Hello and welcome to the Coffee in the Green Room podcast. This is the show for rising talent, entertainment industry insiders, and those with a curiosity of what life is like in front of the camera. If you’ve ever struggled with getting started as a model, actor, or musician. Well, that’s exactly what we’re going to help you with. Today’s episode is hosted by Deneen White: Writer, author, publicist, and TV host. So, sit back, relax, grab your favorite cup of coffee and welcome to Coffee in the Green Room.
Deneen White: (00:45)
Hey everyone. My name is Deneen White and I am the host of Coffee in the Green Room. This is part of a series of interviews and podcasts that we did during quarantine due to the coronavirus. The reason that we’re doing this series is twofold:
Deneen White: (01:00)
First of all, we want to bring inspiration and hope to our audience. The second reason that we’re doing this series is because we want you to know that now is actually the time that you should be planning and building your career as an actor, model, or musician. Today, I am so excited to have Steve Garrin on the show. Steve is coming to us live from New York City. Steve, what have you been doing to keep yourself busy during this whole lockdown?
Steve Garrin: (01:25)
Hi, Deneen. You know, it’s very funny. I’ve worked with a lot of actors, not only as a producer and voiceover coach. A lot of them have been contacting me to say, let’s do Skype sessions. Let’s stay in shape. I said, you know, you can actually audition for things now. If you’re watching commercials, you’ll see Jen from the Toyota commercials.
Steve Garrin: (01:49)
She’s on a white background. She shot that with her laptop. If you look at the commercial, when they shot that, to edit it for the commercial, they put a mug with Toyota in front at the bottom of the screen. You know how you would put that little decal so people couldn’t mess with it? So look at that commercial and you’ll see that. A lot of work is being done remotely.
Deneen White: (02:10)
Steve Garrin: (02:11)
You know, the business is probably going to change. You know, it changed a few years ago when we had a strike, and non-union workers became prevalent because agents didn’t want to stop working on production. Companies needed to keep working.
Steve Garrin: (02:30)
That affected the industry that way and made the unions put on their fi-core. No status for people that wanted to do non-union and not get any health, welfare, or medical benefits. So today there’s a lot of, “This is going to probably change the way commercials are shot now.” You’ll see a lot of stock footage, but you see the inserts.
Deneen White: (02:55)
Steve Garrin: (02:56)
You could do that today. When you’re home, go online. Castingnetworks.com. I believe that people, a lot of people, were registered for that. I know I am through my agent, and they have auditions. A lot of them are taped at home. Deneen can tell you how to do things like that. I’m sure they’ll be teaching you how to do self-tapes, because this is going to be the way of the future. Learning from home and remotely is the way to go, especially during this pandemic. Can’t get together and be in the same room.
Deneen White: (03:29)
Yeah, we’ve been doing a lot of training on that. We actually had a makeup artist on Monday teach everyone how to do your makeup for an online audition. Like for a virtual audition. We actually have someone coming up who is a major hairstylist, who is going to be doing a whole segment on how to do your hair. We had a whole segment on how to do lighting. It’s funny that you talked about how the auditions and all are being done at home. One of the top models that we work with actually just set up a whole studio in his apartment in New York City so that he can start doing e-comm work. So, every industry is already ramping up for this.
Steve Garrin: (04:06)
Well of course, and I noticed you are well lit when you do these things, but you know, it takes a lot. I mean, I have it on one side cause I only have my windows on one side. I have lights all over it, but you have to try to make it so it’s lit without light shining in the person’s eye that you’re speaking to.
Deneen White: (04:24)
Steve Garrin: (04:25)
Cause that could really be very, very distracting if you’re doing something and it is an art commodity.
Deneen White: (04:31)
Steve Garrin: (04:32)
It really is. These are times when we can really learn. These are times where we can study from home. I find a lot of universities are going to start switching to this type of curriculum.
