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 27970cd5226fcca6a7ab5d534a4c6a63watching 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.

Someone You Should Know: Derek Sivers

Writer, entrepreneur, musician, programmer, and student, Derek Sivers.  I first heard Derek speak on the Tim Ferris podcast, and thought, “This guy sounds very interesting.”  I had never heard of Derek Sivers before, but he is definitely someone worth knowing!!

I continued listening to Derek speak, and I took a few screenshots of his name on the podcast so that I would remember him and be able to look him up on google later.  As I looked up Derek on google I saw a picture of him that seemed appropriate to his voice as I heard him through podcast.

DerekSivers

Derek has made millions of dollars and has given away millions of dollars.  He lives a life worth living.  His writings focus on the usable psychology of self-improvement, business and philosophy to name a few.

Out of the numerous amounts of writings Derek has completed I could write about them all, but I am choosing to discuss his notes on “How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want.”  This book and Derek’s notes remind me of the person Derek is, an open-minded, understanding, genuine illusion-breaking person.  One of these illusions is that we know our own minds more deeply than we actually do.  This can make your mind appear superior to the minds of others.  Most people will live believing their mind is superior to others, but Derek breaks through this illusion.

I was electrified when I received an email back from Derek this past week, but after reading his works it makes sense.  Mr. Sivers is a giver, he likes to connect with his fans and does the public a service by answering emails from mostly anyone.  So if you have a question for the down-to-earth millionaire, email him at derek@sivers.org.  I very much appreciate what you do Derek, and thank you for your humble lifestyle.

Here are some useful quotes from Derek’s notes:

“Your brain’s greatest skill is its ability to think about the minds of others in order to understand them better.”

“You are consciously aware of your brain’s finished products-conscious attitudes, beliefs, intentions, and feelings-but are unaware of the processes your brain went through to construct those final products, and you are therefore unable to recognize its mistakes.”

“Naive realism: the intuitive sense that we see the world out there as it actually is, rather than as it appears from our perspective.” (In other words, a person thinks other people are wrong for their views because their own views are “right”)

“Universal tendency to assume that other’s minds are less sophisticated and more superficial than one’s own.”

“Treat workers with respect, encourage them to think independently, allow them to make decisions, and make them feel connected to an important effort.”

“The social spotlight does not shine on us nearly as brightly as we think.”

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

“Engage the minds of others more routinely instead of treating nearby neighbors as mindless objects.”

“The expert’s problem is assuming that what’s so clear in his or her own mind is more obvious to others.”

“Politicians talk about what ‘the people’ want: the speaker’s own beliefs.”

“You define yourself by the attributes that make you different.”

“Nearly everything you know is secondhand: things you know only because someone told you.”

“You can’t judge another person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.  You hear it so often because the advice is so routinely ignored-by the rich who judge the poor as lazy and incompetent, the sober who judge the addicted to be weak and immoral, and the happy who can’t understand why the depressed don’t just ‘snap out of it.'”