We had the absolute pleasure of hosting Andreas Pietschmann, the star of Netflix's Dark and 1899, with a packed audience as students from our acting, film and music schools came to gain insights from Andreas’ vast experience in the world of acting. The occasion was made even more special as Andreas engaged in a heartfelt conversation with his former classmate and Screen Acting Programme Lead, Sylvia Schwarz, creating an atmosphere of warmth and connection.
"You never succeed just by yourself. You need others. You need the collaboration and support of a team. That's how life works, and that's how successful productions are made."
As an institution that has multi-disciplinary collaboration ingrained in what we do, it was natural to invite Andreas Pietschmann, an accomplished actor known for his belief in the power of teamwork and collective effort, to share his wisdom with the aspiring artists, movers and shakers at Catalyst.
"It's not just about being nice to others on set, but also about understanding the different roles and departments and how they all contribute to the final product. When you work well with others, you can create something truly remarkable."
It’s an idea that Linda Hill discusses in one of our favourite Ted Talks - using industry leading examples like production company Pixar, Linda shows how to foster creativity in organisations. Andreas was able to do the same during his visit, sharing his insight of working alongside complex groups of people moving towards a single aim during his work with Netflix. His talk underscored the importance of collaboration, not only in the acting profession but also in all spheres of life.
An essential part of what you’ll learn at Catalyst is that in a career in acting – or in film or music, for that matter – the power of collaboration is both undeniable and fulfilling. Acting is not a solo endeavour – read this article for an outline of other roles. During his talk, Andreas gave examples from working with Netflix, who he says always “emphasised good working conditions on set… provide workshops and advice on how to work together in a nice way, be open, and put everyone on the same level”. Andreas shared his experience of working with Netflix on set for both Dark and 1899, emphasising that their approach to work ethic fostered a strong bond among the cast, making them feel like a family. He noted that it was through collaboration – and the active choice to engage in collaboration - they achieved this.
When they began their training together at Westfälische Schauspielschule Bochum, Andreas and Sylvia embarked on a journey that shaped their artistic sensibilities and reinforced the value of collaborative practices. In their dialogue, they recounted experiences from their time as students and reflected on how those early lessons continue to influence their careers today.
"Acting is not just about the individual. It's about being part of something bigger, part of a team. When you have a supportive and collaborative environment, it allows everyone to shine and deliver their best performances."
Andreas also spoke passionately with our students about the multifaceted nature of language, explaining how it enhances an actor's ability to connect with their audience on a profound level. Sylvia thought back to their training for theatre and remembered the constant need to read aloud, which is arguably less important a skill for screen actors. Andreas agreed, but went on to say that theatre requires that you can project your voice. While this need is gone for screen, "it's not just about clear pronunciation but also about the emotions and atmosphere you can create with your voice. Working with language helps you expand your capabilities as an actor."
"Collaboration and teamwork allow actors to tap into their full potential. By working together, we can bring out the best in each other and create something truly remarkable on stage or screen."