We had the good fortune of connecting with Sterling Boyns and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sterling, Risk taking: how do you think about risk, what role has taking risks played in your life/career?
Chasing my acting dream comes with rejection, disappointment and discouragement. But that’s a given – no good thing comes easy. It’s challenging, but it’s worth it.
My first courageous step was moving across the country. A year after college, I moved from Arizona to New York City, with no job, housing and little to no friends. However, with hard work and perseverance, I slowly began to see the fruit of my labor being produced.
I befriended amazing, talented people and artists. One of them and I had an idea to create, direct, produce and act in our own short film. We were overwhelmed with excitement, but faced a problem in the early development stage: how were we going to fund this project? We could not financially afford a cast, crew and professional filming equipment. We took the risk and moved forward by reaching out to our community of friends who we wanted to partner with in this project (writers, actors, cinematographers and sound engineers). We laid out our passion and vision for the film, and were honest about unfortunately not being able to offer them monetary compensation. Because they believed in our vision, they said yes. Our filming locations were our respective apartments and jobs. All we had to do was pay for kraft services. My friend and I refused to operate from a place of lack. Instead, we looked at the resources we already had and used it to the fullest extent. We had everything we needed and the end result was beautiful and fulfilling.
Three years later, in the middle of the pandemic, I moved from NYC to LA. I did not have an immediate job lined up or a car on the west coast. Of course, it would have been ideal to have had all of that arranged before I moved, but that’s not how life works all of the time. It was mentally and emotionally tough to take that leap of faith. However, in the depths of my soul, I knew it was the best thing to do.
My number one source that I have to give credit to is my faith in God. My innate gift of acting has been the one thing I’ve never questioned in my life. I knew I was going to be an actor at the age of three, and that conviction has stuck with me ever since. God has always gone before me and is with me in every step of this journey. My love for performing knows no bounds, and there has never been a doubt in my mind that this is my purpose in life.
To be honest, I don’t even like calling it “risk taking” – it’s simply obedience. I know for certain that God has called me to the entertainment industry, so when I realize my next steps, no matter how frightening or unorthodox it may seem, I follow because I trust my Creator. There’s no risk of failure with God. My journey has come with its fair share of trials and tribulations, but I’d rather endure the pain of relentlessly running after my purpose than the pain of regret and not trying at all.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m my own boss. My work week consists of voiceover training in Audiobook Adventures, improv classes at The Groundlings, submitting myself for acting jobs on entertainment-industry platforms, reading scripts, creative writing and connecting with industry professionals. When I’m not doing that, I work as an Uber driver.
Although my schedule is full, it’s imperative that I take care of myself in the process. Life is a marathon, not a sprint, so rest is essential in order to run my race well. I don’t work for rest – I work from rest. The grind mentality of ‘hustle 24/7’ and ‘team no sleep’ is for the birds. Rest fuels my work.
I usually work five to six days a week. So during a standard work day, I’ll set a reminder on my phone to rest (fifteen to thirty minutes) between activities. Those moments of rest can look like eating a snack, going on a walk in the neighborhood or even prayer. Taking scheduled breaks allows my body to breathe and mind to relax. It refreshes my soul and enables me to enjoy my work – not endure it. It’s important that I keep my routines, so that my routines keep me.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
That’s a great question. It’s tricky because I moved here a few months ago during the pandemic, so I haven’t been able to fully experience LA myself. But from what I’ve visited in the past, here are a few ideas:
Food – Lucky Boy, Yardhouse, Ding Tea (it’s not good for me, but it’s been good to me), Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles and Realfood.
Leisure – Hiking, museums, beaches and Disneyland.
Sports – Lakers, Dodgers.
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?
This feels like an Oscar speech. I’m here for it.
Shoutout to my friends and family for their relentless love and support. I’d also like to thank my theatre professors at The University of Arizona for their grounded, training work in voice, movement and acting, contemporary and classical-based. Much love to The Rogue Theatre for further honing my artistic skills after college and showing me what I’m capable of achieving. Finally, sending my gratitude to New York City (Brooklyn, stand up) for building my character in a way I’ve never imagined and Los Angeles for welcoming me with open arms.
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin..” – Zechariah 4:10
The marathon continues.