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Episode 22: Actor Spotlight on Mike Nelson

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by Katherine Beck in The All American Biz
30/03/2021

Episode 22: Actor Spotlight on Mike Nelson

Today’s Actor spotlight is on Mike Nelson who has booked over 70 commercials.

Listen as Mike talks all about his acting career from working in commercials to his recurring role on a hit TV series.

 


You’ll also hear how sketch comedy helped in his auditions and bookings.

By the time you finish listening, you’ll know:

  • How Mike Nelson consistently books commercials
  • How he booked his role on a hit TV series
  • How he transitioned into acting

If this episode inspires you then I’d love to hear from you! Take a screenshot of you listening on your device, post it to your Instagram stories and tag me @katherine_beck_ !

Then follow me on Instagram to go ‘behind the scenes’ with me and my own journey as an American accent coach and Voiceover Actor.


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SHOW TRANSCRIPT

Katherine Beck
You’re listening to the All American actors podcast, Episode 22. In today’s episode, we’re talking with LA actor Mike Nelson. He’s going to talk about his experience as a working actor in LA, and how he’s built a very nice and sustainable career for himself through commercials. That’s coming up next. Ready to go behind the scenes and learn what it really takes to build a sustainable career as a working actor in the US film and TV industry? Join me Katherine Beck, you’re all American Accent coach, as I give you the insight and inspiration to take action on your career, learn my best tips and tricks to performing with an American accent and hear from working actors and other industry professionals to give you a comprehensive overview of this biz we call show biz. This is the all American actors podcast. We’re gonna jump into today’s episode with Mike very soon but first, I want to give a big shout out to Prateek Chatterjee, I hope I’m saying your name right, who sent me this incredible five star review and says: “Love the launch of the podcast. Listen to the first and the 10th episodes straight away and going to listen to the others soon. Katherine’s approach of using visualization with her stress on all American as opposed to general American is the key as it causes a subtle shift in mindset. This, I believe is very motivating and hopefully will go a long way in me learning and performing in an American accent”. Thank you for Prateek and I remember working with you in my five day American accent challenge last year, it was really great to work with you. Hope you’re doing great and still practicing your American Accent. And if you want to be featured as our star listener of the week, go ahead leave a five star review for this podcast and I’ll give you a special shout out right here on the show. So if you liked this episode, go ahead, leave us a review. Alright, today’s guest is an old pal of mine. Back in the Chicago days we met there when we were both cast in a Neil Simon play called laughter on the 23rd floor. And this was a truly incredible experience. The cast bonded and bounced off one another so well in performance that we ended up winning a Jeff Award for Best Ensemble that year. The Jeff Awards are like the theater awards in Chicago and Chicago is a big theater scene. So it was such an honor such a big honor to be recognized for our work as an ensemble because we just had so much fun doing the show together. I met so many great talented, funny, hardworking, generous actors on the show. And Mike Nelson was one of them. He is hilarious. He is hard working. And he is kind he is just an all around great guy. And so let’s just get straight to it. Let’s cut to the chase. Roll that tape roll that interview with Mike Nelson. Welcome Mike Nelson to the podcast a very old but not old friend of mine. Not saying that you’re old Mike. An old pal of mine from the Chicago days. Welcome.

Mike Nelson
Oh, hi, everybody.

Katherine Beck
Hi. Oh, it’s so good to have you here. Would you mind telling the listeners a little bit about who you are?

Mike Nelson
Sure. My name is Mike C. Nelson. I’m an actor out here in Los Angeles. I’ve been out in LA for almost 16 years. Crazy that it’s been that long. But yeah, I grew up in the in the Midwest and Indiana went to school there went to Indiana University and that’s where I kind of got my start. I never had done any any theater stuff or acting stuff I was petrified to be in front of people but but took an acting class I think my sophomore year in college and even though I was petrified I got the bug so after college moved up to Chicago and you know waited tables of course with that awesome double major degree I got college. But yeah, through that then started that took second city classes in Chicago and me and my friends did storefront theater and that’s how I met Catherine is you and I did an awesome Neil Simon play together years ago called laughter on the 23rd floor. And that’s how we met around.

Katherine Beck
And you know, what’s funny about that is I was going through some old papers that my mom gave me when I moved over here and I found all these old programs of mine from high school and Chicago days. And sure enough, I’ve got the laughter on the 23rd floor program.

