We had the good fortune of connecting with Charles Chudabala and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Charles, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
“If it ain’t fun, I don’t do it.” This has become my mantra. And so far it has served me well. In 2014, I made the decision to take control of my life and just have fun. I leaped from a previous career as a counselor, into acting. I knew I wanted to make horror movies, and I also knew that life was way too short not try. Being on set, playing with fake blood and running from the killer, made me feel alive. I was living my truth. When the epiphany comes with buffet of truth, saying “this is what you should be doing,” it’s your choice to go towards it, or ignore. I chose to feel alive, and from that point forward, to always go towards what moves me. When the fun stops, it is time to move on. This is a great barometer to know whether to keep going, or to stay in a given situation.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Actors face tons of challenges. It is often said “you gotta know someone” Well that couldn’t be more true. Fortunately for me, I have fostered many great relationships with people along the way. We collaborate, we are aligned with similar visions and interests. And most of all, we have fun together. With my growing tribe of horror filmmakers, I am constantly reminded why I started acting in horror movies. To have fun. That’s it!. Anything else, just let it go. There is no place in my world for jealousy, paranoia or toxicity. As I like to say “save the drama for the film” It’s only a cut throat business if you believe it is. What do I believe? I believe in helping others. I believe in sharing resources. I believe in abundance of opportunities and I believe that integrity and professionalism still matter, and will take you far. There’s enough to go around. I have only ever gained, by helping others. The moment we believe that something will be taken from us, then it will be. Have fun! Life is too short to worry too much about this industry, which is all about art. Of course, you hear a lot of “no’s.” in this business. When we hear “yes” we naturally feel good! There is no such thing as rejection- THERE IS ONLY SELECTION (“they just chose someone else”) My only job as an actor, is to do the work. To walk in with a great performance that I can be proud of. Then let it go! Go play and enjoy life. My best advice for any actor is “don’t ever go in trying to BOOK the job” There is no such thing! Your job is to do the work. Plain and Simple. It they cast you, then great. If you give a weak audition. Then, go home and work on your craft. The work is what matters. Why are we doing this, if it’s not to perform. ? With that being said, that is my brand: fun, smiley, positive energy, professional, prepared, collaborative, and cool. Also, that LatinX/Thai guy with that long last name that most people have fun interpreting “Chudabala” or “Chew-baka” or “Chumbawumba” I love it all. No hate here (laugh out loud)
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
COFFEE COMMISSSARY (BURBANK, CA) – I don’t know what they do to their coffee, but the flavor and intensity is so rich and clean. It may cause warm cheeks, caffeine levels = joy and productive meetings. Just saying. You must try their Almond Vanilla Latte, (hot or iced) and their vegan chocolate chip cookie. Link: https://coffeecommissary.com MISSION TIKI DRIVE IN THEATRE (MONTCLAIR, CA) – Drive Ins are magical. Go with friends, or on a date, or alone- its a treat, and you somehow feel rewarded by going here. Link: https://missiontiki.com LAKE ARROWHEAD, CA- Take a drive up the mountain to beautiful Lake Arrowhead. Enjoy the magical view, overlooking elevations of 8,000 ft. And darling cottages. A one day trip feels like a rejuvenating vacation. TU MADRE -TACOS (LARCHMONT, CA) These tacos are insane (in a good way) You must visit beautiful Larchmont, CA take stroll through the village and then taste these tacos from Tu Madre. Might I suggest vegan bahn mi. Link: https://tacostumadre.com
