Transcript: EPS 9 Colleen chats with Sam Valentine of One Broke Actress

Colleen – SKS 0:00
Sam, I am a fellow Midwestern theater major who moved to Hollywood and realize how ill prepared I was for the industry, even with a theater degree. I’ve followed you in your podcast for a long time. And because you are so open, I feel a little bit like I know you, and a little bit of your journey. But for those who aren’t familiar, I’d love to just get a small glimpse into your origin story in LA. And then we can segue a little bit into how you monetize the business you’ve created and eventually qualified for SAG-AFTRA health care, in part because of it.

Sam Valentine 0:33
Yeah. Thank you so much. Where are you from?

Colleen – SKS 0:36

Sam Valentine 0:37
Okay, so my,

Colleen – SKS 0:39
oh, I’m sorry, my boyfriend’s from Missouri.

Sam Valentine 0:42
Where at in Missouri?

Colleen – SKS 0:43

Sam Valentine 0:45
Okay, great. So I knew that whole world, I went to Missouri State, but but so I was born in Kansas, might we moved all the time. So I’m like Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Illinois, I went back to Missouri State for college, full Midwest kid, only saw theater as something that was just something you did in your free time, not something you did for a job. But for some reason, I got it in my head that I was gonna do it anyway. And then I found a way. And so I went to Missouri State. I originally started as a theater, education major. And then I took all of the theater classes and they said, great, you have to take the teaching classes now. And I was like, Oh, this isn’t fun anymore. I don’t want to go to these classes. I don’t want to write papers. Like this is not I don’t find this helpful. So I switched majors partway through, and I became a theater performance major. And, and yeah, I mean, many moons later, like four or five years, it took me to graduate college and came out to LA, within days of graduating, like, get ready for me town. You guys are gonna have no idea…. everyone at my college was like yeah, Sam’s, I know Sam’s gonna whatever, make it, probably like she’ll just, she’ll find a way. And then I got here and there was no, I had no idea what to do. I was asking around where you got auditions. This was 2011. And so things like podcasts didn’t really exist back then. There wasn’t really central hubs for information. And mostly the things people put on social media were just the best of the best. At that point. This whole truth sharing thing we do now wasn’t really a thing we did in that year. So it was a time…. I struggled, got parking tickets, worked a lot of side jobs, asked a lot of friends. Actually, one of my first friends in LA was an actress named Ashley Platz, who is at Stan Kirsch Studios. And she’s an incredible actress. And she, one day just wrote down a bunch of places that I was allowed to live on the back of a, of a wine list of the restaurant we worked at. And then she also wrote down like the three places I could get auditions. And it was a, I want to say it was off to the races, but then it was continuous years of testing, trying testing, trying, failing, failing, failing, over and over again. Till I mean, I just I’m here now. And I think I’m still testing, trying, testing, trying, failing.

Colleen – SKS 3:21
So funny that you say failing, failing, because I feel like you’ve worked more, or at least from what I see on social media, you’ve worked more in the last year or two than ever before. So continually growing, right, building your resume.

Sam Valentine 3:36
Yeah. And I think that’s the interesting part of it, right? Is that, like, it looks so different than how it feels. But although I have succeeded, more sinse, honestly, my whole life changed in the pandemic, with everything horrific that happened, and how hard it was, for all of us. I also, for the first time had time to not work three or four jobs in a day, and to take a deep breath and think of what I really wanted to do. And that culminated in lots of different things. But it also culminated in me finding a rhythm to my life and enjoyment in it already, not waiting for the permission of a booking and, and in that I also was able to find new reps eventually and get going with people who were legitimately sending me out not like the agents who just called themselves an agent type of situation. In which we can talk about if you want. But, but yeah, that changed. That changed drastically in the pandemic. And I’ve worked more in the last three years than I have in my entire career. But at the same time, I’ve had more opportunities that haven’t gone like I thought they would. So the ratio of success to failure is probably the same as it was before, but the things I’m succeeding in are now one national commercial out of 50 instead of one print job Out of 100 print jobs, you know, so it feels like the ratio is still there and the pressure is still the same.

Colleen – SKS 5:06
So interesting. Is that video game leveling up that Audrey talks about?

Sam Valentine 5:10
Yeah, yeah, totally.