Mike Nelson
Yes, I think I still might have the T shirt.

Katherine Beck
We had a T shirt?

Mike Nelson
I think they made a T shirt that had pretty much the front of the program. Wherever that was logo was with like all of our heads. I believe they made a few t shirts. And I think I still have one of those in my closet. I couldn’t couldn’t get rid of it. But yeah, so we met there around again, that’s like circa 1998 or nine, right?

Katherine Beck
99 I think.

Mike Nelson
Yeah, so I was doing that in Chicago and I started a sketch group called dry hump. While I was still in Chicago after I’d done my second city stuff and took some classes there. And was pretty much just doing sketch stuff up through 2005 when I decided to make the move to Los Angeles, I had a bunch of friends that one by one had slowly moved over to Los Angeles. So I got my job transferred over here my day job, which was in an office at the time as an executive assistant, just doing the whole nine to five work job. But yeah, had friends out here. So we have moved to LA in late 2005. Took a couple years of just again, I was just doing sketch comedy. I wasn’t even thinking about auditioning yet, or getting headshots or putting a resume together yet, but really, really had some friends. Give me a nice kick in the ass to get my stuff together, which I did. And I began auditioning, I believe in the fall of 2007, I think was my very first audition for a commercial. Which I got a call back. I booked it. I booked my first audition in Los Angeles, which seems…

Katherine Beck
On your first one!

Mike Nelson
Yeah. Crazy. And yeah, the rest is kind of history over the last, I’d say a good portion of the last 12 to 13 years. I’ve made made a living up stuff scraped by and made up made a decent living being a commercial actor mostly and have ventured off into doing some films and a reoccurring role on TV and, and all that jazz. So yeah, that’s a little bit about me.

Katherine Beck
That’s pretty incredible. And do you think like thinking back to that first audition that you have for that commercial, which then you actually booked, which is unreal! Did you ever think that you would be at this point with all the ads that you’ve done the reoccurring role on the television show the movies that you’ve done? Did you ever in your wildest dreams think that you would be here today,

Mike Nelson
Never ever in a million years, I still have like a pretty decent case of imposter syndrome most of the time. But especially when I started out again, non union, I had a friend take my headshots, I threw anything, but was pretty much like just make it look like there’s a few things on there, which I did. But yeah, to go to my first non union audition, and get a callback, I was thrilled that I got a callback because I thought it was kind of a nothing, you know, just a reaction pretty much for a commercial just making a face and reacting a little bit and got the callback and was like holy smokes. Because again, I felt so out of place and just like a fish out of water. And everyone seemed to know each other and be grizzled veterans where I was just this very shy, shy, scared, loner in the corner, sweating, my you know, head off. But then to book it, and to actually get on set and just get the feel for working with other actors and working with the director and working with a crew for the very first time on something like that. Yeah, it was, it was incredible. And then within, I think within six months from that first booking, I had booked a number of union spots and was a must join. So I think I started auditioning, yeah, in 2007. And I think By the summer of 2008, I had to plunk down a few grand and join sag AFTRA and become a union member, which I was most happy to do.

Katherine Beck
That’s pretty quick. That’s an incredible journey that you had in a very short period of time.

Mike Nelson
Very, very fortunate.

Katherine Beck
What do you think set you apart? And what is it about you Mike Nelson, where you’re so bookable, because you’ve I think you’ve told me that you’ve booked like over 70 commercials or so 70 plus commercials, that’s a lot of commercials. Now, let me tell you, I have audition for a lot of commercials I have not booked anywhere near 70 commercials. So what are you doing that the rest of us need to do?

