BWW Interview: Kaan SEKBAN, Greatest Showman of Our Age at Zorlu PSM
Kaan Sekban, being recognized as a social media phenomenon, brought his jokes to the stage and became one of the most prominent figures of recent years.
After working in various positions at a bank for ten years, Kaan Sekban participated in the acting and musical workshops in Turkey and abroad. Acted in Istanbulname the Musical in Turkey and in the A Midsummer Night's Dream in Italy. He is mostly recognized by the homemade live satire shows published from his own house, named "My Side of white-collar life".
Onur A. K.
In fact, your story is known to many people. In your thirties, with huge amount of courage, you left behind a 10-years old bank career and chased after the entertainment market. As well as, in this adventure, your previous experiences have inspired many of your shows.
Of course, a lot of content comes from those experiences.
Most people are tending to see success only, but ignore the challenges on the road and attribute what is happening solely to chance. Trying to draw your own path; What kind of contradictions and fears have you experienced within yourself?
For me, it was like jumping into an ocean. I found myself on this path with no preparation, no plan, no resources. I started appearing on a few commercials and on the stage, which led me to believe that I could move very easily if I diverted all my time into this area.
But I saw that life did not go as expected. I didn't exactly have the look as per the expectations of the market, so I didn't hear back from a lot of jobs. I experienced my first success when I was in a musical audition in Istanbul. I started to act in the Istanbulname the musical. Even though we can encounter a lot of work when you mention musicals in Turkey but most of them are half-assed and also not all meet with the expectations.
After resigning to and completing a musical workshop in New York City; I found myself auditioning for a musical; It was like a message that life told me that I was on the right track. I've had three months of my life which was psychologically beating me the most. During this period, I felt a strain on the level of psychological violence. Some people believed that because I had my roots in the bank, I needed to be pushed and feel more pain than anyone else.
During these rehearsals, I had moments when I felt like a primary school student. I have never hesitated to work hard or to push my limits for more, but I think that psychological pressure is not necessary, as in Damien Chazelle's "Whiplash". After a while, we were able to put the musical on stage, but despite many valuable artists, we could not achieve the expected success. This is due to the fact that some people did not take responsibility for the work and as a result, a visual crowd was created rather than a finely processed painting.
After staging this musical six or seven times, the curtain was closed; I found myself again at the point where I resigned from the bank. The biggest challenge; I've lived in moments when I feel like I'm a burden to my family and when I'm considering the possibility of returning to the old bank market again. These were spiritual problems I had to struggle with aside from the financial problems that I had.
As a structure that comes from our culture; We live in a dependent life because we live in a family home, until university, even during university. On the other hand, we are trying to live our own lives. This makes it difficult for us to throw ourselves into new areas and oceans of opportunities. Maybe many people give up their dreams every day because of these fears when they want to lead new and different lives.
However, despite your fears, you have taken this step. Good thing you did, and I'm sure you'll take both yourself and your audience towards better days.
Thank you, I hope so.
Taking into consideration the people struggling with this dilemma in daily life, the people who are thrown into new ways of life just like you; what would you like to say to our readers?
Although courage sounds great, it is not right to take such great steps with a moment of excitement. In my case; there was also a material free space given by being single and not having children. There were no other individuals I was responsible for. People need to take action by planning very well according to their situation and evaluating the situation logically.
Besides, people often don't know exactly what they want. As a point I use a cliché even in my jokes; everyone believes that they will be very happy if they open a small cafe at a seaside town. There is no such world.
Or as a non-stop question; is everyone as talented as you? Exactly, they are! Talent is not only available in the arts so that we can divide people as talented or not talented. Everyone has a different talent and ability to be discovered. The biggest mistake we make in daily life is to explore this ability. However, it is necessary to discover it first so that the next steps can be planned.
When I think of my own life, I discovered that many years ago; I have been able to entertain people with my sense of humor. That's why I knew that the trademark for me was acting, comedy, and stage. Although I encountered many incidents that bothered me in the early days, I knew I would get better if I worked hard. Instead of throwing themselves into a blank space that they don't know just because people don't like what they do at that moment; I advise them to evaluate themselves and act accordingly.
In any case, humans are creatures in need of production. For this reason, I believe that there should be production in every field they work, even if it is a part of it. A person who dreams of opening a bakery oven; If it is not reasonable to know how to make a cake, how to make a cookie, it is unacceptable that the person does not learn the production part and is not a part of it in any field. We are in a world where people who don't produce can no longer hold on, the logic of having everything readily is no more than a pointless dream.
Nowadays, the importance of hard work is not fully understood because people can easily access a lot of information and services through technology. Would you like to talk about what personal commitment and hard work mean to you?
I absolutely agree. Nevertheless, I wish that this situation would proceed in the opposite direction. The easier it is to reach the resources provided by the Internet; I believe that one should improve himself more by working hard, more dedication. For example; recently all tickets sold out for the Harbiye Show. This is a success that can be achieved by a certain number of people. The reason behind this success was not that millions of people were following me. Moreover, I have only three hundred thousand followers, which is far less than many social media influencers have. We achieved this success only and only by working hard.
