Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanks to My Team

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One of the fun things about blogging is being able to promote some of my favorite people/services to the actors who read my posts, thereby helping those who have helped me over the course of my career. So, in honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I would give a warm thank you and special shot out to my team who has made my coaching & acting career possible.

My Acting Teacher: Alan Gordon, of the Alan Gordon Acting Studio
I met Alan at a workshop for actors, where we both brought on as panelists to give actors a little bit of advice for their careers. After we both heard each other speak, we realized that our philosophies were very much aligned, and we started an easy friendship. We then began to refer students back and forth to one another, and finally began working together in the classroom. Alan is nurturing but tough, and challenges me every week using the techniques of Sanford Meisner. Not only is he a great teacher, but he is also a great friend.

Honorable Mention: Larry Singer Studios, and Art & Soul Acting - both studios who I’ve highly recommended to students.

My Voice Teacher/Vocal Coach: Carolann Sanita
I met Carolann originally through her husband, an actor with whom I did a show. One of the first things that I noticed when coaching with Carolann is how positive the sessions were. Working on the voice can be a stressful and arduous process, but every time I leave lessons with Carolann I feel empowered and accepted, and that my voice has a place in the industry. Not only that, but I have deepened the power of my voice, raised my confidence, and she introduced me to Craig Carnelia, with whom I’ve studied Acting for Musical Theater since June 2009.

Honorable Mention: Michelle Hakala, Bill Zeffiro, Anita Vasan, Joan Barber - All of whom I have sung with and I highly recommend.

My Dance Teacher: Christine Cox
Christine started out as a coaching student, but very quickly I joined her as a student in her classes as well. Christine is very passionate about training actors & singers ways to express themselves on the dance floor, and is an excellent private teacher for actors who are preparing for a big audition. She’s youthful, quirky and fun, and very supportive.

Honorable Mention: Jessica Leigh Brown - Jessica is a friend and marvelous teacher as well, with several Broadway credits under her belt.

My Accompanist/Transcriber: Cory Hibbs
I have known Cory for years and years, since we did a show together in San Diego. In the show, not only did he act, but he was our show’s on stage accompanist and the arranger for all of our songs. This guy really knows what he is doing. In your session, he can easy play your music, and can arrange transpositions and do transcriptions, so virtually anything is possible. Oh, and he has a PHD in Music Composition.

Honorable Mention: Bill Zeffiro, Tony Colombo, Jeff Caldwell - I have sung with all three of these gentleman, and I just adore them.

My Dialect Coach: Pamela Vanderway of Dialect 411
Pamela and I first met via Twitter. That’s right, Twitter. We shared advice back and forth and helped promote each other online, so it became natural for us to start working together to support each other’s businesses offline. I highly, highly recommend her blog, Dialect 411. As for coaching, she normally works as a consultant on major feature films & TV shows, but she takes on private clients on a case-by-case basis. At the very least, she’ll be able to point you in the right direction.

Honorable Mention: Gerritt VenderMeer - an amazing talented actor, and gifted voice/speech technician.

My Photographer: Matthew Sussman Photography
There was something very special about my time shooting with Matthew. Perhaps it is because he started his career as an actor before transitioning into teaching & photography, but there is a very relaxed way he approaches the headshot session which brings out the very best in actors. Almost without exception, the students I have sent to Matthew have been blown away by the shots he’s taken, which is why I will continue to promote him.

Honorable Mentions: Bluface Photography, Peter Dressel - I have shot with both of these photographers and have loved their work.

My Graphic Designer: That would be ME!
At the risk of patting myself on the back too much, I think I have done a heck of a job designing my materials, as well as the materials of dozens of other actors across the country. To see samples of my designs for websites, business cards & postcards, visit my site by clicking above.

My Life Coach/Mentor: Rhonda Musak of Art & Soul Coaching
I met Rhonda at a fundraiser event, where she and I had donated our services for the evening to any of the guests who wanted a little bit of coaching. Who knew that 3 years later we would be working together supporting each other’s careers? Rhonda’s life coaching is much different than therapy - instead of focusing on therapeutic methods to solving problems, her life coaching uses brainstorming and visualizations to help reach peace, set and achieve goals, and find happiness. It has been wonderful having her as a part of my life.

