Hello and welcome to the Coffee in the Green Room podcast. This is the show for rising talent, entertainment industry insiders, and those with a curiosity of what life is like in front of the camera. If you’ve ever struggled with getting started as a model, actor, or musician. Well, that’s exactly what we’re going to help you with. Today’s episode is hosted by Deneen White: Writer, author, publicist, and TV host. So, sit back, relax, grab your favorite cup of coffee and welcome to Coffee in the Green Room.
Deneen White: (00:45)
Hey everyone! My name is Deneen white and I am the host of Coffee in the Green Room today. I am super excited to have Jym Benzing on the podcast. We are doing a multi-part series during quarantine during the coronavirus. The reason that we’re doing this series is twofold: First of all, we want to bring inspiration to people during this time. The second reason that we’re doing this is: we want to show everyone that now is the time that you should actually be planning and building for your career as an actor, model or musician. Jym, thank you so much for being on the podcast today. Can you tell me how you’re keeping yourself busy during the coronavirus?
Jym Benzing: (01:23)
Keeping myself busy. You know, the funny thing is, I thought it was going to be harder than I thought cause I thought I was gonna have so much time. Like, what am I going to do with all this time? I work from home normally, except when we’re on set or in casting. So, I’m already used to doing this because the shows are not in production. We’re looking back at old, you know, of course I’m catching up on some new shows that I’ve never seen before. I just watched Unorthodox last night. I know Unorthodox, I don’t know if you’ve seen it.
Deneen White: (01:48)
No. Is it good?
Jym Benzing: (01:50)
So, go ahead. It’s about the Hasidic Jewish world in Williamsburg, and it’s based on a memoir, and this girl escapes to Berlin. It’s based on a true story, but anyway, it’s really good. But, I thought it was going to be all like Netflix and laying around and doing nothing the first couple of days. I have to tell you, I did get covid, so I was sick, and even in our first couple of sessions, I had to, like, really pull myself together cause I didn’t want to be a downer.
Jym Benzing: (02:14)
It was the first day, our first session, it was like toward the end of it. I was so sick that day. So, it wasn’t, it was like you said. You know, Cuomo talked about getting up and fighting and not letting it take over your body, because the more you lay down, and the more you rest. There’s a lot of theories, and no one really knows for sure, because it’s, you know, a virus. It gave me a reason to get up in the morning and gave me a reason to think about things. So, it did, actually, getting up and working on the VIP Connect got me moving while I was sick.
Deneen White: (02:48)
Jym Benzing: (02:49)
And it got me inspired to think. I thought I was going to be watching TV shows, like I said before and it turned out that I’m not. I’m actually reaching out to a lot of family and friends and taking the opportunity to see and talk to people that I haven’t in a long time. Tons of networking that has been going on and talking to other ad agencies and creative directors all around the world. And we’ve been doing these meetings and a lot of FaceTime that I normally wouldn’t have. I now have, and I feel like I thought it was going to be, I’m going to, the first couple of days it was, like, I want to do a workout class. It’s so and so.
Jym Benzing: (03:23)
Basically, what I’m doing is I’m making funny videos or silly little cartoony videos on my Instagram, and then I’ve been talking to people and trying to come up with a plan of trying to pivot. Find out what I can take. I mean, cause we have this time that we usually don’t have. We have time to ourselves. We have time to reflect. We have time to read. We have time. Okay, look inward. Do we have time to talk to family that usually we’re too busy?
Jym Benzing: (03:48)
Like I said, I work from home, and usually I’m working nonstop for 16 hours, and I don’t talk to anybody. I don’t know. And, I might have the TV playing in the background, and stuff like that. I barely have the TV on, which is very unlike me, because I watch everything and I get up. I said, I have a balcony. I go out on my balcony and I sit out there with my laptop and I talk to friends and family and- Actually, coming to do your classes has helped a lot because it keeps me on a regimen.
Jym Benzing: (04:14)
It keeps me getting up at the same time every day. So, I feel like it’s actually been pretty fluid. Like, I’m on a regular schedule knowing that there’s something to look forward to. It gives me a reason to keep moving.
Deneen White: (04:27)
Yeah. We love that. We’re not happy about the virus, obviously. We’re like, we were like, oh my gosh, what are we going to do now? But, one of the things we did with our VIP Elite Talent Academy is, we were like, you know what? We have all these people who have all this extra time so let’s utilize that.