Mike Nelson
Again, it’s I don’t you as an actor, you don’t really get to hear so much unless you know you befriend a director or a casting director, or you talk to clients and they say, you know, they’ll tell you possibly you know, what caught their eye or their ear or made them want you to be part of, you know, selling their service or their product. A big thing for me though, by doing it for this long and having, you know, we all have chasms you know in our resume where you don’t you don’t book you don’t audition for long periods of time but again to stay afloat. Most of the last 12 years is insane. So I’ve thought about this, and people have asked me and I think, I think a big part of it is I took it seriously. I took commercial auditioning, as if it was a theatrical audition as if it was like, you know, a Broadway audition, I took it seriously. And I think some people make the mistake in thinking that, you know, I didn’t move to LA to do commercials, I came here to be the next, you know, Julia Roberts, or the next Viola Davis, or whoever it is, and everyone has those aspirations. Of course, we all want to be doing TV and movies, and you know, all that stuff and win a big award. And we all have those fantasies. But I took commercial acting seriously, I actually did the work I always prepared. I always felt overly prepared on that front. And then also just my training is that I was a trained actor I had started off on stage, it’s like, I took all those acting classes in college and did a ton of plays and one acts and and then by doing the improvisational comedy, which I think every person, whether you’re an actor or not, should take improv just because I think it helps you in life. I think I have friends that have even written a book about that, where it’s just being flexible and open and making other people better. By doing improv, making your partner look good. And listening. I think those couple together, that I took it seriously, I trained myself as an actor, and I treated these commercials as such, but also worked on that, that that major tool, I think in, in commercial acting, being decent at improv and not being scared of it, when you hear that word of being like, okay, I can do this, instead of being like, Oh, crap, I gotta make stuff up at the end, or I got to put a button at the end of this commercial, or I gotta throw the script away and just wing it. To feel confident in that is very empowering, and very good. And the opposite feeling is awful of being, oh, no unprepared, or they threw a curveball, which they do all the time. And, you know, auditions, if you audition for commercials for very long, you’ll see that, oh, what we did in the audition. And what we do at the callback is completely different. Or they change the script or there, they ask you at the callback, Hey, would you read for this other part? That happens quite a bit. So to be like, again, not a deer in headlights when that happens to be open and be like, Alright, let me see what you’re asking me to do. Yeah. All right. Give me a second. Let’s give it a go.

Katherine Beck
Yeah, you’re so right, actually. And improv helps. I think everyone should take an improv class, just one. Even if you’re not an actor, just for general life skills, for crying out loud, it can be so useful. But I actually prior to us doing this interview today, I just did a voiceover job with the US. And it’s interesting because improv really does play a role in my voiceover career all the time. So for example, in the job that I did today, I did the audition, obviously got booked on the job based on my audition, which they really love the reads, but the actual job in recording, it went in a totally different direction. So the read that I did for the audition, while they love that, and they wanted to bring that into the job, it went in a totally different direction. So you have to be able to work on the fly and adjust to whatever they’re giving you and adapt in a very quick period of time. You know, we only have an hour session, just me, you know, just the the voiceover. So if I can’t be flexible and work with whatever direction they’re giving me? Well, chances are I’m not gonna get booked again. Right, exactly.

Mike Nelson
I think that’s what it is, is you just showed them that you were agile and flexible, and that you could pull that off in a short period of time and people rememberthat stuff.

Katherine Beck
That’s it, they remember it right?

Mike Nelson
You and and again, it’s the whole chain of command to it’s like the director, or the clients will remember you. The casting director will remember because they’re like, Oh, yeah, Catherine came in and she knocked it out of the park, we threw her a huge curveball. And she didn’t even bat an eye. She did this that the other thing, people remember that again, they remember that you they’ll they’ll remember your talent for doing that, of course that you can do that. they’ll remember how you treated everybody. You know, were you pleasant to work with. Were you nice? And were you a pro? I think those are kind of three things like, though if you’re really talented people remember that if you if you were like super cool to be with, they’ll remember that and like Were you a pro? Are you prepared to show up on time? Did you stay out of everybody’s way? Those are Yeah, those are three kind of big tenants of mine that I try to stick to when I when I work with anybody on anything.

Katherine Beck
It’s funny that you say that because a lot of the professional working actors that I meet and I talk with say the exact same things as you and I think that’s what really is I mean, you can correct me if I’m wrong. But I think that’s sort of the distinguishing factor between the working actors. And the not working actors is that we get that it’s a profession, that we have to be respectful of people’s time. We have to be kind and courteous and appreciative of getting the work and act like a pro.

Mike Nelson
Yeah. And I, again, I come from the school of thought that if you’re really, really talented, that’s great. But if you’re an A hole to work with, maybe that past in past decades, you’ve heard stories of, you know, these, this director makes people cry, or this actor is such a diva, and he makes them do these ridiculous dumb things. We can’t look them in the eye or anything. I don’t think that flies really much anymore. I don’t think people buy that or put up with that crap from anybody. It doesn’t matter. I mean, if Tom Hanks was a total jerk, I don’t think he’d have the career he’d have. You know what I mean? So I believe that wholeheartedly, if, if you’re talented, and you’re in a hole, there’s someone just as talented or more. So that’s a joy to be around, and a super funny and cool and smart. And those are the people again, we’re not here on this planet for very long. So why? Why waste time collaborating with people that make things tougher, instead of more fun and easier and exciting?

