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EP 194: Katie Lynn Johnson (autogenerated)
Dane Reis: [00:00:00] you booked it. Episode 194. Alrighty, let’s get this started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Katie Lynn Johnson. Are you ready for this
[00:00:16] Katie Lynn Johnson: [00:00:16] I’m so ready.
[00:00:18] Dane Reis: [00:00:18] Brilliant Katie. He is a Filipino American actor, singer and filmmaker based in Albany, New York since receiving her bachelor’s degree in music from Hoten college. Katie has worked as a vocal coach with students on Broadway, national tours. NBC’s the voice and American idol in the capital region. She and her husband James are best known
[00:00:41] as the folk pop to O in the valley, performing on television radio shows and stages across the tri-state region. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Katie has continued to pay away in television and film known for her most recent role as a Bree in the hating game. Starring Lucy Hale, Katie is elated to be starring in the upcoming short.
[00:01:04] Film. If I could tell you a project she wrote and is executive producing with her team in upstate New York, Katie, 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.
[00:01:26]Katie Lynn Johnson: [00:01:26] all right.
York, and I’ve always loved singing. Singing was was kind of what identified me. And so for a while I pursued that career was working music jobs, gigging out with my husband after we decided we got married and.
[00:01:49] Decided to become a duo. And then I started teaching voice lessons. So that’s been a wild ride and just so much fun. But in the past few years, I recently felt just this drive to pursue the dream that I’ve been a little scared of doing, and that was becoming an actor. So film and television has always been a dream of mine.
[00:02:09] And I was finally ready to just take that leap and go for it. It’s something,
it. It’s something was just, I just, I couldn’t, I couldn’t wait anymore. So, anymore. So, I just have always loved storytelling and performing was something I’ve always known. So it was a pretty easy switch to make. And I just wanted to follow my dreams at that point.
[00:02:29] So I took that leap and became a sag after an actor. And I’m working the grind right now. But I do have to say it just feels so, so good to pursue what you really love to do. So
I’m kind of on this, like mental high right now, and I’m making like moves in the industry and I’m just so so excited about it.
[00:02:47]Dane Reis: [00:02:47] so cool. And you’re right when you. Really find that thing that you’re like, ah, that’s it. That’s what I need to be doing because I find for a lot of us entertainer folk
, uh, we tend to dabble here and there kind of in different aspects, different little niches or pockets in the industry. Right. Right. And while they’re all fulfilling in their own, on their own level.
Right. And we enjoy it. Uh, There’s definitely that difference, right? When you stumble upon the thing that you’re like, oh, there it.
[00:03:18] is. That’s it. That’s what I’ve been waiting
[00:03:20] Katie Lynn Johnson: [00:03:20] For me it was. Almost a place of comfortability. I don’t want to say complacency because I love music and I love singing, but I was too comfortable there. And I think challenging yourself and stepping out of that box is super important for you as a person. And obviously as your career is growing, you want to continue to challenge yourself.
[00:03:40]Dane Reis: [00:03:40] , a hundred percent. Well,
Well, let’s dig into this first section here and Katie, look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What is your favorite quote? You’d like to share with everyone?
[00:03:52] Katie Lynn Johnson: [00:03:52] Yes.
but yeah, this this is an unknown quote. I don’t, it’s not discovered who actually coined this phrase, but it is some days there won’t be a song in your heart sing anyway.
[00:04:13]Dane Reis: [00:04:13] Oh, I
really, really liked that quote. Can you expand on that and how it’s worked its way into your life and your career?
[00:04:20] Katie Lynn Johnson: [00:04:20] of course.
Yeah. I as someone who’s struggled with depression for a while, while, um, this idea and this quote has gotten me through a lot. lot. I mean, at different points in my life, it meant different things. ways. I mean, you could read that. And if you’re like in a, in a really sad place, place, I mean, it might be like, why would I, why do I want to force that?
[00:04:38] Why do I want to sing? But this is who I am, and I don’t want to forget this. And I know what brings me joy.
but it’s doing that thing that makes you feel alive and, um, and, Some days you don’t feel like doing it.
[00:05:05] So it’s just been a really helpful thing
as I’ve kind of struggled with my own, um, sadness and grief. So yeah, I’ve really loved it.
[00:05:13]Dane Reis: [00:05:13] Yeah, I really liked that quote. I’ve not heard it before.
[00:05:15] reminded me immediately. When you said that of a book called the war of art,
have you have you read that
[00:05:21] Katie Lynn Johnson: [00:05:21] I have not.
[00:05:23] Dane Reis: [00:05:23] It’s really quite short.
