Stage 32 member Zedrick Resauro is a Filipino-American actor, born in the Philippines and currently residing in LA. In 2015 he co-starred on the Nickelodeon sitcom The Thundermans and Zedrick plays one of the lead roles in upcoming indie comedy Hickey directed by Alex Grossman. You’ve also seen him in Modern Family, Melissa & Joey and Super Shark.
Today Zedrick talks about the culture shock of moving from the Philippines to America, and after falling in love with acting, how he found his way in a new country. He even shares the top 5 tips he’s learned along the way when preparing for an audition (this applies to any discipline, not just acting.)
I was just some kid.
As a teenager I moved a lot due to my parents’ attempts to lead a better life for the family, for my four sisters and I. I’m originally from the Philippines. I’m sure you’ve met a Filipino at this point, we’re kind of everywhere now, infamous for our intense passion for karaoke. I moved to Los Angeles when I was 15. This lanky teenager still reeling from losing his friends, being devoured by the massive culture shock that was America. And I had to enter American high school. All I knew from American high school was from the movies, so pretty much tall white people, crazy parties, and nerds getting shoved into lockers. By nature I was a nerd and looked like it. No way was I getting shoved into a locker! I knew that not only did I have to socially survive, I had to fit in, survive well, sans locker imprisonments. So being the introvert that I was, I did what I did best. I people-watched. I observed. I eventually made friends (American high school was nothing like in the movies, by the way). But that didn’t stop me from watching. Los Angeles was an interesting place filled with people from all walks of life. I was absorbing it all, didn’t realize it back then, but loved the process of it: Observing people, figuring them out. Humanity was perpetually fascinating to me.
My parents’ attempts from years ago of leading a better life for their kids came to fruition a second time: Our immigration papers had been approved for Canada. At the time it was a better option for my entire family to move there than the States as our visas here were limited, whereas in Canada we would become permanent residents, essentially having green cards. At 17, I moved yet again. Canada is also very much a Western culture so the culture shock wasn’t as overwhelming, but it was still something very new. I was going through the motions again: Had lost friends, the culture shock, the desperate need for social survival... so I did again what introverts do best: I observed. I aimed to fit in. Little did I know that it was through these motivations that would have me stumble into acting. Little did I know how hard that fall was going to be.
I befriended this girl Nina, who oddly enough was in the same terrible circumstance I was in: Being the new kid on the last year of high school. She told me she was auditioning for the school play, to which I immediately responded: “Oh yeah, yeah-- me too!” I had to stay friends with Nina, and being in a school play meant I could make more friends (sidenote: I was becoming attracted to her, because adolescence). So I auditioned and I had fun! I was socializing, it was great, acting-wise people liked what I was doing. And I had never done acting before, ever. I ended up landing a great supporting role. I was lucky enough to get into this play, so did my friend Nina, and the other friends I made at auditions (Canadians lived up to their expectations, they were so friendly, it was ridiculously easy to make friends). So mission accomplished! But something else happened: I fell in love. No, no, not with the girl (that’s a whole other story).
(my first ever leading role: high school production of Dark Of The Moon)
I fell in love with acting. The rehearsal process, learning the lines, figuring this character out, the story and its arcs… it was so beautiful to me. Also, I was legitimately good at this. I was just some awkward kid who wasn’t really good at anything before this, and here I was rocking the sh*t out of this. I had no idea. It became a release for these range of emotions I couldn’t otherwise express in everyday living. I was playing pretend as a grown up and learning that through this craft I get to explore the vast spectrum of human emotions. And when the shows started? It was such an exhilarating experience! The exchange between actor and audience: the more they responded, the more I gave. Whether they laughed at my character’s jokes or became so silent at my character’s deterioration and fall, what the audience gave me was like a drug. I wanted more of it, and it was making my performance more real, more human. It was a relationship I was fully realizing from the actor’s side and I wanted more, I wanted to always keep doing this. The discovery of acting was nothing like I had ever experienced. Who I was finally started to make sense. My place in the world finally started to make sense.
