The New Hollywood Amazing Men Series
TNH has highlighted several amazing men in our “Amazing Man Series.” If you didn’t get a chance to see our last one featuring Roger Wolfson, it is truly worth the read and a remarkable example of a man with a purpose!
Now onto our next feature: This man is unique as he is under 25 and we have yet to share a man of such youth! As curator of this blog, I am amazed at the kind of perspective that he brings at such a young age. It is a reminder that any person can be a teacher to us, no matter what age or experience. I am excited to share the wisdom of this Amazing Man, Austin Rising.
1. Who are you and what do you do? What is your personal mission statement if you have one and purpose?
I’m honored to be in support of an extraordinary group of women who move mountains as a hobby. It is my hope that the lessons I have learned in life, being a member of the entertainment industry, can further the exploits of those who read this blog on a regular basis. I attempted to accumulate the lessons I’ve learned in a funny (and hopefully informative) blog I dubbed, “The Turquoise Actor Lessons- Because I’m just a little past green”. My personal mission of creating courage and freedom through expression is not about any particular race, gender, or sexual orientation, but about humanity as a collective. My journey as a stage, screen and voice actor have given me plenty so far to pass along.
2. Who was/is the most profound male influence of your life and why?
Many of the tenants of my own personal creed started when I was young as I observed the most important and influential man in my life, my father- Michael Rising. He is a man of integrity. To me, that means when he says he will do something, he follows through, he puts his money where his mouth is. There was never a moment growing up where I was stranded somewhere and waiting for him to show up. He kept his cool when I was an idiot teenager and challenged his authority. He works his ass off to provide the best possible future for my mother, sister, and me. For these reasons he will always be my hero and model.
3. Who is the most influential woman in your life and why?
I’m lucky to have so many women in my life that influence me in the most profound ways and each of them provide me with lessons I could learn nowhere else. My mother, Elaine Rising, reminds me to never settle and to find joy in the journey. My sister, Carmen Rising is a great example of the possibility of healing past pain and creating beauty from it. Alexis Carra demonstrates to me the dichotomy of strength and playful child-like artistry needed for legendary greatness. My friend Andrea Savo teaches me to celebrate wins and to always give without expecting anything in return.
4. Do you have a personal motto/mantra? If so, can you share that?
“Build it well and they will come.”
When I look at all the actors I admire, they all have several important commonalities: work ethic, passion, and a sustainable craft. These are things that we can control in this business. We can’t control if we get a job, if we fit the bill, or if we will ever work professionally again. We can, however, control our enthusiasm for what we do and if we are honed and capable. These are the elements of a long and flourishing career in anything really.
I had a cognition about 6 months ago when I realized that nothing was going my way. No auditions, no interest from agents, absolutely nothing. When I confronted that, I realized it was because I wasn’t putting in the work the way I used to. I needed to work hard but also work smart. I’m not talking about sending out postcards once every twelve weeks or writing fifty emails to agents or any of that. What I needed to do, and what I did do, was get my ass in class and put my ego aside to do the work properly. Build my craft well. It took great humility to go back to basics and find a teacher that would give me a swift kick in the rear and not let me off the hook. I beat it into my brain that if I am good at what I do, they will find me. It takes tremendous will power to trust that on a daily basis especially when people don’t give you feedback after every audition and you’re not told why you didn’t get a job. It is up to you to objectively see where you are improving and lacking as well.
