Evan Keys


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EP 58: Evan Keys (autogenerated)

[00:00:00] Dane Reis: [00:00:00] you booked episode 77.

[00:00:06] Let’s get started. I’m excited to introduce my guest today. Hold on something, just try it again. Okay. Let’s get started. I’m excited to introduce my guest today. Evan, are you ready for this episode has happened.

[00:00:25]Evan Keys: [00:00:25] I am. Let’s do it.

[00:00:27] Dane Reis: [00:00:27] Brilliant. Brilliant. I’ve been born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, where she started dancing at the young age upon graduating high school on scholars called the conservatory program where she studied dance and theater and get her.

[00:00:43] During her last semester, the iconic on, I believe in Las Vegas, I guess after beginning her professional career in your day.

[00:00:57] wow. Law’s legacy could have been also  dress dress. She would like to make her parents, parents supportive and original Regina.

[00:01:14] button, but why don’t you go about filling the gap in the gaps when you are

[00:01:24] industry?

[00:01:25]Evan Keys: [00:01:25] Okay. Uh, well, again, my name is Evan keys. Um, I normally say I’m from Atlanta, Georgia for people who don’t know Georgia, but I’m actually from a small town called Lilburn, which is like 20 minutes out of the city. We like to call it thrill burn because there’s not much of a thrill or anything going on there.


[00:01:43] Um, I was born and raised there until I graduated , uh, high school and went to college in New York. Um, I’m currently living in Las Vegas. And like you said, working mostly as a dancer model and most recently an actress, um, which has been super fun and yeah, I’m just here trying to stay busy and, you know, occupied while we’re out of work.

[00:02:04] Dane Reis: [00:02:04] Absolutely.

[00:02:09] I am one quote, what is, what is the work paper I would share with everyone?

[00:02:17] Evan Keys: [00:02:17] Well, it’s probably going sound a bit, a bit cliche. Um, but I live by the quote. Everything happens for a reason. So much so that I have it tattooed into button on my back, but, um, really it’s, it’s so true. I’m just a firm believer, you know, everything that happens in our life is there to teach us a lesson or make us stronger.

[00:02:36] You know, even when it’s hard to see it at the time, you kind of just have to trust that maybe if a door was closed it’s because what was behind it wasn’t really meant for you. And that another one is supposed to open elsewhere, but I also feel it’s kind of just, , a great outlook for us to have in this industry.

[00:02:49] Cause we kind of have to take everything with a grain of salt and  just continue moving forward. So yeah, everything happens for a reason.

[00:02:56]Dane Reis: [00:02:56] I love it. You know what cliches are cliches for a reason, right? Because they really tend to prove themselves true over time. And you’re right. When you’re in this industry, we are. We come up against so many challenges and the whole audition process, the whole lifestyle being in this industry, they’re unique and really embracing that I think is super important.

[00:03:20] It can be very helpful moving through your career.

[00:03:23]Evan Keys: [00:03:23] Oh yeah, absolutely. I agree.

[00:03:26]Dane Reis: [00:03:26] All right. Well, let’s move on to the next section here. And Evan, of course you are an entertainer. I’m an entertainer. And I think that you would agree this industry can be one of the most subjective, brutally, honest, personally emotional industries, either of us have probably ever experienced. And you know, as well as I, that in order to create and have a successful career in this industry.

[00:03:51] Like you’re having now takes a lot of dedication and hard work. And while yeah, of course there is an outrageous, fun and excitement being on set, being on stage. There are also our fair share of obstacles, challenges. Failures, we are going to experience and we’re going to have to move forward through. So tell us what is one key challenge, obstacle or failure you’ve experienced in your career and how did you come out the other side better because of it.

[00:04:22]Evan Keys: [00:04:22] Hmm. Oh gosh. Well, I mean, it’s hard to say, because like you said, there are lots of challenges, uh, in this industry. Um, But, you know, I think a big one is just learning how to handle rejection and not taking it too personally. You know, I don’t think it’s something necessarily to be viewed as failure because viewing things as feeling sometimes can really knock us down and oftentimes kind of make you want to give up.

