EP 5: MaShawn Morton

IG: @maemaefierce

Episode Transcript (autogenerated)

MaShawn Morton

Dane: [00:00:00] You booked it, episode five, 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.

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[00:01:22] Let’s do this. Okay, let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. May Sean Morton mission. Are you ready for this? And I’m ready for this beautiful. Originally from West Virginia. Mishawn graduated from point park university. He has worked on or in productions, such as Spiderman, turn off the dark as part of the Broadway workshop and West side story on Broadway and the world tour.

[00:01:55] He was part of the original cast recording of Cinderella, starring Leah Salonga and danced in Jubilee at Bally’s Los Vegas. He’s also been a part of inaugural casts for princess and Holland America, cruise lines, regionally. He has been in hairspray, the Wiz, the King and I and Greece. He has also had the pleasure of working with Ariana Grande’s, Mary J Blige, Heather smalls, Taylor, Dane, and Brittany Spears.

[00:02:22] MaShawn, 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, where you’re from, where you’re currently calling home and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry.

[00:02:40] MaShawn: [00:02:40] All right, Dane will I may Sean Morton and I am originally from Huntington West Virginia. I’m a professional dancer now for about 18 years. And I travel for work. I’ve lived in New York city. I’ve lived in Los Angeles. I’ve lived in Las Vegas. I’ve worked in all three. And I started training very late as a teenager, which point park university as a dance major.

[00:03:09] And it kind of guided me to the life that I’m leaving leading now in a nutshell, Fantastic. Well, let’s move on to the next section. Look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What is your favorite quote that you’d like to share with everyone though? Nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass. We will grieve not, but rather find strength in what remains behind.

[00:03:39] Dane: [00:03:39] I love that. And. How has that quote impacted your life and also your career? 

[00:03:47] MaShawn: [00:03:47] Well, it’s a, it’s a quote by Wadsworth that I first discovered in a movie called splendor in the grass with, Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty. And it’s movie that I grew up watching as a kid, but I never really fully grasped it, obviously until I was an adult.

[00:04:05] I had lived a bit of life. And I think it’s a beautiful way to summarize life in general, not just business or the entertainment world, but life in general, there’s going to be beauty and there’s going to be despair and you have the choice to learn and grow from it. And I think that can be applied to any aspect of life.

[00:04:31] Dane: [00:04:31] I absolutely agree because at the end of the day, I think life is all about growth. I mean, that’s where all of the, the adventure comes in the, in the joy and the emotions come out of life. Yeah. I think that’s the purpose of life is to learn and share. And it’s about the journey, not necessarily the destinations.


[00:04:53] Correct. Perfect. Well, let’s move to the next section now. All right. So Michelle, you are an entertainer, I’m an entertainer. And I think you’d agree that the entertainment industry is one of the most subjective, brutally, honest and personally emotional industries in. Existence and, you know, as well as I, that in order 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.

[00:05:25] And while yes, what a lot of people see on the outside and what we get to experience. Occasionally is all those highs or are all those highs and the fun and excitement of it. But of course there are also those times when we have those obstacles, we have those challenges and we have those failures that we are going to experience and we’re going to have to move forward through.

[00:05:47] So tell us what is. One key challenge or obstacle or failure you’ve experienced in your career. And how did you come out the other side better because of it? 

[00:05:59] MaShawn: [00:05:59] I would say that an obstacle that has happened to me more than once in my career, and I feel like any performer, every performer is going to experiences going for something that you really truly feel is for you.

[00:06:17] And. Then being told that it’s not or made to feel that you’re not good enough for it. And to be honest, it’s happened to me in New York and it’s happened to me in Vegas. And in both instances, I, I reacted emotionally and I left. I left New York to go to Vegas and then I left Vegas to do what I’m doing now.

[00:06:43] And. In a way. I feel that looking back on it, some people might think or consider it as running away instead of staying in fighting. But for me personally, I felt that they were signs that I needed to be in another place to get things, other things that I wanted. And fortunately enough for me, I was able to get the things that I wanted, you know, so it’s not.

[00:07:11] The main takeaway is everything that is for you will not be denied. You. I love that. And I think it’s, it’s very true. And I understand how, like you said, someone might take that as you potentially running from things. But I think people forget sometimes that this industry is so large and so big, and it is not just New York and it is not just LA or just Vegas or just anything there’s opportunity in loads of different markets doing so many different types of things that.

