SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Kevin E. West: Well, I… am a GOOFBALL. That’s commonly one of my opening lines when I speak in public. I was born in Phx, Arizona but grew up in very rural Nashville, TN in the late 60s through the mid-80s, long before it is the city it is today. I started my performing career in Atlanta, GA. I played golf in College and High School, have been a six-time participant in the Men’s Senior Baseball World Series starting at the age of 30, play deadly serious Texas Hold-em at Commerce Casino in L.A. and have run the L.A. Marathon, four times.
Professionally you can find my 50 Guest Star television credits and my film history here on IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0922184/?ref_=nv_sr_2?ref_=nv_sr_2
I also spent my first two years in L.A. as a Stand-up Comic and Improv artist. I’m the Founder of The Actors’ Network, which became the most recognized, trusted, and industry endorsed actor’s business organization in the United States. The Actors’ Network holds consecutive (2006/2007) Backstage West “Reader’s Choice” awards, has been featured on Entertainment Tonight three times, and CNBC twice. It’s many successful alumni include Golden Globe & Emmy Nominee Masi Oka (Heroes), and Christopher Gorham (Covert Affairs) of the Golden Globe Award winning cast of Ugly Betty and Maggie Grace (Taken).
As a public speaker on the business of show business I’m widely recognized as the top industry opinion leader and expert on the business education, speaking at Screen Actors Guild, ShowBiz Expo (NYC), UCLA, SAG Conservatory, Chapman University, Cal State Fullerton, and talent conventions across the US from Dallas to Florida and the Writers Guild of America.
Additionally I have Co-Authored the 2-hour CD “The Actor’s Guide to Getting the Job” with LA’s top commercial instructor, Carolyne Barry: www.gettingthejob.com, as well as created the Industry Professional interview series, ActorBizGuru.com which was voted the #1 Online Actor’s Education resource by BackStageWest.com.
Upon the death of a very dear friend, I created and executive produced for 10 years the of the annual Hack n’ Smack, Kerry Daveline Memorial, Celebrity Golf Tournament in Southern California benefiting Melanoma. www.HacknSmack.org. The Hack n’ Smack had celebrity players such as: Joe Pesci, Joe Mantegna, Ron Perlman and Michael Chiklis. The event was voted one of the top 10 celebrity golf events in Southern California by Southland Golf magazine. He has lent his considerable talents as writer, producer, host and director to numerous charitable events including “Together We Can, Together We Will” in the wake of the L.A. riots, and the teen runaway benefit “Runnin’ on Empty” both of which included top Celebrities such as Jason Alexander.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actor?
Kevin E. West: Well, I didn’t, as I’d spent my whole life from 7-21 wanting to be a professional athlete. There were several circumstances in my home life which are far too detailed to go into here, which sort of put the writing on the wall, that trying to be a professional athlete (based on the level of time and support you need) probably wasn’t going to happen. Met a guy, some conversations, a few things happened and I decided to attend a class in Nashville at the time which eventually led to me going to a huge event/competition at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York and I WON the 17- over category for Commercials. By the way, I wrote and created the entire commercial, myself. Basically that’s what led to a change in career, the prospect of a game plan, moving to Atlanta for two years and then eventually driving to Los Angeles.
SKSM: How did you become involved in Ayana Dollar Baby film?
Kevin E. West: My agent, at the time, also represented Mr. Jung… and he referred me.
SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?
Kevin E. West: Be it death, religion, the afterlife, Gods, spirits, the underworld or any other form of supernatural power, immortality or other such entity – a very high percentage of humans want to see “something” beyond this mortal coil so it’s pretty natural. Very similar to UFO’s, the movie E.T., or the massive success of Star Wars. It all points to a strong appetite for – what’s next?
SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?
Kevin E. West: Audition only.
SKSM: You worked with Calvin Jung & Fabricio Cerioni on this film, how was that?
Kevin E. West: The experience was, as I would say after all of my years of being on a set, perfectly normal. That encompasses a lot when you consider the number of people, size of budget, type of project etc., but ultimately, an experience being “normal” is a really good thing. Sometimes performers kinda secretly desire for their to be set drama, or contentiousness, or whatever. For me, nope, don’t like it and don’t engage in it. I’m there to work, have it be a nice work – art day, and go home. J
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Kevin E. West: Well, the lead gal was a Yoga instructor, and at that time one of my good friends was a Yogi and I had begun to consider delving into Yoga for my physical health so we had some fun conversations and a few “poor attempts” on my part to get “into a position.” Some of the other actors were like – what the hell are they doing over there?
SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?
Kevin E. West: For a long while I was in communication with Fabricio but sadly not for some time now.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Kevin E. West: Actors of all types n’ levels are typically always busy doing something creative. For me, while I just finished reading for an ABC Show with Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington as the stars, I’m also in the middle of writing my 3rd, 4th and 5th books as well as editing/producing a Podcast of a life-story that I have the rights to…and hope to sell / produce as a Studio Feature film. I’m always busy doing something…in the sandbox. J
SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Kevin E. West: I am, love the guy, and for 3 ½ years I lived with my sister back in the lat 80s and she was so obsessed with Stephen King she would basically read one of his massive books in two weekends and remain passed out on the couch after finsihing. Pretty hysterical but I couldn’t blame her because he’s a tremendous storyteller.
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Kevin E. West: Well, if that question were based either on my pure Resume and/or a brief encounter with me it might surprise a lot of people how sensitive and introspective I am. It’s the basic difference between Personality and Character. When around a small or large group I can have a pretty big personality as a former Stand-up Comic, Improv artist and all around class clown back in High School…but at the end of the day, if you really get to know me, you see a lot more of the quiet, singular, creative Pisces come out who loves to talk Philosophy and Psychology. Yes, I’m the Hollywood Redneck, and a walking contradiction in many many ways.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Kevin E. West: Well, if you’re a performer, I thank you for taking the risk to delve into yourself. If you’re a fan, thank you for watching and caring. Allow either one’s performance or your own performance, carry you into a place (regardless of material) that entertains and/or is a healthy escape.
SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?
Kevin E. West: Well, I always want performers to know about my book on the business of showbusiness after all of these years, and I want the fans out there to know about my other ‘Gift Book’ which is purely for fun and related to life itself. So here they are:
‘7 Deadly Sins – The Actor Overcomes: https://www.amazon.com/Deadly-Sins-Overcomes-BusinessInsight/dp/1483571270/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=7+deadly+sins+the+actor+overcomes&qid=1555908607&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull