Dream Big. How I got Involved with Acting

The first time I remember wanting to be an actor was after watching Jim Carrey starring in the movie, The Mask.  I watched it on VHS! Do you remember those?  I enjoyed 899681-jim-carrey-movies-the-maskwatching Jim in his many roles as I was growing up, and so he was one of the first people that gave me inspiration to become an actor.

But after getting a little older, I realized that “no-one” can actually become an actor..right?  Wrong.  If no-one could become an actor, how are there actors?  ..“Because they are born into it” or because they “got lucky,” is what many people say..  Oh.

That is the mindset when you grow up in a small town that is 2,000+ miles away from Los Angeles.

So I continued living my life as a kid with little responsibilities, focusing on school, athletics, friends and family….and catching crayfish

Kenny Thompson

I’m on the right side holding the crayfish above Peter’s head.  Thank you Ginny for the picture!

 

The older I got, the more people asked what I wanted to do with my life, because that’s what happens when we get older right.

I never really had a good answer for them.  I didn’t know what I wanted to do.  I think that most people don’t know what they want to do so they just choose a generic field to study and then they follow through with it.  They end up living a 9-5 life that they don’t really enjoy so that they can spend their money on a house that is used for sleeping and a car used for driving to work.

Alan Watts says “That’s just stupid to live like that.  Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.”

Ask yourself “What do I really want to do with my life?”

After two years of being undeclared in college, I literally had to choose a major, so I chose Sports Administration with a Business minor.  I thought, “Well I like sports so I’ll try this.”  Throughout the next years when I got closer to graduating, the thoughts of what I want to do with my life came to me again.

I thought, “I think I would really like to be an actor.”  But not knowing how I could become an actor was a big obstacle for me.  Philosopher Alan Watts inspired me in his video “What if Money Was No Object?

After listening to many of Watt’s speeches, as well as reading and listening to Ram Dass, Dan Millman, Dale Carnegie, Steve Jobs, Tim Ferriss & John Lee Dumas, I really knew that I didn’t want to work a 7-3, or 8-4, or 9-5 job that I did not enjoy going to for the next 30-40 years of my life so that I can retire and “be happy.”

(Recent inspiration from: Marcus Aurelius, Eckhart Tolle, Mark Manson, Ryan Holiday, Tony Robbins, Derek Sivers).

So even after knowing I didn’t want to have that 8 hour a day job at somewhere I don’t enjoy, I thought it would be a good idea to get my Masters in Education to become a teacher.

School was never that hard for me, but there were definitely some overwhelming times while I was getting my Masters Degree.  I had the end goal in mind, of getting this degree, so I knew that I was going to get things done whether I felt like it or not.

My First Movie

Anyway right before I began my Master’s Program, there was a movie to be filmed on my Universities Campus (I.U.P.).  That movie was Southpaw, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams and 50 Cent, directed by Antoine Fuqua.

220px-Southpaw_poster

When I found out about this, I asked myself, “How can I get involved with this movie?”  So I googled information about the movie and found that they were looking for people to play as extras in the movie.  I went to an audition for the movie, they asked some questions, took some pictures and I was on my way.

I didn’t receive a call for weeks, and the movie began filming so I thought that I was not going to get a call.

But one day, I was working as a Sports Information employee in the building where Southpaw was being filmed, the K.C.A.C in I.U.P. and I went to a bathroom.  As I was at the urinal, a man came into the bathroom and went to a urinal nearby (there were only 2 or 3 urinals).  So I struck up a conversation, asking him if he was involved with the movie.  He responded by telling me that he was the director.

It was Antoine Fuqua!  The man who directed Training Day with Denzel Washington.

Anyway, I asked him if he needed any help with the movie and that I would work for free.  He asked if I would like to be an actor.  And I jokingly said, “Well I have the face right?”  We both laughed after we washed our hands and were exiting the bathroom.  Once outside the bathroom he called someone over.  They came over and he told them to get my information down and put me in the movie.

I got a call the next day to be a character as a press/media journalist for the movie during the boxing scenes.  I got paid and also got to personally meet 50 Cent, while being in the vicinity of Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams.

Anyone who has worked on a movie set knows that they are long days, usually between 10-14 hours of work, with a lot of chill time in between shooting scenes.  It’s not for everyone, but I loved it.

I had my first taste of what being on the set of a feature film was like.  It was exhilarating.

I had met another actor on set who told me about an agency he was with in Pittsburgh who frequently sent out casting notices, so I got involved with them after working in this film.

They helped me get into two more huge movies and two tv shows.

The movies were: Concussion & Love The Coopers.

 

I played a NFL Employee in the movie Concussion and a Diner Patron in Love the Coopers.

The TV shows were: Banshee & Mindhunter.

 

I played an amish protestor as well as a news reporter in the show Banshee (did multiple episodes), and I played a police officer in Mindhunter.

I recently got into a commercial & a paid student film that I will talk about shortly.

Each set is a unique and wonderful experience.  There is no set that is exactly like the next, which makes acting exciting.  It’s also fun when you get to meet some pretty famous people and work with them.

While I was working as a police officer on the set of Mindhunter (which is on Netflix), I was able to meet and shake the hand of David Fincher, the director who also directed Fight Club, Se7en, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and many more.

David Fincher was awesome.  Everyone respected him on the set and he directed with a confident and knowing vision.  I was also able to talk a bunch with the two main characters, Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany.  They both were very nice to everyone on set and I could tell they were having fun while being serious about their work.

The food on big sets is also delicious.

Anyway, that all began in 2014 during the filming of Southpaw, which aired the next year in 2015.

2018

The year is now 2018.  I moved to Colorado in 2017 and landed an Acting Teacher job in my fifth month of living here.  I was a full time teacher in PA before coming to CO & substitute teaching every day.  I have a local agent, I filmed a real estate commercial in January that is now airing locally, and did a paid student film this past November which I had a blast doing!  That crew was so fun to work with.

I had an audition today, April 4th, that I think went really well, and I have another audition tomorrow.

A long time ago I had a dream of being an actor.  As a child I had a belief that it was possible to become a paid actor, until I grew up and found out that “no-one” becomes an actor.

I’m here to tell you that it’s possible.

 

Your dream is possible.

 

 

Feel free to message me if you have any questions about acting or how to get involved.  If you want to talk about the movies or shows I’ve been in, message me, & I’d love to hear about your acting stories!  Comment below or email me at Kthompson7814@gmail.com.

 

4 thoughts on “Dream Big. How I got Involved with Acting

  1. Kenny,
    The most obvious thread that I see that has weaved through your entire life has been your passion. Passion for life!! May it be with you always. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 🙂 A big part of my joy and passion comes from the love & support our family has given me. I love you ❤

      Like

  2. People with the great passion can make the impossible happen ❤️ Keep success Kent!!! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

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