[00:07:45] It’s good to explore and see what’s out there and follow where life keeps taking you. And that’s exactly what it sounds like you’ve done. And it’s been very successful for you. Yes. I’m grateful for the life that I’ve had the nos into yeses, for sure. It all happens for a reason. Right? 

[00:08:00] Dane: [00:08:00] Exactly. Let’s move on to this next part.

[00:08:04] And this is 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, yes, this is what I need to be doing as an entertainer. Tell us about that. 

[00:08:24] MaShawn: [00:08:24] my yes, moment isn’t necessarily a glamorous moment. it was, I was not even a professional performer yet when I realized that, but, there was really no guidance for me, coming out of high school and going into college.

[00:08:38] Like I had no idea what I was going to be doing or where I was going to go in life. But I was presented with an opportunity to pretend, to attend a conservatory, a point park university, which I mentioned before. And I’d never, I thought that dance or performance would be, could be a job for me or a career.

[00:08:59] Like that was just something that. My small town mind thought, you know, you see in the movies and I just did community theater and dance at the studio for fun. I didn’t know that you could get paid for it and have live a life doing it. So my, my yes moment was when I got accepted to college. That was really it.

[00:09:21] Dane: [00:09:21] That’s the validation that you needed to say. This is, this can be real. Yeah. And that’s such a good program as well. 

[00:09:29] MaShawn: [00:09:29] Yeah, it was. I mean, it was very strenuous and a big, obviously learning experience in my life. It taught me a lot about myself and other people. but yeah, that was it. That was the yes.

[00:09:41] Dane: [00:09:41] Moment for me. I love that. Well, let’s piggyback on that question and let’s talk about your number one book. That moment walk us through that day, the audition and callbacks. If those happened to be part of it, what was going on in your life? And what about that moment? Makes it your favorite book? 

[00:10:03] MaShawn: [00:10:03] my favorite book that moment, it would have to be when I’m booked, the 50th anniversary roll tour of West side story, it turned out to be up until this point, the major career highlight of my life.

[00:10:20] I think, I had auditioned for the show about a year prior to booking it. And maybe even a year and a half prior to booking it. And I was in a callback with one other guy and I have no idea who he was, but I just know I didn’t get it. And so I went off and did other auditions and went on to other things.

[00:10:42]and then I went back in, they were having a call. about a year and a half later. And I went in and I was just coming off to war with the neuroma was like a salon there. And I went in with the mentality of, I have nothing to lose. I’m just getting back in to New York city. I think it was like the second day I was back and I was like, I have nothing to lose.

[00:11:03] So I went in not thinking too much of it, honestly. And then as I got further and further along in the process, I realized like this is something that I could actually book. I could actually get this and it’s crazy. Cause I didn’t go in thinking that I went and picking out what the hell and then further and further along it goes, the more and more I wanted it.

[00:11:27]And my last audition for it, it was a room full of guys and we weren’t dancing. It was a vocal and we had to sing a part from the quintet. that happens at the end of . And I knew that it was a very, very hard vocal for me because I am a tenor through and through, and the line was not a tenor line.

[00:11:51] So I had taken some lessons from a friend of mine, and he basically taught me ways to get to that register of my voice. And I remember doing it in front of this group of men. Who all were going for, you know, a spot in this show. And I remember doing it and feeling so confident and prepared. I left that room feeling okay, are prepared and I’ve literally have done everything I possibly can do.

[00:12:23] And then when I got the call, I dropped to my knees. I think I got the call about a week later and I just dropped a drop to my knees. Cause I was like, A year and a half ago, I was not good enough. And here I am now and they’re telling me they want me. And I went on to do that show for two years. And that was my favorite book.

[00:12:48] That moment, the initial, no. And then to come back and it changed my life, basically. 

[00:12:55] Dane: [00:12:55] That is a fantastic story. I really, really, really, really liked that. It was so good. And, you know, you mentioned how you went to that audition, just like what the hell I’ve got nothing to lose. And that is such a familiar attitude and feeling that I have quite literally with every show I have ever booked that’s that’s the mentality I’ve always had going into the audition because maybe I was on contract or a contract was kind of ending.

[00:13:24] And I was kind of in this flux moment and I just. You just go for it. You say, Hey, I’m here. Let’s just, let’s see what happens. Yeah. It’s that relaxed state. I think that really allows you to let your talents do their thing. 