Honorable Mention: Visceral Coaching - Robert is a very good friend and talented life coach. I worked with him when he was getting his certification several years ago.

My Hair Stylist: Linda, with Hair Shapers
When I moved to NYC, I was a bit fussy about my locks. After all, I had gone from a really dark brunette to a light blonde, and I needed to make sure my hair looked natural and would easily be maintained. So, my first month in NYC, I traveled from my apartment in Astoria to Manhattan, where I assumed good hair styling would be. Of course, you can get amazing service in Manhattan (they even serve wine!) but at a price point of $500 and up, and a snootiness I couldn't stomach, I returned to Astoria, dejected. Then my roommate told me about Hairshapers, which was one block away from my apartment, and I gave them a shot. I have been a faithful client of Linda's for 5 years now, even after I moved to Manhattan in 2006. I have sent dozens of people to her, and everyone has been thrilled with her great work, friendly service, and low prices. Please mention my name if you stop by.

Some other folks you may want to add to your team:

Production Services: Michael Roderick, Small Pond Entertainment
Michael is an amazing resource for anyone who is interesting in producing a show. Not only can you hire him to take on one or more production aspects of your project, but he can also teach you the tools to handle these things on your own.

Demo Reel Editing: Reel Spiel Productions
Allison and Chris, with Reel Spiel, are absolutely wonderful to work with, and they turn out reels that my students love. They also have a successful production company, producing shorts, web series, and feature length films.

Legal Services: Nance Schick
Nance specializes in employment law, and typically works with employers to help them draft policies and practices that keep things legitimate and working smoothly. But she has a soft spot in her heart for artists, and having worked as a sports agent she has lots of great advice for actors who need support in legally pursuing their business as either an employee, or independent contractor. She is especially useful for actors who own side businesses, and for those who are producers as well.

Contract / Legal Services: Michael Bond
In January 2010, Michael will be starting his law practice, specializing in Entertainment Law / Contracts (as well as LGBT issues.) If you ever need a contract review, Michael is a wonderful person to contact.

Financial Education: Abundance Bound
I have known Miata and Adam for several years now, and really admire and respect the work they do for actors. They take the phrase “starving artist” and turn it inside out, helping actors take control of their finances and plan for their futures.

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

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happiness List - Thanksgiving Style

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For those of you who have been following my blog for a while, you know that I have often posted Happiness Lists - things that, no matter what is happening, will always bring a smile to my face.

This month, I will revise this slightly and make this is list of things that I am grateful for.


This kind of goes without saying, but I have made some fantastic new friends this year and deepened old friendships. Notably:

Best friends, always: Candice Oden, Lee Cavellier, Dean Samaniego, My Mom
Friends I’ve met through Shows/Shoots/Classes: Christine Cox, Anita Vasan, Carmen Gill, Anna Marie Sell, Lexi Windsor, Elyssa Samsel, Zach Wobensmith, Steve Engelbrecht, Rhonda Musak, Quinn Vogt-Welch,
Old Friends who’ve become better friends in 2010: Brandon Walker, Kevin Stocklin, Bryant Lanier, Carolann Sanita, Gerritt VanderMeer, Richard Watson, Bobbi Owens, Nance Schick, Tom Tillotson, Tom Davis, Bill Zeffiro, Alan Gordon, Stephen Wilde
Friends who I don’t get to see enough: Jessa Watson, Henry Price, Jim Ellis, Julie Sachs, Courtney McLean
Friends through Twitter: @MarissaMutascio, @LanceCarter, @Dialect411, @AliciaYing, @PilateYourBody, @SierraRein

A roof over my head

I am very lucky to be able to live in my own apartment in the world’s greatest city. I even love the fact that my shower is in the kitchen and my bathroom is in the hallway. These quirks make it possible to live by myself on a self-employed salary, in Manhattan. I sit in my apartment at night, with the lights off, to allow the red neon lights to spill into my window from both the hotel and parking garage across the street. Magical.

