We had the good fortune of connecting with Mark Valeriano and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mark, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
To achieve balance is the ultimate goal right. To find a nice even flow. But truthfully, like life itself, I believe this will be an ongoing challenge. At first when I found out I was going to be an actor the rest of my life, although so excited, ecstatic, I also felt I was so behind. I was nearly 25 years old. I thought about how people who I loved already doing this started when they were three even. How do you know at that age. Some people are blessed like that. But either way I felt I had to catch up. I grinded, every single day. Read books, took classes, submitted to absolutely everything I could. Ran around town, gigs for free right after another. Tried to do literally every single thing I could to gain as much as I could as fast as I can. I did love the trial and error and constantly risking and experiencing new things and people and perception, BUT I burned myself into the ground. Exhausted by the time I got any rest. Let down, sad and depleted. I gave myself no recharge. I have grown a lot in the last nearly 6 years of trying to figure this business out. I have allowed myself to say no. To aim for the bigger picture and have faith and trust that the right opportunity will fall into place, Because I do truly believe that with all my heart and soul that what is right for me will always be. If I try to force anything I am just getting in the way of that. It is hard to slow down and to feel like I am missing an opportunity but in reality its still more important to feel happy about you do and who you have in your life. There is no point in losing or pushing away the people you love and that love you so that you can get just one more opportunity. I write this with confidence but I am still looking every single day for a gig I just feel like I am moving in the direction of balance with the help of my loved ones and the strength I gain from practice. Acting will always be here for me. I can do it anywhere, and I do believe that everything I want to achieve will be there for me at exactly the right time.
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.
So many challenges and still to this day! I moved to LA with damn near zero dollars and not even a place to go when I arrived. I slept in my buddies car for like 2 weeks until I found a place that allowed me to have my own room. I worked so many jobs in LA. For nearly 4 years I bounced around from part time job to part time job getting fired or quitting because I always put acting first. I am finally at a point where I dont need to have any other source of income which in itself is an incredible feeling. I am so grateful for that and I will never forget any part leading up to that moment. I love what I get to do and for it to allow me to live my life solely off of it, I am forever grateful. I have had so many amazing experiences acting and performing and collaborating. I have met some of the most vulnerable and precious and giving people. I seriously get to do something that inspires me every single day and I am so blessed to be able to continue this journey. Lessons I have learned. I feel like there is a new one every single day. Stay focused, lead with your heart and always trust your instincts. Go with your gut and take fucking chances. There is no time or room for playing it safe. You really have to love this and push yourself every single day if you want even a shot at making something happen. Be easy to work with and stay humble. I cant tell you how many times I got booked out of the blue as a referral because someone on another set liked my energy. I want the world to know that I love this craft. I love learning every single day and being able to really be vulnerable and committed with other people to create something bigger than myself. I also want the world to know that no matter what you are doing, where you are from or what has happened in your life, you are always more than enough just being. You are a miracle already and dont need to ever prove yourself.
I definitely had a lot of hard times and fell to zero in my bank account over and over but that has never stopped me. I truly believe with all of my heart that if you want something, and I mean really want something with all of your being, you will make it happen. It will happen. And I truly believe that with all my heart and soul that I will continue to get to exactly where I want to be. I am a working actor and I will face many more challenges but I do believe that I will always be blessed enough to do what I love, and that is acting. Thank you!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Thats tough. For my whole career I lived without a car and walked nearly 20 miles a day. To work to my auditions to callbacks to the grocery store and home. HA I feel like I know this city more than I know where I grew up. I found some of the coolest places I feel like i would have never seen if it wasnt for walking everywhere. I love koreatown! I spent my first 3 years living around that area and found some of the best food and dessert spots along with dive bars all over koreatown. Definitely some sketchy shit going on there at some places but hell yeah. I would of course take them to the beach and the santa monica pier. But I would also take them to marina del rey and go paddle boarding. I would also say lets get the Fuck out of LA and head to Joshua Tree or Big Bear or to all the national parks up the coast. There are so many beautiful parks where you can see the most incredible stars at night along with so much wild life. LA truly is a magical place. California is incredible you cant do it in a week. You would really need a life time.
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?
AHHHH SO MANY!!! I want to shoutout my best buddy Jay Reeves for always pushing me deeper into the work. I want to thank my best buddy Connor Hough for editing damn near every single piece of content I have. I want to thank my best buddy JB Ziegler for putting me in my first mini series even though I had no fucking clue what I was doing. And then, of course I want to thank my Mom. The most loving and courageous person I ever knew in my life. She gave me what I needed to succeed in this life and thanks to her I am already successful!
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