[00:13:39] MaShawn: [00:13:39] Yeah. 100%. I think it’s really important to when you go into an audition, not to feel desperate or have the desperation, like I know as entertainers and performers, I mean, We’re going to have that, you know, we have bills just like everyone else.

[00:13:57] We need to eat just like everyone else. but to go in focused and prepared to an audition is more important, I think. And just being able to be open enough to show yourself, instead of showing your desperation, I 100% agree with you, for sure. All right. Well, let’s take a moment now to. Talk about the present.

[00:14:21] What projects are you working on now? What are you looking forward to? And obviously we’re amidst this global pandemic loads of unfortunate racial injustices. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years? Well right now, I am basically on, for low and hiatus. My opening night on my recent contracts turned out to be my closing night on my recent contract, due to the pandemic.

[00:14:55]and we still have more shows that open that we hadn’t haven’t done. and it was, it was very emotional because I’m with the great group of people doing shows that we all love and care about. And to have worked so hard through the rehearsal process and then to showcase and leave ourselves on that stage, that one time knowing that that was closing and who knows what’s coming next.

[00:15:21] So, and now, after being stuck on the ship for 69 days, I’m kind of in a reset mode. So I’m trying to find ways of not getting static in terms of creativity. I just had this conversation say with a dear friend of mine in Italy about not having dance, really since that closing night and needing the inspiration to start moving again, it’s been rough times, man, with everything going on in the world.

[00:15:56]so I’m looking forward to. Actually applying that and being creative and hopefully my creativity will inspire others to follow suit and some positivity and all this turmoil that’s going on. But I’m also looking forward to rejoining my cast and getting to share the stage with these people and do these shows with these people.

[00:16:23] I don’t know when that’s going to happen. Well, I’m hopeful that it will happen. And as far as entertained in the entertainment industry, moving forward, next couple of years, it’s going to be a rebuilding for live theater. I think of Hollywood and movies will be fine, but I think the entertainment industry it’s going to be a lot.

[00:16:47] A rebuilding. And I hope with that rebuilding, it will be like a Phoenix rising from the ashes is my hope that the inequalities that have been plagued in this industry, the light will have been shown on them by the time the rebuild happens and actual change in terms of casting, in terms of creation, in terms of production, in terms of all across the board.

[00:17:12] I think the entertainment industry moving forward will be. More open and understanding, and hopefully we will see more representation across the board. Absolutely. I feel the exact same way. And I really hope for the best for the future of this industry, I think it’ll happen. Yeah. I think it’s going to take time, but I do think it will happen.

[00:17:43] Dane: [00:17:43] For sure. All right. Well, let’s move on to one of my favorite sections in the interview. I call it the grease lightning round, and I’m 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? I’m ready. All right. First question.

[00:18:07] What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer? 

[00:18:13] MaShawn: [00:18:13] A lack of stability. You mean financial stability or emotional or all across the board? Financial stability, not knowing like what, whatever be sustainable. Cause I know in this career, you know, a contract starts in a contract.

[00:18:30] You have an end date, you know, going. Two consent consecutive jobs. Like it’s not a regular nine to five where you clock in clock out, you can get your, your regular 401k building and all of that. So the lack of stability across the board, initial clear. We like to be organized and we like to know what life is.

[00:18:57] Dane: [00:18:57] No question. Absolutely. Alright. Well, second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? 

[00:19:06] MaShawn: [00:19:06] it was in terms of a question, the advice, it wasn’t like it was, is he worthy and that was in reference to personal. Lions, but aye. That’s, it’s always stuck with me that question. So I’m going to have to say knowing my word.

[00:19:28] Dane: [00:19:28] Yes. Yes. All right. Well, third question. What is something that is working for you right now? Or if you would like to go pre COVID, what was something that was working for you before our industry went on? Pause, 

[00:19:46] MaShawn: [00:19:46] going with my gut. In terms of making choices, going with my initial gut feeling, there have been a lot of times where I’ve gone with what seems like the smartest thing.

[00:19:58] And then it, it, it, it was not right for me for other reasons. but my gut told me not to do it. So for me personally, my initial reaction is something that I’m. Trying to be more accepting of an embrace for sure. I can absolutely relate to that. And I agree with you that I think the gut feeling is that initial I is rarely wrong, in my opinion, in my experience.

