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EP 219: Dana Lyn Baron (autogenerated)
you booked it. Episode 219. Okay, let’s kick off today’s episode. I am super excited to introduce my guest today. It is Dana Lynn Baron. Are you ready to dig into this Dana?
Dana Lyn Baron: I am so ready,
Dane Reis: Brilliant. Dana is an American actors and voice over artist known for her extensive work on stage and screen on camera. Career highlights include guest appearances on NBC’s.
This is us Showtime’s shameless, Amazon’s Bosch and FX is golden globe sag and Emmy award winning the assassination of Gianni Versace. . She also acted in Netflix’s Oscar winning manque, starring Gary Oldman and starred in the leading role in the Emmy award winning comedy in passing there’s a breakout actress also appeared in Aaron Sorkin’s being the Ricardo’s Dana.
That is a very concise and quick intro of who you are, what you’ve done, but why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself, filling those gaps and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in that the entertainment.
Dana Lyn Baron: Well,I’d be delighted to do that.
I am Dana Lynn Baron. Again. I am originally from Kittery, Maine born in a Naval hospital. I grew up in San Diego, California, and lived in New York after college for. A decade. And I currently call Los Angeles my home. I have been a performer basically for most of my life and I am really excited to
Dane Reis: Very cool. Love it. let’s dig into this first section here and Dana, look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What is your favorite quote? You’d like to share with everyone?
Dana Lyn Baron: I have
Dane Reis: I have many
Dana Lyn Baron: love, but to go with this one. I have no idea who said it, but here it is. I tried to be normal once. Worst, two minutes of my life. So the reason I like that quote, see, I like that pause there. Yeah,
Dane Reis: Nope.
Dana Lyn Baron: I know. it. I tried to be normal once. Worst, two minutes of my life.
Okay. Where do I begin? I don’t know about you or your audience, but I know I spent a good chunk of my life training. To be someone I wasn’t trying to fit myself into the boxes that I perceived, whether they set it outright to me or not what family or my teachers or people in the industry. I somehow in my mind got the idea that I had to be a certain way act a certain way.
And so long story short, I wasn’t just being me. And I wasn’t believing that who I was enough. So once I, you know, it’sit’s funny living in New York city, when I moved there after college,
that’s I mean, th twice my twenties felt like graduate school in away. Cause I was Really and it was messy.
It was chaotic. It wasn’t just this perfect unfolding of my becoming the young adult that I was. But figuring out who I truly was. Like that was regulatory. That was and scary all at the same time, because I realized I had been, was a relief to know that I didn’t have to, I don’t know, just control.
The situation as much as many years. And It’s freeing to just be yourself.
Dane Reis: Normal is boring.
Dana Lyn Baron: what
Dane Reis: That’s what I want to say.
Dana Lyn Baron: want to say Normal.
boring. And when You have the freedom to just be who you are, be
Dane Reis: Yeah.
Dana Lyn Baron: Be Joyful. Be all
Dane Reis: Be all things. I you know,
Dana Lyn Baron: joyful, but I’m also, I can have my points too.
I don’t pretend anymore. that’s why I love this quote because when I can be honest about who I am and where I am. Day-to-day moment-to-moment that’s freedom and actors. We need that performers need that artists need that. We need to be free to be ourselves and stop trying to spend so much time to be what we think others want us to be
Dane Reis: Yeah. Yeah. The perception, what we think others want us to be, because ultimately the reason we booked gigs, the reason people are attracted to what we can bring to the table is because of who we are. Not because of
or something else. Right.It’s just being you and it’s harder to do.
It’s harder to it’s easier said than done,
Dana Lyn Baron: Oh, the messaging is fierce in society and in our it’s fierce, we’re up. we are up against a wall. A lot of the time,
the we get from family or from the world, even when it’s well-intended and coming from a loving space. we say
you believe, especially as a kid,
Dane Reis: I got,
Dana Lyn Baron: I got certain, of support and love and, but the messages were, oh, I get, if you say yes, please, and thank you that you will be praised for behaving.
