We had the good fortune of connecting with Mark McPherson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mark, how do you think about risk?
It’s a risk…not to take a risk. My father worked in a hospital for 30-40 years, and walked through the ER everyday to make his rounds, and always said, “Live today, because you could get hit by a bus. tomorrow” He meant that literally, and figuratively. The pandemic hit us all, like a bus. So, take the risk and do what you love, because we don’t know how much time we have.
I try to put too much emphasis on taking risks. Moving to LA is a risk. Get out of your comfort zone and move to LA. But after that, if you think of everything as a risk, it might all become too scary. When actors move to LA, they are told it’s a billion to one that you can make it, and actors still come to LA. So, when you are here, take the actions to make it happen.
Moving to LA was a risk. My 4 brothers are doctors or lawyers. They all have 3 college degrees each. There is security to those kind of jobs. It is a great risk to embark on careers that don’t have that stability. But to me, it’s a greater risk to not take the risky choice and do what you love.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Passionate Dedication; Supportive Enthusiasm; Artistic Community;
Passionate Dedication. They say 90% of winning is showing up. There has to be the dedication to show up no matter what. Your job is to go to class. I go to class every week- for the last 40 years. It’s your job. If you are passionate about what you do, the dedication is not hard to find. I have been extremely passionate about helping my fellow actor since the 1970’s. I am dedicated to every individuatl who walks into the theater with a dream. [or into Zoom class.].
I am dedicated to them being a briliiant actor/artist, and I am equally dedicated to them booking in the industry.
Supportive Enthusiasm. I grew up a big sports fan. 50,000 people would pour into a stadium, and enthusiastically yell and scream support for their team. I think an acting class should be like that. When someone’s sport team wins, it really doesn’t make a difference in their careers. But when your teammates in a classroom win, because of your enthusiastic yelling and screaming support, it CAN change your career. If your friends are booking and signed with bigger agents, that can only help you. It’s a lot more fun that way.
After 30 years, I’ve seen all the problems of a career, and I can give reassuring support that “this too shall pass.” And it does. So, we’ve built this support system that helps everyone stays focused on the prize of booking bigger jobs in the industry.
Artistic Community – The studio creates committed artists who have a sense of community, and they know that sense willl benefit the whole group and in turn make themselves and everybody else stronger. “Helping the community IS helping yourself”. I don’t put limits on an actor’s creativity. I also teach all the actors how to critique in a supportive way. I think uniting and supporting the class is the way for everyone to win. There are too many award-winning short films, web series, and plays to mention that have come from this supportive aritistic communtiy.
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.
Hollywood Walk of Fame. It’s a little tourist-y, but it’s iconic. It’s Hollywood. Griffith Observatory for the view and lunch.[Rebel without a Cause.] I might rent horses in Griffith Park. There are deer trails for miles. You can get lost in some valley and you feel like you are out of the city, and then ride to the top of a ridge, and you can see the whole city from the top of a horse. There’s hiking the hills and stopping at Trails Cafe on the way back down.
The Cinerama Dome. Just cause. Classic. Venice Beach. Classic. Then drive up PCH to Malibu, and have dinner Moon Shadow, or Nobu.
Tough to name restaurants because I’ve recently become a vegetarian, so my favorite restaurants are not what they used to be, so finding new ones. And, sadly, many of my other favorites have closed.
i have students who love and live for Disneyland. So, maybe I’d take a friend there, or Universal, or SeaWorld, or the Zoo.
My son is heavy into Lego’s, so I might drag my friend to Legoland, or the CA Science Center for a big Lego exhibit.
There is always “drive the coast” and eat along the way.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Chelsea Alden has been a rock. And a rock star. There are so many people over 3 decades I could give a Shout Out to. Really. Chelsea always bring full support to whatever I’m doing. She inspires everyone else around her with work ethic. She genuinely cares how other people are doing. She has helped so many actors who were lost. She’s helped launch so many actors in their careers in many different ways. She applauds other artists. She enthusiastically supports them to get thier web series done, or their short films done. And not just the talk…but the walk.
I’m a part of a beautifully supportive artistic community at Studio 24/7. . It really does take a village to make an artist. You need people to lean on. You need people to collaborate with. You need people who inspire you. And…you sometimes need to learn that you need to learn to lead them, as well. Chelsea has done all of that.