VIP Ignite Live - Veteran Actor Karl Licht Defines Success on His Terms

Veteran Actor Karl Licht Defines Success on His Terms

June 14th, 2020 | Deneen White | music

Welcome to the VIP Ignite podcast. 

I'm your host, Deneen White. 

I am so excited to introduce you to Karl Licht. 

He is a veteran actor who is really taking the opportunity to define success on his terms. 

Hi Karl. How are you today?

Karl: Oh, I'm doing all right. How are you?

Deneen: I'm fantastic. Thank you so much for joining me on the show today!

Karl: It's my pleasure. 

Thank you for having me!

Deneen: You're welcome. 

So this is probably going to be the fastest 15 to 30 minutes of your whole entire day. 

Can you start by telling my audience a little bit about yourself?

THE FIRST LOVE OF ENTERTAINING

Karl: Oh wow. 

I have a hard time doing this, but yes, I'm an actor. 

I was trying to really establish myself in the acting world. 

One of my goals is I'd love to work full time as an actor, and support myself as a full time actor. 

That's what I'm heading towards. 

I've been around the world quite a bit. 

I was born in the United States, in New Hampshire. 

I've lived in Upper State, New York. 

I've lived in Wisconsin and Tennessee. 

I was in the military, in the Navy. 

While I was in the Navy, I was stationed over in Italy for almost three years, which was absolutely amazing

Then I got out to go to college, and ended up joining the army. 

The whole serving mentality is in the blood

I did a number in the army. 

I actually was exempt for Desert Storm because I was in college, but I volunteered to go to Desert Storm with my unit and spent six months over there. 

Currently I'm in Louisville, Kentucky, where I've been making my home since about 1999.

Deneen: That's awesome

You've traveled all over the world, and thank you so much for your service. 

On behalf of myself and all of my listeners, I just want to thank you for your service, especially in volunteering to go somewhere that you don't have to during wartime; it's very brilliant. 

Thank you so much for your service.

Karl: Thank you for acknowledging that. 

It's always nice to hear when people actually acknowledge it. 

Thank you for that.

Deneen: You're welcome. 

So Karl, let's talk about your acting career; your service was amazing, but when did you first start? 

When did you first realize that you are an entertainer, and that you love entertaining?

Karl: For me, that goes way back.

I remember when I was in elementary school, back when I was in sixth grade. 

I auditioned for and got the part of Tevye on Fiddler on the Roof. 

Granted, it was an elementary school production, but I still got that role and I loved it. 

I really enjoyed it. 

As I moved forward, I've always also been into music

I love playing guitar. 

I'm teaching myself to play bass currently and I had a couple of garage bands, and just really enjoyed that. My parents, they supported me. 

They wanted me to be happy and do what I wanted, but they also were very practical themselves.

They looked at practical professions and said, “You really should do this as a secondary thing.” 

Find the "real" career to do.

I kind of bought into that. 

I got away from the whole entertaining thing. 

But I've always continued to be interested in entertaining, and I finally got to the point with my life when I asked if I'm going to see if I can do this--I need to do it. 

Just about three or four years ago, I had a friend with a local production, a local TV pilot they were putting together, and they needed some people. 

I went out to do it. 

Back then I didn't really know if it was something I would enjoy. 

I did a couple of days of shooting, and just absolutely loved it. 

It was amazing, even with all of the people out there. 

There's a lot of hurry up and wait when you're filming, and even that's still fun because you sit around, and you interact with the other actors, crew, and people

It was a very rewarding experience, and that's when I knew. 

This is what I want to do.

Deneen: That's awesome. 

So you've done quite a lot of work in Louisville, Kentucky, haven't you?

Karl: Yes. I was actually surprised by just how much actually happens in this region! 

I think last year there were a hundred authorized filming productions from the state film commission. 

That's bigger names plus people always doing shorts. 

I was really amazed. 

I have done a few feature films in this area, with a couple more that I'm cast in. 

It's amazing. 

It's mind boggling, actually, to see just how much work there actually is in this area.

FINDING WORK IN REMOTE PLACES

Deneen: How did you find all of this work? 

How did you know where to look and how did you start finding all of these opportunities?

