About Christin Baker:
Christin Baker (A Baker Production) is an award-winning director and Emmy-nominated producer. She has been playing with video producing and storytelling since she was 13 after her family got their first VHS camcorder. She started out directing music videos, and SNL parodies with the neighborhood kids and moved on to start her own digital distribution and production company, tellofilms.com.
She is the co-founder of Tello Films, which focuses on stories for the lesbian/queer community. Tello is the first lesbian/queer network to receive an Emmy Nomination. The series Secs & EXECS has received a 2017 Emmy Nomination for Mindy Sterling, Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy/Drama Series. In 2019 the series "Riley Parra" received 2 Emmy nominations for actresses Liz Vassey and Carolyn Ratteray.
Christin is passionate about telling relevant and meaningful stories. Christin was early in the streaming content creation and founded Tello Films in 2009. She is an expert on distributing and creating original content (features, shorts, and series) as well as creating a platform for monetizing niche entertainment. Christin is also passionate about directing and was awarded Best Director for her work on Maybelle at the 2016 London Raindance Film Festival. Christin is a member of the Producers Guild of America as well as the Television Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
Christin just wrapped directing her 4th Lesbian/Queer Holiday RomCom "Merry & Gay" and is working on the 2nd feature for her Thriller Franchise Scare BNB called "Scare BNB: Double Booking." That follows "Christmas at the Ranch," "I Hate New Year's," and "Season of Love," which was the first Hallmark-esque Lesbian/Queer Holiday RomCom.
Actors making their own content and the power that has for them.
As a director and producer, I love when I know an actor has tried their own hand at making a project because their respect for what we're going through is significantly greater.
I think so much of acting is waiting to be called upon. Right? Like you go to an audition, you send in your tape, you send in your tape, and then you sit back, and you wait for someone to say yes or no to you.
And so I think any time you can put your energy into something active, that's like telling your own story, I think just energetically that helps you and puts you in your own action.
I always think work begets work.
If you can, it can be very helpful when the gender of the person you're acting with is the same as who's reading with you.
Don't have the camera too close to your face.
So I've seen some audition tapes, and this is for people who are probably very green, who are listening to your podcast--I've had audition tapes sent in where no one is reading with the person on camera.
Do your best to have someone reading with you that that's going to give you, you know, something even if it's yourself.
I can sometimes tell within 10 seconds. And if the person isn't right, I move on.
The most important thing is to like make a choice, make a bold choice that I can see.
I'm an actor's director. I love playing with actors on set. I love that, like knowing if they can make a choice. And if I don't like that choice, I'll make a correction. But I know that like they're going to come to the table having thought about it and giving me something interesting.
Favorite qualities of actors who you love to work with:
- I really love working with an actor who can make a quick pivot.
- The eyes are so important, you can literally see that shift in the eyes, and it's absolutely like it's incredible.
- I love actors when they have that instinct to move.
What is the process of how you make an independent film?
- You have to kind of figure out the business of it.
- I wanted to get investors, meaning you have to set up an LLC.
- Then you have to ensure that LLC owns the rights to the script in the movie and the project. And often, those LLCs will be called like the name of the film.
- A crowdfunding campaign. For me, that was a perfect place to start.
- Accredited investors
There are certain producers out there that have investors who are sitting out there waiting to invest in projects. And I know that sounds crazy. And I think it's like this magical fairyland, but it is true. And so when they get A-list stars or a big name, they can go back to their, you know, multimillion-dollar or billionaire pockets and go, "hey, we have Nick Cage. We need another $5 million, and those people will give it to them."
If you don't have those people, casting an A-list star in your movie will not get you investors.
What it will get you on the backend is like press and a decent distributor. It lets you have those multimillionaire billionaire people. It will not get your money on the front end.
What do you think are other misnomers about raising money for film?
- I have also heard people say to me, especially in the LGBTQ community, "Oh, investors aren't always looking for their money back, like they take it to a project they believe in."
- Okay, so that's true for a few investors out there.
- Do not go into a situation ever thinking investors only want goodwill.
