Q: How did you become a dog food cook?
A: I became a dog food cook out of sheer desperation. I’m not as successful of an actor as everybody likes to wish they are. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a bad actor… but the market’s rather competitive and unless you have an agent or you’re just lucky, odds are you’re going to need a day job here in NYC. So I’d been working as a cook in the local made food scene here in Brooklyn, which is a really a huge renaissance movement here in the city. I was in between jobs over the winter this year and I came across an ad from my current employer Zoe’ Premium, and well the owner and I hit it off and since then I’ve been the premiere dog food cook in NYC. Honestly, it’s the best 9-5 job I’ve ever had.
Q: What’s the secret to really good dog food?
A: I’d have to kill you if I told you. But seriously, it’s all about the best ingredients first and foremost. As crazy as it sounds I’ll guarantee the dog food I cook is healthier and better for you than what 8 out of 10 people eat a day. It’s all human food we use, steak, chicken, turkey, kale, squash, carrots, celery. But other than that it’s kind of a secret. The most I can say is it has a ton to do with moisture levels and proper cooking techniques. People want to think “oh it’s just dog food.” But really it’s not, it’s food first and foremost. So you really have to know what you’re doing in a kitchen to be able to make great food.
Q: What is Invisible Wounds about?
A: “Invisible Wounds” tells the story of James Calore; a young Army combat infantry soldier from a special elite unit as he tries to reintegrate back into society after combat. The film mainly deals with the struggles of PTSD in returning veterans. The goal of the film is to educate society about the invisible wounds more commonly known as post-traumatic stress disorder that veterans returning from combat suffer with. Both the director of the film Lenin Rivadeneira and the screenwriter Michael Calore are Iraq war veterans. It’s a great film about a very serious topic that many families are currently dealing with here in the United States. I’m really honored to be a part of this project.
Q: What role do you play?
A: I play the part of Parry a class member at a college James Calore is enrolled in. I am also the 2nd A.D. and helped produced the film. We’re still in production and will wrap shooting the first weekend in May. The film will then premiere here in NYC on June 26th.
Q: What has working at your day job taught you about acting?
A: Its allowed me to be able steal certain traits from people to use in my acting. The foodie culture is full of some huge personalities and as an actor stealing those traits and putting them into the characters you play is a big part of playing a role. Because when you’re playing a role you’re not playing yourself. That’s why it’s called acting. So the more characters you meet and spend time with the more you can study different types of people and develop certain types of characters. So working service jobs really puts you in touch with a bunch of different personalities on a daily basis.
Q: .I ran my ad for actors with day jobs In New York, Portland and Los Angeles, I got ten times as many responses in NY and Portland as I did in LA. Why do you think actors in LA are so afraid of admitting that they have day jobs?
A: Because you’re not Johnny or Sally Hollywood if you have a day job I suppose. I mean the industry is huge in LA and everybody wants to be a star. So I guess in LA if you have a day job you’re nowhere near that coveted A-list spot. I think it’s just really an ego thing. In my personal experience I found LA to be more about your status than your skill set. So admitting to having a day job isn’t going to get you on the guest list in some people’s eyes. I know tons of great actors here in NYC with day jobs and nobody’s judging anybody on what they need to do in between roles to pay the bills. I think everything’s a little more plastic, so to speak, in LA.
Q: What do you like about working in New York?
A: I love working in New York because it’s a very competitive market and in order to get work you really need to be on top of your game. You can’t do anything half-ass here in the city and expect to get work, and that goes for acting or washing dishes, You need to do whatever you’re doing in New York like a world champion in order to make it here.
Q: What don’t you like about it?
A: See my previous answer.
Q: What is your strangest back stage story?
A: A friend of mine was making a film that involved a dead bird. So we were pretty perplexed about how exactly to get a dead bird for the scene and nobody wanted to actually kill a bird in order to make this film. So we spent an entire day going to pet stores trying to find a bird that may have died from natural causes. It took an entire day but we managed to get our hands on one and nobody was left with blood on their hands.
Q: Why do you think so many people want to be actors?
A: I think it has a ton to do with American culture. We’re celebrity obsessed in this country. Movies are also a huge part of American culture. So I think anybody who’s ever watched a movie that really moved them has said “I want to be part of that.” Film is such a powerful medium that touches people on so many levels. I think people want to be a part of something that’s larger than life. I also think people think that the life of an actor is some fabulous thing and it’s so easy. Which is the furthest thing from the truth. You really need to starve to be an actor. You have to get by on the bare minimum. You have to work jobs that aren’t glamorous and have flexible schedules so you can go to auditions. You work crazy long hours and do a bunch of stuff for free just to get your foot in the door. The life of an actor is anything but glamorous. You’re constantly broke fighting for your big break. It takes a special breed of person to be dedicated enough to make it. It’s a life full of sacrifices.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)