Discoveries, Discoveries and Travels, Personalities
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Marc Fajardo, Filipino-American Actor in Hollywood

For the second in a continuing series of email interviews, I would like to introduce you to actor Marc Fajardo. I chanced upon him while Google searching for something (I forgot what the search words I used). It’s very interesting how a Google search can lead you to unexpected articles.
This was the first article I’ve read of him, in the Filipino Migrant News based here in New Zealand, on how to find fame in Hollywood.
Anyhow, he played various roles on TV, most notably in Desperate Housewives, Pretty Little Liars, and most currently Silicon Valley. This is the first part of my interview with him.
Hi Marc, It’s Charica here. Thanks heaps for the opportunity to interview you. First of all, how did you get into the entertainment industry? What or who started/initiated a love for doing what you do now?

Well, when I was in college at UC Santa Cruz, I double majored in Film and Community Studies. I initially wanted to become a social documentarian. Then one of my professors told me that making a documentary is like throwing a suitcase full of money over a cliff, so that ended my motivation in becoming a documentary filmmaker because I wanted to earn a living pursuing a cool passion. I started falling in love with the art of filmmaking after doing a research paper on the French New Wave films. They reminded me so much of break dancing because of its freestyle form and creative expression. And I grew up doing hip hop and break dancing. There was so much creative choices made and it was just so hip, modern, and influential at that time. 

Fast forward to post-college. I wanted to become a director/editor and was dropping off my resumes to every post-production house and ad agencies around Los Angeles. I got no bites. My friend Roy knew I was pursuing Directing and suggested I do background work and register with Central Casting Agency which is the biggest background casting agency in Los Angeles. And that’s what I did. Four months later, I was chosen by Jon Favreau to be one of the insurgents for the “Iron Man” film. Sixteen of us were selected, but eight in total were chosen. I made the final eight. I didn’t think I looked anything like a Middle Eastern bad guy at all but I was happy to join the ride.  Doing background for Iron Man was my ticket to get into the Screen Actors Guild Union. On set, it was eye opening for me. I learned what the rhythm was before, during, and after Action and Cut.  I started asking lots of questions to the other supporting actors. “How do you get an agent?”; “When did you start acting?”; “What other roles have you done?” I was totally green.  My curiosity exploded about the business and the craft. I started taking acting classes and one thing led to another. Got myself an agent, starting auditioning frequently and have been on the hustle ever since.

Who initiated my love? I’d have to say my family.  I’ve always been the entertainer during family parties. I loved making my family laugh. And deep down inside I always knew I was a performer.  I was deeply insecure and scared of judgments, and I think that’s why I wanted to become a director in the beginning because I was able to put my art in the foreground without having my face in the frame.  I owe all my love and respect for acting to my family. They’ve always encouraged me with their endless laughter and appreciation of my humor.

Wow. Did you have any mentors encouraging you to do this?

I’ve had friends that encouraged me to pursue my directing ambitions. Not necessarily acting. I didn’t even tell anyone that I was pursing acting until a year or two later after having done so many acting classes and auditions. Again, I was insecure of people’s opinions. I hated awkward moments where they’d see me as ‘just another actor in Hollywood.’ And I didn’t think I was a ‘legitimate’ actor because I hadn’t booked anything ‘big.’  There are a lot of people in town that think you’re only a ‘legitimate’ actor when you book a network, commercial, or film. I say, fuck that. You’re a ‘legitimate’ actor when you put in the work on your craft and your business despite yourself booking or not. You’re an actor when you have the deepest conviction that you need to do this and that you made the life goal and decision that you’re in this for the long haul. It’s really a business of longevity. Because being an Actor in the Hollywood industry is a business.  It’s a crazy marriage of art and commerce, but it’s a lot more commerce than art.

I’ve had friends that would say ‘go for it’ whenever I’d secretly tell them I wanted to pursue acting. But it would just end there. Nothing spectacular with cheerleaders and confetti encouraging me to take on this pipe dream. If anything, it was this gut feeling I had telling me to pursue it right now or else I would regret it for the rest of my life. And now here I am. Proud that I trusted my gut.

Although, I have to say there were people that have answered my endless questions about the business.  They were not necessarily mentoring me, but just demystifying the whole process. 

Did you have to go to university or college to learn about the craft? Or did you learn it by yourself?

The first thing I did was go on and ordered all the popular acting books. Then I enrolled in class at Ivana Chubbuck Studio. Then I went on YouTube and watched lots of Inside the Actor Studio clips. Then I went on IMDB and read all the quotes from my favorite actors. Essentially, I was trying to absorb as much as I could about acting and the business. I still am doing it because the business changes frequently.

The craft is a process. A never ending process, just like gymnastics or break dancing. One has to keep working, training, learning, and maintaining to stay sharp and in their A game.

What roles and programs/films have you been a part of so far? If you can provide a link to all those roles, that would be awesome!

Desperate Housewives, General Hospital, Sam & Cat, Sleepy Hollow, The Neighbors, Pretty Little Liars, and Silicon Valley. Have a look at my demo reel.
Is it true that being an actor in the entertainment industry is all a matter of luck?

Yes and No. It depends on how you define ‘Luck’. I’ve read that Luck is when talent meets preparation.
People do have luck landing roles. But it takes tenacity to maintain your career. Booking work is one thing but CONSTANTLY booking work is another thing. And it all has to do with your craft. If you don’t have the depth or talent or a specific look/castability, then your chances of being an actor will be challenging.
What have you learned about the craft of acting over the years that you can share to everyone?

Listening is key. And not just using your ears to listen, but using your whole being to listen. Listening unconditionally to your scene partner. And really live truthfully under the imaginary circumstances (quoting Sanford Meisner).  Using your body as an emotional instrument to serve the writers intentions. And that it’s really not about you, it’s about the story.

This question would honestly be a whole conversation in itself because I’ve obsessed for more than four years about the craft of acting.

What pieces of advice can you give to people who’d like to work in the entertainment industry, as an actor, dancer, singer, or behind the camera?

Learn your craft. Learn the business. Develop marketing tools (headshots, websites, logos, demo reels).
Get an agent or manager. Create your own material and have it up on your YouTube channel. Collaborate with other artists. Ask questions but take it with a grain of salt. Stay humble, stay open, and enjoy the ride because we’re all doing it in the name of fun.
Now I found this Vimeo link of his audition for the Superman role which is actually really funny. Have a look and see.
For links on more interviews with Marc Fajardo in different websites:
Marc’s Personal Online Profiles
Part 2 will come soon, so stay tuned!

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