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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Recommendations: Thanks to My Team

One of the fun things about working with actors is being able to promote some of my favorite people/services to them, 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: Straley Photos, 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.

My Massage Therapist: Bryant Lanier
Bryant is a dear, dear friend of mine and an amazing massage therapist. He does classic Swedish massage and also deep tissue, and he throws in a little Alexander Technique and Reiki. He is actor friendly, and is willing to work out a rate if you are short of his hourly rate (but don’t push it, he’s an artist just like we are!)

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.

Small Business 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.

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 done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. To learn more, check out

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