EP 138: Maggie Bera (autogenerated)
[00:00:00] Dane Reis: [00:00:00] you booked it. Episode 138. Okay, let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Maggie bearer. Are you ready for this Maggie?
[00:00:13] Maggie Bera: [00:00:13] I am so ready. Thank you for having me, Dane.
[00:00:16] Dane Reis: [00:00:16] Right on. Thank you for being here. Maggie is a New York city based actress with a BFA in musical theater from Texas state university. She is a proud member of actor’s equity and sag AFTRA, regionally Meggie appeared as a quota understudying area in the little mermaid and understudying Christine in Phantom at fireside.
[00:00:38] Theater as Lucy van pelt in the world. According to Snoopy at theater under the stars choreographed by Adam Kates, lay ms. at Connecticut repertory theater directed by Broadway legend. Tony nominated Terrence man, and as Wendy in Peter pan, starring Riley Costello and Terrence man, she has appeared in numerous television print and radio ads.
[00:01:02]and Maggie is also the creator of the actor lifestyle blog podcast, and online learning community. The actor aesthetic, Maggie, that is a quick intro of who you are and what you’ve done, but why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself, fill in the gaps and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry.
[00:01:25] Maggie Bera: [00:01:25] Sure. Well,
Well, Hey there, Dane, I’m originally from New Jersey and I have been pursuing a career as a performer. Pretty much ever since I was about 10 years old, I began singing the national Anthem for professional teams, like the Mets and the Brooklyn nets and the Philadelphia 76 Sears. Yeah. So that’s how I, I started performing and gaining experience that way.
[00:01:48] And then I basically just, I spent the majority of my childhood balancing schoolwork, sports. I played travel soccer and auditions in New York city. I. Only was about 40 minutes away from the city, just to a train ride away. So I had an agent and I was auditioning professionally and it was a lot of work.
I mean, all of that, but it’s just something I’ve always is known that I wanted to do.
[00:02:16] And for years I trained at the paper mill summer theater conservatory, and went on to receive my BFA in musical theater at Texas state. And pretty much ever since I’ve worked professionally as an actress, both regionally,
uh, off Broadway and on television. I, as you mentioned, I’m also the founder of accurate aesthetic and actor, lifestyle blog podcast, and online learning community designed to educate artists and pursuing a career in the theater industry.
[00:02:45] So that is just a little bit more about me.
[00:02:47]Dane Reis: [00:02:47] Very cool. I love your journey and I really love the actor aesthetic. It’s such a great platform and
you, you give out so much incredible value. Just gotta follow you on Instagram.
[00:03:00] Maggie Bera: [00:03:00] Yeah, follow me on Instagram, but it’s just something that is really, at least during this time, since we cannot perform live, it has been really lovely getting to focus most of my energy on actor aesthetic and helping our community get through this really difficult time.
[00:03:16]Dane Reis: [00:03:16] , that’s fantastic. Thank you. And let’s move on to our first section here and Maggie, look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What is your favorite quote? You’d like to share with everyone?
[00:03:29] Maggie Bera: [00:03:29] I had to think about this for a little bit, but it is a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt and she says the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
[00:03:41]Dane Reis: [00:03:41] Oh, that’s so good. And can you expand on how you’ve worked that quote into your life and your career?
[00:03:49] Maggie Bera: [00:03:49] Absolutely. I have
always, always, always believed that there is room for everyone in the theater industry, but you have to be in it for the long run. So whether you’re an actor, director, writer, choreographer set designer, costumer. You have to believe that you are worthy, you have to believe in your gifts, how you can contribute and what you can uniquely bring to the table.
[00:04:15] Because if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will, especially in an industry like ours. And that is something I have been trying to apply to my daily life.
[00:04:27]Dane Reis: [00:04:27] that is so well said. Thank you. Yes. And let’s dive into this next section here and Maggie, of course you are an entertainer. I’m an entertainer. And I think that you’d agree that this. Industry can be one of the most subjective, brutally, honest, personally, emotional industry in existence. And you know,
you know, as well that in order to create an, have a successful career in this industry, like you’re having now, it takes a lot of dedication and hard work.