Deneen White: (04:47)
Yeah. Everyone’s had to pivot in this time and, actually. I think it’s actually really exciting, even though, obviously, the circumstances are not exciting. I love to see all of the changes because it’s almost like now you’re seeing the cream rise to the top. They always say the cream rises to the top, but something I joke about a lot with people in our group is, with the people who are a part of the VIP Elite Talent Academy, I say, “Listen, you have two decisions to make right now. Do you want to watch Netflix or do you want to be on Netflix?”
Deneen White: (05:17)
And now’s the time to really be ramping up your career and now’s the time to be ramping up all the studying that you’re doing. That’s part of what we’re doing with our online coaching. This is something we’ve been doing now for a year and a half. When the pandemic hit, we were like, okay, you know what? We have to give people even more training now because everybody’s at home. So, Steve, for you being in New York City, what is it like for you to have the opportunity to reach out to, not only our students, but to other students that you work with and have that connection during this time?
Steve Garrin: (05:50)
Well, you know, I’ve always been very close with the circle of friends, students, and people that I’ve worked with. So, uh, we still keep touch. We do FaceTime. We Skype. We do things just so we can keep in touch. How do we look? Do I need a haircut? I know everybody tells me I need a haircut. I’m like, just do it. Tom Hanks shaved his head. My wife goes, why? I tell my wife, I might do it. She goes, I don’t know if I like bald people. Rather than growing, but you know, we’ll see how long it takes. People say it’s going to take a while.
Steve Garrin: (06:19)
People say it’s going to take a while. So we’re going to need to be able to generate some income and keep our momentum going. That’s what’s important. If this would have happened 25 years ago, everything, and I mean everything, would be at a total standstill because no internet. Or, maybe even 30 years ago. But anyway, it’s not like it is today. You know, you didn’t have a cell phone where you could pick it up and you could do your audition. You know, I could record my voice over right now and then send it off.
Steve Garrin: (06:54)
It’s done. All from one piece of equipment right there. The world has changed. Accessibility. Everything has become more accessible. So yeah, I mean you don’t even have to shop, you know? My 91-year-old father-in-law, we were on the phone yesterday. So, I said, you know, you don’t have to go to the supermarket. Well, how am I going to get food? Well, we’ll order it and have it delivered to you. What do you mean they’ll deliver it? Yeah, they left it on my door. Yeah, we paid for it. Oh, I see. Yeah. Don’t worry about it. Just, you know, just eat. Don’t, don’t go out there. I got everything I wanted. I said, you gave him your list, right? Well, I read him the list.
Steve Garrin: (07:32)
That’s what happens when you do that kind of shopping, you know? That’s who they get. You can get all this and they get it for you. Oh, he goes, if you don’t pick the produce. I said, listen. It’s a whole different world. The beauty of it is, as an entertainer, as an actor, as a singer, as someone who wants to be an influencer, like a few people mentioned in our last seminar: Do it. This is the time to do it. You’re sitting at home, as you said, do you want to watch it or do you want to be in it?
Deneen White: (08:03)
Yeah. I mean, and the reality is that everything that we’re doing on these calls, because all of our calls are done on Zoom now. What our students may or may not realize is that we’re actually preparing them for online auditions. They’re going to be able to communicate better in this type of environment because they’re going to be comfortable. They’re doing it all day every day, now. So we’re fully preparing them. I love that there are so many people that are pivoting with the times, too, because we’ve been in communications with people from all throughout the industry. Everyone is pretty much saying the same thing.
Deneen White: (08:36)
Like, there’s going to be a lot more work from home. I love to see that you keep telling everyone, and I hope that they start listening. I know that they are because sometimes it takes one or two times for them to hear something to do it. I love that you’re recommending ways for them to actually work: doing voice work from home. So can you talk a little bit about opportunities, because I know you mentioned the Toyota commercial. Can you talk about other opportunities as well?