Katherine Beck
Yeah. 100% I totally agree. And so tell us, you mentioned this in the beginning, that you have a reoccurring role on TV?

Mike Nelson
Yes, I do. I was I was fortunate enough. And again, it starts with probably the most hilarious audition story, if you want me to talk about that.

I was very lucky to be working on a commercial a few years back, this is like six, seven years back. And my role, it was for a car company. And it was talking about, you know, having confidence. So I was playing a zookeeper. So I’m dressed up like a zookeeper. And I’m throwing these huge slabs of meat, these huge steaks inside, like a lion’s den at a zoo. And we were shooting north of Los Angeles, of course, not too far from LA, there’s a place that, you know, looks like a zoo with, you know, lions in there. And they had real lions, I think one or two females and a male with the whole mane and everything. And again, I they actually in one shot, they they had a line that was like tethered down, so I wasn’t gonna get attacked. But I was actually inside this this area with a live lion, which was scary, but it was also exhilarating. But most of it was just CGI, where they would shoot me and then they would shoot plates. And then they would shoot the lions all separate. And they put it all together using movie magic and stuff. So that was really cool to see them do that on the spot as well. So I get a call from my theatrical manager saying, hey, there’s a new show coming out on ABC called blackish. And they’re looking for this, you know, this guest star role of this, this doctor that works with the main mom, played by tracee Ellis Ross, and she brings her daughter to work and yeah, they’re looking for this doctor role. How’s it how’s the shoot going out there as the zookeeper Mike Well, I’m here all day today and tomorrow. So like, I can’t go in for it. Could I do a self tape and my manager found out he’s like, yeah, of course, they’ll they’ll accept self tape. So by being out in the middle of this weird outdoor area with, you know, a zoo landscape, and lions in cages and stuff, I just decided to do the the audition with the lion just over my shoulder in his cage, the male male. And again, I’m supposed to play a male nurse, but I’m dressed like a zookeeper. It’s just absurd and stupid. And I was like, I had only met these casting directors who couldn’t be more lovely. They’re the two just warmest supportive casting directors I’ve ever been in front of these, these two women casting directors that have just blown up and rightly so they’re so good at what they do. And they cast multiple shows going forward, including blackish and I had met them a few times and again, they were so lovely. I was like maybe they’ll think this is cool. They won’t think I’m a stroke or an idiot for doing this but i did i you know and treated it seriously even though the background was idiotic, unscented in and then yeah, I got the call from my manager. And that was like, pinned pinned me for it. And then you know, got the call, like, yeah, you’re gonna be working, you know, on episode number four overall of this new show blackish and that it was that it became such a big hit, and it’s in its seventh or eighth season already, which is nuts. But, but from that weird audition with the lions I have. I’ve been on the show, I think six or seven times as the male nurse Larry. Yeah. Then I get to work with tracee Ellis Ross, who couldn’t be a more incredible pro and funny and warm and nice person. To act with, and I almost always get to work with her. So that’s great. Yeah, and that first episode, I got to work with the youngest daughter, Marseille, Martin, as well. And at the time, you know, I forget how old she was, she was like, nine years old. And just incredible. I knew there was something special about her. And now she’s, she’s in her teens, but she’s the youngest executive producer, like on our second or third project already, like she’s going to like, she’s going to be President of the United States, or the head of a studio. So it’s been great to watch, you know, the kids even grow up watching the show, because I’ve become a fan, even though a part of this show is is great. And again, lucky to be a part of a show to where the crew is the coolest. The cast is the coolest, everyone’s just really warm and inviting. And so yeah, very, very lucky on that front to.

Katherine Beck
Oh, that’s so cool. That’s, I think the best part about being an actor is you never know what’s going to come your way. It’s all one big adventure.

Mike Nelson
Yeah, know what you’re auditioning for. Right?

