My name is Bradley Bowen, and at the age of 44, I quit my construction job to pursue acting, and never looked back. I have now had feature roles in major motion pictures and hit television series such as, Divergent, Insurgent, Furious 7, Devious Maids, Drop Dead Diva, Ant-Man, and Hunger Games: Mocking Jay- Part 2.
My decades of experience in construction were physically and mentally challenging. Little did I know that the lessons I learned in construction would one day benefit me as an actor.
Here are 5 tips that took me from construction site to movie set:
1) WEAR THE RIGHT UNIFORM. When I was a construction worker it was essential to wear the proper uniform: hard hat, eye protection, and sturdy boots. The same rule applies to landing roles as an actor. If you are auditioning for a “homeless” role, you probably shouldn’t shave or wear a suit.
2) BE PREPARED. Would you show up to construction site without your tools? So don’t arrive at an audition without your headshot, resume, Identification, and your lines memorized. These are an extremely important part of the casting process! Fail to prepare. Prepare to fail.
3) BUDGETING IS EVERYTHING. As a construction business owner I wouldn’t have spent my entire budget on fancy equipment, and have no money left over to hire people to operate it. As an actor, driving an expensive car that’s costly to service and fill-up doesn’t make sense either. Driving around the country for casting and auditioning requires a fuel efficient car. Spend less money on gas and save the ‘big bucks’ for necessities. It’s imperative to remain economical, especially if you’ve just quit your day job. You don’t want to trade a full tank of gas for an empty belly. Leave the BMW in your dreams (for now)!
4) STAY FUELED. Lunch breaks were a construction site highlight. A nutritious meal in the middle of the day gave me the energy I needed to finish a long day of manual labor. Similarly, one of my favorite perks of working on set is the catering. It’s just as difficult to swing a hammer as it is to remember lines between pangs of hunger. The catering on set is a tool actors are given to keep them fueled, focused, and performing at their best. (It can also be a great help when you’re living on a ‘new actor’ budget.) Make sure you utilize and enjoy that tool, you earned it!
5) EFFICIENCY IS KEY. While working in construction, my job was my workout. As an actor, I don’t have much spare time, and exercise is a necessity. I often use my gym as a one stop shop. Workout, shower, and nap when needed. You’ll be amazed at how much time you can save by multi-tasking at a single location.
Bradley Bowen is a 46-year-old construction worker-turned-actor who decided to pursue his dream to be an actor just two years ago. Working his way up from an extra, Bowen has appeared as a featured actor in hit-movies and television shows including, The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay – Part 2, Divergent, Insurgent, Furious 7, Tomorrowland, Devious Maids and Drop Dead Diva. Bowen is currently working on Allegiant, the latest installment in the Divergent series. Bowen lives in New Smyrna Beach, Florida with his wife Aimee and daughter Jayden.