The Apple Really Does NOT Fall Far…

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…13537729_10153711994230959_9192089692081716801_n

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.

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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.

First up…she played the awesome actress Jhey Castle’s daughter for a commercial for NIMA. Then, she acted in a training video for¬†Southern California Edison¬†and rocked it like a pro!

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!13494910_10153705892645959_4652260810515641862_n

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 it then occurred to me that¬†just like her mama, she will¬†now have acted as principle actor in a commercial for Disney! In fact…two! See? The apple really does not fall far from the tree…

You can see both here:

Disney Princess Belle Musical Tea Party Cart TV Commercial, ‘Magical Treat’

Disney Princess Magical Wand Cinderella TV Commercial, ‘Make Magic’

Serious props to the production team at Fiction Films. They did a beautiful job with both ads.

As last year went on, gradually and slowly but surely, we started seeing her on all sorts of “Belle”-related items being sold by Jakks / Disney…and online on Amazon.com, Target.com, Walmart.com

And yes,¬†she’s also been busy in the voice over world:

For example, she voiced a radio spot for Dell Children’s Hospital¬†(thank you AB2 Talent for the opportunity & Dave & Dave Studios¬†for such a fun, professional session!). She also voiced the narration for the PlayKids¬†song My Goose is Giving Up. I mean…how cute is this song? Her narration is¬†at the 1:53 mark:

…and ended the year by playing a couple of roles for her school’s production of “Bye Bye Birdie”…Phew! Exhausting, right!?15056434_10154086464750959_7931038840971967562_n

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. ūüôā

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Me and my precious little goofball, 2010. ūüíú

 

Host of Women in Animation’s “CONVERSATIONS” w Debi Derryberry

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.Amy Ulrich Debi Derryberry

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.

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Pretty much the tone of the evening!

Debi is the voice of Paramount/Nickelodeon’s¬†Jimmy Neutron, Draculaura in Mattel’s Monster High, F is for Family, the new Speedy Alka-Seltzer,¬†and has voiced characters for Toy Story, Wreck it Ralph, and many others. She’s also a killer musician & singer, having been in the band Honey Pig and released a few¬†children’s CD’s¬†(Baby Banana, Very Derryberry, & What a Way to Play). More recently, she performed with fellow Tazmaniac band members & voice actors Jim Cummings and Rob Paulsen at the Voice Actors Rock concert at the Whiskey a Go-Go in Hollywood.Voice-Over 101 Debi Derryberry book

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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

What a year! So grateful and ready for an even more incredible 2016!

What a beautiful difference a year makes! I started the year with a new voiceover site, and I’m ending the year having added an array of voiceover clients from narration to commercials and ADR/voice matching that I couldn’t be more proud of:

Band-Aid, Kimpton Hotels, Lucky Buddah Beer, Proactive, ESPN, Cricket Wireless, Miller/Coors, Beezid.com & Harvard University, to name just a few. ūüėČ

In the on-camera¬†world, I was honored to be cast in commercials for Mattel (Barbie) &¬†California Psychics, and I had an absolute blast hosting a couple of spots for AOL and Bank of America’s “Savings Experiment“. It’s never a bad thing to learn how to save $$$!

And as a proud mom, I must also share that my daughter has decided on her own, in her 6 year old dramatic soul, to also pursue on-camera work¬†and has just recently booked a few Disney modeling jobs. 12274510_10153258896700959_1866383698770130266_nWith my Disney commercial from a couple of years ago, I think it’s such fun that she is also representing¬†the magical world of Disney!

My agents, manager, family, friends…all help make it possible for me to perform, continue to work and help out clients as needed, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunities that have presented themselves this year.

There is much to come in 2016, most¬†of which I can’t share quite yet…But it’s all most exciting!

I’m over-the-moon thankful and wish all of you a happy, safe holiday season and the happiest of New Years!!! Bring it, 2016!