Hannah Jane McMurray

IG: @hjmcmurray


EP 33: Hannah McMurray (autogenerated)

Dane Reis: [00:00:00] You booked it, episode 33, Hey, entertainers and performers of the world. I’m your host, Dane Reis, and welcome to you. Booked it. Where I chat with inspiring entertainers, seven days a week by digging into their journey. We’re going to discover everything you need to do to be a successful entertainer, you know?

[00:00:25] Cause. Training, usually skips that part about how to actually make your skills work for you in the real world. Fellow entertainers, my drive here at you booked it is to share the inspiring and incredible journeys of successful entertainers. We are here to support your journey. So go to youbookeditpodcast.com and join the, you booked it, email community, where we dig deep into truly actionable things you can be doing right now to help you book that next audition, submission or gig.

[00:00:59] If you enjoy this free podcast, please show your support and search for you. Booked it on Apple podcast or your favorite podcast app, where you can subscribe. So you don’t miss an episode, leave a rating and review and to show our appreciation for your fingers crossed five star rating and review. I will give you a shout out on an upcoming episode at now.

[00:01:22] Let’s do this. All righty. Let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Hello Jane Mick Marie. Are you ready for this? Anna 

[00:01:34] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:01:34] I’m so ready. 

[00:01:35] Dane Reis: [00:01:35] All right. Hannah is a New York actress born and raised in Los Angeles. She holds degrees from both the Boston conservatory and musical theater, and from Lambda, the London Academy of music and dramatic art in Shakespeare and classical acting.

[00:01:53] In addition to stage TV and film, then a Jane is a sought after voice over and commercial actress and has worked on over 70 spots. She believes in learning something new every day. And there’s an avid history buff and science, enthusiastic who loves bad jokes, Hannah. 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, who you are, and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry.

[00:02:26] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:02:26] Yeah. Um, yeah, that was the basic outline. Um, I basically, um, I started out yeah, uh, in musical theater and started pursuing that right away, right after graduation in New York. But since then, I’ve really sort of, um, spread my wings out to a lot of other aspects in the industry. Um, Sort of piecemealing my career together as it were started to say us to a lot more, um, a lot of things that were sort of outside of my initial goal, voiceovers and commercials.

[00:02:59] Yeah. Things like that that have really sort of rounded out my career. And I’m really, I’m kind of happy with that. I feel like it’s a patchwork of, um, of a professional career, I suppose. 

[00:03:09] Dane Reis: [00:03:09] Yeah. I love it. Well, let’s move on to the next section here. I am a sucker for a good quote. What is your favorite quote you’d like to share with everyone?

[00:03:21] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:03:21] Can I do two favorite 

[00:03:22] Dane Reis: [00:03:22] quotes? Absolutely. 

[00:03:24] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:03:24] Okay. So one favorite quote, um, that was actually passed down to me by my mother is an Emma Goldman coat quote that says I would rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck. And I, I just love that in its simplicity and its sort of like reminds me about the simpler things in life.

[00:03:45] I’ve never been one for sort of glitz and glamor and just really gotten down to like, um, it reminds me what’s really important in life. Um, and so I like to carry that with me through my day to day is, and especially when I’m sort of trying to make decisions and oftentimes in the. Industry or decisions are based off of, is this something you love to do or is it something that you’ll get paid to do?

[00:04:10] And oftentimes you don’t get to do something that feels both those things. So that’s a quote I love via their quote that I don’t, I guess we can call it a quote, but it’s something that’s yeah. Helping me get by the day to day in this very surreal time that we’re living in right now. Okay. And I don’t actually know who coined this phrase first, but I know it’s been floating around the zeitgeists for awhile now is to do then the next right thing.

[00:04:39] And that I feel like has been like. I don’t know where I’m going to be six months from now. I don’t even know where I’m going to be three weeks from now, but I can sort of figure out where I’m going to be tomorrow. 

[00:04:52] Dane Reis: [00:04:52] Yeah, absolutely 

[00:04:53] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:04:53] helpful. Yeah. 

[00:04:54] Dane Reis: [00:04:54] Yeah. The last three months have been just trying to keep up with this ever changing landscape, the rules, the laws change.

