Project development is just another way to remove the gatekeepers
When I was a young acting student at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, I railed against the idea of getting an agent. Along with my conservatory colleagues, I worked hard to perfect my collection of monologues and get the right headshot — one that looked just like me, just on the best hair-day and with a little more makeup than usual. I wanted what we had all worked for four years to create — opportunities to use my talent and training in theater and on camera. But I loathed the idea that upon graduation, I'd have to first pound the pavement for an agent — someone who would give me "permission" to audition for work — before I could even get to the starting line.
I still don't love the idea of having an agent. In fact, except for a hot minute when I first moved to New York, I've never really had an agent. After relocating from Maine to Brooklyn in 2013, I was pleased to be offered representation by a top agent, but I was booking so much audiobook work through my own relationship-building and hustle that we soon parted company as friends, but not partners in business.
Now, after a decade in audiobooks (500 solo, multi- and full-cast recordings to date), dozens of great reviews, and countless nominations and awards, including the 2017 Best Female Narrator Audie Award, I'm open to working with an agent who might open opportunity for me in new genres of work, but I'm still most passionate about developing my own path and following my own direction. Always looking for the next challenge and new opportunities, I am combining my skills and education in theater (BFA in acting), writing (MFA in non-fiction), audio (intensive studies in documentary radio production and multimedia methodology), and teaching (guest lecturer MECA, VCFA, NYU, and more), and seeking partners for project development — whether teaming with a writer who wants to translate their book into audio, a rights holder seeking a producer for a full audio dramatization, a client looking for a creative professional to spearhead a podcast, or even getting back to the stage and screen (I did my first play in a short-play festival this summer, the first time I'd been on stage in eight years, and was delighted to win Best Actress).
So, nearly twenty years after I graduated from college, I'm still not interested in seeking permission to create great work with wonderful partners — I just want to get down to the business and the art of fruitful collaboration. And I'm just as excited to see what the next ten, twenty, thirty years of work will bring my way, and to develop the kinds of partnerships that make the life of an artist entrepreneur so very rich and fulfilling.