“Always Be Genuine With People” Words of Wisdom with Actor and Producer Justin Michael Woods
I had the pleasure to interview Justin Michael Woods. Justin is an actor and producer, known for Sully (2016), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and New Year’s Eve (2011).
What is your backstory?
Where do I begin? Since I was a young boy I’ve always had aspirations to have a successful career in entertainment industry. School plays, showcases you name it as a child I was in it. During high school I got extremely serious about my acting career and I started to apply to Juilliard and the American Academy for dramatic arts along with many other acting conservatories in New York City. Once my parents found out what I was doing they made it their mission to change my mind and unfortunately under the pressure, I buckled and did what they so desperately wanted me to do at that time. Which was to attend a regular university and get a regular degree so that I can work a regular job… During my time at the university I felt this aching feeling, knowing in my mind I am not doing what I wanted or needed to be doing. I wanted to break away, but how? I ended up joining the Army. Looking back, I have no regrets but in retrospect no one should ever feel that perpetual “I’ve got to get out of here!” Feeling or be pushed to make radicle decisions such as that. Again, no regrets. I launched an entertainment company in 2014 and have spent the past 4 years building my company specializing in public relations, social media and entertainment up to what it is today.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you in the course of your career?
To be honest, there are many. I’m grateful for each and every experience. What takes the cake for me was working side by side with Winona Ryder on the set of The Letter and Clint Eastwood working on the set of Sully with Tom Hanks and Laura Linney, and also working with Christopher Nolan Ann Hathaway, Tom Hardy and Christian Bale on the set of The Dark Knight Rises. Going home and having old friends contact me and tell me about the article they read about me in the Huffington Post. These are the memories that come to mind when I think to answer your question.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I’ve used my success to bring goodness to the world by making myself accessible to those who want to learn more information. Whether it be about education of the PR and Entertainment world or mentorship in general. We all need mentors in life, I pride myself in giving back. Especially to the young generation, it’s a joy to go to institutions and speak to those young impressionable minds that are so eager to soak up new exciting information.
If someone would want to emulate your career what would you suggest are the most important things to do?
I would say one of the most important things to do would be to:
Always be genuine with people.
Always treat people with respect.
And to always remember you will run into people from your past and it’s for your own benefit that they have a good lasting impression of you.
So what are your most exciting projects you are working on now?
I’m working on a few projects as we speak. The projects I’m allowed to talk about is this one project I’m working on about me assisting and mentoring a future graduating student of the Fashion Institute of Technology build her brand. Introduce her to important figures in the industry and working on launching her brand before graduation so that her business is already up and running and generating revenue. The other project I’m working on is about veterans. Me being a veteran myself I know first hand the struggle. The struggle of the mind after either returning home or after being separated (honorably) from the military. My documentary film chronicles the lives of a few selected veterans and sheds light on the war within the mind and how it affects them and their families. To topics discussed in the film are depression, ptsd, homelessness and suicide among the veteran community and what we need to do as a nation to make it better.
What are your “things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why?
You don’t have to have an extensive education list of schools and degrees and certificates you’ve acquired through out your academic life to start a business.
I wanted to ensure I was good and ready for business. I wanted to go to every school, take every class pertaining to what I wanted to do, and I realize now that all I did although I have a large percentage of education. That it wasn’t as necessary as I initially thought it’d be. Education is important however you can start from where you are and build from that starting point.
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 just see this.
I would love to have breakfast with Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group. I’ve always admired him and his work and his compassion for people. I know I would obtain so many nuggets of wisdom in life and in business from him.