I LOVED having the opportunity to work with Randy in the Path Course a few years ago for so many reasons, one of them being how honest and real he was in his approach to the course work. When he hit up against a block in the work, he didn’t run away. He also didn’t rush past it. He sat with what was hard and listened long enough to learn something valuable about himself and his process. “The best way out is always through,” really does prove to be true. The work we do in the Path Course can wake you up to a lot of things about your life and career that aren’t working, as Randy describes when he says “I had surrendered my biggest dreams. I needed the vital tools that Path provides to dig my way out of my own fortress of fear, crippling self-doubt, and flourishing ambivalence.”
As my regular readers know, our Featured Artist in Action posts are my favorite to share with you. Not only do I get to check in with some of the fabulous artists whom I've coached either in the Path Course or in Private Coaching, I also get a chance to see how the work that I've dedicated my life to has impacted others. It's an immensely fulfilling experience.
Today's Featured Artist In Action is the multi-talented Andrea Jones-Rooy, who first took the Path Class in 2014. Andrea's journey is an absolutely fascinating one (that spans the globe!). Additionally, Andrea's answers to my questions were so in-depth, that I realized they offered a true insider's view into the entire process of how the Path Course curriculum applies to someone's life on a practical level. If you've ever wanted to know how it all works, here are the goods. Let's turn it over to Andrea.
I am proud to be featuring a long-time Path Alum, Doug Moe, as our Featured Artist in Action this month. Since Doug took the Path Course back in 2010, he has continued to use the tools and do the work. I always tell folks at the end of the course, this work will be all about your commitment to it, and Doug is a true example of what can happen when you stay committed to using the tools and working with accountability partners, no matter how crazy life gets. Doug and his fab accountability partners have been meeting weekly for years now! I get to meet up with them every 6-12 months for a group session to check in on their progress and do some coaching. I always leave so inspired by this group and what they are creating for their lives and careers! This is what commitment looks like, and yes, it DOES produce results. Doug just published his first book (!!!), Man vs. Child, which he will tell you more about below – and we are super thrilled to see what's next for Doug. Enjoy his interview!
While most people know Jesse Tyler Ferguson from his Emmy-nominated role on the hit ABC sitcom Modern Family, theater fans have been aware of his many talents and dynamic range long before his tv career took off. I worked with Jesse when he did the off Broadway musical Newyorkers at Manhattan Theatre Club, andour paths also criss-crossed a lot in the early days of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, before it went to Broadway and became the phenomenon that it was. So it was with great pleasure that I was able to connect with Jesse a few years back and interview him for our Artists In Action program (along with some other fantastic artists that you may recognize). Since Jesse is back on Broadway in Fully Committed — where he plays 40(!!) different characters over the course of the one-man-show’s 90 minutes — this seemed like the perfect time to share his interview with those who haven’t heard it.
It's time to introduce you to another Featured Artists in Action: actor Rachid Sabitri, who's been on quite a roll lately (you may have seen him recently on Homeland). Rachid is one of those clients who has remained fully committed to his goals the entire time we've worked together — from the time he took my class a few years ago, through the private coaching that we're doing now. When he came to coaching, we set up an accountability plan and he took it seriously, showing up for himself and his goals every single week of the year, regardless of what was going on. He's works as hard going after his goals as he does his craft, and this commitment has helped him reach the next level of his career. Let's listen to what he has to say about this experience...
Stephen Colbert officially took over CBS' The Late Show last night, and there was a lot riding on this transition. Stepping into those very big shoes previously filled by the legendary David Letterman — one of the most influential comedians and television personalities of the last thirty years — would be an absolutely frightening endeavor for anyone, no matter how talented. On top of that, Colbert has been very successful at playing Stephen Colbert the character for nearly a decade, and he has to prove to the world that Stephen Colbert the person is not a one-trick pony. It's enough to induce a serious case of stage fright.
In Season 1, they brought us bug bombs, adult babies, and degenerate subway behavior. Season 2 begins today, and we can’t wait to see what wonderfully weird antics writers Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer have thought up this time. Following Their Path to Laudable Success
The NY Times calls Comedy Central’s “Broad City,” “an absurdist, slapstick look at two women scraping by in New York.” We’re inclined to agree with that assessment, but why are we talking about it here, on the Capes Coaching blog?