- Your first and most important job is telling a great story.
- The second is to get your investors their money back because if you do, they'll give it to you again.
Words of wisdom to actors who want to make their first feature film?
- The first one is to do favors for other people so that when it's your turn to make your movie, they will do favors for you.
- Talk to people who have done it before and just talk to them and say, Hey, what mistakes did you make? What did you want to know? Who did you like working with?
- They ask for what they want and not what they can raise.
- People always think, "if I hit my goal too early, people won't give money to me."
- Don't do T-Shirts!
- You should always have stretch goals in mind.
More episodes from "Acting Business Boot Camp"
Episode 215: Setting Our Own Course in Life & Career
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15:20Katie Flahive Class "Setting our own course. We are powerless over other people's expectations of us. We cannot control what they want, what they expect, or what they want us to do or be." Keep the focus on yourself. What other people think of me is none of my business. Taking care of myself pays enormous dividends. Take care of yourself first, and the rest will follow. Put on your bubble suit. When you go into difficult situations with people who push your buttons, probably because they install them, it's really helpful to know that you have a little space around you that nobody can penetrate. "We can, however, control how we respond to other people's expectations." We are not responsible for our first thought, but we are responsible for our second. I encourage you to stop taking a step back and ask yourself, "is this healthy for me or unhealthy for me?" And then responding. A response is a reaction with a pause and a thought behind it. "During the course of any day, people may make demands on our time, talents, energy, money, and emotions. We do not have to say yes to every request. No is a complete sentence. We do not have to feel guilty if we say no, and we do not have to allow the barrage of demands to control the course of our life." They are on their time, but that doesn't mean it has to wreck my day. No is a complete sentence. I do not bring stuff into my life anymore that I am not 1,000% committed to. "We do not have to spend our life reacting to others and to the course they would prefer we took in our life." We can, through core work, be strong enough in and of ourselves to know that we are enough. And keep the course steady ourselves. As Diana Nyad said, "find a way, find a way to stay on course. Find a way to stay on course." We can set boundaries. We can firm up limits on how far we will go with others. We can trust and listen to ourselves. We can set goals and direction for our life. And we can. This is so important to place value on our life, on what we want. We can own our power with people. "Think about what you want. Consider how responding to another's need will affect the course of your life. We live our own life, not by letting other people, their expectations, and their demands control the course of our life. We can let them have their demands and their expectations, and we can allow them to have their feelings. But we can also own our own power to choose the path that is right for us." Taking that time to plan out and think about what I want and my needs are. So it's finding that balance and setting my own course of maintaining the wonderful goals that I have already achieved, but yet still shooting for more. And not worrying about what anybody thinks. It's learning what is best for you and following that.
Episode 214: Self Care During Stressful Times
12:20Time Management Workshop Do the next right thing. The Language of Letting Go "Rest when you're tired. Take a drink of cold water when you're thirsty. Call a friend when you're lonely. Ask the universe to help when you feel overwhelmed." Yeah, I was in a very challenging, difficult place, along with millions of other people. But I'm here. I survived. I handled it. And out of that came self-esteem, more self-esteem that I'm capable of and will never, ever be given more than I can handle. I will never be given more than I can handle, but I will be given more than I can control. "Many of us have learned how to deprive and neglect ourselves. Many of us have learned to push ourselves hard when the problem is that we've already pushed too hard. Many of us are afraid the work won't get done if we rest when we're tired. The work will get done. It will be done better than work that emerges from tiredness of soul and spirit." Refuel. With self-love, with good food, with tea. Because nourished, nurtured people who love themselves and care for themselves are the delight of the universe. They are well-timed, efficient, and divinely led. And that is why self-care, especially during stressful times, is so very, very, very important.
