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EP 221: Krisin Bauer-Gross (autogenerated)
Dane Reis: You booked it. Episode 221. All right. Let’s kick off today’s interview. I am super excited for my guest today. I have Kristen Bauer. Gross. ? Are you ready for this?
Kristin Bauer-Gross: Oh, yeah,
I’m so ready.
Dane Reis: Right on Kristin is an American actress and writer known for her presenting career. Extensive work in over 100 commercials and her work in film as creator and host of courage to dream her mission is to encourage women to take on their dreams and goals behind the scenes that Kristin was formerly booking director of a talent agency, and also worked in the scouting department at elite model management in New York city.
Kristin, that is a very condensed and 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 those gaps and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry.
Kristin Bauer-Gross: Yes, I’d love to. I’m living in upstate New York, with my husband and our Persian rescue cat fluffy, and I’m, I’m working as an actor, and film and commercials. And I’ve had a long career, as an automotive spokesperson and presenter. And I’ve also really developed a lot of hobbies and a strong personal life, which I think maybe the first 10 years or so of my career, I was so focused on success and doing all the things that I feel like I left out a lot of, yeah, like doing life things that make you happy.
And so now. Do yoga. And I love hiking and gardening and cooking food that I grow in my garden. I believe, uh, miracles happen in the dirt. There’s really something special about the process of. Taking seeds and nurturing them, making them into a masterpiece salad, soup or meal, which could also translate into the entertainment industry.
really where you’re nurturing something and watching it grow.
And that it’s a process and not a destination.
Dane Reis: Yeah, totally love that. Well, I am super excited to dig into this interview, but first let’s move into this first section and Kristen, look, I’m a sucker for a good quote. What is your favorite quote? You’d like to share with everyone.
Kristin Bauer-Gross: Okay,
So I really thought about this question and I’m going to read one of my favorite quotes, which I wish I had. Known 20 years ago. this is a quote by Terry Berlin and, I’ve now taken many classes with her. She’s a casting director and also a coach in Los Angeles. And I bought her book and read her book some years back and she says, if there’s anything else you could do and be happy. Not even just exquisitely happy, but just happy pursue it. Because in my observation, this business is only for people who have no other option. If it is not your end all be all something you really must have, or you’ll jump off a bridge, then don’t get on the bridge. It’s not for you. However, if you,if you do decide it is for you, you need a second.
Uh,Bravura, you need a thick hide. It’s only thick on the outside. It has to be very thin on the inside or your vulnerability. Your compassion will die and no actor can survive without them. I don’t know how to tell you how to develop this. And I don’t think anyone does, but it’s an absolute job requirement because you’re going to hear no a hell of a lot more than your you’ll hear.
Yes. And so this really resonated with me. and,I think that I felt a sense of this for a long time. but hearing the way she put that into words, made me feel like this is the, this is just in me that I must do this.
Dane Reis: Yeah, it’s full on, in this industry is really were, can be really difficult. But we really have to go through it. And not only that we have to put ourselves on the line all the time and then show up again and do it again.
Kristin Bauer-Gross: Right.And I think I tried many times to fit into a. A different career, a different box. and I never felt like I kept feeling like, why can’t I just be happy doing something else? I can’t, I just be happy doing something else. So many other people seem to be happy doing something else.
and so finally I promised myself that I would just go for it and, if it didn’t work out, it didn’t work out. And if it did. it would change the course of the rest of my life, which it’s of course it has.
Dane Reis: Yeah. Yeah. A hundred percent love that. let’s get into this next section here. And Kristen, of course you’re an entertainer, I’m an entertainer. And I think that you’d agree that this industry can be like, we were kinda of just alluding to, it can be one of them. Subjective brutally honest and personally emotional industries in existence.
And you know,as well as I, that in order to create and have a successful career in this industry, like you’re having now takes a lot of dedication and hard work and. Yeah, there is 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.
We’re 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.
Kristin Bauer-Gross: Yeah. when I was I first, oh gosh. There’s so much to this question, but my first agent, she told me. Go off to college and find a normal career. And I had worked up a lot of courage to come speak with her and tell her that, this was really what I wanted to do for a living. I wanted to be. An actor, a model, a talent. I wanted to be a talent, a performer full-time and I was coming to her for her advice and her suggestions. And she was my first agent and she ran a very successful agency in a small market. And she just said, you got to go to college and find a normal career. I’ve seen a zillion girls taller, thinner, prettier, more talented than you go off to New York city and other major.
