Chris Gaunt


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EP 188: Chris Gaunt (autogenerated)

Dane Reis: [00:00:00] You booked it Episode 188 Okay Hey all let’s get started I am excited to introduce my guest today Chris gaunt are you ready for this Chris

[00:00:13]Chris Gaunt: [00:00:13] I am so ready for a Dane.

[00:00:16] Dane Reis: [00:00:16] Chris is an American actor producer and writer who has performed in films commercials and music videos He was known for his work in the films Follow her daydreams of a drowning girl catching up and let transits you own Beyond his fieldwork though Chris is a big believer of giving back to the community He is a board member and volunteer for Wolf’s for warriors Inc and organization that finds dogs in need of a home and pairs them with veterans who have served our country  He is also an active volunteer for North country wild care a nonprofit that rehabs injured wild animals with the goal of being able to release them back into the wild and Amanda’s house which is a home that family members and the sick can stay at for no charge while getting medical attention at the hospital Chris that is a quick intro of who you are and what you’ve done but why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself Fill in the gaps and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry

[00:01:18]Chris Gaunt: [00:01:18] Sounds great, Dan, and thanks again for having me in doing so. Which a great job on these podcasts really, really appreciate your support. Um, I’m a busy man and , uh, I’m always on the go, gogo go. So what I do is I act , uh, produce and write full-time and I had somewhat of a  circuitous routes to get here.

[00:01:37] Again. I spent 32 years in the corporate America business world prior to me proactively departing that world about three years ago. In order to pursue my passion of acting. Producing and writing full time. And I have to tell you, since I proactively departed, it literally has been non-stop journey for 36 months.

[00:02:00] And I’ve had a chance to, as you mentioned, act in a bunch of movies. So started off like many actors do young in the business with a student films, student thesis, films, these are college films, also short films, commercials, music, videos, and now. I’ve kind of worked my way up and into feature films.

[00:02:21] And similarly I produce films uh, I have produced a number of short films and now I’m really happy and proud to announce that I’ve been needy for the last 11 months producing a full feature film called follow her and that I’ve written and all the spare time or any time I’m not acting and producing.

[00:02:38] I’ve written a bunch of screenplays that have been a real fun and , um, a fun journey for me and a way to scratch that creative itch as

[00:02:45] well 

[00:02:46]Dane Reis: [00:02:46] Oh very cool And how unique is that your you know previous life of you know corporate America into the arts It’s so fantastic I’m really excited to get into this a bit and Yeah And let’s go into our first section here And Chris look I am a sucker for a good quote What is your favorite quote You’d like to share with everyone 

[00:03:10]Chris Gaunt: [00:03:10] my favorite quote and I have this plastered in about four different places throughout our home is do what you think you can’t Do what you think you can’t and when you develop that mindset and again if I ever forget again I have it plastered around our homes I’ll never forget It’s amazing Dane what you can do when you develop that kind of go for it attitude So again favorite quote is do what you think you can’t And when I developed that mindset um it was basically uh instill as a life transforming It’s been a transformative process 

[00:03:46]Dane Reis: [00:03:46] Yeah especially I mean I mean it could be very applicable to your transition into the arts field but really it’s about always pushing yourself expanding that where that comfort zone bubble is Right Because the more you push against it the bigger keeps getting and more opportunities come your way et cetera et cetera It just keeps I think that’s a fantastic way to live And if you’re always just a bit uncomfortable you’re doing the right thing right

[00:04:11] Chris Gaunt: [00:04:11] exactly And I think if you’re a bit uncomfortable um there’s another saying if you’re not growing you’re dying and I do believe that So maybe that’s another good quote that I’ll have to plaster around my home but I do believe that if you’re constantly stretching yeah And you’re putting yourself by design and uncomfortable positions You have to grow you grow or die So um and I like that and I’m getting more and more used to being in uncomfortable positions Uh first you gain incredible experience by forcing yourself to be a little uncomfortable and also it forces you to stretch and grow And it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you develop that mindset

[00:04:47]Dane Reis: [00:04:47] For sure And it’s also a learned thing right By continuing to do that and pushing against that you get better at that This uh this also applies for people you know for going into auditions or submitting for things but the more you do it The better you get at it And then how I guess the the level of how much you can push that discomfort in a way can get greater and you can take on bigger projects cause you go you know what I already know that I can handle this level of you know unknown Let’s push it a little bit further now because you’ve conditioned yourself to be able to do that 

