The FLAIR Q&A





Jane Petrov



Art and industry, that's what FLAIR is all about. Generally it's spotlighting a talent who is great at one or the other - but how about someone who is just rockin' it with both? Enter stage right, left or wherever - Jane Petrov. An actor, writer, producer and lots, LOTS more. Get inspired by this busy Hollywood (and New York) lady.





Tell me about your business or specialty.

I’m an actor, producer and writer - and co-owner of SkyTown Entertainment, a full service bi-coastal video production company that specializes in self-tape auditions for actors. Over the years, SkyTown has created and produced award-winning short films, an original comedy series, web commercials, corporate training videos, music videos and albums.


How'd you get to where you are now?

We are still here years later mostly because I have two business partners whom I trust implicitly, Roy Havrilack and Steven Beeson. We make customer service our number one priority and our video/service products are of the highest quality. We take pride in the fact that 13+ years later, we are still the only bi-coastal self-tape company and have increased sales mostly due to word-of-mouth referrals from actors, managers, agents, casting directors and acting coaches. Our clients book roles on major television and film network/streaming platforms.


How has the Covid crisis affected your work or business? Any new ideas or approaches…or lessons learned so far?

The Covid crises affected us in three main ways: financially, creatively and technologically. Like many businesses, our offices in New York and Los Angeles took a financial hit when we had to shut down for four months. We quickly applied for the disaster relief SBA EIDL loan to help us pay rent/bills. This was vital to survive and we have been paying back the 30-year loan at 3% interest.


We decided to stay in communication and be creative with our clients – asking them to share 1-minute videos of themselves taking on a challenge during the pandemic or sharing a bit about themselves. This helped us all stay connected during the shut down and the first year of the pandemic. We also made sure to post our safety practices on our various platforms and newsletters to keep folks up-to-date and most importantly, safe! I still wear my mask in the L.A. office when working with actors (also industry standard when on television and movie sets).


Our biggest stretch was all of us becoming more tech savvy. Zoom enabled us to do remote self-tape sessions which many of our clients still use today if they are traveling, want to avoid crowded subways, or just have less time to drive to our studio due to day jobs or child-care issues. Many actors learned how to do their own home studio set-ups in order to compete. SkyTown still offers free tech set-up consultations for folks wanting to do remote taping. All actors, especially the over-50 crowd, have really benefited from learning and improving their technology.


What surprises you in your work, now or in the past?

When you work in show business, every day is new, whether you are reading scenes with a client for a new pilot or the next season of an episodic. I love how our industry solves problems. We were one of the first industries to figure out a way for auditioning and production to get back to work during the pandemic.


What drives you crazy?

1. When actors feel the need to do many many takes of a scene ‘to get it perfect’. Casting directors know in the first ten seconds if you are right for a role and will give you a callback.

2. Reckless drivers


Who inspires you? (it can be anybody you know, or don't know)

Honestly, I find inspiration in people. We are all on our individual paths, facing challenges, whether personal or financial. Folks who can find joy in the simple things in life are a true inspiration.


You're a trailblazer - what are some highlights in your career to date?

I recently received an acting honor from my high school and have been inducted into the AEHS Hall of Fame for theatre (Albert Einstein High School). As an actor, my career started in the theater and then moved to video and film. As a producer, I found it very rewarding to bring together actors, writers, directors, designers and musicians to create stories for the stage when I became artistic director for PACT (Playwrights/Actors Contemporary Theater in NYC) and then launching SkyTown Entertainment. My favorite films we produced include sci-fi films, What Future and One-Hit Wonder (currently winning awards in festivals in the U.S. and around the world). In both projects, I play a leading role. Also, currently, I am about to publish a book that I co-authored with my sister, Anne: “The Seven Roman Rules, Whimsical Wisdom, for Love, Life and Relationships from Two Sisters on Holiday”


Words of wisdom or advice...final thoughts?

Take risks, have fun, relax and work hard. Remember that life is a whimsical journey. No need to rush.


---------


Jane Petrov fondly remembers her years in school, taking art and photography classes, playing in the marching band and jazz band, singing with the madrigals, performing in plays and musicals and playing field hockey. After receiving her B.A. in International Communications at George Washington University, she began studying acting at The Washington Shakespeare Theater and Studio Theater and performing on stage in the D.C. area. Jane then moved to New York City and studied acting at Michael Howard Studios, HB Studio and The Barrow Group. She became artistic director and producer at Playwrights/Actors Contemporary Theatre. While in New York, Jane was intrigued with independent film/video. In 2006, she co-founded SkyTown Entertainment, a full-service video production company dedicated to creating quality original content and self-tape auditions for actors. Her acting path led her to getting an agent in Los Angeles so she jumped in her Jeep with her guitar and drove cross country to settle in Hollywood. After a year she started up the SkyTown office in Los Angeles that continues to thrive.

skytownentertainment.com

instagram: @janeinhollywood | @skytownLA | @skytownNYC


(published 2022)