My need for social survival had me stumble into acting. And oh, how hard I fell! Acting woke up something in me. Acting released my voice. My introversion which made me observant and perpetually fascinated with people became a valid thing that proved useful. My odd skill sets were coming into play! I was using what I’ve learned about myself and other people to create, to be a part of something, to bring to life a story. Stories that connect to people, that instigate an emotional response. As an actor and through the stories I helped bring to life, I became like a mirror for an audience to see themselves in, so they can look into who they are, into their own lives, get them thinking, and get them feeling. I was beginning to understand the strength of art, and the immense responsibility of it that was now placed on my shoulders. It was a weight I was more than happy to take on.
(At a Hollywood film festival premiere of the film Hikikomori where I played the lead role)
Acting has since become the primary means for my voice to emerge as an artist. It is what I’m most passionate about, and my continued pursuit of it remains relentless. My inadvertent entry into Acting happened the fall of 2005. As of this writing it has been almost 10 years later and I have been cast in numerous theater productions, commercials, TV comedies, and movies. This year I achieved a milestone, one that I had been working towards for years: I’m now a working actor, whose primary income is from acting. Every success has its humble beginnings. Where ever point you are in your life there was a time when you were just some kid, clueless, awkward, but hopeful. Then you found your voice, and I hope that when you did, you took off and never looked back.
Well, until 10 years later and you write a blog about it.
Throughout this incredible journey I've amassed a wealth of experience filled with pains, joys, failures, and triumphs. To my fellow actors I'd like to share a few pieces of advice as you begin on your own journey.
Here are the top 5 things I've learned that will get you ready for those crucial auditions.
Do not underestimate the importance of confidence. Every person is different in how they achieve confidence in themselves. For me, it was taking acting/improv classes, writing, learning to cook, anything that got my creative juices flowing also built up my confidence. People are naturally drawn to confidence, especially casting directors. Walking into the audition room with purpose instantly makes you magnetic. Don't walk in awkward, or sheepish, even if that is the type of character you're auditioning for. Always walk in like you deserve to be there, because you do.
2. Take Classes
I've met a lot of actors refusing to be in class because they feel that their masters degree or x-amount-of-time spent at a prestigious acting studio has made them ready forever. NO. Being in class keeps you sharp. Whether it's a scene study class, or improv, or an audition class, make it a point to stay in the game by constantly training. Yes, they are expensive so it is up to you to find a day job that can sustain you and the classes you need to stay sharp. Being rusty is something that can't be hidden when you go in that audition room. Casting notices it, and the camera picks it up right away.
3. A Good Relationship With Your Reps
You have to have a good relationship with your agents and manager. They have to know who you are, what makes you tick, and legitimately like working with you, and you with them. If none of that applies to your current representation, part ways and find another one that works better for you. Don't be afraid to not be represented during times of transition. That fear should not keep you from finding new relationships that work better for you. There are a ton of agencies and management companies out there and you will find the right fit. The relationship with your representation needs to be founded on mutual trust, respect, and legitimately liking each other.
4. Be Centered
The pursuit of this business is way too hard, so we must do what it takes to remain centered: Meditate; Engage in the hobbies you enjoy; Read a book; Grow your other talents and skill sets; Be around people that are positive and love you back. Sometimes actors get too caught up in the business and worrying about our careers, that we forget that we must live life well. If we are constantly bombarded by our worries, and wallowing in negativity, it shows. No matter how well you think you hide it, people are naturally repelled by negativity. Who you are has to be centered, and this is achieved by doing what you love and being around people you love.
5. Have Fun
What we do is fun! The craft of Acting, the adventure of its pursuit, the people we get to meet, the places it takes us to, it is all so much fun! And a lot of the times we forget that when we're all caught up on how things aren't working out the way we thought. Get that out of your head now: However you have planned your career, will not go as planned. And let it! Life is more fun with spontaneity, acting is more fun with spontaneity. The more fun you have in your life and in the pursuit of acting the more naturally it'll flow with you into the audition room.
Thank you for reading and I wish you all the best in your journey in this crazy fun life we live in pursuit of the arts.
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As always, Zedrick is available for thoughts and remarks on ANY of the content above in the Comments section below...