We had the good fortune of connecting with Daphne Tenne and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Daphne, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
As an actress in LA, I found the process of searching and submitting myself to auditions tedious, mundane, and expensive. I despised spending so much time and money to religiously look through all those casting notices, deciding whether or not I had the “model body” they wanted, knowing full well that getting called in to actually audition, let alone booking the gig, was a near impossibility. It was frustrating to see all the major casting agencies making money off struggling artists trying to fulfill a dream.
Coming from the tech world, I found it strange that millions of people had been paying for these costly subscriptions for decades now, but the value of these services didn’t seem to match the cost. I realized things could be better… for the actors, that is. I decided to use my programming skills and write an app that would aggregate auditions from the big casting sites, and make them available on mobile, all the while offering a more user-friendly interface. I know how draining it is to keep putting yourself out there, so I decided to offer plenty of positive feedback and encouragement. I felt like everyone could use their own personal cheerleader.
There are a lot of costs involved with being an actor; between classes, rent, headshots, and other online services out there – it gets expensive! To make matters even worse, there is often very little return on those investments. Obviously this is a supply-and-demand situation, but everyone is a person and there is no need to take advantage of those on the bottom just because they happen to be in a more desperate and vulnerable position. When I was building my app, I was conscious of this. I wanted to level the playing field and help actors, so the app makes it easier for actors to make use of the subscriptions they likely already have. I also plan to add free casting options, so those who are not subscribed to any major casting site can still have access to audition notices.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
How did I get to where I am today? Short answer: A ton of trial and error, research, and lots of sitting on my butt and crying over the keyboard. The actual answer is obviously more complex. Starting a business (or embarking on any kind of journey into the unknown for that matter) is never easy, and always has its challenges.
One of my biggest challenges is being my own boss and having to face myself in ways that I never thought I would. When you work with yourself and are your own partner, you have to build that relationship and that means facing demons you never knew existed. Luckily, I’ve been in therapy for several years and I had many people around me who helped and supported me in a variety of ways. I am learning to take it day by day, take it easy on myself, and think of this as an opportunity to grow, instead of only thinking of the end goal. I am trying my best to focus on the effort I am putting in, the many things I am learning and experiencing and the person I am becoming while going through this process. In this way, failure is not an option, even if I never achieve my goals.
I always hoped to inspire people to believe in themselves by showing the world that anything is possible. Today, I am revisiting this objective, because it is a very goal-oriented one. Anything is not always possible for everyone, but that should not discourage anyone from pursuing their passion. Nowadays I hope to inspire people to believe in the value they are adding to the world, even without mind-blowing achievements, or what society deems as a success story. To think of ourselves and every single one around us as part of a bigger narrative, but without losing the respect and recognition every one of us deserves. I am learning that we need to reflect on whether what we are aspiring for is something that we actually want to be aspiring for in the first place, or are we just trying to prove something that never needed to be proven.
I really hope that through my business I can support actors that are doing the best they can, so that even if they do not quite reach their intended destination, they can still enjoy the journey and receive the recognition they deserve. I am very proud of my fellow actors for continuously striving and surviving in this industry. It’s not easy.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I will try to avoid the obvious well known places:
Huntington Library and Descanso Gardens (okay those are well known, but I still had to recommend them)
I love walking around in cute little areas or going to farmers markets, so if you’re into that, I really recommend checking out Montrose market, Larchmont Village, Frog Town and if you want to try something different, and venture out of the LA County, then definitely visit Underwood Family Farms in Ventura County, or check out the city of Ventura itself.
I really like hiking too – my recent favorite spot is the Coldwater Canyon park (near the Tree People area)
If you like cute cafes I really love the Garden Café in Sherman Oaks, and LA Log Cabin Mercantile in Chatsworth Lake Manor
My husband and I recently went to Catalina Island for the first time and it was absolutely amazing. I couldn’t believe we were still in the states!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have several shout outs I would love to give, so many deserve credit.
Southern California Counseling Center: They offer sliding scale therapy and psychiatry services. If you are an artist in LA (or anyone really) dealing with emotional and/or financial hardships, SCCC are helping make mental health care accessible and affordable (the only downside is that their waitlist can be quite long).
Attached book by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller, I always recommend it to everyone!
My husband who is always supporting me and growing with me.
My friends and family, and last but not least:
The pigeon community, and our cute little feathery children. Chonk and Cotton, a pair of rescue pigeons who we share our apartment and our lives with. They too are growing with us, and we are very lucky to have them in our lives. They teach me everyday that you don’t have to do much to add a ton of value to the world.
Instagram: @pablolapaloma (if you’re interested in seeing our cute pigeons)
Other: Link to my app on the App Store https://apps.apple.com/us/app/starstruck/id1435684428