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Meet Chase Michael Torrence of A Chase Michael Project in Sherman Oaks

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chase Michael Torrence.

Chase Michael, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Growing up in a small conservative country town in the middle of California, I always felt out of place and different. I am a biracial openly gay man and never really fit in with the people and environment around me. In addition to being different from my peers externally, I also grew up in a single-mother household, which wasn’t too normal in my town. My mother was a waitress which resulted in us living off her tips and small wages. Due to this circumstance, I had to grow up very quickly and did not have much time for my childhood. However, when I found time to be a kid, I found myself making up and creating magical worlds, characters, and creatures. As a child, I thought I was just having fun, but as I grew up I realized I had a gift of storytelling and a vivid and wild imagination that needed to be explored.

At the tender age of 17, I moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue my dream of storytelling and creating worlds and characters that existed in my head. Whether that was through the medium of acting, scriptwriting, sketch writing, or improv, I had to let out all of these ideas into the universe. Sadly I got consumed in the life of college and lost sight of my mission and dream. After receiving both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree at Cal State Northridge, I decide to get focused on why I had moved here and get back on track to pursuing my dreams.

In the nine years since I have lived in Los Angeles, I have acted and written in numerous projects. Some personal, other professional, but all enjoyable. What I started to realize was that there were not many characters for me or about me on the screen. There were a few anomalies, but nothing that had longevity. That is when I decided to write characters and stories that look like me. In that discovery of creating said characters, I started to realize that other underrepresented folks probably felt the same way. That is when I started to incorporate diversity in all of my work. These characters are not just supporting characters, but characters that drive the plot and push the narrative. That is why I created A Chase Michael Project, an award-winning entertainment company that amplifies and celebrates diverse voices through the art of storytelling!

I find bliss and joy when I am writing and creating these worlds. A lot of my inspiration comes from other diverse and unique storytellers. Writers and creators such as Lena Waithe, Shonda Rhimes, Lee Daniels, Spike Lee, Kenya Barris, Barry Jenkins, Issa Rae, Jordan Peele, Ryan Coogler, Donald Glover, Ryan Murphy, Ava DuVernay, Ramy Youseff, and so many more have influenced my work and art. I aspire to create characters and stories that resonate with folks who have never seen themselves on screen before, just like the creators that I just listed above have done for me. Diversity is important, and representation matters. It is time to make this part of the conversation and I am honored to be apart of this dialogue and movement in some way, shape, or form.

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?
It has not been a smooth road. In order to tell authentic stories, you must first be authentic with yourself. I struggled with my identity. I struggled with loving myself for who I was. I lost sight of my vision of my purpose. I would perform what society told me I had to be. It was not until I came to terms with who I was that I stepped into a new energy that has opened countless doors for me. I am not perfect, and I still have a lot to learn and a lot of room to grow, but healing myself, and the continued practice of that work, was the first step to fulfilling my dreams and living fun, full, and creative life.

Please tell us about A Chase Michael Project.
A Chase Michael Project, an award-winning entertainment company that amplifies and celebrates diverse voices through the art of storytelling. From the start of its inception back in 2018, we have produced an award-winning web series, Mixed Boy Joy, and a short film, Box: A Digital Love Story, that has been placed in numerous festivals. You can dive into these stories by visiting achasemproject.com

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite childhood memory was getting picked up from the Boys and Girls club by mom after school and her taking my sister and me to A&W to get rootbeer floats and chili dogs. Driving in our small country, fragrant town in our little Dodge neon listening to oldies music. It is my happiest memory.

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