Friday, November 24, 2017
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Q&A with Kristina Hughes

Q&A with Kristina Hughes

 

{xtypo_info}Preface{/xtypo_info}

I caught up with Kristina a few months back and we spoke about doing this Q&A out of the curiosity I developed for her as an actor, model and her company Holdon Log.  However, I have known her as an ActorsConnect.com member for quite some time.  Kristina was one of the first adopters of this social networking site for actors, models, etc. and concept back when there wasn't much online for the social networking actors.

So after a bit of convincing, she had me sit in on her seminar in NY to learn more about her solution to help keep entertainers organized and after that I figured we should complete a Q&A to get to know her a bit more.

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{xtypo_dropcap}Q{/xtypo_dropcap}How’d you get your start in the business and what motivates you to keep pushing forward?

{xtypo_dropcap}A{/xtypo_dropcap}Hello Tomas, first off, thank you so much for the opportunity to speak with you and reach out to your members/visitors!  Being a performer myself, I know the importance in finding great information from someone who is positive and passionate about what they do. Whether I am performing or working at my “day job”, I love what I do and I hope it shines through.

I’d have to say my first interest with being a performer came in 8th grade. I was an only child at the time, always the “new girl” in school. My parents were young themselves and still figuring out their own lives, so we moved every year to a new town. I was painfully quite but, I had a teacher, Miss Van Til, who noticed I was interested in fashion and encouraged me to look into modeling/finishing school. I loved learning about fashion trends, make-up, etiquette and modeling and from there my head filled up with dreams of working on soap operas, in commercials and co-hosting Entertainment Tonight.

It’s been a while since I was in 8th grade, but the passion is still strong and has developed over the years with more and more training, higher callback/booking ratios and better career opportunities. I’ve learned to celebrate my career successes and to promote them. Doing so creates excitement and that is what keeps me moving forward. Working with great directors and talented cast members is always motivating too!

 {xtypo_dropcap}Q{/xtypo_dropcap}Share with us your experience with LA.  Did you move on a leap of faith or did you have some projects lined up?  Also, would you recommend moving to LA to young actors starting out in the biz?

Kristina Hughes

{xtypo_dropcap}A{/xtypo_dropcap}My journey to Los Angeles went kind of like this…I worked in the Boston market when it was very small and I wanted more, so that expanded to New England. I worked doing lots of tradeshows, local print jobs, promotional work and some non-union commercials. To be honest, I was motivated to go to New York and give “it” a try…working in a huge market where I could earn more than $150 dollars for a local commercial that ran into the ground. So, I invested in myself and lived in a boarding house in Gramercy Park that my agent recommended during the summers while going to college at Salve Regina University in Newport, RI. During the summers I would train and audition and then work doing promotions, print modeling, background work and lots of indie music video work until I felt like I was really ready to audition for film/TV and theatre roles.

While working on a show in NYC, I realized that I was not a good singer or dancer.  Also, I had a friend who was already in Los Angeles telling me I needed to give LA a try.  Well, that gave me an extra push. I did a 6 week trial in LA, secured an agent, a manager, found an acting coach and a part-time job doing more promotions to get started with some income.

Funny thing (and this was before dating shows were so intrusive and exploitative), but I did one in Los Angeles just before leaving and won a cash prize and that that gave me the money I needed to drive across country and paid first month’s rent.

But first I had to fly back to my mom’s home in the Boston area and tell her that I was leaving for Los Angeles in a week! I packed up my car and was on my way to give acting a serious go. I didn’t have any projects lined up. Looking back, I had leads and some referrals that I should have reached out to, but I wasn’t that business-minded --- yet.

I think “young” or “new” actors need a few things before heading out to a bigger market.Some local training (basic scene study classes especially where they can learn how to breakdown a scene, develop their character, some relaxation techniques and vocal warm-ups). Otherwise, they might have made the trip and settled down only to find they don’t really enjoy acting or that it’s just more work than they wanted to invest. Also, if they want to work in film or TV they should have some actual footage of their work that’s strong enough to show an agent at an initial meeting, like from a senior or grad student project, an indie film, etc. There are so many people making films in smaller markets, it would really behoove the young/new performer to get their “on the job training” outside of the bigger markets so when they do book work in the bigger market they are not shocked, filled with anxiety and unsure of the basic techniques and business practices that are expected. They also need enough money in the bank to cover the first 3-6 months of rent, office supplies, travel expenses, food and training. In a bigger market, things are more expensive and being stressed out about money can make a performer get stuck at their day job and further and further away from being able to audition, book work, promote their bookings and network.

