Claire Best (French & Spanish with Portuguese, 1988)
I have used my languages (French, Spanish and Portuguese) throughout my career. In fact, it was my foreign language skills that got me one of my first jobs in the film industry. For the last 22 years I have lived in Los Angeles, first as a producer, then as a Studio Executive at New Line Cinema and for the last 12 years as an agent representing talent (film & television directors, producers, production designers, directors of photography, editors, visual effects supervisors) of many different nationalities all around the world. My language skills are put to the test almost every day, whether to talk to clients, production companies and producers in other countries or to read and negotiate their contracts!
Our own children are in the International Lycée in Los Angeles (LILA), where they receive a bilingual French/English education. Our eldest daughter who is 13 is now learning Spanish as well.
I am a very strong advocate for the need for languages in the global workplace. As someone once put it, whether or not you end up using a language, the knowledge that a different culture has a different word for a door for example, shows you that they have a different philosophy. To have an insight into another culture’s philosophy or to understand that another culture might have a different philosophy, promotes better understanding, empathy and communication. Ultimately, we do business with each other because we build trust. To build trust you have to understand the other person’s viewpoint and if you understand their language then you have a much greater ability to achieve that trust.