Deneen White: (04:44)
So we really appreciate you coming on board as one of our new coaches. We love having you. Everybody looks forward to your classes. The information that you’ve been giving everyone has been priceless. Honestly, we were talking about it today, actually, when you were doing your training on social media. This is information that your average person doesn’t have access to.
Deneen White: (05:05)
So, aside from social media, also, just the different topics that you’ve spoken on about fashion and the industry have been absolutely amazing. So, hey, thank you so much for sharing all of that information with us, but also. What is it like to also be able to impart your wisdom and your knowledge to people who are thirsty for it?
Jym Benzing: (05:25)
Well, it’s funny, cause you know, I reached out to you guys not knowing this was happening. And I was actually thinking, I was helping some friends at this bar I worked in back in the day. They’re doing a virtual thing. All these people were out of work: Singers. Actors. nightlife people. Drag Queens. You name it. And people are trying to come up with ways to pivot. Like, where do we make money now? Because all the shoots and all of my castings are various things that have to happen in groups of people that I stopped working with. And, I kept thinking, what am I going to do?
Jym Benzing: (05:54)
And then I’m thinking, I’m helping all these other people find ways to make money virtually. Why can’t I do something for myself? And that started me thinking, and then I was like, oh! My original thought was: I’m going to put a class together. Very small. And, so, maybe proceeds will go towards food banks or for medical supplies. I mean, that’s where, really, where I was going originally.
Jym Benzing: (06:15)
And I just started calling around, just to see who would be interested in working with me or helping. And Alysia was the third, I think the third person I text, and then within two seconds she wrote back. And then, I didn’t even do my thing, and I just came up over to you guys.
Deneen White: (06:30)
I’m sorry you didn’t do your thing, but I’m glad that you did. And also because, when you sent Alysia the text message, we were like, Oh no, no, no, no. We need to use him for ourselves. Because the thing is, like, the knowledge that you have, it’s priceless. Just your energy and just what you bring to the table is amazing. So, we’ve all appreciated everything that you’ve done. So is it, are you enjoying getting to know our talent?
Jym Benzing: (07:00)
Definitely. I see more people are…a few have been more active, I guess, socially. So, I see them a little bit more. So, I get to see who they are from their stories and their Instagram posts and things like that. I just actually looked at a couple of people. One of the girls had something up on YouTube. I looked at it just before we were on. So, I went to look at her YouTube stuff. And so, yeah, I’m starting to get to know them a little bit more. One of the reasons that I enjoy it is because, when I was a theater major. It was a great experience, and I was in a conservatory, and it was very strict, and you weren’t allowed to work while you were in conservatory.
Jym Benzing: (07:34)
I was a working actor. I came off a TV show, and I was just doing tours and movies, and then when I went to the conservatory. They were like, you can’t work. You got to look at this conservatory as a class and as part of my college. So, I mean, as a part of a business, like, you have to think that way. Like, think of this as a show and that you don’t miss them, that you don’t miss a performance, you don’t miss a class.
Deneen White: (07:56)
Jym Benzing: (07:57)
So, it was hard for me because I was a working actor, and I always worked and I just wanted to keep it. So, conservatory was amazing. It taught me the craft, taught me all the ins and outs. And, from there, I also studied with Second City on top of it and I was doing stand up. I was doing improv. I was doing all these crazy things.
Jym Benzing: (08:13)
But, the one thing I didn’t get was the business side. No one in college taught theater as a business. No one taught acting as a business. Then, we taught directing as a business. So when I came to New York as a fresh lunged young thing off the bus, with my little, my little suitcase- No, just kidding. And I was thinking, I didn’t know about taxes. I didn’t know about contracts. I didn’t know the difference between an agent and manager. I didn’t know when to get one.
Jym Benzing: (08:39)
When to go union, when not to go union. So, all those things where I’m like, wait. I have all this education and theater and, really since I was six, I’ve been involved in show business. And I’m like, I don’t even know the business side. So what this- The thing I get out of the VIP Connect is that one of the things I wanted to impart, not so much the technique because I know you have a lot of other experts who are teaching on all these other topics.
Jym Benzing: (09:08)
But I wanted to talk about the business side. Like, like you know, I mean, a lot of people might find it boring, but, like. When we talked about the usages of all the contracts and things like that and who the players are and a lot of the misconceptions there are in the business about these players. Like, who does what and why, and how does a shoot become a shoot and all that stuff.