[00:04:47] But, um, it’s just so huge in this industry. You know, we worked so incredibly hard at our crafts. So when we are told no, it kind of digs deep, but really learning how to cope and brush it off and kind of tell ourselves, you know, better luck next time, or, okay. I just need to work harder using rejection as that pushing force, you know, you have to learn how to handle it if you want to be in this industry.

[00:05:07] But I, I think another common obstacle that I faced a lot is confidence, which I’m sure you’ve probably heard from some of your other, um, People you’ve interviewed for the podcast as well, but especially for dancers and models, , we grew up facing so much criticism and being told we need to look a certain way or move a certain way and constantly in mirrors, just judging ourselves.

[00:05:27] But I think this kind of, it goes hand in hand with rejection because when you’re turned down time and time again, it’s hard not to lose confidence in ourselves, but honestly I think just from personal experience and seeing it. Confidence can really carry you a long way. I mean, you could be and audition with someone who might be able to dance circles around you, but if you show more confidence.

[00:05:47] Yeah. And I mean, you know, confidence, it’s not cockiness, not thinking you’re better than others, just straight believing in yourself. There’s a really good chance you could, you know, book it or get a call back over that person just from confidence alone.

[00:05:59]Dane Reis: [00:05:59] Absolutely. I could not agree. More confidence is so important and you’re right. That we really have to learn how to cope with our failures. And I personally like to see failures as lessons, or try to flip the script on it and say, all right, what went wrong? What can I do now? Uh, is there anything really that I could do that would have made that a different outcome and oftentimes in auditions, there’s not.

[00:06:28]The reason you didn’t book it or you got cut is oftentimes so subjective that it’s so far out of your control that while it might be frustrating because you got, let go on something that you might’ve really wanted. Well, it was , never even in the cards to begin with for that particular day, that particular moment and learning those lessons and trying to absorb them and how to move forward through them and deal with them is so important.

[00:06:52]Evan Keys: [00:06:52] Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it could even just be, you know, your look alone that, you know, say they have too many redheads already, you know, in their show, you just have to learn how to accept that. It’s nothing to do with your ability and how hard you work. It’s just sometimes it’s, , like you said, not in the cards for you at that time, or you just didn’t have the right look.

[00:07:09]Dane Reis: [00:07:09] Absolutely. Well, let’s move on to a time that I like to call your spotlight moment. That one moment in time you realized, yes, I am going to be an entertainer for living or maybe it was, yes, this is what I need to be doing as an entertainer. Tell us about that.

[00:07:33] Evan Keys: [00:07:33] okay. Well, I think that started from a really young age. I mean, even when I was in diapers. Whereas I wanted all lives in the room on me. I was always dancing or saying ridiculous things, trying to steal the attention away from my sister. I mean, gosh, my poor parents probably had their hands full, but, um, , I really want to say, I think around, yeah, you know, the age of 12 or 13, I, I kind of started realizing that I couldn’t imagine my life without it.

[00:07:54] And it was my go to outlet. And then I started, , digging more in it and realizing that you can actually. , make a life out of this and a career path if you work hard enough. So I really strove for that moment, you know, or two moments each, each year when I would have a performance  and just work super hard towards that because being on stage and being in the spotlight was just, you know, put you on that all the time.

[00:08:15] Hi. And I think, uh, when the time came for, you know, after, after high school plans, you could say, and I auditioned for AMTA. It was really when I got that acceptance and scholarship later that I realized that that was going to be my life and everything from there on out was to work towards that. Um, but at the same time, I couldn’t have been more excited and happy about it.

[00:08:35] So I was just sure at that moment that performing acting dancing was what I was meant to be doing.

[00:08:41]Dane Reis: [00:08:41] I love that. And let’s piggyback on that question and talk about your number one. Booked it moment. Walk us through that day. If the audition and call backs, if they happen to be a part of it, what was going on in your life? And what about that moment? Makes it your favorite book moment?

[00:09:02]Evan Keys: [00:09:02] You know, you’d think this would be the easy question because that’s what the whole podcast is, you know about, but it’s not, I mean, I feel like there’s been so many moments where you’re just overcome with this sense of excitement or accomplishment for, you know, either booking a certain job or just getting a certain role.

[00:09:19]Um, but I think to keep it simple, you know, I’ll go with my very first booked it moment, which was super special. Um, it was when I was offered a contract with do believe, actually. So it was my fourth semester at AMTA. And that’s when you’re finally allowed to start out auditioning for things. And, um, Jubilee was actually my very first audition that I did, uh, when I was allowed.

[00:09:41] So I remember being so nervous that day. Oh my gosh. I could barely eat or speak to anybody. Like, you know, that, that first audition experience and I was in New York. It’s just, it was huge. I was, Oh, I was freaking out, but I remember when I got there, there was, um, There was like reporters and news team covering the audition.

[00:09:59] So of course camera’s right in our face, you know, it was quite an intimidating, uh, first audition experience to say the least. Um, but yeah, the first thing they do is measure your height and technically I’m right at the limit, maybe even slightly under. So I already thought about chances would be slim. Um, but you know, I just went forward anyway and.

[00:10:19] Somehow I made it through to the end and to wait for a call and the following days or week, whatever it was. And for the next few days, I remember I, you know, adamantly kept my phone on me during class, and I believe it was in the last few minutes of a musical theater class. That my phone ring. And I got so nervous to pick up, um, you know, obviously I didn’t have the number, but I just was hoping it was what I thought it was.

[00:10:44] And, uh, I slipped out of class to answer and sure enough, it was Diane Palm offering you the contract. And I think at first I was more shocked than anything, like, is this really happening? Uh, and then I wanted to scream, but was trying to, you know, be professional on the phone. 

[00:11:01] Um, 

[00:11:01] but it just, it worked out perfectly because I had to be in Vegas.

[00:11:05] I think it was March 5th to sign the contract and get started with all of that. And I graduated the conservatory program in New York on  February 7th. So, , it could have worked out more perfectly. It was like I graduated and got to start working right away. Um, But, , it was huge. I was, I was still a student just booked my first professional show in a completely different city that I knew nothing about at the time I was like, what’s happening in Vegas.

[00:11:27] I didn’t even know that there was this much entertainment out there. Um, and  it was this iconic long running show girl show. So I think that will always be the number one book to kind of memory that’s fond and close to my heart. Cause it was the first one and it was the start of it all.

[00:11:43]Dane Reis: [00:11:43] Fantastic. I love that story and I loved that. You were, you went out there, you’re like, I’m one for one. This is amazing. Look at me. And I love that. You also said, , I didn’t even realize there was so much stuff going on in Vegas. And before I got to Vegas, I mean, I knew there were obviously loads of entertainment in Vegas, but I as well didn’t even get that there was that much going on.

[00:12:06]In that city. And it’s something that I think a lot of people can actually take away from this episode, from this podcast, that there is so much work in that city. It’s it doesn’t just have to be New York and Broadway. There are so much available in Los Vegas. It’s an amazing

[00:12:22] Evan Keys: [00:12:22] yeah. It really is. I mean, I had no idea in my mind it was new Yorker LA cause at the time I was planning on continuing to the LA campus of AMTA to get my BFA. And I just, I had no idea. I mean, obviously, you know, Las Vegas is an entertainment capital, but you’re like just no clue how much shows and how many job opportunities were really here.

[00:12:43] Dane Reis: [00:12:43] Yeah. Yeah. What people don’t tell you is that there’s 26,000 plus conventions that come to that city every single year. And there are loads of companies, thousands of companies that have parties and events and they need people like us.

