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Meet Shannon Bills

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shannon Bills.

Shannon, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I first got my start in the entertainment industry when I was in 6th grade. I begged my parents for acting lessons and then I signed with my first talent manager in middle school. My parents would take me back and forth to NYC to audition for different projects. It was a time where I was dealing with the ups and downs of being an actor. The highs and lows of acceptance and rejection which an actor knows all too well.

When it came time for college, I decided to explore the business route of the industry. I interned at places like the Conan O’Brien show, a talent agency called Clear Talent Group and Telsey and Company which is a big casting office in NYC. That was where I fell in love with casting.

My goal was always to move from NY to LA after I graduated from college. So that’s exactly what I did! Two weeks after I graduated, I moved across the country with no secure job in my future. Most people would have a plan or a job lined up to move across the country on their own. I really just put any fears I had aside and trusted that I would land a casting job. I think that a fearless mindset came from the way my parents raised me. I’m very fortunate to have grown up in a household that’s been full of faith and positive energy. My parents raised me to think that if it’s believable for you, it’s achievable for you. So I’ve always had the “let’s chase my dreams” mentality.

Shortly after moving to LA, I landed my first casting job with Bullock and Snow casting working on two kids shows for Nickelodeon. Once those shows ended, I started working for Greenstein Daniel Casting. I worked my way up from casting assistant to casting associate and grew my resume to over 50 TV show credits! Some shows of which you might have seen on NBC, ABC, Hulu, CBS, Freeform and Netflix.

There are so many things I love about casting including: discovering new talent, putting a pilot together from the ground up, and giving actors their first credit! I’ve had so many “pinch me” moments getting to work with actors from shows I’ve watched growing up. I’ve been in rooms where I’ve found myself thinking “how lucky am I to be with all these creatives”. It’s a fun business to work in but it’s also a trying business. Fast past, demanding, and you never know what type of day you’re walking into.

For the last two years, I’ve been working with an intuitive healer (how “LA” of me) haha! She started talking to me about the importance of self-love and why putting yourself first is not selfish, it’s actually the foundation to a balanced life. When we can’t love ourselves unconditional and understand how to trust our intuition, we let our ego win. So my self-love journey started by doing simple journal exercises to reflect on who I am, what feels good in my life and what I needed to let go of. With that came thoughts like “is casting really my purpose?” “If not casting, then what?” This is the only industry I’ve known my whole life and I couldn’t imagine leaving it. So after about six months of reflecting and trying to get clarity on the next steps in my career, in comes my idea of becoming an audition/acting coach for creatives.

Last year I started coaching as a side gig in addition to casting full time. But when the industry shut down for COVID, I decided to go full time with it. It was a perfect moment in time where I said ok I could either do this or just come up with a million excuses not to. So I trusted my gut and went for it.

First step was getting word out via Instagram. Having friends as agents and managers has been such a blessing because they already know my work ethic and have referred me to their clients. So I started working with actors right away. Next step for me was me trying to get clear about why I’m a coach and what I have to offer clients. Well 1. I used to be an actor 2. I’ve seen thousands of auditions at this point and know what works and what doesn’t work and 3. (which is my biggest “WHY” I’m doing this) is that having been on my self-love journey and seeing my growth physically, emotionally and spiritually, I figured I could bring my self-love exercises and practices to an industry that so desperately needs focus on self-acceptance.

I created a method called “Find Yourself First” where actors get in touch with who they are, release any limiting beliefs they’ve created for themselves, and have them realize WHY they want to pursue acting. A lot of times, we get caught up in the hustle and bustle and forget why we’re doing the things we do. So having created this method and promoting it through my one on one sessions and monthly intensives, it’s provided a safe space for actors to feel worthy of their talents and realize that before we touch upon the scene work, we need to work on the inner work. That’s what needs the main attention because if actors don’t love themselves, how do they expect casting to love them?

