EP 39: Megan Melville (autogenerated)
Dane Reis: [00:00:00] You booked it, episode 39, 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.
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[00:01:09] 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, and now let’s do this. All righty, let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Megan Melville, are you ready for this?
[00:01:34] Megan Melville: [00:01:34] or red is I’m gonna be
[00:01:36] Dane Reis: [00:01:36] all right. Megan is a dancer model. Magician’s assistant. Adventure seeker and boost free enthusiast. She has been living in forming in Las Vegas since 2015 credits include the Donny and Marie show Vegas, the show, the bodyguard national tour, America’s got talent and Holland America cruise lines.
[00:01:59] Megan is also a member of the unique girl group city cats, which is available for 2020 bookings when she’s not performing. Megan loves finding new boosts, free drinks and sober, curious inspiration, Megan, 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?
[00:02:19] Fill in the gaps where you’re currently calling home and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry.
[00:02:28] Megan Melville: [00:02:28] Awesome. So I am currently calling from st. Louis, Missouri, which is where I am from. So I’m staying with my family here, bless them. And I guess I’m really calling Vegas and st.
[00:02:45] Louis home right now. But, right. So during this crazy time, some of my things, and my address are still in Vegas, but I am physically here in st. Louis. So, yeah, so I’m, I’m from here originally a little bit about myself. I grew up dancing competitively here in st. Louis at a studio called the professional dance center.
[00:03:11]after I graduated high school, I went to point park university. Then from there, I went to Chicago and I studied on scholarship at visceral dance studio spent a little time there auditioning, doing the server grind until I got my first professional job working for Holland America. And that was with the amazing stiletto entertainment back in the day after I did that for about two years, I moved to New York.
[00:03:42] Did that hustle of auditioning, working as a cater waiter? all the good stuff. And then I worked with a magician named Rob Blake, did a little contract with him at Atlantic city. And then I decided as if that wasn’t enough fun and moving around, I would, I moved to LA after that. So I lived right, because.
[00:04:05] Life isn’t crazy enough. So I moved out to LA and I was there for about a year when, I was teaching bar fitness, mostly there at a company called pop physique, doing a little TV, extra work and going back and forth to Vegas. So that was my first contact with Vegas was going back and forth and visiting some friends from cruise ships and auditioning.
[00:04:32] And after two auditions for Vegas, the show, I was offered a contract and made the move to Vegas. And from there, my Vegas adventure, my little show girl adventure started. So that’s a little bit about my story up until Vegas. would you like me to go into a little bit about my Vegas life as well?
[00:04:55] Dane Reis: [00:04:55] Sure.
[00:04:56] Why not?
[00:04:56] Megan Melville: [00:04:56] Okay. So, so yeah, so after I was offered the Vegas, the show contract, I performed there for about three years. And that was really, I think when I solidified. My career as a professional dancer, I got the opportunity to become a swing. I had never been a swing before, and it gave me the opportunity to swing nine of the 10 female tracks in that show.
[00:05:25] Which was crazy. I mean, it was just quite an experience, but such a, such a great learning experience.
[00:05:32] Dane Reis: [00:05:32] Yeah. I love a good swing. There was a time actually in Vegas, I was in performing in five different shows in 11 different tracks.
[00:05:40] Megan Melville: [00:05:40] So
[00:05:40] Dane Reis: [00:05:40] I, I get that. I get that craziness and the brain of trying to figure out where
[00:05:46] Megan Melville: [00:05:46] that swing life when you’re just like.
[00:05:49] Who do you think you are? And then somebody looks at you and you’re like, you’re this track. And then when you have all the swings in and we, we would always call it an all skate when all of the swings were in, we’re like, okay guys, good luck. It’s an all skate.
[00:06:06] Dane Reis: [00:06:06] God help us all
[00:06:08] Megan Melville: [00:06:08] Jesus take the wheel. So let’s see.