Well, you know,like when I wanted, yeah.
it’s hard because in our work as creatives, circling back to it all circles back to that, The artists. I’ll speak for myself. My, my bookings, my success has started increasing tenfold. When I began to know myself like myself and be myself.
Dane Reis: yeah, a a hundred percent know yourself like yourself. A B.
Dana Lyn Baron: Yeah.
Dane Reis: well said, love it. let’s move on to this next section here. And Dana, of course you are an entertainer. I am 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,as well as. 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. There is an outrageous amount of fun and fulfillment and excitement 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 the other side better because of it.
Dana Lyn Baron: Oh, I ha sometimes I look at my life and the fact that I’m still here. I should have left. I should have woulda left this business like 20 years ago. And in fact, have, of my peers did leave the business 20 years ago. I couldn’t get, so my obstacle. I couldn’t get arrested in this business for so years.
You guys, oh my God. I don’t even know how to S after college, I, years we’re talking decades, guys, couldn’t get reps. And without wraps, of course I wasn’t getting the, what I call decent good auditions, no jobs. I didn’t book my first prime time TV show until I was in my mid thirties. and I kept going anyway some I know the reason actually I was going to say for some reason, I know the reason because God helped me. I always, I would ask myself, do you love what you do? And every time the answer was, yes. If I asked myself, can you work in an office? Can you go do this instead? Oh, there was like this loud. No, that just screamed in my head. So I kept going, but you guys, I could not get arrested. And I know for me,and I started performing professionally when I was 16.
it was but,
I still thought, oh, this is a hobby. It’s not a career. that was my mindset at the time.
but insides and my outsides Just
time. So professionally anyway, from the industry side, I got
people telling me they didn’t know what to do with me.
I seemed older than I was. I didn’t look older, but I seemed older. So it was weird. And I also with my weight for a long time. And not that, I’m in a place Now,
Dane Reis: of acceptance of my body and just knowing what what
Dana Lyn Baron: what a healthy
is. But in my youth, I struggled a lot with that, with weight, with body.
image, a lot of those things.
So my insights though, it didn’t match with my outsides, but also. I was going after this thing, this pursuit of, these jobs on stage on screen, but didn’t actually believe in myself deep down. didn’t believe in myself and yet I kept going. So what I learned from all of this is, I kept going anyway and what I learned was, perseverance. And resourcefulnessand just having the courage to follow that gut impulse, that intuition that tells you, know,when you come across something and
Dane Reis: It may be scary, but.
Dana Lyn Baron: light in you. Something lights you up. Something’s lighting me up about this. So I have to go, I go forward with this.
But that’s a long answer, to the biggest obstacle was like of going anywhere, but feeling utterly compelled keep doing what I love to
Dana Lyn Baron: do.
Dane Reis: Yeah, and I really like how you said, okay. I would ask myself, do you, do I love what I do? The answer was always yes. And. I think the big one for me is can I see myself working in an office or, you know,a regular muggle job. Right. And the answer was always no. And that’s exactly how I always felt because there are times when you’re, you really love what you do, but it’s hard, right?
It’s not, rainbows and unicorns all the time. Uh,as much as we’d love it to be. and it’s, it can be really challenging and really difficult, and you can still love it, but it can still. Exhausting.
Dana Lyn Baron: Oh
Dane Reis: And
my biggest thing, always from my career. Like I look I’ve done regular jobs. I’m I can do the job well, I can, whatever the thing is,
Dana Lyn Baron: Yeah.
Dane Reis: I’m like soul crushed. It’s I’m there. I’m like, this is a hundred percent not where I’m supposed to.
Dana Lyn Baron: Yep.
Dane Reis: doesn’t work that way. It just doesn’t work. You know what I mean? And I’m really not good at that. And that’s, and I know that about myself, so it’s also like the alternative, and I could never deal with the alternative and it’s just not where I, my, my mind works.