Katherine Beck
Yeah, and you never know, like, something like that you never know that it’s going to take off because that was a new show when you audition for it. So no idea. And it’s cool too. Because even on that show, when I’ve gone back, again, I’m on there, like, once every two seasons, or once every,

Mike Nelson
you know, 30 episodes, I’ll show up for one scene. And when I when I’ve gone back, you know, the last handful of times, they treat me as if I’m a series regular. Like they all know my name. Everyone you know is is screaming nurse Larry, and all this stuff. When I get on get on set. It’s just like you guys really don’t have to do. It would be easy for most of you to forget about me. But it’s been cool to see. Even the upward mobility from season one to season now where there’s people that were, you know, third assistant director is now you know, running the set, or there was a dp that’s directed a handful of episodes now and just to see even people in the crew, or you know, people in the cast are now directing episodes and stuff, just to see that it’s like, that’s cool to have just people climbing the rungs of the ladder kind of together on a show is really cool to see as well.

Katherine Beck
Yeah. And so I know it has been kind of a crazy year and things are only now just getting back into some sort of structure and more productions happening. Anything on the upcoming horizon? Movies or any any projects you might be working on yourself?

Mike Nelson
Yeah, nothing, nothing huge. on that front. I had some cool stuff like happened kind of during the last year, I had a movie that I shot pieces of over the span, it was just this little movie that could it was it was kind of a horror anthology, Allah creep show or Twilight Zone, the movie or Tales from the hood, it was called the mortuary collection. And it came out right before Halloween in the fall on this new platform called shutter, if you’re a horror fan, if you’d like that genre of horror, they got so many awesome movies and we got to premiere our little independent film on there. And it was the most watched movie that shutter had all last year.

Katherine Beck
Oh wow.

Mike Nelson
Kind of blew us all away. But Clancy Brown is in it. If you don’t know who he is, he’s on. He’s a voice on SpongeBob but he was also the super mean, prison guard and Shawshank Redemption, really deep voice but he’s the loveliest man ever. He’s kind of the main person in the movie, but that was that was really nice during COVID to have something come out. And even though we you know, couldn’t get together to kind of celebrate but to have something that you shot years and years ago that took you know, a long time because it was a little independent film come out. That was that was really cool. Last fall. And then yeah, going forward. Yeah, I I have some writing projects that I we’ve submitted to some some writing festivals and film festivals and I, that’s my next big thing is working is getting back into the writing mode of things. I’ve had no creative juices during pandemic, I was really worried about just taking care of myself and my mental health and my well being and stuff. So when people were, some people were you know, using the time I’m gonna write 10 novels this year, I’m gonna use this time to get you know, new headshots and do all stuff I didn’t have that I was the opposite of that. I just licked my wounds and tried to survive this madness. So but now I’m feeling like the creative juices are starting to flow again.

Katherine Beck
And I think it’s important to have those times where you can just quiet down and reflect and take care of you and get away from the pressure of everything because then you feel more inspired than when you go back to it. You feel more creative. and new ideas come to you. You know, I take periods of time as well, where I, I don’t do any acting and I focus on other things. And then I feel like the love comes back again.

Mike Nelson
Yeah, if you can’t live without, it’s always going to come back. And I think it is it’s so important, you can’t hustle every second of every day, you know, you hear other people talking about like, you got to go when you wake up in the morning, before you even make your coffee. You got it? It’s like, No, no, no, I think that’s ridiculous. I think you have to live your life, you have to live a full life to be a well rounded actor, you have to experience all different types of stuff when it comes to life. So if you’re just hustling if you’re always in class, and getting headshots, and hustling, and sending out this, and that’s too much, I think you could burn out really easily or just become so frustrated when you really don’t, you know, get anything in return. So yeah, take a break. Take it easy on yourself, do the things that fill your cup, and make sure you’re doing that I think on a regular basis, like daily, weekly, monthly, whatever it is, but yeah, it’s like, unplug, and totally not worry about comparing yourself to someone else. Because of course, there’s someone out there that’s doing all the hustle stuff. Of course, that’s great. And you should emulate them from time to time. But but on your time, don’t don’t compare yourself exactly to anybody, because there’s no, there’s no exact right way to do this at all.

