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Check Out Jake Zingg’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jake Zingg.

Hi Jake, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I grew up in Danville, California, a small town about an hour outside of San Francisco. When I was a kid, I loved to sing. I wanted to be the next Justin Bieber. I loved to perform, but I had no interest in acting. All of my friends were involved in theatre, but I just didn’t think it was for me. That changed when my friends finally convinced me to try out for our school’s production of Into the Woods in seventh grade. I went into that production thinking I’d hate acting, but I ended up falling in love with it. I signed up for drama class the next year, and from then on acting was my favorite thing in the world. I continued drama classes in high school, starred in many of our school’s plays and musicals, and even became president of our Drama Club.

Looking back, I can see why I fell in love with acting. When I was nine years old, my dad was diagnosed with ALS, and when I was ten, he passed away. I was just a kid, and I had a hard time processing my emotions. I struggled with anger issues and had difficulty expressing my feelings. Theatre gave me a creative outlet, a better way of understanding my feelings, and I think that’s the real reason acting meant so much to me. When the time came to start applying to colleges and choose a major, the choice was clear. I knew that acting was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, so I applied to theatre schools. I got accepted to Loyola Marymount University’s Theatre Arts program, and now I’m a junior getting ready to graduate next year. I’ve starred in many plays and short films at LMU, and I know that when I graduate, my education at LMU will have prepared me for a career as a professional actor.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I’m very lucky for many reasons, perhaps the greatest of which is that I have an extremely supportive mom who’s always had my back. This last year has been hard on everyone for various reasons, but in terms of acting, adapting has been a challenge. Last year, I was starring in a play at LMU that was supposed to open in spring, but one week before the curtains were set to rise, our production was canceled. We had no idea how, or if, we were going to be able to put on this production we had spent months of our lives working on. A few months later, the theatre department offered for us to do it online over Zoom. It was tricky because the play involved lots of stage combat and intimacy and plenty of other things that we had no idea would be possible over Zoom, but we made it work. That production taught me a lot about what it means to be an artist. It means adapting, preserving, and treating limitations as creative challenges. Since then, I’ve starred in a few other Zoom plays and taken all of my acting classes online. The truth is, when we first started online school, I wasn’t sure how my acting classes were going to work, but with the right attitude, they’ve all been great. Now that we’re set to return to campus this fall, I’m going to take everything I’ve learned about acting during this past year with me for the rest of my career.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am an actor. Throughout my college career, I’ve starred in many plays and short films through the Theatre Arts Department and the School of Film and Television. I love both comedic and dramatic acting, but as time goes on, I find myself more and more drawn to comedy, and I’m currently taking a Sitcom Acting class. One of the productions I’m most proud of is a staged reading of a play called Detained. The play is a docu-drama based on real interviews with undocumented immigrants, people who have been deported, and others. I played the role of an immigration attorney. This experience was incredible for many reasons. We got to workshop the piece with the playwright, who had interviewed the people we were playing herself, and she made changes to her script while working with us that ended up in the New York run of the show. The material was deeply impactful, and I went on to write my own docu-drama piece where I interviewed a hospital worker about his experiences during the pandemic and turned his story into a series of monologues which I performed virtually. I’ve done lots of theatre throughout my life, but I’ve been doing more and more film acting. I recently had my first professional acting job as an extra in the series finale of 13 Reasons Why. Being on a professional set for the first time was such an amazing experience, and I plan to do more acting for film and television soon.

What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
I think that the impact the pandemic has had on the theatrical exhibition model will have huge lasting impacts. I think that more and more studios will release their films directly to their streaming platforms and skip theaters entirely, or their films will have drastically shortened theatrical windows. I think that the rise of streaming services has its pros and cons. As a lover of the theatrical experience, I don’t want movie theaters to go anywhere anytime soon, and there a certain movies that I’m always going to want to see on the big screen. On the other hand, streaming platforms have created so many new opportunities. With Disney+, HBO Max, Netflix, and others pumping out dozens of original projects a year, that creates huge new opportunities for filmmakers and actors. Streaming also gives more people more access to see more movies, and I think that’s always a good thing.

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Image Credits:

Lisa Keating, Jason Munoz

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