My body works and that, that resonated really a whole lot with me because that’s exactly how I feel.
Dana Lyn Baron: And that’s interesting you say, because my day job in my twenties, was I was a temp. I was a super temp, Executive administrative assistant, starting in New York. I worked at some major studios, major production companies, and I’m really good at my job.
I’m a very capable person. and in fact, related to the period of time, when I wasn’t getting arrested in New York, I started producing films, films and learning that skill. but I, so I was a temp in these offices though, and I was offered jobs. there were several moments that I could have gone down that path. Easily, but I said, in fact, I’ll mention one. I spent some time in Scott Rutan’s office in New York and looking, I was filling in because they were looking for someone for this one particular position
and they it to me. And
I took a breath. And said, can’t give you 200% here.
I am flailing right now, but I’m trying to be an actor. I acknowledged that, it’s not like I was getting offers left and right.
But I wasn’t done trying to build my career as an actor. So no, I can’t take this job in this powerful production
Dane Reis: Yeah. Yeah. Very cool. and to, and to make that decision is also a big decision and committing to yourself. did you find,
Dana Lyn Baron: Okay.
Dane Reis: or would you recommend. So you said you were working as a temp, but you’re working for production companies and still industry-related right. what are your thoughts on that is okay, if you’re going, if you’re striving to be an actor or whatever, the, whatever the thing is, the performer say in whatever part of the industry, what are your thoughts on, okay, if you need, you still need to make some money and finding jobs that are industry related.
Is that something you recommend people.
Dana Lyn Baron: I think
personally It’s fantastic. Now it depends. Cause I have, I wear a bit of a producer hat still in my life as an actor. So very good. And I’m interested in the business side. I’ve been reading the trade paper, and Hollywood reporter since I was 18. So I have a natural interest in the business.
I have actor, friends are very successful too, who are utterly oblivious about the business. They just couldn’t care less, but I personally think it’s phenomenal. Like I learned so much just I worked when I got back out to LA from New York. most of my time I floated around Warner brothers.
That was my main home. I was also at 20th century Fox, but Warner brothers. I love that lot. And for me, forget about even the office I happened to be working in and the learning things in of my favorite things to do was my lunch break. I wander around the lot just soak it in. There was something about even now, though, when I see a water tower on a studio lot, I’m just, I’m a kid.
I. Even if it’s for a short period of time, it’s so valuable for actors to spend time in a company, or at a studio that’s part of this industry for the learning aspect of it. But also just if you feel so often, we can feel so far away from that thing. We dream about that thing we desire.
I think it can be very, just very good to have that way to spend time like. I was able to walk around a lot and start in my mind, I’d say yes, I’d see a soundstage with a, a whole set built up. I’d be like, yes, I want that. That way. and start to feel like, yes, I see myself here.
Yes. I see myself I’m on the slot, working as an actor, I was visual. I was starting to visualize my dreams and desires coming true. That being a working actor, Um, I know also I interned, it’s funny. I don’t, I have to be honest. I don’t fully know the state of internships at this point, but I interned at
several casting offices. Yeah. But CA interning at a casting office.
oh my gosh.
I openings. So eye opening. and now interns don’t tend to make money, so that doesn’t help as far as that goes. But.
work. In the industry, however you can, because I started off temping and finance and that was soul crushing, but in New York, anyway, they love their artists.
So I could go off and go to equity for an audition or whatever. And they were actually far more flexible than the entertainment companies where. but still I didn’t care about finance. I was offered jobs in some of those companies to boot, you know,big global companies. And thought I will die
accept this job, I
Dane Reis: Yeah. And I really liked how you were talking about the visual, the visualization aspect of it, of being on set and immersing yourself into that world. And I think, where we see it more often on, social media and things like that is that entrepreneurship thing.
And people in people say, oh, if go to the car lot and sit in your dream car, whatever that might be,
you can feel that thing. So you can go, oh, this is. It feels like, right.But that’s, it’s the same concept, but, I think it’s really important to try to make the, if you can make your visual visualization much more physical, just makes it more.
yes. A hundred
Dana Lyn Baron: percent. Yes.
