Friday, June 26, 2009

"Convincing Icelandic Required..."

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A few days ago I submitted for a short film, with this character description:

FEMALE (EARLY 30s)- A woman of Skandinavian (blond and blue eyes) appearance. She is determined but polite, open to new experiences but on her terms. She is as pleasant and elegant as the American image of a nordic woman, but upon knowing her better, she diverts in surprising ways from the more gentle facade. Convincing Icelandic accent required.

I just received an email from the casting director asking me to come in for an audition on Sunday (yay!) My boyfriend’s mother is Norwegian (as is the rest of her family) and I have visited Norway, so I think I can bring some of what I have learned into the audition room. But I am going to spend a little bit of time on the International Dialects of English website to see if I can get some hints and tips from native speakers (though they don’t have Iceland or Norway up there, so I think I will have to be satisfied with Denmark and Finland.)

What fun!


Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has toured nationally with plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. For more information, please visit http://www.erincronican.com.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

On Fire on IMDB

My Star Power on IMDB is getting better and better- check it out!

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1859555/

I am waiting for the day that fans decide to start talking about my work in the discussion forum at the bottom of the page. Of course, I’ll cry and cry if it is negative, but I will know that I made it.

(UPDATE- JUNE 29: My Star Meter jumped 20,000 points thanks to you all. Keep up the great work!)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Part "Lady", Part "Party Animal"

As actors, we are constantly looking for ways to define ourselves, to find that special spark that makes us complex and charming. I just took this silly Facebook quiz, and the results are so dead on that I might steal some of the phrases for my own bio:

Erin completed the quiz "What Decade Fits Your Personality Best?" with the result 1920's.

You are classy, not afraid to go against the norm, and love to celebrate the joys of life. You love to be in the "right now" of society's latest "new thing" and because of that you exert the latest fashions and put a high priority on having a great time. After all, you deserve it after all the struggles you have gone through in life thus far. You have a little rebel in you, although you don't overtly show it because you keep yourself and your standards classy, sophisticated, and elegant. And chances are, you have a thing for jazz music. You are a perfect combination of lady-like and party animal.

Check out a bit of my current bio to learn more...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Men are weird


I was at a coffeeshop yesterday and I overheard a man ask a woman, who was standing in line and presumably a stranger, "Is your hair naturally curly? Can I touch it?" That’s weird enough, but the creepy factor went off the charts when he asked, "Did that hurt? No? That's weird- hair is supposed to hurt when you touch it."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Typical Day in the Life of Erin

Here’s a breakdown of what I did today, which gives you a good idea of how I spend my time as an actor:

9:30am: Wake Up (I stay up late, so waking up later is a must...)

9:30am-10am: Still waking up, browse internet and answer emails. Goof off on Facebook.

10am-10:45am: Do some final preparation on a scene for an audition today

10:45am-11am: Walk the dog

11am-11:30: Do my hair and makeup, and get dressed for the audition.

11:30am-12:05pm: Travel by subway to audition, save time by doing makeup on the train. Have this experience while traveling. I always get a good laugh when I am with New Yorkers.

12:05pm-12:50pm: My audition is scheduled at 12:15 and I arrive early but they are running behind. The audition monitor (the person who checks in) cannot find my name on the list because my last name is spelled Corcoran instead of Cronican. Story of my life.

12:50pm-12:55pm: There are at least 20 other girls there ahead of me. By 12:45 I still hadn’t been seen, but I get brought into the room at 12:50. We are asked to do the scene once, my scene partner was asked to demonstrate a bunch of different accents (which she did very well!) The writer asks us to switch roles to hear me do one of the monologues, and right before I start, the casting director gets up and walks out of the room. I can easily gauge the casting director’s interest in me- guess I won’t be getting this one. No problem, though, because I have had a bunch of auditions recently.

12:55pm-1:30pm: Travel back home via subway. I am almost halfway through the book, “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. I highly recommend this book. Stop at Taco Bell before heading up my 4 floor walk up. I justify the Taco Bell because of the 4 floor walk up, and repeat the justification like a mantra with each step I take.

1:30pm-2:00pm: Scarf down food while checking email.

2:00pm-3:00pm: Coaching a student (did you know that I am a business coach for actors?) She pays for a new set of sessions through a package deal that I have, which means I am on schedule to make my salary goal for this week.

3:00pm-3:30pm: Read through a bunch of industry websites and Blog/RSS Feeds, including Playbill, Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Showfax Forums, Backstage Forums

3:30pm-4:00pm: Go through casting websites and submit myself for projects, and enter audition information into my calendar.

4:30pm-5:30pm: Warm up my voice. Start working on a handful of new songs that have been given to me by my musical theater teacher.

