We had the good fortune of connecting with Andrew Nowak and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andrew, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think the first step when considering taking risks is knowing that you’ll ALWAYS be assessing what is and isn’t worth the risk. Once I get comfortable with that idea, it allows me open up to actually TAKING that risk. This isn’t to say you should always risk it, you do have to discern between the two. However, not making the decision at all is pretty much never works out the way you want it. You have to be willing to fail and learn in order to succeed and excel. I don’t always follow this, but I sure aspire to.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
You’re gonna make me talk about myself, aren’t ya? Blehhh okay. Here it goes!
I get most excited about when I am truly and inexplicably feeling the magic of performing. Whether I’m working in a scene myself, or watching someone else truly and profoundly connecting to the story or material, that’s when I feel most alive and full of purpose. I think that we as humans are moved with emotion is one of the greatest gifts, so when I get to be a part of invoking those feelings, that’s when I feel most thankful and appreciative of this life.
Now, actually getting to that moment, any creative will agree, is verrry challenging. There’s so much that one has to go through in order to attain what they want artistically. And holy smokes, at times, it can very much feel not worth it or way out of reach. That’s unique to each person, too. There’s no criteria or checklist you can look at to decide if it’s all worth it or not. And many people face material or tangible obstacles, too. We all have to eat and pay rent. But each person has to answer for themselves if the creative life is something they want to or NEED to keep pursuing.
For me, one of the most important lessons that I have learned is to follow your heart. Corny? Oh, so very. But really really true. You need to learn and practice as much you possibly can. Listen to advice and take risks. But after all that, the thing inside you that makes you feel like this is something you HAVE to do, that’s the strongest voice to listen to. Be gentle, but brave. Listen to your gut. Because there’s something about this creative life that spoke to you, that called you. If you listen to it and foster it well, that will be the thing that pulls you through and helps you find purpose.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Cheesily, I’d be hitting a lot of touristy things I believe. And I can barely plan 5 minutes from now, so here is what I would say we gotta do, in no particular order:
-Hike the Tree of Wisdom. And if they haven’t died by the time we get to the tree, cross the top of the mountain over to behind the Hollywood sign. BE THE PERSON BEHIND HOLLYWOOD!
-Go to Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach, because, I’m sorry. They’re just classic. It’s very LA to me.
-Go to Zuma Beach for an actual relaxing beach day.
-Hang out at Idle Hour in North Hollywood.
-Eat at Salsa and Beer in North Hollywood.
-Go to a Dodgers game if they’re in town.
-Go down the slide at US Bank tower. JUST DO IT.
-If they’ve got the scratch, go to Universal Studios Hollywood. I’m a proud Gryffindor and it all gets figured out at The Hog’s Head over Butterbeer. Plus again, I just love the studio tour and the magic of Hollywood.
-And then, because it’s a rite of passage, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Because the Stars. Because the hands.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Just one? Gosh. I’d love to credit The BGB Acting Studio in North Hollywood, California. I spent a couple years there in a class taught by Tim Conlon that has and always will be invaluable to me. Tim really showed me a way into vulnerability via the Meisner Technique of acting that was not previously accessible to me. Then there’s the classmates I got to work with. Every week I was floored by the level of talent I got to witness and work with. It was here I met Lauren Shippen, who I am forever grateful to for casting me in one of the most meaningful projects I’ve ever been a part of: an audio drama podcast entitled “The Bright Sessions.” In addition to absolutely rewarding and meaningful work, I have learned so much from Lauren that it inspired me to create my very own passion project, The Lost City Prince, a magical realist podcast based on Antoine De Saint Exupéry’s novel, The Little Prince. Lauren’s level of professionalism, passion, and skill is something I continue to admire and aspire to everyday.
The Bright Sessions Logo: artwork by Anna Lore, show created by Lauren Shippen The Lost City Prince artwork: made by Anna Lore, show created by Andrew Nowak and Jeff Harlow Pictured behind microphones with Julia Morizawa recording for The AM Archives