Colleen – SKS 5:12
I wouldn’t mind actually a small tangent to talk about those, those bad agents like those agents that we all start with. When I’m talking to students, and they talk to me about etiquette with reaching out to reps and what you should sort of demand of them or what are like the base level requirements of what they should be doing for you. It’s hard to because I’m at a place where I am now, it’s hard to remember that in the beginning, it’s kind of like you get what you can get. And when you try to ask for certain milestones to be made, whether it’s, I’m looking to do one costar by the end of the year, and they’re sending you nothing but reality TV, show auditions, things like that. How do you talk to young people, young people or people new to Los Angeles, about dealing with those reps that you and I know I’ve never heard a podcast about how crappy reps can be. Well, I’ve heard like little things here and there. But I’ve often wanted to, like I interviewed my manager, Paolo Andres. And I what I wanted, what I said to him is, some people aren’t as fortunate as me. So how do you? How do you suggest people talk to them? And he really skirted the question, because we don’t want to talk about people or like, have bad juju out there.

Sam Valentine 6:37
Yeah. Yeah, I know what you mean, there’s a there’s a want to only put positive information to the world. But also, we need to know what the negative is, so we can recognize it when we see it. And it is so hard when you’re getting your first reps. And I say first reps, because I was not the person who married their highschool sweetheart, I did not have my first reps stay with me through all my Hollywood. In fact, I think I fired four or five agents, managers at this point. And I think it’s…. I’m grateful for that. Because now I know how that works. And I know what it feels like when you’re in those situations. So the, I think the hardest part is that, take this with a grain of salt, everyone. But when you’re not very good, your reps might not be very good. And early in my career, I was like, I have theater degree, I am a cute young girl, I’m from the Midwest, people love me, like, I don’t need to go to class, I don’t need to like improve my skills. Like I went to school for this. I was so incredibly wrong and off because I had no idea how to deal with the type of work I wanted to do. I just thought acting translated across all platforms, and that it was all the same. So I was not very good. I was I didn’t… there was no moment before there was no like, thought between the lines, there was no conversation like I’m having with you, and I’m like looking at your face and listening. Like, why wasn’t this there when I was a young actor? But you know, it’s only learned with time and, and so I wasn’t very good. So my reps weren’t very good. And I learned very quickly, that although it feels like you’re not allowed to expect anything from your reps, because you’re still low on the totem pole, you can still expect things from people who are working with and for you. And to me, the bare minimum is responses to emails. And I now solidify that by whenever I have a meeting with representation off the top like the initial meeting, my favorite favorite question to ask, which I think everyone should ask is how do you prefer to communicate. And if they say, please call me anytime. Write it down in front of you put out a post it note and look at it till the end of time because there will be a day where you’ll be too nervous to call your agent. But you have to remember that they want …if they say they’re calling, they want you to call…. call. If they say you know I’m really good with like text or email, probably arrange phone calls with them. That sounds like they’re not like a random call person. Figuring out what that is for each agent is different. Because it’s like different talking to a person. I have one friend who calls all the time, they almost never send a text they are a phone call person. And I know that for a fact. And that’s how I, so I don’t text them expecting a text back. So figuring out that chain of communication early I think is something that’s really important and then respecting it and establishing what your expectations could or should be, because I had so little expectations that everything I got felt insurmountable. I remember the first costar audition I got was for 9021 it was like, obviously the reboot. But they were they were casting some costar audition, and it came from my first manager and the heft and the feeling of like, I have to get this good for him, for the job, for… there was zero part of me in it. And I remember distinctly sitting in that room and saying the lines I was supposed to say and doing the job that was tasked to me by my representation and was what I thought casting wanted, leaving the room and being like, I wonder if I booked it. Shocking to know that I did not book that audition. But I asked my manager, I was like, Can we get some feedback, like, there’s no feedback for a three line co star, like you’re just not the fit. And so those delineations of putting the extra pressure on everything they gave me was huge. I think opening that line of communication was, was something I missed a lot in the beginning, and then figuring out when and if they needed to talk to me. So if I hadn’t heard from my reps in three months, which was not uncommon, with not as good of reps as I have now. Then I wish I would have had the wherewithal to have contacted them myself, and not to say, “Hi, where are my auditions”, but to say, “Hi, I’m actively working on my acting career. Here’s X, Y, and Z. I’m thinking about a headshot, I’m thinking about a class. I’m thinking about…. and let them have input, because then they’re coming in on the process. And I think if they don’t want to have those conversations, that’s a huge red flag.

Colleen – SKS 11:26
Hmm, love that. That’s so good. And so succinct. And I appreciate you saying, if you’re not good, you’re not going to get good reps. Because you moved out here, with probably excellent acting skills. But it’s a whole different world, auditioning for Current TV and film and like the quick turnarounds that we have to do and all of that stuff. It just creates a pressure cooker situation that we need a different skill set for.

