Saturday, May 21, 2011

Quieting "The Voice"

* Bookmark and Share

Photo Credit
I think one of the hardest things that we, as actors, have to deal with is the lack of structure and accountability in our lives.

From the age of 5 we’re thrust into a system that tells us that we go to school between 8am-3pm each day, then play outside until it gets dark, then do homework, then go to bed... only to have the same process repeated for the next 13 years. (Or, 17 years, if one goes to college.) We then get thrust into the real world, and for most of us we take on jobs that tell us where to go, when to be there, and what to do while we’re there. As an actor, structure is murky and given that much of our time is spent building our careers alone, accountability is limited to the voices in our heads (which are rarely kind or encouraging.)

Right now, my biggest struggle is making sure that my acting career is at the forefront, when many other things are pulling my attention. It seems like my attention almost wants to be pulled, because the things that pull offer some structure that I’m missing out on. It’s easy for me to say no to things that have nothing to do with my career -- designing websites for yoga studios and advertising reps; being a career coach for clients who are transitioning out of corporate America... these are jobs that I’ve turned down because they didn’t fall within my overall mission, which happens to be:

Mission: To be a working, professional, and well-paid actor doing projects that make a difference in the lives of my colleagues, our audiences, and myself.

What makes my current struggle tricky is that the projects pulling my attention could, in some way, match my mission, but it will take a heck of a lot of work to get there. It seems daunting, and scary, but for some reason the opportunities are too great to let them pass by.

Like: blogging. I love writing. I love gathering my thoughts -- be they groundbreaking or preying on the lowest common denominator (fart jokes?) -- and publishing them for the world to see. (In addition to this blog and my coaching blog, I write for The Green Room and was just brought on to be the NY arm of Playbills vs Paying Bills.) Intellectually, I know that getting my name out there, along with a well fashioned persona, can go a long way in creating a fan base and developing a sense of “self” in the industry. But there’s a little voice inside me that sometimes says, “Imagine if you took all of the energy you spent on writing and put that towards your acting career -- where would you be?” But then I remember all of the wonderful people I’ve met through my social media adventures, and how many of these networking opportunities have turned into jobs (quite a few.)

Like: producing theater. I have a head for business, so when the artistic director of my theater company (of which I am a founding member) asked me to take on the role of Managing Director, I leapt at the chance. Even though I’ve never really wanted to be a producer and I know how much work the job will involve, something about it just felt right. So I said yes. That little voice in the back of my head started saying, “There are so many actors out there who get to audition, show up to rehearsal, and just be actors. Imagine all that you could do if you put all of that energy into doing just one thing?” But then I remember all of the success I’ve had producing other projects, and the joy of creating something from the ground up. In fulfilling this role, I could expand the possibilities for myself and other actors like me, and increase my legitimacy as an artist.

I always tell my students that you can have passion for many things - passion is infinite. What’s not infinite are resources: Time. Money. Energy. I can have all of the passion in the world, but without resources brilliant ideas can die. This is where structure and accountability become vital.

The solution I have come up with is one that non-profits are charged with when they create programming -- they must ask themselves, “How does this relate to my mission?” and then, over time, prove that it does. So, to create STRUCTURE for my pursuits, here’s my commitment with regard to these new projects I’m undertaking:

Mission: To be a working, professional, and well-paid actor doing projects that make a difference in the lives of my colleagues, our audiences, and myself.

Program - Blogging: In order to satisfy my mission, I must use my blogging to build relationships with those who are creating work for actors, or are conduits between actors and the industry. I must seek to build a robust fan base, which will be useful to producers when it comes to finding audiences and investors.

Program - Producing: In order to satisfy my mission, I must create work for myself that promotes the best of what I have to offer as an artist, and provides our audiences and colleagues with unparalleled professionalism and innovation. As a leader, I must contribute to creating an identity for the company, and then hold it to the highest standards of excellence, so that our company name brings prestige to everyone involved.

Above all: I must be willing to work hard, and ask for what I want. This means that if I meet someone who can help me achieve my mission, I should work tirelessly to make an impact with them, offer assistance, and ask for what I need in return.

Earlier, I mentioned ACCOUNTABILITY. For this, I need your help. As I take on these new ventures, I’m going to count on you, my readers, to keep me accountable. Ask me questions about my career. Check in with me about my goals, and challenge me justify my actions. I’ll keep you updated with some of the exciting news that will, undoubtedly, come up. And if you need some support to keep YOU accountable, just let me know. I’m always happy to help.

Have a comment or question? Leave it by clicking "comments" below!

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, May 10, 2011

Who's The Real Reviewer?

* Bookmark and Share

Hey guys! I recently wrote an article as a contributing writer over at The Green Room Blog. This time around, I explore the idea of criticism for our work as actors. What happens when critics are mixed on the show, but audiences love it? And what happens when your theater company is thrilled with the work, but critics don't agree with what is being attempted? What review do you find most helpful- the paid critics, or the audience?

I cover all of this through my personal experiences, most notably in my show Twelfth Night. (Be sure to check out the post They Call The Tweets Maria where I live-tweeted throughout a performance!)

Check out the blog here at The Green Room.

Click here to learn more about our theater company.

Have a comment or question? Leave it by clicking below!

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.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ode to My Mom on Mother's Day



Dear Readers,

My mom is the most amazing woman in the entire world. And... I blew it this Mother’s Day because I didn’t get her gift & card in the mail soon enough. So, I spent most of the morning thinking about all of the things I love about her and want to share with her, and then thought -- heck, I’ll write a blog post and let EVERYONE know. So without further ado...