5:30pm-6:00pm: Go to the store to pick up stuff for dinner, which I will be making for my boyfriend in a rare evening eating at home. I haven;t used the stove in at least 3 months- I am not joking.

6:00pm-6:30pm: Prepare dinner.

6:30pm-7:00pm: Eat dinner, catch up with my boyfriend.

7:00pm-7:30pm: Downloaded 4 software updates for my gorgeous Mac computer, including the brand new iPhone 3.0 software for my delicious iPhone.

7:30pm-8:00pm: Revise my privacy permissions on Facebook in anticipation of launching a brand new Professional Page for Erin Cronican, the actor. I will eventually encourage the shift of “friends” over to this page as “fans” - especially those folks that I have never met in person (which happens a lot when you have done web series and are a career coach.)

8:00pm- 3:00am: Return emails, start planning the rest of my evening and decide to write a blog about how my day looked today. Here’s what I have left to do between now and 3am when I finally go to bed:

- Finish this blog and upload it
- Start emailing my students who I have not seen in a while to see how things are going with their career
- Continue working on a website that I am designing for one of my students (did you know that I do design for actors?)
- Send receipts to 3 students for recent payments
- Write an email to 2 actors to thank them for referring their friends to me
- Respond to 2 voicemails left today
- Pet my dog and make her feel loved
- Slip in a Yoga DVD and do a bit strength/flexibility work
- Watch 2 New York based TV shows that were recorded on my DVR between yesterday and today
- Walk the dog


Whew!

One would think that I, as my own boss, would be able to build more leisure time into my schedule. Wish I had time to do other things, like go out to coffee with friends, walk in the park, go to museums, etc etc etc. But I love my work, and I love that I can schedule things depending on my mood- so I have nearly nothing to complain about!

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?


I heard a guy on the subway playing the theme to "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" through his cell phone, and he punctuated the tune with "Yeehaw!" and vocal imitations of gunfire. He got off at my same stop, and transfered underground to my same connecting train, all the while doing the sound effects and holding up the phone to have everyone hear the music. In an odd way, it felt like I was in a film and this was my soundtrack.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Named #3 of American Acting Blogs

My Google Alert just send me a message about a website that listed a link to my blog. Turns out, it is a Lithuanian website that has chosen 5 American acting websites as great resources for actors!

Here’s what was said about my blog (translated from Lithuanian by Google- the translation is a bit choppy):

The Erin Cronicals. This option is in fact a pure blog. Here, the actress is a woman, writes about his acting career. Regularly updating the blog every time, still mentions the important moments of my career, what happened in the last days, to where it was adopted or the luck to play a small role. Following this actress is always a record of inspiration, I hope not only to me. Glad to see that someone good luck cause aktorystės career, it shows, however, that it is not impossible. What can we know, perhaps it will ever become a superstar.

Click here for a link with the full translation.

I am thrilled that folks can find some inspiration from this blog - I find inspiration just writing it!

Friday, June 12, 2009

I Heart Momentum

Momentum is building, which is such an awesome feeling. Yesterday I had a callback for The Full Monty. They asked me to sing again and to read some sides. They initially wanted to hear the same song as I sang at the first audition, but in my quest to show some diversity, I offered them a different song and they happily accepted. After completing that and the sides, they thanked me for coming in, and as I grabbed my music from the accompanist the director whispered something the choreographer, and then they said, “Can you come back tomorrow for movement?” Usually these words are like the kiss of death for a “singer who moves well” but knowing that this was not a dance show, I was very glad to accept.

Today was the dance call, and it was awesome! The steps themselves were easy, the point of the audition was mostly to see what kind of personality and attitude we could add to our movement. I really did well, kind of outdoing myself considering that I am not a “dancer” dancer. But, amazingly I came off as one of the strongest dancers there, which is a really nice way to end a round of auditions with this company. They have 7 AEA contracts for the show (and I am AEA) so now it is a matter of how those contracts pan out. It could be that they have to fill other roles with AEA actors. Or, it could be that they like me enough that they want to spend one of the contracts on me. Regardless, at this point the decision will probably have nothing to do with me. But I could actually feel a certain star quality oozing out of my pores- that kind of relaxed confidence is something I want to carry with me, always.

In addition to this great set of callbacks, I received an email from a playwright who got my name from a web series producer that I worked for this spring. She had asked him for some recommendations for a play she has in the Fringe Festival, and he gave her my name along with a few others. What’s awesome is that she is using an actual casting director who I have met and have been courting for over a year. And now she has sent my information to the casting director and told him that she wants to see me. Yippee! Doubly awesome is that I had already seen the role posted on Actors Access and had just submitted, so I know I am perfect for this show.

