We had the good fortune of connecting with Francesca Patrón and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Francesca, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Aside from a work ethic that won’t quit, and a commitment to continuing to grow as an artist, I would say the key factor behind my success has been mastering the art of collaboration.
When I first began working in LA, I resented the idea of networking and much to my duress, was often told it was the key to my success. I had no desire to pitch myself to people “higher on the ladder,” and cross my fingers they’d think of me next time they were hiring. I dreaded inviting my professional network to attend my next film premiere or spend an hour on the 405 to see my play in Hollywood. It felt disingenuous and couldn’t figure out how to leverage my contacts into more work.
While I still start to sweat every time I hear the word, “network,” I have learned the power (and necessity) behind collaboration. Collaboration is the bigger, better sister to networking. Networking is about who you know, about using favors as currency, and about being in the right place at the right time. Collaboration is a more empowered version of that… it relies less on luck and more on people working with you because they know from experience what you bring to the table and can trust what you will offer. Likewise, it allows you to build up a relational network of designers and creatives whose work you are inspired by and can collaborate with, who vibe well with your unique voice and who can continue to elevate your work.
It wasn’t until I found a community of artists whose work I trusted and who trusted my work that I began to see my career launch. Out of the spirit of collaboration, networking effortlessly comes.
I would advise beginning to meet regularly with artists whose work you admire and with whom you collaborate well with. Create something together – anything! Get reps in, learn interpersonal teamwork and grow your network that way. It is the best way to build your brand, stay relevant, continue to grow your craft, and build a system of support in what can at times feel like a very isolating career.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
We are coming out of a very tragic year that left us isolated, powerless, and divided. In the wake of the continued violence and trauma towards our BIPOC communities, we face the opportunity to rebuild our creative fields in a new way – one that prioritizes empathy, representation, and justice.
I believe it is my job as a storyteller to hold a mirror up to the culture and to inspire each person to enter into more of their own humanity. We are in need of more art, more stories, and specifically more theatre- where we can enter into spaces together and bravely take time to evaluate the world we’ve created and how we can be better stewards of our world.
I feel so privileged to be equipped to lead in that work and am excited to continue to bring you stories from minority voices.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to give a special shout out Nan McNamara, the Artistic Director at Actors Co-op whose taught me so much about how to make it in this Industry and to the fabulous Jennifer McMillan, actor, director and innovator for holding space for me as a female director in theatre and for taking my work to the next level.
Black and White photo: by Tim Scott