An Interview with Film Entrepreneur and Traveling Artist, Hallie Stern. The Scoop On Taking Your Career to Multiple Cities, LA, and Keeping Cool

R: Hey Hallie! Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got to where you are?

H: I spent my entire childhood studying theater and voice. I knew from the time I was 5 I wanted to be a performer and I was the biggest ham in the world. I studied every opportunity that I got, went to performing arts camp, created my own degree in college, and now I'm a working, union, actress and producer.

R: What are you working on these days?

H: I actually have a couple of projects happening at the moment. I'm both co producing a musical while performing in another as well as two movies and a web series. It's been a crazy busy year already and I can not wait to see what comes of my collaborations!

R: As an actress who has had the opportunity to travel, what are some of the (entertainment) industry differences? 

H: Talent is talent no matter where you go, but i'd say that every city definitely has a different flavor. New York is full of trained serious actors while Chicago is experimental- An amazing place to find yourself as an artist. LA is where people go to either get to the next level after training in either Chicago or NY, or to become reality TV famous. That being said, there are different variations everywhere. When it comes to Europe, It's a completely different game. 

R: As a professional artist, how important a role have head shots played in your career? How so? 
Your headshots are your business card. Casting directors and producers sort through thousands of thumbnail sized pictures of everyone of every type you can imagine. If your headshot looks amature or funky, you will get weeded out pretty quickly. I've had more headshot sessions in my day than i'd like to admit and the ones that stand out are the ones I put care and effort into creating with a photographer whom I really clique with and get's me as a professional. 

H:  Who are some of your favorite photographers and why? 

R: I love Paul Smith. He's not only amazing at what he does, but he gives back, is extremely professional, and is all around a great guy! He is one of the top photographers in backstage for a reason, and one of them is that he treats everyone he meets with the same respect, no matter where in their career they are. 

H: What do you look for when you hire a photographer? 
I look at the eyes. I look at the eyes of the headshot photographs I see most, and the lighting. A great photographer can make the most insecure person feel like they rule the world and it shows in their pictures. Your headshots should look exactly like you- Not like a glamour model- but should also show an amazing version of you. They should give you the kind of appeal that makes a casting director say "Yeah, There is something about her/him, but I can't quite put my finger on it. I'll just have to call them in." 

R: Tell us about your best photography session? 

H: I get the best photos when i'm prepared, had a great night sleep the night before, LOVE the cloths that i'm wearing, and feel good about my body. If I am not secure in any of these, i'll reschedule a session. My best photo session I looked godly! I felt like a princess, my makeup artist was completely on point, and I actually had a wardrobe stylist there who personally pieced out cloths for me that were to be worn at the kids choice awards that year. I felt stunning, and the photographs show it.

R: For the heck of it, what was your worst photo session like?

H: It was one of my first sessions after a long break and I was a little bit insecure about how I looked and where my career was going. The photographer didn't make me feel any better. In fact, he sort of back handedly put me down, lingering every word on my insecurities. I got scolded for not bringing good enough clothing, for being green at the time, and for being with an agent who was too good for me. Needless to say, the photos are awful and I wish to burn them…. but there are unfortunately too many copies. 

R: What’s some advice you could lend to other performers seeking to work in multiple cities? Any advice for those entering the film industry?

H- I say start off in once place, build yourself up there, and then start making trips or taking short courses in the city you'd like to become bi-coastal or multi city in. If you if you're already familiar with one and looking to make a transition from there, I say do NOT give up the contacts you already have and make frequent trips back. Send people letters and emails about your progress, and make sure you get coffee with your professional contacts every time you're back in town.

Most of all, have fun! you're opening huge doors working in two cities and it can be just as rewarding as it is challenging. For those entering the film industry, all I can say is do it with confidence. Basically, if you truly believe you can do it, then you can. If you dont, it will show.