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Making Movies is HARD!!! Posts

Episode 105 – Actor/Writer Rob Chester Smith

An insightful conversation with Rob Chester Smith about breaking in as an actor/writer in Los Angeles. Once you’ve reached your goal what do you do with the feeling “I got here, and now what?” Listen to this episode now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.

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Rob is an actor and writer from Iowa that currently lives in Los Angeles. He’s been in a zillion commercials and his TV credits include the most recent episode of “This is Us.” His short film I Love You Dad (which Rob wrote and starred in) played at the American Pavilion in Cannes & Rob and Valentyna in Scotland played at Sundance (Rob co-wrote and acted in this one). And let’s not forget Timothy’s short film Man’s Best Friend.


A Breaking-In Story

Rob shares his journey from small town Iowa, to Northwestern University, to Chicago and finally Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting and writing. He moved to Los Angeles when he was 29 years old and kickstarted his career with two things: a role in a Mitsubishi commercial and a recommendation from a friend for representation.

But moving to LA wasn’t an easy decision. Rob hesitated to leave Chicago for many years until his future wife forced the decision.

Next up: How do you get an agent? Rob tells us a few ways you can get a commercial agent and how it happened for him.

We talk about Rob’s mindset when he moved to Los Angeles and his hopes and dreams. His ideas of fame. His ideas of success. The magical thinking “that all you need is people to see you and that will be it.” Rob tells us the story of booking a pilot, getting an agent and manager, taking general meetings, and how it didn’t lead where thought it would.

An Actor’s Life

Rob spends 2/3 of his time Acting and 1/3 Writing. He’s currently writing for FX Movie Download. When he’s not working he spends time with his family.

Rob paints us a picture of his day-to-day life as an actor.

He has a Commercial agent, VO agent, and Theatrical agent.

He acts mostly in commercials and some TV.

How often does he go out for auditions?

What is the audition process like and what is Rob’s advice to actor’s out there?

How often does he get callbacks?

How often does he book a job?

We talk about the isolation of being an actor and writer and the biggest challenge of writing is writing.

“I Got Here, and Now What?”

You claw your way into one aspect of the industry and you have kind of made it where you wanted to be, but at the same time it doesn’t look the way you thought it would. Rob now feels that he’s reached a plateau in his career and he wonders what he’s doing. What’s the next mountain to climb?

“I don’t know anymore what my ideal thing would be.”

Is Rob having a midlife crisis? Alrik, of course, offers some optimistic words and tries to help Rob find his passion.

Is it inevitable that after a certain level of success and experience, everything turns into a job? Is there a way to avoid that? Is this feeling an indicator that something is wrong?

We ask a lot of questions in this section and maybe don’t have a lot of answers for you, but there are going to be a lot of you out there that will relate. Tell us your thoughts. Send us an email or contact us at one of the links below.

Contact Rob

You can find Rob by following these links:

Rob’s website: robchestersmith.com.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/robchestersmith

If you want to check out some of Rob’s work, check these out:

“The Hiccup” (co-written, starring) https://vimeo.com/43431126 (NSFW!)

Trailer for “Rob and Valentyna” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPUR6OmRD1M

Trailer for “I love you, Dad” at https://vimeo.com/109193925

Contact Us

Thanks for listening and a big thanks to Rob for being on the show!

You can find us on Twitter @timothyplain@alrikb or @mmihpodcast! And on Facebook

We want to hear from you. Tell us what you think. Leave a comment on the episode here or send us an email

And if you dig the show, please leave a review on iTunes or Stitcher

Episode 104 – Listener Dial Ins

We celebrate our two-year anniversary by inviting listeners of the show to dial in and talk about what’s on their mind. This week we talk to Lindsay Serrano, Jeff Palmer and John Muth for conversations about low-budget filmmaking, film school and giving/receiving feedback.

Listen to this episode now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.

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Episode 102 – Rebecca Weaver and Shooting a Feature with a Two-Person Crew

This week we have filmmaker Rebecca Weaver on to tell us about how she made her  $11k budget feature with a two person crew and went on to win “Best American Indie” at the Sonoma Film Fest and “Best Feature” at both the Lone Star and East Lansing Film Fests. Listen to this episode now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.

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Episode 101 – Life After Your First Feature with Sean Lynch!

What do you do once your first feature is done and has distribution? Today we talk with writer/director Sean Nichols Lynch who is in pre-production on his second feature ‘Ride with Me’ and hear about the steps he is taking to get that film made. We also talk about making his fist film Prep School, how you get actors signed onto your films and script contests!

Listen now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.

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Episode 100 – Jared Hess and the Filmmaker’s Dream

Napoleon Dynamite premiered at Sundance in 2004. It was Jared Hess’ first film and the $400,000 indie went on to gross $46.1 Million in the box office and launch Jared’s career. Since then, Jared has gone on to direct feature films, television and commercials. He is currently writing animated films for Nickelodeon and Laika. Jared has the kind of success we all dream of, but is it all it’s cracked up to be? For the first time in Making Movies is HARD! history we talk to a filmmaker that’s achieved the “filmmaker’s dream” and find out if the dream is something we should aspire to, or if it’s just a fantasy.

Listen now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.

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Episode 99 – Moving to LA with Gavin Murray

What do you do when you first move to LA? This week we have DP and filmmaker Gavin Murray who just moved to LA from SF three months ago and he talks about how he made the move, what he’s looking to accomplish and how he’s getting his first few jobs in LA.

Listen now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.

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Episode 98 – Independent Financing with Yumee Jang

So you’ve got a script and all you need is the money to shoot it. Great! But where do you start? This week, producer Yumee Jang sits down to answer all our questions about where independent financing comes from including how to find and talk to investors.

Listen now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.

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Episode 97 – The Story That Will Change Your Life With Scott Kirschenbaum!

Documentarian Scott Kirschenbaum joins us this week to talk about his life as a documentary filmmaker, how he goes about finding stories that will change his life and how he captured a woman giving brith in his newest film ‘Of Woman Born’.

Listen now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.

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Episode 96 – Rick Bosner Says “You Don’t Have To Live in LA”

Producer/Director Rick Bosner joins us to discuss how he’s making a living through filmmaking alone, including work as a line producer on Fruitvale Station and Executive Producer on Other People. And of course we ask Rick how filmmakers like us can get a producer like him on their project.

Listen now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.

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