What’s something common between actors and athletes?
More than just having a knack for entertaining the masses, they know the value of hard work, determination, and grit. This is why it comes as no surprise that a good number of football stars find success in show business too. Just take a look at the story of Dwayne Johnson, Terry Crews, and Burt Reynolds.
Actor Zach Avery has a similar sports-to acting storyline.
As a teenager, Avery spent a lot of time playing football and he even played for Indiana University for a while. While he didn’t get to fulfill his NFL dreams because of an injury, Avery discovered a new passion: Acting.
“Personally, the transition from football/sports into pursuing a more creative path was incredibly freeing. The passion that I had/have for acting has always surpassed that of anything else (professionally) so when the path cleared for me to pursue a career in acting… I could not have been more excited and ready for what was ahead,” Avery shared.
When one door closes, another one opens, indeed.
After years of taking risks and working hard, Avery is now doing what he loves most. He was in three movies last year: the ensemble horror Hell is Where the Home Is, the British-made film The White Crow, and The Farming starring Kate Beckinsale. And there is definitely more to come.
Here we chat with Avery about his passion for acting, his role as a father, and his future plans in the industry.
Getting started in the business
Avery has been dabbling in high school theater since his teens but he only decided to shift gears and pursue acting seriously while he was at a Doctoral program at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. This means having to take a leave of absence and sell Quickbooks software door to door for funds.
He then drove across the country from Chicago to Los Angeles with nothing more than his dog, a few suitcases, and a big dream. He was lucky enough to have his then-girlfriend (now wife) supporting him every step of the way.
As you might’ve guessed, their risk paid off.
“I always had that little dream of getting “discovered” and almost immediately cast in the perfect film but that’s all it was in reality…. a dream. The pursuit of this career takes determination, perseverance, and a ridiculously strong mind that can confidently work through all the “no”s until you finally get that first yes. It’s not easy but it is certainly worth it!” Avery said.
For Avery, one of the biggest challenges of being an actor is getting someone to believe in you and actually hire you.
“It took time to realize that I have to put the energy and passion into the auditions while working to get the “job” rather than simply waiting for the “yes”s to allow me to do what I love,” he explained.
It’s easy to see how Avery has truly embraced his craft. To prepare or a particular role, he paints a clear picture of the character in his head before diving into the dialogue and working with the other actors.
“For me, it all starts on the page. When you read a good script with layered characters and story; the writer has given you such a solid blueprint to bring that character to life. So I steal any clues that the writer has left me as to who this person is and then I work from the inside out,” he shares.
On fatherhood and family life
Avery might seem like he has a glamorous job, but underneath it all, he’s just like any other millennial dad and husband trying to find the magical balance between work and family time. Take a look at his Instagram, and you’ll find several lovely photos of his adorable son Jax, and beautiful wife, Mallory.
Being a father has somehow helped Avery become better at his acting.
“Due to the fact that most of our job is genuinely tapping into empathy, emotions, and relationships; the amount of emotion that you get to experience when you become a Dad is unmatched. There are no words to describe the feeling of love, commitment, and responsibility that comes with having a child so having these in your “arsenal” when prepping for a role is incredible,” he explains.
But of course, this life-changing role comes with challenges, too.
“The challenging part of being a dad while acting is the schedule that comes with production. Much of the time during shoots, I am not in Los Angeles so I am either away from him or if we can work it out, my wife and son come with me on location,” he says.
Avery always makes an effort to spend time with his family and balance his work with his responsibilities.
Future projects and words of wisdom
Later this year, Avery will appear in a film called Last Moment of Clarity, where he plays a character called Sam. He said it was his most memorable role to date – one that has taught him so much about life, love, and relationships.
“I was drawn to the project after reading the script and meeting with the directors (Colin and James Krisel) due to the layers that I would be able to portray through Sam’s story. It’s not every day that you get an opportunity to dive deep into a character that goes on a roller coaster journey through so many emotions while simultaneously asking the question regarding if love exists in a time and a place or if there really is an everlasting, once in a lifetime kind of love,” he said about his role.
And for those who are thinking of pursuing acting? Avery shares brilliant pieces of advice.
“Don’t get discouraged. Don’t let the No’s outweigh the passion you have to make your dreams come true. And don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t make it happen because if you genuinely believe that this is the only thing that will fulfill you professionally… let that be the loudest voice in your head,” he says.