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Lucille Ball is a great influence on me and my career. I was introduced to the “I LOVE LUCY” tv show when I was about 10 years old. I became instantly obsessed with the show and Lucille Ball. The show made me laugh so hard that I cried at times. There’s an episode where Lucy gets a “loving cup” (trophy) stuck on her head, which to this day has me dying with laughter. I wanted to learn everything there was to learn about the show. I would ask my parents to buy me “I Love Lucy” biographies or behind the scenes footage, anything I could get my hands on. By the age of 13, I could tell you, in order, how each episode was numbered, which order they would air in, and I held the crown in Lucy trivia, at least in my circle of friends and family. Lucille Ball was a true professional. Rehearsing so many times, that her performances were flawless, leading us to believe that her reactions were happening for the very first time. I wanted to be like her. I wanted to have her comedic timing. And in many ways, her physical comedy and character gait, was a part of me. I used to get teased in school for being too hyper, or too happy, or too “whatever…” But the truth is, I just wanted to make the world smile, and offer a live situational comedy wherever I went. Lucille Ball did that for me. Gratitude and mental/emotional balance are a huge part of my life. My good friend Erika Boxler (photographer), gave me book years ago by author Pam Grout, called “Thank And Grow Rich” This book changed my life. It’s basically ‘gratitude on steroids.’ It gives practical gratitude exercises that anyone can do to change their lives. It led me on a journey of self-development and I have not looked back. I highly recommend it. Timothy Ray Brandon, director of “SURVIVE,” (2014) gave me my first opportunity to star in his horror/thriller screenplay. Within months of declaring my mantra “If it ain’t fun I don’t do it,” I was auditioning for him and got cast. My dream was realized, and I have never looked back. It was on this set that I met other horror friends, that I’m still working with to this day. Hunter Johnson, (director/actor) was also co-starring on that film, and we went on to work on many films together (“Irrational Fear” “2 Jennifer” both available on itunes), even co-starring again in the horror comedy “UGLY SWEATER PARTY”(directed by Aaron Mento) The rest is history. My journey is still evolving and along the way here are some incredible people who have touched my life in magical ways: Hunter Johnson (my first friend in this business-and my brother to this day- ride or die bro), Aaron Mento (lets watch some bizarre movies, and laugh- simplicity is the key to life) , Jennifer Nangle (love you, my sister), Nikki Hicks (you make this world pretty). Bart Mastronardi (you inspire me daily, and I will need another article to talk about you), Ama Lea (you are the epitome of hard work), Michael Varrati, Brendan Haley, Lara Jean Sullivan, Christopher Hicks, Rod Shorte Vizcaina, Paul Stephen Edwards. Brialynn Massie (i will always have your back), Chris Kato, Edward Paysen, Felissa Rose, Christian Ackerman, Alex Hwang, Kate Hwang, Mark Schaeffer, Lexi Marlene, Gregory Blair, Alexis Iocono, Devanny Pinn, Brandon Slagle, Edward Paysen, Jody Barton, Kevin Caliber, Thomas Haley, Richard Trejo, Chandler Juliet, Michael Coloumbe, Matthew M Garcia, Kaleb Shorey, To everyone who gave me a chance a believed in me. My mom. My dad. My brother Andrew. My dad. My sister, Christie. My niece and nephew, Malyia and CJ. My godfather, Raul Arroyo. My aunt Toni Fernandez. Mr. Kuhn (High School Drama Teacher). Asha Bhakta, my supervisor, friend and mentor. Dr. Mary Read, (Cal State Fullerton, Professor and Mentor). Matthew Nelson (best bud since high school) Chris Lofing & Travis Cluff (Tremendum Pictures), Mary C Russel, Lacy Lou, Tori Danielle, Brian Sapir and Niel King (We are Indie Horror- my first publication introducing me to the world) Tiffani Fest (helped me align with my dharma) Emily Dahm, Cyrus Solimon. Erika Boxler (hey soul sister). Patrick Kusnadi. Jaden Angel. Veronica Buttelman. Abuelita (my grandma) walking beside me, holding my hand since the day I was born. I feel your presence and energy and guidance whenever I need it, and I’m thankful for that. Anyone who has been there for me along this journey, not listed here, you know who you are x0x0x Charles Chudabala
Youtube: Charles Chudabala
Other: Uncaged Mindset: www.instagram.com/uncagedmindsetpodcast
Erika Boxler (photographer) Bart Mastronardi (photographer) Michael Coloumbe (photographer) Will Maizel (pictured with me in zombie photo)