TWO INCREDIBLE EVENINGS. Honestly, I’m not sure where to begin, which is why it’s probably taken me so long to write this post.
As I look back at last year and realize that I sat down and hosted two such out-of-this-world evenings with women I so greatly admire, my head spins. And to think of what’s to come…hehe!
At the beginning of 2017, I once again hosted Women in Animation‘s Conversations event, with our guest being Laraine Newman. I mean…what can I say about that, really, that would do it justice? Held at Dreamworks’ Campanile Theater, I was SO honored to share the stage with her, to help share her journey in front of a live audience.
Really, if you’re reading this, you should just become a member of WIA, so you can see what an f’ing insanely awesome conversation we had. The audience AND Laraine seemed to dig it, including her fam and friends in attendance. Laraine Newman?!! Are you kidding me?
She brought her talent and wit, and as I always try to, I shared some pics and stories that she perhaps didn’t expect…a good thing for her and the audience. Hysterical, insightful, random…so great.
When it comes to surprises, I loooooove doing that for the guests we have for our Conversations nights. I did something similar for the super fab Kari Wahlgren later in the year.
In addition to a kick-ass audience in attendance, a few of Kari‘s closest friends were in the front row, there for support as I brought on tears of joy as we talked about her some of recent roles, one of which being the role of Dorothy in Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, which Laraine is on, as well. I mean, come on now!
There were SO many special moments throughout both of the chats, I do highly recommend you become a member, so you can not only help out a killer organization that’s making serious waves, but by doing so, you can also watch these super duper interviews..chats…Conversations might I call them?!?!
They’re the most fun. If you can attend in person, please do! We’re in the planning stages of the next one. Stay tuned and check out www.womeninanimation.org for more info!
I know…I know…typecasting, once again, right? I mean, my hubby would probably joke that it I didn’t have to reach too far emotionally to embrace the character of a two-headed monster. BUT in this case, the character is a teacher, Mrs. Headly, and she’s a kind, understanding teacher to young kids…not a scary one! Ha! It was an honor and such fun voicing her.
“A cancer diagnosis is scary for anyone, but for a child it can be even scarier. They’re bombarded with terminology and procedures that are intimidating and unfamiliar. Things like radiation, hair loss, blood transfusions, chemotherapy, and surgery. Just to name a few.
That’s where the Imaginary Friend Society comes in. A cast of characters inspired by the imaginations of kids themselves. Through a series of 20 animated short films, our imaginary friends explain a wide range of complicated cancer topics in a way that kids can understand. Because the more they understand about their treatment, the less scary it will be.”
ALL of the films are just beautifully produced, and I can only imagine the impact they will have on kids who will benefit from watching them. It’s so wonderful, and from the bottom of my heart, I’m honored to be a part of such a creative and selfless endeavor.
And if you know of a child who has been battling cancer or families with children who have cancer or are recovering from it…SHARE THESE FILMS.
OR you can even get your own kids involved! They can DONATE AN IMAGINARY FRIEND. To “help bolster the spirits of kids with cancer, [they’re] taking the imaginary friends that you donate and turning them into dolls, motivational posters, coloring books and journals. That way, they’ll always have a friend at hand when they need one.”
One of my first projects in the broadcasting world was on-camera hosting for WTBU, the Butler University TV station, while I was in college. It was a public broadcasting channel at the time, and from the first moment I started helping out there, trapping shows for master control suuuuper early in the morning, working audio for one of their game shows, doing research for my show, learning AVID, entering my intros and outros into the teleprompter ‘software’ and then jumping in front of the camera to host…overall, I learned what an honor it was to be a part of the whole process, truly…and felt so at home doing so.
To this day, I feel the same way, and if there’s an opportunity to help out a public television or radio station, I jump at the chance.
Currently, you can hear me voicing promos for WGBH (Boston’s PBS) and on-camera and radio hosting pledge drives for KPBS, out of San Diego.
You can see a bit of my KPBS on-camera hosting on my reel & some more PBS promos and narration are on the way…can’t share just yet!!!
Supporting public broadcasting in any way you can is incredibly important. From the educational programs to overall public service, it’s here for YOU.
Give back if you can to YOUR local PBS station, and in the meantime, I look forward to continuing to work on behalf of and help out public broadcasting in the years to come. PBS Nerd right here…and proud of it!
Wow. 2016. Ups, downs, lefts, rights…it was hard to keep up! I’m betting it was the same for pretty much everyone out there.
2016 reminded me of how important it is to stay fluid and flexible. If I hadn’t been, I would have missed out on so many opportunities that came my way, but instead, I was open to them…even when it seemed impossible to make things work. I was consistently reminded that it’s important to stay true to who you are, be genuine, bring YOU to the table, give back, keep on keepin’ on. The best thing you can do for the world is be the best YOU.
I digress…Getting back to last year…here we goooooooo!
