Welcome to the VIP Ignite blog, your source for tomorrow’s talent today.
Hear real life stories of models, actors, and musicians breaking down barriers, launching careers, and sharing their stories of overcoming obstacles and finding real success.
They will activate the winner in you by revealing the path with their best tips and advice.
Deneen: Hey everyone, my name is Deneen White and I am the host of the VIP Ignite Live blog.
This is a special series of interviews during quarantine for the Coronavirus.
Our purpose in doing these interviews is twofold.
First of all, we want to create inspiration for our listeners and second of all, we want to show everyone that now is actually the time to be planning and building for what’s needed to continue pushing forward in a career as an actor, model or musician.
Today, I am here with Heather Prescott from Baltimore, Maryland.
I am so excited for you to hear her story and for her to share her story with us.
Heather, what are you doing to keep yourself busy while you’re under quarantine in Baltimore?
Heather: Oh my gosh, thank you so much for having me!
I have been engulfing myself in VIP Ignite and I probably murdered the group with all the connections.
You guys have been very inspiring.
I’ve been motivated to engage with the community and learn from people who have experienced the industry.
This is exciting.
JOINING AND ENGAGING WITH A COMMUNITY
Deneen: So what were you doing before you were introduced to us?
What were you doing to be engaged in a community or to connect to your art?
Heather: I personally have just started putting out my imprint and taking the entertainment or DIY scene seriously in 2016.
I’ve been trying to pick up my instruments, maintain my craft, practice, and collaborate in the same way.
I’ve been blessed to make maybe too many connections instead of deciphering the difference.
I’m just trying to maintain those projects such as Four Flights Up, which is my collective; I’m part of 1,400 musicians in Baltimore, DC, and Virginia.
It’s an underground jam.
Similar to the creative outlet here with VIP.
That’s what I’ve been doing.
I’ve been working on music and trying to finish my EP and not put myself in a million directions while making adjustments.
Deneen: That’s awesome.
So how has being a part of the VIP Elite Talent Academy helped to amplify those results for you?
Heather: So VIP has really cast a light on times that internally I felt that I could have performed better.
I double check what I said.
I check to see if someone is talking nebulously at me.
It’s been really helpful to just gauge the community and see how I can better communicate.
I present myself in a better light without being too engulfed by it at all.
Deneen: That makes total sense.
So are you enjoying being a part of our community?
Heather: Oh, so very much.
I’ve already blasted Facebook, so whoever is listening, don’t feel weird.
You can always harass me even if I’m a nobody.
Deneen: I don’t think anybody that’s a part of our community is a nobody.
This morning I had an interview with someone and he said the VIP Elite Talent Academy is like baby Hollywood.
And it kind of is!
The thing is that everyone that’s a part of our community, especially right now, is active.
Everyone is working in tandem.
Everyone is starting in different places.
We have some people that are SAG members, and we have other people who have never done a monologue before.
They want to try this out.
“Everyone may have started in a different place, but everyone is moving forward together.”
So you’re already a part of a community in the Baltimore area, but what is our community like?
Have you felt welcomed?
Do you feel encouraged?
Heather: Oh my goodness.
It’s been very uplifting.
I didn’t search out VIP like I did when I landed in Baltimore’s music scene.
For that, I used Facebook and Google to see who’s there, and what they’re doing.
I was introduced by Infinity, a lovely lady who happened to see me on a photo shoot for my EP in Atlantic city.
I’m from New Jersey.
Long story short, VIP has been really uplifting.
It makes me feel like it’s legit and that the people within it are very genuine.
They’re also like minded individuals who have the same drive, and not only want to grow by being successful, but also be successful as a human being.
After reading those questions and watching some of your members online, even though I didn’t always say something or write a post, I went back and thought about it.
It’s been really nice.
OPEN YOUR MIND TO THOSE WHO CAN TEACH YOU
Deneen: Within a couple days of being a part of the coaching, you were on a call with Jim Bentley, who is the head of casting for Estee Lauder.