Katherine Beck
And I think, you know, thinking back to when I lived in LA, there is that pressure, the competition, because there’s so many actors out there, that I think it’s very easy to fall into that trap, right? Where you feel like I should be doing more, look at what this person’s doing. And you start to compare to other actors that are in your niche. But it’s important, I think, to take a step back. And you know, people can smell desperation, they can sense when you’re not working from a place of calm and respecting the craft. When there’s more. It’s more about I’ve got to book this job, I need to pay my rent, it starts to seep into your work. And do you do you still find that no likes, you know, things are so different now with everything being online. But with actors out there, that was my whole thing is I just felt like it was just too much like the competition. And that part of it seemed to sort of weigh me down when I lived in LA,

Mike Nelson
Yeah, again, I think you’re going to have that forever, there’s always going to be no matter where you’re at, you could be in Australia, or London, or New York, or Chicago or LA, you’re going to find that, again, there’s a bajillion actors out here. So of course, there’s going to be some that worry about that competition, and that hustle, and you know, trying to outdo each other, all that stuff. But again, I personally don’t adhere to that. I think it just breeds negative stuff. If you’re comparing yourself all the time, I think it’s very easy to slip into becoming a very cynical actor, very negative, being unhappy when other people book work. And I try to surround myself or find people that are people that are that do stuff, doers, and makers, like people that actually get stuff done, and don’t just talk about it, but supportive people to people that support each other. And in the commercial world, especially, I don’t know, many actors in the commercial world that I’ve become friends with, that aren’t more than supportive of each other. It’s a really lovely part of the industry that I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of that I see, you know, again, there’s going to be people that are like, oh, that person again, on a commercial or people see me and they’re like, a whole like, screw that guy spread the wealth, you jerk. But again, I I try to again, if I don’t book a job, oh, well, you know, some sometimes it hurts really bad. And that’s okay to feel that hurt when you really want something or you feel like you nailed it or it’s perfect for you. But I think attitude is everything and the easier you can let go of that or as quickly as possible. It’s like you know, feel all the fields you want but but don’t let that hinder you going forward and then you know, when your friends book stuff, be truly happy for them and supportive and excited for them because that breeds that’s good if I love when I see anybody in my orbit that does stuff like the other day when the the Oscars got announced the the list of you know, nominees, I have a friend who co wrote Judas in the black Messiah, he’s up for an Oscar. Wow, original screenplay. And then another friend of mine made a short film that is brilliant. That’s on Netflix. I don’t want to butcher the name. It’s a relatively longer name in the list of nominees. It’s like if anything happens, I love you. I think that’s what it’s called. And he’s his great friend that I met through mutual friends from Chicago, and he’s up for an Oscar for directing and producing this animated short film so it’s like why don’t two friends that could win Oscars and in a month or whenever that is like how cool Is that? And they’re, they’re just like you and I and all your listeners. They’re not. They’re not, you know, who they’re a celebrity or they’re a superstar. It’s like, no, there are people that have been putting in hard work over the years and are nice people that are smart and and now they’re getting this cool opportunity. And it’s just if it doesn’t fill you up with hope, instead of like, why did mine get picked? I guess. That’s the wrong attitude to have.

Katherine Beck
It’s inspiring. Yeah. And, you know, it’s funny, because I was on a zoom call with some of my actors last night. And the sort of general consensus is they were sort of all down on themselves, because they felt like they hadn’t put in enough effort into their American accent and the work that they should have done leading up to that call. And I said, Look, you know, you can keep beating yourself up, or you can start taking small actionable steps to where you want to go. I know, there’s always that sense of overwhelm. But each day, you can do just one thing, just one little thing. And just the idea of thinking about where you want to be is enough just to start getting you into that direction of where you want to go.

Mike Nelson
Yeah, it’s great to be honest with yourself, which they have, which is great, but not to a fault, not till it turns into this, where you’re beating yourself up over it for too long. Again, that

Katherine Beck
said, anything is possible. You can be just like your friends up on that stage, nominated for an Academy Award, it takes the steps to get there and the focus and the work. But you’ve got to be willing to do that. And anyone can do it. That’s the amazing part about it. Right? You and me, we could be up at the Oscars one day,

