I’ve always been an actor, just ask my parents. Since the time I could walk and talk, I’ve been getting up in front of people and performing; a song, a play, a story, you name it. It just seemed to come naturally to me and I truly enjoyed entertaining people. It was not until I started acting in high school that I realized I had found my calling. For better or worse, a professional actor was what I was meant to be. Accordingly, I went off to college to study the craft of acting and the workings of the theatre.
Attending the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico was one of the most influential events in my growth as an artist.The training I received there was excellent and the demands placed on me truly tested my commitment to being an actor. So, upon graduation, I thought I was ready to tackle the enormous job of starting my career. I could not have been more wrong. Though the classes I had taken taught me how to act, move, breathe, sing and dance, and have a working knowledge of the theatre and its history, they failed to teach me something crucial. I knew how to act, but I did not know how to make a living in the business of acting. Agents, pictures and résumés, getting auditions, the job opportunities outside of theatre, film and television, and dealing with the unions were only a few of the things I didn’t know about. On top of that, add the strain of paying the bills, having a relationship with someone, and dealing with the constant rejection of not landing the part. No one told me about or prepared me for how to deal with them.
When I began to realize just how ill prepared I was at coping with all the complexities of managing my career, I was filled with frustration and anger. I also realized that I had two choices; either throw in the towel or begin the difficult task of learning how to get my career started. I chose the latter because what else could I do, I am an actor! I became a student all over again; talking to others in the profession, learning from experience, reading books on the business and finding healthy ways to deal with the strain of balancing the needs of work and life. I’ve been through a lot and have made many mistakes along the way, but the journey has been worth it. I have become what I wanted to be — a working, professional actor.
Being an actor is a very tough profession! There is no security, no sure thing, and no one else to help you. It is the smart, gifted, and determined actor, who knows how best to focus their energies and use their talents, that stands the best chance of succeeding. They know that it all begins and ends within them. They have learned how to be seen and heard above the din of thousands of other actors out there. Simply put, they have learned how to “BANG THEIR OWN DRUM!”
Sean was born and raised in Oklahoma and comes from a long line of storytellers and general mischief makers. He lives in Maryland with his wife, the actress Shannon Parks, and their two wonderful children.
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