Years in Tampa Bay
I'm an actor and a creative.
What do you do?
At American Stage, I'm responsible for helping to coordinate classes and programming for the improv program. I do a lot of our social media for our youth education and our adult improv program. I also perform on our musical improve team called Definitely Not Murderers.
Why do you do it?
I love to tell stories. What I love about American Stage is that the tagline for the mission is "powerful stories, boldly told." That connects right to me. I love to tell stories in any format that I can, whether independently as an actor, or I also perform burlesque under the moniker Johnny Spark. I think by telling stories, we connect to the human in all of us, so no matter what we look like, what life we lead, those stories can relate.
What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)
I got started doing art from a very young age. I've always been into the arts. I started in band, and one day the theater director saw me in the hallway and said, "You. You're going to audition for the Wiz." I went to the audition, and it has been the best long-term relationship I've been in since then. I've been teaching, as well as performing, and I think there will never be a time in my life when I'm not involved in the arts.
What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?
There's just as work in creating art as there is in any other work space. There's research, and there's rehearsal obviously, and really planning that's involved in executing a production. I hope people can appreciate and see the work that all the artists put into their craft.
What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?
As an actor, obviously it's getting booked. The biggest part of acting is auditioning. Probably 80 to 90 percent of my job is auditioning, so that's probably the hardest part. I think another challenge would be getting my art out there, and really having the support to get it produced.
What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?
What other people think of me is none of my business. And I should be my biggest fan. I think it's common for anyone, whether you're in the arts or not, to be worried about what other people are thinking, especially when we're developing brands and things like that. But at the end of the day, you have to stay true to what you're producing. Be aware of feedback and criticism, but don't let that completely inundate your thoughts or creative process. Do it for you.
Why St. Pete?
I love St. Pete. I moved here from Atlanta, and St. Pete reminds me of a mini-Atlanta in terms of size. But the heartbeat, and the artistry, and there’s a consciousness that really is supportive of young artists, of artistry, of creativity and community.