Dane Reis: Cool.
okay, 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 as an entertainer in this industry.
Tell us about.
Dana Lyn Baron: With pleasure. So this moment was when I realized that I was an entertainer, that this was not a hobby, was the path wanted for my life. And this was when I was a student. At a summer program, a summer theater program at Oxford university in England. And I was just having the most time in this program, meeting fellow actors from all over the world just having a great time and enjoying my work and. It was the first time though. I was starting to realize, it was based on feedback from and fellow students. I’m like, oh, I might be good at it. I might actually be good. actually be a good actor. And then all I know is there was one day during my time there, there was this beautiful courtyard in the middle of my college Bailey hill college and I was walking across it one day, minding my own business. And all of a sudden it was like this punch in the stomach. And I started sobbing.
In the of the courtyard, out of the blue and my friends saw me and came over, what’s wrong, what’s wrong,what’s wrong. I’m crying and going, I’m going to be an actor. And she was like, why are you crying? I’m like, didn’t know before. So that’s it.
Dane Reis: Um,
Dana Lyn Baron: And that was the moment I knew. I am going to tell my family, I’m going to tell everyone
Dane Reis: everyone you thought it was a hobby?
Dana Lyn Baron: myself,
obviously, but everyone will know
I’m an actor. That’s what I’m going to do.
Dane Reis: So
Dana Lyn Baron: do.
Dane Reis: So good. So profound love that. , let’s piggyback on that real quick and talk about your number one, booked it moment. Walk us through that day, the auditions and callbacks. If they happen to be a part of it, what was going on in your life?
And what about that moment? Makes it your favorite? Booked it moment.
Dane Reis: Very excited to share.
Dana Lyn Baron: because it is my most recent booking,
Dane Reis: Very cool.
Dana Lyn Baron: it was for my movie. That’s about to come out, which is Aaron. Sorkin’s being the Ricardo’s now. It’s my favorite for many reasons, which I will now reveal. first of all, it was during COVID. there’s that? I had my self-tape audition February at the Very beginning of February.
whole story. I was about to jump to the end, but I don’t want to do that. there’s a lesson in this one too, a lesson in this booking. So I did a
self-tape at the beginning of February.
and. Again, I mentioned stirring COVID so we’re all taking all necessary, precautions, hiding out at home, all the things
I nailed this audition.
I was one of those things. You know how you get an audition sometimes and you just go, oh, this isn’t my wheelhouse or, oh, I totally, I just get the story. I get the characters. Of course, sometimes you also look at, oh, who’s the director who’s in it. And then you get really excited when you see people like Aaron Sorkin and Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem.
I just loved the whole prospect of the thing. And
Dane Reis: And also by the way,
Dana Lyn Baron: maybe it’s because of my history doing musical theater.
And I did all the thirties and forties shows. I have a real knack for period pieces. And I did, last in David Fincher’s mink. And so I have a knack for this thing too. So I did this audition. Felt wonderful about it. And then I did something should never do because I was so certain w again, I was like, I am so right for this.
If I don’t get a call back, I will go insane. So I waited by the phone. I’m using air quotes because all the versions of winning by the phone, I was about it every day. Rather than just going on, on with my life and just doing the other things going on in my life. I stop thinking about it.
And it was driving me crazy each week went by and I didn’t hear anything. And I was getting really depressed. I’m like, what’s, how could I not get a call back at least? So I was waiting, and actors. can’t do that. We can’t afford to drive ourselves insane like this. We know this that said three weeks have gone by and I was on a call with a dear old friend of mine. I call her my third grandma. Cause she’s old enough to be my grandma, but she’s known me since I was 18 and we were talking and she knows me very well.
