I was one of two winners of the Mentor Lunch with Joe Mantegna, Mr Mantegna is a world renown actor and he shared some thoughts with us, Just keep at it, don't quit. Keep doing work - a play, or whatever and if you keep doing it, it will pay off. He spoke about balance in life and the working actor's schedule. He gave a recommendation for a really good acting coach. He said that he likes working with Veterans
I was able to have an amazing mentorship lunch with Joe Mantegna today. I got a lot of insight into his process as an actor/director and what he finds important that people bring to the table during an audition. It was also good to hear that the focus shouldn't be on getting an agent/joining the unions, etc., it's about developing the talent and the career will fall into place.
I have worked on many professional sets and made invaluable connections in the film industry. By applying to the VFT pages on Facebook I have received many opportunities. Recently, I was selected to be one of the tactical Soldiers for a Danner boot photo shoot and got to assist with a Airborne Operation for a pilot television show. After, I continued to get more work in production with Fox and ABC projects.
I was able to work with and subsequently be interviewed by director Peter Berg! As a 20 year Navy veteran, I still feel an immense personal pride in portraying and honoring those that continue to serve. Mr. Berg interviewed me on my feelings of how American veterans are perceived by the public. I also capitalized on the moment by giving a 'shout out' to VFT to which he gave his sincere appreciation.
I had the opportunity to reunite with "Grey's Anatomy" director, Rob Greenlea. I had worked with him on the show, and months later VFT member George Ohan encouraged me to audition for a short he was producing. Rob cast me and we got to work together again. Through VFT's partnership with ABC, I auditioned and was cast in a short called "The Letter", produced by ABC.
I can post at least one VFT success story every week, because every-time I need something, my VFT brothers and sisters are there for me. This week I needed to look like a 50 year old man for an audition. I really wanted the role. I posted on the group page and David Mendez (MUA) replied. He rearranged his schedule and totally did a great job on short notice. I got the part.
I have been acting and working in LA for the last several years. But being a part of VFT has given me opportunities I would not have traditionally been afforded. Most recently, because of VFT, I was introduced to a Lionsgate producer who took a meeting with me. Because of that meeting I wound up on a Bruce Willis / Thomas Jane film performing stunts. Now the stunt coordinator wants to work with me more.
I was able to find and provide an all Veteran crew of Stunt Riggers for a feature film. Myself, Brian McLaughlin, Dale Nowicki and Katie Robinson scouted the location, created a plan, rigged ourselves and three actors for a shoot down a 90 foot mine shaft in the middle of the desert. VFT helped me on this gig and proves we have a huge pool of talented men and women. Please consider hiring a Vet! Go VFT!
I was able to put together a team of filmmakers that I wanted to work with that had equal passion and drive to tell stories worth telling. Of those 11 Filmmakers, all 11 were female and 7 are members of the VFT. "Breaking the Silence," has just been accepted into the GI Film Festival. Without VFT, I would have never had the opportunity to meet these amazing filmmakers.
I booked a national PSA for the Department of Veterans Affairs through Kyle Hausmann-Stokes' production company. This PSA aired an astonishing 2,500 times on television and had over 400K views on YouTube. I also had the amazing opportunity to work on a short film for ABC.com with director and fellow VFTer, Donre Walker. I also found a well-connected manager who is very pro-veteran!