[00:12:58]Evan Keys: [00:12:58] Yeah. Yeah. That’s definitely one of the fun ones here too. I had no idea about, but very glad and happy that I, , ended up out here and learned about all of that and got to be 

[00:13:07] Dane Reis: [00:13:07] Absolutely. Well, let’s take a moment to talk about the present. What projects are you’re working on now? What are you looking forward to? And look, it is a very unique, strange time. We are this global pandemic. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?

[00:13:27]Evan Keys: [00:13:27] Um, well, I mean, as for projects right now, as you know, you know, sadly, because of the time there isn’t too much work to be had, but. I have been taking this time to really focus on acting, um, which I haven’t been able to do in the past. And I actually, uh, as a result of that, just wrapped on three projects in the last month, which I am so thankful for.

[00:13:45] Um, I had a. Short film that we wrapped at the end of June, June. And then right after that, I began, , my first feature film, which we managed to do in eight days. That’s crazy. And, uh, lastly I did a teaser trailer, which is hopefully, uh, something much bigger in the future. So I’m really looking forward to, uh, putting more of my focus into acting and.

[00:14:05] Dedicating more time than I never had, uh, or was able to before. So it’s, it’s always been something I’ve wanted and seen in my future. Um, but I think it was just waiting for the right time to present itself as , my new focus and as for the entertainment industry moving forward, I mean, sadly it is kind of hard to say what is to happen, uh, in the future.

[00:14:23] But I think,  the best that we can do is stay positive, keep encouraging each other. Keep creating and really just hold on. I hope that this is all soon going to be a thing of the past. I mean, hopefully, , we pull through stronger than before and I mean, you know, we’re, we’re a strong industry and a strong community, so I don’t think that we will have any problem doing that.

[00:14:44] I can’t say for sure. , what I see exactly happening, but I know for sure that we’re going to pull through it in the end.

[00:14:50]Dane Reis: [00:14:50] absolutely. I love your insight. And. It is time to move on to one of my favorite sections of 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 ready?

[00:15:11]Evan Keys: [00:15:11] I’m ready. Let’s 

[00:15:12] Dane Reis: [00:15:12] Okay. First question.

[00:15:13] What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?

[00:15:19]Evan Keys: [00:15:19] um, I say that whole, am I good enough? Or do I have what it takes mentality? You know, just getting stuck in that. Am I actually going to be able to make a life out of this?

[00:15:28]Dane Reis: [00:15:28] Absolutely. That can be such a dangerous rabbit hole to 

[00:15:33] Evan Keys: [00:15:33] Oh yeah. Yeah, absolutely. But you know, when you have such a passion for it, it’s easy to overcome. So

[00:15:41]Dane Reis: [00:15:41] Absolutely stay on that side of things. And the second question, what is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

[00:15:51]Evan Keys: [00:15:51] you know, there’s lots, but I’ll just have to say my top one. So I, I think this may be another cliche, but, um, , stop worrying. What other people think of you worry about you. How you feel about you, what you’re doing to better yourself and further yourself. And, you know, when you’re happy with yourself and with your journey, things kind of have this weird way of working out.

[00:16:10] And of course, you know, still hold yourself to high standards and work hard for what you want. But, , I think just worrying about yourself and I feel like another great one is it’s , um, people say, don’t say it, just do it, you know, kind of mean, yeah, don’t talk the talk and then not walk the walk like.

[00:16:25] Put your focus into your actions and, , don’t put your time into telling people that you’re going to do something, just go and do it, go and accomplish it. and I feel like too, sorry, this is a big one for me, but it’s just to be kind to people, , behind to be generous, be grateful.  this industry is so small and it’s a small world and you don’t want one bad day of you saying something that you didn’t mean to ruin your whole career.

