When did you realize that you wanted to be an actor?
I realized I wanted to entertain people around the age of four. I remember at 4 years old watching Cheech and Chong with my brother. He was laughing hysterically during a scene when they peed in a garbage can. I remember after the movie, I peed in a garbage can and my brother laughed! My mom didn’t. That was also when I learned about demographics.
How did you get started?
At 18, I hopped in my car and drove down to LA. My uncle knew a lady who graciously let me crash on her floor for a couple weeks. Then I convinced a buddy from high school to move down, and I crashed on the floor of our tiny one bedroom apartment in Venice. I would buy a three dollar burrito and have half at lunch and half at dinner. I loved all of it.
I got headshots, mailed them to managers and agents. A manager called me in and put me with an agency. I booked a soda commercial. A friend said I’d make 70-80k on it. I quit my side job. I made 5K on the commercial, and after taxes, agency commissions, and paying the union initiation fees, I ended up owing $1.25 to the soda company. Luckily, the side job took me back on. Then it was auditioning and going to acting class until I booked a recurring role on an MTV show.
When did you start studying at The Acting Center?
I came to The Acting Center in 2012.
“The ability to causatively go in and out of the character to me is essential. This is the only school that I’ve found that is aware of the ability to become another character, and gives methods of practicing this ability.”
What at The Acing Center has helped you most?
The Acting Center really defined what the craft means, it gave me a workable way to move towards achieving the work I want to achieve. I’d always heard people saying you have to do the “work”, but would ask them what that meant, and wasn’t able to get an answer. The Acting Center answered that question for me. It also balanced out all of the theory on acting with the act of doing it. I love that the majority of the class is spent working and drilling versus listening to someone lecture.
It introduced me to a workable way of becoming another character, a way of shifting from myself and becoming another identity. It really opens up the imagination, and possibilities. As I continued with the technique, the ability to shift gets faster and faster, and I’m getting better at going in and out of character. This is so much more effective. I used to sit and imagine horrible things in my life, which would get me to an emotional state, go to an audition, and it would sometimes be there and sometimes, because casting was nice, or I would run into a friend, I would pop out of it. The ability to causatively go in and out of the character to me is essential. This is the only school that I’ve found that is aware of the ability to become another character, and gives methods of practicing this ability.
The last time I was in class, I worked on two auditions, which is another praise of the class. I’ve never been in a class that is so generous with accommodating the performer. The characters I needed to prepare were totally different—one was very upbeat, and the other was suicidal. After performing the latter, a new student asked how did I bring that much pain to the role, that he knew right away this guy had gone through something heavy. The answer is, I didn’t bring any pain to the role. I became the character, and once I assumed that identity, there was a lot of pain. I was able to end that scene, and jump into the other identity. Then, after class, I went home had a great night, because I went back to being myself.
Tell us about your recent success booking “Major Crimes” and “Lucifer”.
Recently, I booked a role on Lucifer and, also, on Major Crimes. I had actually taken about a three-year break from acting. Coming back in was a little daunting. I got back in class, and booked a fun role on Lucifer, where I play an accountant-type head of a Mexican mafia-type family. It was a big booking for me because I wasn’t sure what the climate was going to be like after a long break. Shortly after that, I booked a recurring role on Major Crimes. I auditioned for two completely different roles, prepared both of them in class at The Acting Center, and did such a great job I was being considered for both roles before booking it. I attribute these bookings to The Acting Center technique. I’m also up for a movie in 2018 for an extremely interesting character that is very different from myself, I worked on this in class as well.
What is your favorite thing about The Acting Center?
My favorite thing about the acting class is the practicality of the technique. So many of my auditions have such a fast turn around, sometimes it’s 9-12 pages of material that needs to be prepared overnight. I love that I can use class to prepare these. The drills The Acting Center uses are absolutely the most efficient way to prep. I love how emotion is viewed as under the actors control and that one can just create the character’s emotions. It teaches one how to really create.
I’m blown away at the work I see in class. Tonight in class, there was a girl who has never acted and we did a scene and she blew me away. She was so there, completely in the moment, but in a creative, compelling way. There are so many people who want to be great actors, people who will split a three dollar burrito for dinner and lunch to pursue this thing, and it’s really disheartening to not get the results you are going for.
The Acting Center is really a special place to me, because it answered questions about acting that I’ve pursued for 15 years, and put the quality of performances I want to be delivering within reach.