Interviewed by: Donna Morong, CSA
1) Has there been a Casting Director that has encouraged and/or supported you in your career?
There have been many but I have to start with the guys that gave me what I consider my start, Dean Fronk and Donald Pemrick. They cast me in my first film credit that led to a Taft/Hartley. We met when I was working as a receptionist in the same office space where they were casting their films. Dean always kept an open invite for me to sit in on his casting sessions. I’ll never forget how amazing it was to see actors come in and do the same scenes in so many unique different ways. It was inspiring! I’ll always be thankful to them for all the lessons and opportunities they gave to me.
Other casting directors that have been incredibly generous have also been Mr. John Frank Levey, Deedee Bradley. They were the first put me in a recurring role. Susie Farris, Nicole Abellera, Jeanne McCarthy, Lindsay Graham, Mary Vernieu and most recently Donna Morong. As the old saying goes, it takes a village and I could go on and on with all the casting directors and casting associates that have given me a chance but we’d be here for a while.
I can’t say it enough, Thank You to all the casting directors out there that provide us with opportunities, that guide us and root for us to succeed. You all keep us in the game and your support fuels our dreams of becoming a working actors.
2) What work are you most proud of?
I was cast to work a guest star role on a show called How to Get Away with Murder. I played Ben Carter, he was a man with a face and body full of tattoos. He had been wrongly convicted of killing the mother of his child, a classic case of “Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover”. I was inspired and connected to the material from the moment I picked up the script. To prepare for the role I wanted to feel what Ben may have felt when the mother of his child committed suicide. That feeling of loss, I wanted to connect to that. I remember spending time at Forrest Lawn Cemetery, walking around, imagining the funeral and where she may have been laid. Also, around this time, I had been meditating daily and I remember how this practice brought me great peace during filming, especially during the bigger courtroom scenes opposite Viola Davis. Nicole Rubio directed me, she was amazing to work with. With her guidance, a performance came through me that I was very proud of.
3) What or who inspired you to pursue acting as a career?
That’s a tough question to answer. I feel like there has been a lot of moments in my life that have kind of nudged me towards a career in acting. From the beginning though, I was always quite a showman. I remember, like a lot of kids do, getting dressed up and putting on random improvised shows for my parents in the living room. Their laughter used to feel so good; it would encourage me to keep performing for them but they weren’t paying so I didn’t assume that would become a career at the time. I’ve always loved movies and TV shows and had always been curious as to how movies and TV shows were made.
Later in life, while living in L.A. I crossed paths with a commercial agent. Her name is Danie Wulff. She explained to me what an agent was and encouraged me to get some headshots made. I didn’t take her serious at first and I wouldn’t take those headshots for a few months. The thing is, at that time in my life, I felt like I was unworthy of something as cool as being an actor. I just thought, I’m an immigrant from El Salvador and I’ll just get a regular job somewhere because that’s “where I belong”. I don’t remember exactly what it was that triggered me but I had a moment where I said, no, I can do this. This is when my journey began.
Today I’m inspired to keep going when I think of my mother and all the sacrifices, she made for me to have these opportunities. I’m inspired in hopes of inspiring a whole new generation of kids out there that feel as though good things are not possible in their lives. I love being an actor and I’m just thankful for all the fuel and support from all the people in my life that have helped me get to where I am today.
4) What was your first IMDBPro credit and how did you feel when you saw it?
My first IMDbPro credit came from a show called Lie To Me, starring Tim Roth. I remember thinking, whoa, is this real!? To be honest, I was so new to the industry that I was still understanding exactly what IMDbPro was, but it was amazing to see I had a profile on a site where all actors exist.
5) How has IMDBPro helped you market yourself to filmmakers?
IMDbPro makes it incredibly easy to showcase your credits, demo reel, contact info, all in one link. Not only is it a great way to market yourself but it's also an incredible resource for gathering information. When I watch films or television shows that I like, I’ll hop on IMDbPro and see who was involved in making such great content. It validates the work you’ve done and you just never know who might be looking you up!
6) Any funny casting room stories?
Ahhh, yes. My first audition. It was kind of silly. Dean and Don were in the middle of casting one of their films. The director of the film approached me at the front desk and asked if I wanted to audition for his film. I said, “What would you like me to do?” He asked, “You can speak Spanish right?” I replied, “Yes.” He said, “Come in the room and pretend you are angry but speak in Spanish.” I said, “Piece of cake, me and my mom get into arguments like that all the time.” He laughed, I went in the room and ran around with an imaginary gun in my hand yelling out things my mother would not approve of. When it was over, the room was still and I couldn’t help but laugh. That broke the ice and I went on to book the role.
7) Tell us a fun fact about you outside of acting:
I’m a dog dad of four. Yes, please send help! I love trying out new things all the time. My most recent discovery has been a passion for surfing. So much fun. I love spending time outdoors and going on trips. I also love photography. I shoot with a Sony 6000 and my 50mm lens has become like a best friend. I love taking care of my body, giving it time to heal from all the activities I put it through. I love my family, friends, and my incredibly supporting girlfriend. Life is good.
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