[00:05:03] Daily almost, or they certainly were even hourly in the beginning of all this. And just trying to make the best decisions with the information we have is, is crazy. 

[00:05:13] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:05:13] Yeah, for sure. For sure. 

[00:05:16] Dane Reis: [00:05:16] All right. Well, let’s move on to this section and Hannah, of course you are an entertainer. I I’m an entertainer and I think you’d agree that the entertainment industry is one of the most subjective.

[00:05:29] Brutally honest, personally, emotional industries, either of us probably experienced and you know, as well as I that to create and to have a successful career in this industry, like you’re having now, it takes a lot of dedication and hard work. And while of course, yeah, there is an outrageous amount of fun and excitement being an entertainer.

[00:05:51] There are also our, their share of obstacles, challenges, and failures. We are inevitably going to experience and we’re going to have to learn how to move forward through if we have any hopes of continuing to do this professionally, 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?

[00:06:15] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:06:15] Ah, yeah, this question I actually had, um, I had a few instances. It sort of felt very beyond my control that have really helped guide and shape my career. Um, the first was actually something that I went through while I was at school while I was at undergrad. Just when I, I ended up having a knee surgery that pretty much was the end of any chance of me having a really full dance career.

[00:06:50] Um, and unfortunately as, as you know, um, knees are pretty vital to a dancer’s body. And so that was sort of something that I really had to. Grapple with, as far as which direction my career what’s going to move in. Um, I sort of, as I got older, my knees sort of got worse and I realized, okay, you know, I really have to move the focus from like going to these dance calls and sort of like making it almost the end, but like not quite getting there to being like, you know what I think I have to sort of embrace the reality that this isn’t where I’m going to shine.

[00:07:23] And it’s really it’s led me down some interesting paths. I, because of it, I now am a practicing aerialist, which has been such a gift. Yeah. Because I it’s sort of like dancing and strength Mmm. Without, or with gravity obviously, but without the impact of being on the ground. So that has been a really unexpected I also Mmm.

[00:07:48] As a singer. I, I ended up, I actually had a couple of vocal surgeries, not because of any that technique or anything like that. I’m willing to say. Yeah. But they really, they really stunted my singing career right. In the middle of when I felt like I was gaining momentum as a singer. So that was something that I really had to sit with and decide.

[00:08:11] Am I going to look at these precious years is something that I will never get back. Uh, how will I, you know, how I would recover from these surgeries was something that was sort of unknown. And that really inspired me to sort of focus a lot on TV and film, which. What’s something that, you know, we’d never studied in undergrad.

[00:08:32] Um, and something that I realized I really, really loved doing, and sometimes I think I’m better at it than other things. So it was actually a really, again, a really great gift. That’s sort of like both those things. I think really guided me to some thing that I really wanted to do sort of to hyper-focus my, um, my studies and my.

[00:08:55] Training and, and everything that I was going after. So yeah, that was, I literally got, yeah, he had to learn how to walk again and talk again and figure out how to do all the rest of it. And, um, also just made me realize that. That point there’s kind of no turning back. You have to sort of be like, well, I’m in it.

[00:09:13] So I’m just, you got to keep moving forward and, um, find the good with the bad, I guess. 

[00:09:17] Dane Reis: [00:09:17] So that’s absolutely. And those are two massive challenges that you had to get through. I love that you’ve pivoted and transitioned and found. What you are still passionate about are found new passions that might even be stronger.

[00:09:34] Like you said, then what you initially even thought you would make out of a career in this industry. And that’s something that I love about the entertainment industry as a whole, is that when we first go into it, at least this is my experience that I knew that Broadway existed. Obviously I knew that. LA in film and TV existed.

[00:09:53] But when I really started concentrating on the training side of it, it was all, it was the live theater, the musical theater side of things, and just get really focused and almost closed minded about what else could possibly be out there. Okay. Once you get into that real world, you really start seeing how expansive this industry can be.

[00:10:11] And there’s so many places for us to find  where our creativity and our art can flourish. 