And not succeed. And I felt so disappointed and just heartbroken in that moment, because I felt like her opinion mattered so much and that, if she thought I couldn’t do it. I probably couldn’t and I grew up in a very small town where I felt like people already thought that if you were going to go off to become a, an actor, a dancer, a singer, a model, a any kind of performer or entertainer or anything.
That was just an astronaut, people thought this isn’t going to work out for you. Nobody really goes off and does that and succeeds. And I kept thinking, maybe I should just get, give up, but I went off to college and I took her advice initially, I thought, okay. I’ll create, I’ll create my plan B I’ll finish college.
I’ll figure out another career I could do. And then I promised myself, I would, I owed it to myself to see if this would work. And, later on 20 years later, just before she passed away, she gave a keynote address and. She actually told the audience about me. She shared with them my story of persistence and how I ended up becoming her top Booker 20 years later.
because I never gave up even in the face of her telling me to not go for it.
Dane Reis: That’s huge. there’s so much to be said about that. and persistence really is key in just about everything in life, but especially in this career where there’s a lot of people. And the thing is when we go to, so when good auditions and, or submitting things, people are very willing, I think even more willing to give their opinion, have you, than in normal, Regular traditional jobs in life, and the opinions are free flowing and we have to get used to hearing them all the time and try our best to, take it with a grain of salt and see if we can glean any kind of, beneficial things from those.
But at the same time, it’s, it is difficult to stick true to yourself and to be like, no, this is really what I want deep down and try to not let. Others free flowing opinions,distract you from what your overall goal is.
Kristin Bauer-Gross: Exactly.
Dane Reis: Yeah, much, much easier said than done, but it’s one of those things that we’re all going to have to encounter and something you’re going to have to work through. It’s an inevitability of this industry, and it’s amazing that you did persist and , like you said, became her number one biggest Booker.
Kristin Bauer-Gross: Yeah, and I really believed, there, there’s always going to be, there’s always going to be someone more talented than you taller, thinner, prettier, whatever the thing is. and I think I. didn’t give up. I just. Kept trying.
Dane Reis: yeah, for sure.
Kristin Bauer-Gross: I feel like I could be the story of anyone. And that’s why today. when people ask me for advice,I said, you can do this too. you just have to keep learning and keep growing. And not give up and know that, you ha your focus is not on the competition. Your focus is becoming the best possible version of yourself.
And, also understanding how to read. Do your craft? Well,because I think some people will hit their head over and over again against the wall. oh, I’m not booking, or I’m not getting the agent I want, or I’m not getting the auditions I want. but they’re not, they’re doing the same thing maybe over and over again.
And maybe there’s something they need to tweak. Maybe their headshots are all wrong. Maybe they don’t have representation that, really believes in them. Maybe they’re. Not very good at their craft. Maybe they’re not good at some of the technology aspects of it, like self taping or, Maybe there was a casting director one day that remembered them from something and tried to find them quickly on social media or on, Googled them and they were not find-able.
So I think you have to be doing all the pieces. You have to be find-able. You have to be, uh, it’s not a destination. That’s really, I always would think. Earlier in my career when I’d see a successful actor or somebody successful in any career, really, that there was some kind of arrival moment, but really now I see that there’s just this continual leveling up and it’s a process.
That is never going to end. So you’re always really working on the next thing, working on being better, working on improving any areas that you know, could be improved and, continuing to be
Dane Reis: Yeah, I love how you said that. It’s. there’s no destination where you’re like, yep. I made it. I achieved all my goals and sure you did, but I love how you said it’s a consistent leveling up. And I think that is a really well phrased way to
explain our journeys through
Kristin Bauer-Gross: right. But, and also I like, the idea of can, as you continue to level up to continue to be able to reimagine yourself, And reimagine what you want your career.
to be, because you almost have to work back from what your dream is. So if you don’t know what your dream is, you’re just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what will stick and instead to know specifically exactly what you want.
Even walk in your brain through your dream day, what is your dream day really? Do you even know what your dream, what is your dream in a very vague way is very different than knowing your dream in a very specific way. That way. Once you really know clearly, very clearly what your dream is, you can then go, do you just take all the steps backwards, you click, rewind and create all the steps backwards to get to. That, that goal or that dream,
Dane Reis: for sure. I like that you brought that up. When I work with people, in groups of people, I always say, look before we even start really digging into what works. accomplish and move forward with whatever you want to do. We need to first ask two questions is what do you want out of your career?
