I was born and raised, in Moorhead, Minnesota, (next to Fargo, ND, for those of you wondering) the only child to a family of German and Polish decent from the heartland, “Great American Spirit” and all that, wholeheartedness, Midwestern values. I like that about me, my roots. I was raised on my Grandparent’s farm during summer vacations. First gig in the entertainment business? I was producing even then – I wrote and performed in a Christmas skit with my Aunt. Favorite background for creating? A sandbox – the setting. Star Wars figures and Army men were my cast and crew. I feel it really was those summers, from playing in the trees with cousins, adventurous explorations of the farmland, bb gun shooting, pig corralling (yes, I really corralled pigs), picking rocks out of the field, driving the tractor and the old Chevy, “three on the tree”(that’s a three gear shifter on the steering column). I did a lot of daydreaming sitting underneath that old tree in the pasture. It all pretty much informed and shaped the rest of my life as an artist, I’d say.
Always looking for adventure, I joined the US Army Reserve, after graduation and was sent to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri for Basic Training, to get educated in becoming an explosives expert and bridge specialist. Heading back home post-Army-adventure to Moorhead, I embarked on, THE thing, that would really change my life. It seemed like a simple thing – an acting class suggested by local friends. It was where I met my first acting mentor and long-time friend Martin Jonason. It was here that I had what I call, “The Epiphany”. I walked into that class lost, still after six weeks of it, feeling not confident and tense about my work, when a moment that defined my life’s direction exploded that last day. It was feeling this scene I was speaking, transported me in time like an out-of-body experience which I actually connected emotionally to and that made it crystal clear what I should be doing with my life. That was going to be acting. That was it- I understood what it was I wanted to do. What I am. That this is the gift I must give to the world with all my heart and that is what began to lead me to explore the far reaches of the planet.
I struck out to Seattle in the Fall of 1991, with my closest Aunt and her two girlfriends where I attended and worked at the Seattle Actors Lab, acting school. I eventually got into doing some extra work and then one glorious day came when I was cast as, Jonathan Harker, in Brom Stoker’s, “Dracula”, at my local community theater. I experienced some of my first, great lessons in acting working on that production. Then in the Spring of 1992, I ended up acquiring a job as stand-in for Keifer Sutherland on a feature film, “The Vanishing”. This job also helped me understand some things about the process of acting and film.
Met an Australian gal working as an Au Pair and ended up chasing her back to Melbourne, Australia and heck, married her. I have a great love for the Down Under, it resonates deep within me. I landed my first feature film role in Oz called, “Stark”, playing an L.A. chauffeur, my first co-star role in an Australian TV show, “Snowy”, playing an American G.I. and my very first commercial for The Red Cross as a basketball player.
Summer of July, 1993, we decided to move back to Seattle and then decided to go our separate ways, in which I took a job with an encouragement of a friend as a Periodontal Assistant for a holistic practice, Periodontal, meaning gum disease doctor. And, as serendipity would have it – I end up getting hired on a TV series, “McKenna”, shooting in Bend, Oregon as an, On- Staff Stand-In, for six months. This gig allowed me to take advantage of the beautiful landscape there, learning to horseback ride and rope cows.
Now, it’s Los Angeles’ turn – time to head to the bright lights/big city with a television show under my belt, I attended the famous Sanford Meisner’s, Playhouse West acting school, while doing side work and booking roles in Indie films. Playhouse West was great because it really got me to engage in my imagination, that really opened my heart and reminded me of how I used to play as a kid, having fun, something that’s important for an actor to remember. Playhouse West also helped me find out, what I was being taught lead me into achieving results differently. Be still, be present, leave yourself alone and all that which makes you a human being will come to fruition, right before your very heart or eyes, however you want to put it.
