For this month’s HCAC Spotlight, we bring the focus to Jon Tan, one of our most well-known ‘serial-workshop-participants’ (not his real job) at HCAC. As you read through this interview, you might pick up on his candid sense of humour and knack for fun. But don’t be fooled! Jon Tan’s time at HCAC has not been wasted just mucking around. In fact, there has been a seriously positive impact that HCAC has brought out in Jon’s life.
Keep reading on and find out how the classes he’s taken with HCAC has deepened his understanding of the craft, himself and life.
Tell us more about yourself!
Hey! My name is Jon and I run a digital marketing agency. My surname is Tan but I’m impossibly pale. We’re talking Twilight bloodsucker pale but without the sparkling.
I’ve spent most of my career in creative professions. A few moons ago I made my living as a graphic designer and illustrator. I then joined the marketing team at a SaaS startup. These days I work on content that helps my clients bring in more clients.
My favourite movie of all time is Scarface… and Catch Me If You Can is a close second. My spirit animal is the jellyfish.
Tell us about your HCAC experience.
Oooooh thinking back, I’ve been here for awhile! At the recommendation of a mentor of mine, I wet my feet with the 8-week Lee Strasberg Introduction to Method Acting class with Kamil Haque. With no reservations, I’d call the experience life-changing. This might sound a little insane, but in teaching you how to act, the class teaches you how to live. It’s like a lost instruction manual to living on Earth as a human being… or like “driving school” for the human body. The awareness you develop of your own body and senses over the duration of the class will quite literally change the way you lead your day to day life. It did for me!
Jon Tan in Comedic Improvisation with Arnaud Pierre.
I joined HCAC with no intentions of acting but I found acting to be such an excellent platform for learning and self-improvement that I’ve taken a class every semester since. I’ve completed Method Acting (Introduction) and Method Acting (Intermediate) with Kamil Haque, Comedic Improvisation (Introduction) with Arnaud Pierre and most recently Spoken Word: Writing & Preforming Poetry with Shivram Gopinath. I also crashed a couple sessions of Toby Papazoglou’s One Act Plays when I was cast as an extra and made to wear a heinously short tube dress. I dread the day my future children see those photos.
Do you think your classes here helped you out with you life or career in any way?
Fo sho, 100%. Marketing mirrors acting in many ways. In both crafts, you’re delivering stories to an audience and hoping it resonates. Acting helps me tell better stories and it’s infinitely more fun than any marketing training I’ve had. To begin with, my writing ability has improved simply from the volume of class time dedicated to writing or analyzing monologues, scripts and poetry. It also helped that I was exposed to new writing formats I wouldn’t have otherwise worked with. Instructor feedback was also massively helpful. And the process was hella fun!
Anyone open to casting Jon in a serial crime drama? Netflix?
The biggest personal benefit is how much acting has improved my relationships with the people around me. To act is to become a character. To do so convincingly, an actor needs to find the similarities between a character and himself, no matter how small, and build his performance upon that. And here’s the amazing part – characters are people! In spending time looking for myself in characters, I’ve learnt to find myself in people I meet.
As airy-fairy as it might sound, it’s given me a newfound level of empathy I strongly appreciate. Professionally, this helps immensely when it comes to working with clients. Colleagues too… at least til they’re all replaced by AI!
Would you like to share anything else?
If you’re hesitating about taking your first steps with HCAC, just dive in and do it! The benefits to my life and career have been amazing. The acting skills are a bonus.
And now it’s shameless self-promo time! If you’re a business owner who’d like to harness the power of marketing magic, hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m also on Instagram (@fatnoj), where you’ll find photographic evidence of the previously mentioned heinously short tube dress. Proceed with caution and a bottle of strong eyedrops.