Sam Valentine 11:53
Yeah, well, I was probably fine in college. But I was doing like plays. And, you know, working on the Seagull for you know, a month, six weeks, eight weeks, 12 weeks, that gave me a lot of time and a character that was l ike so, like, Masha is so layered, and there’s all these things and she has all these feelings and relationships. And then you get handed, you know, a three line costar, in 90210. And she’s just some girl in school. And I’m like, well, what’s her secret? Like, what’s her? How do I… and sure you can find those things out? But like, the real question is like, where am I sitting? Am I sitting in a cafeteria? Are there people around me? Do I want people to hear this conversation? Do I like the person I’m talking to? Like, I made theatre world so big, that I could not translate the naturalistic acting that I thought I was so good at, to fit in the small confines of what a co star would be let alone a guest sta r? I did not. I didn’t not go out for those, Thank God

Colleen – SKS 13:01
Amazing. Okay, thank you for taking that small tangent with me. So we are chatting in August 2023. A few weeks into the SAG-AFTRA strikes, and waiting for the AMPTP to give us a fair deal. It’s recently been heavily publicized that only 12.7% of the SAG-AFTRA members earn enough to meet the $26,470 earning qualifications to get health care. I have, I feel like I’ve always known that it’s very, very hard to make SAG-AFTRA health insurance. In fact, in my acting five class in college, the first day, we got handed, literally, these numbers, sort of to, like sort of jostle us, do you really want this? And I was like, Yeah, I fucking want that. I’ll live in my car if I have to. But a lot of people are surprised by it. The whole world I think is starting to share an understanding of how shockingly low residuals are. But you have used the new SAG-AFTRA podcast agreement to combine with your bookings to help you qualify. I am so inspired by that I’m so thrilled for you. And you know, you created something good Sam, when people see your Instagram post and tear up. I mean, rooting for you all the way it’s so good. I have goosebumps right now. So before we get into the nitty gritty of it, can you just give us the Cliff’s Notes version of your starting One Broke Actress? What was your intention for it?

Sam Valentine 14:32
Yeah, thank you so much for that. I’m so glad my “newly inducted into the world Instagram husband” was able to film that moment for me that was really special. Yeah, so one broke actress started as a blog. It started in 2016. I had a lot of feelings about my acting career at this point, you know, I had been an actress for five years, which at the time felt like a lifetime I was about to turn 30. I was like, What am I? What am I doing? Aren’t I supposed to be successful in my 20s, or else I’m not successful at all, I ended up going to another country and filming a movie. And I was the lead and I came home and my reps told me to take down a Facebook post I had posted when I was looking for a part time job when I got home from the movie, because they said I was being sold as a leading lady now. And all of these things consecutively, when on top of each other, along with the fact that everyone I know and love was congratulating me on finally having made it. Whereas, I didn’t have a job. I wasn’t allowed to be posting about not having a job, I had lost my health care, I was going on unemployment, I had lost everything when I left town to go film this movie. And now I came home not knowing if the movie would ever come out, not knowing what would happen with it. You just never know with these indie films. And I had a great time shooting it. But it was also very hard. And it’s a long process. And so I came home, kind of in a slump. And everyone was giving me the most accolades. And everyone thought I was doing the thing. And I was told I couldn’t share that I wasn’t working. And I was like, Where do I put these feelings? What do I do with this information? People need to know this, like, how come I can Google 500 different ways to make a skinny Margarita, but I cannot Google what actors do in their downtime, like I don’t understand. So I did what everyone did in the mid 2010s, is I started a blog, and I put my feelings on it. And I kept it private for a while until I started to put it onto Facebook, because that’s also what you did in 2016. And once I started to put it on Facebook, people that I loved and trusted and people who were higher, quote, unquote, up in the industry than me, were agreeing with the stuff I was saying. And I was like, Oh, you feel this way. So it’s not just me. So it’s, there’s more than, so it’s okay. So even though I hardly consider myself an actor, technically yet, I’m still this way. Okay, cool. So that empowered me super slowly to start taking it more and more public. And at the time, I had another podcast I was doing with a friend. And I thought, well, one broke actress should be a podcast because I kept interviewing actors and then transcribing myself the chat we were having, which I’m not a great typer. If you’ve seen anything I’ve ever posted, there’s always misspellings. And so I said, Why am I doing this when I just record it and post it. So I started that process and just put out a season one. And I got to Episode 12 of the podcast. And I was like, Well, I ran out of episodes. So that’s the season. Thank you so much for coming. This is the end, bye. And then people started asking when it was coming back. And I was like, oh, people pay attention. This is interesting. And so it’s grown, I want to tell you so badly, “and then everything just took off”. But it’s been piecemeal together over the years, because I was also working three or four jobs every single day, there was a period of time where I didn’t do anything with one broke actress, because I didn’t know if the podcast mattered. I didn’t know if if anyone was listening, or if people were listening and thinking like this girl’s never going to work in this town because she’s talking like this, which mostly I was too afraid to put myself out there. So I mostly just interviewed other people anyway. And it slowly, slowly, slowly, it just continued to exist, it didn’t really build it just existed. And in 2020, a great deal of rest was handed to all of us. And I said well, I have nothing to offer, really, I can’t give a lot of people money. And I’ll have anything else to do. So I’ll just keep doing the podcast because I have the time and I don’t have another job to go to I can’t go to babysitting or my meal prep job. So I just started to work on the podcast and work on the website and do more and more and more on Instagram. Instagram launched reels and I said thisis…you know what? No one else is gonna put me on camera. I’m gonna put me on camera. And let’s see what we got to do here. And so now it’s you know, it’s grown very steadily over time. But I’m very grateful for that. Because if anyone’s ever had anything go viral, you know that sometimes when you bring a lot of people’s eyes to something, you get a lot of people’s eyes who it’s not meant for. And people are really harsh on the internet if they don’t understand what they’re looking at. And so especially when you name something “one broke actress” because you think you’re funny, people don’t think it’s funny if you’re like sharing a congratulations that you, you know, booked a big job or something. So it’s been a push pull. But that has been a very interesting thing. And so now it’s a platform that exists and I say platform because it’s very annoying to say Instagram, Tik Tok, YouTube, podcast, blog. And you know, now I have a membership. That is with an actress named Gabrielle who’s in Atlanta we have an online membership. I have a Patreon… So yeah, it’s just now it’s, it’s my job, which is cool and crazy. And, and I don’t know, you probably feel the same way that like acting is your job and you kind of look around and gotta pinch yourself sometimes.