And I was telling her the whole story. Cause I’d been telling everyone this, all the people close to me anyway, this whole story about this audition. Oh, I should be getting called back and she’s Dana, stop it. And only she could say this to me. she scolds me when I need to be scolded. But in this very loving way, someone who knows me deeply, you have to let it go.
It’s I know Maureen, I know.
I should. I need to move on and not think about it. Just just let go. Just let go. And something in the way she said it to me, I was crying. I was emotional, but that night I finally let it go. Truly forgot about it. Slept really well for the first time in awhile.
The next morning, I got an email from my agent with an offer of the role. So I say all this, because I had the self-tape audition and I was offered the role three weeks later. No call back, director session. I was in shock. I’m like, is this a mistake? doesn’t Aaron Sorkin have notes for me. There must be notes.
I know I nailed it, but like a collaborator. I love the feedback. I want to hear what else he has to tell me about the character. Nope, you’re just hired.
Dane Reis: whoa.
Dana Lyn Baron: So That is my favorite book. That
Dane Reis: That is so cool. And when is the movie being released?
Dana Lyn Baron: it is being released?
on, Amazon, December 21st. And, but it
a, it’s going to be in theaters starting December 10th.
Dane Reis: Very cool. I’m excited for that.
Dana Lyn Baron: Yes,
Dane Reis: Beautiful. let’s take a moment to talk about the present. What projects are you working on now? What are you looking forward to? And you know,this global pandemic is coming. It’s coming. It’s coming. It’s going, how do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?
Dana Lyn Baron: Good questions.
Dane Reis: Yes, not all easy,
Dana Lyn Baron: Yeah.
no, but, it’s funny because basically right now, frankly, I am on the press tour for being the Ricardo’s and that, I, it’s funny. I have friends who’ve before me, as far as the things they’ve experienced in this industry, including doing press for things. This is my first time doing that.
So I am busy and on my toes with those activities. Very busy and busy with auditions. And I will say since this film, even before it’s come out, I’ve just experienced and observed a real leveling up, not just of the number of auditions, but the, quality of the auditions.
We can say like the that have never had me in before or having the in and bigger roles are more interesting roles than high profile.
Projects, which is very exciting for me. Um,have a publicist for the first time, and so there’s this leveling up happening right now. And there’s so much going on that I can sometimes feel a little overwhelmed, but I’m learning a lot. There’s going to be a lot of education going on too.
Right now. Fabulous. And I know when I get on the other side of it, I’m going to be, so I’m grateful now, but it’s oh, now I know what it feels like to go through a press tour for something, what it feels like to be in rooms with,
Dane Reis: You know, the people
Dana Lyn Baron: and admire and want to be working with.
And. Talking to them meeting
Dane Reis: them
Dana Lyn Baron: It’s it’s exciting and
at the same time, which is the best kind of, I nervous about something. Cause it, to me, that’s a positive thing. It means I’m excited. It means I’m alive. My energy, like I’m crackling right now, but
There’s a lot going on.and I need to take deep breaths every day. No, as far as. Uh, where I see the industry going and what this means for all of us actors. I just see
opportunities, more opportunities than ever for actors. this has been happening for a while now. Just there are more platforms for us to share our work for those of us who are creating our own work.
There’s so many places to do that. has been a real revelation. I think. it’s funny cause my friends who are from say London or Sydney, They’ve been doing self-tapes forever, especially when it comes to say those actors from those places who are auditioning for American films, they’ve been putting themselves on tape forever.
So I know, and myself included a lot of us American actors, even before COVID, were starting to increase, but I had a huge to them for quite some time. But
Dane Reis: but now what I noticed,
Dana Lyn Baron: again, I know
in many regards, but I will say During COVID
Dana Lyn Baron: When things moved to self-tapes completely.
my audition numbers were through the roof. there were quiet times, too, for sure. But once the industry reopened, I was like slammed with auditions. and. Casting directors for maybe for better, for worse with self-tapes. They can see far more people than, some offices, only bring in people per role.