It’s been six beautiful months of hard work and there has yet to be a day where it feels like work. I see the holistic approach I’m taking to this community and seeing major results with my clients. Nothing lights me up more than an actor realizing their worth and putting their authentic self into their performances.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Doing inner work is no easy task. A lot of emotions and limiting beliefs get resurfaced but the point is to work through them in order to release them. So I would say as far as a struggle, starting that journey and figuring out my purpose was on the frustrating side only in the sense that as humans, we want answers right away. We are not good at practicing patience. That journey made me realize that we’re not suppose to have it all figured out right away. The growing happens in the waiting period. So having experienced this with so many “life answers”, it’s allowed me to show more grace towards myself and the process.

The biggest struggle that I will talk about for the rest of my life is leaving casting. It has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It’s a job I absolutely love, an office with co-workers who are incredible humans and it provided me with a lot of financial security. Who in the world would give up something like that?? Someone who trusts their intuition (their gut) more than their ego (the voice in their head). As much as I love it and as fun as it is- I know it’s not my life purpose. Do I want to still help out in a small capacity? Absolutely. If I’m able to do a little casting here and there down the line, I think it would be incredible. But I know that my purpose is to help actors on a personal level in a coaching space through my years of industry knowledge and self-love work. The healer inside me feels there’s a huge calling to bring this work to actors. And for me, that meant leaving a six-figure job that I loved, during a pandemic, with over 10k credit card debt. Some would call it crazy, I call it trusting the universe.

Alright – so let’s talk business.  What else should we know about you and your career so far?
I created my coaching business for actors to feel like they can show up as authentic as possible in their creative work. A lot of actors feel this pressure to conform to roles or personalities that are so not them. I always tell them that we are looking for what YOU can bring to the role, not what the role can bring to you. Through my self-love work, I get actors to open up, release any blocks and start appreciating themselves which in return allows them to show up more authentically through their work and their daily lives.

I offer one on one coaching’s which range from career consulting, acting lessons, audition prep, intuitive readings and guided meditations. I also teach classes and intensives that cover a blend of acting and self-love work.

I just realized I haven’t touched upon the intuitive readings I do! Simplest way to put it is that I’m an energy reader. Technically, we all are! We’re all made up of energy that never goes away. I always explain to people that when you walk into a room, you can tell the “good vibes” or “bad vibes” – that’s energy you’re picking up on! I feel that anyone that works in casting is honed in on this. We can always tell if an actor is feeling nervous or overly confident. My self-love work allowed me to strengthen and open up my intuition which has provided me with these gifts. I never thought I would have! When you take an intuitive reading session with me, I’m able to look in and see what areas of your life are blocked or out of alignment. From there I channel, and what I mean by channel is that your higher self and my higher self communicate and I have to make sense of what they’re trying to tell me. I channel certain exercises to help unblock you and put you into a higher energetic alignment. Believe me, if you told me I would be able to do this a year ago- I would have said you’re insane. But anyone can do it! We all have access to our intuition (those gut feelings are there for a reason) all you have to do is trust, let go and allow these feelings to move through you freely.

I’ve been coined “holistic acting coach” which I love because I feel like I’m one of the few teachers that provide a focus on the inner work. I have not only acting experience and a casting background but now I also have this intuitive work to bring to actors as well. I am so proud of this work I’m bringing to this community because I know how much it’s helping. I feel worthy of what I teach and say that with pride! Everyone should feel like they are worth it. I know how much these practices helped me and now I get to see first hand how much it’s helping actors. When an actor tells me a month ago, they weren’t able to confidently say they were worthy of their talents, and now tell me that every day they wake up feeling grateful for their talent- that makes my heart explode. The whole reason I do this is to get creatives feeling good about who they are and what they do. Auditions don’t define actors, callbacks don’t define actors. Gratitude is every day, not just in the moments you feel you reached a goal.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?

Switching from fear-based to love-based thoughts.

Switching thoughts like “why are you leaving a job that you love, that you’re good at and make great money in” to “I know this isn’t my life’s purpose and I feel confident in leaving and trust that when I’m in my true calling the universe provides me with infinite abundance”.

Entrepreneurship has shown me that there are great days and not so fun days. But what I pride myself in is recovering quickly from any limited mindsets. Acknowledging those not so fun days but not letting them be the focus of my day.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Kelly Balch Photography

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