{xtypo_dropcap}Q{/xtypo_dropcap}Any quick tips or advice you can share with your peers based upon your experience as an actor?

{xtypo_dropcap}A{/xtypo_dropcap}You need to look at every interaction, meeting, seminar, class, time at a booking as an opportunity to learn from others. You need to log, track and manage your day-to-day ongoings so that you are on time, prepared and organized. I think of it as wanting to be the person people think of when they need a “young professional type”, a “well mannered hand model to work doubling a celebrity” the “person to go to when they might need a referral for a great make-up artist”, etc.

Be the person that others want to work with repeatedly because you do a great job. Be the person that others go to for leads (stockpile your contact database with everyone you ever work with…from the director and producer to the stylist and caterer).  This is called “Reverse Networking”; when you can, at a moments notice, recommend needed cast & crew members to anyone involved with the next latest and greatest project.

When you accomplish this the project’s “powers that be” will look at you not just as ‘another actor’, but rather a valued commodity to their project’s endeavors. It’s then you can leverage your ‘power’ to not just book a role in their project but perhaps a producer’s credit to boot!

Also, strong sense of self is super important. Be your own cheerleader, promoter and motivational coach! REMOVE the black cloud that hangs over your head and banish negative dialogue. For example replace “if I book the job” to “when I book the job”. When you are saying “when I book the job” let yourself take in how awesome it will feel when you get the call, tell others about it, wrap the gig, etc. Your centeredness will shine through.

Leave the negative talk in the car, at your apartment, etc. DO NOT BRING IT TO AN AUDITION, A MEETING OR TO WORK! Remember to love yourself, give yourself some credit for pursuing your dreams and don’t complain about what you have or want to change about yourself to others. Remember what you see as a “flaw” (i.e. - you aren’t tall enough, your nose is too big, you aren’t pretty enough, etc.) could be the exact reason WHY you are booked…and if you complain, others just might think, “yup, you aren’t ‘that’ enough so I should just hire someone else.”!

{xtypo_dropcap}Q{/xtypo_dropcap}So lets switch gears for a bit, not only are you an actor but you’re also co-founder of Holdon Log, The Standard in Performer Organizational Tools.  For those who haven’t heard about your company, what’s the quick “elevator pitch” about your company and why should all entertainers be interested in what you have to offer?

{xtypo_dropcap}A{/xtypo_dropcap}I am the co-founder of Holdon Log ~ “The Standard in Performer Organizational Tools”.

For over 8 years we have been assisting performers with the business side of their careers though our PerformerTrack webware (www.PerformerTrack.com), our Performer Logbooks (www.HoldonLog.com), our seminar “Lights! Camera! Tracking!” (www.LightsCameraTracking.com), our “Copy Provided” Form (www.CopyProvided.com), our “ShowBiz Cards” (www.ShowBizCards.com), the PerformerNation newsletter (www.PerformerNation.com), our sponsored Meetup networking events and a bevy of other services. It feels so great to be a part of something so needed!

See, we performers are really creative people. We LOVE to entertain, but when it comes to being organized and business-minded, we fail in various ways.  For example, keeping track of the casting directors we’ve met, whose attended our live performances, what we’ve invested in our careers and what directors we want to work with…if we were put in a position to know the answers most of us of us would just freeze up because all this information is scattered about (or worse, is in our ‘head’). Instead, such vital career information should be in one place where it can be easily accessed and you can log, track and manage your career daily through a proven workflow, thus remembering to follow-up, knowing who to target and promote our bookings to.  At the end of the day, you can then take a step back and see what’s working (callbacks, bookings, repeat bookings and direct bookings) and what’s not working (headshots/resume and demo reel submissions that do not result in meetings with potential representation or auditions) so that you don’t have to abandon your dreams. Instead we can “steer our career” by charting a course and taking action daily to move toward success.

