What do you do for a living, and how would you describe what you do?
Answer: My full-time job is, and has been for the past 35 years, law enforcement. I’m also an actor, and have been involved in television and movie projects for the past 20 years. Amazingly, both careers have a lot in common. Many times as a Police Officer, I’ve had to rely on my acting skills to take control of a situation, and my improv skills, when trying to negotiate with an armed suicidal subject.
In my law enforcement career, I’ve been a patrol officer, detective, Crime Scene Investigator, Crime Scene Photographer, Forensic Videographer, and a Hostage/Crisis Negotiator. Ironically, I’ve also had those roles as an actor! My real-world experience has only enhanced my abilities to adapt to any situation, and to develop my character.
What does your work entail?
Answer: As an actor, I am called upon to create a character, and then act, move, and speak as if I actually was that character. I enjoy the challenges that presents. I also enjoy working with other professionals, watching their skills and taking cues from their performances to enhance my own.
What is a typical work week like?
Answer: There really is no typical work week in my profession. Every day, every project, is different. Every director has their own ways of ringing out the best performance from their actors, every script brings to light the mindset of the characters, and every set holds its own special challenges and rewards.
How did you get started?
Answer: Since I was a young child, I had two dreams…become a cop or become an actor. I was able to fulfill the dream of being a cop first, but now, I’m advancing my career in the entertainment industry. I’m very excited about the possibilities that are opening up for me, and I look forward to the challenges of being a full-time actor.
What do you like about what you do?
Answer: I love the ability to help people through difficult times and situations. I’ve always had the desire to help people, and my law enforcement career has given me the ability to do just that. Whether it’s investigating a traffic crash, taking their information for a theft or fraud report, or just giving them the direction to navigate the criminal justice system. I also love breathing life into my characters and seeing the fruits of my labors on the small or big screen.
What do you dislike?
Answer: Honestly, I dislike the politics of some projects, people who make promises and don’t fulfill them, and some of the negativity spread by those who are not working hard to create their own career. I have always worked hard to make my own way in the business, and I dislike those who would rather stand in your way than make their own path in life.
What skills are needed to do your job?
Answer: Honestly, patience and a good nature is essential in the entertainment field, as well as in law enforcement. Excellent communication skills are also both very important, because if you have trouble communicating, then you’ll probably have difficulty working with directors and other actors.
What is the most challenging about what you do?
Answer: I love the challenge of creating the character and bringing him to life…getting into his head and figuring out his motivations. Sometimes, the long, inactive hours on set can make it difficult to maintain one’ motivation, but that’s where the patience and good nature come into play!
What is the most rewarding?
Answer: Completing a project and having friends, family, or even strangers view it, and them telling me how moved they were by my character’s issues or how much they laughed at what I was saying. Knowing that I was able to allow someone a few moments of joy and a few smiles is a really great reward for me.
What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
Answer: Understand that there are many more rejections than successes. Don’t be dismayed by the rejections…they are practices for the successes. Always look to the future, always be prompt, always have a smile on your face, always be prepared for changes, and always remain humble.
How much time off do you get?
Answer: As an actor, in many aspects, you can make your own schedule. Sometimes, projects suddenly crop up, and you have to react quickly, but if you are organized, you can have a great deal of down time. However, if you are just starting out in the business and have no other job, I would suggest getting a “gig” job, such as a ride-share driver. With those, you can make your own schedule, and can remain quite flexible and earn money while acting.
What else would you like people to know about your career?
Answer: It’s a lot of waiting, it needs someone with a lot of patience and heart, but it’s also a lot of fun! I’ve met some of the most amazing people I’ll ever know, have traveled to wonderful locations, and in the end, I’ve been able to entertain people. Nothing like it in the world…
What is a common misconception people have about what you do?
Answer: It’s always glamorous. Wait…no it’s not! Sometimes, I’ve had to slog through mud-filled fields, wait in the rain, up at 4:00 in the morning, get back home 22 hours later, stand in the freezing cold and snow while waiting for the shot to get set up. The end result is most often worth the wait, but can sometimes come at a cost.
What philanthropic or charitable organizations are you passionate about and why?
Answer: I am interested in organizations that benefit the researchers looking for cures or treatment options for those suffering from COPD and Fibromyalgia, the two ailments plaguing my 86-year-old mother, and most likely will become the cause of her death.
Text: Saif Rahman Sozib