Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrew Joseph Perez.
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Andrew. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
When I was about two years old, my mom had me in a youth gymnastics class (more or less summersaults and falling into foam pits). Next door to us was a tap class that was always in-session as we’d come in for gymnastics. After a few weeks of telling my mom, I wanted to tap instead of doing gymnastics, she and the instructor relented, and I spent the next ten years as a competition dancer.
Along the way, several dance teachers put me into plays (including a children’s theatre version of Sleeping Beauty in which I played Prince Charming’s sidekick and comedic relief; an archetype I have seemed to stick with since).
During high school, I wanted to try something a bit more, shall we say, macho, so I threw myself into water polo and swimming. A shoulder injury took me out my sophomore year, and I found my way back into the theatre, eventually, at graduation, receiving the first-ever “Scholar Artist Award,” given for academic excellence combined with achievements in theatrical, musical, and visual arts. I had every intention of studying medicine in college.
My brother is severely disabled, and I’ve been an advocate for him all my life. I had my eyes set on working as an Autism researcher at the UC Davis MIND Institute, but after my first quarter at Seattle University, and after completing my randomly assigned fine arts requirement (which just happened to be a set design course taught by the award-winning Seattle set designer Matthew Smucker), I changed my major to “Make Believe” (Drama and Creative Writing) and here I am!
I moved to LA just over four years ago after getting a taste of working beyond my hometown of Sacramento (I’d just done three regional productions back to back in Sacramento, San Jose, and Memphis) and now I can’t imagine basing myself anywhere else.
Great, 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?
There have been smooth patches in my career, but they’ve absolutely been the exception rather than the rule.
This year has been particularly exciting. I’m in two features films that came out this year (“Megalodon” on SyFy and “You Should Meet My Son 2!” by Keith Hartman, both of which are now available on iTunes, Amazon, and all those platforms), a short film I was in has been making some waves in the festivals (“Back To You” written by and starring Aimee McGuire and directed by Seri DeYoung), and I’ve been consistently employed with a fairly steady stream of theatre work (from “Macbeth” at Sacramento Theatre Company to “Man of La Mancha” at A Noise Within in Pasadena and I just finished “Native Gardens” in Milwaukee, WI).
I even got to voice some characters on one of my very favorite Anime series (which I still can’t openly talk about). That said, this path is brutal. Even with all that work this year, it’s still a daily struggle to make it to the next paycheck, to figure out where that next paycheck is even coming from, to try to get the attention of agents, casting directors, and producers, to survive until the next gig – whatever it might be – and just hope that there might be some zero’s on that check that comes *before* the decimal point.
It’s especially hard in LA where the market is so overwhelmingly saturated with actors (and “actors”) that the key masters and gatekeepers *have* to be wary of new faces because they truly don’t have the time to waste on someone who can’t deliver the product they need. But even acknowledging all of that, it takes active effort not to let the “oh, you’re an actor? Then what have I seen you in?” conversation get to you.
So finding ways to keep the stress and the demons at bay, finding ways to choose to be happy with “what is” rather than dwelling on “what isn’t,” and finding the joy and the beauty and the magic in each day is absolutely key (thank goodness for Santa Monica Beach).
We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I’m one of those multi-hyphenates to the extreme.
I’m an Actor/Singer/Fight Choreographer/Stuntman/Personal Trainer/Photographer/Director/Writer/Puppeteer/Whip Performer and Maker/Musician (guitar, ukulele, didgeridoo, etc)/Advocate for the Disabled/Fundraiser for the Movember Foundation/Kids’ Party Performer/Clown/ if I don’t know how to do it, I’ll learn.
(And yes, if you’re in need of an X, Y, or Z, hit me up!) Or, if we’re just talking acting, I read like a Lego set that enthusiastically builds itself.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I’ve had a few very proud moments in my career (seeing myself on TV for the first time, seeing my name in the credits of a feature film, seeing my own short films projected on the big screen…), but I will always hold dear taking my bow at the end of each performance of a play in which I played the lead in two different productions called “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” by Kristoffer Diaz.
It’s a show that takes on a lot (racism, ethics, politics… super light and fluffy) through the lens of professional wrestling, so four of the five actors have to learn to legitimately pro wrestle (right down to my character who had to take a number of falls every night, including a Power Bomb from about 7′ in the air).
The show was exhausting physically and emotionally, but when I’d jump up on the top rope and take my bow every night, I was always filled with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, community, and a feeling that we were doing the kind of work that could change people for the better, which is what it’s all about, I think.
- Website: www.andrewjperez.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/andrewjosephperez
- Facebook: facebook.com/andrewjperez
- Twitter: twitter.com/andrewjperez
EG Zenone, Andrew Macguire, Keith Hartman, Seri DeYoung, Ross Zentner, Andrew Joseph Perez