you to sustain your career over a duration of time.

FF – That sounds wonderful. Now, you choose both the mentors and the mentees for the program.

SB – Yes.

FF – Where do you find the mentors and what criteria are vital for a successful mentee applicant?

SB – The mentors are sought out through people that I know or that Patrick Sabongui knows. And then we have a board of directors of five other former mentors from the program. So when we bounce names around, we have a list every year of maybe sixty to ninety people that we think would be really good mentors, but we don’t know if we’re going to use any of them. Because what we do is we have applications and we ask a series of questions of the mentees, about their career, and why they’re an actor, and what they’re interested in, and how they see their future going, what kind of future they’d like to have artistically.

And then we have a long interview process, it’s about an eight minute interview. Each prospective mentee is interviewed by two former mentors. Then at the end of the whole day of interviews we throw all the names in a hat and we talk about our strongest candidates and then it has go through a rigorous process where everyone has to agree that this person is a good fit for our program.

Once we’ve done that we try to look at each individual applicant and kind of think like what kind of career might they have in the industry, if they’re male or female, ethnic type, body type matters, and are they an ingenue or are they a character type. And then who do we know in the Vancouver community that fits that, who’s been down that road, because really listening is so totally based on the person who’s talking.  And so, what I mean by that, is that when I was in theater school I had some amazing teachers and professors that said some really wise comments about an actor’s career. But the listening for me, at that age of twenty or twenty-one years old was like, yeah, but you’re not really doing it. You’re a teacher, you’re not really doing the acting thing every day, you’re not on a TV show, you haven’t been on Broadway, you haven’t done anything, so how do you really know?

And as much as they may know, it’s just that my listening was affected by the fact that they weren’t actually walking the walk every day.

So what we try to create, and the reason that someone like Louis Ferreira is such a great mentor is because they’re walking the walk, right? He’s been in the business for, how long? At least twenty-five or thirty years?

FF – Something like that, yep.

SB – Yeah, television and film and stage and has done a wide variety of things, so when we pair him up with someone like Eric, there’s no doubt in Eric’s mind that, wow, this guy knows what he’s talking about. So the listening shifts. It provides maximum value for learning.

FF – Right. When you get it straight from the horse’s mouth, as it were.

SB – Exactly. Exactly. And there’s just no denying it, right.

FF – Yeah. Now, looking back over the life of the program, how has participation in the program helped the young artists that were selected?

SB – Oh, that’s a great question. So we’ve had a few people, like Jane Hancock in our program a few years ago and she’d never made a film. And as part of their final project we do an evening of unique works, where everyone creates an original piece of work that’s one to five minutes. And the work has to do, if they had a microphone and they were in front of the world, what would they have to say. So she created this short film, and it was the first time she’d ever made a film, and it was this whole breakthrough for her of understanding, wow, I can actually create a piece of art from scratch, as a film, and have my voice be heard.
So when she created that it caused this huge inertia for her and I think since then she’s made like half a dozen films, she’s won awards, her films have been in festivals all over the world. So, that’s one personal thing that happened to her.

We’ve had other students that have created monologues that have led to plays and have been taken to fringe festivals and whatnot.

FF – Yeah, and Eric was telling us about the web-series that he was working on. That came out of the project.

SB – Yeah.

FF – So it’s great that it’s not just like that particular event on that evening but that those are all projects that are meant to go on. And grow beyond that.

SB – Yeah, it’s definitely a possibility. Even if it just happens one time, one of the things that I’ve realized in the program is that many people will not end up being actors. And that is, that’s just how life works. Right? The average person changes careers at least eight times and acting is an incredibly difficult career filled with pain and rejection. So many people choose not to stay in this career. But we can provide value for them, in that one experience.

Experiencing themselves in a new way, and having them create an idea and taking it to fruition then and then that’s something.

FF – So, how did Louis get involved in the FYA mentorship program?

SB – Well, I’ve known about Louis a while. But I hadn’t known him personally, I’ve just known him through watching, I loved the character arc he had in Breaking Bad, and then Motive obviously shoots in Vancouver. I’ve seen some episodes of that show and I’ve auditioned for it several times.

