The last few entries may seem like I’m bitter about my past and that is not the case which is why I want to write about another chance I had when I first moved to Los Angeles thanks to opportunities I created for myself.
As a Martial Arts instructor and being a teacher at a few makeup schools students often hear about the successes and accomplishments of my life although there are times I fill them in on the reality and troubles it takes in between those moments.
Dedication and luck (when opportunity and experience meet) are the keys to success but the spaces in between shows us our real mettle.
Prior to moving to Los Angeles I was in contact with SHAW BROTHERS STUDIOS in Hong Kong who were interested in my martial arts abilities. However their studios closed down. The first letter they sent me is still framed hanging on my wall of martial arts accolades. I’ll never forget the excitement I experienced because I contacted them on my own and they showed interest.
The years of 1993 through 1996 I was working for Greg Cannom as a production supervisor assistant which meant my job was sometimes 24 hours a day and not getting paid for those hours. However one of the benefits of this schedule they allowed me to go to auditions during work hours on a few occasions. Trying to get acting gigs while working full time is grueling and frustrating because it is an incredible amount of footwork and waiting for the phone to ring.
Prior to getting an agent I was a member of Joni’s Stunt People thanks to the recommendation of Gene LeBell which was an answering service at that time for stunt professionals. The BACKSTAGE paper came out every Thursday and I sent a headshot and resume to every possible part I felt was right for me. One of those times landed me an audition at David Heavener’s condo for his film DRAGON FURY (which stars my friend Robert Chapin, who I didn’t know at the time). I didn’t get the part but David liked me and invited me to an acting and audition workshop at his house. David is quite a character so click in the link and dig into that rabbit hole. He was always nice to me. His tenacity, ability to get movies made, and never quitting is something to be admired.
It was at this seminar I met my agent. He liked my auditioning and that I looked very young for my age so he approached me and asked if I would be interested in auditioning for the MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS that Wednesday. Everyone in the group was excited for me and I jumped at the chance.
I took the day off to travel to Culver City early in the morning and entered an unassuming large warehouse where I was guided into a locker room to place my gym equipment. It was the crew’s first day back after a holiday break and a few members of the original cast were there getting ready for their day. They introduced themselves to me and wished me luck.
As with any audition you’re going to get the loud mouth that wants to stand out. I was the earliest call and no one else was there to audition except for this middle aged stoned out surfer dude that just wouldn’t shut up talking about himself. While trying to stretch he kept forcing an issue of BLACK BELT magazine in my face because he was on the cover in a karate uniform as the victim. I didn’t care nor was I phased by his bravado. The magazine looked old and beat up and I minded my own business until I was called in.
Issac Florentine was the stunt coordinator at the time. He asked me to perform some kicks then asked if I knew any gymnastics. Unfortunately I didn’t. Just simple rolls, falls, and landing. No flips of any nature. I heard him say, “I told the casting department to only send gymnasts.” I knew then and there I wouldn’t hear from him although he did ask how I got my SAG card and what stunt gigs I did. Besides Power Rangers was strictly non-union.
Either way it was an interesting experience and if felt like a step in the right direction of becoming a martial arts performer for film.
This opportunity lead me to a co-starring role in a Jean Claude Van Damme film which ended my pursuit in martial arts films. But that will have to be another blog.