Edward Bryan is a multi-faceted performer with various film and TV credits including Teen Wolf, Drop Dead Diva, Mean Girls 2, Lottery Ticket, and Stomp the Yard 2, to name a few. He is represented by Houghton talent. More info can be found at his website: http://www.ebryan.com.
When did you know you wanted to be an actor and how did you go about getting started?
I was an actor back in high school in 2002. I was always doing small productions for high school. I knew I wanted to be an actor but I joined the military instead. I did a couple productions for churches while in the military, and exited the military in 2006. I started to pursue acting professionally then. I moved back to Atlanta, my mother state. I moved here in 2007 when I started doing the acting thing, and started doing small stuff. I got an opportunity to work for Tyler Perry in Atlanta. I stayed in for about three months, and I learned so much in that time. That was very vital to me, the way I am as an actor.
It was a blessing for me to just get out of the military and get that opportunity. I’ve heard from so many people. I was so close to success, and still far away. Although I was right there were the man was changing lives, I still didn’t get to be successful as I wanted to. I was still learning the ropes. I had the blessing, I had the opportunity but I didn’t have the direction.
I did a lot extra work. I started taking classes at the Professional Acting Studio with Nick Conti and Matthew Cornwell. I started learning more of the craft of it than just the learning lines. The different techniques of how to prepare myself as an actor, how to cold read, how to sing study, and that was something that I took very hard because not knowing too much about acting but learning more about it, the technical side, is what prepared me to actually be better onstage as well as trying to get the audition, trying to get the part.
Was your family supportive?
At the time, I had no kids. I lived with my mother. All she wanted me to do was whatever made me happy.
Did you have any survival jobs, day jobs to support yourself meanwhile?
I have to say thanks to the military because although I didn’t have a full-time job per se, I was still able to satisfy most of my basic needs due to the military giving stipends to go to school. I was still getting a Bachelor’s Degree. The military was paying for my college and giving money in my pocket. I did a lot of the extra background work, it used to pay a lot of money when I was doing it. I started driving for limousines. I always had opportunities to be self-sufficient financially. So as of right now, I have three different titles. I’m still a national guard. I have a bounce house, inflatable party room for kids. Now marriage, I have kids I have to provide for. So I’m still grateful that I still do the business here and I still work and provide for my family.
If I can be the actor Edward Bryan as well as the family man, I would love it. Well I can’t, I have to be actor Edward Bryan, military Edward Bryan, and driver Edward Bryan. I have to be that, I have to ‘cause in acting you’re not going to get paid continuously unless you’re an A-list, B-list actor. So I’m just doing my best to maintain this, and do what I have to. People want to come here and get rich. It’s not going to happen overnight. You can be rich in other avenues. But if you trample around, it’s not going to happen. You have to get the love for it, and you’ve got to have that face to continue on with it. Continue on and be persistent with it.
How did you end up at Houghton Talent?
Houghton was a process. I got denied the first time. I resubmitted after six months, after I did more projects and I looked for more work and pursued it more, so I can show myself and prove myself that this is what I want, this is what I’m willing to do to get it. I’m willing to work hard for the opportunity, and then Houghton asked me to come in and do some of the interviews. A week later I got an email saying congratulations! I’ve been with Houghton since then, it’s been a blessing to be able to be with them, and support me in my career, mold me with opportunities.
What do you do for marketing yourself and networking?
I’ve been to a lot of film events where you get connected. That’s the big bit that you have to stay in Atlanta, get connected with a lot of different websites done locally. You can submit for four roles as well as connect with other actors and directors that are looking for roles. The indie films as well as the 48-hour film projects. I just go into the loop of the whole film industry, not just as an outsider submitting.
Do you read any particular websites or do any social media?
Yes, I stuck with Facebook as well as websites and just look on different social media websites.
Do you do postcard mailings to casting directors or emails to let them know what you’re doing, keep them in the loop?
I’ve done that in the past. Maybe a lot of people did that as well because I didn’t get as much of a response as I would’ve wanted.
What else do you do to stay aware of what projects are coming to town?