Deneen White: (09:25)
Jym Benzing: (09:26)
So, I feel like the more information someone has, that’s more power they have. So, when they go into these castings, or when they go in to meet an agent, they’re not, you know. Sometimes people, if they live, not in this little world of ignorance, but if they’re not aware of the business, they’ll be taken advantage of. They might react out of fear. They might react out of, I just need to, I need to sign now.
Jym Benzing: (09:52)
Cause they feel like they’re never going to get the chance again. But, if they have the knowledge, and they look at the paperwork, and they know exactly what’s going on, and they know what the business is about. That gives them more power shifted to their side. That’s kind of why I, that’s what I get out of it. It’s knowing that I’m at least giving, just, power to these kids.
Deneen White: (10:10)
Yeah. I think that’s awesome because, again, like you said, there are so many, not only with our company, but there are so many options to learn the techniques. So few companies are teaching the business, and that’s something that we’ve always wanted to do. You know, you’ve known our company, but even longer than I’ve been a part of it, obviously. But the one thing that we always want to provide is, we want to provide the most value and the most information and the real information that people actually need.
Deneen White: (10:35)
So, it’s been valuable for our talent to learn these things. I’m truly thankful for your calls because we have some talent who, on every call before you started breaking things down, were like, how do I get an agent? How do I get an agent? How do I get an agent? And I feel like that question has been, maybe not stopped, but it’s definitely toned back a couple notches because now they understand: Okay, this is what I need to do to get an agent. This is what an agent does for me. This is what a manager does for me.
Deneen White: (11:01)
So, that training that you’ve given them has been invaluable, and we greatly appreciate that.
Jym Benzing: (11:06)
Deneen White: (11:06)
You’re welcome. No, thank you. So, what if someone who’s listening to this podcast, and they’re like, okay, you know what, I would love to be a part of the entertainment industry. Is there a piece of advice you would give them? Like, right now, obviously, the world is under lockdown. Is there a piece of advice you would give them? Something they can be working on right now as an action point?
Jym Benzing: (11:27)
Well, while the world is in that lockdown, I think this is a great opportunity. We actually talked about this a little bit today in our class. This is a great opportunity to, even for me. I’ve been wanting to write up, I used to write plays. I wrote a couple of plays they have produced that done this. I’m like, if I only had the time. You always do that. I probably had the time. This is time to re-place. This is the time to look at it. Learn your craft, go online, take classes like VIP Connect. There’s an opportunity to read, to watch movies you never thought you were gonna watch.
Jym Benzing: (11:58)
Cause all that stuff is like, you know. It’s education. I think everyone had this excuse. If only I had the time. If only I have the time. Now you have the time. So, I think it’s a matter of being creative. We were talking today about being social and I’m seeing a lot of people just doing the same social media crap they did before. Whether it was like, post a picture or, you know, whatever.
Jym Benzing: (12:19)
I’m like, this is your chance. Now you have time. This is your chance to create something that no one has seen. Like, you create content. This is your chance to jump at the world. So, why not create some content that doesn’t exist cause, you now have time to do it. Before you were running around, you were going, you know, if you’re an equity actor, you’re getting up super early in the morning and going down and getting your number.
Jym Benzing: (12:39)
You come back, you take a nap and go back down to the stand and look. It’s an all day thing to get an audition, right? And if you’re a model, you’re running the 10 castings a day. You don’t have time. And a lot of times, I’m asking for something simple like digitals from a model, and I wait three or four days because the model either had 10 castings and she flew to a city. She did a shoot. She had makeup on. We wanted no makeup. You have to take that off. She got back, it was too late or in a different time zone. Sure. I mean, I’m just asking for her to, like, smile, hair up or down. But it’s because her schedule’s so busy. This is an opportunity. Hmm.
Jym Benzing: (13:11)
Get your digitals. Get your reel. You’re an actor, put your sizzle reel together. Now your sizzle reel, your acting reel together. Edit it. Get a website together on Squarespace. This is the time you have this. That’s time that we’re never given. We might as well take advantage of it. So, that would be my bet. My point would be use this time cause you’re never gonna get it. Well you hope you’re never going to get it.