LOOPTOWN IS SWINGIN’. When I think of where Kelly Jean and I were just at the beginning of last year and where LoopTown has come, how it’s grown in heart, talent and partnerships, connections to killer sound studios, producers, directors, film makers, animators and more…it makes me so incredibly proud I want to burst! I can’t say too much at this point, but 2017 is going to be amaaaaaazing for all-things LoopTown, and I can NOT wait!
I’m also now the host of Women in Animation‘s live “Conversations” event. I had a phenomenal time chatting with and interviewing the incomparable Debi Derryberry in August in front of a live audience, and I’m not allowed to say who’s next (tee hee), but I’m heavy into research and contacts for the next one coming up soon!This is another where…I CAN NOT WAIT! Trust me, y’all. It’s gonna be awesooooooooome.
As a host, I’m also now helping raise funds for KPBS! I’m one of their on-camera and radio hosts, and am thrilled to be a part of the KPBS family. I’m a PBS “nerd” to begin with, and when I was asked to help them fund raise, I didn’t hesitate to jump on board. KPBS is a public broadcasting network to be reckoned with, and I believe 100% in what they provide from their educational and informative programming to their overall mission. It’s absolutely a joy to be a KPBS host!
I also had SO much fun hosting PlayKids 20-Second Parenting Tips! As a mom to a most precocious little girl, I know first-hand how helpful really great parenting hacks can be, and these are awesome and useful. If you haven’t checked out the PlayKids app, you should. It’s a phenomenal resource for all-things-kids. My daughter loooooooves it, and as a parent who is cautious about what she is exposed to, I’m most definitely a fan.
In the voice over world, I’m continuing to knock out ADR / voice matches for movie trailers, commercials and narration. Some of my more recent clients have been Proactive, iBotta App, Bai Drinks, Microsoft Hololens, Banda-Sil, Hunter Academy and AMGEN, among others. Voicing projects is such a passion of mine, and I feel so incredibly lucky to do what I love.
I also had an amazing time being a part of Joseph Leo Bwarie‘s hit single M-O-T-H-E-R, from the soundtrack from Garry Marshall‘s film “Mother’s Day“, and acted as lead in a film teaser. It’s a hush hush project, but let’s just say the character is one that was waaaaaay out of the norm from my typical casting. So often cast as a mother or best friend or wife, this was all about horror, terror and SO welcome! Again, let’s be genuine, right? Let’s try new things! Step out of the comfort zone a bit. We can all be a little scary from time to time, no??? When I can share more about this project, I will.
I’m tremendously thankful and grateful for the opportunities and the support of my family (esp my insanely talented and loving husband!!!), friends, agents, manager…and cat, Roosevelt. Gotta’ thank the cat, right? Ha!
What. A. Year. And what a year ahead…already! Here’s to 2017 being another to contend with. Love! Let’s do this!
Initially, I was extremely hesitant to allow my daughter to pursue acting or modeling…or anything in the entertainment industry. Having played a mother for Mattel, Disney and more…during booked sessions and at auditions, it was obvious to me when the children I acted opposite were into it…and when they were not. I know well all the patience and dedication it takes, the long hours, the preparation, the down time. It’s WORK.
My husband and I also just really wanted our daughter…to be a kid. And is it possible to balance working as an actor/model with schoolwork, soccer, t-ball, etc??? I wasn’t so sure…
Us parents are TIRED! I had also seen what it takes to support a child’s career, from maintaining relationships with agents, casting directors, coaches, keeping pics and info updated on physical and online resumes, to getting the child to and from auditions and being available and on-set if and when that child books something! With the amount that’s already on my plate, I just couldn’t imagine doing all of that on top of the current balancing-act that is my life.
BUT…alas, my daughter, Charlotte, did get a chance to be on set with me for a Buzzfeed video we did together. And I think she got a taste of what it’s like to be directed, to perform, to be on camera…That was in 2014, when she was just 4 1/2 years old.
Charlotte in “Peter Pan, Jr.”
Then came my insistence that if she perform in a musical geared towards her age, I would consider letting her go on auditions and such. She was asking and asking…So I told her that she would have to prove to me that she could listen, respect the process of putting on a production, and only then would I allow her to have pics (headshots) taken and be considered by an agency. She ended up acting in a fabulous little musical called Peter Pan Jr., played the role of Iridessa, the fairy, and she did beautifully.
So, I allowed her to get pics done by good friend and insanely talented photographer, director, producer extraordinaire, Bryan Beasley. He was updating my pics, and we threw her in the mix. These are some of the results:
She’s a natural in front of the camera, and loved every second of that part of the process, as you can see.
Next was signing with the Colleen Cler Agency, the agency that represents me for commercial and print…and she was off and running!
Now with representation, she went on her first more formal, real-deal audition. And guess what?! She BOOKED it. No joke, folks. Going into the audition, I had told her to listen well and be herself, have fun. No pressure. The job she booked was as a model for toy packaging for Jakks Pacific / Disney as “Belle” from Beauty and The Beast. What makes me especially proud of this is the fact that they took pics of her with her glasses on. So great of Disney and Jakks to do so!!!