Karl: One of the things that I have found is you gotta be proactive

You can't just sit around and wait for something to come to you. 

There are a number of Facebook groups out there looking for crew and actors who have projects they want to do. 

There's other social media out there. 

You can also look on some of the casting networks that are out there. 

You can get a subscription where you can put in what area you are looking for. 

Also, there's word of mouth

This definitely is an industry of who you know.

The very first project I was on, the other gentleman that was in the scene with me was doing it to get experience on set because he was actually in film school to be a director. 

When we became friends (we're still friends today), he asked, “Hey, I got a 30 minute movie I got to do for school.” 

You want to be the bad guy

I said sure. 

So I went and did that, and that led to something else

I met more people there. 

That whole networking aspect of it really helped. 

But you have to go out and look for it. 

You can do searches online by putting certain keywords, then you start meeting people and start going to social events. 

They have quarterly meetings and get-togethers. 

They made it a local place, like a restaurant or a bar. 

We just kind of hopped on, and talked to people, and introduced ourselves.

Deneen: It's amazing what networking can do, especially. 

I love everything that you're mentioning, because anyone can do that in any market. 

You go to the local film society, and hang out with people and get to know them.

As you work with them, your name gets put out there for more projects because they know who you are. 

I think that's a fantastic piece of advice for anyone who's listening. 

I know there are so many people who think “Oh my gosh, I need an agent.” 

I need a manager. 

Do you have an agent or a manager that's helping you with all of this, or are you doing this on your own and making it happen?

Karl: No, I'm doing all this on my own

I did have an agent for a little while. 

I was very honored that an agency actually liked my look and was willing to bring me on board. 

However, just because I have a unique look, the actual type of roles that were coming around just didn't really fit me. 

After a while, we just decided to end the relationship on good terms; I could go back to them if I wanted to. 

I do have a friend who used to be in the business a long time ago, and he's getting back into it. 

In fact, he's in one of the movies that I'm cast in, and he's become a friend because of that. 

He also manages, but he hasn't really kicked off the managing aspect of things yet until after he's done with this. 

With VIP Ignite, I'm really excited

And I really, really, really have high hopes and aspirations with my connections from VIP Ignite.

DOING THE HEAVY LIFTING ON YOUR OWN

Deneen: We're excited to have you on board with us!

I know you and I talked about this when we did our pre-interview a couple of weeks back, but I love the fact that you're making it happen on your own.

The thing is, with the networking that you're doing right now and the resume you're building, you’ll be ready when you actually go to a networking event and meet with the casting directors, the agents, and the people who are also working in the industry. 

Not only do we bring agents and managers, but we bring people who are working hard in the industry as well. 

So I love that you're already doing all of those things now so that when you go to the networking event, you can say, “Here’s my resume.”

This is what I've done

How can we work together, versus, what can you do for me? 

I love that the thing that's gonna set you apart, and I know we've talked about this before, is that you're already out there

In Louisville, Kentucky! 

Let's be honest. 

It's a pretty small market, right? 

It's not like Atlanta, New York, LA or Chicago, but you're still making it happen. 

And I love that about you, Karl, because again, when you come to the event, it's going to be a totally different experience for you than someone who is waiting for the events to make it happen. 

I'm really excited about that for you.

Karl: Right. I am too. 

The one thing that I'd have to say to your listeners is, don't sit back and wait for something to happen. 

You've got to make it happen. 

You've got to go for it

Like anything else in life, if you want something, nine times out of ten it's not just gonna fall into your lap. 

There's the rare person that gets it, but if you really want it, you gotta be proactive

You gotta go for it. 

Otherwise it's not gonna happen. 

I wouldn't even say the word regret because I do have a whole bunch of experience in different walks of life, but if I have to say one regret, it's that I didn't actually get out and say, “Let's try this sooner.” 

At this point in my life, I might have been a full time working actor, completely supporting myself via acting

But again, no absolute regrets on that.

MARKET YOURSELF: UNIQUE TRAITS AND YOUR PERSONALITY

Deneen: Something that we glossed over a couple of minutes ago is that you said you have a unique look

How do you work with that?

We work with a lot of people who aren’t your typical blonde hair, blue-eyed woman, or your typical supermodel man. 