[00:05:01] And while yeah. There’s an outrageous amount of fun and excitement being an entertainer, doing what we do. There are also our fair share of obstacles, challenges. Yeah. Failures. We are going to experience and we’re going to have to move forward through. So tell us, what is one key challenge, obstacle or failure you’ve experienced in your career and how did you come out the other side better because of it.
[00:05:24]Maggie Bera: [00:05:24] This is a great question for me. The comparison game is very tricky and super easy to fall into. And what I mean by that is comparing myself to other actors. This can be really detrimental. I’ve learned that it can be detrimental to my wellbeing if I let it get that way. So I’ve learned it’s really important to stay in your own lane.
[00:05:49] Everyone has their own path. There is no one way to success. So when you look to the left, And you look to the right and you’re wondering why you didn’t book the job, but because someone else did, you’re almost doing a disservice to yourself. I truly believe that the opportunity that’s meant for you will find you.
[00:06:11]Dane Reis: [00:06:11] Yeah, absolutely. And it really, like you said, in the beginning with the quote that you have to be in things for the long haul, right.
right. And. You have to be on this reel. It’s a proper journey. It’s not just something you go. And you’re like, I’m just going to be on Broadway and you audition and you get it. And you’re done, you know, you have to put in the work, you have to put in the time.
[00:06:30] And there are so many puzzle pieces into creating any production, . It doesn’t matter if you’re an actor or if you’re a producer or if you’re in parent makeup. There are so many puzzle pieces that you need to be very correct for and write for, to be the right fit for that very specific time in your life and in your career.
[00:06:49] So like you said, stay in your lane. That’s such good information.
[00:06:53]Maggie Bera: [00:06:53] Yeah. And I also believe,
you know, the comparison game, though. It can be detrimental at all. It can also, if you look at it in a positive way and in a healthy way, you can improve from it. Um, if you are. Constantly comfortable where you are and comfortable with your skill set and your skill level, you will never, you’ll never grow.
[00:07:14] You’ll never get better. So not only is it a challenge to stop comparing yourselves to others, but it’s also important that we focus on what we can control and how we can continue to grow in the theater industry, because this is just something that we need to. No as actors.
I mean, you know, that it’s important to stay in class and to, to continue learning and growing.
[00:07:39] We don’t just stop after we go to a training program
or, or, or we just book our first show, we have to continue to learn and grow and strive towards a better version of ourselves.
[00:07:50]Dane Reis: [00:07:50] Yeah, I’m so glad you brought that up because it is a bit of a fine line between comparison and controlling what you can control and advancing yourself because you’re right. You can’t just stay stagnant. Because you’ll go nowhere.
Right? It’s quite literally the definition of the word, but you really do have to find that healthy balance because it’s like when you’re in a, in a dance class, for instance, and.
[00:08:14] There’s a lot of people that say you’re not the best person in the dance class. Maybe you were on the lower end of the talent or the skill set in that particular dance class. I love being in classes like that personally, because they push me and I’m able to, and it’s not that I’m getting upset because someone else can do something more.
[00:08:30] It’s that? Ah, this is what’s possible. Let me see what they’re doing. How do I adjust my body? How can I improve myself? So it’s about the mindset that you have going into it. Beautiful. And let’s move on to a time that I like to call your spotlight moment. That one moment in time you realized, yes, I am going to be an entertainer for a living or maybe it was, yes.
[00:09:00] This is what I need to be doing as an entertainer. Tell us about that.
[00:09:04] Maggie Bera: [00:09:04] I love this.
So. Oh, gosh, I booked the role of Marcy in spelling bee at Texas state university. And I did not think I was getting a role in that production, let alone Marcy. And here’s why I was very self conscious of my improv skills. I truly did not think I was a comedic actor or had the ability to be one.
[00:09:28] I didn’t think I was funny, but. The director saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. And it was the ability to play and to learn. And,
um, I really think my intuition booked that role. Now the whole experience itself was very collaborative. I worked one on one with the choreographer to choreograph my solo song and it felt like I was finally able to bring myself to the character and to the piece. And from then on, I knew that not only was I destined to be a performer, but I knew I was more than capable of intelligently taking a role and really putting my own spin on it. I also learned not to take myself so seriously.
[00:10:16] Dane Reis: [00:10:16] Yeah, that is a lesson that
we all, we all have to eventually go through. Very cool. And let’s piggyback on that real quick and talk about your number one, booked it moment. Walk us through that day, the audition and callbacks, if they happen to be a part of it or what was going on in your life. And what about that moment makes it your favorite?
