BOOST Banters with Special Guests: Ashton Womack, Lea Pfändler, Darlene Hope, and Nicholas Ferracamo

On June 2, our career guidance program, BOOST, held a virtual event!

BOOST is designed for early career artists 18+ within their first three years in NYC, who are looking to advance their careers by developing concrete, attainable, and sustainable practices to reach their specific career objectives. Through individual or group sessions, BOOST provides resources with accompanying insight from experts to help provide the skills to meet their creative goals.

BOOST Banters was set up to help build a bridge between new and seasoned artists through a mixer style event. What was so special about this event is how intimate and personalized it felt. Each guest had been hand selected and paired with our current BOOSTers, Chinelo Okpala, Bruins Gurien, Daniella Scarantino, and Mikey Greenblatt, whose current artistic focuses were in alignment.

When asking our BOOST Co-Chairs, Ayana Bey and Jillian Vitko, why this event was so important to them, they said they “wanted to demystify the word networking and create a space for artists to connect in an informal, fun way. Taking the pressure off and just having a conversation as humans who happen to be in the same field.”

Following through with this idea, the event started with a fun ice breaker exercise asking attendees their favorite and least favorite condiment choice! A fantastic way to warm everyone up over their common distaste of mayo and mustard! Who knew?! After brief introductions by our guests, Ashton Womack,  Lea Pfändler, Darlene Hope, and Nicholas Ferracamo our BOOSTers were sent into breakout rooms with their selected guest. They had one-on-one time to ask questions, gain perspective and create a new relationship in an informal setting. The event culminated in an open Q & A, which was wonderfully insightful and allowed all attendees to ask questions across all guests!

What our BOOSTers had to say!

“So informative and fun!” – Mikey Greenblatt

“It was amazing! I am very grateful to you for creating that space!!” – Chinelo Okpala

“It was so great to talk to Lea! Thank you for that!” – Daniella Scarantino

Get To Know Our Guests and their little gems of inspiration and advice!

[AUDIO: Listen to Lea discuss headshots:]

Lea Pfändler is an international filmmaker and photographer. Being Swiss by passport, but grown up all over the globe, she considers herself a citizen of the world speaking multiple languages. Lea’s love for visual storytelling started at a very young age, drawing comics and writing scripts, which led her to study film studies at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and study acting. She holds a BA in Acting from Germany and is now residing in NYC, working as a freelance photographer and filmmaker. Lea Pfändler is the founder and CEO of LeaPVision Productions, an independent film company dedicated to making a vision a reality by taking a leap of faith. Lea’s films have won her awards such as Best Film Of The Festival, Best Thriller, Best Emerging Storyteller, and Audience Choice Awards. She is a member of NYC Women Filmmakers and participated in the inaugural all female film challenge ‘Women’s Weekend Film Challenge’. Lea believes in telling stories that move the heart and challenge perspectives, and is on a mission to change the narrative for women.

Learn More About Lea:
To see Lea’s photography work, visit

LeaPVision Productions is currently under construction, you can find all info under this temporary link: The company’s website should be online in June and will be found at

Ashton Womack is a standup comic from Houston, TX, who currently lives in New York as the newest staff writer for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. In 2019 he was honored as a Just For Laughs New Face of Comedy and has been a rising star on the national comedy scene ever since. He’s been featured in VICE, Comedy Central, VH1, written for the 2021 Grammys and can currently be seen in Paramounts upcoming “Clifford The Big Red Dog”. You can currently catch him tearing up stages all over New York City and hopefully coming to a big or small screen near you.

Learn more about Ashton:

Instagram: @ashtonwomack

[AUDIO: Ashton discusses stand-up comedy]

[AUDIO: Darlene talks about your headshot vs how you show up to set]

Darlene Hope is an NYC-based classically trained actress. She earned her BA in Theatre Arts from the University of South Florida and her MFA in Acting from the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. She also studied extensively in London, Paris, and Italy under lauded international artists Corin Redgrave, Sir Donald Sinden, Dame Sian Phillips, Patsy Rodenburg OBE, Maestro Antonio Fava, Sheridan Morley, and Tony Award winner Mark Medoff. Perhaps best known as the title character in A Visit From Aunt Flo, the Cannes Lion Award winning viral video that has received over 2.5 million views worldwide, Miss Hope has toured extensively throughout the US, South America and the Caribbean combining her bright and captivating performances with philanthropy, humanitarian relief, and young artist mentorship. She is the author of multiple plays, screenplays, and faith-based journals, and is the founder of HopeFull Productions. OFF BROADWAY: Sistas the Musical, Normalcy. REGIONAL: Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, American Stage Theatre Company, Miami New Drama, Playhouse on Park, Theatre East, Polk Theatre, Norwegian Cruise Line, TheatreWorksUSA. FILM: Commedia By Fava. TELEVISION: Halston (Netflix), FBI, God Friended Me (CBS). NEW MEDIA: Don’t Shoot the Messenger, A Visit from Aunt Flo, When Bae Doesn’t Pay Attention.

Learn More About Darlene: 


Instagram: @darlenehopenyc

Twitter: Darlene Hope (@DarleneHopeNYC) / Twitter

Nicholas Ferracamo was born and raised in Massachusetts. When he was younger, he had a serious interest in theater, but never had the outlet. As he grew older and his interest in theater faded, he went to college for business. Still, he felt something was missing in his life — school was not fulfilling, so he moved to Florida to get away and find himself. While in Florida, he came to the conclusion that he didn’t want to waste his life doing something that was not fulfilling. He decided to follow his passion. He took acting classes with a teacher in Florida, Robert Hatch, and that opened his eyes to what acting and theater really is. He did some short films, a few staged plays, and took more acting classes. Soon, he realized he needed professional training. He auditioned for The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, and, to his ecstatic jubilation, he was accepted into their intensive acting program. He loved every minute of it. From then on, he knew he was in the right place. Since graduation, he’s been cast in numerous films and theater projects. It was in one of those castings that he met Artie. He cast Nicholas in two of his thesis films. They worked very well together and it became clear that if Nicholas were to move forward with the script that he wrote, Artie would be the person that would help make it a reality. As years have passed and he has done more film and theater, Artie and Nicholas started Cinema Veritas Productions and continued working together. Now they have created something that Nicholas is proud to be a part of.

Learn More About Nick:

Feature film website:

Production Company Website (Cinema Veritas Productions LLC)

Actor website:

[AUDIO: Nick discusses having a social media presence for indie films]

We are so happy to be able to offer our BOOSTers the opportunity for one-on-one conversation with an artist in their specified field through a fun, freeform mixer like BOOST Banters! We look forward to hosting more in the coming year!

Interested in BOOST?

Don’t just take it from us! This is what Jake, a past BOOSTer has to say about the program: “I would tell anyone who’s feeling wayward in their career to look into BOOST! It’s been super helpful for me (and) it’s a great experience!”

Applications for the 2021 BOOST Program are open! To learn more about the BOOST Program, visit us at or email