Kari Nissena




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EP 185: Kari Nissena

Dane Reis: [00:00:00] You booked it. Episode 185. Okay, let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Kari Nissena, are you ready for this Kari?

[00:00:14]Kari Nissena: [00:00:14] as they say, I was born. Ready.

[00:00:16]Dane Reis: [00:00:16] and award winning American actress. Carrie has performed extensively on the stage and screen with hundreds of acting credits to her name. She has acted in film, television, theater, radio commercials, voiceover, and more on the producing side of things. She has produced dozens of films, webisodes, and other projects and events in the entertainment.

[00:00:40] Industry as a sought after industry expert, speaker, and business coach for actors, she has coached thousands of actors on marketing press. I am DB improving their online presence, how to take control of their careers and much more Carrie, 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.

[00:01:07] Kari Nissena: [00:01:07] Sure, thanks for having me here. Um, I’m originally an East coast girl, but I’ve lived in Hollywood, California for a long time. And like most of your listeners, I’m an actor, but I am also a producer and. Perhaps most valuable to those listening right now, I’m also a business coach for actors specializing in the topics that actors really need help with.

[00:01:31] Like I am DB and getting on red carpets and getting pressed and building their online presence, which are basically the topics that actors really find challenging. Getting felt it find a challenging time getting help with, you know, so I like, I like the tough too. The tough topics per se, that actors just feel like, why isn’t there anybody doing anything about this?

[00:01:55] Or how do I do this? And instead of wasting a bunch of time,

[00:01:59] Dane Reis: [00:01:59] a bunch of time,

[00:02:00] Kari Nissena: [00:02:00] I helped them with that.

[00:02:03] Dane Reis: [00:02:03] Beautiful. So valuable. So glad to have you on the show today. I’m excited to dig into this and let’s move on to this first section here.

[00:02:13] And Carrie, of course I am a sucker for a good quote. What is it your favorite quote? You’d like to share with everyone.

[00:02:21] Kari Nissena: [00:02:21] Yeah, I’ve got one for you that I think, I think will do quite helpful.

[00:02:25] They can’t hire you if they don’t know you exist.

[00:02:30]Dane Reis: [00:02:30] Oh, it’s so good. I say that to people all the time.

[00:02:34] Kari Nissena: [00:02:34] So here’s the thing, it sounds kind of like a bumper sticker or something. It’s like one of those things like, yeah, I know that, but if we dive a little bit deeper, I say this all the time, because it’s, it’s. So true. In example, if an actor wants to work on, let’s say a particular show, like let’s say they’re targeting a TV show, but if that show doesn’t know that that particular actor is even a human being on planet earth, then how can they be cast?

[00:03:04] It’s not logical. So after you’ve been trained and after we’re always assuming you’re already talented, right. right. And that you have skill. So after all that is said and done, then what really comes down to having a successful career or not is the marketing. And a lot of the times your job as an actor then become simply to get known by the people that are in a position to hire

[00:03:28] Dane Reis: [00:03:28] a position of 

[00:03:28] Kari Nissena: [00:03:28] simple as that.

[00:03:30] Dane Reis: [00:03:30] What Yes. So simple. And it’s done in such a variety of ways, and we keep adding platforms in different ways to become known. Every day, it seems. Uh, but yeah, there’s and you really have to I’m imagine you coach this with , uh, your clients that you have to leverage the old school ways. You have to leverage the new school ways of doing things as

[00:03:49] Kari Nissena: [00:03:49] Yeah, we have to kind of, kind of, our whole careers are big improv aren’t they? So we, there are some tried and true things. Like I know that you talk about this as well as mindset is everything really, but , um, getting into action and then being flexible for when the new things or the next new thing that we don’t even know about yet is going to come around.

[00:04:11] You want to be ahead of the game, but when you’re trying to target particular people, it’s interesting to me that. A lot of actors don’t know that they can actually be proactive, say, okay, if the, that show runner doesn’t know you exist, make that show runner know you exist in a positive way, don’t be creepy or anything, you you know, know, but be professional and awesome and get them to know that you are perfect for their show, if you are.

