Learning about the Biz

by Ron Devitt on November 3, 2008

Originally published in the Vancouver Actor’s Guide March 2006 newsletter.

Catherine Lough Haggquist believes knowledge is power. And she has been helping to empower members of the film, theatre and television industry for more than a decade.

Lough Hagguist, owner of Biz Books, 302 West Cordova Street, at the corner of Cambie, works with a crew of eight to provide film, television and theatre materials for actors, writers, directors, and producers and many other individuals working in the film and TV industry.

“In my travels as a professional actor I became aware that anywhere there was growth in the industry there was access to information about the business,” said Lough Haggquist, whose acting career spans close to 20 years. “It’s in everybody’s best interests to help the community grow and it’s great to be a part of that.”

Lough Haggquist believes creative people need a sense of community. “It’s very solitary and it’s very competitive,” she said of an actor’s life. “And it’s important not to let that overtake the community aspect of that. I think it’s really important that actors share and help each other and give advice and let it happen.”

When she returned to Vancouver from the locations her acting career took her, Lough Haggquist felt there was room for growth through information in the film industry and decided to open Biz Books. “We’re really trying to get people to explore outside their specific craft choice,” she said.

Lough Haggquist’s personal philosophy for success in the industry is to build on the three Cs, which include creative, craftsmanship and commerce. And the key for success in the business, she says, is being able to strike a balance with all three “I think people get out of balance and develop the first two and don’t see the value of the commerce side,” she said. She said being creative and honing that craft is very personal for people, but believes commerce and having astute business acumen go hand in hand with the first two Cs. “I think it’s really important that one thing you learn about the industry, is that you don’t take it personally,” she said. “It’s not you. It’s the industry.” She said she lives by something her husband once told her: The definition of luck is when preparation meets opportunity. “I think the business training definitely prepares them for the opportunity,” she said.

Part of that community growth Lough Haggquist attributes to her store’s How to Start series, which brings in industry professionals to shed light on an industry that at times can seem inaccessible. The series runs each Wednesday at the store from 6 to 8 p.m. On Wednesday, March 22 2006, Mary Eilts will talk about how to Start Budgeting Your Canadian Film. On March 29, Kate Pierpoint will speak on How to Start Working With Dialects.

“We’re really trying to keep it for people, whether they be film or theatre-based and just encourage them to explore,” she said. Lough Haggquist is currently working on a film called The Stranger Game, starring Mimi Rogers. For more information about the store, visit www.bizbooks.net.

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