[00:06:13] So I did, like I mentioned, Vegas show for about three years, and then, I decided to go on call at Vegas, the show to open up a little bit more opportunity for freelancing and new opportunities. And that is when the body guard tour came into my life. And that was an amazing experience. I got to tour with them.
[00:06:37]I got my equity card via that show. it was my first time being on a live Mike on stage singing on stage. So that was quite an experience to tour with them. And then when I came back from bodyguard tour, I continued to freelance in Vegas. I got to do, America’s got talent with. my magician Rob Lake, and then I came back and the Donny and Marie show happened.
[00:07:07] So it was one of those highs and lows situations of, I, I didn’t have a ton going on. And then all of a sudden, my friend Nadia called me up and said, do you want to come to this private audition for Donny and Marie? I was like, Oh, absolutely. And, and that show was. Basically my 2019 highlight that kind of took me all the way through until the craziness that is 2020.
[00:07:37] Dane Reis: [00:07:37] Yeah, of course. Great. I love that journey. I love your story. Well, let’s move on to the next section and look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What is your favorite quote? You’d like to share with everybody?
[00:07:52] Megan Melville: [00:07:52] This is really hard for me to decide because I also love a good quote and had a lot that. That I do really take to heart and try to take into my everyday life, but I’m going to actually share too if that’s okay.
[00:08:07] Dane Reis: [00:08:07] Yeah, absolutely.
[00:08:08] Megan Melville: [00:08:08] So the first one is one day at a time. I really, yes. Oh my gosh. That one. You know, it’s a little bit from the recovery community as well, but I take it into my life every day and just try to take the next 24 hours in front of me and control I can and change what I can and accept the things that I cannot change.
[00:08:32]and then the second one would be, feel the fear and do it anyway.
[00:08:36] Dane Reis: [00:08:36] I love that.
[00:08:37] Megan Melville: [00:08:37] Yeah, that was, as I was going through my journey for this interview, I really found that that has been a theme throughout my life. That so many times there were moments. I was so afraid and I, I could have let that hold me back, but I felt the fear and I did it anyway.
[00:08:58] Dane Reis: [00:08:58] That’s right. Because when you really boil it down, there’s not anything to fear. If you fail. All right. You’re back where you started. Failure becomes such a perceived thing with us, you know?
[00:09:10] Megan Melville: [00:09:10] Absolutely. And I think that fears are valid. I’m scared all the time. I think, I think to a certain degree, there are things that scare me every day and things that are valid to be scared about, but.
[00:09:25] I think continuing to, to really feel that, to acknowledge that fear and then keep going and keep taking action and, and still living your life. Even if you, even if you’re scared.
[00:09:41] Dane Reis: [00:09:41] Absolutely. Well, let’s get into this next section here. And Megan, of course you are an entertainer. I am an entertainer, and I think you’d agree that this industry can be one of the most subjective, brutally, honest and personally emotional industries in existence.
[00:10:01] 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 yeah, there is an outrageous amount of fun and excitement being an entertainer. There are also our fair share of obstacles and challenges and failures.
[00:10:22] We are going to experience and we have to move. Forward through them. 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.
[00:10:37] Megan Melville: [00:10:37] So I try not to look at anything in my career as a failure. Rather, I try look at everything as an experience that I’ve grown from and become the person that I am today.
[00:10:49] But one thing that has always been a challenge for me has been this feeling of trying to figure out where I belong in the industry. And at times not feeling enough. Not technical enough, not modern enough, not artistic enough, not commercial enough, not tall enough, not fit enough. Can’t sing well enough.
[00:11:10] And even outside of my performance and look, maybe I wasn’t in with the right teachers or connected to the right people. My personality isn’t big enough. I’m not hustling hard enough. It can all just be exhausting to feel like you don’t know where you belong and that you aren’t enough. I think that it was only after I quit drinking that I was able to really feel those feelings and process that even if I feel that way, sometimes I am enough.
[00:11:41] And just because I don’t fit into every mold or book, every job doesn’t mean that I am less than it just means that there were a hundred factors that went into that casting and maybe 50% of them had anything to do with me.