1996, the Down Under called me back to it, to be a best man in my good mate’s wedding and a two month vacation turned into six years. I know crazy huh? Yep, six, amazing years in Sydney’s, Bondi Beach. I carved out a name for myself and created a substantial acting career in film, theatre, TV and commercials working with some of Australia’s well-known actors and actresses. Worked with, Hugo Weaving, who played, Agent Smith in the, “Matrix Trilogies” and was also cast in my first professional theater production in Sydney’s renowned, Esemble Theater working with one of Australia’s iconic actresses, Sandy Gore and the amazing English transplant, Shane Briant. I really felt I had achieved something working diligently in productions, I was being recognized for my skills as an actor. And living in Australia really influenced me as a human being. How you ask? The term, “No Worries”, engulfed every aspect of my life which helped me to just, let go, be more carefree, enjoy life more. And then, not to mention meeting two of my greatest mates, Amos Szeps and the gifted, visionary, director, writer, Michael Booth or “Boothy”. My favorite role to date would’ve been, being directed by, Boothy, playing opposite Amos Szeps, in the theater where, Jeffrey Rush got his start, Belvoir St. Theater, in the production of David Mamet’s, “Sexual Perversity In Chicago”. Awesome times.
I had gone as far as I could (and, well, my Visa expired, there’s that) -so Los Angeles seemed like the logical step again with all that new experience under my belt. I discovered the teachings of one of Hollywood’s beloved character actors, Steve Eastin of the Charles Conrad alumni. You would know him as Falzone, in, “Con Air”, and the Security Officer of PanAm in, “Catch Me If You Can”. I quickly became an advocate and long-time student under his wing. The Creative source of acting is putting your attention onto someone or something else. Ultimately, leaving yourself alone, opening yourself up the role playing you, not you playing the role. The Zen aspect of creativity, in order to get it, you must give it up. More of that another time. In the interim, I ended up buying a house and after three years, losing a house, selling my awesome Italian motorcycle and filing for bankruptcy, basically losing everything except my clothes and a bed and my car. Oh well, living life has its ups and its downs. I just kept moving forward, focusing on my job as a chauffeur, class with Steve Eastin and being the front-man in my good buddy’s hard alternative rock band. Yes, it’s true, I can belt it.
Indie film roles kept coming and young directors at the American Film Institute began to cast me regularly in their shorts because one director used me in a test shoot for his short and realized I had the emotional depth needed for the lead and the word was out. After the three AFI shorts, it seemed like writing my own projects was a natural progression at that point. So, I have been involved in a Writers Mentoring Program for the last two years with long-time friend, Micky Levy, writer of, “Rails And Ties”, first feature sold to Clint Eastwood’s company, Malpaso Pictures, starring Kevin Bacon, Marcia Gay Harden and directed by Clint’s daughter, Alison Eastwood. I am currently finishing my first feature film script based on autobiographical events of the new part of my life – with my amazing, Bolivian Love and her son who touched my heart with his potentially, terminal condition. They’ve helped me realize or, at least, gain a greater understanding of a quote from Mahatma Ghandi, “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”. They have moved me to my core and I Love them very much.
2012, brought me to complete the male lead in the short film, “Lucky Charm”, and now have the pleasure of co-producing and playing the male lead in, “Catching Dreams”, a feature about personal redemption and healing, to be filmed in Montana. What’s in store next? With the suggestion of friends and acquaintances, I decided to create my own production company, Raising Windhorse Productions, to generate my own projects and move projects forward, write more and eventually make my directorial debut of a short film or two, maybe my own feature. We’ll see.
And with the help my good buddy, Chalo and his wife, Laura, I plan on opening up a whole new phase of my life giving back to other actors and heading to Florida to teach those things that have helped me most.
Few of my favorite actors/performances: Daniel Day Lewis, Sean Penn(I Am Sam), Robert Duvall, Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin(True Grit), Meryl Streep(Sophie’s Choice),
Gary Oldman(State Of Grace), Javier Bardem(No Country for Old Men), Hal Holbrook(Into The Wild).
Favorite Films: The Descendants, Into The Wild, Finding Neverland, The Way, Sideways, Open Range, Get Low, Motorcycle Diaries, En La Cama and a plethora of many more domestic and foreign films.
Tips on auditioning? William H. Macy said it to me this way: Do what you do. Meaning, know what you’re about and do what you do best when you, be yourself. If they’re looking for someone to juggle while speaking words then let them find that person, but you do what you do. Read off the page effectively. How? Just the eyes, down and up and then be natural. Easier said than done. And then there’s be flexible and adapt to the situation.
I reside in Southern California and I am looking forward to my new family life, spend time in Santa Barbara, Palm Springs maybe and, of course, Bolivia. May even consider moving to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, (my wife loves it there), part time. We’ll see.
Till Then – do what I do, “live life to its fullest, appreciate every moment and find your way to peace…”