Zak Barnett, Acting Coach, Founder of Zak Barnett Studios

January 4, 2018

Ever wish you could sit with a gifted Hollywood acting coach for an hour—for free? You’re in luck! This week’s podcast guest is Zak Barnett, founder of the Zak Barnett Studios in mid-town Los Angeles, which is billed as “an acting studio for the whole self.” Zak Barnett Studios provides classes, intensives, and private coaching for professional actors aged 9-adult.

The list of actors that sing his praises is long and impressive: Madelaine Petsch, Danielle MacDonald, Johnny Ortiz, and Victoria Moroles are just a few.

Our conversation is filled with juicy stuff for young actors and their parents, including tips on acting, auditioning, and being an artist in the world. Some of my favorite quotes:

  • “What makes an artist unique is their curiosity.”
  • “Acting is the lifelong process of the mastery of the self, and the mastery of selflessness.”
  • “As an actor, if you judge a character, you cannot become them.”
  • “This is like a martial art… it’s about humility, consistency, and curiosity.”
  • “If you know three things you see three things… if you know a million, you see a million.”
  • “Teaching is essentially giving them the tools to evolve in their own process… coaching is, ‘I’m a director, and I’m going to get you where you need to go.’”
  • “The unconscious doesn’t know the difference between highly developed fantasy and memory.”
  • “We have to know our own pain to know our character’s.”
  • “This is not the art of pretending, it’s the art of becoming.”
  • “Find your tribe, wherever you are.”
  • “It’s not an easy life, but it’s an amazing life.”

 

Find Zak and the Zak Barnett Studio here:

Website: https://zakbarnett.com/

Twitter: @zbsactingstudio

Instagram: @zakbarnettstudios

Facebook: @zakbarnettstudios

YouTube: Zak Barnett Acting Studios

 

Zak and I mentioned two books in our conversation, The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday, and The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I recommend them both highly.

Links here:

 

The Obstacle is the Way

The Artist’s Way

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Dove Cameron Encore Episode

December 27, 2017

Hometown to Hollywood’s final podcast of 2017 is an encore presentation of our most popular episode, an intimate conversation with actor and singer Dove Cameron.

Dove is best known for playing lead roles in Liv and Maddie, Disney Descendants and Descendants 2, Hairspray Live, Cloud Nine, Barely Lethal, and much more. She played Sophie in Mamma Mia at the Hollywood Bowl this past summer, and has a recurring role in Marvel’s Agents of Shield in 2018. Dove is also my daughter!

Listen in as Dove shares in her longest and most intimate interview:

  • Her inspirations
  • Her influences
  • Her approach to a character
  • Audition advice
  • Advice for young people who want to be in entertainment

Because this is an encore episode from 2016, you will hear a few references to things that are out of date, but this is for the most part a very timeless interview. Enjoy!

 

On training:

“Anybody can, and should, take voice lessons.”

On acting:
“The practice of getting into the mind of someone who’s not you… it makes you much more empathetic, and sympathetic, and thoughtful.”

 

Some of my favorite quotes:

  • “My biggest measure of success: when I walk away from a project and people speak well of me, and want to work with me again.”
  • “I basically sat home and watched movie after movie, and studied the people I respected.”
  • “I wanted the normalcy… but it didn’t fit in with the other life that I wanted more.”
  • “There are so many kids out there that are special and different and they get left out, and they get bullied, and they become the most incredible adults… I just want you to know… it’s going to be OK.”
  • “Don’t take yourself too seriously.”
  • “You better believe I don’t forget I’m living out my childhood dream.”
  • “Stay close to your family, know who your friends are, and trust your gut.”
  • “Just do as much as you can as best as you can for as long as you can, and you’ll succeed.”

 

You can find Dove here:

 

Twitter: @DoveCameron

Instagram: @DoveCameron

Facebook: @OfficialDoveCameron

 

The link to the ONLY legitimate Disney open Casting Calls we referenced is here:

http://disneychannel.disney.com/open-call

 

I learned so much (and continue to learn so much!) through helping my daughter Dove get her start and grow in the industry that I not only wrote a book to help other parents (The Hollywood Parents Guide is available on Amazon) but I also consult with other parents one-on-one to answer their specific questions and map out a strategy for success.

