Friday, January 29, 2010

Actors as Nomads

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I was finally able to watch “Up In The Air” recently. I was really gripped by this tale of a man who loves his nomadic lifestyle and finds connections through the strangers he meets through his work. He enjoys the solitude and loves living without attachments (both emotional and physical.) The people around him cannot understand what the allure could possibly be, and see him as some sort of emotional degenerate. But in his work, he is compassionate and thoughtful and makes a difference to those he meets across the country.

Kind of sounds like an actor, huh?

It’s hard for me to describe why living an actor’s lifestyle makes me happier than being stable and secure. I worked for many years in the corporate and non-profit sectors, made oodles of money, and felt like I was selling my soul (even though the companies I worked for had great working environments.) There came a point where I knew I couldn’t do it anymore, and I gave up the steady paycheck, phenomenal benefits, and support system for a life with infinite possibility. A life where no day looks like any other. And even though it is sometimes hard financially, and sometimes I have to apologize to friends I don’t have time to see and these relationships suffer, I think I am a better human being for living a life that makes me happy.

I feel proud and lucky that I have been able to live a completely empowered and free life - running my own business as a career coach and being a professional actor allows me to choose my own adventure, day by day. I worked really hard to get here, building a skill set in business & marketing that allows me to call the shots. But I also feel lucky that I had parents who championed my innovative nature and inner fire and pushed me to be everything that I could be.

Very lucky...


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.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Part of the Disney Family?

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As most of you know, I have done quite a bit of work over the past 2 years on “One Life to Live” (and show owned by Disney, which is the parent company of ABC.) I’ll get booked to work one-day stints on set, and then receiving a paycheck 2 weeks later, along with a residual check about 4 weeks after that when the episode airs on “SoapNet.” I have had the same relationship with Proctor & Gamble (parent company of CBS) after all of my work on “Guiding Light.”

So it was odd when I found a large (but thin) envelope from Disney in my mailbox the other day:
It was a brochure for their Employee Assistance Program which (those of you who have worked in corporate America know) is a program that pays for emotional counseling and ”personal life resources“ for all employees. Companies do this because they value the mental health of their employees, and feel it’s a good way to protect their investment of time and money for each person they hire.

Funny- I never really thought of myself as an employee of Disney, though I certainly get W2s at the end of the year. So, I find it amusing that, of all the things Disney could send me, a document regarding my mental health is my official introduction to the Disney family.

Though, if you think about it, the fact that I get W2s each year from one of the biggest companies in the world but still live paycheck to paycheck MIGHT make me a mental case at some point. Maybe we should applaud their foresight...

Oh and PS: I just booked ANOTHER day on "One Life to Live" - this time as a social worker. I'll be picking up my script next week, but in the meantime I am fantasizing about who I will be counseling... =)


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.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Kate Turns the Tables

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I finally got around to watching “Revolutionary Road.” Man, Kate Winslet was amazing in that film. Actually, I liked everyone in the film, especially Michael Shannon as the disturbed houseguest, John Givings. But what amazed me is how unafraid Kate is of looking “normal” and “her age” in the film. She is beautiful to watch, both visually and emotionally, and her performance packed a punch. As always, I eagerly anticipated the special features on the DVD, which would allow me to get a sneak peak into the construct of the film. In part of the features, there was a wonderful interview with Kate where she talked about working with her husband as a director for the first time, encouraging “Leo” to play the role of her husband, and shared her perspectives on the characters. While I was watching this, something profound occurred to me: looking natural and “normal” on-screen is a brilliant move for a woman in her 20s & 30s.

Think of it this way: most of us are terrified that if we appear old on-camera, it will limit our ability to play roles our own age (or younger) in the future. Female actors strive to look as young as possible to compete, and work hard to live up to the perfect image that gets portrayed on the screen. We compete against the professional makeup, camera filters and fancy lighting, which will always beat out natural light, “street“ makeup and the naked eye in observation.

But if you watch what Kate does: Kate always appears fabulous off-screen because she she doesn’t pretend to be perfect on-screen. It’s kind of brilliant (and I say that tongue in cheek, because I think it kicks ass.) As evidence, take a look at this set of photos:

Kate on-screen in her last 2 big films:


Kate off-screen, likely at an industry event:


WHOA! You end up saying to yourself, “Wow- Kate looks amazing!” With many other female actors off-screen, the context of the photos would be flipped. People will think, “Well, she looked great in that movie, but in real life she’s looking old,“ or, ”Wow, she looks like she’s gained weight.“ Kate has pretty much guaranteed that she will look more sleek, more polished, more radiant... just stunning... because she doesn’t have to live up to some kind of unrealistic perfection. Other examples: Charlize Theron in ”Monster.“ America Ferrera on ”Ugly Betty“ - I wish the list could go on and on, but there aren’t many people who are confident enough to break down these barriers.

