INTERVIEW with Actor Eddie James
Today our guest is Eddie James, an American actor known for his extensive work in the world of theatre. Eddie spent 20 years working in New York on Broadway, and is a founding member of the prestigious acting company "Core Artist Ensemble". In Los Angeles he has worked in film and commercials and fans may recognize his work from the television shows "A Crime to Remember", "Deadly Devotion", & HBO's "Insecure". We have conducted an interview with him.
Please tell our readers about how you began your journey as an actor and a little bit about your history in the biz.
I've always felt that my career began the minute I discovered the Carol Burnett Show. I watched it as a very small child and then well into re-runs... and still to this day. I think I own every collection that's ever been sold on DVD. It was her impeccable sense of commitment to character that was and still is astounding to me. I've always loved sketch comedy and musical theatre. In fact, it was Broadway/Off Broadway and regional theatre that gave me my start but I always felt I belonged in film & TV.
With such an extensive background on the stage, how has this given you an edge in the Hollywood film and TV market?
Having worked in the theatre for so many years I have a strong foundation in the studies of technique -- how to use them, when to use them or when not too. What that means is I have a fundamental understanding of the craft and how to make it work in my body, head, heart and soul. Acting is a basic instinct for me. It is a necessary way for me to express my art. And I am my art.
In regards to the film & TV market, the edge my background gives me is I understand discipline and how to apply it when working in the extremely pressure filled environment of this media. When you are privileged enough to work on a TV or movie set, among the many principles one must practice, there is a code of ethics one must observe without exception and that I learned in the theatre.
Also, I am continually in acting class because there is always something to improve and learn. It keeps me connected to other actors in a learning environment and we all can learn so much from each other.
What is your favorite part of being an actor?
I believe this question is best answered with this affirmation:
The person who is a master
in the art of living
makes little distinction between
their work and their play,
their labor and their leisure,
their mind and their body,
their education and their recreation,
their love and their religion.
They hardly know which is which.
They simply pursue their vision of
excellence and grace in whatever they do,
leaving others to decide whether they are working or playing.
To them they are always doing both.
--Zen Buddhist text
That’s great. You seem to really love your profession. What advice would you give to actors who are just starting out in the business?
My advice to anyone is to remain true to yourself and yet open to suggestion. I know we throw that phase around a lot "true to yourself" but, know what & who you are and be able to hear constructive criticism/advice. Also, to the young actor; don't pretend to know yourself when you don't. Vulnerability is gorgeous and people are attracted to that.
The other unmistakable asset to a successful career is stamina and staying power. Even if you hit it big early, know how to stay in the game even when (if) you are on the more "subdued" part of your career. Don't ever run scared or give up, it's ok to take a step back but don't quit, stay in the game!
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