[00:11:58] Dane Reis: [00:11:58] Absolutely. And I think that’s such a great realization and such good advice for anyone listening is that the audition process or getting booked or off of a submission is often so far out of your control.
[00:12:13] You are who you are. You bring what you bring to the table, and it is enough and there are jobs that you are perfect for. And there are jobs that you are not. And getting to that realization takes time. And it’s, it’s also one of those things that it’s easy to talk about and rationalize in your brain, but it’s also something that can be very difficult to actually absorb and own within yourself.
[00:12:39] And I think that is incredible that you talked about that journey that you have also realize that yeah, I went there, I did it and that’s okay if they didn’t want me, because they’re going to want me next time.
[00:12:54] Megan Melville: [00:12:54] Absolutely.
[00:12:55] Dane Reis: [00:12:55] Great. Well, let’s move on to this next section to a time that I like to call your spotlight moment.
[00:13:03] 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.
[00:13:18] Megan Melville: [00:13:18] So I always knew I wanted to be a dancer except for a very brief period of time where I wanted to be a killer whale trainer at SeaWorld.
[00:13:28] This was, this was a different time. This was back in the nineties when that was like a really exciting, awesome. So besides that period of time, I always knew I wanted to be a dancer. but one specific moment where I realized, yes, this is what I’m going to do for a living was actually when I was in college and I performed with an amazing company called not dance under the direction of one of my very favorite people in the world, Maddie Landy.
[00:13:59] And one night after a performance, I was walking down the streets of Pittsburgh with my boyfriend at the time. And I can just remember. Skipping and dancing and having like this movie mode moment and feeling this euphoria. And I remember saying to him, this is what I have to do. I have to be a dancer. You know, that there is just no other, there is no other option.
[00:14:24] I have to do this. And I’m very fortunate that I’ve had that feeling many times since. And. Times when I’ve been waiting on stage for a big for performance or when I’ve made it to the end of a crazy audition, or even in the quiet moments with myself. Like when I was reflecting on this moment where I get to remember all of the pure joy that I’ve experienced because of this grief,
[00:14:52] Dane Reis: [00:14:52] I love that.
[00:14:54] And let’s piggyback on that question to your number one, booked it moment. Walk us through that day, the auditions and call backs. If those happen to be a part of it, what was going on in your life? And what about that moment makes it your favorite moment?
[00:15:13] Megan Melville: [00:15:13] Awesome. So my book did my favorite book. Didn’t moment was the day that I was offered my first professional contract from stiletto entertainment.
[00:15:25] And okay, so let’s set the scene. Yes, it’s 2012. I’m living in Chicago in my little studio apartment. I didn’t have a smartphone. So, you know, you gotta. Think about that. Those were the days I used to text message. This is going to take us back to get the bus. I used to have to text this number and it would tell me like when the next bus was coming.
[00:15:53] Dane Reis: [00:15:53] Cutting.
[00:15:55] Megan Melville: [00:15:55] So let’s just go back to that time. Okay. So I had looked up the audition online, wrote it in my little paper calendar. And so also during this time I was studying on scholarship at visceral dance studio. I was working at a, I was working as a server at two restaurants and I was actually ready to throw in the towel on dance and become a yoga instructor.
[00:16:22] So I was very disillusioned with dance at this point in my journey. And that morning I took the two trains that it took from my little uptown apartment to the Lou Conde dance studio. And then I’m walking into the studio going up to the sign in table and I could see the boy behind the table looking at me funny already.
[00:16:46] And then as I start to sign in, he asked me, how tall are you? And I responded five, five. And he said, Oh, the short girl dancer audition was actually yesterday.
[00:17:00] Dane Reis: [00:17:00] Oh no.
[00:17:02] Megan Melville: [00:17:02] Today is actually for the showroom at sea show girls and you have to be five eight to audition. So I’m crushed. And immediately my response is leave the dance studio, go to the bar across the street.