[00:16:49] It’s a challenging lifestyle for all of us. So I, I feel like just being kind and building each other up may really take you a lot further than, you know,

[00:16:56]Dane Reis: [00:16:56] absolutely. I could not agree more with everything that you brought up just now. Um, you’re right. It is believing in yourself and you doing you is so important because at the end of the day, this industry is outrageously subjective and. It’s not helpful to worry about things that you simply cannot control, focus on the stuff that you can actually do and improve on and stay there.

[00:17:25] And I always say with this industry that you need to be nice to everybody because you never know who that person is going to be. Uh, in the future. Maybe they’re gonna own that company that ends up hiring you, maybe your going to be the owner of a company that, or be in a position where you’re making casting decisions.

[00:17:45] And you’re going to remember those relationships that you’ve built throughout your career, because when it comes down to casting things, More often than not. It is very relationship based. People want to work with people they know are a for sure thing that are good at what they do. They want, everyone wants to help out people that they know and their friends.

[00:18:01] Right. 

[00:18:02] So if you can be that person to people,  

[00:18:06] you will never have to lack for work.

[00:18:08]Evan Keys: [00:18:08] Yeah, absolutely. And you don’t have to worry about it. You know, you don’t have to worry about when somebody does get in a position,  of casting or hiring you that you’re sitting there thinking, Oh, there was that one day, you know, that I, , slipped up and said something that I didn’t really mean,  it’s just better to just stay kind and stay grateful.

[00:18:26]Dane Reis: [00:18:26] for sure. And I, I guess I should take a moment to also say that this is not to, to be taken away from. Being genuine. It’s not saying, Oh, be nice to people because you’re playing a game. You’re trying to leverage and position yourself for future potential whatevers. It’s just be a nice person, honestly, and everything will be good.

[00:18:45]Evan Keys: [00:18:45] yeah, absolutely agree with that. 

[00:18:46]Dane Reis: [00:18:46] 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.

[00:18:59]Evan Keys: [00:18:59] Um, well, I’ll go kind of with a mix, you know, pre COVID when things were,  flowing and work with staying busy, um, Communication was huge, you know, staying in touch with companies or people that you’ve worked for, or people you’ve worked with if just stay fresh in people’s minds, honestly, it’s , updating them with, , updated photos, resume reel, just keeping them,  up to date with what’s going on with you, you and your availability really makes a big difference cause you stay fresh in your minds.

[00:19:25] And then, um, Something working for me then, and now is just staying on my game. I mean, staying fit, staying healthy, staying in practice, , something I’ve learned through experience, but it’s so, so important to stay ready so that you don’t have to get ready, 


[00:19:39] Dane Reis: [00:19:39] I love that. Stay ready. So you don’t have to get ready. So good. 

[00:19:43] And the fourth question. What is your best resource? That’s a book, a movie, a YouTube video, a podcast, maybe a piece of technology that you found is helping your career right now.

[00:19:57]Evan Keys: [00:19:57] I guess this could go kind of hand in hand with my last answer about staying ready. But right now I feel like it’s a lot of, uh, people actually, you know, my best resources are my personal trainer. Shout out to David Nelson. He’s amazing. Um, I acting class and yeah. Coach Paul Campanella, who has taught me  so much.

[00:20:14] And he really keeps me in practice for auditions and self-tapes submissions and just all the awesome studio. Yeah. Those and teachers and talent where I can go and, and take dance classes to stay in practice in that. And, um, You know, a lot of the casting websites, you know, such as actors, Zach’s access and backstage, they’ve been providing some really great resources during quarantine, such as,  interview articles with stuff, ours or zoom classes and IgG lives has been super helpful.

[00:20:40]Um, but yeah, I feel like a lot of my, my resources right now, people and into the services that they offer.

[00:20:47]Dane Reis: [00:20:47] Love it. And the fifth question, if you had to start your career from scratch,  and you’ve still had all the knowledge and experience you’ve collected from your career in this industry, what would you do or not do? Would you do anything differently or would you keep it the same?