An hour with me on Skype can make an incredible difference, saving you serious time and money. If you want 2018 to be the year that your kid gets some traction toward their dream, book a session with me here! I look forward to working with you.

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Carol Goldwasser, Casting Director

December 21, 2017

Ever wonder what goes through a casting director’s mind when you are in the audition room?

You’re in luck, because today my guest on the Hometown to Hollywood podcast is independent casting director Carol Goldwasser.

Carol has worked in casting for over twenty years in Los Angeles and New York. She's cast actors who have received Kid's and Teen Choice Awards, Imagen Awards, Young Artist Awards, and Emmy Award nominations for their roles. Her series work includes a lot of work for Disney and Nickelodeon: "Austin & Ally, "Dog with a Blog," "I'm in the Band" and "Hannah Montana."

Carol also assembled a rotating cast for "Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays." The play won an L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award for Unique Theatrical Event. She has been nominated for eleven Casting Society of America Artios Awards for excellence in casting, winning the honor twice, and was a Heller Award nominee for Television Casting Director of the year. Carol is a member of the Television Academy and the Casting Society of America.

We explore how she started in casting, what she’s looking for, the differences between casting a pilot vs. casting guest stars, approaches for auditions, advice for self-tapes, the role of parents in the success of young actors, and much more.

Some of my favorite quotes from this episode:

  • “Sometimes it’s what you decide, but it’s also what fate puts in front of you.”
  • “You already have people that you want to bring in. But then you expand the process.”
  • “If I feel like someone is talented, we keep trying them.”
  • “Sometimes what you see in the room at a callback is not as good as on the self-tape…you don’t know what that whole package is until you call them into a room.”
  • “High energy, good diction, no props!”
  • “It would be great if people would come in and swing from the fences from the get-go.”
  • “Talent is great, but you also have to be able to deliver consistently.”
  • “Do your homework and realize the difference between (acting) styles.”
  • “It’s not personal. It’s about the person who can do the job the best.”
  • “Don’t ignore those stage directions… there’s a reason they’re there. It’s the architecture.”
  • “It’s so important to have the parental and emotional support.”
  • “Being well-prepared is great… equally important is being malleable.”

 

You can see more of Carol’s casting credits here on IMDb.

There is always more to success in the world of professional acting than meets the eye—this is why it’s so helpful to have some inside guidance. Start the New Year off right and book a consultation with me today! Just an hour with me can provide direction, peace of mind, and an action plan. I look forward to helping you!

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Daryn Simons, Talent Manager, Producer, & Casting Director

December 13, 2017

Today my guest on the Hometown to Hollywood podcast is Daryn Simons.

Daryn is a Talent Manager, Producer and Casting Director with Cohesive Entertainment Group in Los Angeles. Before moving into management, she worked for Paramount Studios, Sony and Fox. She was voted Talent Manager of the Year in 2015, and is the current President Pro Tem of the Talent Managers Association. Daryn recently produced LOCATING SILVER LAKE with Josh Peck and Finn Wittrock, THE PAY UP with Scott Adkins and Louis Mandylor as well as the Disney Pilot NELSON BIXBY TAKES ON THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD .

This is a must-listen for any young actor and their parents, as we cover auditions and casting, how to get a manager and the right way to communicate with one, staying safe, and SO much more!

 

Some of my favorite quotes:

 

  • “It has to be the right team. And if it’s not, then you move on to find your people.”
  • There is no project you should ever work on if you have a bad feeling about it.”
  • “If it’s not right for them, you should never push a child.”
  • “Start with email, then go to text, then call. If you’re still not getting the response you want, find new representation!”
  • When you’re approaching your tam, always lead with something positive.”
  • Have patience. And know that it’s the journey…”
  • It’s 99% hard work, but 1% luck.”
  • “Always go with your gut.”

 

Look for LOCATING SILVER LAKE  and The Payup in 2018.

You can find Daryn at http://www.cohesiveentertainmentgroup.com

Instagram: @cohesiveentertainmentgroup

In less than an hour Daryn and I covered SO many critical issues for young actors and their parents… and in one hour one-on-one with you, I can answer YOUR questions, and set you up with an action plan to save you thousands of dollars and months, possibly years of lost time in your quest for a career as a professional actor.