He does casting for the Gap, and for Banana Republic.
What was it like for you to be on a call with him?
Heather: It was just like a kid in a candy store really.
It was so exciting!
It’s one thing to see someone on TV, and this is somewhat still a screen, but it was really nice to see how he is in person.
It’s a different side.
I don’t know him personally, but I could gauge that his vibration seemed very uplifting.
I also appreciated the fact that we both have legal desires and backgrounds.
I was a paralegal, so it’s really useful to see someone actually still maintain and utilize that skill set, and to engage and share contract law, break down the business, and talk about usages.
I thought it was really cool because that means you have your face, and you have your skills and how you present them.
It just just affirmed everything.
Deneen: I know it’s so important sometimes.
I know he was a little bit afraid.
He explained–this is probably so boring–that these are the things that you need to know when you’re entering into the entertainment industry, no matter what branch of the industry.
It’s amazing to have someone who’s been working in the industry for so long break these things down to you.
How many times have you had this explained to you by other people, like in other trainings or anything like that?
Heather: Not enough, right?
If you’re lucky, you get like a quick line, maybe two seconds of, “Oh, you’re going to stand right there, or you’re two inches off.”
You’re lucky to get it if you can.
It’s really nice to have it from someone who genuinely cares and isn’t above it.
It’s very humble and that’s really cool.
Deneen: That’s what we love about all of our coaches.
When we bring people onto the VIP Elite Talent Academy, we make sure that the coaches care as much about educating people and helping you move forward in whatever way that they can.
As we do.
So we make sure that we have very strategic partnerships with people.
If it’s someone who we feel doesn’t understand our goals, then it’s someone that we may not work with because again, we have standards and we make sure that the people that we work with live up to those standards as well.
I’m glad that you saw that.
You also had a chance to sit in on a coaching call with Ryan Colby, who is one of the agents that we work with.
He’s booking work all the time in New York and in LA.
And you said he was direct.
He’s very direct.
You want to talk about direct?
He’s Mr. Direct.
So what was it like being on a call with him?
Heather: Oh my gosh, he’s amazing.
He is, at first impression, maybe intimidating.
It’s someone who has so much to offer, so why would they want to talk to me?
They don’t know me from anything.
But I really appreciate his background being an agent, and his model work with Vogue, Maxim, GQ and Esquire.
He started off his webinar with structure.
Then he engaged afterwards.
It wasn’t so much that he appeared to be uptight.
He said we’re going to start with critiques first, and I’m looking for tone range expressions.
It was a full break build and I found it very useful.
I’m really excited.
I was excited by his engagement.
I appreciated his vernacular and I really love that.
He actually called me out, and I was hoping I wasn’t the only person.
Deneen: I love that you said it was a break build.
That’s something a lot of people wouldn’t recognize because what you have to do is build people up, let them know, and then build them up again.
Thank you for pointing that out.
I’ll have to let him know that you’re onto him.
Hey Ryan, guess what?
Heather’s on to you.
She understands your tactics now!
Heather: That was in my head.
I wanted to go back and write notes!
Especially on my questions.
DON’T TAKE FROM PEOPLE WITHOUT GIVING THEM SOMETHING BACK
Deneen: That’s awesome.
So you’ve also had the opportunity to sit in on a couple of coaching sessions with Alicia Kaback, who did some guest appearances for us over the past couple of days.
So what were those coaching sessions like?
You’ve been on her webinar.
When you’re on the webinar you see one Alicia, and then when you’re in the coaching it’s a completely different one.
Tell me about that.
Heather: This is so true.
She was referencing trends like making a schedule, having to gain momentum, and how it is to be in the inner circle.
I wished I could think, because my mind is everywhere.
I’ve been engaging for a couple of days now.
I’m happy because I’m thinking, “Give me more.”