The world’s greatest dog

My pride and joy, and my occasional frustration (“Do you HAVE to sneeze right in my face?”) She entered my life on November 27, 1995. When I went to take her home, I initially transported her inside a carrier, but she kept falling over as I drove the twists and turns through Malibu Canyon. So, I pulled over, took her out of the crate, and put her in my lap. Of course, having her in my lap as I drove wasn’t the safest plan. But the memory of her lying there, with her head on my arm looking up at her new companion, is absolutely priceless.

The best “day job”...ever

It is an an incredible gift to be able to run my own business and support/inspire hundreds of actors in the pursuit of their careers. I started this journey almost 9 years ago when I quit my (very lucrative) day job to pursue acting full time. I took on a side job as a membership & marketing director at a small non-profit for actors, and got to spend the next 3 years guiding and supporting their careers on a community level. When I moved to New York, I knew I wanted to do something similar, and found that my many years in marketing and acting, plus the work I did at the non-profit, made me uniquely primed to start this coaching service. The Actors’ Enterprise will be celebrating 4 years of operation in April 2011 - and this is thanks, in no small part, to all of the students who have trusted me with their careers. For that, I am humbly thankful (learn more here.)

Reaching a larger audience

That said, this year I made huge strides in getting the word out about my coaching, and I could not be more thrilled. I was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal and Time Out New York, I was a panelist at Backstage’s Actorfest, and was the special guest of a hour-long interview/radio program called “Coaches’ Corner with Andrew Poretz.” I was also named one of the “2011: 40 Women to Watch in Social Media“ by Scott Bryant. I am hoping for even bigger and better things next year.

A very successful year of acting

This year, I did an Under 5 on “One Life to Live”; shot a comedy short that has already won awards at film festivals; recorded a studio demo of a brand new musical and then did several fully staged readings of that show for industry guests; had the world premiere screening of a feature film that I starred in; became an associate artist of a theater company and starred in one of their shows... the list goes on and on and I am so excited for what’s to come (see the list here.)

Health Insurance

I’ve been lucky, thus far, to have had enough health insurance to cover the things that I have needed: medication for severe allergies, surgery for minor skin cancer, annual check ups. Not everyone has this, and I feel very, very fortunate.

Social Networking

I know a lot of people dislike the idea of being plugged in so much, but I have benefited tremendously (both personally and professionally) from my time on Facebook and Twitter. Not only have I gotten to know some really neat people that I, otherwise, would not have met, but I have gotten a chance to hone and perfect the kind of person I want to be in the world. The social networks hold you accountable for who you say you are, and are unforgiving while doing so. The trick has been to understand the difference between public and private life, and I am thankful I have (thus far) bene able to separate the two.

Other things that make me happy, today

• The colors of changing leaves - the reds and oranges take my breath away
• My special coffee, with flavors like “Chocolate Hazelnut Heaven” and “Banana Foster Float” (sound yummy? buy some here.)
• Writing. I adore writing.
• Being inspired. I am grateful for inspiration every day.
• Pizza.
• Cheese whiz. Especially the spicy kind.
• Guitar Hero.
• The possibility of true love.
• Taking a stand about who I really am.
PaperbackSwap - love that I can get nearly any book I want for next to nothing.
• Vintage clothes & jewelry.
• Making a difference.
• Movies that make me weepy.
• Music from my high school/college days.
• Crispy Bacon.
• Meeting new people.

And... I am happy that you have taken the time to read this blog! So... what are you thankful for, and what brings you happiness? Feel free to leave a comment and share. Or better yet, start you own happiness list and post a link to it in the comments section. I’d love to read 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

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Erin takes on Cue & A

* Bookmark and Share has a series of interviews they do with well known theater performers, so I thought I would take on the same questions! Here are my responses:

Full given name: Erin Quinn Cronican

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Zodiac Sign: Scorpio, baby!

Audition song: “Will He Like Me“ from She Loves Me.