[00:10:41] Maggie Bera: [00:10:41] Yes, this is my favorite one by far. So within months of graduating college, I had. Decent resume of both professional and educational theater credits. And I hustled, but I did not yet have my equity card yet. So I went to every single professional audition in New York city. New Jersey. I even drove out to Philadelphia.
[00:11:09] I checked two open calls, equity principle, auditions, equity, chorus calls. I submitted my headshot and resume to various casting directors. I signed up for an account on backstage and actors access and
I mean, I thumbed through the job boards. Every single day, I made it my mission to hit the ground running full force once I got out of school.
[00:11:32] So it was late in the audition season, I think around September or October. And I was getting exhausted. I remember going to EPS and ECCs as an non-equity actress at the time, waiting around all day in crowded holding rooms only not to get seen. Was a bomber and it was really starting to take a toll on.
[00:11:58] Me physically and emotionally, but I woke up one day and I was feeling like, I don’t know if I want to go into this audition today. I don’t know if it’s even worth it. I was getting really down on myself and I was losing steam, but I pushed myself and I decided to attend an open call, completely open call for a production at the fireside theater.
[00:12:20] Now. You know that open calls sometimes are notorious for being organized and because they don’t, you need to follow any equity rules. Open calls are really just at the discretion of the theater and its producers. And every call is different. So this audition was held at the former NOLA studios in New York city, and it was open to all non-equity members.
[00:12:45] Non-equity performers first come first serve. So I arrived fairly early. I signed up on a list with the monitor and I waited my turn and little did I know
that that one audition would quite possibly change the course of my career. The monitor. Happened to also be the artistic director of the theater and no idea at the time, I just had a friendly conversation with him and, you know, I realized how much we had in common and it was really nice getting to know him well when I went into the audition, not only that, but I also noticed a very friendly face at the piano and it was Richard Carsey who had worked.
[00:13:26] With my sister on the national tour of little house on the Prairie, the musical, like 10 years prior, he was the conductor on tour and a very good friend, my family and I, you know,
you know, You ever have those auditions where you just know? I mean, they’re just so collaborative getting to collaborate in the room with him while I sang my audition piece and he was one of the best pianists I’ve ever sung with in my entire life.
[00:13:49] It truly was one of the best experiences.
Um, And then the artistic director started talking to me about the shows they had coming up in their season. I got a call back for a show that I wasn’t even auditioning for at the time for Phantom, the more yessed in version, which I had never heard of before, only Phantom of the opera.
[00:14:09] And I worked my tail off to prepare for it. And very soon after I landed a role in the ensemble and I covered Christine Daya. And not only that, but the producer also offered me an equity contract, which would guarantee access to membership basically to join the union. So I signed my contract in November of 2017 and I officially joined actor’s equity association.
[00:14:35] And to this day, I am forever grateful to add flesh and the fireside theater for giving me that once in a lifetime opportunity.
[00:14:44]Dane Reis: [00:14:44] Oh, that’s such a great story. And I think it’s so important to also note that you went out there and you said I’m hitting the ground running. And I am going to do everything, put myself out there. And like you said, it’s not easy at all, but as you keep putting yourself out there, you just keep getting closer and closer to the yes.
[00:15:08] The time when you do book it, when you do make that really great collaborative experience with people in the room and it all works.
[00:15:15]Maggie Bera: [00:15:15] Exactly. And
it’s, it’s funny how it happens sometimes when you least expect it. I really didn’t think I was going to go to that audition. I didn’t think it was my show to audition for, and it really the, the show that was happening at the time that I was auditioning for certainly, really wasn’t my show, but it was a great opportunity to get in front of that creative team.
So, you know, it’s just, it’s just taking the opportunity when it comes and not getting in your own way. I think is what I learned from that experience.
[00:15:39] Dane Reis: [00:15:39] yeah. Not getting in your own way and also, especially. Especially, I would say when you’re new ish to a market, don’t do yourself, the disservice of pigeonholing yourself,
you know, the interest she’s going to do that for you. And then once they do that, then it’s, then it becomes yeah. Other struggle, right.
[00:15:58]Of getting yourself and pigeonholed. But don’t do it to yourself. Go out there, see what you can make happen.