[00:04:40] And that comes down to strategy and planning too.

[00:04:43] Dane Reis: [00:04:43] planning. for sure. Love that. And let’s get into this next section here. And Carrie, of course, you’re an entertainer and I’m an entertainer. I think that you’d agree that this industry can be one of the most subjective, brutally, honest, personally emotional industries in existence.

[00:05:03] And you know, you know, as well as I, that in order to create and  have a successful career in this industry, like you’re having now, it takes a lot. Of dedication and hard work. 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, and failures.

[00:05:22] We are going to experience 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.

[00:05:34]Kari Nissena: [00:05:34] You know, I feel like one of the challenges I had in the beginning of my career was finding a way to bring in consistent paid work. And I think that that’s almost every actor’s challenge. So I think one of the best things that an actor can do with the beginning of their career is to make sure that your survival jobs are more than just survival.

[00:05:54] So get work within the industry. So even have your survival jobs support you in your acting career beyond just the money. So I’ve worked at a theater, I’ve worked at acting schools. You can work at as, as a PA or do singing telegrams or whatever, but I want you to have something that will allow you to meet people in the business.

[00:06:18] While you’re paying your bills in between your acting gigs. because time is not always on our side. Right? So if you have to work 20, 30, 40, 60 hours a week to just keep a roof of your head, why not make those hours productive for more than just money?

[00:06:34]Dane Reis: [00:06:34] So true. It’s great perspective. I agree wholeheartedly it’s without even I’m thinking back on my career as well, and without even really.

[00:06:44]Without intentionally setting to do that. It’s exactly what I did. Um, and it’s served me well because it’s also developed relationships that I never expected and made connections within different parts of the industry that I never expected and has resulted in loads of work in different aspects of the industry.

[00:07:04] Kari Nissena: [00:07:04] and you become more well-rounded as a human, I think. And, and, you know, for goodness sake, you know what you want to start your own side business too. I think everybody should try to have multiple streams of income. And nowadays everything is from the computer. Have your own side biz, you know, have something that you can also be your own boss.

[00:07:22] And not realizing it’s never been more important. We’ve known, we found that out during the pandemic, right? Is that for those of us who already had businesses in play, the shutdown was kind of business as normal. Right. You know, but if you’re working to make somebody else rich, which is what most jobs are , you’re, you’re, you’re working for very little to help.

[00:07:41] Some other person become wealthy. When you’re in that situation, then when something crazy like this pandemic happened, so many people lost their livelihoods, you know, but instead have something on the side, at least that, that you can create that’s all your own.

[00:07:59]Dane Reis: [00:07:59] Yes. I think that’s incredible advice. 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, this is what I need to be doing in the entertainment industry. Tell us about that.

[00:08:23] Kari Nissena: [00:08:23] Yes, I’m ready for my close up, Mr. Dane. Um, yes , I, I wish I had one special moment to share with you, but it’s all I’ve ever wanted. So I started acting when I was very little and I’ve been an actor in, in the business in one way or another, my whole life. So sometimes we just know, and I was trying to think of, was there one play I went to or whatever, and.

[00:08:44] It went back so far that I couldn’t remember a specific thing because it’s always been there. It’s just, the acting business has been like another character in my story, you know? So it’s , um, sometimes we just, no, from the beginning,

[00:08:59]Dane Reis: [00:08:59] Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And let’s piggyback on that real quick and let’s talk about your number one, booked it moment. Walk us through that day, the auditions and call backs. If they happen to be a part of it, what was going on in your life?

[00:09:16] And what about that moment? Makes it your favorite book? That moment?

[00:09:21] Kari Nissena: [00:09:21] it’s funny. My book didn’t moment was kind of in hindsight. Uh, I didn’t know. It was a good story until after the fact after I. Played this role in this movie , uh, then my producer said, Oh yeah, we knew you were totally wrong for it. In the beginning. He was fighting for me. And I didn’t know this until we became really good friends.

[00:09:42] He’s like, so I had two producers. One said, this is the girl. And the other one who wrote the role after his mom, it was a real life story. So he had a very specific idea of what the actress playing his mother would be. And I looked nothing like her. I’m like a little blonde saying all bubbly and stuff.

