VideosTony HowellComment

Danni Smith

VideosTony HowellComment
Danni Smith

"Before, my online presence was overalls and flip flops, and now it’s a little black dress!"

-Danni Smith


We know launching your own website can be exciting and daunting at the same time—like getting new headshots or signing with an agency. You want it to represent you not only in the best light, but in your light. You want it to be the right decision and the right fit. 

At our heart, we are collaborators—and Danni was a lovely artist to work with! Get to know Danni and her web makeover story while getting a peek at what it's like to build a website with us in the interview below!

What three words best describe you?

Hardworking, loyal and kind.


Who's your idol? 

Mariska Hargitay


What about the Dream Role? 

All of the Shakespeare!


What are you currently working on? 

I'm currently in rehearsals for Jesus Christ Superstar (playing Mary Magdalene) with Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, and working on a workshop of new musical Code Name: Cynthia (playing Betty) with Steve and Kate Multer in conjunction with Ball State University. Also, very excited to premiere my first feature film Curtain (with Jash Pictures) in 2015!


 Photos:  Brave Lux Photography  (Chicago)

Photos: Brave Lux Photography (Chicago)

Awesome!!! So how long did you know you wanted to create a website? 

I’ve known that I should have website for over a year—maybe even longer. I’d heard colleagues talk about the importance of having an online presence working for you at all times, and that absolutely made sense. I also loved the idea of having a “one stop shop” for photos, videos, resume, reviews, etc.


What were your hold-ups in getting it done? 

A few things. I had it in my mind that it was such a daunting undertaking and that I didn’t have the time to sit down and really focus on it. I didn’t necessarily know how I wanted it to look or function, and I’m not familiar with web design or code so it all felt very overwhelming to me. I also felt I couldn’t afford it. And additionally, I was nervous about the task of keeping it updated.


What made you decide to build a website with CSM? 

Tony posted one day on Facebook that he was available if anyone wanted a consultation or a website, and I saw it and thought—you know what? I’m going to message him. I’ve been thinking about doing this and haven’t really known how to start. So, I checked out his website and liked what I saw, and I just had a feeling it would be a great partnership.


What were your expectations? 

I was excited and scared. I knew I was taking a big step in investing in my career and putting myself out there—so all of the vulnerability and excitement that comes with that was there!


What did you have to prepare for Tony to create your new website? 

Tony sent me a website worksheet which was awesome! Basically, it was a form to get to know me as an artist and to get a sense of my personal style. It really helped me to focus on my goals and my aesthetic, which I so appreciated. We then had a call to review the sheet and make sure we were on the same page before moving forward. Additionally, Tony asked me to provide my headshot/resume, production photos, any videos/clips I had (and he showed me how to put together a YouTube playlist which was simple and awesome!), reviews, and an optional welcome/bio.




How was the process? 

The process was fantastic!! The worksheet really helped me to focus on my goals and how I want to present myself as an artist. The information that Tony needed for the website also required me to take a moment and catalog my career and create a digital database of my work and accomplishments, which initially seemed so daunting but was absolutely necessary and a great way to look at where you’ve been and where you want to go. And Tony was so fast! We’d talk about something over the phone and within a half hour he’d say “I made the update—check it out when you have time!”


How do you like the final result? 

I LOVE IT!! I still can’t believe how intuitive Tony was—it’s even more than what I hoped for!


What's the response you've received on your new website? 

So much positive feedback and excitement from colleagues and friends! People love the sleek design and that it’s one-page that they can scroll down to access everything. Plus, the fact that it translates to mobile devices, too, is so phenomenal!


Do you feel that getting a website with CSM was a different experience than you would have received from a different company?  

Absolutely. Tony was so thorough and took such great care to make sure that this website was everything I personally wanted (and more). I felt like I had a true collaborator in Tony. And again, he was so intuitive—he took my website worksheet answers and after a brief call he knew what to do. He took it and ran, was so quick and gracious and thorough—and the result is a gorgeous, sexy website that’s always out there working for me.


Now that you have a [new sexy] website, how do you FEEL? 

I feel more confident! I look at it and I know that I’ve invested in myself, and it inspires me to 'keep on swimming'! Before, my online presence was overalls and flip flops, and now it’s a little black dress!


Thanks so much Danni! We were honored to showcase your talents! Wrapping up— what's your advice for aspiring artists? 

My advice to aspiring artists is to work hard, invest in yourself, be on time, respect others, and stay true to yourself!

Tony Howell is a digital strategist dedicated to helping you design your future—creating offline success from your online presence.