Rising Star Devon Ryan: It’s easy to keep telling yourself that “When [blank] happens, then I’ll have more time to be able to focus on my craft.” The truth is that there is never going to be a perfect time

It’s easy to keep telling yourself that “When [blank] happens, then I’ll have more time to be able to focus on my craft.” The truth is that there is never going to be a perfect time. The more you put it off, the more time and life you waste. If you want to be a runner, you run. If you want to be a chef, you cook. If you want to be a writer, you write. If you want to be an actor, you act! Find a way to act every day.

As a part of my series about TV’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Devon Ryan. Devon grew up in a small town in Texas. He was a dedicated electrical engineering student at the University of Texas. Despite how incredibly “left-brained” such a field was, he had a secret desire — to pursue acting. Upon graduation, he started a technology company and began producing and acting in his own commercials. His first break came when a Texas Romance author named Anne Conley decided he was the physical manifestation of the main character in her book series. This opportunity kicked off his acting and modeling career which has opened many opportunities for Devon. He was recently on the television show Price of Fame and Lone Star Justice.

Thank you so much for doing this with us Ryan! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

My family moved around quite a bit when I was young, but we ended up settling down in a small town in Texas once I hit high school. Like most kids in small Texas towns — I was raised to play football. Football taught me a great deal about life, but it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows growing up as I hit a few rough patches. I pretty much avoided my home life as much as possible and eventually moved out around the age of 16. This experience would become invaluable to acting.

After high school, I left my small town behind to play college football for a couple years, but I never went to class so I was failing out of college. I knew I needed to change something or I’d end up back in my hometown or worse, on the streets somewhere, so I transferred to the University of Texas at San Antonio to pursue an engineering degree. It was a tough ride. I worked several jobs to pay the bills on the table while studying, but I made it through. This experience would also become invaluable to acting.

Can you share a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

It’s strange, I feel like my entire life has prepared me for this specific career path, but in a way I’d say

acting sort of came to me. It’s like that person you find attractive in the room. You lock eyes, but you don’t approach them, and then when you least expect it, you find them standing in front of you and you can’t help but have a conversation.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Short version: Through the pursuit of acting, I fell into modeling, but my modeling portfolio helped me get my first theatrical agent. The world is funny like that.

Longer version: -) My first break came when a Texas Romance named Anne Conely spotted my portfolio online and decided that I was the physical manifestation of the main character in her book series. She hired me to be the cover model for her new series. When it was time to find my first agent, I slipped one of the books with me on the cover into my application and mailed it. The agent immediately called me and brought me in for an interview.I was filled with excitement and asked if they watched my acting demo reel. They sort of nodded and then changed the subject abruptly, “Yea sure, but we love that BOOK COVER you sent us. We are all passing it around the office reading it!” That’s how I got my first agent.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

One time I spent a whole weekend learning the lines for the wrong character for a live audition! Pay attention to details when get audition requests.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Just finished two TV shows. One is called Price of Fame and the other is Lone Star Justice, but I feel the most exciting projects are the ones that I’m producing. I’m currently producing a period short film which involves me flying a T-6 from the 1940’s.

I’m very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

There is a creative and financial advantage that comes with diversity.

From your personal experience, can you recommend three things the community/society/the industry can do help address some of the diversity issues in the entertainment business?

Starting at the top of the food chain, the executive leadership, i.e. studio executives. Have more diverse executive leadership and also create diversity scorecards that get factored in when it comes to promotions and career advancement.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

It’s easy to keep telling yourself that “When [blank] happens, then I’ll have more time to be able to focus on my craft.” The truth is that there is never going to be a perfect time. The more you put it off, the more time and life you waste. If you want to be a runner, you run. If you want to be a chef, you cook. If you want to be a writer, you write. If you want to be an actor, you act! Find a way to act every day.

Audition as much as you can. It might seem terrifying at first, but eventually you’ll gain a sense of confidence that is critical to have in the business. I used to be terrified of auditioning.

Learn how to run a business. Acting is a business.

Some, if not most of the best acting has no lines.

Beware of the acting class/school hamster wheel.

Bonus: Work on your craft, work on your craft, work on your craft!

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Find a way to love every part of it. There is going to be a bunch of time when you are not acting. This is also an opportunity to be creative. Find a way to make this “downtime” work for you when it comes to acting. For example, if you have a day job, use this as an opportunity to observe/study people in meetings. Don’t let downtime define you. Every human interaction is an opportunity to work on your craft.

Invest in a healthy sleep pattern.

Know your limits and what reinvigorates you. When you start to feel depleted, do that activity or see that person or read that book that reginites your engine.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’d love to see more people transform their lives, and I would start with education.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’m grateful for my first acting coach (a retired actress who acted in NYC for over 20 years) who believed in me so much that she urged me to begin seek an agent and introduced me to Cindi Davis who signed me. I’m grateful for Cindi who took a chance on me to be my first agent.

I’m grateful for my current acting coach, Laura Cayouette. Laura is an actress known for her work on the set of Django with Leonardo Dicaprio. She acted in L.A. for over twenty years and she wrote the popular book called, “Know Smart Parts.”

I also grateful for meeting actor/director Craig Nigh. He helped me tape hundreds of auditions and I learned a great deal from him.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“The first act of liberation is to destroy one’s cage.”

I love this quote because most of the time all of our problems and challenges originate in our own mind. We have to get out of our own way in order to grow or change.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Cillian Murphy and Christopher Nolan. They are brilliant filmmakers. I would love to just be on set with them and learn as much as possible.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

I’m most active on Instagram! @itsdevonryan

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