We had the good fortune of connecting with Paul Rohrer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Paul, how do you think about risk?
Risk is one of my favorite four-letter words. The other is “next”. The two go hand in hand. No matter whether a risk works out or not; I am always looking for the next opportunity or risk. Risk is becoming more and more, the way of the world for most people I am assuming all over the world. As a teen I would take dares. I was dared to mix applesauce in my chili at summer camp. A win. I was dared to cross over the Fox River which flowed under a railroad bridge that was below high tension electric wires that were below the girders I was to cross under the Dan Ryan Freeway. A near fatal loss. There were many other wins and losses as I grew, finally deciding that the greatest thrill of all was the dare to survive as an artist. An actor. Trusting in the self worth I nurtured doing tens of odd jobs growing up, throwing papers morning and evening, stocking fabric at a fabric shop, bussing tables at a pancake house, loading moving vans, mowing lawns shoveling snow from walks, spraying caustic soda to clean hood exhaust systems, digging bubbler trenches in Lake Havasu and many many other jobs that were demanding in their own way, nothing prepared me for life as an actor as well as life itself. Many complain about losing a job once or twice in their life. An actor is forever looking for the next job and the next, unemployed daily. I don’t mean this in a callous way – especially to those who lost their loved ones – but only as a comparison to being put out of work without any choice of our own. Covid 19 has given almost every person in the world a chance to see the risks that artists face every single day of their life; forcing them to ask themselves questions like “when?” “Where?” “Why?” “How?” Fill in the end to each of those questions based on your own personal experiences. As my dear friend, Peter first shared his favorite four-letter word, that has become mine. . . NEXT.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I repeat often to my students that there are three main qualities that attract hires. Passion, Charisma and “Uniquity” – my unique way of saying, “Uniqueness”. For most aspiring and successful actors (or any successful professional) Passion for the work is a no-brainer. We love what we do and want to do it as often as possible. But what the heck is Charisma? Oxford Languages defines it as, “compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others.” Yep, that nails it. Motion picture projects from commercials to features, are always looking for the next actor who delivers a powerful, honest and moving ability in every role who is like no other. They are unique. Will there ever be another Brando? For me, with more than 40 years of coaching, it is only recently, that I feel I have taught long enough and experienced enough in my own work, that I feel confident to honor the depth and scope of this position and its craft. One of my many mentors with whom I had the privilege of being tutored by, was Tony Barr, who gave me the greatest advice ever. “Never give up and don’t let the bastards wear you down.” There is always more to learn, to experience and to always be humbled and honored by. That when you think or even believe you know it all. . . well, you don’t.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love photo trips to out of the way and ghost-like mountain towns. LaVeta, Tin Cup, Leadville and the like. Letting my senses absorb the stories and history of these amazing locations first experienced by Natives who worshipped and cared for the land like none other since. Having given up many food addictions last November, I’m no longer someone you want to ask what burger bar or best Bar BQ joint we could go to. I have since taken up gardening and enjoy hot spicy arugula, fresh greens and lots of legumes, veggies and whole fresh foods. I can only say that I am very glad for restaurants that are getting the clue that fresh and whole real food is the only way our bodies can function properly and sustain all life on this planet. Wheeee. Wasn’t that nice to learn I am one of those tree hugging nature boys?
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many worth mentioning as those who gave me life, courage, purpose and drive. I will try to be brief, but of course will end up wishing there would be more room to honor those I love. There are those who challenged me. My parents, Glenn & Wilda who are no longer with us. My two older siblings, Pearl & Naomi. Every teacher who had to put up with my endless classroom pranks and interruptions. Every single acting teacher, coach and mentor who saw my need to act and developed it. The Pettit family who took me in as family at Starwest Productions. Every single actor with whom I have shared the stage, the lens and the classroom. From the “nobodies” to the “somebodies”. Producers, Casting Directors, Directors, Writers, Executives. Men and women who have risked hiring the new guy and hired again and again as we fulfilled each and every job along the way. A gentleman I never met but whom I quote often, Paul J. Meyer. The most dedicated and patient woman I have ever met, my loving wife, Barbara and my constant inspirations, My adult children, Neal & Kelsee.