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.

My 3rd, 4th and 5th Weeks in Denver

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Crazy that I’ve already been in Colorado for a month. Time goes by fast when you’re living life to the fullest! —My car ride seemed like it took a whole month to get here; although it was less than 24 hours. Anyway here is what I have been up to the past few weeks:

During my third week in Denver I moved into my new apartment! No more sleeping on a couch. The hot tub and pool at the apartment complex were some big deciding factors, even though they are being renovated currently and I haven’t used them yet! So I moved all my stuff into the apartment, chatted with the new roommates-they are super chill and awesome. I also went to an orientation for substitute teaching after hours of paperwork to get there. I was outside most of the week really just hanging out with friends and enjoying the week before I started teaching. The weekend was fun, and then I began teaching during my 4th week here.

Monday I taught at a pretty rough school. I have previously been working with juvenile delinquents so I thought that teaching at all these schools would be a breeze…not so much. I taught freshman Biology that Monday and these freshman definitely challenged me and tested my patience but I made it through the day. Tuesday I taught a French middle school class. They were filled with sooo much energy-The classroom got loud, so I got a little loud back. Wednesday was amazing! I worked as a physical education teacher and the school does “team teaching” where some teachers work together for the lessons. This made classes very easy and the day flew by. Thursday as a middle school math teacher was okay; some classes were great and some weren’t. Friday I was a math teacher at the school I was at on Monday so I was ready for chaos, but since it was a different class with different students it wasn’t bad. Only one class was out of pocket. Substitute teachers experience all sorts of interesting situations throughout the day, and I was already beginning to experience these things.  Overall it was a decent first week of teaching.

My 5th week and 2nd week of teaching here…This week was a lot better than last week as far as teaching goes. Monday I taught gym at an Elementary school and it was awesome. I got to play basketball and other sports with the students as we jammed out to music. Tuesday and Wednesday I was a floater. They needed me as a 4th grade teacher on Tuesday-I was not the happiest about this, but I do what they need me to do. The kids were crazy. Wednesday was okay. I taught another loud group of students, but I did get to leave early so that was awesome. I went to a park after school and played some football with a friend. Thursday was the best day of the week for teaching!! I was a high school gym teacher and the students listened and behaved so well. I was at a great school and I got to run and workout with students in each class. The teacher I was subbing for had a prep period at the end of the day so I got to leave a little early again! Good times. Friday was a good day too. I was a math teacher at a pretty good school and some of the kids had really funny jokes. I laughed a lot during the first period class.

A few things I have learned while working with students:  Be patient, listen, and from the start make sure they know what rules and expectations they should follow.

In my free time I have been reading, writing, playing Fifa with friends, going to parks, working out, and I bought a new laptop!

“I think people who are creative are the luckiest people on earth. I know that there are no shortcuts, but you must keep your faith in something greater than you, and keep doing what you love. Do what you love, and you will find the way to get it out to the world.”

3 Takeaways from Mark Cuban’s Book, How to Win at the Sport of Business

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Billionaire and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban gives insight into his success.  He started from the bottom now he’s where he’s at, and he’s lovin it.  Here are three key takeaways from his new book, How to Win at the Sport of Business:

1.Never Give Up

When Cuban was running one of his first companies, his secretary stole $83,000 dollars out of the $85,000 dollars they had saved.  Cuban tried to get his money back but it wasn’t possible.

Instead of dwelling on the problem, Cuban focused on the positives, and what he could do to continue to succeed.  He never saw or heard from that secretary again; she probably changed her name.

Anyway, Cuban being a stoic, a genius, and just being real with the situation said, “What’s done was done.  Worrying about revenge, getting pissed at the bank and all those ‘I’m going to get even and kick your ass thoughts’ were basically just a waste of energy.”

Cuban got right back to work, and he never stopped, just call him the energizer bunny.  Key takeaway is to be able to let go of people who have wronged you, and move on.  Taking time out of your day to try and get revenge is only a waste of time.  Let karma take care of it.

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2.Become an autodidact

The most brilliant minds throughout history have all been in some ways an autodidact; that is, a self-taught person. Cuban himself is very much an autodidact, teaching himself how to program as well as continuously reading and learning.

Cuban reads multiple hours each day, and it pays off!  Literally, he’s a billionaire, and a lot of why he is so successful is because he consistently reads.  A huge take away from this book is to be able to teach yourself; learn how to learn.

If you don’t know something, stop sitting around doing nothing about it and research it!  Study it!  Whatever you want to learn is at your fingertips, we have the internet and Google!  Almost all the information we’ll ever need is online, and usually for free!  Be your own teacher.  Stay ahead of the curve.  Have the edge.

One definition Cuban has for the edge is: “Knowing that people think you’re crazy, and they are right, but you don’t care what they think.”  Get up early, stay up late.  Kick yourself in the ass before someone else does.

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3.Enjoy the entire process

When Cuban was 23 years old he was sleeping on a floor. He was living in a 3 bedroom house with 6 people.  He was basically broke and lived off of happy hour food during that time.  He was having a blast though, not kidding, he loved it!

He got fired from multiple jobs but he was surrounded by great friends in Dallas and that made all the difference.  Now he owns the Dallas Mavericks, and has made the team and program better with his approach.  On this subject, Cuban says, “Start the day with a positive attitude.

You are going to screw up.  We all do.  But no matter what happens, every morning, the minute after you wipe away the crust from your eyes, remind yourself that you’re going to enjoy every minute of the day.  You are going to enjoy the twenty interviews you have.  You are going to enjoy waiting in the heat for your roommate to pick you up afterward.  You are going to enjoy realizing how frayed your collar has become and how sick you are of your one, lonesome tie.

You are going to enjoy all the bullshit you have to deal with as you chase your goals and dreams, because you want to remember them all.  Each and every experience will serve as motivation and provide great memories when you finally make it all happen.  It’s your choice.  What are you going to do?”

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I hope these 3 key takeaways can help you as much as they have helped me!  If you would like to order the book from Amazon you can order it here: How To Win At The Sport of Business.  I highly recommend reading it however you can get it!