Really? Truly, like you said, get clarity and what are you willing to do to make that happen? Because the answers I find to those two questions, uh, well,first almost no one asks themselves these questions, but second, the answers to those questions can really help steer your entire journey and your career because some markets.
Lend themselves to different types of work. And if you want to do a certain type of work and that just market, isn’t really thriving in one of, in a specific market, then it’s a bit silly to show your show up there and try to pursue it. you’re already shooting yourself in the foot before you even began.
and alternatively there’s, I know. New York city or in the states, at least New York city and LA, they tend to be the quintessential hubs right. For entertainment. But there are a lot of people that look being in New York city, just doesn’t vibe with them as a person, get, they will force themselves to go to a market where they’re not.
Dane Reis: Th they’re not happy. They’re not in alignment. So that’s also, there’s things like this. You have to look at the whole picture. It’s not just the work it’s about you in the work and what you’re trying to pursue. And if you can get clarity on that, then you can set yourself up for success.
Kristin Bauer-Gross: Right.And I feel like it also changes as you
evolve. So we are your goal in the beginning of your career. I don’t know if I thought about it that way. I just thought I had one goal, but then as you can, to your life on-ramp on folds mountain unravels, your life unfolds, and you realize that, you have these different chapters where you get to re-imagine, who you are and what you want and what you want out of your career and how you want it. Completely re-imagine your life possibly. And I think the pandemic may have brought that forward for a number of people. And I know that I had a really struggle with this myself, back in, maybe let’s see two, yeah, 2000. Nine, my mother got bill and I was living in between York and Miami beach. And, there were a lot of work in those areas.
And coming back to rural upstate New York, to live with my mom and help her. I felt like this might be career suicide. I didn’t know where I fit in anymore. I wasn’t really at a loss of how I was going to make this work and keep my dream alive while living somewhere very rural.
But, and the end, I ended up finding,big fish in the small market effect and found some success in ways that I was really struggling with getting larger roles and bigger markets at that time, because I had started my career in modeling print and, was working more towards acting as a.
Continue as my life continued to unfold. And at the beginning of that can be really hard getting those speaking roles. And, and so moving to a smaller market actually gave me a launching pad for that. And in some ways was cool. and then I think that the pandemic ended up changing the way auditioning works altogether.
Having the opportunity to audition for big major projects from your own home by creating self-tapes is making it possible for small market talent to really work anywhere as long as you’re able to fly in for the job. And. Once you book it. This is, this is super exciting. It’s like a huge game changer.
because if you live really far away from major markets to be able to drive in or fly in for auditions regularly, this is not really, this is not sustainable long-term, but if you can create things on your own timeframe from home totally different. Different
Kristin Bauer-Gross: animal.
Dane Reis: yeah, a hundred percent agree. let’s move on to a time that I like to call your spotlight moment. That one moment in time that you realized, yes, I am going to be an entertainer for a living or maybe it was. This is what I need to be doing in the industry. Tell us about that.
Kristin Bauer-Gross: Yeah. I remember as soon as I heard this question, I, immediately. Have a moment come to mind. So that moment I recall sitting in an office and looking out my office window and feeling like I was in somebody else’s dream life. I felt like I got the job. I was, I had the great apartment I had. I don’t know all. I felt like I had all the things except. It wasn’t my dream life. And I just felt like I was dying inside. And so every day I’d come to work and sit in my office chair and I look out the window and I would imagine myself jumping out the window onto the pavement. Like,this is not a good, this is not a good feeling.
And as this continued to Mount, you know,I felt the pressure inside of me mounting that this is just not working. This is just not working. I’ve tried, several other careers and I just have to go for it and just have to create a plan. And so I created a plan and I quit my job and I packed all my stuff into my car. And then I moved and. I felt crazy in the moment, but that was really that pivotal moment that, that changed everything for
Dane Reis: Yeah. Wow. 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 callbacks, if they happen to be a part of it, but what was going on in your life and what about that moment? It makes it your favorite. Booked it moment.