Special Skills: Naming the 50 US States alphabetically in less than 30 seconds.

First Broadway show ever saw: Noises Off. ADORE Faith Prince in any role!

First West End show: Jesus Christ Superstar. Ah-mazing.

If you could go back in time and catch any Broadway show, what would it be?: Original cast of West Side Story.

Current show you have been recommending to friends: Rock of Ages. C’mon, I’m a child of 80s/90s hair metal.

Favorite show tune: Egads, how the hell can I narrow that down? I know, I’ll check my iPod’s play count... Winner is ”Still Hurting“ from The Last Five Years. Hmm... that can’t possibly mean anything.

The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: When I saw Jesus Christ Superstar in London. It was magical.

MAC or PC?: I’m a Mac user from way back (thanks, Brent!) I have 2 laptops, an Apple TV, iPhone and an iPod.

Most played song on your iPod: Non-musical is ”Morning Song“ by Jewel.

Web obsession: Statcounter - where I can see what brings people to my websites and what pages they visit. Yes, I am a super geek.

Last book you read: Just finished ”The Last Picture Show“ and am starting Eckhart Tolle’s ”A New Earth.“

Must-see TV show: ”Fringe.“ Holy bejeezus, that’s a good show.

Performer you would drop everything to go see: Bernadette Peters

Pop culture guilty pleasure: COPS (filmed live on location with the men & women of law enforcement!)

First CD/Tape/LP you owned: Well, technically they were the Disney records I listened to as a young child. But the first cassette tape I bought was Whitney Houston’s self titled album.

First stage kiss:         Hmmm... probably ”South Pacific“ in high school.

Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager: Definitely Gloria in ”Wait Until Dark“ - I got to throw all kind of pots, pans, silverware, plates
and made a mess on stage. Brilliant.

Favorite pre-show/post-show meal: Pre-show - coffee. Post-show - buffalo wings

Pre-show rituals: I always get to the theater super early, read through my script & warm up, and then sit in the theater and think.

Worst costume ever: My first ever play at the age of 9 - ”Charlotte’s Web.“ I was the Gander and had my first experiences with spirit gum... on my chin (for the beak!)

Who would play you in the movie?: Naomi Watts on my dramatic days, Amy Adams on my quirky days.

Worst job you ever had: Working as a personal assistant for a crazy woman. I actually did that twice -- never again.

Leading lady role you've been dying to play: Amalia in She Loves Me or Glinda in Wicked. I also have always wanted to play Sandy in Grease.

Favorite team/athlete: San Diego Padres!!!! Keep the faith!

How you got your Equity card: Good story. At holiday time in 2000, I was out with some friends looking at Christmas lights and we decided to stop by a restaurant to get something warm to drink (which, looking back, is silly because I lived in San Diego and it was probably 60 degrees.) While there, a man I’d never met pointed at me and said, ”You - are you a member of Equity?“ I said no, and he scoffed, saying that he needed someone ”just like me“ for a gig at the San Diego Repertory Theater. He said, ”I don’t even know if you can act, but you look perfect.“ I reminded him that he could, in fact, audition me and then offer me my card, but he said he did not want to have to Taft-Hartley anyone into the union. So, I smiled and gave him my business card, and told him to call me if he changed his mind. A month later I received an audition appointment, and 2 weeks later the role (and my card) was mine.

Worst onstage mishap: Egads, there have been so many. Probably my biggest lesson was to avoid eating a huge meal before I go onstage, especially in a musical. When I did the national tour of Suds, one of the venues was a casino and we got the ”all you can eat buffet“ added to our contract. My character has to do a dance that ends up with her body upside down (vertically!) in a washing machine, being ”agitated.” I nearly barfed up a lung in that performance. Never. Again.

TV or commercial gig you most enjoyed: Shooting my very first episode of “Veronica Mars.” Being on my first network TV set was magical.

Three things you can't live without: My dog, contact lenses, and my iPhone.

Artist you would most love to work with: Raul Esparza

I’ll never understand why…”: People let others determine their destiny.

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

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