It’s a blazing Saturday afternoon, summer, at my buddy Sam’s house. Like any other weekend, we’re sprawled over the carpet and the couch with all our friends, and I’m in the middle, thirteen years old and doing impressions of my friends. “This is what you look like!” For anything that happens, there’s a joke ready to pop out of my mouth. This is my job. This is me. Time slows down, and I see everyone around me dying of laughter, whacking the couch or clutching their bellies, hooting, enjoying what I’m doing…
That’s when I know I want to be an entertainer.
When I got home, though, I saw my Korean-American immigrant parents, weary from grinding away, struggling to make a comfortable life for my sisters and me. I knew I couldn’t ask them to support this actor dream. I already knew they wouldn’t.
I tossed my backpack on the floor, flopped back onto my bed, and held my dream inside, silently, alone, until the day I could make it on my own.
Fast forward to the wide oranges, sandstones, golds, and pale pinks of Phoenix, Arizona. An Oaky-sweet smell drifts out the door of a little sushi restaurant, a scent blended from the aromas of traditional wooden decorations, and sweet tempura batter. I’m in the kitchen, surrounded by pure sashimi, colorful sushi, dripping teriyaki, salty yakisoba, smooth and thick udon—two long years I’m here, in the same trance, the same daily rhythm, the same unfulfilled fugue.
I had to leave.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had to tell your parents something like that. You work up the courage, you’re a little scared, but you’re so exhausted—you have to make a change. Where do you do it? Dining room? On the phone? Around dinner? Come on, parents. I’d done the responsible thing. College, a family career, managing a restaurant—they appreciated that.
Cross your fingers. Pray, or hold your breath. What do they say?
They supported me in my decision to pursue acting.
But then the battle began. I knew no one in the industry. I had no formal acting training—no clue, really, how an “actor” became an “actor”!
So…now what? How do you get from the first step to the second?
The world looked huge, stretching away in front of me…before I seized on an idea.
Read Part Two at mysweetaffair.com
William Jeon is an athlete, pharmacist, and the lead actor in “I’m Having an Affair With My Wife!”, a romcom about a married couple who become fed up with each other, seek out affairs, and accidentally cheat ON each other WITH each other. You can support the film on SeedandSpark, and you can follow him, and his dog Brixton, @thewilljeon on Instagram.