 

Click the link HERE to book an hour Skype consultation with me and start the New Year off right!

 

 

 

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Colleen Broomall, Founder YSBnow & Former Child Actor

December 6, 2017

What does a former child actor and pop culture expert have to say about fame, social media, and the entertainment industry? A lot!

My guest Colleen Broomall grew up as a child actor on As the World Turns, and has worked in celebrity journalism since the age of 18, including a full time gig as the East Coast correspondent of Tiger Beat, and editor-in-chief at Popstar Magazine. She founded You’re So Beautiful Now, a digital platform for teens, in 2015. She’s been featured in both Forbes and Amy Pohler’s Smart Girls.

We discussed her experience as a child actor, social media, pop culture, fame, and much more. Join us!

Some of my favorite quotes:

  • “If everything fell into my lap immediately, I would not be where I am.”
  • “Just follow what makes you happy, don’t think about what everyone is going to think.”
  • Know what you want, and be willing to put the work in to do it.”
  • “It’s really important not to compare your journey or yourself with other peoples’.”
  • “Fame is so fleeting. You can’t define your worth and yourself by fame.”
  • “If you’re chasing after fame, you’re chasing the wrong thing.”
  • “Read a lot. Work really hard. And don’t put a timeline on yourself.”
  • There are so many different ways to be in the industry. And they don’t all involve being on camera.”
  • Give yourself time, and have patience. There’s no right or wrong way. It’s about trial and error, and deciding what’s right for you.”
  • “Your favorite celebrity? Their parents get divorced. They deal with anxiety. You’re not alone.”
  • “You’re amazing. And you’re beautiful for who you are. Right now.”

Follow Colleen and YSBnow here:

Website: http://www.ysbnow.com/en/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ysbnow/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ysbnow/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YSBnow

YouTube: YouTube.com/ysbnow

Colleen’s Instagram: @colleenbroomall

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Melanie Paxson

September 25, 2017

How does a girl from a small town in the Midwest who falls in love with acting grow up to become a successful working L.A. actor with 40 film and TV roles, and almost countless commercial credits? 

Join me and my guest Melanie Paxson on this episode of Hometown to Hollywood, and find out!

Melanie is best known for her role as the Fairy Godmother on Disney Descendants and Descendants 2, as well as Dolly, Walt Disney’s secretary on Saving Mr. Banks. Her guest star appearances include roles on series including The Drew Carey Show, Rules of Engagement, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Joey, Medium and Last Man Standing. She is also the former Red Robin Burger Mama!

Melanie has a BA in theatre from the University of Missouri, then trained at Second City in Chicago, and performed with the renowned theatre troupe Steppenwolf Theatre before coming to Los Angeles at 26.

We cover some great topics in this conversation, including the benefits of training at a university vs. just going straight to professional work at 18 (or younger), what it’s like to land in LA as a young adult, what keeps her going as a successful working actor, and much more. She even gives a little shout-out to SAG-AFTRA for being a great union with terrific healthcare—which it is!!

Some of my favorite quotes from our conversation:

  • “It unfolded effortlessly.”
  • “I was nice and delusional.”
  • “If you are unstoppable, no one’s going to stop you but yourself.”
  • “That’s my job: I audition.”
  • “Doors will open, you go through that door, then another door opens.”
  • “Family is important… it keeps me grounded.”
  • “You need to show up early, and be focused.”
  • “This business is definitely about perseverance.”
  • “If you know it in your heart, then you just keep taking the next step.”
  • “When you’re really lucky, you get to tell amazing stories.”

 

Follow Melanie HERE:

Twitter: @MellyPaxson

Instagram: @MellyPaxson

Facebook: @MellyPaxson

 

Melanie’s story illustrates one of the many paths into a career in Hollywood: you start where you are, study with the best resources available, including university training, then eventually make your way to Los Angeles.

Everyone’s journey is different, but there are common threads that run through the stories of all successful actors: perseverance, faith, hard work, and a great attitude. Staying grounded and maintaining perspective.

I offer consulting services for parents of young actors, or for young adult actors. A single hour with me can answer your questions, including questions you didn’t know you had, and provide an action plan to get you moving toward that dream. WHILE keeping a sense of perspective!

If you’d like some help figuring out your next move, schedule a Skype consultation with me HERE. I look forward to talking with you!