Colleen – SKS 20:13
Oh, yeah, yeah, absolutely. Oh 100%

Sam Valentine 20:16
Oh, I didn’t even answer your question about SAG in that, I got so excited to talk about it. So yeah, so because of the growth of the podcast, I’ve been able to do things like the Patreon, which is a monetization scale. And they get extra bonus podcasts and all these things. And then I’m able to teach sometimes a working actor workshop. And I’m starting to start to offer ads on the podcast, which is different. I’ve done a little bit of that before, but now it’s coming from an official company, which is cool. And all of these things combined, It has monetized one broke actress significantly to where it has its own LLC. And I was reached out to by Shane Griffin who works, she’s a SAG member, SAG staff member. And she reached out and said did you know you can do really cool stuff with your podcast like have it under a SAG contract, and then you’re protected by lawyers and all these things. And then also your monetization can earn you health insurance. And I was like, Tell me more. So I signed that contract in February. And I’ve been contributing to my own pension and health. The contract I’m on essentially 10% of what I make I pay back to sag. And then 50% of everything I make is counted toward my pension and health. And that along with a couple of commercials I did in the past year actually running, which is different than doing a commercial because they don’t always run… that has qualified me for the first time since I joined sag AFTRA in 2017 for health insurance. So I have health insurance, and I’m going to qualify for my first pension credit this year. And yeah, it’s huge, huge, huge, it feels like a huge weight lifted. I went in the second I got it and I was like sign up for the year I put my husband on it, we’re saving so much money. It’s such a good, such a good health insurance. And I just feel like it could not have come at a more opportune time for me to take advantage and to also be even more grateful for my union right now in this time of like craziness.

Colleen – SKS 22:17
Absolutely. Yeah. That’s amazing. How easy was it to get the podcast agreement contract?

Sam Valentine 22:25
Shane made it very easy. I don’t know how easy it is for everyone. But she’s like, she’s incredible. She talked me through it once or twice on the phone, we had conversations. And then she actually sent me the contract and we got on the phone and filled it out together. And it took maybe 20-30 minutes to fill it out together. And then once a month, I just look at my accounts when I do my bookkeeping, and I send a check to sag. And it’s pretty simple. I mean, I hasten to say that because I hope I’m not doing anything wrong. But because I’m the host, the talent and the producer, it’s all under the same umbrella, which is very, very cool. And then I think the question that comes up for a lot of people is so “do all of your guests have to be SAG”. And that’s not how it works as long as the project like the production end is SAG so I am the talent. I am SAG I can interview non SAG members should I choose. So that exists. And then during this time for the strike, there are ramifications to a SAG podcast, so I cannot interview someone about their struck work. So I don’t know weirdly, like Margot Robbie cannot come on and talk about Barbie. I don’t know why she didn’t answer the email, you know, it’s just weird.