[00:10:02] And this character is a ver the film that was the film basically is very negative and

[00:10:08] Dane Reis: [00:10:08] negative and

[00:10:09] Kari Nissena: [00:10:09] whatever, but , um,

[00:10:10] Dane Reis: [00:10:10] but , um,

[00:10:10] Kari Nissena: [00:10:10] But I came in as the character and as the story goes in the character of my director, producers, abusive mother, I scared him so much. Like he was when he was a kid that he was like, Oh, you were right.

[00:10:27] She is the girl. She is the one to play this role. And so the rest is history. That was, that was one of my favorite roles I ever did because I got to age 30 years and gained 30 pounds and I got to do accent and all kinds of different things that we dream of as an actor. So the moral of the story is you never know, go for things that even you sometimes don’t think that you’re right for it because you might be more right than you even knew.

[00:10:51] Dane Reis: [00:10:51] than you A hundred percent love that story. So good. And it’s, it’s crazy how life will take you on these little journeys. And I like how you said, you know, it’s kind of a hindsight booked it moment because sometimes, sometimes it’s hard to know that you’re in the middle of. You know, one of the most memorable experiences you’re going to have in your life, because you’re just living it day to day.

[00:11:10] You’re in that present moment, enjoying whatever that might be. And it’s hard to know sometimes and be like, yep, that’s it. Right. It wasn’t like you had booked a show that had been around for decades and you had that pipe to build up. It was a, it was a brand new project, a brand new story that fulfilled you in so many different

[00:11:28] ways. 

[00:11:29] Kari Nissena: [00:11:29] boy, you’re right on Dane, because you know, like TV that’s been around, we know what to expect. We can, we can. We can do our research or a play that, you know, if you’re doing a Shakespeare play, you can do your research before you go in. But if it’s a new work or if it’s a most indie films, you’re not going to know what you’re dealing with, you know?

[00:11:46]So you have to make your own strong choices.

[00:11:48] Dane Reis: [00:11:48] choices.

[00:11:49]Yeah, for sure. 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 weird time. We are amidst this global pandemic. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?

[00:12:08] Kari Nissena: [00:12:08] Yeah, I have, I have quite a few projects and scripts in the works right now for the acting side and producing side of things. Um, but one of the main things I’m concentrating on right now is helping my actors and I’m always working on new ways to educate actors and to help my clients and students get to the next level, 

[00:12:25] Dane Reis: [00:12:25] level. 

[00:12:26] Kari Nissena: [00:12:26] is.

[00:12:27] To me so exciting. It’s so it’s thrilling to see that happen. So I’m looking forward to building up my YouTube channel on for actor transformation, because I feel like that has the ability to help. Many actors, I don’t even know, you know, that’s, that can reach far and wide. And I have many other educational programs in the works for actors.

[00:12:49] And I feel like the industry, you know, I’m proud of our industry, man. We, we, we really did band together and it has now shaped itself into something so new and so interesting. And I think that. Uh, get rid of all the horrible stuff that has happened and all of the death and the, and the sickness and all that.

[00:13:08] If, as far as our, just the industry alone goes, I think that there are going to be many silver linings to this.

[00:13:15] Dane Reis: [00:13:15] to that.

[00:13:16]Kari Nissena: [00:13:16] You know, I think that there’s so many more opportunities for actors than ever before. You know, an actor sometimes get surprised when I tell them that about 90 to 95% of your career can, can be done straight from your computer right now, you know?

[00:13:29]Dane Reis: [00:13:29] honestly.

[00:13:30] Kari Nissena: [00:13:30] Which is exciting to me because it kind of has an equal playing field. So if, if the excuses that were holding you back before is, Oh, I’m from a small town or, Oh, they don’t need people like me or anything like that. Guess what? That no longer applies. You can, you can reach a global market. Now you can read it casting directors now that maybe were unreachable before, you know, you know, so it’s actually a really exciting time then if you’re truly willing to work and grow and learn and do the things that are outside of your comfort zone and the possibilities are not to be cheesy, but the possibilities are endless.

