Actor Sean Dube: “Not getting the job is normal, just keep showing up and doing your best work”
Not getting the job is normal. We go on lots of auditions and most of the time you will not book it for reasons that will never be known. Just keep showing up and doing your best work and eventually someone will say yes and give you the opportunity to showcase it.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Sean Dube. Sean is an American actor, and male lead of MEETING BROWN; an audience choice award winning short film at the Panama International Film Festival. He is a recent graduate of the conservatory program at The Studio/New York, and holds a double degree in Kinesiology and Biochemistry (which he says he got “because I was fat, and I wanted answers”).
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was in my final semester at college when I needed to take a filler course to earn enough credits to be full time. During this, I was working as a personal trainer at the school and one of my clients encouraged me to take an acting class. It was something that I always wanted to do, but never got around to doing. The first day we were thrown straight into some improv work and I just had a blast. By the second week I realized that I had been a performer all along and it was dying to come out. It certainly explained my fondness for public speaking and strange affinity for people watching.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
I had my picture taken by Annie Leibovitz, but no one will ever see it. I was brought in to work with her to figure out some group shots for the cast of a network TV show. It was a super fun day. I love her work, and loved the opportunity to work with her in that small capacity.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The funniest mistake was during a comedic play called EVERSCAPE that is written by Allan Maule. The play was put up in the New York Fringe Festival and involved a lot of stage combat. I was playing the bad guy and in this one scene my scene partner, Jacob Williams, and I get the drop on Michael Reese, who was playing the lead. We make our entrance, I draw my sword, and completely fumble it. The audience started to laugh immediately. Seeing an opportunity, Jacob and I made a bit out of it that must have gone on for 90 seconds before Michael finally got us back on track. The audience was bent in half. At the end of the show I had people coming up to me to tell me how funny that scene was, and even got the high praise from one young lady telling me “that was so embarrassing” as she was still laughing as she thought about it. The bit stayed for the rest of the run. This taught me what people really mean when they say things happen by happy accident.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I’m currently writing a script that a friend and I are producing. We both wanted to do a neo-noir that wove conspiracy and thriller elements into it. For me, it’s been a way to channel everything that I’ve been feeling about the political climate in our country at the moment. It seems like doing the right thing doesn’t get you ahead right now, and I really wanted to explore that.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
This industry is awesome because you get to meet interesting people every day. The most fascinating part to me has been realizing that no one knows what they are doing, but the people doing the best work have the confidence that they will figure it out.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Take the time to work on your own passion projects, and keep everything in perspective. It’s easy to look over at the person who has 10 leading roles and an oscar under their belt at your age and wonder what you are doing. We do this because we love it and it’s important not to lose sight of that.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
My movement would be to focus on education reform. There are lots of problems that need to be addressed, and education can fix them all. It’s not a quick fix, but it would be worth the wait.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Being yourself means not filtering your feelings to match what you think is expected of you. It took me a while to learn what “be yourself” meant to me. It helped me to slow down, open up, and stop judging what I am feeling. The world is a much richer place when you allow yourself to truly experience it.
- Stay Focused. It is really easy to lose sight of what you want to accomplish. Set a goal that is ten years out and work backwards. What do you need to do today to take steps in that direction? Who do you need to know? You can create a game plan for yourself and then trust that every decision you make is setting you on that path.
- You are enough. Acting isn’t so much about putting things on as it is taking things away. You want to expose the raw part of yourself. When you start working that way it is scary not just because you are feeling it for real, but because it is your expression the character is using. You feel these feelings all the time, so it seems to you that no one else would care. That’s simply not the case.
- Auditioning is about doing a job and not getting a job. You are being brought in to provide your take on the character and tell the story that you want to see. Sometimes that means you get to go deeper and keep doing it. Most times it means you get to perform it once.
- Not getting the job is normal. We go on lots of auditions and most of the time you will not book it for reasons that will never be known. Just keep showing up and doing your best work and eventually someone will say yes and give you the opportunity to showcase it.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
When I was around 13 years old, my dad gave me the job of mowing the lawn. Like any 13 year old, I just wanted to get it done and go back to playing video games, so I rushed through it and left a bunch of patches of uncut grass all over the lawn. My dad took me back outside and pointed it out to me when he said, “When you do something for somebody, your name is written all over it. That’s how they think about you from then on. Make sure you do a good job and work your hardest so they want to work with you again.” I’ve never forgotten that and it’s been hugely impactful on my work ethic.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There is a mountain of people that have helped me along the way. That being said, it would be foolish not to mention Paul Sheren or Miguel Romero. Paul was the person that encouraged me to begin acting, and his husband Miguel worked at the school and pulled some strings to get me into classes. They even let me stay in their New York City apartment rent free until they moved in after they retired from their out of state jobs. I am forever grateful for their support and encouragement, and hope that I have the opportunity to pay it forward some day.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
Paul Thomas Anderson. He is such an amazing writer and filmmaker. I would love to chat with him about movies, hobbies, Los Angeles — whatever comes up. He just seems like a super awesome dude, and I could be wrong, but I feel like we would be friends.
How can our readers follow you on social media? I am on twitter and instagram @_seandube
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!