I set my ear to the street as well. Mostly my agents that tell me here that there’s a movie coming to town or there’s going to be an audition here. Or local actors will tell you as well yes we have a film coming here. And you can see a lot of the movement on social media. But most of the big casting, you won’t see it due to confidentiality. The only time you’ll hear about that is if you get invited to audition for a movie that was out.
Do you think you’re going to get a chance to read for bigger roles, leads, guest stars in Atlanta?
Oh it’s already happening. This year alone, I’ve auditioned for major films that I would never think that we Atlanta actors would be able to get. Because years ago the statement was that all the actors they were getting was always from LA because they didn’t want any Atlanta actors because there were no actors here. Or there were actors but no professional actors in SAG.
But now I’ve auditioned for so many roles, Atlanta’s the New York now. Their actors are coming here. And why are they moving to Atlanta? Because they see the work. I’ve been able to build a rapport with George Pierre and Pierre Casting. To be able to continue on to do that, that’s a blessing to me because now I put my foot in there before everybody jumped into the water. So it’s been good to see the roles diversify now. But the thing is everybody’s coming here so you’ve got to get more focused and more competitive.
Are productions and casting directors seeing that the talent in Atlanta is improving?
Yes, that talent in Atlanta is improving because of the success of our education on acting now. Not just hanging out with important actors. No, there are a lot of different agencies out here that are teaching kids, teaching them how to act and how be a professional actor and just be an onstage actor, an onscreen actor, showing people the ropes of how to act. And so I give credit to all those who are giving those seminars, those 2-day seminars, weekend seminars, classes on a daily basis, to improve the talent base here in Atlanta. Some of the casting directors have auditions. They go through their self-tapes, audition tapes and in person casting. They see that there’s talent here in Atlanta. So we don’t have to go elsewhere to get talent.
The other part is that you’ve got to be able to compete with the rush of talent that’s coming in from Hollywood or New York. What do you do to step up your game?
I continue to train as an actor, always staying busy, doing roles that will further more give me my success. When I say that, not just the normal roles like being a robber, being a doctor. Auditioning for roles that require more talent and more layers of acting. So being able to deliver anytime. Being able to be on time, being professional, having good set etiquette. And it’s being able to be wanted. All in all, it’s how you work and sometimes not your acting but how much you want to work, how much direction you can take. Being able to have a good heart and take constructive criticism.
Do you have any plans to move to a bigger market like LA or New York?
Right now I’d say no. I plan on staying here and continue to work on my craft and continue to work on my opportunity to get the roles that are coming that are bigger. Because I’ve seen a lot of my good friends. They get here, they get hot. And they move to LA, and they don’t get nothing. They don’t get any roles. They don’t get any opportunities. They still stay stagnant to the point where they feel like they have to come back to Atlanta and start over, which you never have to. You just go back into the system and try to reinvent yourself. But it seems like I’ve seen them go to the bigger markets. They’re small fish in a big sea, and they never get anything.
How do you handle rejection?
I tell people if you can’t take a no in the next job, if you can’t take someone telling you no or hey I didn’t book you, then you can’t be in this stuff. Because I will say I’ll probably get 50 nays before I get that one yes, and that one yes makes it all worthwhile because they wanted me.
What do you wish someone had told you at the beginning of your career? What mistakes have you made, if any?
As far as I can tell young Edward, that before he started acting in Atlanta, about being patient. Being patient and know success won’t happen in 30 days or a year. I was more sustainable to learning the craft harder everyday, and pushing myself to understand that I have to find my craft, find my niche, and work on that, and not try to put myself in everything I can to try to be successful because I found out that you could be in everything, try to put yourself in everything to be successful, it’s not going to happen.
You’ve got to find what works for you and work as hard as you can so you can see the progress that you’ve made, and become what that is. Learning that would be awesome. I need to continue on to be a better actor by doing studies, getting to school, learning the craft, learning how to get an agent and work it from there. So now every casting and audition I get from my agency gives them a tip and that I’m getting paid for and that they’re getting paid for. And last thing I want to add to it is never quit on yourself. Never quit on your dreams. Never quit on what can happen for yourself.