Um, to be fair with a four year old, I audio book everything these days, but it’s quite short and it is a really fantastic book.
[00:05:33] And it’s
, uh, it’s about a guy and he, it’s not about a guy. It is the guy who’s writing it, the author and he is an author and he talks about. Showing up every single day in doing the thing, whatever it is you do for him, it’s writing , uh, for you, it’s singing, it’s acting for us, whatever it is for you. Right.
[00:05:49]But the idea is you do it anyway because that’s what you do. And that’s what also creates more creativity, creates more inspiration. And even if you are in kind of
kind of a darker time that by doing the thing. Even when you don’t just feel motivated to do it actually helps you get through it and get to even better Heights.
[00:06:10] Katie Lynn Johnson: [00:06:10] Exactly. Yeah. Another really beautiful thing about that quote, like when you don’t feel a song in your heart sing, anyway,
it kind of reminds me at certain points you know, there’s there’s just this comfort and music transcends, you know, there’s, there’s a lot of beauty and sadness. And so we we should lament more. I’ll talk about that a little later.
[00:06:41] Dane Reis: [00:06:41] So good. Thank you for sharing that. And let’s get into this next section here in Katie. Of course.
[00:06:48] 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 and personally emotional industries in. Existence and, you know,
you know, as well as I, that in order to create and have a successful career in this industry, like your having now takes a lot of dedication and hard work.
[00:07:13] And while yeah, there is an outrageous amount of fun and excitement. Yeah. Being an entertainer, doing what we do. There are also our fair share of obstacles, challenges, and 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?
[00:07:34] The other side better?
[00:07:37] Katie Lynn Johnson: [00:07:37] Hmm.
have. Kind of a two-fold response to So, first I’ll probably touch on this a little more later as we discussed, but in my own personal life, I lost my mother at 15. So there was this ripple effect in my life. As you could imagine, where like not having my mom there really shifted my like world view. view. Like, what am I supposed to do from birth till 15? I was acting. Alongside her. I was dreaming with her about the projects I would do star, you know, when you’re a little kid, little kid, that’s what you think about. But, and then all of a sudden sudden it kind of felt like. The rug was pulled out from underneath of me.
[00:08:18]yeah, she was just so supportive. And so she passed away right. As I was going into that season of picking colleges and deciding my next steps. So I would say my first big hurdle as an actor really was
[00:08:41] So I think that was my first hurdle
huge, um, impact on my career path. I floated away from this dream that I had when I first was in college. And it took me a little bit to get back on track, to, a really wonderful counselor at my college.
probably. I just, I just really love language, but in my meeting with him, in many, many ways after that, I, I experienced the kinds of rejection and struggles that every actor experiences, you know, you know, there’s, there’s just a mean people that you’ll deal with in this industry. And I did experience some of that you know, I was going through a tough time and I felt like I was.
[00:10:06]Oh, just, I would almost say bullied and it was just so sad,
able to kind of, you be strong and get through that. And, um, definitely lots of rejections as I’m sure, you know, sure, you know, well being an actor yourself
[00:10:25] That’s all I’m doing these days. You
days. You know, if I’m not auditioning every day, it’s, I’m auditioning and submitting myself every other day. So it’s just a lot of nos and it’s a lot of remembering like the goal and remembering who you are and not letting that get you down. So. down. So. that’s that’s a big one. I, an example actually I think is probably my most like memorable disappointment as of.
[00:10:52]pretty recently. I got really close to being on this off-Broadway tour and I was working my butt off. I’m not a dancer. I am definitely a mover. And let me tell you, the dance audition was not for movers. And that was discovered so quickly for me. And I worked my butt off and I was I’m talking like high level technique, like triple, pure wets and days.
[00:11:16] And these things that I could not do, but I worked and,
then, you know, that fell through. But so that was, that was one of my more recent like, recent oh, I got so close, but close, but you know, it’s just getting back out there each time. So
[00:11:35]Dane Reis: [00:11:35] for sure. You said it to not forget the goal, why you’re doing this in the first place. That’s why
it’s, it’s so good. You know, when you really do discover that passion, then you go, yeah, that counter said, Katie, you need to be doing music theater, things like this. And it’s such a great industry. I think in a lot of ways that.
[00:11:53] Most of us, I would say almost all of us that are doing it on a professional level are very passionate about it because you really have to, right? Because there are so many notes, there is so much rejection and to not forget why you started in the first place and to remember,
you know, You being, you know, 14, 13, 15 years old with all of that excitement of the possibility before you get into the industry of, you know, what the reality of it, you know, really , uh, sometimes can be and to reflect then on why you’re So
[00:12:24] excited, why you always wanted to do this as super important.