Deneen White: (13:34)
I mean, hopefully, this is a once in a lifetime type thing. No, but that’s what we’ve been talking to. Like I joke around with them all the time. I’m like: Do you want to watch Netflix or do you want to be on Netflix?
Jym Benzing: (13:43)
Deneen White: (13:44)
Now’s the time to, like, start taking action, so that when the world opens up you can, honestly. You can go full force.
Jym Benzing: (13:52)
Yeah. I mean, you know that old saying, like, what is luck? It’s talent meets preparation. So opportunity, I’m sorry. Opportunity meets preparation. If you’re not prepared and the opportunity comes your way, it’s not going to happen. So, it’s like, this is your preparation time. It’s your incubation time.
Deneen White: (14:11)
Yeah. It’s like government mandated preparation time, too. So, he’s like, no one has an excuse. Yeah, no, and I love your creativity, too. How do you, just as a side note. Your Insta stories are, by far, my favorite. Like, we were talking about stories today on your training, and I was like. I live in the Insta stories, too, because I see so much creativity. Like, how do you come up with some of your ideas?
Jym Benzing: (14:33)
A lot of them come at the moment, but I think the first one started with: a friend of mine says something and it put a song in my head. And I did it and then what happened was, it’s kind of. I did a couple of that day just being silly, and then my viewership went up by a lot. Like, by a few hundred, and then the next day, I got started doing a couple more and getting a little more creative and I’m like, oh.
Jym Benzing: (14:57)
Then I started editing a little bit more. And then, next thing you know, I just started seeing my…I think it, the first week, I got over a hundred and some more followers, and then the reaction. A lot of times, I would post something, but no one would comment.
Deneen White: (15:12)
Jym Benzing: (15:13)
Now, I’ll go out right before the seven o’clock, happy…the clapping, thank you hour. I’ll sit on my phone and just answer all the comments because there’s so many comments now from people, which I didn’t have before. So, um, a lot of them happen in the moment. I’m not a big believer of banking stories, so I don’t really make them ahead of time. Every once in a while, if I had the camera out, I’ll just film something and I put it aside cause I want to add that to another one later on.
Jym Benzing: (15:44)
So,this morning I got up and I already had an idea of what I was going to do this morning, but when I woke up, I had a song in my head. A Dean Martin song and I was like, Oh, that’s the story. So it was like, it’s kind of satisfying. First, I have to check to make sure it’s available, on GooglePlay, or whatever the system they use. But then, I woke up literally with a song in my head. Oh, that’s going to be my story today.
Deneen White: (16:06)
That’s awesome. And it’s fantastic that now you have the time to, like you were telling people. Now’s the time to be creative. Now you have that time also to be creative and just like..you definitely bring a lot of joy to the world. So, if anyone listening to the podcast wants your Insta, how will they find you on Instagram?
Jym Benzing: (16:27)
Uh, J-Y-M-B-E-N (jymben). So it’s my first name and the half of my last name, Jym Benzing.
Deneen White: (16:33)
If you’re listening to this: You absolutely have to subscribe to his Instagram and watch his stories cause I promise you that you’ll smile every day. So, Jym, thank you so much for taking time out of your day to do this podcast. I really appreciate it. I want to thank you so much for just pouring into our talent and the VIP Elite Talent Academy. They’ve really appreciated it, and as do we greatly appreciate your friendship with our company. Thank you so much, during a time where there are a lot of people that are kind of dialing back. You’re really pushing forward. So, I just want to thank you for helping, not only us do that, but helping our talent do that. We really appreciate that.
Jym Benzing: (17:09)
Great cause,you know the old saying? I mean, you make lemonade out of lemons? It’s kind of like what you guys are doing. Like how do we take this crisis and that’s what I was thinking. Like, how do we pivot? This is where we are now, and then we got to pivot. I had to make personal changes in my life and add it. Adjust. And think, what’s the next step? Like, what if this keeps going? Like, we don’t know, really, the end, yet. So, we need to be prepared and I think we have to look inward and find out where our strengths lie and believe in ourselves and move forward with that.
Deneen White: (17:39)
Yeah, I mean that’s something we’ve always had. We’ve had this online training now for a year and a half. So, when the virus hit us, we were like, okay, what do we do? We’re like, oh, okay, you know what? We have this thing in place. Let’s just ramp it up a lot. So, we were really fortunate in that. Also, we’re having a virtual summit at the end of June. So, as you know normally we do in person events. Well, we were really fortunate that we’re able to pivot.
