We had the good fortune of connecting with John Eisen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi John, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I think that life is all about taking risks, honestly. If we want our lives to be interesting. The safest path will be the one without risks or challenges, but we won’t grow at all. And maybe some people are content with that…that’s their choice. I am someone who always wants to be growing, improving, learning, and moving forward. I heard a quote about a decade ago, that, “…your destiny is on the other side of your fear.” And that really made a lot of sense. As an actor, I think I’m afraid of stagnation—staying in the same spot, not growing, not being challenged. I want any gifts or talents I have in my life, in general, to be fully developed…see what’s there? I believe they are there for a reason. If we don’t take risks, we don’t move forward. And it’s possible we will make mistakes as we take risks; we’re broken people after all. And it’s possible that we may fail. But I have found sometimes that areas of failure in my life can become strengths as I take a risk and work on them. It can be hard to take a chance and face our weaknesses—personally or professionally. Life has honestly forced me to work on some of them (laughing)…but over time some of our weaknesses can be neutralized—so that they are not a weakness or a strength; and then as more time passes, that “thing” can evolve into a strength. For example, I read that when we break a bone, our bodies often heal so strongly in that spot, that we never break that bone again. I think some of our weaknesses are that way. Life may leave us very broken, but then as we fight forward or are maybe forced to face these weaknesses and work on them—that area of weakness can become an area of strength.
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.
I’ve been acting since the age of 11, and I just enjoy it! Someone’s acting, to me, is like their thumbprint. Or like the way an artist has their own style of painting. If it’s good it’s good, but among all the great artists—there’s still a distinctive taste or vibe. I had a big casting director the other day, whom I hadn’t seen in-person, since before the pandemic, look at me after a scene, and after telling me it was great she said, “So…uber-real. That’s like you’re thing—right?” And I really took it as a compliment, but then in my mind I thought, “Well, isn’t that what all acting is supposed to be?” (Laughing). “What’s the alternative?” (Laughing). I love making an audience feel something. And by this time, I’ve been doing it so long that sometimes I forget how a certain scene made me feel the first time I read it or acted it. I had a reader recently get distracted by a certain scene she was helping me with, and I could tell it was because the scene spoke to her. One of the biggest things I’ve learned along the way is that you need the right people around you, personally speaking. There will be times where you’re offering support, and times when you’re receiving support. But life, I think, is ultimately about relationships. You can accomplish everything you want to–but then what? Reach all your goals. But then what? What is it that you really want to enjoy in your life, and what will really matter—big picture.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love taking people to the Griffith Observatory! But you need to go at the right times. Beachwood Cafe by Griffith Park is a great spot. And there’s a deli I really enjoy in Beverly Hills, The Nosh. For years, Nate’N Al’s got all the attention, but I’ve always liked “The Nosh” better. The breakfast burritos are addicting! (Laughing). For a beach vibe in LA County, I like to go down to Manhattan Beach. Malibu can be so packed, and I don’t always like the vibe in Santa Monica. The Venice Skatepark and Abbot Kinney are places I love taking visitors to. I also take people to Palisades Village and the Point at The Bluffs. It’s so beautiful. And not many people know about it? For food—it really depends on what they like, and the kind of atmosphere they want. The options are endless. For sports fans, I can take people to a Rams, Dodgers, or Lakers game. Some people love hiking, so if they do I’ll give them a few options–Runyon for the city, Temescal for a break from town. The Getty is also great to see and on a clear day the views are amazing. And some friends visiting town just love Brentwood—all the shops and cafes, so we hang there.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
As a college student, my family lost everything and when I got accepted into a prestigious program at the University of Chicago, I did not have any money to take advantage of the opportunity. I was a lifeguard my junior and senior year, and one day a lady at the pool suggested I call Liz. At the time, she worked for a multi-millionaire in that part of the state who gave grants for students in need. Long story short: Liz not only helped me participate in this program, but she became a close friend and mentor. We are still in contact today! She has four sons, and I’m the adopted 5th one!
Bella Saville, owner of Bella Saville Photography in Studio City. (*picture with John is glasses is a proof)