Featured Artist Series: Anthony John Thomas and How to Overcome a Late Start Acting Career

Screen Shot 2016-11-23 at 12.03.11 PMSometimes life can sidetrack your acting career. When that happens, it is easy to become discouraged, to feel rusty and overwhelmed at the thought of jumping back in the game. But as showcase winner Anthony John Thomas demonstrates, with the right cocktail of perseverance, hard work, and courage, success can come around any corner.

Anthony was raised in Newcastle NSW Australia. He describes his childhood as “less than idyllic” and cites that and his unconventional experiences in life as his earliest motivation to pursue the arts. “It is only when I am acting that I do not want to be someone else,” he reflects. He began seriously vying for a place in the industry in school, receiving a scholarship to The Actors College of Theatre and Television nearly fifteen years ago. Unfortunately, he had to step away when his schooling conflicted with a lead role in a major theatre production.

Following his choice to prioritize professional work, Anthony signed with an agent and began booking television and commercial gigs. “…but not enough to pay the bills,” Anthony remembers, “and I had little faith in myself as an actor at that time, so I took a salary and had businesses for about fifteen years until the end of last year when I lost everything, homes, businesses etc.”

With nothing more to loose, Anthony and his wife decided he should return to his first loves, acting and screenwriting. This last year Anthony has been hard at work, catching up on his training with a series of courses, and gaining practical experience making films.  Of his studies, Anthony says: “The training I have found most beneficial has been through the Chubbuck Technique and courses I have attended with Greg Apps (an Australian Casting Director who offers his courses worldwide).”

Though his career has grown in leaps and bounds, Anthony’s trials as an artist are far from over. “The greatest highlight now is the confidence that allows me to enjoy every aspect of the process including auditions and self-tests. The greatest struggle for me is self-doubt, never being happy with anything, always thinking I could’ve done better, getting past that is the hardest thing and the only way to do that is to know you put in the work to ensure you did your best.”

It was while putting in this work that Anthony discovered Cast It Talent. His desire to stretch his career internationally drew him to the site and the showcase. Though new to Cast It, he has already become a showcase winner. “I have not had a casting yet, but with the additional promotion through winning this competition hopefully that will change.  It was a real buzz getting the call…My experience with the showcase was brilliant…it was more than I would’ve hoped for when I entered.”

Up next, Anthony is getting ready for a couple Australian Independent Features, and waiting on news on plays in Sydney’s Short & Sweet Festival, for which he is short-listed. But he’s not waiting for permission. Anthony continues to create his own opportunities, finishing a feature film screenplay and chasing auditions.

Taking a timeout from your acting career can be a setback, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s your life, your career and your choice. Just because your path doesn’t look like your neighbor’s doesn’t mean you’re not headed in the right direction. This is something I struggle to wrap my own head around. But I do believe that any time you take a step away, it’s an opportunity to come back stronger, wiser, and more driven than ever. Thanks, Anthony, for reminding us!

 

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Rachel Rachel Frawley is an actor living in Atlanta. She holds a B.F.A. in Theatre from Michigan State University (with cognates in Music and Professional Writing) and is an Apprentice Company graduate from the Atlanta Shakespeare Co. She also works as an education artist for local theatres, which have included the Shakespeare Tavern and Aurora Theatre. For more information, visit her website at www.rachelfrawley.com

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