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Name:  Kelly Allen

Industry:  Dancer & Choreographer in the television, film, theater industry.

Location: Based in Los Angeles, California

ME: How many years have you been working in this industry?  

KELLY: 10 years professionally.  I grew up dancing & training in all styles of dance from ages 3-17 in San Luis Obispo, California.  Began teaching & choreographing at the age of 15. Made the move to Los Angeles when I was 17 years old and have been working professionally since.


ME: How many people are currently on your team?

KELLY: I have agency representation (BLOC talent agency), there are about 4-5 agents there that I communicate with. But I work independently. Sometimes it depends on the job, with how many are in a creative team or cast for particular project.


ME: When you are feeling like giving up what keeps you going?  

KELLY: One of my mentors, Marguerite, said this years ago and it always sticks with me... “When you're feeling like giving up or losing your confidence you should wake up every morning, look yourself straight in the mirror, and say to yourself ‘Damn...I am FEIRCE’.”

Thinking of that always brings a smile to my face. I began doing something along those lines a few years back when I first heard Marguerite say that...and IT WORKS. It's a great reminder to speak the truth about yourself even on days you have doubts about yourself or your abilities. The words you say and think about yourself daily are powerful.  I work to keep believing "I am a STRONG, CAPABLE BAD ASS DANCER & CREATOR. Watch out world."

There are so many ups and downs in an artist's career. Not always, but in most cases, as an artist you go from job to job to job...auditioning or interviewing for the next opportunity, several times throughout the year.  It's easy to feel down when being "rejected" from jobs. But the reality is, it's competitive, you will get rejected at some point, and its part of the you handle rejection is all about your perspective.  

I try to think, OK, maybe I didn't get this particular job because the timing for that in my life right now is just not right. Or maybe this means there's another opportunity that will present itself and it may be even better than if I had got the other job. I do my best to TRUST that the projects that are meant to be, will be.

Another tactic when I'm feeling low, is pulling up my resume, and reading it thoroughly. Pulling up my reel and watching it. Or look through old notebooks of lists of goals I dreamed of doing one day.... and look what I have checked off so far. 

There's a lot I have not accomplished in my career as dancer and choreographer.  But there's also a lot that I have done that I should be proud of. I didn't give up then. I'm not willing to give up ever.  Anything is possible.  


ME: What is one thing people didn’t warn you about? 

KELLY: OH BOY :) Especially when you begin your career, and in a new city, NETWORKING is a huge part of the industry. A great deal of how I got my first few jobs was through choreographers I've got to meet, know and created relationships with. Of course you've got to have the goods when you step up to the plate to perform. But It's important, when starting off, for people to be able to connect a name with a face. Then it’s really your consistent with your talent, hard work, and dedication to your craft to KEEP those relationships. 

I wasn't aware when I first moved to LA, just how important the initial networking would be, and continue to be throughout my career. It does get a bit easier as you establish your work, your portfolio and when you've been around for some time BUT the industry keeps growing, evolving, shifting. I will ALWAYS need to continue creating new business relationships. 


ME: Who or what inspires you? 

KELLY: Bob Fosse, never fails! Cyd Charisse, Fred Astaire, Alvin Ailey. When creating, I look to some of my favorite iconic directors and choreographers for inspiration. 

My dance teachers that trained me growing up...that's where it all began. And my mentors here in LA. They all put so much time, energy, support and love into making me the best dancer & choreographer I can be. 

They have so much belief in me...their support inspires my work.


ME: What has been one hard knock moment?

KELLY: A few years back, I was offered a job with a choreographer (personal connection) I had worked with several times before. The contract sent over by producers looked like it had a strange way of wording the legal points. But the main points I was looking at all seemed correct....I signed, returned and completed the job. I missed having them correct an important point on that contract. I thought I had understood everything correctly, but missed something!

