TV, FILM, VOUCHERS
I’m in the IMDB and you may or may not still see me on late nights on The Discovery Channel (or Amazon Prime TV) during re-broadcasts of The New Detectives: Case Studies in Forensic Science. If you work for the corporate offices of The Home Depot or Chick-fil-A in Atlanta, two of my proudest industrials were for in-house projects for them involving temper tantrums and linoleum (separately).
I studied Meisner with some fantastic coaches in the Atlanta area and before even that, got my acting start during a university theater production of David Henry Hwang's Bondage. Altogether, the training has helped me everywhere from being on camera under the guidance of awesome film crews, to getting six hours of sleep over 3 days after endlessly running lines on indie shoots in suburban Atlanta.
And my Kevin Bacon number is zero. I was an extra in Hollow Man, walking on sidewalks and driving my 1996 Honda Accord backwards and forwards in front of Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington, DC. Glory be to me.
I GOT INTO ACTING BECAUSE OF LINDSAY LOHAN.
While at university, I had the awesome privilege to be a part of a the Buena Vista Pictures Distribution’s College Network.
This meant I was that creepy guy sitting by himself in the backs of movie theaters with a clipboard, counting the number of male and females, calculating the percentages of age ranges in attendance and a bunch of other demographic data.
I loved it.
"WHAT'S A ONE SHEET?"
The experience with Buena Vista Pictures Distribution introduced me firsthand to the marketing side of the film industry. I learned to say “one sheet” instead of movie poster, “trailers” instead of previews.
Buena Vista recruits would collect data and in the age of the early internet, would telnet into a Buena Vista database to enter stats or leave a summary of the night’s numbers on a producer’s voice mail.
We would watch trailers being shown ahead of films by Touchstone Pictures, go to multiple showings on the opening weekends of Disney releases. Learning the business side of film while taking as many classes on "the craft" as I could on the side would end up helping me out a ton as I made my way through the film world.
So after my fifth viewing of Lindsay Lohan’s debut appearance in The Parent Trap on opening weekend, I was approached by a casting agent in the lobby of the theater.
I was at a pay phone (a pay phone!) calling in my numbers for the night for Buena Vista when she approached.
It was probably that slick five dollar corduroy blazer from Goodwill that I was wearing that caught her attention.
We chatted a bit, she handed me her card and said “Give us a call”.
It was a perfect ripped-from-Hollywood story of how actors get their start.
Two months later, I was taking classes, accepted by my first agent and heading to auditions across Maryland and Northern Virginia. Jim Choate was my first agent and he mentored me in everything from on-set professionalism to auditioning etiquette. I studied chemical engineering by day, hung out on sound stages on weekends.
"WE'D LOVE TO HAVE YOU JOIN US AT PEOPLE STORE."
After moving to Atlanta, I got my second agent after sending out my headshot to everyone in the Georgia section of my tattered copy of the Ross Reports (the "USA Talent Directory" issue was a parting gift from Jim that was worth its weight in vouchers.)
I learned about People Store, an agency that my colleagues had said was one of the most highly in-demand talent houses in the Southeast.
That did wonders for my already growing anxiety when Jen Kelly and co-founder Rebecca Shrager invited me to audition.
I pulled up to "the house with the red door" off Piedmont Road and was trying not to freak out too much as I walked in.
For my monologue, I picked a scene from one of my favorite plays, Steven Dietz's Lonely Planet.
A couple days later, they called to welcome me in.