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Monroe Mann – How I Got Started As An Actor

Dive: Artist - Actor
Description: Emoting as an actor!
Level: Level 1
Level Requirements: Has gone on an audition or acted out a scene, or attended some form of training
Certified On: Mar 22, 2020

Editor’s Note: On all dive certifications, we try to edit the writing as little as possible to preserve authenticity, personality, and writing style. We typically fix spelling errors, but minimally modify grammar and sentence structure (just enough to ensure readability).

Monroe Mann

Name: Monroe Mann Break Diving Level: Level 1 Number of Certified Dives: 14 From: United States In: United States

1. When and Why Did You Decide to Pursue This Dive At This Level? What was your inspiration and motivation?

In high school, I struggled to find something I was truly good at. I tried the soccer team, ski team, and track & field. I was okay at them all, but I wasn’t truly spectacular. I thought I was good at acting, but that dream was dashed too, because every time I tried to audition for the school play, I always got cast in a small bit part. This happened junior year too. 

One day, my mom said that a director at a local theater company in the big city (I lived in Maine at the time) was having trouble finding the dramatic male lead for the play Equus, by Peter Shaffer. It is by many standards considered one of the most demanding dramatic roles every written.

Long story short, I went on the audition, and… I got the part, and according to the director, saved the production! The play went up at the Eastern Slope Playhouse in North Conway, NH to such rave reviews that we ended up extending the run. I’ve even committed one of the reviews to memory: “A huge standing ovation on stilts to young Monroe Mann whose totally amazing performance belies the fact that this is his first professional performance, the other two being small roles in high school plays.”

And so, the acting bug had bitten me. I had finally found something I was really good at. I decided after that self-confidence boosting adventure that I would pursue acting professionally one day. The adventure had begun.

2. How Long Did It Take For You To Accomplish This Dive At This Level From The Day You Decided To Pursue It, And Why Did It Take That Long?

The very first time I performed on stage as an actor was in elementary school. I believe I was in the play, “The Pied Piper.” Aside from that, I definitely remember being the wizard in the Wizard of Oz, in 6th grade. One of these two performances was probably my first time ‘acting’. But for me, the first time I was actually cast in a role that required me to really act, in a meaty role, as a lead, was this play I mentioned above, Equus.

3. What Was The Hardest Part About Achieving This Particular Dive Level?

I think for me, the hardest part part was constantly getting cast in small bit parts. I remember when I was a high school freshman and sophomore, they told me the reason I wasn’t getting cast in big parts was due to my lack of seniority. So I was so excited as a junior to audition, only to have my dreams crushed again–the lead role went to a sophomore. It was a good introduction into how the real world works, and how Hollywood worked too: a lot of punches to the gut, and disappointing double standards. However, that experience toughened me up to help me survive in the real world of show business years later in New York City and Los Angeles, so I was grateful for the early training.

4. What Was The Easiest Part About Achieving This Particular Dive Level?

The easiest part was that I didn’t really even think about it. At the time, I just went after something that I wanted to do. It’s not hard to get into acting. Anyone can do it, no matter where you live in the world. The hard part is sticking with it, and finding/creating opportunities for bigger projects down the road.

5. What Is Your Advice For Someone Who Is Pursuing This Dive And Level?

It’s scary to go on an audition, or to perform in front of others for the first time. The most important thing to realize is that you need to go forward with the audition/performance despite all of your fear. If this is something you want to do professionally, it’s important that you treat all you do professionally: set up a professional website, get a professional head shot, create a professional resume, get professional training, etc. The more seriously you take the endeavor, the more likely you will be taken seriously by other players in the business.

My best advice for anyone who wants to get into acting though is this: don’t wait for others to cast you in their shows, films, sketches, etc. Do it yourself. Write a script. Use your phone to shoot it. Edit it, even on iMovie. And post it on your own YouTube channel. You yourself have everything you need to run your own production studio and cast yourself as the lead. Don’t squander years of potential self-created opportunities by spending all your time seeking opportunities from someone else! Yes, you should try to get auditions for professional projects. But you’re a fool if you don’t always have, in your back pocket, a collection of personal, self-produced projects that do not depend on anyone else.

6. What Are Some Of The Best Resources You Recommend to Those Pursuing This Dive At This Level, And Why Do You Recommend Them? Please Include Relevant Weblinks, If Applicable.

Although it’s not something I had access to when I was starting out, there is indeed a book about how to approach an acting career from the right mindset that has received rave reviews called “The Theatrical Juggernaut – The Psyche of the Star”. It’s a book that has helped thousands of actors over the years, and guess who wrote it? I did! The author is yours truly, Monroe Mann, haha. It’s helped lots of people create the right mental attitude needed to succeed in the world of show biz.

Further, if you are also trying to feel more comfortable on stage, or just have an amazingly fun time, I recommend you enroll in a long-form improv comedy class, such as those at Upright Citizen’s Brigade in NYC or LA. You learn how to perform on stage without a script. It’s hilarious and a lot of fun.

