I always wanted to be somebody when I grew up. I guess I should have been more specific.
— Karla J. Franko (who wished she said it, but really borrowed it from Lily Tomlin)

Bit by the Bug

Recently I was “having a sit-down” with a potential Film/TV agent.  The first question out of his mouth was, “How many followers do you have on Instagram?”  Wondering what that had to do with my qualifications as a performer, I pondered in my head for a moment before answering…trying to mentally calculate the number to ensure accuracy.  “So” I said with a hipster tone, (since everybody knows all sentences now must start with “So” ) “I’m gonna say….upwards of…30.”  Ten minutes later when I was back on the 101 headed home, I determined that my 30 plus years in the industry has produced approximately 1 follower per year.  Pretty sure that’s a record of some sort.  

I started in the industry in the Midwest…Indiana to be exact.  I studied Luigi style dance and did community theatre when there was such a thing as being in a musical as strictly a “dancer.”  (Now you have to be a triple threat with a high mix belt, do gymnastics, be able to spin on your head, crump, do stunts, circus tricks, and bring your own hover board to auditions.)  After I had done about 30 shows, I snagged my coveted AEA card (which didn’t require a point accumulation system, but rather the producer paid for your card because they wanted you in their show) and I packed my bags and headed west.  Once here in California, I worked in TV, film, commericals, and on stage and was a member of all 3 performing unions.  Eventually I got married and had a family, dropped all 3 cards, decided to go back to school and took time out (almost a decade) to earn a Master’s Degree.  In 1997 I began teaching college in the two areas of my passion…Dance/Performing Arts, and my earned degree in Religious Studies/Philosophy.  

Karla J. Franko

Bit by the Bug:  The Sequel

Around that same time, I ran into an old theatre friend and he invited me to work with him on a theatre project he was doing.  I got bit by the bug again.   I began to perform again and slowly started getting back into the industry part time.  But also at the time, I began to sense a void in the training of young performers in the area where I lived.  So much of the performing arts had been taken out of the schools, and since my daughter was getting bit by the bug, (the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree), I decided to start a non-profit theatre company to give kids an opportunity to explore their creativity and ignite their own spark of passion for the performing arts.  

Fast forward to today.  My own performing career has seen a metamorphosis and now I am playing all those meaty character roles that I was too young for the first time around.   The bottom line is that I’m still working at working in the industry...and maybe even getting back to it full time.   Each year I’m grateful for the new projects, new people, and the new levels of passion that I experience while trying to succeed at the art of making art.  And in case you’re wondering, I just checked Instagram.  I’m up to 34 followers, so I'm three years ahead of schedule. BTW, exactly how many do you actually need to get a Film/TV agent?