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.

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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.

3 Reasons to Create a World Anthem and a New American National Anthem

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It’s time to create a World Anthem and change the U.S. National Anthem

I do not write this to be against the United States of America and it’s people.  I write this for the U.S., it’s people, and for the World.

3 Reasons to Create a World Anthem and New National Anthem for America

  1. The U.S. National Anthem promotes War and Brutal Competition
  2. The Anthem is highly Outdated
  3. To bring the people of the World Together
  1. The United States of America National Anthem promotes War and Brutal Competition

The American National Anthem is a War poem, promoting an “Us Against the World” mentality.  The Anthem originates from the U.S. winning a war against the British in the early 1800’s.

Francis Scott Key wrote a poem called “Defense of Fort M’Henry” in the year 1814 after the British could not conquer Fort McHenry and the American flag was still standing.  This poem (Current U.S. National Anthem) was printed in newspapers and became very popular but it wasn’t officially used until many years later.  The Navy used this poem officially in the year 1889 and called it “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson wanted this Anthem to be played at all official events and in 1931 it was finally adopted as the official National Anthem of The United States of America.

War is always brutal, and it especially was in the 1800’s—Over 200 years ago… War has been going on basically since the beginning of time, but we are reaching a point in time where war is not needed anymore.  We are not living in the 1800’s or the 1900’s.  This is 2017!  This is the future that people have been dreaming of.  People in America have more rights than they have ever had, but of course there are still injustices.

There may always be conflicts but these conflicts can be solved in peaceful ways.  The peaceful path is harder.  War is the easy path. Just as negativity is easy and weeds grow on their own, positivity takes patience and persistent effort like creating a beautiful garden.  Do you want to create beauty? Or are you okay with vile as an entirety?

One step at a time—Let us begin by changing our National Anthem to an Anthem that ALL people can celebrate.

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Picture from Metta Center

       2. The Anthem is Highly Outdated

The year is now 2017 if you forgot.  Man created time in a way that it moves forward, not backwards.  Change is inevitable.  We live in a day and age where anyone can be who they want to be.

For example, Bruce Jenner is now Caitlyn Jenner—Things like this were not happening before the 2000s, at least from famous figures.  Everyone has an opinion about all things, but have you ever thought that your opinion might be wrong?

Trump thinks all his opinions are right, which reminds me of this quote: “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool” William Shakespeare.

Trump is a very smart business man, but he has a hard time looking forward; he wants to live in the past, like our anthem.  Some people love his arrogant confidence but he should do a little more thinking in that oval office; although his “little rocket man” comment was kind of funny.

Trump would be a great leader in the 1800’s as he is trying to “Make America Great Again,” but we don’t need to make America great again.  It already is great and it can get better if we continue to adapt and move forward.  Wise leadership is a necessity!!  Many politicians get elected due to their money, power, status and corruption, NOT their wisdom!

100 years ago Women and African Americans couldn’t vote.  Most speed limits in cities were 10 mph.  We were not even close to going to the moon.  The computer and television were not invented.  No microwaves and no sliced bread.

If we kept everything the way it has always been we would get nowhere in life.  As a human species we have the great ability to think and adapt to create a better quality of life.  Let us create a better life for all people, and begin by changing our National Anthem.

3. To bring the people of the World Together

Why?  People are still starving to death every day.  Poverty is killing children and the homeless continue to rise in numbers.

A multitude of people don’t have access to clean water and the environment is constantly being polluted.  Wars have taken away fathers and sons from families and racism has divided our world, nation, states and communities.

Has any politician changed this like some of them say they will??  Some have made more of a difference than others, but for the most part one President isn’t going to solve these problems.

peace_roadmap

Picture from Metta Center

We can work together to create a better future, not just in America, but in the entire world.  Conflicts will always exist, but we can learn to work through these conflicts in a positive way.

It begins with you, the individual, and it will spread as you carry on with your mind focused on how you can help another person, a community, a state and the world to become the best they can be.

I’m going to change JFK’s quote to: “Ask not what your World can do for you, ask what you can do for your World.”

I respect Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the National Anthem and raising awareness for the oppression of minorities; yes there is racism in Francis Scott Key’s War Poem (the longer version of the American National Anthem) where he says “No refuge could save the hireling and slave – From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.”

He says this because of the African Americans who fled to Britain with the promise of true freedom and many of those people ended up fighting for the British Navy during the War of 1812.

Kaepernick has caused a ripple effect that has influenced many athletes and others to join him in kneeling for what they believe in.  America is supposed to be the land of the free, where people of any color can come to live their best life…

I hope these conflicts can only lead us to becoming a better country and a better World that some of us can truly see in our mind’s eye.

I do appreciate the pride America’s National Anthem has, but it has caused some division instead of bringing us together as a whole.  We can appreciate our country and still want to change the anthem.  You don’t need to be for America and against the World.  You CAN be for America and for the World.

“If not us, then who?

  If not now, then when?”

  -John Lewis

P.S. Let’s change the Pledge of Allegiance too.

I encourage you to open your mind; to think outside of yourself for a bit.  Put yourself in the shoes of a minority or anyone else, and try to really see things from their point of view.

Let go of your fears.

Interview with Netflix Star from Last Chance U, Ronald Ollie

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Ronald Ollie from Netflix’s new popular show, Last Chance U.  I was thrilled to have an opportunity to interview Ollie for many reasons.  Anyone who has seen the show knows that Ollie is a star.  I see the potential in Ollie and believe he will become a dominant player in the National Football League in upcoming years.  He is growing in character and skill, and is one of the most entertaining footballers in college football at the moment.

The show Last Chance U follows alongside coaches, players, games, and the entire 2015 football season of East Mississippi Community College (E.M.C.C.).  I hadn’t heard of this college before either, but if you are a fan of football in any way, you NEED to watch this show. You WILL enjoy it.  The combination of story development, pride, and vulnerability makes this documentary special.  I am not getting paid to promote this documentary by the way; it’s just really good!

LastChanceU

Anyway here is my interview with Last Chance U’s Ronald Ollie:

Question 1: What do you look forward to most about playing for Nicholls State?

Ollie: “I look forward to growing more as a player and a teammate.”

Question 2: Did you always want to excel in football from a young age or did you have other goals/dreams & what were they?

Ollie: “No I didn’t.  Football was something that just happened, basketball was my thing.”

Question 3: If you could pick any team in the NFL to play for, who would it be any why?

Ollie: “Probably the Dolphins or Tampa Bay.  Or a team out in California just wanna see how beautiful the world really is.”

Question 4: Who is someone you look up to and why?

Ollie: “I don’t really look up to anybody but I do talk to God a lot to help me and guide me through things.”

Question 5: What was one of the most exciting times of your life?

Ollie: “One of the most exciting times of my life was winning a national championship in junior college.”

Ronald Ollie has had anything but an easy life, which you will find out when you watch the show.  But even through his pain and trials he shows up with a smile on his face and a passion for football like no other.  Follow his active twitter account @RonaldOllie.

I look forward to following Ollie, Nicholls State, E.M.C.C. and another season of Last Chance U when it airs again next year.

If you enjoyed this post and would like more posts like this please leave a like, comment and share.  Ronald Ollie is someone who should and will be known.

 

P.S. Here is a trailer for the documentary Last Chance U if you missed it above!