Mike Nelson
Your next decision is the decision you can you can make right now. Like whatever you decide right now, your next thing that you decide to do with your life, it’s like it’s a clean slate every time if you if that one is a mistake, and it’s a terrible decision, your next one is your chance to move in a different direction and do something that’s it sounds way too simple and stuff. But it is true. Like when people say, you know, live in the now and you know, live in the moment, it’s like, yeah, you kind of get millions of chances a day to make that different decision. And if you can make a ton in a row that are wrong or bad or negative, but you know, that next one is your is your first chance to make it move in the other direction. Let’s go positive ever. let’s let’s let’s start working on the what is an actionable thing that I can do? Because, yeah, you don’t want to be diluted. And that like I said, you want to be honest with yourself, if you know you’re not doing everything that you could be doing, at Be honest with yourself. But But yeah, if you’re working, if you start to work towards that new goal or something to accomplish, it’s like, yeah, there’s nothing better than that. There’s nothing better than feeling like your hard work. And anything in this life paid off. When it pays off. It’s, you know, gratification or whatever. It’s just, it’s hard to top that feeling.

Katherine Beck
It really is. Yeah, I wanted to bring up one final thing before we wrap it up, because yesterday I was on clubhouse, which is, you know, the new app. And I noticed that you were on there. And it was I thought your room was so great, because it was very inspiring for actors, you know, allowing them the chance to ask honest and truthful questions and get honest and truthful feedback. I don’t think I caught the beginning of it of sort of the tail end. And I thought it was really great because you had an A fellow actor bring up their work their body of work their resume, and their demo reel and get real honest, truthful feedback on what they had. And I thought that was so great.

Mike Nelson
Yeah, it’s it’s something that it’s brand new, like I was new to clubhouse as of like three weeks ago, but my friend Jenny, who’s like a co host with me, Jenny malir. And me, Mike Nelson. If you’re on clubhouse, we’re trying to do something every Tuesday evening, around around 730 Pacific Standard Time, which is whenever in Australia.

Katherine Beck
I’ll put it in the show notes.

Mike Nelson
Yeah, put it in the show notes. But yeah, again, we wanted to create a place because Jenny had been listening she she got addicted to clubhouse, and she was going into all these actor rooms. And there are plenty of rooms about acting in the business of acting and you know, some are better than others. But Jenny and I have been fortunate enough to work in the commercial world a lot and and still do so. So we wanted to create a very warm and open room to really talk about that part of the industry. Because it again, it’s not it’s not something that people would move across the globe or the country to pursue per se, but it can be lucrative and you can pay your bills doing it. So to create a room where it could be anyone that’s brand new that’s just decided to start out to to the grizzled veterans that have been doing this for way longer than I have but to be able to ask questions to fellow actors, but we’ve had a couple Commercial agents on we’ve had two huge casting directors, we’re gonna have a third big casting director in Los Angeles, come on and kind of Peel behind the curtain and talk about what their jobs entail, how actors can make their jobs easier. And what are something, what are some do’s and don’ts. But to get Yeah, real honest feedback from from what’s happening right now, like not hearing from someone that’s done a, you know, a commercial workshop, you know, for the last 30 years. And it’s, you know, that stuff might be a little long in the tooth or isn’t as fresh as it is now. So we’re trying to get people that work every day in the commercial world to give, you know, great advice and feedback. But, but yeah, just to also create a world of connection. Since we’ve had this year without waiting rooms and connecting with people and being able to go in with a partner and knock an audition out of the park. It’s been really nice. Again, we’ve only had three, and we’re gonna have our fourth one next, next Tuesday. But But yeah, it’s been really fun. I’ve been getting a huge kick out of it.

Katherine Beck
Oh, that’s excellent. And, yeah, I think it’s really important, you know, as a source of connection, like you said, for everyone to not feel so lonely at this time, and to realize that we’re all in it together. And we’re all experiencing the same feelings and thoughts within the process as well. And getting honest and real feedback and understanding, you know, what agents or casting directors are really, truly looking for, so that it’s not such a mystery for us actors?

Mike Nelson
That’s that’s a huge point. I think that’s exactly what it is. Because you’re never done learning. I’m learning stuff every week from our guests and people asking questions, because again, everyone’s got different perspectives, whether it’s, you know, someone that’s running a session, to the casting director to the person that’s working, you know, the sign in sheet, to fellow actors, but you’re, you’re talking about agency people and commercial directors and casting directors and your agent or your manager, and everyone’s got different perspectives. And you’re never done learning at all. So yeah, it’s been inspiring to hear these different perspectives, and that I’m still learning doing this for for a while now is really good. So yeah, I think we’re gonna keep it going for.