A quick story to prove this point further: A year ago I pounded on doors in the voice over world. I bugged the crap out of several agencies at the highest level in an attempt to get five minutes in a booth and a meeting. I succeeded with one agency and got my booth time. I sucked. I was very green and they told me that. It hurt, but I was very grateful for the honest feedback because I could use that to improve. They told me “go study for six months and then come back.” I did. I worked my ass off for six months and upon completing classes in animation and commercial copy, I called them again. They ignored me and wouldn’t see me again. That made me mad and also lit a fire under my ass. I decided that I was going to do whatever it takes to get the best bloody representation in the world. I kept working craft everyday as if I was training for a marathon. Then, through a series of serendipitous and highly fortuitous events, I secured booth time with one of the biggest agencies in the world. I didn’t have ten years of credits behind me, or six figures worth of national commercial residuals. It was all going to come down to my ability to deliver an excellent performance in the booth under pressure. So I hired a coach, I worked every kind of copy under the sun for at least two hours a day until my voice got fatigued, and I trained as if I was running a vocal marathon. I did every possible thing I knew how to do and control. I went into that meeting and did an excellent job. They signed me. I’ve since been able to have enormous and exciting opportunities because of them. It all came down to me being excellent at what I do and showing them.
5. What advice would you give to young men and women that you wish you would have received?
Never ever give up. No matter how horrible you feel or how terrible the road ahead looks for you, never quit. Don’t ever give up on yourself or your dreams. Fight. You are on the right path whether you know it or not. Bring yourself fully to what you love because we only have one shot at it and then it’s over and you will never get a second chance. EVER.
The greatest gift and the scariest thing I ever realized is that one day I’m going to die. I know not when, and I will never be here again. I will never get another chance at any of this. You may laugh at that and think, “duh, we are all going to die” but, when I truly comprehend the enormity of that statement and what that truly means, it brings an urgency to my life like I have never experienced. Ever since that realization, I haven’t been the same.
9. What is your definition of being a man versus being a boy?
Being a man is being tenacious, unashamedly passionate, courageous, living with an open heart even if it hurts like hell. To be my word is to be a man. Being a boy is living a dependent and self-centered existence, which is partly due to inexperience and innocence; being a boy is to not take responsibility for my actions or the affect I have on other people; being a boy is choosing based on fear, whereas men acknowledge they are afraid but act in spite of it.
10. What causes are you passionate about and why?
I’m especially passionate about ending domestic violence towards women and children. I’ve been with women who have shared with me their terrible experiences of sexual assault. It’s a subject that hits close to home for me and enrages me whenever I hear stories from women who have been sexually assaulted and damaged in some way shape or form. In furthering my aim of creating a world in which men respect and treat women with kindness no matter what, I work as a volunteer in a spiritual men’s training called Grace Revealed. We guide men in discovering how to create a balance between masculine and feminine energy. I’m also discovering a specific way of how to work with a particular blossoming women’s organization to bring this ideology to men across Southern California.
I also love kids. I used to be a Big Brother back in Albuquerque, NM and it was incredibly rewarding. I’m currently creating a way to take an improv group to children’s hospitals to perform little skits for terminally ill children.
11. What projects are you currently working on that you’re excited about? How can we support you?
I’m currently developing a couple of feature films that have to do with PTSD and racial prejudice. I feel a strong connection to our troops and shedding light on what really happens when they come home and what we as a nation need to do to support them. On the topic of racial prejudice, it is of course rampant in today’s world and the cause of the hundreds of police killings we hear about on a monthly basis. I’m aiming to hold a squeaky-clean mirror up to that and wake law enforcement up.
12. What other amazing men would you nominate and why?
I would nominate my friend Trevor Algatt as he consistently shows me what discipline looks like. He’s a compassionate and kind-hearted guy that truly embodies tenderness and strength. He’s never been proud or vain since I have known him. He’s not one to boast about his achievements or qualities and he has many admirable ones!
Austin works both in front of the camera and behind the microphone. In voiceover, he has worked for Disney, Realtime Associates, Galvin Preservation Associates, and several other companies for commercial, promo, ADR, animation, and narration work. The completion of his first audiobook, The Last Drop V.1 recently went to market at iTunes, Audible, and Amazon. In front of the camera, he can be seen on Better Call Saul (AMC), The Night Shift (NBC), and In Plain Sight (USA). Austin is an avid golfer, fisherman and dog lover. You can follow him on Twitter @Austin_Rising and find him on Facebook as well.
*Please note that not all experiences, beliefs, and ideas are shared by each member of “The New Hollywood.” We are a group of shepherds, not sheep.