[00:10:19] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:10:19] Yeah, definitely. I think, especially when we’re young, it’s almost like out of necessity. It takes all of our time to focus on training for this very, very specific thing. There are so many aspects of musical theater that.

[00:10:31] That need our attention in these very like formative years that our college that, yeah, I mean, I was totally blind to like all these other things where I just made the decision early on. I’ve made the decision, like I’m not going to do TV. I’m not gonna do commercials. I’m just gonna focus all my energy on this one thing.

[00:10:49] And when you find that that’s no longer an option, as I did suddenly, it was like out of necessity, but I’m so grateful for it. I’m it was out of necessity that I had to. We’ll look into other aspects of this and I’m so grateful. 

[00:11:04] Dane Reis: [00:11:04] Absolutely. Well, let’s move on to this next section now to a time that I like to call your spotlight moment.

[00:11:12] 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. Tell us about that. 

[00:11:26] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:11:26] Yeah. You know, this is, that’s an interesting question. I think because I was one of those kids who always knew that she wanted to be an actor or a performer in some way, it was, there was never doubt in my mind that this is what I want to do.

[00:11:43] Often. I often wish that there was something else that I wanted to do. I wish I wanted to be a lawyer. Um, but yeah, so I think. There was one. Well, I guess if my, my dad actually always mentions this like one, the specific moment where he felt like he knew I had sort of, I, that I was serious about it. Um, and I think it was, it was a very specific production of cabaret that I did when I was 15 years old, I think.

[00:12:15] And, um, I fought and begged and I ended up playing the MC. Which was really bizarre for a 15 year old girl. And I did my best Alan Cumming impression and I like, I loved it. And I think it just, I really felt the freedom of transforming into something that was so outside myself and my dad, like, I hadn’t even thought about that, but my dad mentioned that to me recently about how, like, that was the performance where he was like, Oh, she’s.

[00:12:47] She’s not joking. 

[00:12:49] Dane Reis: [00:12:49] She says, she’s got the bug and she’s doing it. 

[00:12:51] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:12:51] This is forever. Um, yeah. So, and then from that point on, I think it was just really like God all or Nelson sort of how I, I live. 

[00:13:01] Dane Reis: [00:13:01] Absolutely. Well, let’s piggyback on that question and, well, let’s talk about your number one. Booked it moment.

[00:13:09] Walk us through that day, the auditions and call backs. Those happened to be part of it. What was going on in your life. And what about that moment? Makes it your favorite it moment? Do you know? 

[00:13:22] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:13:22] I think this one, this I might be sort of, well, maybe it’s not surprising, but I think my number one booked it moment was the day that I found out that I was going on Tor with Peter pan three 60.

[00:13:40] And I think it’s because, you know, it wasn’t even necessarily, you know, my biggest job to date or the best or anything like that, but I just felt it was. One of these rare instances where I felt like perfect melding of, um, really loving the project. Okay. Just so badly wanted to work on this piece. And I think sometimes we want the job because it pays really well.

[00:14:08] Or we want the job because it would be an amazing credit or we want to work with someone. And this was sort of, I wanted to work with the director so badly. I wanted to. To work with the choreographer. I wanted to do this role. I wanted to be a part of this magical show and the callback process was so well long and it was just, it was weeks and weeks and we didn’t hear, and there was so much drama and rumors like floating around and it just really added.

[00:14:41] So the drama all around this, like you have inevitable phone call saying that I booked it. Um, And that was just, I think at that point it was the most exciting job offer that I’d received. And I had been working in bars and struggling at this point for about, uh, yeah, uh, six or seven years at this point.

[00:15:04] Just sort of, not really breaking through, I hadn’t booked a tour yet. Mmm. And it felt like it finally felt like something had paid off, you know, it was, it was an audition that I had gotten sort of on a whim. Okay. And it, you know, it’s, you’re sometimes I think we’re afraid to want a job so, so much because we know that the odds of us getting it are never a hundred percent and it was just, I wanted it so much.

[00:15:31] Dane Reis: [00:15:31] And then it worked out 

[00:15:32] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:15:32] and it worked out. 