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Episode 212: New Years Goals
13:20Time Management Workshop Ask Me Anything I always find December to be actually the hardest time of the year. I feel like there are more demands put on me in all areas of my life. I will allow myself just to be where I'm at. So if you feel like you're starting the new year exhausted. I just wanted to say I hear you. I'm kind of there myself, but it's all right. Find the pockets of time when you can take care of yourself. The Language of Letting Go: "Make New Year's goals. Dig within and discover what you would like to have happen in your life this year. This helps you do your part." If you want to change your own life, you need to take responsibility for it. "It is an affirmation that you're interested in fully living in the year to come." Goals give us direction. They put a powerful force into play on a universal, conscious and subconscious level. Goals give our life direction. What would you like to have happen in your life this year? "What would you like to do? What would you like to accomplish? What good would you like to attract into your life? What particular areas of growth would you like to have happen to you? What blocks or character defects would you like to have removed? What would you like to attain? What little things would you like to attain? What big things would you like to attain? Where would you like to go? Where do you want to travel to this year? How would you like your mind to open this year? What would you like to have happen in your friendships? What would you like to have happen in your love life? What would you like to have happen in your family life?" Remember, we aren't controlling others with our goals. "What problems would you like to see solved? What decisions would you like to make? What would you like to have happen in your career?" "Write it down. Take a piece of paper. Take the time out as an affirmation of you, your life. Your ability to choose. Then let it go. Certainly, things happen that are out of our control. Sometimes these events are pleasant surprises. Sometimes they are of another nature. But they are all part of the chapter that will be this year in our life and will move us forward in the story. The New Year stands before us like a chapter in a book waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals." One of the things that I spent a lot of time over the holiday doing is going over my goals, motivations, and next steps and planning things out for 2023.
Episode 211: A Message to Send You Into 2023
10:04I’m really grateful for this year. I want you to think of a few things that you are grateful for. What's number one? Fill in the blank. What's the number two? Fill in the blank. And what's the third thing you're grateful for this year, in 2022? Fill in the blank. Also, start to look forward to 2023. Are you looking to this year coming up with anticipation and excitement? Dread? Worry? Fill in the blank. What are the three emotions you are looking at 2023 with? Feelings aren't facts. Take your emotions out of your to do list. When we are worried or anxious, the real question is, “what are we not taking responsibility for?” So if you have some sort of negative feeling toward 2023, ask yourself, “what are you not taking responsibility for?” Ask yourself, How can I baby step and take responsibility? Once taking responsibility, especially when you're frightened, especially when you're scared. When you're able to do that, you build so much self-esteem. Take contrary action. Breathing Meditation When you connect to your breath, you feel a little bit better. You feel a little more connected to what you're grateful for. I wish you a wonderful, incredible holiday season. And an even better 2023.
Episode 210: Interview with Bull Series Regular Geneva Carr
48:58Time Management Workshop About Geneva: GENEVA CARR is best known for her portrayal of Marissa Morgan on 6 seasons of the CBS television series BULL. Additional TV credits include Law & Order: SVU and Criminal Intent, Rescue Me, Younger, The Mysteries of Laura, Royal Pains, Elementary, The Good Wife, and Sex and the City. Film credits include Wonder Wheel, Love and Other Drugs, Ava’s possessions, It’s Complicated, College Road Trip, and the upcoming Asian Persuasion. Geneva earned a 2015 Tony Nomination for Lead Actress in a Play for her performance as ‘Margery’ in Broadway’s Hand To God. Additional NY theatre credits include Trevor, Just Sex, I Wanna Destroy You, Finding Claire, Rose’s Dilemma, Clash by Night, Betty’s Summer Vacation, and Boise. You have to create a space where you can find work for yourself. Bull was my eighth pilot, which I like telling actors about because it doesn't happen overnight. This was my eighth. Hand to God led to Bull on CBS. I did that for six seasons. And the truth is, nobody loves to audition as much as me because it's a 30-second movie starring me right now. I love to prepare. It's like going to the gym. It's like putting on a show. And you know that for 5 minutes, you have a captive audience. Casting directors want to like you. They want to get to know you. So if you can put your nerves aside and realize that it's a real treat to be in that room. You have to watch everything ON TV. “I don't put people on TV if they don't watch TV.” You can only be yourself. Maybe it's easier for me now because I know who I am. I'm not apologizing for who I am. I can't please everyone. But the truth is, I don't like everyone, and the more you are authentically yourself, the more you will work. If you want to build somebody up, give them an honest compliment. I had to go back to being an actor looking for work with a whole new toolkit. The Director Tells the Story Being a costar and a guest star has zero to do with being a series regular. It is very challenging being a series regular. Costars and guest stars- savor those opportunities to learn because a series regular is really hard.