Colleen – SKS 23:43
Must be in her junk email somewhere

Sam Valentine 23:45
I think it ended up in spam. I think that’s what happened. And you know, that are like, we’re both at odds because I definitely should have auditioned for that movie. I can’t wait to see it. And then also, I can’t talk about my struckwork. So I could talk about indie things I’ve done and stuff like that, and commercials. But I’m not going to do a podcast right now about the previous streaming shows I’ve done so it’s been pretty easy to keep it steadily going and hitting on new topics too, it actually pushes me to do new things like I’m going to interview someone who helps people move their home around and to find…. to put things in order, like a home orderly person. And you know, just like different areas of the world that we live in. Since we spend so much time in our homes. There’s a lot that we can expand out of this, especially as creatives, we need the space. So

Colleen – SKS 24:38
that’s amazing. The gentleman who helped you get ads for your podcast, how did you meet him? And did he help you sort of figure out what the pay scale would be and who wouldn’t be a good way to advertise?

Sam Valentine 24:52
So I actually in the process of when one book actress became a business, I also started to have people come to me and talk to me about podcasting, and they had questions. And I was the person they knew who was always down to answer. And I was of service and had the time, and my friend Ashley, who is a entrepreneurial genius, said, this is a business. I was like noooo, it’s not a business people like do their podcast solo. She explained to me very neatly that there’s several businesses who don’t want to do the side work to have a podcast, but they want to have one. So we actually, I started a podcast business with her. So I own a podcast production company called Fast Forward productions. And along with that, we have eight, pushing nine current continuous clients that we work with. And one of those clients worked with Connected Podcasts, who is my advertising company, and I met them through that podcast. And then we had a great rapport. And I said, you know, I think my podcast is around the same size as this one, we should talk. And so we got into chats, and they just started reaching out to companies on my behalf. So it’s, it’s really exciting. The potential is exponential, it’s cool, because there’s no ceiling on this. It’s not like an hourly rate, you know. So the more people subscribe, the more cool stuff we can put out, the more opportunities we have on our end, to give more so. And I also like this, because it could not be me asking from actors, it’s companies can assist in the process. So it’s really exciting.

Colleen – SKS 26:31
Oh, my gosh, I love that. And God bless the friends who are like you are a business, you are amazing.

Sam Valentine 26:37
Yeah, if you don’t have those type of people in your life, who are going to like check you and say like, this should cost more money, you should charge more. This is a full business, like, you should find those people, because that’s why I solely work from home now. So I run fast forward productions. I also have a team underneath me and all actresses, which is cool. And then I run one broke actress, which also employs actresses, and then I help run the membership. And then I run my acting career. So all the hats.

Colleen – SKS 27:06
how do you feel just saying all of that?

Sam Valentine 27:09
I’m tired. Just saying. I’m tired. You know, honestly, I have to I have to do a reality check often that this is what I get to do. But it comes with its own set of anxiety. Because I am constantly now worried. I think we always think like, the next thing is going to be easier. So when I started fast forward, I thought, well, as soon as I have a couple clients, like, I’ll feel better. And now I have way more than a couple of clients and the business is off. And I literally have to hire more people. And every day I wake up and think okay, well, I hope I hope nobody leaves today. I hope like everyone’s still here. And I hope this is that. And then I’ll have a couple really good weeks with my businesses and like all of these other things, and then I’ll think, oh, okay, okay, I probably need to like talk to my agent about my reel because I kind of haven’t done a lot of acting stuff. The picket has been going on, I’ve been on the picket lines, but like, I think I could, you know, but like, I think there’s more I can do in this world. So I just have to, I don’t really think it’s ever balance. I think I just have to decide what I’m focusing on at a certain time and, and go through it. I also don’t have kids. And my husband is very, very, very supportive of all of the things I do. And I’m very supportive all the things he does. He’s a screenwriter, and he’s a personal trainer. And so we have to have really solid communication to make this all work.

Colleen – SKS 28:36
That’s amazing. Off topic. What is your Enneagram? Do you know?

Sam Valentine 28:40
I’m an achiever. I’m a three. What’s yours?

Colleen – SKS 28:44
I’m a six, I’m a worrier. Actually six is called the skeptic. And I’m like, ooh, because I get worried about I worry. I worry.

Sam Valentine 28:54
Wait, are you skeptical about the name of your Enneagram?

Colleen – SKS 28:58
Oh my god. That’s crazy. Okay, that’s crazy.

