A lot of people ask me how and why I got into acting in the first place. Well, my story is actually very Troy Bolton-ish in nature…
I did it for a girl.
Let’s start from the beginning…
It was Fall of 2000, and I was an 8th grade student at Reynolds Middle School in Hamilton, New Jersey. At that point in my life, everything was sports related and acting was something that I never even remotely thought about. (When I was in the 2nd grade, I had one line in a Christmas musical I did at Faith Christian School. It was in a song called “Christmas Overload”, and I said, “Hey! Watch it buddy!” – which was sparked after someone bumped into me while I was wrapping a Christmas present… yeah… it was terrible.)
So, at that point in my life, everything was about sports. I played basketball, baseball, and football. (Mostly basketball though.) I wasn’t the best basketball player at that point in my life, but I knew that basketball was what I wanted to do with my life. I loved basketball. I wanted to play in the NBA and be the next Allen Iverson.
One day, while playing a Hamilton Little Lads basketball game at Nottingham High School, I went up to block a shot and landed directly on my wrist. It hurt a little, but I didn’t think much of it. My coach, Mr. Mike Shanklin, took me out for the rest of the game. My wrist really hurt, but I didn’t really think much of it.
When I got home that night, I sat in my bed and I was in EXTREME pain. It was swelling up and I couldn’t move it. I didn’t know what was wrong. After a day or two, my parents took me to the doctor and I eventually got x-rays. And well…
I had fractured my wrist.
The fracturing of my wrist meant one thing to me at the time … it meant that I couldn’t play basketball for the rest of the season. I didn’t know what to do!
During the school year (both before and after my wrist incident), to help my classmates study for their tests, I would write funny songs to help them pass their tests. They would be able to sing the song in their head and use the song to help them remember stuff. In the fall of 2000, I wrote a song that helped my friends remember the preamble to the US Constitution. After hearing me sing the stupid song, my History teacher that year, Mrs. Chernoski (who was actually my sister’s History teacher 12 years before me) suggested that I audition for the school show that year.
I immediately said, “ABSOLUTELY NOT! THEATER IS STUPID! I’D NEVER!”
You see, I am the kind of person that always needs something to do, otherwise I’d get bored and do stupid shit. Out loud, I was like, “Hell no!” but on the inside, I was lightly considering it, only because it’d be something for me to do to help pass the time since I couldn’t play basketball for the rest of the year.
And then… I saw her. Her name was Dianne. (I won’t use her last name for privacy purposes, but I am sure some of my old classmates know who she is.)
I saw her and I was in complete AWE. She was so friggin’ gorgeous. I was in the 8th grade, and she was in the 7th grade, and it was THE first time that my jaw had ever dropped… like literally.
I was walking down the hall with my best friend Doug Boyce, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of her as she walked by. In retrospect, I guess it was a little creepy … but in the moment, I couldn’t resist. I knew who she was, as in, I knew her name, but on this day … she was just … AHH!! Lol I’ll never forget that moment.
So, naturally, I wanted to impress her.
I heard she was into theater, so I immediately decided to audition for the show that year, which turned out to be BIG: The Musical (yes, a musical based off the Tom Hanks movie.) And yes… I was going to audition in a full cast and sling. (And I did.)
I went to the audition, and little did I know that she was actually AUDITIONING for the show too! I was frightened.
At the audition, we were given sides to read. I was given a side to read. The scene required us to have a scene partner. And just by pure luck (and fate?), I was partnered up with Dianne.
I was ecstatic! I didn’t know what to do with myself! I couldn’t even focus. I was so excited to just goof off and talk to her. But I also wanted to impress her, so I pretended like I was all into theater and stuff.
I was so energized, for all the wrong reasons of course. I was nervous because what I was about to do was completely out of my norm … and I was super-duper excited because I was spending great quality time with Dianne. We were joking around, being goofy, and I had that crazy butterfly feeling in my gut.
Finally… it was our turn to perform…
I gotta tell you … as soon as I stepped foot on that stage, under the lights … I just knew that this was the best feeling in the world. I was in complete shock. The sensation that swooped over my body was unlike any other sensation I had ever experienced.
I guess it was at that point that I knew that this was what I wanted to do.
Not only did a get a lead role in the show that year, but I got the girl too.
During the Valentine’s Day Dance my 8th grade year of middle school, Dianne and I slow danced. I was wearing a baseball cap. I turned it around. Leaned in and kissed her.
Later that night, via AOL Instant Messenger, she became my girlfriend. (I even had an away message dedicated to her! Lol)
We didn’t last forever though, we broke up later that year. BUT, I did find something that year that would last forever. Something that I can now call my career. Something that literally pays all my bills. Something that I, once again, literally, do every single day of my life.
I perform. And I couldn’t be happier. 🙂
Dianne, I owe you a huge thank you. Though we did not last forever like my 8th grade self had hoped, you were the reason I realized that I went out for the show that year. And as a result, I have a career.
Dianne and I don’t really talk anymore, though we are Facebook buddies (And I did text her a Happy Bday last week). If you, for some reason, decide to read this blog… thank you. I know I may never get the opportunity to say that to your face lol … so … thank you for making me so nervous that day in 2000 during that audition … a nervousness that was mistaken for energy … an energy that got me cast … and casting that made me fall in love with what I now do for a living.
And of course … a huge thank you to every single person who has supported me since that day in 2000. The past 13 years have been a rollercoaster ride for me, and things are really starting to look up. Without all of your support, well-wishes, and love … I’d be nowhere.
Love you all!