Episode 209: What to get Industry Folks for the Holidays
8:15Ask Me Anything Time Management Class What to get Casting Directors, Managers, and Agents over the holidays. This year I’m suggesting one of two things: a thoughtful gift card or a charity donation. So a thoughtful gift card would be that you contact someone else in the casting office or agency and ask what their fellow employees like. “Hey, are they a Starbucks person, or are they a Costco person? Are they a McDonald's person or a Dunkin Donuts person?” And then, you can send them an electronic gift card. If you're booking a lot. Yes. You want to be thinking more $50, $75, $100. But if you're a new client or you haven't been booking that year, or there's a casting office that has maybe thought of you a few times throughout the year. A simple $20 gift card. A $25 gift card is fine. Defaults: Amazon, you can buy anything there. Starbucks, you can get food, you can get coffee, you can get tea Or, the charity donation, which, again, you could ask someone in the office or even ask that person, “I'd like to make a donation to a charity of your choice this year. Would you please let me know what charity you support?” And then you make a donation in their name. Or you could choose a charity yourself. The Actors Fund or Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS are wonderful charities that the industry recognizes. The gifts are just tokens. A well-written card, something that says something from the heart, is also a wonderful, wonderful way for you to show your appreciation. You're not going to buy your way into that casting director's heart. You're not going to buy your way into that agent or manager's heart. You're just genuinely letting them know that you appreciate how they have thought of you this year.
Episode 208: Interview with Andi Matheny
37:02Time Management Workshop About Andi: Andi Matheny is a 25-year veteran of Hollywood who started the Andi Matheny Acting Studios in 2010 and has coached hundreds of actors to book their first roles in TV and film. Andi has had a recurring role on The Resident as Dr. Kelly Whitley, starred opposite Sara Rue in The Hallmark Channel Movie True Love Blooms, opposite Kelsey Grammer in the film High Expectations, opposite Phylicia Rashad in the Oprah Winfrey production David Makes Man and opposite Ryan Phillippe and Patrick Duffy in the comedy Lady of the Manor, written and directed by Justin Long. Other notable credits include Devious Maids, The Mentalist, Ugly Betty, Zoey 101, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and The Shadow Effect. Andi hosted the talk shows Friends or Lovers, Essentials, Fit Resort and Spa, and Kwik Witz. She appeared in dozens of commercials, including a worldwide campaign for Olay. Andi won the Jury Prize for Best Florida Film for her directorial debut The Newest Member at the 2017 Sunscreen Film Festival. Her web series Good Morning St. Pete! which she wrote, directed, and starred in, won Best Web Series at the 2018 Sunscreen Film Festival and garnered her the Best Leading Actress Award at the 2018 Tampa Bay Underground Film Festival. Andi’s groundbreaking book “Act ALIVE: The Essential Guide to Igniting and Sustaining Your Working Actor Career” was published in 2022 and debuted on Amazon at #3 in Acting and Auditioning. Get the book: Act Alive How hosting has changed. Human beings are interesting. hHere is a thing that beginning actors and even experienced actors do. They'll look at a script, right? And the script will say things like, "I hate you, you have ruined my life, blah, blah, blah." And everybody jumps to the conclusion of, “Well, this is an angry scene, and I got to say, I hate you, and you've ruined my life.” The hot person confrontation is when you find somebody, this "hot person" in your life who has screwed you over, and now you're kind of doing the fantasy version of talking to them the way you wish you could have talked to them in that moment. As a coach, I'm not interested in your excuses. I'm interested in what you're going to do about it. In spite of all the odds against you. If your job is to act, you better get fucking good at acting. Understand what casting directors had been trying to get through my head, which is, I want you to be good. When you audition, you are solving somebody's problem. So when you have the working actor mindset, you show up in a collaborative, helpful spirit to help solve the casting director's problem because the casting director has pressure on them to fulfill all of these roles. As soon as you make it about the other person and not about you and your ego, that's when your bookings are going to start soaring. Art comes from a totally different place. You've got to be connected. You have to be connected from your soul, from a soul level, to what you're doing. Sometimes the less, the better.