{xtypo_dropcap}Q{/xtypo_dropcap}What motivated you to co-found Holdon Log?

{xtypo_dropcap}A{/xtypo_dropcap}A thorough “how it ALL happened” is outlined here: http://performertrack.com/history.html

However, the long and short of it is that our first product was actually a gift that my boyfriend (comedian, Brian Vermeire) made for me and presented during Christmas of 2000.  He was the disorganized performer who observed my ‘type-A’, Virgo, business-minded, detail-oriented self.  I was logging every communication with my agent, manager and my clients in a single, college-ruled notebook. In contrast, he was writing audition information on a multitude of scrap paper and loosing it. HoldonLog.com

I had all of my information in one place while Brian (giving credit here to a boyfriend who is observant!) noticed my “system” and made me the first ever Holdon Log…a hand-made logbook which had a cover that he “custom decorated” with gold brocade and drew in a Sharpie marker: “Kristina’s Official Audition Log of 2001”. In fact, there’s a photo here: http://performertrack.com/history-2.html

Shortly after receiving the gift, Brian needed one. I agreed it was “ok” to copy my gift for himself…figuring that I’d spend less time having to help him find his scrap notes for his auditions and callbacks. Then our friends wanted their own copies and then a theatre group was looking for fundraiser items…and the idea, which is a product now, became something we thought could help others, would only require a small minimum investment (design, duplication, trademarking, copyrighting – oh, and starting the LLC in the State of California was an $800 a year commitment…but we believed it would be worth the risk…certainly less money than making the film we were working on producing!). So, we researched the market, couldn’t find anything like it, and so we started taking meetings at bookstores and developing a web site for online sales…how 2001 of us!

Looking back on the past 8 years at our steady growth, as well as the reinvestment in our company and our careers (as well as our fellow performers who utilize our many free services and tools)…the Holdon Logs, the ActorTrack Software and now, the outstanding PerformerTrack Webware…I have to say it’s been an incredible journey. We’ve met some awesome Industry professionals and have received countless emails, unsolicited user testimonials and even hand written cards mailed to our P.O. Box that have really affirmed that the investment in our time, money and resources was (and is) worth it. We love performing, we know that other performers love what they do and if what we provide is that beneficial, proven, streamlined way for performers to stay business-minded while still creating, then that’s thrilling for us!

{xtypo_dropcap}Q{/xtypo_dropcap}How can we get access to the software?  Who can we contact?

{xtypo_dropcap}A{/xtypo_dropcap}Well the software that was known as “ActorTrack” has just undergone an incredible update and is newly renamed, “PerformerTrack”!

In fact, it’s no longer software but is Webware. Why? Well, an extended description is here: http://performertrack.com/FAQ-general.html in the “Why did you go from software to an online application?” section. The reasons were many and really define the future of our company, coupled with the daily lives of performers and the need to embrace technology.

Some basic reasons were that our clients:Performertrack.com

  • had problems remembering to take advantage of our updates
  • either had their laptops stolen, or crash and never backed up their data
  • wanted and needed access from multiple computers (at home, on tour, at their day jobs)
  • needed more application interconnectivity
  • have requested more of a community feel
  • begged for their information to be in the palm of their hands, literally…as in PDA’s, cell phones and smart phones.

 

There’s a product tour, FAQ’s section, Industry reviews and User Buzz at www.PerformerTrack.com. In fact, that’s the Web site to go to become a member and because you have been so kind and supportive, I’m going to give any of your readers 2 MONTHS FREE when they join for the year when they enter in the following COUPON CODE at checkout:

ATCT9

If anyone has any questions, they can email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

{xtypo_dropcap}Q{/xtypo_dropcap}Bringing it back to your acting career, are you happy with the way it’s progressed or is there anything you’d do differently that would’ve affected the route it’s taken so far?

{xtypo_dropcap}A{/xtypo_dropcap}I’m a firm believer that “everything happens for a reason” and while I can honestly say that I wish I had MORE of this type of booking and MORE of that type of booking. I think the fact that I’ve worked in many facets of the Industry (network, studio, independent projects, promotional, print, commercial, industrial, film, TV and voice-over) it has been a wonderful training ground and a way for me to cultivate my career rather than having a quick flash-in-the-pan performing experience. I’ve had roles that are internationally recognized that garner me lots of fan mail and yet I’ve had roles, like so many of us, that have been cut or projects that have never seen the light-of-day because of a myriad of reasons and that’s OK, I accept it and know that that it’s all part of THE PLAN.

