Do you want to be famous or do you want to be an actor? Very few truly achieve both. For most of us it’s a choice, and the direction we choose impacts the roles and opportunities that we pursue going forward. Today’s guest has been presented with both during his career and came to discover which one mattered more to him.
In the early 2000s, Ben Curtis was training to be a serious actor at NYU, but one commercial audition for Dell computers completely changed the trajectory of his life and career. He became the face of the computer company, performing in about 26 national commercials over the span of four years. Ben shares with us the lessons he learned from reaching a level of fame that he never imagined, but he also talks about how it led him down some dark paths that took him years to resolve and come out of.
02:28 - Welcome and Ben talks about coming to NYC
06:02 - Story #1: Becoming the Dell Dude
11:01 - The business of commercial acting
16:34 - When Ben realized he was "famous"
21:31 - Story #2: The reality check of getting arrested
33:55 - Story #3: Surviving 9/11 through drugs and alcohol
41:14 - Lessons he has learned and now shares with other men
Why I’ll Never Make It is hosted by Off-Broadway actor and singer Patrick Oliver Jones and is a production of WINMI Media, LLC. It is a Top 25 Theater Podcast on Feedspot and is also a part of Helium Radio Network and a member of the Broadway Makers Alliance.
Ben's mission with the podcast is to share the real challenges that leaders, innovators, and influencers face every day as humans -- to show that it's okay to be human and have hard days, that all people experience pain and challenges. He wants to shed light on how we overcome these odds, the tools that we can use for self-care and sur-thrival, all while growing our vision and sharing these lessons with others.
In this week’s bonus episode, Ben shares an experience back in Chattanooga when he had to choose between playing on the school’s soccer team or doing theater. He couldn’t do both. While you can probably guess which one he chose, as often happens it didn’t quite turn out quite the way he had hoped. Subscribe to WINMI and get access to this and other bonus episodes.
Final Five Questions
In this interview, Ben shared his journey from fame to failure and points in-between. And the conversation continues on the WINMI Blog as he answers five final questions about “making it” and useful advice he's received.