Sam Valentine 29:06
Do you have a wing? Have you done that?

Colleen – SKS 29:08
Yes, but I don’t remember. I don’t remember.

Sam Valentine 29:10
I’m wondering if you’re a wing 2, which is the helper. That’s what I am. And I think oftentimes people who want to share their words want to share what they know and what they’ve done wrong and what they can fix and all these things. I think we’re often twos.

Colleen – SKS 29:23
Yeah, so interesting. So your learning curve with social media? What has it been like? Someone once said to me, if you want to succeed more, you need to start failing more. And it feels like no, I’d rather not fail. I just rather get it perfect right away. But how has it been for you?

Sam Valentine 29:44
Yeah, brutal, because every time I think I have something figured out they invent a new one.

Colleen – SKS 29:49
Oh, yeah.

Sam Valentine 29:50
I feel like I finally, I understand, Instagram and me are like, tight. I feel like I get my Instagram. I know when I pop on the camera. I know exactly who I’m talking to, I know what content I’m being made for. I know everything I’m doing. For now, I feel like I understand my Instagram audience, and they get me. So it feels like I could… whatever I post that people understand they get it, I found my team on that platform. Me on TIk-Tok is like a fish out of water, I have not figured out who I’m talking to yet. I haven’t figured out what I’m doing on there. If I even want to be on there, I’m still kind of figuring out that platform, and how much time I want to give it. I think it’s really, for me, I had to decide what my anchor platform was. And my anchor platform is my podcast. And then everything I do stems from the podcast. So if the anchor is the podcast, I then cut clips from the podcast, and that goes to my social medias. It goes to YouTube, it goes like to emails and things like that. And then the time I have left can go to creating YouTube video, that’s my secondary piece. And then that I can cut clips from and those can go to Instagram and Tiktok and like be spread out. So that helped me organize my mind a lot. Also, realizing that I can’t be good at all of them at the same time, just like we talked about my businesses, I’m never gonna give all of them 100% because then I’m functioning on negatives. So I have to decide what gets energy and I, and they can’t all be hits. And sometimes I put something on social media, and it does not go over like I thought it would. Sometimes I’m like, This is funny. This is so funny. People are gonna love this. And I check back in later. I’m like, did it get blocked, like where did the people go? And it’s so funny because no one else notices that they only really notice your hits, they only notice people say, Oh, you’re everywhere. You’re working everywhere. And like I don’t think I am. So I think just deciding like what you care about is the one that matters. And also, I think that it’s nonsense that actors are told they have to be on social media. I don’t think you have to do anything. If it drains your lifeforce, don’t, don’t do it. I think it’s useful if you enjoy it. But if you do anything out of anger or anxiety, we can tell and it doesn’t come off genuine and no one no one’s gonna follow that. And if anybody’s looking at your Instagram to verify your existence, like how we used to say like casting looks at Instagrams, kind of, but that’s probably just to make sure that one you’re not like a crazy person who’s posting really intense stuff. And two, do you kind of look like you did in person. Okay, great. Yeah, she still has the same haircut. Great. Cool. Cool. We’re good.

Colleen – SKS 32:54
That is so refreshing to hear. I completely agree. If someone is doing it with sort of a bitterness “I’m fucking posting to Instagram” or ” turns out, I gotta fucking know Tik-Tok.” It’s some energy that comes through in the videos for sure.

Sam Valentine 33:09
Yeah. And I also think that you can know these platforms without necessarily adding to them. So if you I’m a big fan of just understanding something, even if I don’t use it, mostly because I don’t want to become the person in 40 years, who doesn’t, who isn’t able to communicate with people because I’ve missed out on the technological advances. So I understand chatGPT, I understand TikTok, I understand how to edit something in cap cut, like, I just want to kind of get it. So I’m not left out of the technological bubble as we move on. Because how often do you open a script now and the character talks about TikTok, or they talk about, you know, AI or something like that. Like, I think it’s important for actors to be in the know, because your character, you’re playing a character who exists in our world most of the time, unless it’s a period piece. So I think it’s important to understand at least what you’re talking about, because if I see you scrolling differently on your phone in an audition, and like they’ve never used that platform.

