An insightful conversation with Rob Chester Smith about breaking in as an actor/writer in Los Angeles. Once you’ve reached your goal what do you do with the feeling “I got here, and now what?” Listen to this episode now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.
Rob is an actor and writer from Iowa that currently lives in Los Angeles. He’s been in a zillion commercials and his TV credits include the most recent episode of “This is Us.” His short film I Love You Dad (which Rob wrote and starred in) played at the American Pavilion in Cannes & Rob and Valentyna in Scotland played at Sundance (Rob co-wrote and acted in this one). And let’s not forget Timothy’s short film Man’s Best Friend.
A Breaking-In Story
Rob shares his journey from small town Iowa, to Northwestern University, to Chicago and finally Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting and writing. He moved to Los Angeles when he was 29 years old and kickstarted his career with two things: a role in a Mitsubishi commercial and a recommendation from a friend for representation.
But moving to LA wasn’t an easy decision. Rob hesitated to leave Chicago for many years until his future wife forced the decision.
Next up: How do you get an agent? Rob tells us a few ways you can get a commercial agent and how it happened for him.
We talk about Rob’s mindset when he moved to Los Angeles and his hopes and dreams. His ideas of fame. His ideas of success. The magical thinking “that all you need is people to see you and that will be it.” Rob tells us the story of booking a pilot, getting an agent and manager, taking general meetings, and how it didn’t lead where thought it would.
An Actor’s Life
Rob spends 2/3 of his time Acting and 1/3 Writing. He’s currently writing for FX Movie Download. When he’s not working he spends time with his family.
Rob paints us a picture of his day-to-day life as an actor.
He has a Commercial agent, VO agent, and Theatrical agent.
He acts mostly in commercials and some TV.
How often does he go out for auditions?
What is the audition process like and what is Rob’s advice to actor’s out there?
How often does he get callbacks?
How often does he book a job?
We talk about the isolation of being an actor and writer and the biggest challenge of writing is writing.
“I Got Here, and Now What?”
You claw your way into one aspect of the industry and you have kind of made it where you wanted to be, but at the same time it doesn’t look the way you thought it would. Rob now feels that he’s reached a plateau in his career and he wonders what he’s doing. What’s the next mountain to climb?
“I don’t know anymore what my ideal thing would be.”
Is Rob having a midlife crisis? Alrik, of course, offers some optimistic words and tries to help Rob find his passion.
Is it inevitable that after a certain level of success and experience, everything turns into a job? Is there a way to avoid that? Is this feeling an indicator that something is wrong?
We ask a lot of questions in this section and maybe don’t have a lot of answers for you, but there are going to be a lot of you out there that will relate. Tell us your thoughts. Send us an email or contact us at one of the links below.
You can find Rob by following these links:
Rob’s website: robchestersmith.com.
If you want to check out some of Rob’s work, check these out:
“The Hiccup” (co-written, starring) https://vimeo.com/43431126 (NSFW!)
Trailer for “Rob and Valentyna” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPUR6OmRD1M
Trailer for “I love you, Dad” at https://vimeo.com/109193925
Thanks for listening and a big thanks to Rob for being on the show!