Kristin Bauer-Gross: Right. Well,I got to tell you, I want to talk about a recent favorite book that moment. it just happened recently and I was working on a feature film in Buffalo, New York. And I happened that very day to meet a casting director who asked me to send my materials to him for another feature. And I auditioned and. About a month later. I mean,so much time had gone by that. I didn’t even, I figured that whatever, that had gotten booked by now, this was over and done. but I got a call thankfully every night before I go to bed, I check my phone one last time, because you never know what could come in at the last minute.
And so it was almost 10 o’clock at night. And I recognized the number immediately. I was like, oh my gosh,I lucked out of bed and I’m on the phone calling them back. And they said, I booked it. You booked that role. And it was, it’s a movie that will be on Hulu next year. you can’t talk about it too much yet, but I felt like.I created the first opportunity and it was such a reminder of how work begets work and how one opportunity can lead you to the next opportunity. And you don’t have to see the whole staircase. Sometimes you feel like you need to see all the steps in your plan to get where you’re going to next. And, you know,one opportunity can lead you to the next opportunity which can lead you to the next opportunity and that one.
That was such a great moment.
I just was so excited for that role and had worked hard for it. And I, I was thrilled. Yeah. Even when we were on set, the director came back after the first take and she said that was great. but I actually liked what you did in your audition better. And I like to change it around a little bit so we can do it more.
The way you had auditioned for the role and we’re going to change some of the dialogue. And I was just like, wow. that’s so awesome.
Dane Reis: That is very
cool. please keep in touch. I know, like you said, you can’t talk about it now, or too many details, but please stay in touch. I would love to check it out once it has dropped.
Kristin Bauer-Gross: thanks. We’ll do.
Dane Reis: Yeah. 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, we’re kind of in and out of this global pandemic, How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?
Kristin Bauer-Gross: Yes. Okay. the two films I worked on recently, they’re now in post-production and, so I’m looking forward to when they come out and we had the premiere, I’m also looking forward to getting back to my long time career as a corporate presenter and spokesperson for major automotive companies, which
kind of came to a very quick halt when the pandemic began, because, I traveled for special events, car reveals auto shows and. when there are no in-person things happening that all quickly came to an end. So I’m looking forward to leaving on Thursday for Los Angeles and, seeing what, what will be revealed there. I also work as a kind of a. an interesting little niche, as a coach for small market models and actors to learn, succeed in connect, because I felt in my own life that I’m very isolated in a small market and that there were, often I felt people would tell other people, oh, there’s no opportunities here. you have to move to LA or you have to move to New York. And, some people, they might be starting out and they plan to move to a major market later. Some people might want to pursue working as a talent for supplemental income or as a side hustle and, It, some people may be retire and want to pursue this later in life, a whole range of the gamut.
And I just found that where I live. there was nobody helping other people who were pursuing this. And, it wasn’t something I ever planned to do, but I constantly would get messages and emails and, people on social media asking questions. and so I started to. Also coach other people who will live up specifically in upstate New York, but also any small market.
because often there is work, especially, commercially in small markets and where I live in upstate New York, we have gotten a lot of texts, incentives in recent years. Although there didn’t used to be as much of a film scene. Quite a few films are now being shot in rural upstate New York. And so I think people may not even know this, and maybe there are other places across the United States that have similar incentives and, you, maybe you don’t live in a major market, but there is work that you could pursue from where you are with the time you have.
Kristin Bauer-Gross: And, and then consider. Other markets later or never, or anywhere in between, or, being able to self-tape from home, like I do, and then fly out to accept bookings and things like that.
Dane Reis: Yeah, very cool. I think it’s really interesting about how different markets evolve over time and, paying attention to. Various tax incentives and things like this, how, it’s a great way. If someone, if there’s a kind of good location, And, it’s a great way for cities and states to, generate extra revenue for the city, by being more encouraging in, for
or advantageous for people to come and film their projects there. And. Be included into that and being tied into what’s going on can make a big difference and where to keep your eye looking.
Kristin Bauer-Gross: Yes.
Dane Reis: Yeah. Very cool. Well,it is time to 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. Are you.
Kristin Bauer-Gross: Okay, I’m
Dane Reis: all right. First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer
Kristin Bauer-Gross: Belief in myself, belief in my talent that I was worth it, that I was enough and that I was worth investing in myself.
worth investing in yourself? Love that second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever?
my longtime teacher and mentor Sean McLeod. He used to always say this over and over again. He’d say you are only as successful as the number of people you bring with you. And this piece of advice or quote, really shaped how I thought about success going forward. The success is not just about what you create.