Deneen White: (18:04)
So, instead of having everyone travel to LA or New York, which we’re probably not going to be allowed to at the end of June, anyway. Now, we can do it all online. So, having people like you as a part of our company really helps because, if you’re pivoting, then we know a lot of other people are pivoting also. So, it’s actually, I know it’s crazy because it’s again, like you watched the news, you’re like, oh this is horrible. But, I think it’s actually a really good thing that’s going on because it’s helping to propel us forward in a lot of ways.
Jym Benzing: (18:38)
It gives us a sense of reset all over. I mean, I think about the animals that haven’t procreated in so long that are now procreating. I think about, I look at India, and then you can see the mountains. You can see that the pollution has gone. You see animals coming out to play in the oceans that have never. Like dolphins cause there’s no ships. LA, you can now see LA, without going through the smog, from Spain. Like, it’s amazing how much there’s no cars on the streets.
Jym Benzing: (19:03)
There’s all this stuff, you know? It’s like, we are kind of resetting ourselves, globally. So, emotionally, we’re getting in touch with our friends and our family. We’re reaching out. We’re checking on other people at the same time. We’re giving the earth a little time to catch up and breathe and say: All right, thank you guys. I was saying, it’d be nice to do…just in two weeks, we’ve done so much good. And, just in the environment, I’m like wondering, could we ever, right? Is this something the government…I doubt it, but I know it costs so much money, but if we ever did an organized reset, where we all agree that we’re not going to use our cars for two weeks. We’ve only seen what good we can do just by…maybe I’m speaking out of term.
Deneen White: (19:45)
No, I don’t think you’re speaking out of turn because I mean. I think what you’re saying is awesome because, from something that seems so bad, a lot of good things are happening. So if you take the time to take a step back and look at all the good things, then you can appreciate it. Because one of the ways that I’m getting through this is gratitude. Every day, I wake up and I’m like. Okay. No matter what the news says, I’m going to find something to be grateful for. And if you can find those things, then, like you said, you’re turning lemons into lemonade.
Deneen White: (20:14)
And I believe that. I agree with you. I think that the world needed a reset. I don’t know about you. I know no one’s really allowed out, but in the neighborhood where I live, all of a sudden their families are walking their dogs. I was like, I didn’t know there were fellas that lived in this neighborhood. I thought it was just a bunch of cars going down the street. So yeah, it’s actually a really good time. So people who have a desire to move forward in their careers, now’s the perfect time for that. Humanity in general is taking a reset because now we all appreciate each other just a little bit more.
Jym Benzing: (20:45)
My neighborhood is pretty tight. I would have to say I love my neighborhood, but I’ve met even more neighbors. Cause you know when people go out at seven o’clock and they clap, they clapped and the whole thing, and they do it here in New York. I don’t know, but it’s definitely…they call it the thank you hours. Everybody goes out of their windows and their doors, they bang pots, and pans, and they clap, and they play music, and it’s literally people hanging out of their windows.The other day, I started talking to the woman in a building across the street cause I see her every day for the last three weeks. She was the first one with their window up. And I said, I knew it was time to come out cause I saw you. She said, oh I see you on your balcony.
Jym Benzing: (21:23)
Now we’re talking, we never knew each other. Now we’re talking, you know. So, it’s like, it’s interesting that it’s brought out a sense of community. We have this longing to be part of a community no matter what. And even, whether it’s a virtual, online community, or this sense of we’re all in the same boat, we have to get through it together. And this is the one thing that, you know, this is a non-discriminatory issue like this. It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white. Well, it is a hit hitting certain communities harder. But, overall, this disease is not going to discriminate about who it hurts.
Deneen White: (21:58)
Awesome. Cool. Well, I mean I think, I think that again, everything that you said there. There are a lot more positives going on than negatives. So I mean, we all need to take the time to be grateful and I’m grateful for the communities that I see outside of my door, literally, also online. So, thank you for being a part of that community. I’ve had a great time getting to know you too. It’s been amazing.
Jym Benzing: (22:21)
Yeah. Alright, Thank you.
Deneen White: (22:22)
Thank you so much, Jym. Have a great day. Thanks for being on the podcast today.
Deneen White: (22:27)
You’re welcome. Bye.
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