We had the good fortune of connecting with Kari Nissena and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kari, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
Artists and people in the entertainment industry are unbelievably brave. When the whole world is saying to get a stable job, actors dive head first into the unknown. Not just once, but daily. When people outside the industry hear the word “actor”, think usually think of famous stars. But there is a whole universe of different types of actors at different levels in their careers that get up every day and go to auditions, rehearsals, classes, meetings, events, and more. It’s an inspiring and courageous life filled with joy, heartbreak, and magic. A noble calling and a life well spent.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am an Actor, Producer, and Business Coach for Actors.
I have been acting my whole life and have worked in film, television, theatre, and more. As a producer, I have produced dozens of films, videos, events, and other projects in the entertainment industry. As a coach for actors, I have coached/taught thousands of actors on the business side of the acting biz. This can cover many different topics but some of my specialties include helping actors with their marketing, IMDb, press, and online presence. I love what I do and feel grateful everyday that I get to make a difference in actor’s lives.
We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others.
I sometimes think I see the world through a different lens than a lot of other people. What sets me apart from others is that I keep moving forward no matter what the circumstances are around me. I question things. I tend to look on the bright side of things. When actors come to me and say that they feel like they’ve done it all or can’t figure out what to do next in their career, I can always see infinite possibilities. I think it’s really important to always keep growing and learning.
What are you most excited about?
I am most excited about helping actors create major breakthroughs in their careers. It’s a wonderful feeling when my actors let me know that they booked acting jobs, or signed with new agents or managers, or when we make great progress on their marketing, press, or online presence. I’m always excited about whatever I’m working on at the moment. Right now that is creating future projects to produce and star in, coaching my roster of clients, building our YouTube channel, and designing career-changing training programs for actors.
How did you get to where you are today professionally?
A LOT of hard work. Sounds oversimplified, but I think people sometimes undervalue the power of a really strong work ethic.
Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges?
I would not call a career and life in the entertainment industry an “easy” one by any stretch of the imagination, but it is an extremely rewarding one. It can be a truly extraordinary life if you let it. Understanding the business is a really important piece of the puzzle. There will of course be challenges. That’s a given. But if you understand that ahead of time, then you can prepare and break through those perceived obstacles when they appear. An identical challenge may occur for two similar actors and actor “A” will crumble because of the challenge but actor “B” will accept the challenge and choose to learn and improve from the same exact experience. How you choose to judge and react to challenges really determines the quality of your life. Mindset is everything!
What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way? What is the most important factor behind your success?
I have learned to always keep learning and growing. Surround yourself with awesome humans that strive for more out of life. Study the business, your craft, the power of the mind, etc. Be flexible in your approach when it comes to your acting career. This roller coaster called life rarely goes the way we expect. Be vulnerable in your craft and thick-skinned in the business. Work hard and never give up. And even though it sounds like a cliche, it is absolutely necessary to enjoy the journey.
What do you want the world to know about your brand?
I work with actors that are positive, hard-working, kind, and ready to take their acting careers to the next level. I help them transform their online presence so they can compete at a professional level in the world of TV & Film and build a successful acting career. I always say that once an actor has training and skills, the thing that really makes a difference in whether they actually work or not is the business side of the biz. Life is way too short and I really believe that if you feel a calling to be an actor, then you owe it to yourself to go after your dreams.
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?
When my best friend visits, it’s all about the food. Our whole itinerary is all about where we should eat next. Luckily, Los Angeles has so much diversity and so many wonderful restaurants. Whatever someone craves, whether it’s sushi, BBQ, vegan, or just about anything, from food trucks to fine dining, it’s all here. I think one of the must see restaurants is the extraordinary Yamishiro’s. It’s so beautiful with it’s Japanese Courtyard and gorgeous view of the sparkling city at night. It has excellent food and service and is a special treat for special occasions. There are so many fantastic restaurants in town and so much variety. But that is one that I think is truly special.
It can also be fun for out-of-towners to go to typical Hollywood-y type adventures like studio tours, game show tapings, film festivals, and movie premieres. It might take some planning. but there is always something fun to do in La La Land!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have worked with so many great people in my career, but my shout out is to my wonderful actors! It takes a special kind of person to be an artist and to face the challenges that happen in the life of a creative. I love actors and am always inspired by the courage of my clients, students, colleagues, and friends that are brave enough to go after their dreams!
Bliss Productions, A.A.S. Headshots, Actor Transformation