[00:20:28] Dane: [00:20:28] And what ends up kind of being the detriment is we let our minds get into it too much. And we overthink things, but really decisions, decisions tend to be quite simple. And you know, the answer to them deep down. Much sooner than I think we like to admit to ourselves. Agreed. Here’s the fourth question.

[00:20:51] What is the best resource? Whether that is a book, a movie, a YouTube video or channel podcast, a piece of technology that you found is helping your career right now. 

[00:21:05] MaShawn: [00:21:05] Ooh. That’s how we might career right now. Well, any. I tend to find any good movie or any good show in regards to the craft of acting or dancing or singing the artistry of it all is what is the best resource for me, you know, the best resources for me have always been the performers that are in my life that have surrounded me and helped me.

[00:21:33] Guided me without even knowing to the next thing in my life, the next step in my life. So it’s, it’s everything that has to do with artistry, books, movies. It’s not one specific thing for me personally. There’s a clip on YouTube. it’s Oprah’s legends ball and it’s, it was her celebrating the lives of 25.

[00:21:58] Pioneering African American women in media and arts and seldom all around. And that whole celebration was really inspiring to me. And whenever I get down or feel frustrated, I tend to watch that a celebration of those women, and that I found inspires me. Fantastic. I’m going to have to check that out because I’ve not seen that.

[00:22:23] That’s really good. If you find it on YouTube, it’ll be labeled, Tina Turner legend ball, legends ball. I don’t think it’s properly labeled, but it’s a three day event. So it it’ll be blacked out into different videos. I think it’s four or five different videos, 10 minutes each. Perfect. I will definitely check that out.

[00:22:45] Okay. Perfect. Even better, I think, even have to find it. Great. 

[00:22:49] Dane: [00:22:49] Well, fifth question, and this is one of my favorites. 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?

[00:23:05] MaShawn: [00:23:05] Would you do anything differently or keep it the same? For me personally, I would have focused more on the finances of the beginning of my career. like my first jobs were theme parks and cruise ships, and I was so focused on getting to New York. I’m getting to the city that I. I kind of self sabotage myself in terms of allowing myself to fully experience those moments of life.

[00:23:42]yeah, I would, I would, I mean, not just financially it’s it’s everything. Like I was 22 years old traveling the world, but I kinda wasn’t allowing myself to see the world because I was like, none of this matters. I just want to be in New York. You know what I mean? Right. Absolutely. So, yeah, I would, I would tell my younger self to appreciate the now more.

[00:24:05] Dane: [00:24:05] Absolutely. And enjoy the journey instead of like you had mentioned earlier, don’t of course you want to get to those peaks. You want to get to that end goal that you have in mind, but there’s so much richness and so much going on right now, whatever you’re doing and to try to remind yourself and stay present.

[00:24:24] MaShawn: [00:24:24] Yeah, there’s a saying the only thing constant in the world has changed. And my grandmother always says time waits for nobody. So enjoy it now. So true. So true. Alright. And the last question, what is the golden nugget knowledge drop you’ve learned from your successful career in this industry that you would like to leave with our listeners?

[00:24:49]it’s going to go back to. One of my previous responses is it’s trusting your gut going with your, your natural instincts is yeah, it goes back to what I said before. It might me personally, I just have found, and you’ve said this before that it usually turns out to be right. Your natural reaction, your natural feeling.

[00:25:16] So it’s, it’s part of it’s ingrained in us that our DNA. So I would say the golden nugget would just be to trust yourself. 

[00:25:26]Dane: [00:25:26] I love that. Perfect. And to wrap up this interview, it is now time to give yourself upload plug. Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to promote?

[00:25:40]MaShawn: [00:25:40] well, I don’t necessarily need to promote myself, but if you’re interested in following me, my Instagram is may, may fierce Mae Mae fierce. Don’t judge the name. It was a very poignant time in my life with Beyonce and I am Sasha fierce album. yeah. And. That’s where I am. I’m on YouTube. I post a lot of travel videos cause I get to travel the world on YouTube.

[00:26:06]knowing how to do is YouTube, my name, make sure I’m Morton. Perfect. All right. May Sean, thank you so much for joining us today on this interview. It was a pleasure to have you. Thank you, Dave. 

[00:26:23] Dane: [00:26:23] 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.

[00:26:33] 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.

[00:26:56] All the best to you. We’ll see you tomorrow.