[00:17:17] I’m pretty sure I was crying at this point and I called my mom, you know, telling her the usual I I’ve done. I can’t do this anymore. And she said to me, Megan, just go back. Yeah. And see if you can still audition. See if you get an audition with the tall girls. So bless my mom. She is the most amazing and wonderful person in the world and she influenced me to go back.
[00:17:42] And so I went back. And the casting director, Jody Steinbeck, who shout out to Jody, she said, yes. She said, okay, you can go ahead and, and audition with the show girls. So I did my best fake it till you make it show girl to a Cher song. I can remember it clear as day. And then Jody asked me to stay and she taught me the short girl dancer combo from the day before.
[00:18:11] And then after. We were done with that. She actually offered me the contract in the room, which was quite the experience after not really having any offers in my life to have the first professional one, actually be one in the room. That was a pretty special moment. And then she also told me I would need to leave in two weeks for rehearsals in LA.
[00:18:36] And so it was a lot of emotions, but I just remember telling her in the room. Yes, absolutely. Like no questions. Yes. I, I have to do this so that, yeah. That’s my favorite book. DIT moment.
[00:18:50] Dane Reis: [00:18:50] That’s so good. There is something that is so fun and so cool to have that experience of booking it in the room and having that offer.
[00:18:57] And cause you just did, you just worked your butt off doing whatever it is that. You had to do for the audition and then that immediate value. Oh my gosh. It is like nothing else.
[00:19:08] Megan Melville: [00:19:08] It. Absolutely. It was, it just took my, took my breath away and, and, but then there was no hesitation. I just knew the answer was, yes, I accept.
[00:19:18] I will do whatever it takes to make this happen. Yes,
[00:19:22] Dane Reis: [00:19:22] absolutely. 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 look, of course, we are midst this global pandemic. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?
[00:19:41] Megan Melville: [00:19:41] So the main project I’m working on at the moment is my life I, yes. Right? It’s the never ending project, I guess. but what I was supposed to be doing at this moment was actually to be out on a contract with RWS there step one dancer contracts on Holland America. And so that was. That was really, I had been waiting for a change for a while and I was really looking forward to that and that was going to be my next big adventure.
[00:20:16] And then that got canceled. So, so now I’m in this place of, okay, I’m working on figuring out what the future holds and what I really want out of my life and my career.
[00:20:32] Dane Reis: [00:20:32] Yeah, absolutely. And. I guess the benefit for sure is that we have the time right now, we’ve been handed this time to really reflect on what it is we truly want.
[00:20:43] Megan Melville: [00:20:43] Absolutely. And I think there’s so many different ways to look at the future as well. You know, we want to look at our careers of course, because we are our careers, as artists are so much more than just a career it’s who we are. And so we want to be looking at our careers, but also looking at our lives personally, I just had my 30th birthday.
[00:21:07] So that was also a little bit of a reflective moment, too. Yeah to take account of, of what’s going on and, and what I really want out of my life. So I would say that’s my biggest project. Is that just working on my life over here?
[00:21:23] Dane Reis: [00:21:23] Yeah. Love it. Absolutely. So. It’s time to move on to one of my favorite sections in the interview.
[00:21:30] 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 ready?
[00:21:44] Megan Melville: [00:21:44] Ready?
[00:21:46] Dane Reis: [00:21:46] All right, let’s do this first question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?
[00:21:54] Megan Melville: [00:21:54] I would say fear. Fear could have held me back at any point in my career, but I chose to feel it and keep committing. Anyway, love
[00:22:03] Dane Reis: [00:22:03] it. Second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
[00:22:09] Megan Melville: [00:22:09] So an amazing teacher named Jeff Hancock told me once, if you can imagine doing anything else, besides being a dancer, do that because those life is too hard to not be fully committed.