[00:05:21]Chris Gaunt: [00:05:21] perfectly said Dane and I think a great example for you know you know I’m not a young man I’m a middle aged man but young in the business still relatively young in the business but you start off with maybe a student film or as a college student thesis film which is important to them but it’s kind of ground level in the acting profession and it it Gives you an opportunity to cut your teeth and get you in front of the camera and crew and experience And you kind of graduate yourself from that So then okay I’ve done that I’ve done that a bunch of times and I’ve succeeded So I’m feeling comfortable with that So now I’ll try a short film And a number of short films And I feel comfortable with that Now I’ll try a music video and a commercial And then the other thing I noticed is that if you put yourself out there and you’re willing to do that you start getting some phone calls I’ve gotten three or four calls just in the last couple of months where people are approaching me to do a commercial spot or to do a short film or to do a feature film audition for a feature film And three years ago that would not have happened 

[00:06:22]Dane Reis: [00:06:22] Yeah of course And you said if you’re not growing you’re dying have you read the book by Jeff Olson The slight edge 

[00:06:29]Chris Gaunt: [00:06:29] I have 

[00:06:30]Dane Reis: [00:06:30] Yeah Same concept Right So good 

[00:06:33]Chris Gaunt: [00:06:33] Same concept And there’s also an amazing football coach If any of your listeners or you may be a sports fan there’s an older football coach has been around forever His name is Lou Holtz and um he was an unbelievable coach for Notre Dame and then South Carolina And one of his favorite sayings is that he used to tell his players And by the way Lou Holtz is probably You know five foot nothing and weighs about 135 pounds soaking wet And he’s managing these behemoth men and you know he’s the general of the field And he would push them to championship level and get them to out of their comfort zone constantly by doing what you think you can And if you’re not growing you’re dying And now as an older man he still doing it And every day that that’s kind of his credo That’s what he’s thinking about He’s constantly pushing himself to expand his horizons and do what he thinks he can’t do And as a result he’s growing and I want to live the rest of my life whether it’s a day or 35 40 more years God willing I want to live my life just like that 

[00:07:33]Dane Reis: [00:07:33] Yeah a hundred percent and let’s get into this next section here And Chris of course you’re an entertainer I’m an entertainer And I think that you’d agree that this industry can be one of the most subjective brutally honest and personally emotional industries in existence And you know you know as well as I that in order to create and have a successful career in this industry like you’re having now takes a lot of dedication and hard work And while yes There is an outrageous amount of fun and excitement being an entertainer There are also our fair share of obstacles challenges and failures We are going to experience and we’re going to have to move forward through So tell us what is one key challenge obstacle or failure you’ve experienced in your career and how did you come out the other side better because of it 

[00:08:22]Chris Gaunt: [00:08:22] Excellent ane And and thanks for the question And to your point I think this entire business is so incredibly challenging And I think the good news is is that I had 32 years in the very intense corporate business world where it was very challenging Well so I feel like I was fairly well-prepared to come into this business knowing head on that It’s a challenge So I think the one key challenge for me Um that maybe it’s slightly different than my previous professional life is just handling the rejection that is very common or commonplace in this industry Whether you know you’re auditioning or you’re vying for a production job or a producing job Or you’re submitting a screenplay whatever it may be this business is full of rejection And the thing that I had to get used to very quickly one is to develop a thick skin and I have but the other is not hearing anything And what I mean by that is in the business world and perhaps other professions If you’re presenting an idea or a concept or a widget or what have you you’re probably going to either hear a yes or you’re going to hear a no unlike the entertainment business And you know you know this when you audition you don’t often hear anything So if you get the role you’re elated because you get the call back and then uh and then ultimately you’re hired and you have the role However if you put your best foot forward and you’re doing your absolute best and you hear nothing The sound of crickets that took me a while to get used to And I remember early on in my career I would try to reach out to casting agents that I had audition for trying to seek to understand gee why didn’t I get this particular role And you know 99.9% of the time they’re not going to because they don’t have the time They won’t get back to you and let you know And so I think that for me not hearing anything perhaps was the toughest thing I think I could have handled just a flat out no better But when it’s the sound of crickets it was tough to get used to But now I understand that So I think my lesson Dane moving forward is don’t take it personally continue to develop that thick skin know that it’s a very subjective business and put your absolute best foot forward And another kind of sports analogy You leave it all on the field for every single audition And if you’re well-prepared you leave it all on the field and you do your best you let the chips fall where they may 

