Mark AlbrechtSnackboy's Words of Wisdom
may 1998 guest
If you ask an actor what is the toughest job in Hollywood, most often the answer will be, "acting on a regular basis". Attesting to fortitude and determination, Nebraskan's J.D. Johnston has succeeded in acting for a living, or at least a marginal existence, for over 20 years.
Born in Lincoln, J.D. moved around a bit, attending school at Kearney, Nebraska Wesleyan, and UNO. J.D. has managed to lead a colorful life from his early school years. While at Nebraska Wesleyan in the 60's, J.D. was supposed to be the driver for a little known politician named Richard Nixon. Instead, J.D. somehow managed to get picked up and fingerprinted by the FBI...Go Figure! J.D. admits that he was "encouraged" to leave school to get into acting which took him to the big apple. While in NYC, J.D. received a scholarship to a dramatic workshop where he studied for a time, but health problems and genuine dislike for life in the big city brought J.D. back to Lincoln.
Back in Nebraska, J.D. delved into that now extinct form of acting, at least in Omaha, Dinner Theater. At the Firehouse Dinner Theater, J.D. made a living earning $50/wk. acting, $75/wk. renting his goat to the theater for the show -- (Don't Go There) and additional $ by doing brick work on the building; he was nothing if not creative in his financing. J.D. continued on the dinner theater circuit watching them all eventually close as he moved on; be assured this was no reflection on his work. Deciding it was time once again to leave the Cornhusker state, J.D. ventured to Chicago, Milwaukee and eventually to Los Angeles, acting in theater and other venues as he went.
Not really understanding anything about how "the biz" worked, J.D. took the unique approach of accompanying friends to auditions and getting work because of it. He has been known to ask casting directors and producers some very pointed questions and says he really can't figure out why he ever gets jobs. J.D. has the philosophy that most of what actors do is "dispense information" and that only one in a thousands will be the next Tom Cruise. J.D.'s advice to young actors is to have the willingness to pursue longevity in the business rather than stardom. J.D. has in recent history appeared in five feature films back to back, has a TNT film with Randy Quaid, Eric Roberts and Sam Sheppard and an independent film with Robert Townsend. For a guy who doesn't know how he gets hired, J.D. sure manages to get the parts.
Besides acting, J.D. is working on some ideas with fellow NCC cohort Dick Christie that they would produce and direct. If you missed J.D. at the salon, you'll have to catch him sometime to hear his story about Michael Landon using one dozen raw eggs to tame a co-stars big ego. --Craig Cleaver
So, you're tired of sitting around waiting for the phone to ring. Let's face it, it's not what you know, it's WHO you know, so why don't you come get to know us? The Hollywood Salon is movers and shakers, celebs and wanna-be celebs getting together over a beer and a memory of a faraway place.
We're not all Nebraskans - some of us just like to hang out with Nebraskans - but we're all part of the magic of Hollywood. Join us at 7:30 on the SECOND Monday of every month at the Culver Hotel, 9400 Culver Blvd. (@ Washington Blvd.) in Culver City, California 90232.
Just ten bucks Just TEN bucks...includes one drink and a raffle ticket for fabulous Nebraska prizes. (Ten bucks too much? volunteer some time to the NCC and get in free.) There is a fully stocked bar, with cocktails, draft beers and good wines. ĘThere is also a great restaurant at the hotel serving wonderful appetizers and full meals (you can eat early in the lobby/bar or bring your food up into the Salon conference room).
There's a VIP guest almost every month--check out the list of recent ones and see who you've been missing. You'll have a chance to share your news and needs in our Show and Tell. But the best part is all the friends you'll meet--old friends and new friends. Most of them will know where you come from. And all of them are bigwigs (or tomorrow's bigwigs) in Hollywood.