[00:22:23] Dane Reis: [00:22:23] Clearly you couldn’t
[00:22:24] Megan Melville: [00:22:24] write
[00:22:26] Dane Reis: [00:22:26] and that’s great. And it’s been one heck of a journey and more fulfilling I can imagine than anything you could have imagined doing. And the third question, what is something that is working for you right now? Or if you’d like to go pre COVID, what was working for you before our industry went on pause?
[00:22:46] Megan Melville: [00:22:46] I would say. Trying to be the person that people want to call for a job that might sound a little. Vague or so they’ve, but I try to pride myself on having a stellar reputation. I’m a fast learner. I show up on time. I have a positive attitude and I’m always willing to go the extra mile. So that’s something that was working for me before and will hopefully continue to work for me in the future.
[00:23:14] Dane Reis: [00:23:14] Absolutely. And the fourth question, what is the best resource? Whether that is a book, a movie, a YouTube video podcast, maybe. Yeah. A piece of technology that you found is helping your career right now. So
[00:23:30] Megan Melville: [00:23:30] rather than a book, movie podcast or a technology, I kind of feel like my best resource is actually people love it.
[00:23:39] Yeah. Connecting with people in real life and on social media, that’s been a big way for me to book jobs, be inspired and create new networks.
[00:23:50] Dane Reis: [00:23:50] Absolutely. And I’ve said it before on this podcast, but if you want to really create a long. Career in this industry relationships are everything.
[00:24:01] Megan Melville: [00:24:01] Absolutely.
[00:24:02] Dane Reis: [00:24:02] Because it is, it’s one thing to book that first contract, but to book a career’s worth of contracts that takes relationship.
[00:24:10] Megan Melville: [00:24:10] Yes. But it takes people and, and showing up and being the person that they want to call again for those jobs.
[00:24:16] Dane Reis: [00:24:16] Absolutely. It’s all the things. Absolutely.
[00:24:19] Megan Melville: [00:24:19] Absolutely.
[00:24:20] Dane Reis: [00:24:20] All right. And the fifth question.
[00:24:23] 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? Okay.
[00:24:39] Megan Melville: [00:24:39] So honestly, part of me wants to answer this question with, I don’t know if I would do it all again.
[00:24:48] Knowing how incredibly difficult it has been. I look back and I think about my younger self and I think, Oh, what, I really put her through all of that again. But then I also realized that I wouldn’t change anything as I go through each step of my career and think about what would I have changed? What would I have done different?
[00:25:12] I really think I wouldn’t have changed anything because each decision led me to the next adventure and I wouldn’t trade the good stuff for an easier life. I love
[00:25:24] Dane Reis: [00:25:24] that it all happens for a reason, right?
[00:25:27] Megan Melville: [00:25:27] Yes, it really does.
[00:25:29] Dane Reis: [00:25:29] And the last question, what is the golden nugget knowledge drop you’ve learned from your successful career in the industry that you’d like to leave with our listeners?
[00:25:40] Megan Melville: [00:25:40] I don’t know if this is a knowledge drop, but I would just say, be kind to yourself. There are going to be a lot of high highs and a lot of low lows, but it’s all a part of a bigger story. So be kind to your sweet zone.
[00:25:55] Dane Reis: [00:25:55] I think that’s incredible advice. And to wrap up this interview, it is time to give yourself a plug.
[00:26:04] Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to promote?
[00:26:09] Megan Melville: [00:26:09] All right. So you can find me on Instagram and Facebook at Megan MEJ N under C Gore Melville, M E L V I L L E. And you can find my booze free inspirations on Instagram and Facebook at the thirsty sunflower.
[00:26:30] And then if you want to check out some of the companies that I work for, including city cats, you can find them at city underscore cats.
[00:26:41] Dane Reis: [00:26:41] Perfect. Thank you so much for that, Megan. It has been an absolute pleasure to have you on today.
[00:26:46] Megan Melville: [00:26:46] Thank you you so much day, and I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me and hopefully I’ll see you soon.
[00:26:54] Dane Reis: [00:26:54] 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. 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.
[00:27:17] 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. All the best to you. We’ll see you tomorrow.