Colleen – SKS 34:11
That’s totally right. And I have to tell you, I have noticed so many more scripts about AI and robots. And like robots who like is she going to gain consciousness and kill me in my sleep? That kind of stuff? So yes, AI

Sam Valentine 34:30
Yeah. You know, it’s a great, not just AI but knowing what’s going on in the world. Right? It’s, you don’t have to you don’t have to be on top of the news. You don’t have to be like, number one person, like hold your energy inside however you need to in the crazy world we live in, but kind of know what’s going on, like be a real person. If the only news you’ve read in the past month or two has been about the strike, like flip a page and check in on Russia. Flip a page and check in on, you know what is going on in Florida, like just like, open up your world because those things are in scripts shortly those things are going to be what your characters are talking about, like everything that’s happening in the world that’s crazy, right now, someone’s going to write something about. So you don’t have to be, you know, watching CNN all the time or be on top of the news, but you need to be a little checked in sometimes to the life outside of the actor one. And be more than an actor. You are so much more than what you do.

Colleen – SKS 35:30
That’s fantastic advice, I think just to be a well rounded person to know about other people’s struggles. And also, you know, so when you get that crime, procedural, you know, like that there was a case just like that. I can’t tell you how many times I’m coaching someone on something, and I’m like, this actually happened. It happened in Florida.

Sam Valentine 35:50
And how, I mean, even just for context, to read that story, it can be helpful to you to know more details. Not that, like, if you knew it happened in Florida, and you knew it happened on May 21, you would have booked it. No, but maybe you could have worn an outfit that felt a little Florida and like you would have felt more in the character and you would have enjoyed the audition more…. like I love…one of my dreams is to play someone who exists or existed. And I think it would be so fun in such like a case study of human-ness, a lot of pressure too, but I’m fascinated by it. And I am interested in how that process works of research and stuff. So like, why not start playing with that now? You know.

Colleen – SKS 36:37
That is so cool. Do you have someone in mind that you want to play?

Sam Valentine 36:40
I don’t, I don’t but you know, the more I say it, the more I get these auditions. So I’m telling everyone

Colleen – SKS 36:48
Speak it into get into existence. I love that.

Sam Valentine 36:51
Yeah, tell people, tell people. And then when I see it, because I said it out loud, then when I see it, I’m like, I manifested this, which like, sure true. Maybe I did. But also I actually said what I wanted and so I acknowledged the thing when I got it.

Colleen – SKS 37:05
Yes. Oh, gosh, that’s huge. Sam, I am loving this, because even though I listen, I’ve listened to all of your podcast, I still feel like I’m learning new things, which is fantastic for me. I love that for me. So what advice would you give to someone who’s afraid of other people’s judgement when you’re encouraging them to like, post about your life, show who you are, and they’re like, I don’t want…. I’m so afraid they’re gonna see it. People in high school are gonna think I’m like, changed and all that stuff. And who does she think she is?

Sam Valentine 37:37
Yeah. If you’re not making someone cringe, you’re probably not really working as an actor. Like, this is a real cringe job. It is. It is very creepy and weird. And you know, I’ll pretend to play this wrestler from 1959. And then I need to turn the camera around, change clothes and be like the captain of Captain Crunch and the cereal ship. And if you can, if you can learn to do that, by yourself without being embarrassed, your auditions will be better and it will give you more power. And then the more power you have, the less fucks you have to give about what other people think. Because you’re taking it to the bank, you’re doing the thing you want to do and it also matters who you surround yourself with. If everyone you talk to you mention, I think I’m gonna like try social media. I think I’m gonna like try Tik Tok. And their mind instantly goes to a run of the mill annoying influencer, you shouldn’t do that. That’s whatever, I have a lot of feelings on that. I would question your immediate circle, because that’s the least of your issues that you want to try something new, like this world is so hard. You gotta have people around you who are gonna be like, Yeah, okay, cool. Well, should we pick a few people that you really want to like model this after? Can we? Let’s look at TikTok right now and like pull a couple of videos to make…. like, your inner circle should be so supportive that the other voices don’t matter. And the people who end up following you will be the right people. There is a lid for every pot. There are people on social media, who just like put whipped cream on their feet like….. and you know what, they probably make more money than either of us. So whatever. Like there is a person on Twitch who pays her entire bills. I think she makes almost a million dollars a day because she films herself sleeping. Yeah. So like, be cringe. Like, there are… Just know there’s always gonna be somebody cringier. There’s always going to be somebody doing it better. There’s always going to be different levels. So you figuring out what works for you…. start small, but also decide who you want to show it to now, maybe started as private like I did. The blog was totally private. I was so nervous that like, this is silly. I was so nervous that Some agent from CAA was going to see it, and they were going to blacklist me for talking about the industry. Nobody from CAA is reading your blog, and nobody from high school is looking at your Instagram. And if they are, they’re probably going to try to sell you Arbonne or something, which is also cringy. So like, what flavor of cringe Do you want? You know, like, pick your poison.