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Cameron Boyce, Part 2 of 2

September 13, 2017

Cameron Boyce Part 2 of

Today my guest on Hometown to Hollywood is Cameron Boyce. Cameron has done MANY film and TV projects, but he is best known for his roles in Mirrors, Eagle Eye, Grownups and Grownups 2, Jessie, Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything, Descendants and Descendants 2.

This is part two of my two-part conversation with Cameron. In this second half of our interview, Cameron covers auditions, dealing with fame, surprises along his journey, and much more!

Be sure to catch part one if you haven’t yet, where he shares about how he got started, who inspires him, training, school, and much more. We get into a lively conversation about the CHSPE that is relevant for any young actor considering taking that test so they can work as a “legal 18” in California.

Cameron’s thoughtful take on the entertainment industry reflects that fact that at the age of 18 he has already spent more than half his life working in it, and has worked with legends. Join us!

Some of my favorite quotes from our conversation:

  • “Dancers are some of the best people to be around.”
  • “If you beat yourself up, you’ll get sick of it really quickly.”
  • “My ‘Butterfly Effect’ is really broad.”
  • “I’ve never gotten used to the impact I have on people.”
  • “If you’re passionate about becoming famous? Not a good deal.”
  • “Stay persistent. Because it doesn’t come overnight.”
  • “Give the script the respect that it deserves.”
  • “When you are right for a character and role, it’ll happen.”
  • “Trust the process.”
  • “When you lose your self, you lose everything, so be yourself.

Follow Cameron HERE:

Twitter: @TheCameronBoyce

Instagram: @TheCameronBoyce

 

 

 

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Cameron Boyce: Actor, Dancer PART ONE

September 5, 2017

Today my guest on Hometown to Hollywood is Cameron Boyce. Cameron has done MANY film and TV projects, but he is best known for his roles in Mirrors, Eagle Eye, Grownups and Grownups 2, Jessie, Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything, Descendants and Descendants 2.

This is part one of my two-part conversation with Cameron. Come back next week for part two, where he shares about auditions, dealing with fame, surprises along his journey, and much more!

In this first half of our interview, Cameron covers how he got started, who inspires him, training, school, and much more. We get into a lively conversation about the CHSPE that is relevant for any young actor considering taking that test so they can work as a “legal 18” in California. His thoughtful take on the entertainment industry reflects that fact that at the age of 18 he has already spent more than half his life working in it, and has worked with legends. Join us!

Some of my favorite quotes from our conversation:

  • “The kid really has to want to be there.”
  • “Parents really are everything.”
  • “Every single thing on the page is there for a reason.”
  • “An actor is in a prime position the learn about ANYTHING.”
  • On agents: “Find somebody who’s passionate about you.”
  • “You should always go with your gut.”
  • “To get those 6 projects, you have to do 600 auditions.”
  • “It’s rare for a casting director to be looking for a breakout star.”
  • “When all the stars align, it’s really special.”
  • “Throw in a little bit of personality. Sprinkle it on.”

 

Follow Cameron HERE:

Twitter: @TheCameronBoyce 

Instagram: @TheCameronBoyce

 

Cameron’s experience in the entertainment industry first as a true child actor, and now transitioning to a young adult actor, yields invaluable insights into what faces young actors at different stages of their journey. Everybody’s path is unique. The point, I think, is to feel happy and fulfilled no matter where your path takes you. And that has a lot to do with keeping a sense of perspective on your adventure.

I offer consulting services for parents of young actors, or for young adult actors. A single hour with me can answer your questions, including questions you didn’t know you had, and provide an action plan to get you moving toward that dream. WHILE keeping a sense of perspective!

If you’d like some help figuring out your next move, schedule a Skype consultation with me HERE. I look forward to talking with you!

Bonnie

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Paul Becker, Choreographer, Director

August 30, 2017

How do dancers become choreographers? What goes into choreography for film and TV? Who casts the dancers?

This week’s guest on Hometown to Hollywood, Paul Becker, answers all these questions and more in one of my most inspiring and fascinating interviews ever.