A friend of mine was doing an art show, and a mutual friend brought Louis to it and we met briefly. Something really interesting about Louis: he’s really charismatic, and he’s like an alpha dog, he’s an alpha man. He’s like an effortless alpha. He doesn’t really need to dominate other people in order to be an alpha, he just sits back. But you just know he’s the guy who’s driving the car.

There’s something about him that when Eric Banerd came and interviewed with us, and Eric’s got this really interesting life story where he took a couple years off, he traveled around the world, went to Thailand and all these crazy places, and so we were like, oh, we need someone who’s really seasoned and really has a sense of himself, and is also an alpha dog as well, we were like, you know who’d be great would be Louis Ferreira. So I just reached out to my friend, I didn’t really know Louis, but my good friend Paula [Elle] did, and she knows him really well and the first time I met Louis he was ecstatic about the idea.

He was like, “Oh, this is totally in alignment with what I’m doing.” And Louis had also taken the Landmark Forum recently, so he knew the origins of the program, he knew what it was about. Landmark is all about making a difference for other people and taking a stand for something. So that’s how he got involved.

FF – Wonderful. One of the big things that we’re really interested in here at Ferreira Fest is mentorship and guiding younger people, and the kind of influences that we all have on other people and the good we can all do. And even if we’re just a year older, that’s still a year that the other person might not have, and the experience that we’ve had in a year. So mentorship is not necessarily the old wise person and the young, unexperienced person, but it can simply be somebody who’s been through something like that before, who can then mentor somebody else.

So that’s really interesting to us and that’s why we were so excited to be able to talk to Eric and now I’m so excited to be talking to you about the same topic, which just all fits together here.

How can people find out more about Fulfilling Young Artists?

SB – We have a website, http://fulfillingyoungartists.com/ and we’re also on Facebook, Fulfilling Young Artists is a group on there. And then we’re on Twitter @FyaCanada. We try to run a program every year. We’re on a bit of a hiatus right now, in search for some funding to get us back up and running. But they can always e-mail us and ask about it. At the moment we’re just available in Vancouver although we would definitely like to expand the program to other markets such as Toronto and Los Angeles and New York down the road.

I definitely think that mentorship’s something that is going to become more common in the world now. I think that there’s this kind of resurgence of going back to the way things were and old world values and work ethic, etc.

FF – Well, thank you so much for your input on that, Sage, that was really wonderful, and thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day, or night, as the case may be.

SB – My pleasure.

FF – Thank you again so much.

SB – Oh, you’re welcome. Thanks, it was a pleasure talking to you.

Thanks to Sage for taking the time to do this interview, and thanks  to Casey for the transcript!!

Check out the FYA FaceBook page!

Follow @FyaCanada on Twitter!

During the winter of 2014/ 2015 Louis participated in  FYA – Fulfilling Young Artists, and he was asked to mentor a young actor and musician named Eric Banerd. Here’s how he got involved in FYA.

Listen to the sound clip here:

LF – One of the guys had just gotten in touch with me and, yeah, the two guys who run it are actually great, great guys, and I don’t really know them that well but I love what they were saying and represented, and I actually went to the day of their graduation, where all students put together a five-minute piece, some was poetry, some was music, others did short films, including Eric.

And it was pretty brilliant. I mean, there were some really amazing performances. And so that was really neat to see the young people, and it’s an opportunity for me to give very little but be part of a cause that I certainly believe in, what a great thing they started there.

FF – Right.

LF – So that was very cool.

Transcripts by Casey.

Here is Louis with Eric (to Louis’ right with his arms in the air) and several of the participants of the program, celebrating the successful conclusion of their partnership through FYA.

For some unique insights on how FYA has made a difference in their participants’ lives please be sure to read the interview with Louis’ mentee Eric Banerd.

And now it’s time to go behind the scenes with the movers and shakers at FYA Vancouver when they’re not busy pairing up great artists and young talent:

Sage Brocklebank in action. Just add cookies.
This is what happens when you take Patrick Sabongui’s cookies away. Talk to the fist.