Colleen – SKS 40:23
I had to mute myself. You had me at Arbonne! Because I had that friend. She’s like, if I send you a video, would you watch it, you know about fizz sticks? And I’m like, No, I can’t no more. Yep, that’s such great advice. Lastly, Sam, what episode of your podcast have people most responded to?

Sam Valentine 40:45
Oof, it’s all…oh, that’s such a good question. Ooh. Most recently, I put out one called “What the fuck does it mean to go all in on your acting career.” And that one got a lot of love. People really enjoy that one. And that was basically me talking about how much I hate the phrase, I’m gonna go all in this year. Because I don’t, I think that just sets you up for disaster. It’s like the same when people are like, I’m gonna go all in on losing 30 pounds. And it’s like, cool. What are you going to do after those 30 pounds, like, it doesn’t just, that mindset doesn’t just go away, like what happens next. And also, when you say you’re gonna succeed as an actor, on whose terms and we’re, now we’re putting the power in someone else’s hands for you to be a winner. And I don’t like that. So that one was very popular. And I think right now I’m like running through the mental Rolodex of my podcast, there’s are episodes, I started in the pandemic, called “Becoming a working actor”. And I took some students who had just graduated from Missouri State, so where I went to school, and I interviewed them. So this was almost 10 years since I’d been in college. And I interviewed them about what they wanted to do now that they were out of school, where they saw things going. And then six months later, I interviewed them again. And then like nine months later, I think I interviewed them one more time. And to see the the way in which I mean, spoiler alert, the slow pace at which life moves when you expect it to go very quickly, and how it changes your perception of your expectations. I think that was really powerful. I think the title was probably a little click baity, because “becoming a working actor” is what we all want to do. But the message I think, and the overall watch of it was really interesting. And I kind of want to do it again, because I think, that that class graduated in the pandemic, so I’d be curious about someone graduating, maybe at the end of this coming summer, or, you know, moving to LA and seeing what happens next. And I might I might bring it back. I’m interested to, I like to see the pace at which people move and how they’re surprised by what this business is actually, like.

Colleen – SKS 42:57
For sure, for sure. I really love the episode, if you don’t mind me adding, I really love the episode when you talked about changing your look, cutting your hair, going dark, getting the new headshots. And if it worked, if it translated into more auditions, more bookings. And the amount of money that it cost. I thought it was just so unbelievably transparent. And I think so many of us have played with, should I should I get a pixie cut? Should I go red? You know, those kinds of things, which I from personal experience, a couple image consultants, or career coaches have often said a pixie cut, you’re gonna stand out, it’s going to be completely different. So I just really appreciated hearing the transparency, because we all wonder, would that be the thing? Would that be the thing?!

Sam Valentine 43:49
Yeah, yeah. So you know, to not leave people too much in the in the lurch of like, what happened. I cut basically all my hair off, up to above my shoulders, and I dyed it dark, dark brown, and I was like, “I’m gonna be like, best friend, girl.” I was, I still had a lot to learn. By the way, I think I’m the only person who, my friend said, you’re the only person who cut all of her hair off before her wedding. But then the joke was on me because 2020 happened and I didn’t get married for another year and a half. She was right. But but you know, I think the thing that we don’t talk about when we talk about what the outside change, is, is does it match the inside energy that you give off? And it’s so…. we love these things so much, especially as actors who are just looking for the next answer, because it’s such a tangible task. It’s so, it’s not necessarily easy because it’s expensive and time consuming, but it is so easy compared to trying to get seen by a casting director to just cut or dye your hair, or to shave your face or to like, I’m going to lose 20 pounds because that’s definitely would get me in the door or whatever we tell ourselves or someone else tells us and the question is, does that match the Inside energy to you? Because I was trying to hide, I was trying to like make myself small because then my expectations of myself could be lower. And after taking the time and sitting with myself and growing up a little bit, like, you know, I’ve always wanted to have extra blonde in my hair. I’ve always wanted to, like, let it grow and like feel like the girly girl that I think I am and all of these things, and the more I embrace that the more things come my way that I’m like, Oh, I totally get this girl in this audition. I know exactly who she is. I am her or I know her or I went to college with her. And things come closer to me. Now, does that mean I hit every audition box and people like “whoa, we’ve never seen a girl like this before?” No. But the roles are closer to me, which means eventually one of them I will book which means I can then trust myself. And then I do better auditions and then casting trusts me. And then randomly they throw me a bone. And that to me is like the entire career.

Colleen – SKS 46:02
Beautiful, beautiful. We couldn’t end in a better spot. Sam, thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you, Thank you.

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