29 episodes

Stories of rewarding careers between starving artist and celebrity. Longtime professor, Jen Vellenga interviews creatives in arts and entertainment careers to give listeners the courage to ditch their backup plan.

Ditch Your Backup Plan Jen Vellenga

    • Performing Arts
    • 4.9, 53 Ratings

Stories of rewarding careers between starving artist and celebrity. Longtime professor, Jen Vellenga interviews creatives in arts and entertainment careers to give listeners the courage to ditch their backup plan.

    Celebrate Failure - Qui Nguyen

    Celebrate Failure - Qui Nguyen

    Qui Nguyen is a TV and film writer, playwright, and self-identified geek. His career has gone from co-founder and artistic director of the Obie award-winning Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company to Daytime Emmy award winning Hollywood screenwriter.  Qui believes in celebrating failure, working hard, and he prefers climbing mountains with a team over a solo journey.

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Follow Your Passion - Michael McElroy

    Follow Your Passion - Michael McElroy

    Tony and Grammy nominated Broadway performer, Michael McElroy is the founder of Broadway Inspirational Voices, for which he won a 2019 special Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre. He recently founded Black Theatre United to combat systemic racism within theatre institutions and beyond. He believes in following your passion, but putting in the work. Process is part of the journey when you ditch your backup plan. For Michael, this is what has led to a lifetime of growth.
    Show Notes at DitchYourBackupPlan.com

    • 46 min
    Be the Change - Maya Lynne Robinson

    Be the Change - Maya Lynne Robinson

    Film, TV, stage actress, and writer/producer, Maya Lynne Robinson plays Michelle on the sitcom The Unicorn on CBS. She spent 13 years working off and on in human resources before she made her living completely as an actress. Her long road to success from humble beginnings has taken courage, discipline, and perseverance. Maya Lynne shares how she made the big move to Los Angeles and all the ways her early actions helped her to succeed. 
    Show notes at DitchYourBackupPlan.com

    • 1 hr 11 min
    Hone Your Craft - Shaun J. Brown

    Hone Your Craft - Shaun J. Brown

    Shaun J. Brown from the CBS TV show The Great Indoors shares his personal journey starting with training in musical theatre to his pivot to the screen. A writer and producer, Shaun has learned how to continually hone his craft to stay relevant in the fast-paced industry of TV and film.
    Show notes at DitchYourBackupPlan.com

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Avoid Burnout - Theresa Squire

    Avoid Burnout - Theresa Squire

    Theresa Squire, Broadway costume designer never knew her job existed when she started her undergraduate degree in Business with a focus in Fashion Merchandising.  She eventually received her M.F.A. in Costume Design from NYU and designed The Lieutenant of Inishmore and High Fidelity on Broadway. She served as the resident costume designer for Keen Company for 10 years.
    She’s a Pilates instructor and a mom and she learned how to avoid burnout by setting clear boundaries.  

    • 52 min
    Read Like a Storyteller - Nick Francone

    Read Like a Storyteller - Nick Francone

    Nick Francone on Wicked as his lucky start, answering the phone, and reading like a storyteller. Nick is a scenic designer for theatre and an art director for television and film. This husband and dad of twins takes us on a brisk run-through of his career with insights from his 15 years as an assistant designer on Wicked to his more recent work as a production designer for New Years Eve with Carson Daly in 2019 and 2020. Fathers in June final episode. 
    Show Notes at DitchYourBackupPlan.com

    • 1 hr 3 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
53 Ratings

53 Ratings

BrechtKafka ,

Amazing Conversations with Creatives!

This is a podcast for people who want to know the REAL story of professionals who make their careers in the arts and entertainment. It focuses on all kinds of practitioners from the performing arts and entertainment. You’ll find writers, designers, B'way performers, SMs. Highlights include interviews with Hamilton’s Joshua Henry and Jersey Boys’ longest running Frankie Valli Travis Cloer. There are also interviews with a screenwriter, a correspondent for WWE and a puppeteer from Henson. As the host is a college professor, this is FANTASTIC listening for (1) high school students, (2) college students, (3) artists in training and (4) working professionals. The show notes are very specific so you can skip to specific topics and/or quotes. This is one for everyone who wants to learn about the ins and outs of the arts and entertainment industry.

Plouvier ,

Inspirational and Motivating!

This podcast is really inspiring no matter your path in life. It’s an easy listen.. I mean Jenn’s soothing voice is 🔥🔥🔥. This podcast keeps me interested, goal oriented, and inspired. ❤️

Canadlancontent ,

Great podcast!

Great insight into the collaborative nature of theatre and creativity! Interesting voices that express the work, the joy of working, the hustle of not working, and how we make sense of theatre in our current self-isolation. Great guests!

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