What was the inspiration behind becoming a creator?
I think I’ve always been a creator and performer. It’s part of my heartbeat, from my mother’s performing career, to watching my sisters who are a dancer and an artist, and following in their footsteps to my love of so many creative things, like cooking, writing and photography. But it all started with singing and dancing at around four years old. A favorite early memory has always been sneaking into an unused dance studio next door to where my sister was in class at the National Academy of Dance (then called the National Academy of arts when I went there for high school). I was around seven, and running and dancing and jumping around the huge studio to the music of the pianist next door. The sound of the dancers and the yells of encouragement from the teacher, along with the smells of the rosin on the wood floors. It was glorious and it felt like flying.
I started performing professionally at a very young age and I’ve always felt at home on a stage and in a theatre, and now in a recording booth. There’s just something magical about the joy of creating art that moves people. It’s deeply fulfilling, especially working with others, and finding that collective effervescence that uplifts an audience. I’m a creator through and through, whether that’s a Broadway show, voiceover, or a delicious plate of fresh warm cookies.
Can you talk through your creative process? How long does it take? Does everything you produce make money?
Although every creative endeavor can be different, it all begins with a spark of an idea that moves me. Whether that’s cooking, shooting a plate of food for a client, performing on stage, doing voice over work on projects, or acting, I find a small bell of truth ringing that connects me to the work, an understanding of it, and then the rest is all about creating the reality I see or feel in it. That’s true for every medium I work in, including how I coach my voice over clients. It all takes its own time, unless you’re under time constraints, and then the adage comes to mind: “Great art is made with a good idea and not quite enough time.”
Everything I do has or creates value, but not everything makes money. I understand the value of paying it forward, helping friends, or giving to others because it’s the right thing to do. That’s the life of an artist and creator, and good integrity brings opportunity back around.
What do you think is the biggest misconception of your work?
That’s easy – That anyone can do it. Voice acting especially. Even seasoned pros in TV or film, with years of dedicated acting and genre training, wrongly assume that they can just pivot into voice acting, but voice over work has its own sets of tools, rules and skills that aren’t part of those other avenues. It IS all acting, but there are different tools for each vocation, and ya gotta know when and where to use ‘em to be working.
When did you first become aware of copyright, and why?
I learned about copyright through the music industry and several infamous lawsuits and, now, as a food photographer, I’m learning about rights and licensing.
Have you experienced copyright infringement and, if so, how has it affected you personally and financially?
I’ve had some incidents with my photographs being used without permission or payment.
What do you do when you encounter someone stealing something you’ve invested your intellect, time and money into?
Usually, a professional email solves that. That’s where I start from. Some folks genuinely don’t know they are infringing, and others may not care. For me, it’s healthiest to speak up and come armed with documentation. If I’ve done all I can do with integrity, sometimes, It’s a lesson I can learn from and let go. Litigation is an ordeal.
What is the best advice that you would give other creators in your field about copyright and how to protect themselves?
Arm yourself with the right information. Document everything, keep receipts, and protect your works through copyright. It sounds simple, right? But it can be an easy thing to lose track of. Also, have a good lawyer and peers to answer your questions honestly. Retaining a lawyer to look over proposals and contracts, etc., and learning as these instances arise, has been a saving grace several times for my business. Business collaborations can start off positively, then take a turn, so always stay aware, and ask questions when things feel like they’ve changed. Trust your instincts if things feel “off.”
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