How do you market yourself with a unique look? 

How do you work with that?

Karl: One of the things for me is how you're networking with people. 

I have gone into auditions where I didn't meet 100% of what they were looking for, but I had some of what they're looking for.

I've gone into auditions where the casting people look at me and say, “Ooh, we didn't think about that; that puts it in a different light.” 

I'm not going to limit myself to just be a full beard, blonde hair, blue-eyed person. 

For me, I'm a little overweight. 

I want to lose some weight, but I'll go into something as long as I'm not 180 degrees out. 

If I'm sort of on the fringes, I'll also go to an audition because they may see you in it and something may click

They may think, “Oh, we didn't think about that.” 

We didn't consider that. 

That's going to open their eyes, and sometimes when you do your audition you can get something that the director of the casting director never really thought of.

Deneen: I love that. 

You're using your personality as well as your look to go for those roles, and I think that's something that people gloss over a lot too. 

People don't realize that there are certain times when someone is looking for something in particular

If you're going for a print commercial, they're looking for a very specific person. 

I think that's something that people miss; they can tweak those things. 

It's not necessarily written in stone. 

If you're someone who walks in and your personality shines, then more opportunities will avail themselves to you as long as you have the wits about you to make that happen.

Karl:

Absolutely. Personality is huge

I do know I've heard of people won't work with other people because of their personality

I actually met somebody I submitted for a particular role. 

They didn't really think I was that role, but somebody else on the production knew me. 

They spoke to the director, and they actually wrote in a character for me specifically

I had two scenes and four or five lines. 

Some people may think that's not a lot, but the way I look at it, anytime on set is experience and that's always a plus. 

Because of my personality and people I knew, I actually had a character created for me. 

Which was actually very humbling!

Deneen:

That's pretty phenomenal. 

They wrote it. 

They wrote in a role for you because of your personality! 

I thought that's actually an awesome thing for people to hear, because again, it goes to show that networking is key.

You knew someone on set and you had already had a good reputation with that person. 

They put in a good word for you. 

Then they wrote in a role with lines, which is also another phenomenal thing. 

It's also exciting

I hope that our listeners really grasp everything that you're sharing, because the things that you're sharing are real life.

They’re the real life things that people need to know: you create your opportunities. 

So many times, I have so many people who are in cooler markets, and they say there's nothing here

You have to make it happen.

Karl:

Absolutely. If you just sit around and wait for it to come to you, it's never going to come.

INVEST YOUR MONEY IN THE RIGHT TOOLS TO HELP YOU GROW

Deneen:

How did you hear about VIP Ignite, Karl?

Karl:

For me, being naturally proactive, I'm constantly looking. 

I'm on Facebook in a bunch of groups. 

I'm also on websites out there for casting or industry news. 

Through one of them (I’ll be honest, I don't honestly remember which one), I saw the ad with Alycia.

I subscribed to one of the email lists and started receiving emails

One of the things that I have also seen happen is you have to vet things in this industry. 

It's sad to say, but there are a lot of people out there that are just there to take your money.

I didn't want that, so I waited a while and had been following you and getting the emails for about six to nine months.

I thought, finally, “This is legit.” 

This is something that if I'm willing to make the effort, is going to be rewarding to me; it's going to help my career

It's time to make that jump. 

I did so, and the knowledge that I've received already, like the coaching videos that are available through the program, has really opened up my eyes. 

One of the things that they said is because there's so many different coaches out there, you may find somebody on there that doesn't click with you for some reason.

There's somebody out there that can deliver the same message, but it will click.

I've watched a number of these videos, and it's really helping because one of the things that I found is that this is like a lot of things in life. 

You never stop learning and things are changing, as long as you remember that you don't know everything

For me personally, there's no way to be 100% knowledgeable in this business because it's always changing, and there's still much that you may not be exposed to. 

But if you're open to that, and you go out there and watch those videos, attend the training, and note things that are presented out there, you will learn.

You're going to improve your craft. 

This is just going to let you improve your craft. 

It's going to improve your ability to get more roles.

Deneen:

I love that you acknowledged the fact that you'll never know everything. 

The reason I love that is because the biggest people in Hollywood still have acting coaches

Think about Al Pacino or Robert DeNiro; I watched a movie last night with the two of them, so that's probably why they're on my mind. 