Kristin Bauer-Gross: It’s about how you live in the world, how you help others around you and that bringing others along with you is really. Important where there’s room for all of us at the top, we should all be helping one another,
Dane Reis: Yes. Third question. What is something that is working for you right now?
self taping at home. Thanks to the pandemic. I feel like that became an industry standard and it’s been the number one biggest game changer for
Kristin Bauer-Gross: migraine.
Dane Reis: so good. 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.
I think that zoom, which is which we’re on now. So it’s funny to say that, but,as you continue to hear me say over and over that I live in a small market. I think that now being able to train with coaches and people all over the world, Over zoom or other online platforms like that is, is just such a game changer because you don’t have to be able to go in person to a class in your local community.
Kristin Bauer-Gross: You can be learning from the, from all different, all the, all different people have A lot of gifts to share, and you can just be a sponge and absorbing and learning from so many people by using zoom or other online platforms.
Dane Reis: A hundred percent. 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 entertainment industry, what would you do or not do? Would you do anything differently or would you keep it the same?
Kristin Bauer-Gross: I would do so much differently in the number one thing I would change the most is I would have started to invest in my career way sooner by getting. Helping coaches, more career guidance and. I also would have, started a retirement plan sooner and, started socking money away having, having goals for that too.
but I think that you have to believe in yourself first in order to make the decision to invest in yourself. Because it’s like a chicken or the egg thing. if you get a really great coach, they’ll help you believe in yourself, but you also have to believe in yourself first and feel like I’m worth it.
Kristin Bauer-Gross: I’m worth investing in my dreams are worth realizing. And I have gifts and talents that are unique to me that nobody else has, and that I want to share them.
Dane Reis: oh, so well said. And the last question, what is the golden nugget knowledge drop you’ve learned from your successful career in the industry? You’d like to leave with our listeners.
Kristin Bauer-Gross: The key is to really get to know. Yeah, to get to know who are you and what do you stand for? I think that in the early part of my career, when I was not doing very much acting yet, and I was mostly modeling it’s modeling is like acting without speaking. And I beat after many years of, I, I started to feel very voiceless, and like,Thought or said didn’t matter.
And it, and I got to a place where I was like, who am I even? And what do I stand for? And so I think that you need to get really clear on, who am I, what are my values and not so much not conforming to what you think the industry wants. And rather than just developing who you truly are with your unique voice, your unique gifts.
And, this is my personal mission. So my personal mission. Courage to dream encouraging, women and girls and everyone. but especially women and girls to go for their goals and dreams, no matter what those are. And, and
Dane Reis: Great. And Kristen, it is now time to wrap up this interview, which also means it is time for you to give yourself up lug. So where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to.
Kristin Bauer-Gross: Yes. I have a free gift for your, for you guys. I always felt like it was stressful packing for going on set or going to photo shoots or when you have your next headshot session coming up. So I have actually created a. I checklist like a packing checklist, to make preparing for bookings a breeze.
And so you can get that free firstname.lastname@example.org backslash checklist. That’s K R I S T I N b.com backslash. Checklist. I, my favorite social media platform is Instagram. I am on Instagram at Kristin Bauer gross. I also have a coaching Instagram at Kristin B coaching, where you can find close to 50 episodes of the talent toolbox, where I will be sharing with you any. Any, and all bits of knowledge I’ve gathered from working as a coach in small markets, for actors and models. And, I’m also on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn at Kristin Bauer gross, which is my full name. yeah, that’s what I got to plug.
Thanks for the plug.
Dane Reis: yeah, fantastic. And for everyone listening out there, I’ve put the links to everything, including that free gift that Kristen just said into the description of this episode, you can easily. Connect with her and grab that checklist and also be sure to share this podcast with your fellow entertainers, teachers, coaches, arts, and entertainment educators, and anyone, you know,aspiring to create a career in the entertainment industry.
You booked. It is the number of. Resource of expertise on how to actually create a successful entertainment career case in point, everything Kristen gave us today on this episode, if you enjoyed this one, hit that subscribe button. So you don’t miss the next guest. Kristin, thank you so much for being here.
It’s been such an honor to have you on the show and to have a chat
Kristin Bauer-Gross: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.