Welcome to my new post in my series called “Coffee Chat.” This series is focused on inspirational women who love their jobs and want to inspire other women to find their passions and transform their lives. Today’s coffee chat features Deborah O’Neill, who is an actress and producer in LA. If acting is your dream, Deborah has amazing guidance on how you too can make this career path a reality, read all about her daily life, how she got to where she is now and her best pieces of advice.

P.S. if you want a good laugh check out the trailers of two of her latest pieces of work:

Neil Patrick and Harris: The Chronicles of Conjoined Triplets 

Killing the Apologetic Girl 

1. Where do you live and what is one random fact about you to break the ice with our readers?

I live in Los Angeles. When in my hometown, Worcester, Massachusetts, family and friends call me Debbie or Auntie Debbie.

2. What is the first thing you like to do before you start your day?

My morning meditation/prayer. I must remember to connect to the larger picture of things and the internal calm. Set intentions and center myself. 

3. What inspired you to choose your career path in acting and producing? Is there a childhood memory that made you decide?

I grew up in a children’s theatre that my Aunt produced so acting was modeled as fun and collaborative. I was shown how to teach, direct and how to lead. So my path in producing is natural to me.

4. What was your very first step to get you where you are today in your career?

Going to school is where I made life long friends. Kimberly Aboltin (whom you’ll read next week) and so many others from undergrad (Salem State University) and grad school (Florida State University). These are connections for life. The experiences and training set me up with a hard work ethic and focus. The fact that Kimberly and I have that history, makes us a great team.

5. What is one challenge you had to overcome in order to reach happiness with your career?

My confidence. Other people can be really ballsy and outspoken and I admire that so much, but I would doubt myself.  I had to get to know how I work, how I communicate, my style of doing things.  

6. What are three habits you would recommend to someone pursing their dream career in producing? What would make them stand out?

  1. Be of your word, by following through.  If you say you are going to do something, think it through first before you commit. Then do it when you said you would. This means I have to write things down (or enter in my calendar) and be super organized.  
  2. Be on time.  To really accept that everything takes longer than we think.  So to accept that and let go of adding that “one more thing.”  When in doubt “keep it simple.”  
  3. Be kind.  No matter what, it helps to remember others are focused on their life, their day.  So nothing is personal.

7. How would you describe your support network? Who is in it?

  • My husband for sure.  He is there in the late hours when I need a confidant, friend, someone to talk it all out with
  • Kimberly, of course and the others on our team
  • Shawn Brogan and Team at the Brogan Agency.  
  • Close friends from school and close friends in LA.
  • My family in Massachusetts.

All mentioned are the best cheerleaders and most importantly, have the best sense of humor!  

8. What is one skill you are currently working, that will help you further your career?

Securing funding as a producer.  And auditioning ease is an ongoing skill to cultivate as an actor.

9. To balance out your work life, what’s your fitness and health regime?

This balance has become essential since experiencing injuries from an accident.  So it has really been a process to listen to my body.  Kundalini Yoga, hikes and long walks are my favorite things to do. Also, down time. Quiet time is essential.  ?‍♀️

10. What is one book that helped you on your career journey that you would recommend?

Industry:  Leading Lady; Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker by Stephen Galloway

Spiritual:  Frequency by Penney Peirce

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