[00:16:06] Maggie Bera: [00:16:06] Exactly. It’s just not worth it to pigeon hole yourself. Absolutely.
[00:16:10] Dane Reis: [00:16:10] Yeah. And let’s take a moment to talk about the present. What projects are you working on now? What are you looking forward to? And it’s a crazy time, right? We’re amidst this global pandemic. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?
[00:16:30] Maggie Bera: [00:16:30] Sure. So right now I am working on staying positive because the coronavirus, as you know,
you know, has virtually halted all theatrical productions. I have been focusing my energy on my business, which we spoke about briefly before, but actress aesthetic. I am. Constantly researching, interviewing, creating content for my audience to continue educating and inspiring them during this very difficult time.
[00:16:59] I also have been busy holding workshops with. College theater programs across the U S on how actors can do control of their online presence, both social media and professional websites. And I think that is an excellent topic of conversation these days, because. I do see the entertainment industry moving virtually at least more virtually than it has in the past until there is a solution to the coronavirus until there’s a vaccine and until we feel safe.
Um, and as far as the future of theater, I really am looking forward to an industry that is more inclusive. We’ve hear, we’ve been hearing a lot of talks about, uh, racial inequity and gender, gender inequality. And I just am looking forward to at an entertainment industry that promotes equality and champions diversity.
[00:17:52]Dane Reis: [00:17:52] Yeah, I really like all of your insight on that. And also with actor aesthetic really great. I think that you’re focusing on that digital presence because so I, the last seven years I’ve been in. Vegas working in performing. And that’s kinda been my hub that I’ve gone out of and,
you know, gone and performed elsewhere and things like that.
Um, but I found that. On the West coast when you’re in Vegas and LA the idea of really being heavily on Instagram, as far as using it truly as your running resume has been a bit more established than on the East coast. And now on the East coast, it’s really picking up steam and people are going, Oh, wait, I, we need to, we need this because it’s for a long, for a lot of years now, casting directors have already been when you apply you, when you submit.
[00:18:45] For anything, you go to an audition. What they want you to fill out also is your Instagram handle. What is it? Cause they’re gonna go check it out and is, and the crazy part is it doesn’t really matter if you think that’s crazy, you think it’s stupid. The fact
is, is that this is what’s happening. It’s already happening full steam on the West coast.
[00:19:02] It’s only gonna start happening more on the East coast. And it’s all about marketing. It’s all about money because they want to leverage your audience to get butts in the seats.
[00:19:12] Maggie Bera: [00:19:12] Sure. Absolutely. And I there’s no fault to them.
I mean, it’s, it’s something that’s really important when it comes to the business aspect of both the theater industry and the film and TV industry.
[00:19:24]Dane Reis: [00:19:24] absolutely. And then also a website, a lot of people dismiss them. They go, Hmm. You know, people
Hmm. You know, people don’t do people really go to websites. And the thing is people do, they do go to websites and it’s also a great tool to have because it. Is something that you, 100% control, there’s no ads that are going to interrupt anybody unless you choose to put ads on your website, but it’s up to you and you own the rules of the game.
[00:19:51] Because Instagram or Facebook, they can just change their algorithms. They can change anything at any time and make you more difficult to search and find. Whereas your website is always about whatever message you want to portray in the way you want to portray it. So I think having a website is so important for all entertainers.
[00:20:09]Maggie Bera: [00:20:09] Oh, yeah, I agree. It’s something that, it’s just one of the few things that actors feel we can control right now because of the pandemic.
Um, but why not take advantage of it? There are a lot of, you know, . Negative aspects of social media, for sure. But I
[00:20:25] think that the positive
is, is being able to create and establish relationships online and also to have control of your online presence and to show creatives and casting directors and artists a little bit more of you that they might not be able to see in the audition room itself.
[00:20:46] Dane Reis: [00:20:46] yeah, for sure. And case in point look, how did we get connected?
Right. I send you a DM and like, Hey. Want to be on the show and there we go. So it’s so important for relationship building, for sure. Have you heard of a website called entertainer websites?
[00:21:01] Maggie Bera: [00:21:01] I have not.
[00:21:02] Dane Reis: [00:21:02] Yep. So they do leap, it’s basically like a Squarespace or Wix, but it’s catered towards entertainers.