The thing is, they still have acting coaches, and they can acknowledge that they don't know everything. 

That's something that everyone needs to know. 

We all have to be lifelong learners, and anything that we do in the entertainment industry is not different. 

I'm happy to acknowledge that. 

That's fantastic. 

So what does that look like? 

What event are you going to? 

Are you going to New York, or are you going to Los Angeles?

Karl:

I'm going to go to Los Angeles. 

New York was just too soon for me to actually make it happen, but the Los Angeles one in June is very doable. 

My birthday is also in June, so it's going to be kind of like my birthday to myself.

Deneen:

Nice!

I thought you were going to say you're going to go to LA because you were done with the cold weather of upstate New York 

*Both laugh* 

When I saw that you're from upstate New York, I said, “Oh dear, this guy.” 

You either love or hate the cold if you're from up there, but in all seriousness, LA is going to be amazing

LA's going to be an amazing event. 

I'm glad that you're going to LA with us.

Karl:

Yeah, I'm really looking forward to it. 

I'm happy

I'm excited, and I can't even find the right words to say it because I know it's going to be such an amazing event. 

I know it's a three day event, but there's also that one day in there for what I'm looking to do as well. 

It's gonna be rewarding and educational and entertaining all at the same time, which is awesome.

DEFINING SUCCESS IN ENTERTAINMENT ON YOUR OWN TERMS

Deneen:

Yeah, it'll definitely be all those things. 

I'm really excited that you're going to be joining us, and I just want to thank you so much for sharing your story with us today. 

Thank you so much for sharing your tips, and I hope that all of my listeners really take stock in what you said. 

Something else I love about you that we didn't even talk about is the way that you define success

I'm going to let you tell them. 

Can you tell us how you'll define success in the entertainment industry? 

It'll sound so much better.

Karl:

Oh yeah, absolutely. 

I don't have delusions of being the next big somebody or being rich and famous. 

I'll be honest, if that comes, I'm not going to say no to it, but that is not what it's about

For me, to be successful is to be able to meet my current lifestyle and to be able to pay for my current lifestyle by acting completely.

That’s a hundred percent acting, and not having to have a day job or side jobs. 

If I can work as an actor and pay for my current lifestyle, that is when I would consider myself having made it.

I would have made it because I've got a roof over my head. 

I've got a car, I've got food

No, I don't have a butler and I don't have a blah, blah blah, but I'm in a good place in life if I can do this lifestyle. 

To me, a personal goal is that I want to be a card carrying member of SAG. 

So for one side, good enough is my SAG time in, and becoming a member of SAG. 

To be a full time working actor maintaining my current lifestyle is the other. 

For me that's it. 

I've made it. 

I'm doing it because I'm doing what I love

I'm paying my bills, I'm saving for the future; what more can you ask for?

Deneen:

That's awesome.

I don't know how we can top that, Karl. 

I think that's awesome.

I love your definition of success because it's reality, and it can expand; you're willing for it to expand. 

I love your realistic definition of success. 

It's refreshing to hear that. 

I think I told you that when we spoke in our pre-interview as well, but I think if you can pay the bills by doing what you love, that's awesome. 

Anything else is like the cherry on the sundae. 

I want to thank you so much for being on the podcast. 

I really appreciate it. 

Again, I feel so inspired to go out and help more people now just because of your story and your energy.

I can't wait to hang out with you and Hollywood for your birthday month!

Karl:

Yeah, that is going to be probably one of the better birthdays I've ever had. 

Thank you for having me on the podcast. 

It was a pleasure.

Deneen:

You're welcome. You have a fantastic rest of your day.

Karl:

All right. You do the same!

Deneen:

Thank you so much! Bye.

I want to thank everyone so much for taking the time to listen to the VIP Ignite podcast. 

If you enjoyed my conversation with Karl and you want to ignite your career in the entertainment industry, please visit our website at ammsociety com where you can get registered for our next webinar. 

If you enjoyed my conversation with Karl, please make sure you subscribe to the VIP Ignite podcast. 

We can be found on iTunes, Stitcher, or anywhere the podcast can be found. 

Thank you so much and have a great day!