After announcing that the show was happening, we continued to reach people by responding to every comment, by keeping the synergy and momentum high with a recirculating and creative system instead of considering that people will attend after sharing a banner and saying that three hundred thousand people followed me on social media. We sold these tickets by stitching stitches. Unfortunately, people are deceived by the number of followers; they believe that they can bring everyone to the field they produce with a single sharing. You need to put effort into the audience that is your customer; Nowadays, it is necessary to process sincerely as embroidery in order to get an audience out of their house who can reach everything they want via technology. Therefore; working and using resources correctly is even more important than talent. Thirty-five percent is the talent and sixty-five percent, resources and hard work.
Hard work and dedication are not just a concept that ends with polishing oneself in one's own field. The whole concept should be studied. Knowing its limits, it is necessary to have a vision directed to the target such as a bow. Without missing the opportunities, proceeding by small steps but surely. At a point where everyone can easily reach all kinds of information in the internet age; It is of utmost importance to be systematic and to work hard.
Can you tell us about your experiences at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) and New York Film Academy?
I applied to New York Film Academy when I was in college, and although I wanted so much, the fees were high, and I was just a student and my family was a medium-class, classic Turkish family. Since then, acting has always remained at the back of my mind. After years, when I started to provide my own financing; again, while the debt was in a mortar, I started to go to the workshops. I went for a month or two weeks by taking special leave permits from work.
I had a great experience in Los Angeles. I spent only half a day on vacation in Los Angeles during the heat. I worked with all my presence. Assignments, dialogues, readings ... While a lot of my friends wandered in the morning and evening, I continued to work. Of course, someone can come out and ask me, "Did you become a Hollywood actor with so much work?". No, but there was a gift that life gave me. I was going to take this training for a month and I was sure that I wanted to do the best, that I wanted to improve myself.
Especially in a foreign language, going through such an experience turned into a serious trench jump race for me. As a public high school graduate; it was very challenging for me to understand the teacher, to understand what was spoken around, and to understand the script. In fact, I have told many of the tragicomic events in my book. One of these; One day when I went to the pizzeria, the cashier was telling me about a big campaign. When I do not understand, I usually respond with a yes to the other person. Saying yes again; I had to leave the restaurant with six pizzas. I had only pizza for two weeks.
After this experience, I continued to work in the bank for another year. As a very expected approach, there were others around me who thought I had enough, but the next steps were all over my mind. A year later, I went to the Musical Workshop in the summer. It was more challenging than my previous experience. In terms of psychology and health, I was gone at the most difficult time possible. Despite all the heat and difficulties, I had the best two weeks of my life. After starting with singing lessons at eight in the morning, we continued with tap dance like eleven, followed by acting classes. When I returned at the end of these two weeks, my action was to resign.
You might say, what did this musical training do in your comedy shows? In addition to its discipline, we start with a musical mood on some of my shows. We have openings with dancers and vocal artists. In addition to comedy shows, this year we are performing the Last Five Years the musical. Maybe this workshop helped us get started.
As far as I'm concerned, every decision made in this life is evolving. Hard work and energy take us to certain places and use what we have learned at other points. When you look back at life, one can see where he or she came from. Therefore, they have been two experiences in my life that I have never regretted.
If you look at the future dates with your upcoming show and second book; What plans are expected for Kaan SEKBAN during the following years?
I hope my second book will be published during winter. In my new book, I want to tell about my past two years; how difficult things can be, the challenges of life. For example, I have been carefully raising the issue of overtime working lately, which leads to the termination of our agreements with some companies. In my work, I believe that even though being vowed to protect a vision may be in the way of easy success, it should never be abandoned, which sometimes makes some situations difficult.
Aside from the book; We have a musical production for the Last Five Years and will start staging soon. Starting from Istanbul, we also have comedy shows in the different cities of Turkey. Last year, we took the stage in international platforms such as New York, Geneva, Zurich, London, Amsterdam, Dubai and we hope that this year we will find different locations again. Finally, I started working on a series script with my exceptionally talented friends. In order to be displayed on digital platforms; we are moving on the comedy of modern and middle-class people. Even though it is at a very early stage, we are excitedly observing the destination. I would like to put things in English for the future, but not yet in my plans.
What do you need more? There is only one thing left; I've never been to a house cleaning.
Who knows, maybe one day we can see you on Broadway.
If only! The discipline and ambiance of those stages are completely different. Nevertheless, my heartfelt Broadway-quality work to be able to put our own scenes. Let us present the plays, musicals and shows that we watch there to our audience with the same quality and even higher quality if possible.
Still, I have many aspirations in my dreams, from being a guest to Ellen to translating my book into different languages. After all, there is no end to dreaming and working; therefore, there is no such thing as impossible. As you work, produce, life will bring you beauty.
Is there anything you would like to share with our readers?
It is very valuable to maintain art platforms and digital art platforms. It is very important that the audience read, share and find the productions there. But on the other hand, I have only one piece of advice; let us read the comments, criticisms without considering them all correct, let everyone make the final decision in accordance with their state of mind. Let's say the last word for the productions personally.
Thank you for your time.
Thank you very much for the interview.