A Conversation with David S. Zimmerman

Founder of Meet the Biz actors workshops

By Contributing Writer, Lisa Zion
Published on LatinoLA: August 5, 2010

A Conversation with David S. Zimmerman

Good evening. You are a busy man!

David Zimmerman: Yes, a little busy here and there.

Liza Zion: You are a man of many talents: Actor/Casting Director and Producer

DZ: Yes, I got to LA about 15 years ago with my main focus on acting. Eight years ago my Dad passed away and I was emotionally drained, so a friend of mine said I'm doing this movie. And he asked me why don't you help cast it? I did and then someone else had another project they needed casting so I jumped on that project and this whole thing just snowballed. I started doing casting for pilots, and one project led to another project. I enjoy casting because I'm a people person.

LZ: Which hat do you enjoy wearing the most and why?

DZ: It's so hard to answer. It depends on the day. I love to act, I love being in the moment. I love to cast because I love finding new talent. I love to produce because you are in control of projects that you like to do. The producer thing started a few years ago. I worked with Corey Allen and he made me realize how much I enjoy producing. I have grown to like it very much. Another thing that I got from Corey is the joy of teaching.

LZ: I first met you when you were teaching acting classes for free at the Media Access Office. Please tell our readers what the Media Access Office is and how you got involved with that organization.

DZ: The Media Access Office is a very important organization that houses over 900 members with disabilities. These members are actors, dancers, performers. I found out about the Media Access Office when I was an assistant for the Born to Act Players. They are a wonderful group of Down syndrome actors mixed with actors without disabilities.

LZ: You actually received an award from the Media Access Award.

DZ: It was one of the best moments in my life to receive that award Of all the Awards out there, it means so much because it is really about breaking through barriers. It is such an honor to receive this award. The people that I have met through the Media Access Office have become my family.

LZ: This is a very prestigious award. Some of the past recipients include Stevie Wonder and Norman Lear. Some of the past honorees include Kirk Douglas, Michael J. Fox and our own Ricardo Montalban.

DZ: To be in that company is amazing. One of things that I was also thrilled about was meeting Stevie Wonder and being honored on the same stage, on the same night that Stevie received an award too.

LZ: You are the founder of Meet the Biz. Please tell me about Meet the Biz and how this organization came about.

DZ: Meet the Biz is a series of workshops. I taught on my own for over five years and thought wouldn't it be nice to bring in others who work in the industry? So we now have actors, directors, writers, and producers who come in, teach, and share their knowledge about the "biz". Our students started out just as members of the Media Access Office and then over the past several years, "Meet the Biz" has incorporated able bodied actors as well. We all learn from each other. Our guest instructors teach either one night classes or one month classes.

LZ: Are these classes available to our Latino brothers and sisters?

DZ: Of course. I think of everyone as people. We are all together on this little blue marble called earth. It's not about ethnicity, ability or disability. It's about connecting and working together whatever the differences or similarities are. Some people come into the class and wonder how do I connect, for example, with someone who is blind? Well, by being in this class you learn to connect with that person and they connect with you.

LZ: You have had some wonderful instructors lately like actors Lainie Kazan and Bruce Davison. Who is your next instructor?

DZ: Daniel Zacapa, who is an amazing actor. I actually met him when I was casting and producing the play, "A Christmas Carol". Daniel played the role of Scrooge. He is really wonderful and his acting credits are amazing.

LZ: What has been some of the feedback from your instructors?

DZ: The instructors love it. Lainie Kazan loved it so much that she wants to come back and teach another class. The instructors will tell me how they have been inspired by the students.

LZ: How can one find out more information about upcoming classes?

DZ: We have a website: www.meetthebiz.net

LZ: Tell me about your upcoming film.

DZ: Right now I have the lead in the film "Hide", which has been shown in over 15 film festivals. I also was the associate producer on the film.

LZ: In this world where everyone tries to get something, it is refreshing to meet someone who actually gives so much of himself to his students.

DZ: I love giving of myself and one thing that Corey Allen taught me was that you give but you also receive. It is that circular motion that keeps us going. It has been my joy.

Thank you so much and congratulations on your continued success!

About Contributing Writer, Lisa Zion:
Actor/Writer and Production Assistant @ Movido TV
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