[00:12:27] I think throughout our careers to keep reminding us, cause it’s easy to get caught up
in the, in the day to day and just seeing things for face value, just the rejection , uh, Upfront all the time, but It’s bigger than that for doing it for bigger reasons
[00:12:39] just a couple of nos. So good. Yeah. And let’s move on to a time that I like to call your spotlight moment.
[00:12:49] That one moment in time you realized that 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
[00:13:04] Katie Lynn Johnson: [00:13:04] Yeah, I love this question. This is
Um, I think it’s
[00:14:07] So it was like a whole solo and I grew up doing this. So is my thing I loved, and I remember singing this like super powerful song.
Who’s The Whitney Houston in the Christian world. especially at that time. And anyway, I sing this song and I like sing my heart out and I just love it.
[00:14:26] I love to just feel and really. Really let the words mean something. And after the service I had a woman approach me and she was pretty elderly and she was just moved to tears
little like eight or nine year old self singing, this big song and the way that she communicated with me, just like, even at that age, I was able to see like, see man, it’s powerful to tell stories.
[00:14:52] It’s powerful too. create art and speak to someone in this language. So I think that was a really defining moment for me in more of the storytelling, even though it was still singing.
[00:15:18] And when we can communicate and
really like. You know, impact someone. It just it’s so much bigger than what we think, think, And I think during COVID, it’s been really clear to people how important this is, is, you know, like I know there’s this whole. Necessity kind of thing where we’re like, okay, well, music, isn’t a necessity I guess it’s not the same as being a doctor or a nurse, but man, life is not the same without music and life is not the same you without, you know, live theater and all of that.
[00:15:50] So that moment for me
up to me.
[00:16:10] Like, you have so much fun up there. You’re just shining.
And it’s like, yes. Cause it’s fun. So yeah. That’s why my little winded response to that, but I love that. Yeah.
[00:16:20] Dane Reis: [00:16:20] Yeah.
It’s, it’s so true. And I think it really is. Specifically to live performance as well. Of course, listening to, you know, streaming streaming a song. That’s cool watching Netflix. That’s great, but live music, live performance, really, nothing replaced that energy of being in that room that I know exactly that feeling.
[00:16:42] You said you went to that
, uh, that Broadway musical. And he said it wasn’t enough for me to just be sitting in the audience and. I can, I can. So like viscerally relate to that , uh, that experience and you go to these, you know, amazing productions. You’re like, oh, all I want to do right now is just get up and be on stage.
[00:16:59] I don’t know what I’m going to do.
Right. But you just want to be part of it. Right. You have this overwhelming feeling and you just only get that kind of experience. And that feeling from live performance
[00:17:11] Katie Lynn Johnson: [00:17:11] Hmm. So true. Yeah. I just, I long
long for for that live theater to come back and it’s so soon I can feel it.
[00:17:19] Dane Reis: [00:17:19] Yeah. Yeah. Well,
Well, let’s piggyback on that real quick and let’s 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.
[00:17:33] what was going on in your life? And what about that moment? Makes it your favorite book moment.
[00:17:40]Katie Lynn Johnson: [00:17:40] Yes. So my book moment is super fun because I think it’s different than what I’ve heard on your podcast. So far, my I’m going to start out with a little advice for people, I
people, I guess, because I heard this and it changed everything for me. And that is if you want to. If you want something, you got to go out and make it happen.
[00:18:00] You got to go out and get it yourself. And this is an industry
you they don’t sugar coat things and they don’t mind to hurt your feelings. And honestly I, a, I’m a pretty nice person.
[00:18:29] A short film called if I could tell you, and this project has been just such an eye-opening experience, it has taught me so much. It is teaching me so much currently we’re going to be filming it very soon.
[00:19:09] And so my book DIT moment is going to be when I made that decision to do something a little scary and write and produce my own short film.
[00:19:20]Dane Reis: [00:19:20] I love that. And it takes a lot of. Oh, what’s the word? Just a lot of confidence, not even I said, no,
you know, confidence is the right word, but a lot of just, you know what, I’m just going to go do this. And you just got to barrel on through all of the, all of the discomfort, all of the fear. And he’s got to go, I’m doing this because the end goal is. Is worth it, right. right. Or what is the alternative? If I don’t do this, if I don’t take the step forward where I’m still going to be here, you know, just wanting to be achieving something else or something like this. Right. Right. And you just got to do it. And I think that’s a fantastic book booked at moment. I. I can very much relate to that.