I did a dance call last weekend for another Fringe musical, and I am following that up with a vocal audition this weekend. The show is campy but looks like it would be a lot of fun. The dance call was HARD, but luckily the character I am called in for is not one of the dancer roles. But I think I held my own, and I plan on blowing them away in the vocal audition.

I also got called by a filmmaker who was giving me a callback for a film I auditioned for months ago. There is a little bit of nudity in the project, so I am not certain I will take the role if offered- it will depend on what kind of creative control I have in the process. For a deferred pay project that is protected by SAG but isn’t part of a full contract, I am more nervous about what can happen to the footage that DOESN’T get used. So, I may bow out depending on how things progress.

So, I as I have said before, I am busy busy and am enjoying every minute of it!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Know Your Composers

I had an audition for an agency last week. I was referred to them by one of my gorgeous co-stars from the musical, Socks, which I did a reading of in April. The first phase of the process was to go in to sing for the agents, and the second (should I advance that far) will be to go in for a formal interview so we can get to know each other and see if our strengths compliment each other. Before I move forward with the story, I first want to tell you that actors will often go through MANY of the first phases before getting to the formal interview and it has nothing to do with how talented the actor is (or isn’t.) Often, it is more related to the fact that the agency needs to have an opening in the actor’s type category in order to progress. If they already have 10 girls just like me, it makes no sense for them to add me to their roster. So, I look at this experience as a fantastic way to show my stuff to a new group of people in my quest to develop my fan base.

But, I digress. For the audition, they told us to prepare 2 contrasting songs plus a monologue, and to bring our book of music. But they seemed to be running a little bit behind, and I started to notice that the later we got, they no longer asked actors to hear a second piece (and the girls in front of me had good voices, so I don’t think it was related to their talent.) So I wasn’t surprised when I went in the room and they only asked for one song. But here’s where I got a real surprise. For this audition, I decided to bring in a brand new song that I had never done at an audition before. Normally that would be a fatal move, but I am so passionate about the song and its fit in my repertoire, and I hired an accompanist to work with me earlier in the week to make sure the song was ready, so I felt confident going in. When I walked in the room I got a very warm greeting. The two agents were looking over my resume, and were happily discussing some of my credits. I put my book of music in front of the pianist, opened up to the page of my new song, and started to give a tempo. The pianist stopped me before I could finish my first sentence and said, “No problem. I know.” I turned to look at him... and it was the composer for the song I was singing.

Let me say that again. This brand new song that I had fallen in love with was composed by the pianist playing this audition.

No pressure or anything! Actually, I thought it was hilarious. I started laughing immediately, and said, “Oh, hi Brad, composer of the piece I am singing!” The agents caught wind of this, and I giddily told them that the pianist had composed my song, and I joked, “If I wasn’t nervous before, I suppose I should be now!” But, actually, it was awesome that he was playing. Part of what makes an actor nervous in a singing audition is wondering if the accompanist will be able to play your song well. So, I knew I had that thing in the bag! Plus, I think it is awesome when something unexpected happens in the audition room. One- it makes for a good story, but Two- it gets you out of your head in the into the present, and you really get to show your personality under pressure. And I am someone who is not thrown by an industry giant in the audition room- I thrive on it. I think that is something big that I have to offer, and I was thrilled that I got a chance to show them my poise.

I gave it everything I had, and thought I did great. I hit all of the emotional high points of the song, let the story come through, and had some wonderful dynamics - showing some powerhouse belting but also some sweet, soaring soprano. I then did my monologue and did fairly well (I’ve done it better, but I hit the critical points and did what I needed to do with it.) Now it is a matter of them choosing to bring me in a second time - but like every audition, you leave the room and don’t look back, because second guessing yourself or trying to predict the future can make you go mad. I know that if they need someone like me, they’ll call. Simple as that.

On a side note: right before the agent audition, I had another audition for the show, “The Full Monty” which has a short run on the Jersey Shore in August. I told a friend of mine that since I had my full attention on the agent audition, I would likely do the audition beforehand in such a relaxed and “I don’t care about this” way that I would probably get called back. And, sure enough, I got a call last night asking me to come to callbacks this week. For almost every other kind of job interview, you really want to show them how passionate you are about getting the job. In acting, you almost always are more desirable if you could take it or leave it. It helped that my voice was in great shape and the person before me... well, she wasn’t very good (I hate saying that, but it was true.) So I was positioned to do well from the start (I sang a rockin’, high belt version of the rock ballad, “Alone.”) The contract doesn’t pay very much, and I would be take out of town (and the action here) for 6 weeks, so I will really have to think about it. There are no shows Monday and Tuesday, and the theater is only 2 hours away by train, so I may consider coming home on our days off (which may be a really good compromise.) I’ll be sure to let you know how that goes...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Props at Auditions; and Fibbing

I did a commercial audition a few weeks ago for Panera Bread- and the casting director asked us to bring our own chopping knife to be used at the audition. All of us actors in the waiting room had strange looks on our faces as we came into the studio- it was a little nerve-racking to carry a large knife on the subway (!)