[00:14:07] Dane Reis: [00:14:07] are endless. Yeah. I agree. And look at the film industry, for instance, actor’s access has been around for quite a while, right? So the idea of self-tapes and submitting.

[00:14:19] That whole concept has been around. I mean, if I mean, if you’re in the film world, right. You know about it. And if you, if you want to be in the film world and you don’t know about actors, access, check it out. Uh, Uh, but it allows you to write remotely book work, whether that’s virtual or whether it means you have to then relocate or fly to whatever city it might be in or whatever it is.

[00:14:37]Right. Very cool. Makes the whole world accessible to you. But. What’s also happening. I’ve spoken with so many different people from the Broadway world, from the live theater world. That’s also, what’s going to start happening is that we’re going to start seeing auditions in more of a submission style auditioning structure for the Broadway show.

[00:14:55] So you won’t necessarily have to be in New York or LA or another major city where they might do auditions to audition for these. Amazing huge live productions and people are still learning how to efficiently and effectively embrace the, the technologies to make it really work for what they’re looking for.

[00:15:14]Uh, but it’s something that’s going to be happening. It’s something that’s already happening and it’s really exciting.

[00:15:20] Kari Nissena: [00:15:20] Yeah. Before you had to live white, like what in the 20 block radius?

[00:15:25] Dane Reis: [00:15:25] Yeah. More or

[00:15:26] Kari Nissena: [00:15:26] Yeah. And,

[00:15:27] um, 

[00:15:28] Dane Reis: [00:15:28] Astronomical living costs and all those kinds of

[00:15:31] Kari Nissena: [00:15:31] Yeah. Yeah. So I think that that’s, that’s kind of brilliant in way. And if anybody’s listening to, this is having fear about technology. I want you to know you’re not alone. Okay. A lot of people do let technology hold them selves back.

[00:15:45] So just because you don’t know how to do something, it, that doesn’t mean you don’t do it. It just means you have to take a couple steps to figure it out, you know? So.

[00:15:53]Dane Reis: [00:15:53] Watch a YouTube tutorial.

[00:15:56] Kari Nissena: [00:15:56] Thank God for YouTube. That’s why I love it so much. Right. 

[00:15:59] Dane Reis: [00:15:59] Yeah. Yeah,

[00:15:59] Kari Nissena: [00:15:59] you want?

[00:16:01] Dane Reis: [00:16:01] There you go. Brilliant. And let’s move on to one of my favorite sections in the interview. I call it the grease lightning around. 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?

[00:16:21] Kari Nissena: [00:16:21] ready, sir.

[00:16:22]Dane Reis: [00:16:22] Beautiful.

[00:16:23] First question. What was the, what was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career in the entertainment industry?

[00:16:30] Kari Nissena: [00:16:30] Money was a challenge in the beginning. Get peace with your money, mindset, savings and strategies early on.

[00:16:37]Dane Reis: [00:16:37] Mm. Mm. So good. Second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

[00:16:43]Kari Nissena: [00:16:43] I’m wearing my coaching hat. Now this is one of mine. It’s advice I often give it’s about the journey, not the destination.

[00:16:51]Dane Reis: [00:16:51] so true. It’s wonderful. To experience those peaks in our career, those resume lines, we want them. Right. Uh, but every single time, I I I’m sure you can attest to this. And anyone that I’ve ever spoken with that has achieved some really great peaks in their career that many people often aspire to is once they happen, as much as you’re grateful for them, as much as you appreciate them, they happen.

[00:17:15] And then that’s

[00:17:16] Kari Nissena: [00:17:16] And then that’s it. Nothing changes

[00:17:18] Dane Reis: [00:17:18] and then what, then you have to keep doing the work. Got you there in the first

[00:17:22] Kari Nissena: [00:17:22] Yes. And by the way, guys, you are yourself, no matter where you live and what level you’re at. Okay. So if you’re depressed or angry or pissed off at the industry or whatever, when you get rich and famous, you will just be magnified. Okay. So we want to be happy. Now we want to be proactive. Now we want to be grateful now.

[00:17:43]And then all the good, all, even more goodies come and then even that’s magnified.