75 Facts About My Mom for Mother’s Day

1. She is an amazing cook. Even her turkey, which we always joke is too dry, is pretty tasty.
2. She is one of the best listeners I know.
3. After many, many years staying home to take care of her children, she rejoined the work force and was quickly out-earning my father.
4. I’ve never seen her natural hair color -- it’s been dyed just about every natural shade there is.
5. She is, unfairly, always tanned, even in the winter months.
See? She is tanned. I am tanned-challenged.
6. She has an incredible laugh.
7. She has a penchant for driving over curbs.
8. She has an obsession for feel-good/competition reality TV, like American Idol, The Biggest Loser and Survivor.
9. She is very affectionate.
10. She loves eggs, bacon and grits.
11. My friends always wanted to come to my house because my mom was so cool.
12. We used to watch game shows together as I was growing up. Family Feud, Wheel of Fortune. Jeopardy.
13. She is incredibly sensitive and caring.
14. She loves watching movies.
15. When I was a kid, she used to deck out the whole house in decorations for major holidays.
16. She’s the shortest one in our family.
17. Notoriously afraid of heights, she faced her fear by going parasailing on vacation.
18. She loves fresh flowers.
19. She has always wanted to own a Yorkie.
20. She used to have a dog named Max, who died of cancer at the age of 14.
21. She kicks people’s butts in just about every game she plays, including Boggle and Trivial Pursuit.
22. Her first “swear” word around me was the word, “sucks.” I was 18 when I heard her say it.
23. She and I used to spend summers sitting on our back porch, drinking iced tea and playing Canasta.
24. I love talking about politics, history and religion with her. I always learn something, and she never judges me.
25. She always does bunny ears in pictures.
Almost caught her with the bunny ears this time!
26. I once told her the joke, “What has four wheels and flies? ... A garbage truck” and it took her a long time before she understood the joke. Now, anytime she says something daffy, I say, “Mom... four wheels & flies...?”
27. She loves to hear me sing -- almost to the exclusion of all else.
28. Going out dancing is one of her favorite activities, but she rarely gets to do it.
29. She loves Celine Dion and Neil Diamond.
30. I somehow got her to sing karaoke with me, for the first time in my life, at Christmas 2010. (We sang Dancing Queen.)
31. I hated karaoke as a child- but she wanted to hear me sing so badly that she’d sign me up without my knowing.
32. She’s my biggest protector.
33. She has a great sense of humor.
34. She has always thought I could accomplish great things.
35. She loves her life.
36. You can usually find her on the porch solving sudoku puzzles.
37. She has an impeccable sense of style.
Look at how pretty she is!
38. She has always wanted to volunteer helping adults read.
39. She loves Mexican food.
40. She’s an amazing (and aggressive!) tennis player.
41. She’s hungry for new experiences.
42. She and I love to go shopping together.
43. She has a heart of gold.
44. Reading is one of her favorite pastimes.
45. She loves getting cards in the mail.
46. She is standing up for herself more and more every day.
47. We like to bake chocolate chip cookies together.
48. Despite what she says, she actually has a very nice singing voice. It does not sound like a frog.
49. She’s had a crazy amount of knee surgeries.
50. She’s gorgeous.
51. She’s endearingly goofy.
Mom (left) and I, with her friend Pam at the Top of the Rock, NYC.
52. She loves getting up early in the morning and sitting outside to watch the world wake up.
53. She never wants to be a burden.
54. She has a strong sense of pride, and will not give in if someone’s hurt her.
55. She always jokes that the next time I ask, “So, what’s been going on?” she’ll make up some crazy story to see if I am paying attention.
56. She has an amazing eye for color & decorating, yet won’t paint her walls anything but white, off white or tan.
57. She was a rogue Girl Scout leader, because she taught girls to be independent, to build things, and to explore, rather than other leaders who confined girls to do “girl” things like sewing, baking and caring for babies.
58. She’s the safest driver I know. Curb jumping aside...
She didn't hit any curbs in this car!
59. She cries when she reads greeting cards or when people say nice things to her.
60. “You Needed Me” by Anne Murray has special meaning to us.
61. She’s very generous with her friends and family.
62. She was an amazing real estate agent.
63. She’s slowly coming out of her shell.
64. I like to watch her dance - it makes me giggle.
Dancing with her friend
65. We like to make silly videos together, though it’s been years since we’ve done it.
66. She emphatically requests that I sing “The Rose” whenever possible.
67. While she’s adventurous with many things, food is not one of them.
68. She loves warm weather and sunshine.
69. She has the thickest fingernails I have ever seen. I am SO envious!
70. She always said, “People will treat you the way you let them treat you.”
71. She’s very sentimental.
72. She cares about my happiness, and sometimes worries about me being alone.
73. When I was around the age of 12 or 13, she said to me very seriously, “One day you’re going to read “Atlas Shrugged” and then we’re going to talk about it.” She was very, very excited when I finally finished the book a few years ago.
74. She loves nothing more than being around the water.
75. She taught me that no matter your politics, faith, or position in life, the most important thing is to be a good person.


I love you, Mom. I am very lucky to have you in my life -- I am starting to learn, more and more, how rare our relationship is. Thank you for being all that you are to me.

Happy Mother’s Day! (PS: Your card is in the mail...)

Have a comment or question? Leave it by clicking below!

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.


The Fine Print

All content in this here blog is released under a Creative Commons by-NC-ND license. That means you're free to share it, republish it, refer to it, include it in your wedding vows, whatever... PROVIDED you

a) credit me (with my name, my blog's name, and a link back to my site- displayed at the top of the blog)
b) you don't change anything
c) you don't use it to make money.

To view the license, click here. To learn more about Creative Commons, click here.

Popular Posts


Top Blogs Acting blogs & blog posts Arts Directory for New York, New York
Blog Directory & Search engine Blog Directory My BlogCatalog BlogRank
Follow the erin cronicals