[00:10:46]Dane Reis: [00:10:46] Exactly right It’s out of your hands right there That’s I think one of the biggest lessons this industry is realizing how much you do not have control over especially when it comes to auditioning for whatever it might be And you just got to go out there and be confident with the work that you do and do you the best you can And when you’re done that’s it Don’t try to get caught up in The what ifs because that’s so far out of your control It’s not worth the thought or the stress You just gotta do what you do and be confident in that 

[00:11:21] Chris Gaunt: [00:11:21] exactly And I think if you’re well-prepared and you have to be well-prepared and know that if you’re not well-prepared there’s a hundred guys in this case that you know maybe just like me that are right behind me that are either prepared or more prepared that want the job Just as bad as I do And you have to make sure that you bring it and you have really no one to blame but yourself and it’s not necessarily a blame game but if you get the role if you’re auditioning for an acting job great And if not you can kind of self-assess while you may have not gotten it but oftentimes to your point and you hit it right on the head it’s out of your control So it’s such a subjective business And as a screenwriter I know when I’m writing something In my mind Dane I’ve already formulated what will this character what will he or she look like how will they present themselves How will I dress them What will be their mannerism their speaking tone I mean I have all of that already fleshed out So as I’m auditioning for roles I get it So I can put myself in the casting director’s position because I’ve been there myself as a writer I know what I want And oftentimes to your point that is out of your control You you are who you are so you prepare and you again let the chips fall where they may 

[00:12:40] Dane Reis: [00:12:40] Yeah So good And let’s move on to a time that I like to call your spotlight moment That one moment in time you realized yes I’m going to be an entertainer for a living or maybe it was yes This is what I need to be doing as an entertainer Tell us about that 

[00:13:00]Chris Gaunt: [00:13:00] Uh this is so exciting and I had a chance to um my wife actually had a chance to join me on this gig on this acting job And this was only a few months ago actually So I’d been doing this you know nonstop like I said for three years virtually nonstop And I had an opportunity to work in LA with an incredible actress Who’s been in the business for over 40 years and Dane her name is Diane Franklin and uh you and your listeners may recognize that name And you definitely recognize her face but she’s best known for films like the last American Virgin better off dead Amityville the Amityville series and then bill and Ted’s excellent adventure And um I had a chance to spend several hours On a very intense scene um held uh and and I was able to hold my own with someone who has spent most of her life in front of the camera She started as a young girl doing commercials and then she’s done Countless films and she’s still acting And she’s fantastic And I remember as my wife and I were going back when the scene was done and it was a long day and it was a very heated scene it was an awesome scene And she was amazing on set I loved working with her I remember my wife and I talking about it  and my wife and I debriefing the scene and knowing that coming from her that I had held my own with a seasoned veteran that had been doing this for over 40 years So to me it was incredibly exciting very validating that this in fact is what I want to do the rest of my life 

[00:14:29]Dane Reis: [00:14:29] Oh so good And let’s piggyback on that real quick and talk about your number one booked it moment Walk us through that day the audition and callbacks if they happen to be a part of it but what was going on in your life And what about that moment Makes it your favorite book That moment 

[00:14:49] Chris Gaunt: [00:14:49] Yeah my favorite book that moment Dane without question as I had a chance about a year ago to link up with an incredible two time Emmy award winning director her name is Sylvia Caminar and she’s done some fantastic work nominated four times for Emmy she’s one too Yeah We were working together and um in pre-production on another feature that we were trying to get off the ground And after that discussion she reached out to me and let me know that they were midway through filming a terrific psychological thriller called follow her And she asked me if I’d like to come on initially Dane as an associate producer And of course I said yes because I love the synopsis of the film It’s a fantastic thriller I love thrillers and had to do with social media And our obsession with social media and being liked and the synopsis was amazing She had a fantastic crew and a fantastic cast linked to the project So I immediately said yes to that and through a ton of hard work and merit I was bumped from an AP and associate producer a couple of months ago to an executive producer So I thought you know that is just really validating that if you really really bust your tail and do the work and put in the hours and Your peer group around you sees that happening I didn’t ask for that promotion They called me um her and the creator Danny Barker And they offered me the executive producer position And I’ve been doing that now on this film for the last three or three months or so And I’m proud to say that we are now in post-production We filmed the entire Film in New York Got it in right before COVID right in the first part of March It’s in post-production right now in LA and the world should be able to enjoy the psychological thriller follow her by fall or winter of 2021 So we can’t wait to bring it to the world It’s so good 

[00:16:41]Dane Reis: [00:16:41] Ah fantastic Keep me posted when that thing drops I love to watch it 