Paul is a Hollywood choreographer and director, and his credits are incredible: he’s worked closely with everyone from Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers, The Muppets, Michael Bublé, Ciara, and has even directed and created for Kanye West.  In the musical theatre world he’s staged numbers for Broadway legends like Ben Vereen, Kristin Chenoweth and Neil Patrick Harris.
Paul has choreographed over 200 film and TV projects, like “Twilight”, “Mirror Mirror” “Sucker Punch” and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid 1-3”, & he is currently the series choreographer for “A Series of Unfortunate Evens”(Netflix), “Once Upon a Time”(ABC), CW's hit show "Riverdale,"and Deadpool 2.

Paul recently was nominated for the World Choreography Award for his work with his mentor, director Kenny Ortega, as his choreography partner for Disney Channel's mega hit musical Descendants.

Paul talks about training, what the work of a TV and film choreographer really entails, gives advice for dancers, actors who dance, dancers who act, and choreographers, as well as sharing some extremely inspiring stories and wisdom. Don’t miss this—even if you have two left feet!

Some of my favorite quotes from our conversation:
    •    “I took 3 classes a night, training like an athlete.”
    •    “Out of 1,000 dancers, there’s usually 15 guys.”
    •    “Opportunities for guys in dance are greater, but they need the drive.”
    •    “You have to make things happen for yourself.”
    •    “There’s always a way to achieve your outcome.”
    •    “You can see it in someone’s eyes when they’re hungry for it.”
    •    “Being easy to work with is huge.”
    •    “I was rock bottom when I met Kenny Ortega.”
    •    “Stay positive and be nice to everyone.”
    •    “It’s the job of a choreographer to be a ‘dance-writer’.”
    •    “I like to create scenes diverse in ethnicity and all different types.”
    •    “Study filmmaking and acting if you want to choreograph for film and TV.”
    •    “Be able to use Excel, create budgets, and pitch if you want to choreograph for film and TV.”
    •    “You hold the key to your future.”

You can follow Paul and his work HERE:

Website: https://www.beckercreations.com/
Masterclass: https://www.pbmasterclass.com/
Twitter: @ThePaulBecker
Instagram: @ThePaulBecker1
Breaking Brooklyn

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Jessica Rhoades, Producer

August 10, 2017

My guest on this episode of Hometown to Hollywood is film and TV producer Jessica Rhoades.

Jessica has produced many diverse film and TV projects, including Cold Case Files, Eye Candy, Young and Hungry, Cloud 9, Spectacular, and Beauty and the Briefcase. She is currently producing Sharp Objects starring Amy Adams for HBO, and has two pilots lined up to produce this fall—Tremors for SyFy and Run for Your Life for USA.

Jessica is thoughtful and generous with her insights, and this podcast is worth a listen for anyone interested in just about any aspect of the entertainment industry.

We discuss what makes for compelling work in film and TV (casting, chemistry, a sense of attachment to the character) new directions in TV, what it takes to succeed, and so much more. Join us!

Some of my favorite quotes from this interview:

  • “Showrunners have the control in TV that people attribute to directors in film.”
  • “Chemistry is real. It’s either there or it’s not.”
  • “I want to attach to the character, and I want to root for them.”
  • “Have they made this character come off the page—but not so far that it doesn’t feel real?”
  • “I think you have to believe your character, fundamentally.”
  • “Surround yourself with people you can trust.”
  • “Be willing to do the work. Everything is experience.”
  • “If you can log 10,000 hours, you’ll be better than you are after only 10 hours.”

 

Look for Sharp Objects coming soon on HBO.

 

You can follow Jessica on social media HERE:

Twitter: @JessicaRhoades

Instagram: @JessicaRhoades

 

I loved this conversation because Jessica’s personal wisdom is so apparent through her professional wisdom. Her experience as a mom is a part of her approach as a producer because she is a whole person—and that is how Hollywood really works. This is an industry of very real people, doing their best to create work that can both entertain but also create meaning.

Hollywood can seem like an impenetrable, opaque mystery—but it is made up of hardworking, creative people like Jessica. If you (or your kid, if you’re a parent) feel called to be part of this creative tribe as an actor and are looking for help in breaking in, set up a consultation with me. A single hour can set you going in the right direction, save you from some awful mistakes as well as save a lot of money—and give you peace of mind. Just go to my Consultations page, and schedule a session with me at the bottom of the page. I look forward to talking with you!

Xo

Bonnie

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