This is part of my Forever Grateful project.
As I was selling my home and placing my business on hiatus for a period of time, I took portraits of about 30 people who influenced my career over the past 12 years. This was my way of saying “Thanks” and letting everyone know that I couldn’t have done it without their support.
Though we had known each other from our days at SAK Comedy Lab, our friendship and mutual support system became something I have depended on through it all.
When you moved to L.A., you already had a successful career as an actor in Orlando, FL, but you were that big fish in a small pond who was determined to make waves in the ocean that is Hollywood. You hit the ground running and your drive has been inspiring to watch. You taught me that you have to be relentless and build off of any momentum you get. With each new part that you booked, you had me design a postcard that you mailed out to all the casting directors in town.
You knew that to make money, you had to spend money and you were constantly investing in your career with all the promotional materials you made. You didn’t sit idly by on the sidelines, waiting for the right agent, roll, or fairy godmother to hand you the life you wanted, you fought for it (and continue to fight for it), tooth and nail.
On top of being inspirational to watch, I have received countless referrals from people who met you at auditions and your students. And because of the frequency of which you book, your face in my portfolio often brought in other clients who were hoping to become a working actor such as yourself.
And on top of all that, you have been a true confidant. Success sometimes seems very exciting from the outside, and many people will tell you that the set backs shouldn’t get you down. But you have always been the one to listen to me talk about the struggles and say, “I understand.” I truly appreciate your friendship and your support.
P.S. Thank you to Rachel, Cameron & Gabriel Douglas as well… your entire family rocks and each one of you mean the world to me.
The Story behind the Shoot:
For several years, I was the technical director for Cullen’s One-Man Show, “Afraid to Look Down”, which is his real life story of becoming a first time father to Gabriel, an everyday kid who happens to have Down Syndrome. He performed the show at local theaters and around the country for different organizations that were trying to raise awareness and bring together people who are affected by DS. The show would open with Cullen sitting in the single chair on stage, representing the waiting room at the hospital, just before his wife Rachel goes into labor. For the moment of Gabriel’s birth, we often used a side or backlight as Cullen first realizes Gabriel was “special” and later we used a spotlight when Cullen spoke to God, demanding to know what he did wrong to deserve this. It was a truly heart wrenching and vulnerable moment on stage that a lot of families in the audience could relate to. It got people talking and opening up about that moment of despair that often comes along with being a parent of a child with DS.
By the end of the show though, Cullen is celebrating Gabriel’s 1st birthday… something the doctors said he might never reach. Now, at age 19, I felt it would be nice to revisit scenes from “Afraid to Look Down” only this time with Gabriel side by side with his loving father.