[00:16:46] Chris Gaunt: [00:16:46] I also had a small role in it So that was fun to work with some terrific actors and be directed by Sylvia I’m also working on another project with her and that it’s a it’s a short that we’re going to have blossomed into a feature as well So that’s the next project I’ll be working with her in addition to the CQL to follow her which is um being written as we speak 

[00:17:08]Dane Reis: [00:17:08] very cool Well that leads us right into the next question which is talking about the present and what are you working on right now What are you looking forward to And you know it’s a weird time right Where I’m it’s this global pandemic How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years 

[00:17:24] Chris Gaunt: [00:17:24] Yeah it’s such a great question And it is such an interesting time to be in the entertainment world And I’m very aware of the challenges that so many in this industry face but I want to give maybe just a shout out of hope out there that there’s still work to be done Creators create right So if you act you act regardless of the circumstance if you if you produce you produce if you write you write just because there’s a global pandemic we as entertainers and creators can still do what we absolutely love to do It may look a little different but we can do that And some specific examples Dane include as I mentioned um follow her the psychological thriller that is in post-production now So Despite COVID we are still doing every day Post-production work in LA on that film Did you get it ready for the world to enjoy by fall or winter of 2021 Um  the follow her film the second piece of that is I’ll be working again with Sylvia Caminar and Danny Barker who wrote follow her and start in it on their SQL So I’ll be involved as a producer or executive producer on that film as well That film is being written as we speak And we can’t wait to begin Pre-production on the sequel I working with a fantastic creator Katie Johnson On a short film if I could tell you and it happens to be a film where it is about her facing um and convalescing her mother that was diagnosed with cancer when she was 15 And interestingly enough she approached me to come on as an actor And a producer on this film Dane and we shared the exact same story So I lost my dad at a very young age like she did to the same disease We both helped this particular parent She had a mom who passed away at a father so it was unbeknownst to her She did not know this when she reached out to me to be in the film and help her produce it that our stories were so similar So to me That’s the moon and the sun lining up in the right ways that we could you know work on a project like this And she’s fantastic So I can’t wait for that to kick off We’re going to begin filming in just a few weeks so that’ll be great And then Dane I’m a worker bee so I’m auditioning like crazy even though you know we’re still in the midst of a global pandemic auditioning is still going on So I do one self-tape after another If it’s a self-tape that leads to a live audition I’m doing that Uh and I’m auditioning for features and shorts every single week I’m on virtually every actor portal And I’m constantly looking for interesting roles that I want to sink my teeth into So the work goes on So I want to give everyone hope that just because there’s a global pandemic the work is still out there and we can still create and entertain 

[00:20:02]Dane Reis: [00:20:02] Yes The work goes on so well said and it is time to move on to one of my favorite sections in the interview I call it the grease lightning round I am going to ask you a handful of questions I want you to answer them as quickly and concisely as possible one after another Are you ready 

[00:20:24] All right First question  What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer 

[00:20:31] Chris Gaunt: [00:20:31] one thing Dane was I going to be good enough to ever get booked And the answer is I’m you know I’ve had a lot of bookings so um you just keep trying to get better one job at a time just a little bit better with each opportunity 

[00:20:45]Dane Reis: [00:20:45] Yes Second question What is the best piece of advice you have ever received 

[00:20:51]Chris Gaunt: [00:20:51] Control what you can control do your absolute best and then let the chips fall where they may 

[00:20:58] Dane Reis: [00:20:58] Yes third question What is something that is working for you right now Or if you’d like to go pre COVID what was working for you before our industry went on Pause 

[00:21:08]Chris Gaunt: [00:21:08] think the thing that’s working for me now Dane is my work ethic I have a mindset and I always have of refusing to be outworked and refusing to be out hustled 

[00:21:18]Dane Reis: [00:21:18] Yes Fourth question What is it your best resource Whether that is a book a movie a YouTube video maybe a podcast or piece of technology you found is helping your career right now 

[00:21:30] Chris Gaunt: [00:21:30] researching and reading about creators who despite incredible odds persevered and made it happen One quick recent example Is a film I watched a few days ago called herself by an amazing writer and lead Irish actress Claire Dunn I six year journey from synopsis to film It was so well written so well acted And now there’s a big Oscar buzz So she’s gone from virtually no one knowing about her or hearing about her to potentially winning an Oscar So to me that is incredibly exhilarating and validating 

