GREENVILLE – One Greenville native has taken his passion for acting and has turned it into roles in both television and film.
Jesse Clark, a 2010 Greenville High School graduate, has been acting since junior high and has previously attended the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts during the summer of his junior and senior years, and the training is paying off.
There, Clark studied voice acting, stage combat, improvisation and on-camera training.
“They critique your emotions, because the emotions from film show up differently from theater, and I had a lot of theater background,” said Clark. “I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for that training.”
Now he’s turning his honed skills into a career.
Recently, Clark was recruited to act in an upcoming television series called “Article 17.” The director was a local acquaintance, and thought Clark would be great for a role as the White House Press Secretary in a post-apocalyptic world.
“Ever since then, its just picked up,” Clark said.
Clark lately had the opportunity to act in a new Hallmark movie called “The Christmas Spirit,” which was filmed in Lebanon, Ohio and is premiering on the Hallmark Channel on Friday at 6 p.m.
From there, he’s scheduled to play a part in the new Hunger Games: Mocking Jay film, he’s worked on the set of ABC’s show “Nashville,” and he’s also slated to play a zombie in season five of “The Walking Dead.”
But his most memorable experience came just three weeks ago, as he had the opportunity to work with one of his idols, Jim Carrey, on the set of the new “Dumb and Dumber To” movie.
Clark played a barfly, and actually got to perform with an actor he’d looked up to all his life.
“It was absolutely amazing, just seeing your role model basically right in front of you,” said Clark. “And it taught me a lot.”
The experience not only gave Clark a few tips, but also cemented his idea that the truly successful actors are the ones who stay grounded.
“It was even more inspiring. He’s a nice guy, and down to earth. It made me feel like not all actors are out doing bad things. He’s one of those that are out there wanting to teach people how to do this too if you have the right attitude,” said Clark.
Looking forward, Clark has been finding roles through a handful of casting agencies, while surveying Facebook for open opportunities.
Often, he has to drive long distances to find roles. Weeks ago, he drove to Wilmington, North Carolina, an eleven hour drive, to act in Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow,” and has driven to Atlanta and Chicago to film various different parts.
Clark hopes to focus on film and television, although he comes from a theater background initially where he got his start in at Darke County Center for the Arts production of “Rumpelstiltskin.”
“I just like being on the big screen. Its what I’ve always liked,” he said.
But beyond his acting career, Clark just wants to remind the younger generation that anything is possible with hard work and dedication.
“I just want to be a role model for the kids, and let them know that just because you’re from a small town, it doesn’t mean you can’t chase your dreams,” said Clark. “They can do basically anything if they put their mind to it.”