Almost ALL of my jobs go through my agency so they can look at the contract, make sure everything legally looks OK before signing. And they can clarify anything so I am 100% clear.  That's what they're there for.

I did not send this one in particular contract through my agents since it was a job I booked directly through a personal connection.  I should have sent it to them anyways! If I was questioning points being made or anything looked different, I know now, it's better to bring them the contract, have them review, and give them the 10% agency fee.  

It's better to be safe and legally protected, than sorry.


ME: How do you stay organized as a freelance artists?

KELLY: I have notebooks, planners, binders for my work to keep me on on track. I'm constantly creating lists and setting goals for myself. Typically every 2-3 months.

Here are some examples of my lists and goals:

-Who are the choreographers or directors I'm dying to work with or have yet to work with in my career.

-Who are some veterans in the biz I can connect with to shadow & learn from/assist.

-Who are the other dancers I'd love to work with &/or continue working with.

-What are the jobs I've got my eye on at this time... which jobs am I dying to do.

    *I post this on my refrigerator, put it in my planner, or any place I often look.

And the most important list : HOW AM I GOING TO ACCOMPLISH THE GOALS ABOVE?

-What/who's classes will I hop into to make this happen.

-Who can I reach out to about my aspirations.

-Keep my website, resume, social media up to date and current with what I'm working on.

-What events or workshops can I make it to now, to make a connection & relationship with new people (or people haven't seen in awhile).

I'm also a big advocate of VOCALIZING my goals to others. Whether its to the choreographers/dancers I'm looking to work with, friends, family. It's helpful for me to hear myself talk about the things that I want. And saying "I'm planning to do this." Putting it out into the universe.  The universe talks back.


ME: How would you define success?  

KELLY: When you can go about your day, doing what you are passionate about.... can look at what you have going on and feel excited & challenged.  You are not "working" because you love what you do.

dance resume

choreo resume

Instagram: kellyallen88 Twitter: @kellyallen






Industry: Theatre, Literary, Television

Location: Los Angeles, California

ME: How many years have you been working in this industry?

VICTOR: I have been working in regional theatres (Center Theatre Group and The Pasadena Playhouse) for five years now. Two years ago, I made a transition to double my priorities— meaning, I wanted to continue pushing my work as a creative young professional, but I also needed to focus and begin my career as a writer. In the last two years, I’ve completed two writing fellowships (as a PEN Center USA Emerging Voices fellow, and a LAMBDA LGBTQ Emerging Writer). I have also completed three playwright commissions, and I’m working on completing two more this year (2016). Within this work, I also decided that television writing can be a field that sustains my life as a writer, and therefore I’ve enrolled in the UCLA Extension Writers Program and have completed one year of TV Writing courses (drama).


ME: How many people are currently on your team?

VICTOR: I began to intentionally build a working relationship with a talent manager in January, 2016. We have weekly conversations were we check in on the status of my writing projects, talk about the pipeline of upcoming projects, discuss trends, and he relays the industry's needs based on conversations he is having with network executives and other managers/agents. He has also been a guiding light as I’ve completed my pilot for a fast-paced political international drama titled BELIEVER, and as I begin working on others. We are just now entering the part of our working relationship where he and I will begin taking meetings with executives as I now have polished projects to show for.

I also began to intentionally build relationships with other writers, theatre professionals, and television executives. For me, relationships are important because they lay the foundation for a future of partnerships and potential collaboration. Through this I have formed a recent team with a marketing expert at FOX, an actress from HULU’s East Los High who will direct, a grammy award winning musician and composer, and a production company to produce a short animated film inspired by a play I wrote in 2013. The tie in— our passion for an increased awareness about Alzheimer's research and the deaf and hard of hearing community. Not all conversations that bind us are about our ambition regarding the industry. The things that bring us together are the very things that make us human, our passions and our ability to change awareness and the world around us. 