Once in the room they gave very little direction- they told us that we would be asked to do a “model slate”- where we say our name for the camera, then turn our body’s 45 degrees to the left, turn to face 45 degrees to the right, face forward and show our hands to the camera, and then the casting director would ask us a question to answer. I did my slate, and then the casting director asked her secret question: “Do you like to cook?“ For some reason, I completely lied and said, ”Yes“ and then, as I could hear crickets filling the silence, I realized that they wanted me to say more. So I made up some BS about loving to cook Italian food, and how I prepared it with vegetarian sausage. To this day, I think it would have been infinitely more interesting for me to have been honest: I actually hate to cook, because when I am hungry, I want food right away- I’m too impatient to cook an elaborate meal! I think I could actually be good at it, but luckily we have a tiny kitchen with limited counter space, which makes it easy to avoid cooking altogether. I really wished I would have been brave enough to say how I really felt- it would have been infinitely more interesting! People can smell inauthenticity a mile away.

This particular spot was to promote their non-bread items in their restaurants, like Chef Salads. So, after we slated, we were also instructed to use our handy dandy knife to prepare a chef salad, using many of the ingredients they had laid out in front of me. I could choose from things like celery, ham, turkey, cheese, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, etc. I thought I did an awesome job cutting up all of the ingredients. Never mind that I am terrified of knives, especially those used to chop stuff, so in that way I really hit a milestone!

I wasn’t cast for this one, but add this experience to the ”We do WHAT for a living?“ file!

Monday, June 1, 2009

So THIS is what that feels like?

I am in a really good place right now. Things are moving forward very nicely in all aspects of my career - in both theater and film I have been getting auditions, getting callbacks, and producers from the projects I don’t book are keeping me in mind of other projects. I really couldn’t ask for much more right now. One situation, in particular, has me saying, “WOW.” So I thought I would share a little bit about my experience.

First off- I am not going to be mentioning specifics about this show- no only because I am a wee bit superstitious about posting info before it happens, but also because of the evolution of this project (you’ll understand in a few moments.)

I am in heavy consideration for a 2-person musical, to be premiered at one of the festivals in NYC this summer. Now, there are tons of fabulous women who will. no doubt, submit for this project so I have no idea if I will actually be cast. But the producer of the show recently saw me do the musical reading of “Socks” and after a very nice, long conversation after the show, he mentioned that I may be right for this new musical he was producing, and asked if I might be interested in learning more? I, of course, said yes and thus began our relationship. And THIS is where I come to the point of the story. A producer has seen my work, and liked it so much that he has made it his mission to have me book his show. He is slowly selling my talent and skill-set to the director and writer, who are the final decision makers when it comes to casting. (The creative team worked on the show in another country, and they are premiering a revised, English speaking version here. This producer is on board for the first time with this production, so he doesn’t have as much pull with casting as a traditional producer might.)

Regardless, to have someone have such confidence in you is downright amazing. I mean, it’s what we all hope for when we do these readings where people get paid subway fare and are served donuts during rehearsals!

Picture this- I have been sent the script and the music, which the producer has asked me to keep “hush hush”- stating that no other actors would be given this information, he is simply trying to give ME a leg up for the audition. I have had conversations with him about how I would develop the character- something you don’t often get to do, even with new material. He pitched me to the director and called me later that day, saying, “Good news! I showed him your website and he loved your look and your voice!” When the casting notice was posted, not only did I NOT have to go through the process of submitting, but the producer called me JUST TO GIVE ME A HEADS UP THAT IT WAS BEING POSTED. I mean, really? I kind of shake my head and say. “So THIS is what that feels like? To be sought after?”

I have someone in my corner who believes in me as a talent, in whom he has a vested interest. It truly is the best feeling in the world. So good, in fact, that I will be fine if I am not cast, because I knew I had everything in the world going for me. Everything else is up to chemistry and logistics, and I cannot control those. If this project doesn’t work. I still have someone who is a fan, and I’ll sure as hell bet that we’ll work together sometime soon. And that feeling absolutely kicks ass.

I guess the moral of the story is... Do Good Work. Wherever you can do it. Be gracious to those you meet afterward, because you never know where it will take you. Be someone people will want to promote. And I’ll be sure to let you know how that turns out for me... =)


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