Updated: Jan 23, 2022
Tell me a little about your background? Where you are originally from and how did that journey lead you to where you are today?
I am originally from a small town in Maine. I grew up playing sports, working on a farm, and dreaming of becoming a NASCAR driver.
I even raced stock cars for 5 years but soon realized that I did not have the financial backing to make it to the big time. So, I turned my focus on business, I started my own fitness store “Action Fitness Center” selling vitamins, supplements, clothing, and fitness equipment. During that time, I had a friend that suggested I take an acting class, which led to me doing a play which eventually led to me falling in love with acting. I closed my store, sold everything, and flew to Los Angeles with nothing more than a dream.
Hi Jeff! Who inspired you to be an actor?
I always loved to do voices, act a bit silly, and I loved movies. I thought that I was the next Robin Williams. The funny thing is I have had very little opportunity to do comedy. Once I started pursuing my career, I gravitated more toward character actors. The likes of Gary Oldman, Vito Mortensen, John Malkovich. The actors that you sometimes do not even recognize because they become the character so well.
How do you prepare for a role?
I am not your typical actor type, most of what I do, I just do. It comes from inside me, I try not to get into my head too much. Too much thinking about it and you start acting. So I guess it depends on the role. I will research certain characters but mostly I just try to really understand what’s written in the script and open myself up to whatever I feel needs to come out to become the character.
To date, what was your favorite role?
I think my favorite role was Mike in the indie film “Outrage”. I play a good ole boy from Texas whose daughter is kidnapped. Once I started playing him, the emotions just came naturally. I did not have to think about it or really even work at it. It was very organic.
What type of roles do you enjoy playing?
I enjoy playing all types of roles. I have been lucky enough to play a lot of different characters, doctors, lawyer, preacher, convict, detectives, cops, abolitionist, FBI, CIA, etc… What I really want to play is Cowboys both modern and period. I have projects in the works to make that happen!
What films have you appeared in?
I started my career with “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare”, since then, I have played in many small indie films that you have never heard of, “Still ‘Bout It” with Master P, “Special Unit” and also big films like, “American Assassin”, “Windtalkers”, the Bollywood film “Kaante”.
What was your misconception of acting in film?
I think the hardest thing was learning what actually goes into making films. When I started, I knew nothing. I soon learned the term “hurry up and wait”. I also realized very early on that if you do not absolutely love it, it is probably not a good career choice. That being said, I absolutely love it!
So, Jeff, how was your first experience in a film and or theatre?
I have never had a bad experience on stage or on a film. I learned the first time and close to 30 years later I still use every opportunity to learn and hone my craft.
Do you see yourself acting for the rest of your life?
Yes! As long as someone will have me, I will be performing!
Has your love for acting increased or decreased throughout the years? Why?
It has increased. As I learn and grow as an actor, it makes me strive to do more, to do bigger and better. I crave the opportunity to create more complete, diverse, and complicated characters.
Any family members in the arts?
No, I am the only one that I know of. I do have a lot of preachers and ministers; I think that is a type of performing. They have a need to get on a stage and touch people in a different way.
What aspect of being an independent actor is the most rewarding and what part would you find the most challenging?
The most rewarding is the work, the finished product. When it all comes together and hopefully people enjoy what you have done. The most challenging part is finding work, we just want to be working so it is frustrating when you are looking for that next project.
What are your future plans regarding your acting career?
I will continue to do what I am doing, but I also plan on making my own way by producing my own projects. I am producing and directing my first feature film this year. A little possession horror film “The Demons Within”.
Do you plan to become a sag/aftra actor/actress or are you just fine with being a free spirit independent actor?
I have been in SAG since 1993, it took me about a year to get into the union. Indie film does not mean non-union. There are so many contracts available now that pretty much any film can be a SAG signatory and hire SAG actors. We are all independent actors, it's not like in the old days when a studio owned the talent’s contract.
What do you feel that are the positives and negative aspects of becoming a union actor?
The positives are working with other professionals who bring it, you are more likely to be surrounded by other talented actors on a union project. I’m not saying that there are not talented people that are not in SAG but on lower budget projects there are too often, non actors in scenes that can pull down the overall performance. It can happen in big films as well, but more likely in a lower-budget project.
Have you ever produced your own film and if yeas, tell me about it?
Like I said above, I am in the process of producing and directing my first feature film!
What’s next for you?
“The Demons Within”, I am doing all of the leg work now, we hope to be shooting in late July or early August. Trying to raise the final funding as we speak. Investment opportunities are available, hint, hint!
If you could give advice to someone just starting off in the movie industry, what would it be?
The best advice I have is twofold, first find a way to pay your bills that is flexible and allows you the time to audition and shoot projects but do not plan on, making a living as an actor for a while. Second, if you do not absolutely love it and feel like you can do nothing else to fulfill that yearning, then work hard and enjoy every minute of it. If not, find something that does. Acting is more than a dream, it’s a business and must be approached as that to be successful.