[00:20:01] I would say that this podcast and everything that’s surrounding this podcast is, would be my book that moment as well. It’s the idea of creating something and really putting yourself out there because you also, it’s not just you as a role
in a, in a production it’s. It’s you with everything that has to do with whatever that project is and it’s, you really put yourself out there for a lot of criticism and you have to be willing to do it because you believe that the, the bigger picture is, is
[00:20:31] Katie Lynn Johnson: [00:20:31] right. Exactly.
so it kind of touches on some of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through. yeah, it’s, it’s a pretty scary thing, but.
[00:20:54]Yeah. Like I said, at the beginning of
this, um, this call what, you know, you want to do. There’s something in your soul that just like this feels right.
[00:21:10] So yeah, that this whole process has been exciting.
I, I already had caught the bug of, you know, film and television, , um, this kind of creative producer role that I you know, you’re right.
[00:21:23] When you say I have to have my hands in a little bit of everything,
but, I’ve been very blessed to be surrounded by such amazing friends that are professionals in. Their own fields,
[00:21:48] And I’m, I can’t wait to see you how many lives this can touch because I, from what we’ve already experienced, a lot of people need the story, especially right now. Um,
now. and. Yeah, sorry, I’m getting a little ahead of myself talking about the project, but producing.
[00:22:04] This has been something that has made me more proud,
proud, anything so
[00:22:09]Dane Reis: [00:22:09] I really liked that. Thank you. And please let me know when that project drops and goes alive. Cause I would love to watch it
[00:22:19] and. Yeah. And let’s lead into which I’m just assuming it’s going to be a bit about the, about your short film, but let’s talk about the present. What projects are you working on now?
[00:22:30] What are you looking forward to and how do.
[00:22:33] you see this entertainment industry transitioning and moving forward in the next couple of years through this pandemic?
[00:22:40] Katie Lynn Johnson: [00:22:40] Yes. So
yeah, the the project that I’m working on now is I’m about to start filming in just about a month. So we’re very close and I’m so excited to actually. days, we’re a small little team, but I’m really excited about the fact that we’re upstate New York filmmakers, because I think.
[00:23:09]The industry is,
is, um, you know, feeding feeding us this lie that you can only do film if you’re in LA or right in the middle of New York city. But there’s just so much, there’s so much creativity and there’s so many amazing, talented people that. Um, And this story, I’ll give you a little bit of, you know, what the story’s about because as I said, it’s about my life. it kind of takes a look at this character. No, well, No, which I’ll be playing and she is struggling after she loses her mom. And we kind of come into the story with her being out of it really disconnected, really lost and isolated, which I think people will resonate with. And. She’s prompted by her therapist to write a letter to her younger self.
[00:23:58] And so that is
, um, when I was going through,
[00:24:25] And I was like, dang, that, that would, I wonder what I would
say, you know, I wonder. I wonder what current me could bestow upon little Katie, you Katie, you know, little young Katie with big dreams, a big heart and very naive. And, you Unaware of what life is going to be full of. You of. You know, there’s a lot of hard things that we’re faced with.
And, um, so I really wanted to write this story because I’m really, my father-in-law puts it really beautifully. He says that we don’t lament enough in our world today. We don’t maybe talk about the things that trouble us and the things that give us, us, Pain and we we kind of want to push those away. And I think for so long, I had done that.
And, this, this story is going to be a really emotional journey for me. It already has been, but, but,um, I’m really excited to turn something like sadness and trauma into something beautiful that people can watch and just. Hopefully relate to and see themselves in. And, unfortunately so much of us, so much of our world right now is losing people were going through trials that none of us could have imagined.
And, I just think that when people are met with heartbreak after heartbreak, it can get really discouraging and and we’re coming up on a year with COVID. , so yeah, that’s just wild to even think about, but really getting in touch with ourselves and.
[00:25:56] Starting to listen to ourselves and listen to,
needs is is kind of a big thing for me right now. I’m just trying to be kinder to myself. And this story is going to be a huge piece of that. So yeah, I really am excited for, if I could tell you in you in this this story about talking to your younger self, so that is what’s currently going on for me.
[00:26:20] Dane Reis: [00:26:20] Yeah. Thank you. And the idea of, like you said
, uh, writing a letter to your younger self, or having a conversation with your younger self, you. know, in a, in an empty chair, That’s such a weird idea to kind start wrapping your head around because you can go, oh, don’t do this, do this, do this. But then if you’re thinking, oh, I’m talking to a younger self, but then you’re talking to, you know, a child, right.