We had no idea what was in store (pun intended)…and after 8 or 9 days of photo shoots over a few months, we just kind of kept an eye out at our local Target to see if we’d see her on anything…and she kept on going to t-ball, camp, going to the beach, keeping up with school work, soccer…you know, a busy kid’s life!
While we waited, she went on another casting, also for Jakks Pacific, for a Disney commercial for the Belle Musical Tea Party Cart. AND she booked it. While on set for that shoot, they asked her to come back the next day to play with a Cinderella Wand toy for another Disney spot. Those two days were long, 8 1/2 hour days…and she made me insanely proud. She listened, performed, was respectful, had energy (to say the least), seemingly loved every second. She dealt with the down time (with the help of amazing on-set teachers I might add!)…and she left wanting more!
…and ended the year by playing a couple of roles for her school’s production of “Bye Bye Birdie”…Phew! Exhausting, right!?
In the end, 2016 proved to be quite busy for our little angel! It’s been incredible watching it all happen, seeing her grow and understand more of what’s going on, teaching her how to deal with the attention she’s receiving…and reminding her that while these are special moments to have happen, she absolutely must not brag (that’s for me to do here! hehe). If I hear she is, we take a break or are done with it, period. So far, so good…and she is still loving it.
As long as she continues to enjoy performing, I will support it, just as I do her love of soccer and oysters (THAT’s another post…man ‘o man…). Proud of my little Char Char. Can you tell? Yes, I am. 🙂
When Women in Animation approached me to host their live CONVERSATIONS evening, to interview and chat it up with the amazingly talented Debi Derryberry, I said “YES!” so fast my head spun. Well, maybe not that fast…but you get the picture.
What can I possibly say about chatting with Mizzzzzz Debi Derryberry? It. Was. Awesome. The time flew by! With Debi’s excitement in sharing her journey, her knowledge of the industry, the funny stories that some of her friends, fellow cast mates and casting directors shared with us…the hour and a half went by so quickly.
She also has a book out, Voice-Over 101: How To Succeed As A Voice Actor, which I read and loved. Although I have been a voice actor for a few years, there is always more to learn, especially from a talent and powerhouse like Debi. And I learned quite a few new tricks of the trade from her in this book. She’s extremely gifted in terms of her talent, yes. But she has also spent a lot of time training and learning how to add nuances to the characters she brings to life. I highly recommend the book to anyone who wants to learn about the voice acting business, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned professional.
EG Daily, me and Debi
It was more than obvious as I chatted with her that in addition to being a talented performer, she’s a tried and true friend (the stories her friends shared were so hysterical & heart-warming), a dedicated mom and overall just super great spirit who I am now lucky enough to know. In fact, one of her closest friends, EG Daily, attended the event that night after providing me with some great stories about Debi and the two of them, which made the evening that much more personal and special to share with the audience. It was just wonderful.
Debi and the attendees in line for her new book
The event was held at the Animation Guild in Burbank, CA, in an “Inside the Actor’s Studio” setting, live in front of an audience. Hosting in front of a live audience is thrilling, and at the end of the conversation, the audience was able to connect more personally with Debi by asking her questions and at the meet-n-greet afterwards, where she was generous enough to offer a discount on her book to all attendees that night.
I thank the ladies at WIA, most specifically Rebecca Davis & Stephanie Komure, for giving me the opportunity to host the WIA CONVERSATIONS event. I also thank Debi for taking the time to talk with me and the other attendees that night. A night not to be forgotten!
Stephanie Komure, me, Debi & Rebecca Davis
I had an absolute blast, as I hope everyone who attended did…and I look forward to the next one!
I am incredibly proud to host PlayKids 20 Second Tips! Let’s just say…parenting ain’t easy, and with the multitude of advice provided by family, friends, books, tv & the internet, you really have to look deep within yourself and decide what’s best for you and your kiddos. That being said, when I was asked to host some short, helpful DIY parenting ‘hacks’, I knew the only way they could be truly useful is for them to be applicable to every family…and work!
Everyone is on-the-go these days. 20 seconds is the perfect amount of time to allot for a quick and extremely helpful parenting tip. From easily cleaning off permanent marker on wood furniture to setting up a “Good Jar”, most all moms and dads will love these 20 Second Tips!
Here’s one that will help you get all that sand off after a trip to the beach:
And another…about using cupcake liners to help keep your car cupholders clean:
And another all about making messy, drippy popsicles…less messy!
And while you’re at it, the PlayKids app is super duper awesome!!! PlayKids is a children’s content network and app that is geared towards children and parents in 27 countries (and 6 languages!), and being a part of this global company is truly an honor and privilege. Here in the United States, the PlayKids app is my daughter’s favorite, and she’s not alone. According to Venture Beat, there are more than 3 million monthly active PlayKids app users.