I have a great outlook for 2009 having maintained contact with some incredible Industry professionals that I’ve met along the way and I do practice what I “preach”.  In fact I have a TV series, a hosting gig and a few scripts that I am in the pre-production phases of.

I think as performers we often dwell on the negative side of why we didn’t get the job, why the show got cancelled, why the movie is collecting dust on the shelves at Blockbuster…which is neither smart and nor healthy. If we do all that we can to memorize our lines, develop great characters, promote our bookings, then we have to let it go.

{xtypo_dropcap}Q{/xtypo_dropcap}What are you working on at the moment, where can we see you next?

{xtypo_dropcap}A{/xtypo_dropcap}Deep breath…working with my team on spreading-the-word about PerformerTrack is a high priority, as well as working on the updates that we have in place. We just released a batch of updates today and after having only been out for a few weeks…that feels incredibly uplifting.  We don’t have to wait any more to do an update…software is so 2005!

I have two films premiering this fall, another one going to International distribution, I am working on a viral-video idea with a character I played from a very popular film I was in, I’m outlining a biography show that I want to shoot a pilot episode of, I am revisiting  a short film that a group of us were working on before we got so involved with PerformerTrack, revisiting a feature length that I might sell/seek to produce and/or star in, I’m actively updating my web site www.KristinaHughes.com ... oh, and I’m working on a series of books for performers!

You can see trailers and teasers for some new projects at www.KristinaHughes.com. Of special interest to your readers might be the teaser for Helicon which I shot in NYC, NJ and Staten Island. It’s a rhotoscoped project and I play a nasty tabloid executive trying to get a talented writer to part with his script. I also have a part in the opening scene of Ron Howard’s Frost/Nixon as the only female White House Aide in the oval office, I shouldn’t be too hard to miss!

{xtypo_dropcap}Q{/xtypo_dropcap}Any advice for someone who’s looking to launch their own business while being a full time actor?

{xtypo_dropcap}A{/xtypo_dropcap}As an actor, or any type of performer, we have a leg up on others who aren’t working for themselves…we are freelancers and essentially we are Entrepreneurs. It’s in our nature to be a go getter and when you are in business for yourself, well you have to answer to yourself. We are the COO’s of our career --The Chief Operating Officers. If we are late, it’s our problem, if we don’t do the necessary preparation to know our lines, it’s our problem, if there’s too much money going out spent on unnecessary, untargeted mass mailings, classes and workshops we were not even ready for because we didn’t have a decent headshot, resume, reel and website to direct that Industry pro to when we follow-up then that’s our problem.

So with that natural fit, I can only encourage the performer who has an idea that they might want to turn into a business to research the “product”, what the start-up costs might be, how long it might or could be before they turn a profit, and to then make sure that their idea is really theirs and that it isn’t a knock-off. No one likes knock-offs and it’s pretty obvious when something is, it jeopardizes your personal integrity and in time I am sure that it could be pretty difficult to look at yourself in the mirror every day.

I can also say that time management is so important to help the full-time actor who becomes the full-time Entrepreneur to find a balance and not lose sights of their goals and dreams. Believe me in 2001, I did not think that I’d not only be working on my performing career every day, but that I also would be working 60-90 hours a week on my company. Thankfully, I love wearing both hats. I get to entertain people and I get to help those who want to entertain others. I win both ways!

{xtypo_dropcap}Q{/xtypo_dropcap}Any final comments for our ActorsConnect.com members?

{xtypo_dropcap}A{/xtypo_dropcap}Enjoy your community…promote it, grow it and share with others. It’s important to have a support system through the highs, the lows, and in the in-betweens.

To stay on top of my career happenings, sign up for my quarterly Hughes Happenings newsletter here: http://www.kristinahughes.com/contact-join.html

Thank you for reading the 10 Q&A responses that Tomas posed to me. I look forward to seeing you at an audition, on the set, at a seminar or on the Red Carpet!

Be BOLD,

Kristina

Parent Category: News