[00:22:05] Dane Reis: [00:22:05] Wow So good I’ll have to check that out 

[00:22:07] Chris Gaunt: [00:22:07] So an 

[00:22:08] Dane Reis: [00:22:08] and yeah And the fifth question if you had to start your career from scratch but you still had all the knowledge and experience you’ve collected from your career in this industry what would you do or not do Would you do anything differently or would you keep it the same 

[00:22:25] Chris Gaunt: [00:22:25] I would say Dane focus on getting good as your number one priority And there’s so many ways that you can focus on getting good but learn learn learn and then practice your craft each and every day When you think about musicians in front of thousands of Uh fans playing in an amphitheater They didn’t just pick up the guitar The microphone they’d be practiced like crazy When you think of professional athletes playing in front of thousands and thousands of people they practice every single day and being an entertainer is the exact same thing you can’t expect to perform at your peak If you’re not practicing your craft and learning and growing every day 

[00:23:04]Dane Reis: [00:23:04] Yes So true And the last question what is the golden nugget knowledge drop you’ve learned from your successful career in this industry You’d like to leave with our listeners 

[00:23:16] Chris Gaunt: [00:23:16] your career as if it’s a business which it is and treat it as though you’re the CEO of that business because you are you are you are the CEO you are the master and commander of your own career And if you develop that mindset now Great Things can happen Don’t expect others to do it for you You take the lead you manage your career You are the CEO of your own career 

[00:23:41]Dane Reis: [00:23:41] So well said So often we forget that you know you know it’s called show business for a reason right 

[00:23:48] You have 

[00:23:48] the business side of it is a real thing and you have to treat it as such Yes the business side of this industry for many creatives and artists is not The thing we’re most naturally drawn to but it’s integral to the success of your career the longevity of your career And the wonderful thing I love about the business side of things is that it’s a lot more objective than the subjectivity of our artistry Right There are rules There is it’s pretty black and white How you know Money’s made how taxes are done business They’re all laws and rules for it So take the time to learn them And once you know them you’re pretty good You’re pretty set But you got to put the time in 

[00:24:30] Chris Gaunt: [00:24:30] Especially if you want to create your own material Dane and watch that you know take shape on film For example I mean it is a business and very little can happen without the money You know it is a business like any other business it takes the money and the resources to get something off the ground So I think if you develop that mindset as quickly as possible and understand that it is a business very similar to all other businesses that will help go a long way 

[00:24:54]Dane Reis: [00:24:54] Yeah A hundred percent And to wrap up this interview Chris it is time to give yourself a plug Where can we find you How do our listeners connect with you Is there anything you want to promote 

[00:25:07]Chris Gaunt: [00:25:07] Yeah Dan thank you I mean you can find me I’m everywhere on social media So I’m on Facebook It’s Christopher gaunt on Facebook I’m on Instagram and Twitter Chris gaunt actor on Instagram and Twitter I have my own YouTube channel I’m on LinkedIn Um Um  in terms of a plug we’ve been working so hard this project follow her this terrific psychological thriller I was speaking about this took shape The synopsis was written back in 2017 Here we are in 2021 and we’re still working away on it which is very common in the indie world Uh it is a slow sled to get there but I am so proud of the perseverance and dedication of Sylvia Caminar and Danny Barker the two lead creators on this project I’m so proud to be the executive producer of this film So please go to the follow her Facebook page and give it a like like you can check out a nice promo reel on the film it’s laced with terrific actors great director and an Oscar nominated a director of photography Geist Bueller So it really is well done in terms of cast crew and writing We can’t wait to bring the film to the world to check it out 

[00:26:16]Dane Reis: [00:26:16] Fantastic And for everyone listening out there I’ve put the links To everything Chris just said into the description of this episodes you can easily connect with him and also be sure to share this podcast with your fellow entertainers coaches teachers arts and entertainment educators and anyone you know you know aspiring to create a career in this industry You booked It is the number one resource of expertise on how to actually create a successful entertainment career case in point Everything Chris just gave us today His very unique journey through this industry So much to learn from And if you enjoyed this episode hit that subscribe button So you don’t miss the next guest Chris it has been such a pleasure chatting with you getting to know you a bit Thank you so much for being here 

[00:27:07] Chris Gaunt: [00:27:07] Dane Thank you so much You’re doing a great service for folks like myself and others in the entertainment business And I really appreciate your dedication to the craft and your preparation and not only for the interview but getting me prepared to speak with you as well You were fantastic 

[00:27:23] Dane Reis: [00:27:23] thank you