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Episode 243: Not Working to Working - Interview with Juan Carlos Diaz

business tips Aug 02, 2023

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About Juan Carlos:

Juan Carlos Diaz is an actor born and raised in New York City. He began acting at the age of six in various school plays and musicals while in private school.

While still in high school, he began working at the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre under the direction of Miriam Colon Valle, which led to his first Equity production at the age of 17 at New Media Repertory Theatre, where he immediately became part of the children's theatre company there.  

Juan Carlos holds a BA in theatre from Bard College, where he studied under the tutelage of JoAnne Akalaitis and Liz Smith.  

His work can be seen in BULL, HALSTON, LAW & ORDER, LAW & ORDER SVU, The Last Thing He Wanted (with ANNE HATHAWAY), and many other TV shows and films.

I've always been a good listener so I can figure out the homework later and take notes.

I went for the audition, and then this went on for about two years. I would even get emails that he's pinned for this with just the name. And you start going, "Well, I haven't auditioned for that in months, if not a year. Okay, what's the name? Let me start doing homework." And then, eventually we got an offer, and it was a guest star spot.

It allowed me to understand what our mentors try to instill in us.

Sometimes it's waiting. I got a, "I can't let you go out on this, not this CoStar. I'm going to wait for something bigger for you."

I don't care if I'm one line or a scene. You're soaking in so much that you're going, "Oh, okay. What is that? That's the gaffer. What's he doing? Okay. Because I need to know this, right."

And be part of the collective. That show allowed me to connect with, it's one of its stars, Fred Rodriguez, and being a Latino.

It allowed me to say, "Hey man, I came out of college, and I didn't have hope, and I would see you on this show," I think he was on Six Feet Under. And I identified.

I thanked him because he is part of a seminal movement across the board in this disenfranchised world, and he helped open doors and be a part of his show in this capacity.

Not to mention, I have scenes with him.


You know, you'll run into a friend who you haven't done a thing with in a while, and then you, that might be a thing, or at least you're like, "Hey, let's stay in contact."

One of the things that you're bringing up is relationships.

It's finding those pockets of the right people.

And I think now I'm starting to understand networking way better, which is,  I don't have to go and do this whole formal, like a date. It's my friend who has a film. I want to support that. Oh, now I have seen four other films. I'm going to reach out to the festival, and I'm going to reach out to the directors and say, "Hey man, love that thing. Identify with that."

It's also about being genuine with it. In other words, if you see a director's movie and don't like it, that's not a director you'll reach out to.

Only reach out to the people who you really, really like.

Something that was taught to me very early in my career, and unfortunately, it's much easier to say than to do and implement, is it's one audition in a lifetime of auditions.

So you bombed an audition, honey; there will be 10,000 of these after this. You may not think so, but there will be.

The other thing that you said is that, when you were talking about the spokes of the wheel, you know, I think a lot, a lot of times, the actors think they have to be the whole wheel. You don't have to be the entire wheel; you just have to do your part well.

One more brilliant thing that you said is this idea that you're coming in to a casting director, to an agent, to a producer, to a writer, to a celebrity as peers.

You're not trying to get them to like you.

There is no us; we are figuring out this thing and bringing our own ingredients.

If you want to get better, you have to have those conversations either with somebody who sees it outside of you. And or with yourself.

Remain teachable.

Measuring your progress.

I allow myself somehow to get back to the work, and because I'm so, in a good way, obsessed with it, it's what allows me to feel 100% truly alive.

Watching movies and tv to all creativity to come.

Read a play.