Lately, the PIT NYC (another improv comedy school) has started to offer online video classes via Zoom in an attempt to keep their business alive during the current Covid-19 pandemic. That’s a great option too if you don’t live near NYC or LA, and let’s hope they keep them going even after it’s all over.

Next, if you need a monologue for an audition or just to practice, you can find monologue books on Amazon, and free monologue collections in general on the web. Rehearsing a monologue and posting it on your YouTube channel is an easy way to get started acting. You can also do the same with an acting scene!

Finally, definitely visit Drama Book Shop in New York City. It’s the actor’s home! At the moment, it has closed due to financial issues, but, the Broadway actor Lin-Manuel Miranda recently saved it by purchasing it! So, word is that it’s going to open again soon. Fingers crossed.

Resource 1: The Theatrical Juggernaut - It’s a book that has helped thousands of actors over the years.

Resource 2: Upright Citizen’s Brigade - You learn how to perform on stage without a script. It’s hilarious and a lot of fun.

Resource 3: PIT NYC - Comedy school

Resource 4: Drama Book Shop - It’s the actor’s home!

Resource 5: -

7. Tell Us A Story Of One Of Your Adventures While Pursuing This Dive (At This Level).

As a corollary and addendum to the story I shared above, about Equus, here are two more fun bits to the story:

1. During final rehearsals for Equus, I again auditioned for the school plays, this time for the one-act play festival. There were four plays, and about 8 leads, and I was a junior. Surely I would get a lead this time, right? Not surprisingly, I was given a tiny bit role. Well, after the reviews in the newspaper came out about me, the director of the one-act that I had been cast in came to see me in Equus. The next day (haha) he switched my role from a bit part into one of the leads! Great news for me. Bad news for the other student. The student who originally had the lead… now had my bit part! As I said, showbiz is brutal. In fact, that student took it so much to heart that later that week, I saw backstage, in red spray paint, the words, “Ted must die.” Ted was the name of my new character. I feel bad that that had happened to the other student, but I also finally felt vindicated! Finally I was being recognized for my talents! Finally I was good at something! It was an incredible boost to my self-esteem, and today, nearly 25 later, when I bump into people up in Maine and New Hampshire, they still tell me how amazing I was in that play. It makes me smile just to think about it. That was a great time in my life! As a side note, how funny that back in the mid 2000s, while walking in Manhattan, I saw someone in front of me that really looked like that other student. I sped up, looked to my left, and whoah, it was him! How funny, right? Small world.

2. Okay, story number 2. When I was cast in that play Equus, I was 17 at the time. Maybe 16 going on 17. I had never kissed a girl up to that point in my life. No girlfriend, no dates, none of that. Yet, the role of Alan Strang in Equus required that I a) have a truly intense 5-minute orgasm on stage with a horse (yes, a horse), and b) have a sexy make out scene with another actress, and c) this make out scene happened while I was stripped to nothing but my underwear, and d) while she was stripped to nothing but a sexy silk lingerie teddy. Oh, and I had to do all this in front of a huge audience of strangers each night. It was quite awkward, to the say the least, but to this day, that actress (Hi Lori!) is one of my best of friends, and we always joke around that she was my ‘first kiss’, and chuckle about the fact that my first kiss happened on a stage, in front of a huge room of random strangers, night after night… in a play! Oh show business! Does this make me and Lori porn stars? Not sure…

8. What Evidence Did You Submit to Prove You Met the Requirements for This Dive and Level?

  1. You can find my acting reel and a bunch of short films I’ve been a part of on my youtube channel at www.youtube.com/monroemann I hope you will subscribe! As of this writing, I have 567 subscribers. Will you be part of the team to help me reach 1000!

  2. My imdb page also provides lots of evidence of all of the various projects I have been a part of as an actor. Just search: Monroe Man.

  3. You can also see me acting in the comedy-horror feature film, You Can’t Kill Stephen King. I not only co-starred, but I also co-wrote, co-produced, and co-directed this funny film that was sold at Cannes in over 15 international territories. It was also picked up by Amazon Prime and YouTube Movies, so if you have either, check it out! Alas, how that all happened is a story for another dive certification… 

9. Will You Be Pursuing The Next Level For This Dive? If Yes, Why? If Not, Why Not?

Indeed! The next is Level 2: "Has appeared in a play, film, video or TV show." I will probably write about my first student film roles in New York City, and perhaps my role in the 20th Century Fox film, “Swimfan”. That’s for next time!

10. What is the Break Diver's Creed?

No Rules. No Excuses. No Regrets.

Certificate photo:

And having made this post, and provided adequate evidence to the dive committee, Monroe Mann is now hereby certified by Break Diving, Inc. as: Artist - Actor - Level 1. Congratulations ! Thank you for being an inspiration to others!

Certificate number: 29

The author above wrote this WYSEguidance post as one of the certification requirements to become certified by Break Diving, Inc. for a dive completed. Would you also like to find greater success, happiness, and friendship, and make genuine supportive connections with others around the world pursuing your same dreams? Come join us at Break Diving and soon your story will be the next one you read about on this site!

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