Additionally, there is a high level of self care involved in the pursuit of ambition. This is an awareness we must all have— the realization that in order to maximize results, we must first and always take care of ourselves. There are many great friends in my team, those whose council I seek in challenging times. I also have a psychic/spiritual advisor, a cranial sacra therapist, and friends who check in on my eating habits and workout routines.


ME: When you feeling like giving up what keeps you going?

VICTOR: Giving up is not an option. That does not mean it is always easy to continue. When times are challenging I branch out by delegating and asking for support. Three and a half years ago I was involved in a terrible car accident that left me so weak and injured that I could not carry a book in hand. I had to slow my life down; I had to make ‘healing’ a priority. No one ever teaches us how to heal; we are not taught how to slow down to make room for healing. For eight months straight, I had to learn how to make room for four chiropractic, acupuncture, physical therapy appointments a week. I had to learn how to ask for help, how to be transparent about my abilities, how to say No, and how to say Yes with modifications (stating the parameters of my abilities). This was a tremendous lesson. Now, I’ve learned how to be very transparent about my abilities, and more so— I’ve learned to ask for help. When I feel like giving up, I ask for support, I ask for help, I build out and make sure I have a support team that can strengthen the goal.


ME: What is the one thing people didn’t warn you about?

VICTOR: I should not take things personally. Most times, people make choices based on their needs, desires, flaws— and when it affects me, I should never take it personally. 


ME: Who or what inspires you?

VICTOR: Shonda Rhimes inspires me, Obama inspires me, individuals who carry out their civic responsibilities in their work inspire me. My grandmother and grandfather inspire me. I often times think about the tremendous struggle migration must have been for them. They decided to leave Mexico and come to Los Angeles with nothing but a suitcase and their children. How many of us can simply carry our lives in a suitcase, and arrive in a new country without resources, language, and a known/promised future? That risk is incredible. Their choice to take that risk is often a meditation for me. I think about the huge leap our family has made because of that simple choice, and the stalwart investment they then made throughout a lifetime to sustain that choice, to carry it out, to see the fruit of their labor in the establishment of a family in the United States of America.  Their struggle is vast, it makes any risk I could ever take feel small, it makes it feel conquerable. I am inspired by that choice every day.


ME: What has been one hard knock moment?

VICTOR: I resigned from Center Theatre Group in 2013. This was a leap of faith as I needed to take time to restructure my life, as I was acknowledging my need to prioritize my career as a writer, too. My job there was not able to support any other part of me, and that was okay— I couldn’t take it personally. I had to walk away. I was unemployed for three months. I had landed a very competitive 8 month writing fellowship, but it did not support me financially at all. I took the leap regardless. My family and friends helped me get through this tumultuous phase. That, and the book “War of Art” really helped me reprogram the way I thought about being a creative professional. During this time, I notified my entire network about the changes in my life and asked them to share with me any open positions that might serve the new life I was trying to build. Three months later, four friends recommended me for the same job. I took notice, applied, interviewed, and began working in the Artistic Department at The Pasadena Playhouse. I walked into my interview and was transparent about my new priorities. They appreciated my transparency and hired me. We structured, and have continued to structure my contracts and salary there to fit my personal/creative needs, while I achieve and really— exceed— the goals laid out each year.


ME: How do you stay organized as a freelance artists?

VICTOR: I have two planners (Moleskin Weekly Notebook and Self Journal by self For me, it is important that my planners are tactile. I have to be able to see them, feel them, scratch things off, take notes, add notes, color code... One is a weekly view— it allows me to scan the week and month for things I have to be aware about. The other, is a daily planner, one that asks me to state what I am grateful for that day, and asks me what I will do that day to achieve my three overall goals for the year. These two allow me to see the micro and the macro— they allow me to be move steadfast, and still take time to acknowledge the small wins that build towards victory.


ME: How would you define success?

VICTOR: Success, for me, means being able to stand tall with a strong network of support and community behind you, one that feeds you, and one that you feed, too.