But then I think, oh wait, why do I look like I’m trying to pay attention, or take notes and be useful?
It was really nice seeing her because she was like a combination for taking her feedback as well.
It’s like a combination of both Ryan and Jim.
She’s so cute!
I don’t know how to say it, but she’s very nice and friendly too.
Deneen: You got a lot of value out of her, and out of her coaching as well.
So who are your other favorite coaches?
Heather: Well, obviously you.
We started off being BFFs because we’re from the same neighborhood.
Normally as Jersey gal, we think, we can’t be friends.
We’re from Jersey!
But with Alicia, she’s about the empanadas and giving back.
Deneen: We were really excited about that!
For anyone who’s listening and saying, “What are you even talking about?”
Something that we did last week was an initiative where when people showed up for our calls, we decided that we were going to give away a meal to a first responder.
The details have not yet been released on exactly when that is because obviously the first responders are extremely busy responding right now.
But we partner with an empanada company that we’re going to be donating empanadas to some first responders through.
Again, they’re so busy responding, it’s hard to get a response from them if you’re not sick.
So we’re really excited about that because one of the core values of our company is that we always want to give back.
Not only do we want to give a high value to the people that we work with, like our clients, but we also want to make sure that we give back to the people that serve all of us.
So thank you for mentioning that.
That’s not something that I’ve mentioned.
Your empanadas are so good too.
I feel bad on my part.
What you just said was actually what I took away from your webinar today, even though I’m still watching.
Deneen: I’m still trying to figure out what I said.
Today I had the opportunity to actually do a coaching call.
What I’m talking about is cultivating relationships, and how to do that properly.
So what was your biggest takeaway from my call today?
Heather: My question I had asked was, how do you present yourself without harassing or spamming a real person or an individual?
Some back story to that question was that I actually worked with spin artists prior, named Wildwood, for her song Moonrise.
She actually responded, so I didn’t know what to do next between her and another person.
I won’t name drop because that was a good one.
But anyhow, I learned how to get out of my head mainly.
And that’s what we’re working with for mind setting right now.
We’re all people and I wouldn’t want someone to be like that to me.
Even something like “Heather, let me take your picture or sit next to you” can be awkward.
That’s not what I want to do online or in person or whatever.
That was my takeaway.
Take a step back, take a deep breath, and start over.
Don’t be a groupie.
Deneen: It’s something that we all need to realize.
I fall into this too; I told an embarrassing story about how I met a celebrity and I said, “Oh my God, I didn’t think I was going to like you because your character was so mean, but you’re so nice!”
She looked at me thinking, “Yeah, honey, bless your heart.”
Fortunately I was able to make up for it afterwards, but I swore I would never do that because I’m not someone who goes fan girl very often.
Something I think we all need to realize is that when we’re reaching out to people, they’re human beings.
So we have to make sure that we’re giving to them.
We’re not just trying to take from them.
I’m glad that you’ve realized that.
I’m really excited because we’re going to continue for the next couple of weeks.
The question that you asked is “How do I do that?”
That’s coming later.
First we have to set the ground rules, and that’s what we do with the VIP Talent Academy too.
Some of the stuff will stand on its own, but some of the stuff that we do is cumulative because we want to teach you a process.
We have a framework that’s been super successful.
We have so many success stories.
That’s why we’re going through that process right now because everybody can learn.
I’m glad that you’re learning!
DON’T LET FEAR OF TAKING THE WRONG ACTION STOP YOU FROM TAKING ANY ACTION
Deneen: What was your biggest takeaway from all of the coaching?
Was there one overarching theme, or what has been the biggest change in you?
I know it’s only been a couple of days.
Maybe that’s an unfair question to ask, but what value has being a part of our community and part of the Academy had?
What’s been added to you during this time where a lot of people are just sitting at home hoping for it all to end?
Heather: So when I initially got the invitation to try to interview with you guys for the VIP Elite, I had just lost my job.
