Monday, February 28, 2011

Noticing Tension

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Photo Credit: Gabriela Camerotti
As an actor, I'm always learning and growing as an artist, but who knew that I would also be learning and growing as a human being? One of the areas of growth I've been addressing is this idea of tension. One of the most frustrating things about tension is that fact that I hardly ever know it is happening until someone tells me. And then the fact of merely noticing it makes me even more tense. Telling ones self to relax is kind of like saying, "Don't envision pink elephants" - it's nearly impossible because your tension is related to so many factors, not the least of which are both physiological and psychological.

So, I have written an article on this topic talking about my struggles as well as an "aha" moment, and the article was published over at The Green Room Blog. To check out the article, click the graphic below. (If you like the blog, please consider leaving a comment!)



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, February 25, 2011

An Actor's Life: Day Jobs

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I have had some pretty awesome and some pretty weird day jobs while I’ve pursued my life as an actor. It all started out when I graduated from college. Instead of doing the typical bartender/server route, I started working with an entrepreneur whose passion was advertising publishing. I got brought on right as an office manager, right after college, to help this entrepreneur manage a new business venture he had taken over, and then moved up into corporate sales. From then on, I have worked in a wide variety of corporate / non-profit / consulting gigs that have afforded me varying degrees of flexibility for my work as an actor.

Believe it or not, with all that I do offstage / off set, I am still able to give equal energy to my career as an actor. I wanted to share this with you so that you can see that it IS possible to have a “survival” job that you love, and still have energy to pursue your dreams. Here is a list of the various jobs I hold currently - some are permanent, and some are project based (similar to temp jobs):

Career/Marketing Coach for Actors - I started my own career coaching service for actors (The Actors’ Enterprise) in 2007, which has become a thriving business. I work with 15-20 actors per week, all privately.

Designer - As a part of my coaching business, I also offer design services for websites, postcards and business cards, as well as other marketing design. I have about 40 individual clients (actors, casting directors, tutors, film production companies, theater companies) that I currently design for.

Standardized Patient - As an actor, I am paid to go into Mount Sinai Medical School to help teach medical students clinical skills (like bedside manner). I love this job - it’s improv at its most useful. :) I work on about 4-5 cases per year over about 9 months.

Corporate Trainer - I work for a company that books out trainers to high-end corporations. I current work with 2 clients who bring me in to help teach executives “emotional intelligence” skill - we teach the training module and then role play with the employees so they can practice these new skills. I do these gigs about 1-2 times a month.

Company Member of a theater - I am a founding member of a theater company, and I help with various functions to keeping the theater company moving forward. This one hasn’t paid me financially, but I have been able to do some amazing work as an actor on their stage.

Featured Writer - I am a featured / guest blogger at a couple of different websites: DailyActor.com, ActorRated.com and GreenRoomBlog.com.

It may seem like too many things are going on for me to focus on being an actor, but I have somehow mastered the fine art of balancing my projects, and I have found one key point for success: Make sure you always have a thru-line for your life, a purpose around which everything is planned. My purpose is my professional acting career, which always comes first. With the hours I have left, I plan my time by A) what I enjoy doing, and B) what can make me the most money in a short amount of time. This makes it pretty easy to keep my eye on the prize.


In case you were interested, here are the other jobs I’ve held while concurrently pursuing acting professionally (this will give you an idea of how I’ve been able to successfully create a side career as a coach for actors):

Advertising Sales Rep - I have done this job for two publications: DramaBiz Magazine (national publication), and The Auto Trader Magazines (San Diego franchise.) Combined, I did this kind of work for almost 9 years.

Marketing Consultant - I have helped small businesses with their marketing, fundraising, PR and organizational efforts over the last 6 years. Clients have included film production companies, a yoga teacher, vocal coach, life coach, acting teacher, dance teacher, branding specialist, opera company, book publisher, video game inventor, and various theater companies.

Communications Director & Member Services Director - Did this job for 3 years for a small non-profit organization dedicated to helping actors. It was uber-flexible, and one of my favorite and most rewarding things I’ve ever done. In fact, it was that job on which I based my current business model for The Actors’ Enterprise.

Non-Profit Administrative Assistant - I did this job from home, if you can believe it. I didn’t know such things existed, but in a city like NYC that is bustling with entrepreneurs who have home offices, work-from-home jobs are not that difficult to find.

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, February 20, 2011

Rocking The Salon

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No... I’m not talking about being brought in as a singer at my hair stylist’s place of business (though that would kind of rock.) I’m talking about Mark Janas’ The Salon, a weekly open mic in Manhattan which hosts some of the best singers in cabaret, jazz and musical theater, as well as composer/lyricists, musicians, spoken word poets and actors.

Each week The Salon has a theme, and singers can come in with a song matching the theme, or can bring another song that they want to premiere for The Salon’s audience. At the last Salon, the theme was “Love and Desire” -- appropriate, considering that the next day was Valentine’s Day. Salon regular, friend and former student, Tony Imgrund, approached me and another Salon favorite, Sierra Rein, and asked if we would like to sing “Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Trio” for this Salon. We wouldn’t have time for formal rehearsal, so he gave us tracks with our parts singled out, as well as a link to the original performance online (performed by Audra McDonald, Marin Mazzie and Judy Kuhn.) I took the Kuhn track, “I Don’t Know How To Love Him,” while Sierra sang Mazzie’s track, “Unexpected Song” and Tony lead us off with “Love Changes Everything.”

I was able to get some rough footage of our performance- we were thrilled with what we were able to do without rehearsal! Check it out below, and if you like what you see/hear, please consider viewing it on YouTube directly and clicking “LIke” and leaving a comment!



The next Salon’s theme is “That’s Historical” where we can bring in songs about people, places or times in history. Still trying to choose what I want to sing for that one...

To see more clips, visit my YouTube channel or the Demos Page on my website.

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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