[00:26:40]Who also doesn’t have perspective and can’t possibly wrap their head around perspective. So
how do you, how do you have that conversation? Right? Without, without. Hurting them or making things go the wrong way, or how about all those wonderful things in your life that happened because of an ideal circumstances?
So, gosh, what , uh, I’m really, I’m really interested to see your movie , um, and.
[00:27:00] Uh, it’s a very cool, yeah. Beautiful.
Well, let’s move on to one of my favorite sections in the interview. I call it. the grease lightning round. 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.
[00:27:19] Are you ready.
[00:27:21] Katie Lynn Johnson: [00:27:21] ready.
[00:27:22] Dane Reis: [00:27:22] All right. First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?
[00:27:28] Katie Lynn Johnson: [00:27:28] Security sure.
[00:27:30] Dane Reis: [00:27:30] Second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
[00:27:35]Katie Lynn Johnson: [00:27:35] asking myself if you love the process or if you love the prize.
[00:27:41]Dane Reis: [00:27:41] 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.
[00:27:52] Katie Lynn Johnson: [00:27:52] Surrounding myself with like-minded people in the industry. So taking a look at who’s around me and who I’m spending my time with and just starting to meet people that are passionate about the same things that I’m passionate about. That’s been huge.
[00:28:07]Dane Reis: [00:28:07] so important. 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 that you found is helping your career right now.
[00:28:19] Katie Lynn Johnson: [00:28:19] yes.
that. Um, that’s been a huge thing for me is this is my first time being assistant director and producing an entire short film. So I’ve loved that.
[00:28:35] And living in the light with Laura Lee Turner. So she was playing Karen and mean girls on Broadway when the shutdown occurred and she uses that podcast and platform to illuminate other people’s stories. So I love her a lot.
[00:28:48]Dane Reis: [00:28:48] brilliant. 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?
[00:29:04] Katie Lynn Johnson: [00:29:04] I would have jumped in right away. I’m a pretty fearless person when it comes down to it, but I was trapped in my own comfortability. So that’s jumping right in, was my, is my response.
[00:29:16] Dane Reis: [00:29:16] great. And the last question, what is the golden nugget knowledge drop it? You’ve learned from your successful career in this industry. You’d like to leave with our listeners.
[00:29:27]Katie Lynn Johnson: [00:29:27] all right. So I have to give credit to a friend of mine. His name is Brock Yurik and he was the one that told me this. And I’m so glad he did. Um,
you So much ahead of us that we can see with our eyes, but but it’s, it’s so hard to physically tangibly grasp it.
[00:29:48] So the advice he gave to me was, you know what, no one is going to hand you that leading role, that you really desire, but you have every ability to create one yourself. You have every ability to write a screenplay, get some buddies together, go produce a film and. That was a game changer for me. I think it was that week that.
[00:30:11] I sat down and I wrote if I could tell you and,
and, yeah, if I could just give anyone who’s out there, like me, who’s an actor, like longing for a career, but discouraged because you don’t have the experience where maybe you don’t have the acting real or you just keep getting all the nos and you don’t know how to get your foot forward.
forward. I would, I would say you have the ability to go out and create, so go do it. What’s stopping you.
[00:30:38]Dane Reis: [00:30:38] Yes, such great advice, everyone, please rewind that. Listen to that again. That was gold. And to wrap up this interview, Katie, 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?
[00:30:57] Katie Lynn Johnson: [00:30:57] Yes. Oh
man. I’ll start off with, if I could tell you the film that we are creating right now, we are so close to reaching
[00:31:17] So I’m really excited about that. You can go to, if I could tell you. Film.com. If I could tell you film.com, our Instagram is also if I could tell you film.
Y N N Johnson. So you can go to my website. It’s Katie Lynn johnson.actor, or my Instagram handle is Katie Lynn Johnson.
[00:31:41]Dane Reis: [00:31:41] beautiful. And for everyone listening out there, I have put the links to everything. Katie just said into the description of this episodes, you can easily connect with her and all of her projects. 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 industry.
[00:32:08] You booked. It is the number one resource of expertise on how to actually create a successful entertainment career. Case in point, everything Katie shared with us today. So many amazing golden nuggets for your career and how to keep going forward. If you enjoy this episode,
hit that subscribe, hit that subscribe button.
[00:32:27] So you don’t miss the next guest. Katie. Thank you so much for being here. I’m so glad we got introduced and I’m so glad you came on the
[00:32:37] Katie Lynn Johnson: [00:32:37] I am too. This has been so fun. I appreciate,
people. yeah, just thanks so much for you. Booked it podcasts and thanks for having me.