Steve Garrin: (09:04)
Well, you know, it’s funny. I have a very good friend who’s a top casting director in California. I’m not going to mention her name. I was just speaking with her the other day, and she said that they’re not even using casting directors. They’re just reaching out and having people send self-tape auditions in. They don’t need to have a casting director organize and look for those things. You can record if you have a good laptop with a decent camera today.
Steve Garrin: (09:35)
They’re all pretty good and you can record your own segment. As I was starting to mention, I have one of my students from backstage, which is a very good source of work. He auditioned for an animated series. So, it’s animated. I don’t know how many episodes there were going to be, but it was like a special two dogs for an educational thing and he got $1,200. He booked it and he recorded it, but they directed him. I don’t know whether it was a Zoom or a Skype direction, but they directed him remotely and he recorded it in his house.
Deneen White: (10:13)
Steve Garrin: (10:13)
You guys speed mic. He sent it in, and he just said to me this morning, he texted me. He goes, I did the release and everything the way you said. He goes, this morning they wired me $1,200. I said, congratulations. No, he’s very happy. He goes, that’s more than I make in a week and a half of my job. I said, isn’t that cool? Hour and a half, week and a half. I mean, yeah. He put it together. You know, it’s all in perspective.
Deneen White: (10:37)
Yeah. And that’s during the time when everyone’s complaining about how bad the economy is. There’s still money to be made and there are still ways to go out and get to make the money. So, that’s fantastic in and of itself.
Steve Garrin: (10:48)
Of course. I mean, especially if somebody is putting together an educational product that’s going to be used by students who are maybe telecommuting or doing whatever. So there’s a lot of opportunities today. I believe that he was thrilled when he said to me, he goes, you’re not going to believe it. I said, Well? He goes, I booked that job. I said, what do you mean? You’re studying with me, why can I not believe it?
Deneen White: (11:08)
You’re like, does he know that’s what I do? That’s what I do all day long.
Steve Garrin: (11:11)
The funny thing is, you know I, when they study with me, I make them focus on certain areas at certain times. And this is a time there’s VOs and AVOs. This is a time when I’m having them focus on VOs, which a VO is first person being involved in the action.
Deneen White: (11:29)
Steve Garrin: (11:30)
And by getting that, he got the dog. He auditioned for the dogs, and then he texted me. He said, so, it’s like, God, what do I do? I ask, what kind of dogs are they? I said to go find out what kind of dogs they are because they’re hunting dogs. I said, are they beagles or labs? What are they?
Steve Garrin: (11:49)
He said one’s a beagle and one’s a lab. I said, okay, so now you’re finding this out. So now you can work on a beagle voice and you work on a lab voice, and then you speak with them tomorrow for the session. You have a couple suggestions of voices and they could just pick what they want. Then you can do it. I said, but that’s it. He goes, oh my God. He was so excited. It’s exciting. You know, I don’t want to say this is his first job cause he’s done a lot of audio books, but it was his first, other than audio books.
Deneen White: (12:17)
Yeah. And that’s exciting. It’s kind of like going from like being a background extra to being someone who has a speaking role on a show. It’s an exciting time.
Steve Garrin: (12:27)
That’s getting your first under five, you know? It’s a wonderful thing. The beautiful thing about it was, you know. I said, it’s a week and a half’s pay for him, but also just doing that in an hour and a half. When he was finished, he said, you know. When I was finished, he went, I was so happy. I was just so– I was so happy. I said, yeah, it was, the adrenaline was flooding. He goes, yeah! It was just phenomenal. You know? So good. That’s what you want. You want to feel good about a job you did, y’know? Most of them get a copy cause it’s good to have when we do a reel. I’m lazy, I would rather do a reel of work that you’ve already actually done.
Deneen White: (13:10)
Yeah. I mean, that makes sense, too. Yeah, no that, that’s awesome. So, as a coach, how does that make you feel when one of your mentees calls you and is so excited?