I was already struggling within my entrepreneurship or independence as an artist.
Music and acting were just things that I was inspired by, but it’s all branded the same.
When I met you all I was just thinking, “Wow.”
It’s really uplifting that there’s the solidarity that I’ve been craving, along with management and leadership.
Like you said, for the core values of everyone, it shows it’s more of just trying to be a better individual and grow overall while also giving back at the same time.
Those are the overarching themes, and don’t doubt yourself.
Don’t be super arrogant.
Obviously work hard at your craft and don’t listen to naysayers.
It was really nice to reaffirm that!
Deneen: I think that’s awesome because so many times a lot of people suffer from what I like to call analysis paralysis.
I know that name very well because it should be tattooed on my heart; that’s me.
I’m the person who’s sitting here and over analyzing everything that’s going on, and sometimes that prohibits me from taking action.
So something I like to tell people is I’d rather you take imperfect action so that you’re doing something, especially right now.
I’d rather you be taking action, doing monologues, learning new songs, taking the classes, taking all the notes.
I want everyone to be taking action because 2020 is a year of momentum.
That’s a word that I’ve been speaking since November of last year and I was shook a little bit when I found out that the whole world was stopping even though I was telling everyone to be in momentum.
Well, the awesome thing is I’ve seen this uprising of people who are saying, “You know what, we do need to be in momentum.”
Let’s do this.
And I’m so excited that you’re a part of that movement that’s going on.
Heather: I’m so honored to be a part of it.
Deneen: It’s been truly a pleasure because again, like I said before I was talking about you, it’s amazing to have someone who comes in and just dives right in.
There was no, okay, well maybe I’ll sit back and hopefully this will work out.
No, you were saying, here I am with my brand new notebook.
Let me go.
Even as we’re doing this, no one can see it because it’s all audio, but I’m taking notes and Heather’s looking at hers.
She’s thinking, “This is what I want to say.”
I love running into someone like that too, because with anything that you do, especially with what we’re doing at the VIP Elite Talent Academy, you get out of it what you put into it.
If you’re someone who wants to learn, you have to immerse yourself in all of the coaching.
If you’re someone who wants community, you have to put yourself out there for the community because the reality is everyone’s going to welcome you to the group.
Then everyone has to work to be a part of that community, and it’s been fantastic watching you.
Just immerse yourself in the community from the beginning.
Heather: I really appreciate you!
Deneen: I appreciate you too, Heather!
So are you happy that you’re a part of our community?
Heather: I am and I can’t wait.
Deneen: What other people in the entertainment industry provide you with 10 hours of coaching from people who are the head of casting from L’Oreal?
Then on Monday morning at 9:00 AM you can join us for a Bible study so you can start your week up lifted right here.
Heather: Here you can get booked.
Just send me your prints.
Deneen: That’s awesome.
That’s the value too; again, in another time we wouldn’t have the opportunity to have someone like Jim on a call twice a week for over an hour because he’d be in California.
He’d be in New York, he’d be all over casting, just busy, busy, busy.
It’s terrible what’s going on in the world because everything has slowed down.
But for us it’s been phenomenal because we’re able to bring such a tremendous value.
I can tell you because I have text messages to prove it.
All of the people that we’re working with are just as excited as we are for the calls.
It gives us a reason to get up.
I can get up and I could talk shop and I have to take my sweat pants off to actually put on clothes.
People see me.
So it’s actually been a really exciting time and again, I’m really excited that you joined us in the most exciting time to be a part of VIP Ignite.
Heather: Thank you!
Deneen: You’re welcome.
I just want to thank you so much for taking part of your afternoon to spend it with me on the podcast.
Thank you for being on all the calls and pretty much spending 24-7 with me, and I can’t wait to see you this evening on our next call.
Heather: I can’t either, you have a good day!
Deneen: Thank you so much!
Thank you for reading the VIP Ignite blog.
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