Dana Lyn Baron: That was my experience, pre COVID and sometimes I’d be in those waiting rooms going,
Dane Reis: Yeah,
Dana Lyn Baron: we’re
Dane Reis: we’re really lucky.
Dana Lyn Baron: each of these roles I can see there’s only 10 of us per role. For the casting directors with self-tapes now they’re looking at a lot more talent and that is good because actors who maybe had trouble getting the rooms before may find, I think that
there’ll just be more opportunities. So what I have to
say about that.
Dane Reis: yeah. Very cool. I agree. I agree. Yeah. Technology has. It has and is revolutionizing this industry in a lot of ways and hybriding it. And it’s really interesting to see, and it’s going to be cool to see how it develops.
Dana Lyn Baron: Yeah.
Dane Reis: Cool. Well, let’s move on to one of my favorite sections of the interview. I call it the grease lightening 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. Are you ready?
Dana Lyn Baron: I’m ready.
Dane Reis: All right. First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?
Dana Lyn Baron: To be honest, my family didn’t understand this as a career choice, nor did I. So I think that was also a blessing in disguise because it gave me all kinds of skills
to create my own path
Dane Reis: love
Dana Lyn Baron: resourcefulness persistence, creating
Dane Reis: Beautiful. Second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Dana Lyn Baron: Never stop learning. Never stop
Dane Reis: 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 took a bit of a pause?
Dana Lyn Baron: Self-tapes are working for me
Dane Reis: We
Dana Lyn Baron: before,
Dane Reis: report Kobe.
Dana Lyn Baron: during on, I have to thank, I stayed in class. My acting coach kept his class on zoom. And for the first several months of the shutdown, focused exclusively on self-tapes doing amazing scene work and doing self-tapes and it just made all of us who were in that class together.
confident. In working the technical part of our auditions, as well as the artistic. And I actually love them now. I feel like I’m making many more.
Dane Reis: Yeah. Cool. Fourth question. What is your best resource? Whether that’s a book, a movie, a YouTube video, maybe a podcast or piece of technology you found is helping your career right now,
Dana Lyn Baron: It’s funny because I’m actually overdue for a repeat of this. I just pulled it from my bookshelf again, but I have many times read
re-read the mystic of the theater Eleanora. DUSA
Ava LA galleon. I love it. It’s a go-to yeah. it’s a must read. Must read for
Dane Reis: Okay. Writing it down and getting it. Thank you. 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 the industry, what would you do or not do? Would you do anything differently or would you keep it.
Dana Lyn Baron: I would. Worry less slow down, be myself and knowthat was enough that I was enough.
I love that and know thatthat was enough that I was. Really loved that.
Dana Lyn Baron: Yeah.
Dane Reis: And the last question, what is the golden nugget knowledge drop you learned from your successful career in the industry? You’d like to leave with our listeners.
Dana Lyn Baron: It’s a marathon, not a sprint. So we all have to stay in shape emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually.
Dane Reis: Yes, it is a marathon. So good. And to wrap up this interview, Dana, it has come time for you to give yourself a plug. Where can we find you? How to our listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to promote?
yes. So I’m at Dana Lynn, baron.com. I’m also Dana Lynn Baron on IMD B and all my social media platforms. and I should mention that my middle name Lynn is spelled L Y N just one N. that’s Dana Lynn.
Dane Reis: beautiful. And for everyone listening out there, I’ve put the links to all of Dana’s different resources, so you can easily connect with her and also be sure to share this podcast with your fellow interns. Coaches teachers, arts and entertainment educators, and anyone, you know,aspiring to create a career in the entertainment industry.
You book, it is the number one resource of expertise on how to actually create a successful entertainment career case. In point, everything we got today, chatting with Dana. If you liked this episode, hit that subscribe button. So you don’t miss the next one. Dana. Thank you so much for coming onto the show.
It’s been so fantastic having you on and getting to know you a bit and having a bit of a chat
Dana Lyn Baron: Thank you, Dane. I was so glad to be able to talk to you today. This was really fun.