[00:17:48]Dane Reis: [00:17:48] Oh, so good. Yeah, we got a couple great nuggets of advice right there. Thank you. 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?

[00:18:04] Pause.

[00:18:04] Kari Nissena: [00:18:04] Yeah , well, because of my 90 to 95% on the computer, not much has changed. So I just worked like a beast. So, um, My career philosophy is there’s always more to do even during a pandemic. So I’ll, I’ll never quite understand how someone can ever be bored. I don’t that the concept is foreign to me. And I think that,

[00:18:22]you know, there is always more to do always and a good

[00:18:25] Dane Reis: [00:18:25] Yes. Yeah, for sure. And the fourth question. What is your best resource? Whether that is a book, a movie, a YouTube video, maybe a podcast or a piece of technology you found is helping your career right now.

[00:18:40] Kari Nissena: [00:18:40] Okay. I think this might sound a little self-serving because that’s one of the topics I teach, but I am DB. It’s an amazing resource and every actor needs to take their IMDBs seriously. Okay. So if, if it’s causing you frustration, contact me for help because that’s my, that’s my jam, you know, but it needs to be taken seriously because most of Hollywood, most of the entertainment industry looks at that.

[00:19:05]Dane Reis: [00:19:05] Aw, so good. 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.

[00:19:16] What would you do or not do, would you do anything differently or would you keep it the same?

[00:19:22]Kari Nissena: [00:19:22] You know what I would love to do it all again. I wish I had a time machine. Um, but I would say this is something that can help everybody is I would have saved 10% off. I mean, 10% off of every penny that I made acting and, and otherwise, and just, you know, normal jobs too, for the compound interest. I would’ve started that when I was a child for my very first paycheck.

[00:19:43] Dane Reis: [00:19:43] first that’s such great advice. Especially when you start looking at compounding interest , it’s, it’s crazy.

[00:19:48]Kari Nissena: [00:19:48] it’s, it’s when I look back at it and I get mad at myself, I’m like, it’s just stupid. Why didn’t some? And if you, if you’re a parent out there listening for God’s sake, teach your children. When they’re four years old, that to save 10% off of everything.

[00:20:01]Dane Reis: [00:20:01] There you go. 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.

[00:20:13]Kari Nissena: [00:20:13] Yes. I want everybody to stop thinking and start doing. Okay. So stop thinking and instead take action. Meaning channeling. All of your stressing, all of your worrying, all of your analyzing, all of your thinking into just taking action, it will change your career and it will change your life.

[00:20:35] Dane Reis: [00:20:35] change your Thank you for that. And to wrap up this interview, Carrie, it is time to give yourself a plug.

[00:20:42] Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to promote?

[00:20:47] Kari Nissena: [00:20:47] certainly , um, actor transformation.com. If you go to the links tab, you will see all of my other links as well, which I have many. So I’m all over. But , um, please do subscribe to our YouTube channel because there should be lots of goodies for you as an actor, and also get on our free actor list on the website, because that will help you stay informed.

[00:21:11] If I have a class coming up or my IMDP program or private coaching or what what’s, what’s kind of wonderful is I also even do some done for you work. So. There are times in life where you don’t have to learn something and you can just delegate. So if you can just say, Hey, I need such and such done.

[00:21:31] Sometimes that’s the right way to go. And I do some of that as well.

[00:21:36]Dane Reis: [00:21:36] fan tastic. And for everyone listening out there, I have put the links to everything. Carrie 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, arts, and entertainment educators, and anyone, you know, you know, aspiring to create a career in this entertainment industry.

[00:22:01] You booked. It is the number one resource of expertise on how to actually create a successful entertainment career case in point , all those nuggets that Carrie  talked about today,  if you like this episode, make sure you hit that subscribe button. So you don’t miss the next one.

[00:22:16] Carrie. Thank you so much for being here today. It’s been an absolute pleasure having you on.

[00:22:21] Kari Nissena: [00:22:21] thank you so much for having me. I really love that. You’re making a difference in this world of actors. I really appreciate it.

[00:22:28]Dane Reis: [00:22:28] My pleasure