[00:15:33] Dane Reis: [00:15:33] I love it. Well, let’s take a moment to talk about the present. What projects are you working on now? What are you looking forward to? And of course we are amidst this crazy wild time in a global pandemic. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?

[00:15:53] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:15:53] The question on everyone’s mind, 

[00:15:55] Dane Reis: [00:15:55] right? 

[00:15:57] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:15:57] Yeah. Well, I guess I’ll start by saying I’m doing a lot of, um, Creative projects on my own right now. Uh, I’ve sort of been toying with the idea of directing more and more. I dabbled a little bit in college and a little bit in post-college. Mmm. And I think that, you know, I fought when we started going.

[00:16:19] We’ll I’ll start a quarantining at the beginning of the pandemic, there was a lot of, I was feeling a lot of pressure from other artists to sort of create your own content. I mean, I’m sure you hear, we are doing this podcast that you created. And I think so many, like amazing things have come out of it.

[00:16:34] Um, but I was really. I really didn’t want to give in to that. I really felt like, but I don’t want to do my own work. That’s not my job. I want to do other people’s work. Um, but there was nothing happening projects were sort of on hold. Everything was on pause. There were no auditions. Um, so I started writing finally, some of my own stuff.

[00:16:56] I’m making plans to shoot and direct a lot of that stuff. Most of it is a short scenes or okay. Shorts for film. Okay. In the process I’ve been sending a lot of self-tapes. I actually did a couple of commercials and a couple of voiceovers during this time remotely, which was a very interesting experience 

[00:17:16] Dane Reis: [00:17:16] I can imagine.

[00:17:17] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:17:17] Yeah. Um, and I ended up booking my short film that’s um, yeah. Shoot date TBD. So we’ll see how that goes. I know a lot of projects that were just pre production when all this happened, sort of we’re moving forward as much as they could, so they would go forward and pre-production, they would cast it. And then now we’re all just we’re cast and we’re waiting for like the okay.

[00:17:42] Go. Okay. I think in the next couple years, aye. You know, it’s, I think it’s really easy to sort of be pessimistic about the future of the industry. I know a fear that I have is that, um, at least for T I mean, theater is it’s going to be awhile, but at least for TV film, they’re starting to sort of find ways to resume production.

[00:18:07] Um, one of the things they’re talking about is smaller cruise and smaller casts, which it would eliminate a lot of those parts that. You know, I would, could potentially get relatively easily. Well, yeah, cool. Subjective. Um, and that’s sort of frightening to me. It makes me feel like, well myth and maybe those, a few parts that are available are going to go to a list.

[00:18:35] Actors. That’s sort of like the negative, the fears that I have. I think the other side of it is that. This is sort of been a great equalizer. Now, you know, that fear of sort of getting in the room is sort of gone because there is no 

[00:18:50] Dane Reis: [00:18:50] room. Yeah. 

[00:18:51] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:18:51] We’re all doing this virtually. We’re all auditioning through self-tapes and zoom and Skype and.

[00:18:58] You know, casting directors are also sitting around without projects. They’re also looking to work and looking forward to meeting people. And a lot of them have taken advantage of this time, um, to meet people and search out new content. I think, I don’t think that virtual content is the future. I think can’t be, I think we, we need that sort of.

[00:19:24] Person to person connection, whether it’s two people on screen or one person in the audience and one person on the stage. I think we can’t this, I’ve seen a few of these like zoom production, zoom readings. I don’t know if you’ve seen any of those. They’re very, they’re very strange. I find it really bizarre.

[00:19:45] So yeah. You know, I, I, I hope that as an industry, we’re able to find something really inventive and exciting in the next couple of years. Um, my hopes are high because we’re all hungry for work, so we’ll see what happens 

[00:20:02] Dane Reis: [00:20:02] for sure. Yeah. It is going to be. A crazy new world moving forward. That’s that much. I do know exactly.

[00:20:12] 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 and I want you to answer them as quickly and concisely as possible one after another. Are you ready? 

[00:20:29] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:20:29] I’m ready. 

[00:20:30] Dane Reis: [00:20:30] Good. First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?

