John Ray is an amazing man, he is and actor and screenwriter in the film industry. I was fortunate enough to interview John Ray and bring to my readers a piece of inside information of just how he continues to rise to fame.
Conquering the Journey: Looking Back
Time can be a cold reminder of all that you have yet to accomplish in your life or it can be the warm- heart pumping fire that has been lit under the creativity that lies deep within your soul. For John Ray he can honestly say that his time has been well spent as he has achieved great success for the short amount of time he has been active in the film industry. “I’ve been in the industry seriously for about 10 years. I started in cable access and earned a nomination (BACE) Bay Area Cable Excellence for a show I co-produced, acted and wrote with my bro Danny Briones. It was a by weekly show called “The Gen-X show.” The Series was sort of a mixture between news and entertainment. But what was unique about it was the format; we played all types of characters depending on the theme. It gave us national recognition for a body art segment. We aired the first ever penis piercing before HBO or any other cable show did. It was crazy! We had a civil action filed against us and had to appear before the mayor and his council to plead our case of freedom of speech. They voted on our favor. People were comparing us to a cross between Bing Crosby/Bob Hope and Cheech/Chong. We even had Disney contact us but eventually we couldn’t handle production costs and the long hours. All our weekends and nights were spent in the editing booth, office or location. It takes its toll especially when it’s coming out of your pocket. Lots of work goes into production. It would take us a month to put a half hour show together. Then have to act in it. It was probably the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. The bummer about Cable Access is that there’s a stigma that’s attached to it that was hard to shake. Everyone thinks “Wayne’s World.” The minute you mention your show was on cable access people would automatically assume it was a piece of crap thrown together in your garage. Its true there are lots of garbage on cable access but even garbage is hard to put together. So give them props!”
Conquering the Journey: The Latest and Greatest of John Ray
“The latest project was for the History Channel “Man, Moment and Machine” where I played an Iraq Captain in the Gulf War. In the role I had to command an Anti Aircraft Artillery brigade. Man! Talk about scary! But my favorite role was a Thracian Captain during the ‘Alexander the Great’ wars. WOW! What an experience. In those days there was no room for wimps. Just wearing the armor and holding on to a sword was tough. That day I fought against the Romans as they slaughtered us like flies. I died like three times that day. I was even hit by a bolder. I still have the bruises. Edleman productions are a great team to work with.”
John Ray speaks about his first project and how difficult it was to achieve its completion and success.
“My first project was a film called Grey Maibee by a wonderful director and screenwriter Robbie Kenyon. I had studied
the lines until I could recite them in my sleep, but on the first day of shooting I was so nervous that I began stuttering my lines.
Talk about embarrassing! But she is a great director and reeled me in. I remember her taking me to the side and telling me that she didn’t cast me as co-star if she didn’t think I could handle it. I have since done two other films with her. Her most recent one is about a man “Dogger Banks” (me), a locksmith, whom slowly loses his identity-to-identity thief’s. Its funnier then hell and will be out soon. Remember her name she is going to break out soon.”
Conquering the Journey: Advice from John Ray
“There is going to be days when you feel that you’re wasting your time. Just remember, that success is measured by
your own happiness. Be proud of what you’re accomplishing and don’t live in the future. Enjoy what you’re doing now. We will all be successful eventually so just enjoy the ride baby.”
Conquering the Journey: A Handful of John Ray’s Finest Works
• The Patron “winner of The Cloud Nine” award for Frontier Airlines.
• “Sexiest Man on Myspace” nomination
• “Don’t Drink the Water” Fundatia Alviogut Best Actor
• “The Lucid Dream” Fundatia Alviogut Best Screenplay
Conquering the Journey: How He Got Started
The driving force buried deep inside of our hearts begs to be released for that certain passion that compels us to create. It was no different for John Ray… “I was attending Cal Poly University as an English and History minor. I had planned to go to Law School after I received my BA and study International Law. Well that day I was coming back from a meeting with my Professor a Doctor in English. He had given me a grammar book. Apparently I had great ideas but my grammar sucked
and he was concerned that I wouldn’t survive at the University. So defeated and feeling like a balloon head, I decided on taking a walk around campus to get my mind straight. I passed by the Theater and saw an audition sign. I decided to walk in and give it a go, to lift my sprits. I had little experience but figured I couldn’t do much worse than my 2.0. grade point average. The director gave me the lines and I just went for it. He burst out laughing and said that he loved me. That night I couldn’t sleep it was like I had euphony, for once in my life something felt right. The next year I transferred to San Jose State and switched my major.”
Conquering the Journey: Education and Experience Go Hand in Hand
“I studied at San Jose State University but most of my background is taking any role I was offered. I wanted practical experience that could help me grow as an actor. Of course I always take the rough road. But, it ads character right? I have also taken classes with Acting Coaches like Billie Shepard of the San Jose repertory Theater, a bay area legend in her own rite, and Hassan Zee who has managed to take an Indie film he wrote and directed, “Night of Henna” to major theaters by his own ambition and drive.”
Conquering the Journey: The Hard yet Worthwhile Road
On celebrity interviews such as this, we often hear to one degree or another, the ease or the obstacle ridden road that the star had to travel in order to become who they are today. I posed a question to John Ray, “would you consider the path you chose to be hard or relatively easy?”
“Oh man that’s a toughie…let me think about that, oh yeah, HARD! But it hasn’t been something I regret. I’ve met so many wonderful people who are exceptionally talented around the globe like my buddies in Sweden, England, Romania, Japan and Thailand. What’s great about traveling is that people in other countries are really your friends and once they get behind you on something they will stop at nothing to make it happen. I owe all my success to all of them. The scene in a global sense is really big right now because the cost of equipment has gone way down. I am by know means where I want to be in my career but it’s been one hell of a journey so far. At the very least I have tons of stories that I can share when I’m an old
crow. I have worked with the best.”
Conquering the Journey: Team Players
Every celebrity also has their favorite team of professionals or favorite co-stars to work with. When I asked John about his, the response was unexpectedly modest.
“I could honestly say that it has been every person involved in a film and play I’ve been in. It’s funny how people think of you as an amateur if your not doing Grade A movies with Johnny Depp as the star. Every actor, director and crew in a low budget to bring your own lunch budget film has always taken the art seriously. We all just want to do what are heart can’t deny. It really offends me when people refer to an indie film as amateur. If they only new how much hard work has gone into it they would understand that the reason why it doesn’t look like a big screen blockbuster is because of the equipment not the people behind it. I can tell you one thing there are plenty of indie films right now that would blow blockbusters out of the water if they only had the finances to back them. Like my film for example, but its gaining momentum.”
Conquering the Journey: John Ray and his Most Memorable Work
“My most memorable work right now would have to be having my son. He is in Sweden right now with his mother. My boy Leonardo is why I do this. So one day I can be with him again. I don’t qualify for shit in the real world. So my art is the only thing I can offer to fulfill this dream.”