Joshua Bermudez is an actor and former boxer who appears in the web-series Off Prospect; here is a link to his website:
Q: How did your boxing career prepare you for your acting career?
A: Getting punched in the face for the first time feels like a life right of some kind. Like once it happens you go: “Ok. I’m alive, that happened, what’s next?” You get back to it, and realize that your fear of getting hit was worse than the hit itself. Most auditions, you’re the one getting knocked out – so you go in, do your best, take the hit, and hopefully learn something. But if you’re too afraid to get in the ring and mix it up, you’ll never have the opportunity to win.
Q: You studied drama at Yale. What does Yale’s drama department offer that other acting schools do not?
A: What I took away from Yale was the value of risk. A lot of contemporary acting feels, I think, stagnant, because even well-trained actors are anxious to do everything “right” – they sort of dutifully say their lines and hit their marks with an unoffensive amount of emotion. That environment taught me to value that moment where you feel unmoored, at risk, and just as importantly, gave me the technique to navigate those moments. One thing Ron Van Lieu told me, early on, was that I wouldn’t graduate from the Yale School of Drama as a “finished” actor. He’s done it long enough to know that even the most talented actor, if he gets comfortable, becomes boring. Yale actors come out hungry and ready to work.
Q: Who are some of your acting influences?
A: DeNiro and Pacino. My Dad loved them, so we watched movies like The Godfather and Raging Bull together when I was a kid, stuff that was way before my time. I think everything I did as a younger actor was just a bad DeNiro impression. The actor who made me realize that I should respect what I do, and that a career as an actor could be a reality for me, was Mark Lewis. He was my teacher for years, and encouraged me to go to graduate school when I had all but decided to drop out of school and move to California. He changed my perception of acting: it stopped being a lark, and became work for a grown man, a serious craft that you continue to develop throughout your life.
Q: What is Off Prospect about?
A: Off Prospect is a comedy about a group of personal trainers who are trying to run a successful gym, but have absolutely no idea how to do it.
Q: What role do you play?
A: I co-wrote the series and played Jay, one of the trainers.
Q: How did you prepare for the role?
A: Well, we sort of wrote Jay as this human puppy: he means well but he’s big and if you take your eye off of him he’ll chew up your shoes and knock over your flatscreen, so I tried to live in that energy: running around on set, eating everything in sight, just letting my attention span go slack. Our director would take all that and funnel it, have me improv these rants, so we ended up with this silly big-hearted mess of a character. It was fun, but exhausting.
Q: To what method of acting do you ascribe?
A: Not really; I wouldn’t have a tool kit with only a hammer in it. It’s still strangely in vogue to claim one school of acting, but I think that’s a bit outdated. I’ve learned the most studying with teachers who have wildly diverse methods. Every technique has its limits, and if you’re lucky, the roles you are hungry for will force you to develop different tools to tackle them.
Q: Do you think looks or talent are more important in Hollywood?
A: Looks, I guess, but that’s short-term. The actors I admire, and the ones who have given me the best advice, they’re talented, yes – but they respect themselves and the people they work with. I think that long-term, respect is more important than talent and looks. Ideally, you have all three.
Q: What kind of day jobs have you had in your life and why is acting better?
A: I’ve done the waiting tables thing, customer service-type stuff, passed out samples at farmer’s markets… And its strange, maybe it has to do with money, but I rarely had days in those jobs without a nasty experience. No matter how badly the show goes, or how long the shoot is, working as an actor leaves me coming home like a kid from camp. There’s something very humanizing about it. And you can’t really go on auto-pilot when you do it, you’re either present or you aren’t acting.
Q: What is your oddest Los Angeles story?
A: I once signed an autograph for a tourist, and to this day, have no idea who she thinks I was.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)