Katherine Beck
Wonderful. Well, Mike, it’s been so wonderful having you on the podcast, I truly appreciate it. You’re such a wonderful, old, dear friend of mine. So it’s been so great to chat with you. And I just wanted to ask you one final thing. Do you have any sort of thoughts of inspiration or words of encouragement for some of our actors that are listening here today?

Mike Nelson
Yeah, I think, again, one of the coolest things I’ve ever been able to do is sit on the other side of the table for some auditions, I got lucky enough through a friend who is a director of commercials. He was like, I need some help. I need the actors that are coming in for this audition to play off someone and you’re good at improv. So I’ll just have you read off screen. And I said, Yeah, what a cool, what a cool way to see the other side. And it was it was one of the greatest learning experiences ever to sit there for two full days of auditions and callbacks and see, you know, people come in and do weird stuff and kind of sabotage themselves and see other people that just were the best pros I’ve ever seen to see how good they were at what they did. But the biggest thing I learned was to just be way kind to myself. If you’re going in, and you’re prepared, like I said, those tenants from before, if you’re prepared, and you’re professional, and you have some talent, you’re always trying to get better, you’re doing a good job, and to actually, like look in the mirror, look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that and pat yourself on the back, you’re doing a good job and to be kind to yourself. And if things aren’t happening, you know, not to instantly turn on yourself and think it’s just you like, I’m a terrible actor, I’ve forgotten how to act or my look is terrible. I need to change my life. It’s like no, I that would be my biggest piece of advice is like, always be working on yourself. But but be the first person to give yourself a break. Because it’s hard. It’s really hard to do this for a living. And it does feel like you’re banging your head against the wall A lot of times, and just hoping that someone will throw you a lifeline. But yeah, I would say be the kindest person to yourself, be your biggest biggest supporter and forgive yourself all the time.

Katherine Beck
Excellent. That’s such wonderful advice. Thank you, Mike. And so one more time on clubhouse you are when and what time? Where can people find you?

Mike Nelson
Yeah, we do Tuesday nights at 730 and it’s myself Mike Nelson. And then my co host is Jenny JEN I and her last name is malir so if you find one of us on there and you follow us we’ll be able to promote the show and you’ll be able to find out when we’re doing a show in the future but yeah, if you guys could join that would be great because I’d love to hear feedback from people from all over the place so yeah, that would be exciting.

Katherine Beck
Yeah, cuz clubhouse is still fairly new. So basically if they Find one of you and they follow you, then what should happen is they will get notified every time you set an event for your room. And then they can then therefore join the room at that scheduled time for sure. Yeah. Cool. Thanks so much, Mike.

Mike Nelson
It’s been great catching up.

Katherine Beck
Yes, it’s been so good. Catching up and hearing your voice and hearing what you’re up to. You’ve done amazingly well, over the years. I’m so happy for you. And to be honest, not very surprised. I mean, you were very talented and very funny when I met you, and we work together in Chicago and that funny play. So no surprise there. But really great to chat with you again.

Mike Nelson
You as well. Thanks for having me.

Katherine Beck
Thank you so much, Mike, for joining me on the podcast. So great to catch up with you and hear all about your success in LA. And hey, if you’re an actor out there, and you’re wanting to work on your American accent and your self taping skills, then come along and join me in my monthly workout group called ultimate screen actor. The doors are now open, but only for a few days. So make sure you check out all the details and sign up at Katherine beck.com slash USA. It’s a really fun group, you’re going to learn a lot, grow a lot and be prepared for all those us auditions coming your way. The doors are closing soon, so make sure you check it out right away. And remember, if you love this episode, leave us that five star review. Take a screenshot before you press Submit and share it on your Instagram stories and tag me @katherine_Beck_ it’s always great to get your support and I would love to see you listening to the podcast. And coming up next week on the show. We’re going to be talking about how to start thinking like an all American Actor printer, I’m going to share my top tips with you on how to start treating your acting career like a business. Because let’s face it, being an actor isn’t just about being creative. It is a business. So we got to start thinking like an actor printer. That’s coming up next week. And make sure to share this show with all your actor friends. Let them know what’s coming up next week and invite them to tune in with you and learn how to become an all American Actor so you can be the working actor you dream to be until then go practice your American accent. And I’ll see you back here next time.

 

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