[00:20:38] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:20:38] Absolutely. Nothing except for that one time that I couldn’t walk and couldn’t talk. That was,

[00:20:45] Dane Reis: [00:20:45] that’s pretty huge. That’s massive. But the fact that you’ve come through it. 

[00:20:50] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:20:50] Yes. That’s it. 

[00:20:52] Dane Reis: [00:20:52] Then the second question, what is the best piece of advice you have ever received? 

[00:20:58] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:20:58] Oh, the best piece of advice I’ve ever received, it is give the people what they want so that you can open their eyes to what you’re really made of.

[00:21:09] Dane Reis: [00:21:09] Love that 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, 

[00:21:21] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:21:21] finally letting go of the box mentality and trying to fit in it and just really figuring out well, what I have to offer as an individual.

[00:21:31] Dane Reis: [00:21:31] Love that. Okay. The fourth question. What is the best resource, whether that is a book, a movie, a YouTube video, a podcast, maybe it’s a piece of technology that you found is helping your career right now. 

[00:21:46] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:21:46] Whoa, mentors. Other people. I would say I’m talking to people who are in the profession talking to friends.

[00:21:57] Okay. There’s no better way to move forward in your career, then networking with those, uh, around you who inspire you and can create work with them each other. 

[00:22:09] Dane Reis: [00:22:09] Absolutely. 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?

[00:22:24] Would you do anything differently or would you keep it the same? 

[00:22:28] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:22:28] Ah, my instinct was to say that I wanted to be a scientist, which is another career, another life. But I actually think that that there’s a lot there. I think that I would, um, I think that there’s a link missing between the arts community and the science community that.

[00:22:46] Could be a bridge between a communication bridge between okay. Average Joes and scientists and sort of communicating science. That is such a weird answer, but I’m sticking to it. 

[00:22:58] Dane Reis: [00:22:58] I love it. Yeah. And the last question, what is the golden nugget knowledge you have learned from your successful career in the industry that you’d like to leave with everybody?

[00:23:10] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:23:10] People just want to see other people. I think, especially as we’ve sort of gone through all this training and we’ve tried to do so many things a certain way or, or right. If I had just really understood the value of my own point of view and, and my own uniqueness early on, I think I wouldn’t have gotten in my own way and sabotage myself on a number of occasions with like self conscious thoughts.

[00:23:42] So just. Hold firm and your thoughts and ideas. There’s no such thing as a crazy idea. That is 

[00:23:48] Dane Reis: [00:23:48] amazing advice for everyone, new and old in this industry, 

[00:23:51] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:23:51] nearly all. 

[00:23:52] Dane Reis: [00:23:52] And to wrap up this interview, it is time for you to give yourself a plug. Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to promote?

[00:24:05] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:24:05] Um, the, uh, listeners, um, you can connect with me either directly through my website, which is Hannah Jane, mcmurry.com. You can also find me on Instagram at  H J McMurry. Those are basically the only forms of social media that I interact with. And actually, if you do follow me on Instagram, I will be starting soon.

[00:24:30] I’ll be using my, my page to promote. Some new science facts that I really love just for fun, like daily dose of knowledge. Uh, and I, and I’ll be proponent be promoting this new, a short film that I’m working on. That’s called breakfast at the bodega, hopefully starting production at the end of next 

[00:24:49] Dane Reis: [00:24:49] month.

[00:24:50] Fantastic. It was so wonderful to have you on. Thank you for joining me today. 

[00:24:56] Hannah Jane McMurray: [00:24:56] Thank you so much for having me. It was a delay. Give 

[00:25:00] Dane Reis: [00:25:00] it up for our five star reviewers free a 48 Tucker are five, six, seven, eight, and S wags. Thank you so much for your support. Thank you so much for joining us today. My one call to action for you is to go to youbookeditpodcast.com and join our free email community.

[00:25:20] Where we dig deep into a continually growing resource of truly actionable things you can be doing right now to help you advance your entertainment career. Don’t miss an episode. We have a new guest, seven days a week search for you, booked it on Apple podcast or your favorite podcast app and subscribe today.

[00:25:43] All the best to you. We’ll see you tomorrow.