We couldn’t be more delighted to share that Ilana and Abbi, who write and star in “Broad City,” are both alumni of our flagship service: The Path Course!
It's Featured Artist in Action time again (which, as regular readers know, I am a BIG fan of!). This time around we're talking to actor and writer Michael Cyril Creighton. Michael has a great success story that's sure to inspire: While working in the box office at Playwrights Horizons, he created a web series about a guy that works in a box office. That series — Jack in the Box — went on to win him a WGA award for best new web series. He subsequently quit his job at Playwrights and less than six months later was cast in a play there, in which he was then nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award. He's since found success in numerous mediums, and continues to make a name for himself as an actor and writer. Let's turn it over Michael to get the full story!
It's Featured Artist In Action time again! And I am beyond excited to shine the spotlight on a supremely talented actress that I've had the pleasure of working with for quite some time: Michelle Hurst. If Michelle looks familiar to you, it's with good reason — outside of being a gifted stage performer, she's been popping up on some very well known television shows for a while now. Recently, however, she's found great success (and fabulous reviews) with her role on the "It" show of the moment, Netflix's Orange is the New Black. Let's turn things over to Michelle to hear about how she does what she does.
Let’s be honest, the word “seminar” doesn’t usually get people excited…which is pretty understandable. But, if you’ve ever been to a Capes Coaching seminar, you know that we do our best to make them fun and inspiring. After all, we know that (especially in places like New York and L.A.) time is a precious commodity — we want to make it worth the investment. So, what excites ME about our seminars? Well, outside of being able to share what we do, I love meeting artists from every walk of life, each with their own unique story, some of who end up inspiring me. Even better is when I see a familiar face in the crowd — someone who came to a previous seminar and has a story about how their life has been affected by what they learned.
There are so many things that I love about my job, but the one thing that brings me the most satisfaction is, without a doubt, hearing the success stories of the artists that I've worked with. So, what better way to bring that joy to this blog than to share their stories with you? I'm excited to present our Featured Artist In Action -- a recurring Q&A series that will put the spotlight on current and former Capes Coaching clients who are making it happen out there, and who you should definitely keep on your radar.
To kick things off, we've got Dan Avidan, a multi-talented musician, comedian, writer, you-name-it, who's enjoying some much-deserved success with Ninja Sex Party, the musical comedy duo that he created with Brian Wecht, and whose videos have turned them into an internet sensation. From the moment that everyone at Capes Coaching saw the first Ninja Sex Party video, we knew that it was only a matter of time before people would be buzzing about Dan. Even better, he's one of those people that you just want to cheer for because he's humble, has an infectious energy, and is genuine to the core. I couldn't be happier that his career is really taking off -- so let's find out how he's been doing it.
1) When you first started working with Capes Coaching, what were your goals?
I think my original goal was just to figure out what my goal actually was. I knew I wanted to start a comedy band along the lines of Flight of the Conchords, but I didn't know what to do once the group had been created. I had just turned 30, and after spending 10 years in bands that went nowhere due to lack of planning and focus, I was determined for things to be different this time around.
2) What have you accomplished since then?
The past two and a half years have been the most exciting of my life, career-wise. I started a comedy band called "Ninja Sex Party" which has been doing really well. We signed with a great management company, and have played sold out shows and festivals in 10 cities across the US and Canada. Our music videos have been viewed over 2 million times online, and have been showcased on the front pages of YouTube, Funny or Die, and the Huffington Post. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcmBALxDkRY]
3) What has been your biggest career challenge and how did you overcome it?
For me the hardest thing was always looking at comedians and musicians that were already hugely successful and thinking that what they had achieved was beyond my reach. It was painful to start a new project with modest goals when I was watching people every night on TV who were so far ahead of me. I think the key to overcoming it was focusing on myself, and tuning everything else out.
It's like building a house. First you have to lay a brick on the ground...then another brick next to it...then another. Then you look over at your neighbor's yard, and he's putting the finishing touches on his mansion. How do you not look down at your three bricks and feel hopeless? You really have to remind yourself that five years ago, he started out just like you did. He succeeded because he concentrated on his goals and consistently kept his eyes on the next step. You have to do the same. Slow hard work is the only way to create something meaningful.
4) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting out?
That I have to work just as hard as everyone else. I spent a lot of years just sitting back, thinking that fame and fortune would come to me because I was somehow special. When I first started pursuing music after college, I swore I'd never end up one of those 30-year-old guys who sits around smoking pot and playing guitar in his parents' basement. Then 7 years passed, and I found myself perilously close to that exact scenario! It was a real wake up call, and became the catalyst for the work I've done in the past 3 years. Sometimes I wish I could have learned that lesson sooner, but the past is the past.
5) What are you currently working on?
We are releasing our first full-length album next month, which is really exciting...but the big news is that we were recently approached by several TV producers interested in developing a Ninja Sex Party television show. Together with our management team, we have been working tirelessly on the project for the past few months and will be pitching to networks in the fall.
6) Anything else you feel like sharing?
Just that I have a lot of respect for all you fellow artists out there. If you're reading this, chances are that you've already taken the first step toward your goal, which is awesome! The first step is the most important one. It's what separates you from the millions of people who just talk instead of act. It means you have the courage to dedicate your life to something you love.
As many of you know, this is the first week that Capes Coaching is venturing over to the West Coast and planting our flag in the L.A. soil (or, sand, since we hope to get some beach time in!). I can't tell you how excited I am for this — it's been a goal of ours for many years now. Since we were already going to be in California, we thought it would be the perfect time to take a family trip to San Diego beforehand and, much to my surprise, the timing turned out to be even more perfect than I'd imagined. As it happened, one of my very first (and favorite) coaching clients, Natalie Gold, was starring in the current run of Henry Wishcamper's Engaging Shaw at the Old Globe Theatre, and I can't tell you what a complete joy it was to see her performing on one of the most acclaimed theatre stages in the country. Add this to her recent turn as Jake Gyllenhaal's sister in last year's Love and Other Drugs and a recurring role on AMC's critically acclaimed show Rubicon, and it was easy to see that Natalie had a lot to be proud of. Of course, having coached her from the beginning, I knew that it wasn't always an easy road, but she had certainly earned the success that she's currently enjoying.
I first met Natalie in 2002 when I was working in the casting office at the Public Theater for Shakespeare in the Park. We cast her as a non-equity actor (of which they only allowed 2 or 3 in each production) and I remember the excitement in her voice when I called and offered her the role -- it was a big deal. Later, when we began coaching together, I remember sitting in the coaching room with someone who understood that it was going to take a lot of hard work and dedication to get to where she ultimately wanted to go. And I can tell you from first-hand experience that Natalie did the work and stayed the course even when the course wasn't always going her way. She set clearly defined goals for herself, honestly assessed her disappointments, didn't rest on her successes, and always brought a sense of authenticity and integrity to her work.
Anyone who has coached with me or has done the Artists In Action program knows that I am a staunch advocate for bringing your true self to the way you run your business. Nowhere is this as crucial as it is when it comes to networking, because your relationships will rise or fall based on whether or not people perceive you as being genuine -- someone they want to build a relationship with. Let me tell you, Natalie Gold is the real deal and, believe me, she's got the fans in this industry to prove it -- casting directors, writers, agents, producers, directors -- you name it, they're fans. She's brought that authenticity since day one, and I've seen her career climb steadily over the past decade as a result. Some years haven't climbed as rapidly as she would've like, I'm sure, but she's consistently reached the goals she set for herself…and continues to do so.
After I saw her last week, she said that it's been "Up and down. Up and down," but that she recognizes her accomplishments and has moved in the direction she wants to move in. Even more heartening, she revealed the invaluable role that our coaching together has played (and continues to play) in her career. Previously, she expressed to me, "I came to Capes Coaching at the height of my frustration with my career. You allowed me to turn my angst into motivation and my fear into courage." I can't tell you how gratifying it was to hear that, because, in a way, Natalie's growth as an actress has coincided with my growth as a coach. I will never forget the time she called to tell me that she booked her first national commercial…and then her first Law & Order…and then her first Broadway play. Now, she's with one of the top agencies and transitioning from stage to screen beautifully, and along the way she's continued to challenge herself and managed to maintain balance and grace in her life. I can't wait to see what's next!