Steve Garrin: (13:22)
Well, no, I love it. The funny thing is there’s a very good friend of mine, she was a student. In her early days, and she’s someone who says she blames her career on me, she does a bunch of commercials running right now. One of them is a Seresto with a dog and it’s some kind of flee thing. They’ll check it. I don’t want to mention her name cause I don’t like to do that. Anyway, when you’re good, you’re good. We, as coaches, are stepping stones. There are people I work with. You pushed them and you can only push them so far. They don’t want to do it or they don’t do it for whatever their motivation is or lack of.
Deneen White: (14:06)
Steve Garrin: (14:07)
The ones who stick with it, the ones who really care, they have great questions. They’re thinking about it, and then they’ll think about something. That’s what you want because you’re doing something for a living. It’s your life.
Deneen White: (14:25)
Steve Garrin: (14:26)
Okay. One of my friends just told me, he says, yeah, he had a singing lesson. This was all before he had a singing lesson. He had a dance lesson, too. He was learning an accent. I said, yeah, he’s working on a show. I said, those are the things that you do. I said, that’s your day. I said, you don’t just go and do the show at night. We can rehearse for the show. You need to get into whatever character. And today, if you don’t have an authentic accent and they don’t use an authentic, whatever, Australia or wherever you’re from, you need to learn and do it. So then someone who is authentic doesn’t say, oh man, he’s terrible.
Deneen White: (15:07)
Yeah. I know. I’ve heard some Philly accents and I’m like that is not Philadelphia.
Steve Garrin: (15:18)
You have to say “goes” and “going.” It’s the long ‘o.‘
Deneen White: (15:18)
And the “wah-wah.” Yup. That’s awesome. Well. Steve, I just want to thank you so much. You are such an inspiration. I love having the opportunity to work with you and talk to you and I absolutely love just what you bring to our students, because one of the things that we really value at VIP Ignite and through the VIP Elite Talent Academy, and something that we tell our students is we want to give you the tools that you need to get jobs. Like we never guarantee anyone anything, but we’re like, listen. We’re going to give you the tools, and I know that, even through the two sessions that you’ve done, people actually have the ability and the confidence, now, to go start doing those things. So thank you so much for doing that.
Steve Garrin: (16:06)
Oh, you’re welcome. If they sign up and they are going to start auditioning, and that one person who actually edits, yeah it would be her dream job. You’re going to see. She’s going to be telling you that she’s doing audio books and she’s making some money.
Deneen White: (16:19)
I know. And then I want to call you like, Steve! Guess what? I’ll be so excited because much like you, when you find those students or the people that you work with, and all of a sudden that light bulb goes off, and they start making that progress. There’s nothing better than that in the world, and I’m glad that we get to share that together.
Steve Garrin: (16:37)
Well, good. Listen, the funny thing is that I joke about it. They say, oh, are you gonna audition for this? No, my career is over. I’m done. I don’t audition anymore, but I’m happy to help you succeed and win because that, that kind of tops off a career.
Deneen White: (16:53)
Steve Garrin: (16:54)
When you, and I knock on wood- When you did what you wanted to do, and never worked a day in your life because you did what you wanted to do, and you’re able to help other people do that who really want to do it.
Deneen White: (17:09)
Steve Garrin: (17:10)
And they’re not expecting things handed to them, but know that they have to work to really get terrific. It’s just gratifying. Good luck and thank you for you guys and your good work, Alycia, and Michael, and you, and all your great people.
Deneen White: (17:29)
You’re welcome. Thank you. Thank you so much and thank you so much for bringing some inspiration during this time. I can’t wait. I really appreciate you taking the time to be on the podcast because I know that people are going to listen and be like, wow, you know what? Now is the time to be working. So thank you so much for being on the podcast. I really appreciate it.
Steve Garrin: (17:45)
Well, thank you. I like to help people become successful.
Deneen White: (17:48)
Thanks and on that note, have a fantastic rest of your day. Thank you so much. Bye.