Episode 207: The Power of Serving as an Actor
21:43Ask Me Anything Marianne Williamson “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” My manifesto for my life is to inspire. It is the one word that I feel describes what my purpose on this planet is to do. I wake up, and I show up for duty. What’s your one word purpose? It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. And I believe it is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us because it is not our darkness that we need to take responsibility for. But it is our light. It is our talent. Every single one of us has a purpose. As your life gets bigger, it requires more of your attention. Because I cannot give away what I have not given myself. You not being your best; who the fuck does that serve? You hiding your talent that has been so freely given to you? Who the hell does that serve? You're not being generous and fabulous and showing your light and being who you really are. Who does that serve? The answer is no one except maybe your ego. There's the ego mindset, which is finite and is only what is in me. And then there is the universal mindset, which is infinite. Which plugs into that universal intelligence. There is power in serving. Because when you serve, you get out of yourself. When you are out of yourself, and you are serving, you are no longer in fear. I am so done with playing small so that people around me feel more comfortable. If you don't feel comfortable being around me, don't hang around me. I want to concentrate on serving one because it makes me happy. Inspiring brings me more joy than anything else in the world, no matter what form it is. It's not my job to help you feel better by diminishing myself. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. If you go on social media and you see somebody do something. And it makes you feel bad about yourself. Ask yourself, what do I not want to take responsibility for? When one of your friends wins an award or one of your friends makes a short film, and it gets voted best something at the Grand Canyon Film Festival. Congratulate them. Thank them for showing you that it is possible. Isn't that much better than just feeling shitty about yourself? That doesn't serve anybody. That doesn't do anything. I want to inspire you to do something. To be brave. To serve, because when you serve through your craft, through your talent, you are a positive force in this world. And, my God, we need a powerful force. So be that in your world. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. That is the power of serving as an actor. By you doing your work as an artist. You help other people, but you also help yourself, which only enables you to help more people.
Episode 206: Family Buttons Around the Holidays
16:26Ask Me Anything “I was 35 years old the first time I spoke up to my mother and refused to buy into her games and manipulation. I was terribly frightened and almost couldn't believe I was doing this. I found I didn't have to be mean. I didn't have to start an argument. But I could say what I wanted and needed to say to take care of myself. I learned I could love and honor myself and still care about my mother the way I wanted to, not the way she wanted me to.” Take a step back and observe. I tell myself, mouth shut. If you are using your mind to govern your brain while you are with family over the holiday and you start to spot the stuff going on. You can simply remain quiet and just observe it: Maybe go to the kitchen. Make yourself a cup of tea. Make yourself a cup of coffee. Go to the bathroom. Say, "You know what? My legs are a bit stiff. I'm going to go for a walk." Understand that you don't need to be trapped into it. You can observe it and can choose how you are going to respond to it. I also recommend bringing some sort of a journal. I also find that if there is a pet in the house, that's a great always a great diversion to go to the pet if you need a touchstone because animals are the presence keepers. Drop the rope. The best frickin’ piece of advice I can give is when somebody goes at you, respond in kindness. It's not that you're not participating. It's that you're taking care of yourself. Just for this holiday. Take care of your emotional self. Say less. Be kind. Be there for others. Here's an old thing I've used to use quite a lot, put on your bubble suit. When you get to where you are arriving or if you're taking a train or a plane, go to the public restroom, and bend all the way down to the floor. Imagine yourself stepping into an imaginary bubble suit. Pull it up around your head. Clench it tight and know that in your little bubble suit, you are safe and secure.