Right. And like killer pricing and everything like that. So I don’t know. It’s really good. Check it
[00:21:15] Maggie Bera: [00:21:15] Wow. That’s awesome.
[00:21:16] Dane Reis: [00:21:16] yeah, so it’s just very niche, right? Yeah, very cool. And let’s move on to one of my favorite sections. It’s called the grease lightening round.
[00:21:26] I am going to ask you a handful of questions. I want you to answer them as quickly and concisely as possible one after another. Are you ready?
[00:21:35] Maggie Bera: [00:21:35] I am so ready. Let’s do it.
[00:21:37] Dane Reis: [00:21:37] All right. First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?
[00:21:44] Maggie Bera: [00:21:44] the fear of failure.
[00:21:46]Dane Reis: [00:21:46]
Um, second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
[00:21:52]Maggie Bera: [00:21:52] I love this one. When one door closes, another one always opens.
[00:21:56] Dane Reis: [00:21:56] Yes. And the third question, what is something that is working for you right now? Or if you’d like to go pre COVID, what was working for you before our industry went on? Pause.
[00:22:08]Maggie Bera: [00:22:08] doing the work controlling what I have the power to control and leaving the rest to the universe.
[00:22:16]Dane Reis: [00:22:16] Oh, it’s so good. You can stress yourself out way too much, trying to control all those other factors that just don’t matter. They’re going to happen regardless.
[00:22:25] Maggie Bera: [00:22:25] Yep.
[00:22:26] Dane Reis: [00:22:26] Yeah. And it’s sometimes easier said than done, but. Focus on you, focus on what you can control that important. And the fourth question, what is your best resource?
[00:22:38] Whether that’s a book, a movie, a YouTube, maybe a podcast or a piece of technology that you found is helping your career right now.
[00:22:47] Maggie Bera: [00:22:47] Honestly, it’s the ability to be active on social media. Like you said, it’s how we connected. And as an actor and creative, it has been an absolute gift getting to create content and build relationships on social media.
[00:23:00] Dane Reis: [00:23:00] Yeah. And the fifth question, if you had to start your career from scratch, but you still had all the knowledge and experience you’ve collected from your career in this industry. What would you do or not do, would you do anything differently or would you keep it the same?
[00:23:18] Maggie Bera: [00:23:18] I would definitely 100% take more class growing up. I wasn’t a huge fan of taking classes at things I wasn’t necessarily natural at. I hated going to dance class, hated taking piano, hated, practicing, and I wish I just pushed through that.
[00:23:33]Dane Reis: [00:23:33] , very good. And the last question, what is the golden nugget knowledge drop you’ve learned from your successful career in this industry? You’d like to leave with our listeners.
[00:23:45]Maggie Bera: [00:23:45] When it comes to the theater industry, I promise you nothing is personal.
[00:23:51]Dane Reis: [00:23:51] Oh, That is so pertinent. It is literally like we talked a bit earlier. It’s all about the puzzle pieces. It has nothing to do with you. You either fit or you don’t and that’s okay. Yes. Such a better way to go into auditions, go into submissions, anything like that.
[00:24:09]Maggie Bera: [00:24:09]
Right? Because it gives you the power. It gives you, you, your power back.
[00:24:12] Dane Reis: [00:24:12] Exactly. Right.
Right. And to wrap up this interview, Maggie, it is time to give yourself a plug. Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to promote?
[00:24:25] Maggie Bera: [00:24:25] sure you can follow me on social media at actress aesthetic or my personal account at Maggie Berra. You can also follow me at www dot dot com. And for more resources, you can visit actor aesthetic.com.
[00:24:42]Dane Reis: [00:24:42] beautiful. And for everyone listening out there, I have put the links to everything Maggie just said into the description of this episode. So you can easily connect with her and also be sure to share this podcast with your fellow entertainers. Coaches teachers or anyone, you know,
you know, who’s aspiring to create a career in this industry.
[00:25:04] It is become an integral part of helping them succeed because this podcast believe it or not has actually become the largest resource of expertise on this very specific subject. So let people know about it. And if you’ve enjoyed this episode, make sure you hit that subscribe button. So you don’t miss an episode.
[00:25:21] Maggie. Thank you so much for being here today. It has been an absolute pleasure to have you on
[00:25:27]Maggie Bera: [00:25:27] Thank you so much for having me, Dane.