How This Actor Benefited From Taking a 4-Year Hiatus

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Photo Source: Courtesy Jon Gentry

Jon Gentry is an L.A.-based actor who says that learning to take breaks has made him a stronger performer.

Find your motivation.

“I aim to do work that opens minds and hearts, and the entertainment industry offers myriad opportunities to do so.”

Live life to the fullest.

“Do not postpone anything your heart desires. It will enrich your acting. I took four years off from pursuing an acting career to simply live my life. When I returned, I had a clearer vision of what I wanted my career to look like and a stronger foundation from which to do the work.”

Make connections.

“Find your people, and success will follow. When I first moved to L.A., I attempted to do everything on my own. Get in class, find volunteer or internship opportunities in the industry, and meet people who you resonate with artistically. At the end of the day, the best way to build relationships is to commit to the craft and establish a reputation for doing great work.”

Look like a reel professional by learning basic editing skills.

“I reviewed my footage and identified the scenes that aligned well with my headshots [in order to tell] a story in a short amount of time. Next, [there was] a lot of trial and error on iMovie. All the technical knowledge from editing self-tapes definitely came in handy.”

Try this audition prep method.

“I read through the sides 10 times, making note of my initial impressions. Once I’m finished, I break down each scene into its beginning, middle, and end before writing down what the scene is about in one sentence. Then I get on my feet and begin a physical exploration of the text in tandem with my script analysis. I continue deepening that work for as long as I get to spend with the material.”

This story originally appeared in the Feb. 15 issue of Backstage Magazine.