Winnetka, Community

New Winnetka business Aspire preps the next generation of talent for show business

Breaking into the entertainment industry is no easy task, but the founders of Winnetka’s newest business, Aspire Entertainment Academy, believe they have the expertise to turn big dreams into reality. 

Aspire, 545 Lincoln Ave., is led by an award-winning group of talent managers, acting coaches and actors who know the ins and outs of the business.

Their unique courses are constantly evaluated to remain relevant to current industry standards. Classes are also tailor-made, meeting each student where they are at within their journey, according to Aspire leaders.

Director Emily Golan, a Deerfield High School graduate, has years of experience as a talent agent across the country. She explained how Aspire prepares students to achieve a self-sustaining career in the entertainment industry. 

“Our goal is not to create stars,” she said. “Our goal is to teach our students the realities of this very tough business and develop the skills needed to succeed. This is a tough industry. If you really want to make it, you are going to have to work very hard and put forth a tremendous amount of effort. You also need to learn how to take criticism and handle rejection.

“Individuals need to be resilient; there is a lot of rejection in entertainment but we can help our students handle it with grace.” 

Further, Golan shared that the parents of budding, young hopefuls also need to be trained on how the field operates. She said she is honest and frank to ensure that parents fully understand the commitment they are about make. 

“It’s really important that the parents are on board and truly understand what this commitment looks like not only for their child but for their entire family.” Golan said. 

With some help from the Winnetka-Northfield-Glencoe Chamber of Commerce, Aspire cuts the ribbon on its Winnetka facility.

Aspire CEO Aaron Fazulak explained how his role helps ensure Aspire’s curriculum is on point. He is constantly assessing the needs of the students with new developments within this every-changing industry.

As such, Aspire remains “laser focused” on what will help their clientele succeed. 

Both he and Golan shared how the pandemic and current digital lifestyle has also influenced the entertainment industry.

Today, high school students are interviewing for college via zoom, which requires a whole different skill set than does an in-person interview. Likewise, business executives are suddenly spending more time behind a screen speaking to clients and colleagues, requiring them to up their on-camera game. Still, others aspire to build their own blogs, social media sites and YouTube channels.

The need to be sharp, confident and persuasive on camera is no longer a need just for those seeking stardom. Instead, it is becoming a critical need for all industries.  

“More and more people are working from home and making business presentations or school decisions on camera. This is a new endeavor for most. To be successful, one must understand how to work with the camera,” Fazulek said. “It’s simply the way of the future;  we can teach individuals how to  own the camera, no matter what their profession.”

Whether looking to make it to Hollywood or fine-tune on camera skills for work, social media purposes or more, for more information on Aspire’s offerings, visit their website.

Alexa Burnell

Alexa Burnell is a Wilmette resident who has been covering the North Shore for the past seven years, previously for The Wilmette Beacon and its sister newspapers.

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