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I am thrilled to introduce a new series to Heels in the Hills, Coffee With Friends. I’m very fortunate to have so many hilarious, inspiring people in my life who have beautiful hearts and unique talents and perspectives to offer the world. They’ve shaped who I am and make me strive to be better every day. I’m so excited to share their voices with you in this new series!

First, I would like you to meet my friend Natalie Lipka and her partner-in-crime Wayne Frazier, who host the Hollywood Close-Up podcast and are talented actor-writer-comedians. They generously invited me to be a guest on their show (my episode aired this morning!) and were kind enough to answer a few questions about the world of podcasting.

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Thanks so much for having me on Hollywood Close-Up, guys! The heart of your show is about creating your own career in Hollywood, instead of waiting around for someone to deliver one on a gold platter. What was the impetus behind starting your podcast?  

N&W:  Too many people “wait for the phone to ring.”  That is an unreal thought process if you are trying to break into the entertainment business. We thought doing a podcast together would be a great way to voice our opinions, while sharing facts based on our own personal journey to let others know you have to be pro-active to succeed.

How did you two meet and decide to work together?

N&W: We were introduced by Natalie’s husband and started to work together in 2006, and are truly thankful. The moment we never looked back was in 2008. We took a class together at Richard Lawson Studios.  A class that enabled us to take our acting profession to the next level and solidify our career marriage partnership.

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It’s not enough anymore to simply kill it in an audition in order to book a job; casting directors are looking at your social media numbers, producers are looking at your online content, homemade web series are being turned into TV shows… What are ways an aspiring actor can “create” their own career? How did creating a podcast factor in for you?

N&W:  Creating your own career is not an easy task.  It is a full-time job!   You must think like a business, and treat it as such.  You need to take time to find out what is important to you as an artist.  There are so many angles such as creating a web series, recording a short film (use your phone if you have to at first), researching television programs you want to audition for, and perhaps starting your own podcast. It gives us the opportunity to talk to so many people in the industry and, as we all know, networking is a huge part of the business.

For someone interested in starting their own podcast, what advice do you have? Where do you begin?

N&W:  Most important advice, begin with a topic you are passionate about.

Is it possible to make a career out of podcasting? If they’re free, how do you make a living from them?

N&W:  Anything is possible! Money comes from working hard and putting out a product that people can relate to and or gain something from. If you do this right, the advertisers will hopefully follow suit.

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Can you tell us a little bit about what goes on behind the scenes at Hollywood Close-Up? How many people work on the show? What is the editing process like? Why did you decide to record in a studio, as opposed to doing the show at home?

N&W:  Well, we can’t give away all of our secrets, but here are a few key elements. There are five people that work on the show. In addition to ourselves, we have a fantastic studio engineer, Rena-Marie Villano, who not only makes sure we sound our best, but also enhances the show by chiming in. She’s like our Ed McMahon. Then there is the brilliant Mike Casentini who is the CEO, producer and business developer of The Network Studios. We also work with the talented Patrick Roderiques, who captures all of the amazing in-studio stills as well as all of the photos at our red carpet and networking events.

There is not a lot of editing that is involved with the show (as we do record straight through), but thankfully The Network Studios takes care of any edits.  We decided to record in a studio because we wanted to have the best quality. The Network Studios provides this for us time and time again.

How do you decide which guests to invite, or topics to discuss each week?

N&W: We try to provide guests that work in all aspects of the entertainment industry, from actors, writers, casting directors, choreographers, teachers, publicists, etc. We want to create a tool for actors/entertainers that we wish we had when we began our careers, while listeners outside the business can gain an inside scoop on how it all works.

You’re both writer-actors first and foremost. How do you remain professional and stay on a schedule with the podcast, despite last minute auditions or jobs coming up? You’ve produced nearly 100 episodes, and release them like clockwork every Wednesday morning (at 8am PST)!

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{Listen to the episode to hear the story behind this pose}

N&W:  Adapting is the key. In this business things change every single day. You have to have an open mind and be willing to adjust your schedule, without sacrificing your discipline.

There are so many podcasts available to listeners today. How do you reach and grow your audience?

N&W: Through social media, good ol’ fashioned face-to-face networking, blogging and cross-promotion.

For readers new to Hollywood Close-Up, what are your favorite past episodes?

N&W:  Ah, an unfair question. There are so many highlights and we have been blessed to talk to some of the most intriguing people in the business. But if you must make us choose…

Episode 31 – We talked to Academy Award nominee, screenwriter of the motion picture Nebraska, Bob Nelson.

Episode 22 – Judy Kerr, author of Acting is Everything – a must read if you are serious about acting.

Episode 51 – The always inspirational, comedic genius Max Amini.

Episode 15 – What a motivational interview we were fortunate enough to have with presiding judge and certified Renaissance woman, Lauren Lake.

Who are your dream guests for the podcast?

N&W:  Our dream guest has already come true.  Annie Baria, thank you!!!!!!

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Aww, don’t make me blush! Thank you so much for chatting with me! Can’t wait to tune in next week! For more on Natalie and Wayne, visit them at NatalieandWayne.com and subscribe to Hollywood Close-Up!


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