Ken Waters is a former private investigator who is now a Hollywood actor. He has appeared on NCIS Los Angeles and can be seen in the film The Curator. Here is a link to his IMDB page:
Q: What made you want to become an actor?
A: I think being an entertainer is something you are almost born with. For me it’s always been something I felt. A certain feeling. I just really love to perform and it’s fun for me. I really like being the center of attention. LOL — They say if you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life. It took me 20 years to escape from a small New England town and move to South Florida where I learned as much as I could about Hollywood and the business then finally took the next grand slam step. I landed in Los Angeles World aka the City of Angels at the age of 28 – exactly 1 month before my 29th birthday.
Q: What is the Curator about?
A The Curator is another 48 hour film project that I got cast to work on. It’s about a pair of bumbling brothers who decide to rob an art gallery at the exact same time another thief is robbing the place. Our genre was Film de Femme so without a spoiler — if you haven’t seen it on YouTube — you can most likely guess the outcome.
Q: How did you prepare for the role?
A: This wasn’t one of those projects where you can actually spend weeks or even months with your director to create this character then spend even more time rehearsing and preparing. The whole short film was written, cast, filmed, edited and scored in 48 hours. Thus the name, 48 hour film project. One of the few things you can do in advance is have some locations lined up and a list of actors to call once the genre is picked and the script is penned.
Q: What do you like about Hollywood?
A: I like everything. The whole bail of hay. Hollywood is all about being all that you can be and bringing all of you to the table. In one way it is all smoke and mirrors but in reality it really isn’t. 9 times out of 10 what an actor brings in front of the camera is as real as it gets. That’s if the actor is any good. It’s all about being real in front of that lens. Being able to be you in different situations. Being able to show the audience your every emotion and feeling — if that’s what is called for at that moment or maybe the director wants you to mask those emotions and not wear your heart on your sleeve. The act of acting — for me, is being in total touch and control with who I am and what choices I would make in real life. That’s what I bring to the scene. That’s what I like about Hollywood. The process of learning exactly who I am and how to control and call upon my emotions at will. How to tap into the depths of who I am.
Q: What don’t you like about Hollywood?
A: Hmmm. I would have to say that there are too many actors and not enough jobs so you better be good at what you do or get better real fast if you want to survive.
Q: How did you get your first big break?
I would have to say on the set of charmed when the Writers and Producers gave me a name. I had shown up as a non-union background actor and before I knew it I was in scenes with all the leads and my name was Malek. I worked on the show for almost 2 seasons as Malek the bartender whenever they would film at P3. I was a little beside myself considering I had only landed in LA about 8 months earlier. At that time in my life I still needed to work a real job at nearly 55 hours a week. Taking time off from a job you needed all the time was stressful. If I would have lost that survival job I would have been sunk. At that same time in my life I really hadn’t grasped what it actually meant to be an actor and what it meant to be a star. It’s taken me a lot of little breaks to get where I’m at and finally be completely ready for that one complete break-through role. You have to be ready for the next level. It’s a good feeling to go on interviews now and see that other people can see that I’m ready.
Q: What kind of day jobs have you held and how do you draw from them with your acting?
A: There isn’t too much that I can’t do. I made a living as a bartender for over 12 years. That helped when I played a bartender on Wiseguy and Angel and Charmed. Angel was actually another little break. I was in the trailer for the first 2 seasons so it was like commercial type exposure for me. I also worked as a PI for almost 9 years. I seem to play law enforcement a lot or on the flipside as a mafia/thug type. I’ve also worked almost every aspect of construction and have even built sets. I’ve worked nearly every department on set from underwater scuba 1st and 2nd AC to scuba safety to scuba grip. On land I’ve been a 1st and 2nd AD, grip, craft service, producer, boom operator, and writer — it’s kind of an endless list.
Q: What is the biggest challenge you have faced as an actor?
A: Trying to find that balance when I was working 45 to 60 hours a week. Trying to juggle my real job. A social life. A girlfriend and time for me — for things like getting my butt to the gym. It really is a slippery slope finding a day to day balance in your life when every second of everyday you are hunting down that dream. Searching for that one role that will get you noticed so maybe the phone rings and you don’t have to keep knocking on doors. It can get frustrating so I’ve learned to make that contact and move on — don’t dwell on the jobs I didn’t book because they will surely trump the ones you do book.
Q: What is your wildest showbiz story?
I have a ton of stories but one that I like to tell is working on the set of Michael Mann’s Robbery Homicide Division. I had played Agent Harland and performed my own stunts then to top a great day off I had a late dinner date with a playmate. I feel it’s not appropriate to mention her name. I had met her on an undercover case I was working. I had followed the target to a bar in Hollywood and sat down next to this Playmate. I think the reason I was able to get her number was because everyone was falling all over her and I was more concerned on keeping an eye on my target. The more she tried to get my attention the less she received. It’s kinda funny now that I think about it.
Q: What makes you fame worthy?
A: Nothing. Absolutely nothing at all. Fame has nothing to do with acting. Fame is simply a perk of the business like if you work at Sam Adams your going to get to drink some really fresh beer. It’s like this, if you’re one of the lucky ones you will turn your acting into something bigger. Something much larger than you could ever imagine. I had to learn the hard way and I see someone make the same mistake almost every time I’m on set. The second you walk around and act like you’re a star you’re going to get laughed out of town. Not every actor is lucky enough to become famous. If that happens for you make sure you surround yourself with people that keep your head out of the clouds and your feet planted on the ground. I tell myself that if that ever happens for me – always remember that I still put my pants on one leg at a time.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)