I found myself really inspired by this realization. It should be noted that the main way Kate gets away with this is that she is captivating to watch, and give a performance of a lifetime each time she takes on a role. The beauty of this realization (pun intended): Because of my ”light bulb“/”ah-ha“ moment, I am no longer afraid of how I might look on screen. What really matters is the quality of the work, and someone who presents themselves as joyful and fearless in everything they do. THAT is the real reason people think Kate, and Charlize and America are beautiful. Their work can do the speaking for them, and they just have to show up in a pretty dress.

Who wants to commit to joining the ranks and further break down these barriers? =)


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.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

THAT'S a skill I have!

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I was going through a set of audition notices, and one came up that almost made me do a spit take:

[KRISHNA GIRL] Female (20-30) All ethnicities. Hippie chick. Tambourine skills required. 1 line.

I want to know who CAN’T play the tambourine. Is this really a problem?


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.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Demo Reel!

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I just added some footage to my reel, and uploaded the updated version to my website and YouTube. And I have now uploaded it for you- It's got comedy. It's got drama. It's got a fight sequence!





I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it!

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.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Subway Directions

I was on the subway tonight and was daydreaming a bit about the recorded voice which announces each station as we arrived. I think that would be a pretty awesome gig- it would be pretty gratifying to hear your voice daily, and then you could freak people out by demonstrating it live.

It then occurred to me that there would be one person who would HATE this: your ex. Could you imagine breaking up with/divorcing someone, but then having to sit captive on a train with that voice STILL telling you what to do and where to go?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Movie Musicals: Yes, Please!

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The first movie I ever went to see in the theater was the musical, “Annie.“ It was in the early 80s, and aside from Disney and Strawberry Shortcake movies, I had never seen a musical brought to life on the screen, and certainly not with live action. When we got to the movie theater, all of the tickets has been sold, so they allowed me to watch the movie from the projector room. I felt like a VIP- being ushered to a secret room and getting to see the mechanics of the movie theater. This experience made seeing the movie all the more special.

Shortly thereafter, my mother introduced me to my (now) favorite movie musical, ”West Side Story.“ As a little brunette child, I was certain that some day I would be just like Natalie Wood and be able to play Latinas with flair- white skin, be darned! I had a little plastic cassette player/recorder, and I held it in front of the TV for two hours so that I could record the music from the movie and then sing along to it in my bedroom. I was quite a tomboy, but I had one skirt with ruffles that I had tucked in the back of my closet. When ”America“ would play on my tape player, I would pull on the skirt and sashay around my room, doing my best Rita Moreno impression. I imagine I was quite a vision (thank goodness YouTube did not exist then!) I’ve told this story to lots of folks, and my good friend, Jim, joked that he would concoct a one-woman version of ”West Side Story“ for me to perform some day. He went so far as to propose some DVD artwork:


Ha!

”Annie“ and ”West Side Story“ shaped who I was to become as a performer- I have been lucky enough to have a successful career in both movies and musicals. I haven’t yet found a way to bring them together, but tonight I was very inspired when watching a current (albeit non-traditional) movie musical: ”Once.“

What a film! 2 musicians, a great director/writer, a handful of crew members, and a micro-budget - and they were able to tell a story, with music, that MEANS something. I started to think- there has got to be a way for me to be able to do a project like this.

One notable problem is that I don’t write music. As a kid, I was an excellent poet and could write lyrics, but I have no talent creating music from thin air. But perhaps if I could find someone who shares the same passion as I, we could create a project that we can be proud of. It’s not like I need ANOTHER commitment in my life (those of you who know me are probably shaking your heads, thinking, ”Here she goes again...“) But I haven’t been creatively inspired in quite a long time, and thinking about what something like this might look gives me creative energy. I don’t have any immediate plans to act on these ideas, but I like the fact that the beginning of a project is developing.

Anyway, it’s the new year, and I’ve committed to blogging through 1 of my 3 blogs each day (for a total of 7, or more, blogs per week.) So, I’d better get used to sharing these kinds of thoughts as they come up. For at year’s end, I’ll be able to find 365 days of thoughts roaming the inter-web, and that sounds just dandy to me.

PS: I caught ”Annie“ on TV a few months back, and it all of the sudden hit me: I live in New York City, the city in which ”Annie“ was based! And ”West Side Story.“ And ”Rent“. And about a dozen other musicals that live with me daily. And I feel so, so lucky...

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.


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