[00:21:04]Evan Keys: [00:21:04] , I’m sure there’s things I would do differently, , um, you know, I’d be sure that I. I put more effort into creating my package and kind of just knowing the importance of having that ready from the beginning, ,  making sure to get footage from each show that you’re a part of, , creating a reel or, , having a portfolio from me, modeling, stuff like that.

[00:21:22]Um, I also wish I knew the importance of difference. It makes. And shows when you, you know, really do your homework, like for example, having to learn a new track in a show off of a video and, you know, taking it home and practicing there,  but not being afraid to ask questions. So,  you’re properly preparing.

[00:21:39]Um, other than that though. Yeah. I think part of the beauty of, of not knowing everything, when you start is the journey of learning it along the way.

[00:21:47]Dane Reis: [00:21:47] Absolutely. Uh, I do like that. You said. , create a real, and I think having a, a performance realer show, real whatever you want to call it is so important because it’s very common. Now that that’s how so much booking happens. , myself personally have I booked Telus amounts of work from my reel. 

[00:22:06] It’s such an important asset that you need to create for yourself. 

[00:22:09]Evan Keys: [00:22:09] Oh yeah, a hundred percent. I mean, I that’s like a regret that I have cause you know, I’ve done a lot of these, these shows ,  in town. . Um, but I didn’t have anybody come and film it. So , I missed out on a lot of opportunities to get good footage for my reel. So now I’m kind of paying for that in a way of scrambling and trying to, uh, You know, put pieces together, but I had no idea that the importance of it in the beginning, you know, and it actually has really important cause so many times, people will tell you, you don’t necessarily need a real, you know, if you just go in and audition, but, , especially with where we’re headed, you know, I feel like a real might actually be even more important in the future than ever because auditions will be less and less.

[00:22:47] So that footage is super important.

[00:22:49]Dane Reis: [00:22:49] absolutely. I was even speaking with, uh, Dan Mitchell. Kay, who was on the show recently and he is the. Conductor and the MD of wicket. And he’s been over there for the 

[00:22:58] past six years on Broadway and nothing is finalized, but it is something that they are very seriously throwing around that Broadway shows may start asking for submissions, remote submission.

[00:23:10] So you don’t actually have to get yourself all the way to New York to audition for shows anymore. So having a.  ready to go. Package is only going to be   more important in the future, I think.

[00:23:24] And that’d be an absolute game changer.

[00:23:26] Evan Keys: [00:23:26] Yeah. 100%. 

[00:23:27] Dane Reis: [00:23:27] All right. And the last question, what is the golden nugget knowledge drop that you’ve learned from your successful career in this industry that you’d like to leave with our listeners?

[00:23:39] Evan Keys: [00:23:39] , , work hard for what you want, believe in yourself. Uh, don’t let other people’s negative comments or beliefs stop you, you know, there’s so much of that in this industry or outside of this industry, people who just want to knock you down. But if you can, I always say, if you can see it, then you can achieve it.

[00:23:54] Like if you see yourself doing something in the future, then you can absolutely do it. Uh, it doesn’t mean that it won’t be hard along the way, but just don’t give up. And learn to be you in the process. We kind of touched on that earlier, but people really just want to see your individuality and your uniqueness.

[00:24:10] And I wish I would’ve learned that sooner. Um,  what would have helped me out a lot, but lastly, as, as we said earlier again, um, just be kind to be grateful and treat everybody with respect.

[00:24:20]Dane Reis: [00:24:20] I love it. All amazing bits of advice. And to wrap up this interview, Evan, it is time to give yourself a plug. Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to promote?

[00:24:36]Evan Keys: [00:24:36] Well, uh, I’m Evan keys on Facebook and on Instagram I’m Evie underscore K E Y S. Those are my main plugs. So hit me up. If you,  want to talk anything industry or just have questions.

[00:24:48]Dane Reis: [00:24:48] perfect. And for everyone listening, I have put links to both of those things. She just mentioned in the description of this episode. Evan, thank you so much for joining me today. It’s been an absolute pleasure to have you.