Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Interview of Carlos Espinosa (Holy Wood Acting Studio Founder)

Max, StellaMaris, Karla, and Carlos Espinosa

Today's interview features Carlos Espinosa, founder of the Holy Wood Acting Studio in Los Angeles.  He offers a unique and fascinating look into what it means to be an actor and artist for God in today's world.  Thank you very much, Carlos, for taking the time to answer these questions so honestly! 

1.  What can you tell us about Holy Wood Acting Studio?  What do you see as its mission?

Even if they not know it, actors are called to be leaders.  Leaders tend to be the center of attention which is a huge peril for them and his/her followers if the first are not properly instructed and trained. We can see the devastating effects on many actors after they have just a little success doing what their vocation is telling them to do. An actor that fulfills his call in its entirety would be guiding the audiences to the light, to a happier life towards God. This is the mission, to train future actors to be torches of light to the world and by that being the happiest persons on earth.

2.  What prompted you to start the business?  How is your faith reflected within this vocation? 

My son Max worked for an actor and they were always approached by many who wanted to be actors and actresses but didn't know where to be trained. We saw that there is no place anywhere that trains actors (or any other activity) that forms the person before the actor, so we did it and trough prayer and discernment; a very effective program was created.

3.  Has the field and business of acting changed a great deal in the last twenty years, or has it remained much the same--as everything around it has changed? 

Acting has been a magnet for people who understand its immense power to guide masses. So, this God given craft has changed and developed into a more driven ability and its artist must convey a message that most of the times is not the best for the families and the world. 

4. There seems to be a tendency among some Christians to look at the field of acting and drama with suspicion.  Why do you think actors are often negatively stereotyped by those of faith?  What can be done about this? 

Holy Wood Acting Studio is the answer to their prayers, because God keeps giving His children His own power to create beauty and fill the hearts of many with hope and joy but up until today there was no other place where a talented person could get a proper training to avoid the cause of that rightful suspicion which is the dangers of bad-managed fame, power and money. 

5.  Being a great actor isn't enough for the successful performer these days.  He/she also needs to be an expert promoter, business person, negotiator, etc.  Do your students sometimes question the value of learning those kinds of life and business skills necessary to achieve (and maintain) success later in their careers? 

If a future actor wants to succeed, he needs to know how to move and effectively ascend the ladder of the hard world of acting, and he needs to know it as much as the best (or more).  The business of acting is one of many of our classes and each and every one of the teachers and coaches are not only experts in coaching, but also have worked many years in the movie industry. Passion, is a must and that is our fuel so needed for the talented one also.

6.  I interviewed Sean Astin last summer, and one of the things he remarked on was the thankfulness he has just to find good work.  It seems that an actor's life is often feast and famine.  If this is true, how do you teach a student to prepare for periods of professional and private hardship? 

Personal Growth and Development is a class that teaches them how to love themselves as much as God loves them, and that is the key to have a sound and really strong confidence. When you have that, you not only never worry for the mountain of rejections you may face, but you feel that those, and all the problems they may encounter, are but a preparation for a greater mission.  The bigger the challenge, the greater the mission, and you experience that He, Your Father provides all your needs (including difficult exercises of faith, hope and love, of course).

7.  Was there a particular point in your life where you made a conscious decision for Christ, a "Second Conversion?"  (As converts from the Evangelical tradition, this is an area of interest.  I'm going to try to usually ask this question in the future interviews.) 

My wife and I were rescued by Jesus for a second time (from being lukewarm Catholics) and by the Grace of God His Spirit grants us His passion of Love for Jesus almost 20 years ago. My son Max and daughter Karla have had their own passioned affair with Our Lord and God Jesus.

8.  Technology has so changed the face and voice of media over the past decade, or so.  What do you see as some of the greatest challenges for actors in coming years? 

I see that if an actor focuses his/her life in a disciplined life of prayer and study, the effect of the technology which is so great especially on un-educated people will be used by them to make a bigger success for Jesus, for them, for their families and the for the world.

9.  Is there a saint or two for whom you share a special affinity or appreciation? 

We try to see Our Lady in the same way Jesus was seeing Her when He was a baby... totally dependent, abandoned, and confident on Her. St. Padre Pio makes his rounds of checking everyday though...

10.  Has your friend Jim Caviezel ever stopped by Holy Wood Acting Studio to talk or work with students?  Are there well-known actors and actresses involved in the process?  What do you think about actors as role models? 

I met Jim only once in a dinner party, and he hasn't come (yet) to our facility.  The culture of celebrity is way too strong to even grasp by our minds, so we try not to look for it nor depend upon it for our support. If an actor wants to endorse us, it's is a blessing, but if not we know that we always count with the full support and love of the Only Real Celebrity.

11.  What would you say is the hardest thing for your students to learn or accept? 

Humility (the hardest for me too!), which we understand it as the source of real power and real authority over ourselves and over others. 

12.  Suppose that there is a young man or woman reading this who would love to pursue an acting career, but they don't know where to begin.  What advice would you offer them today? 

To read every page of our web site where everything is explained in detail and to call 310-428-6165 for further information, but before that... to pray, pray, pray!!! 


  1. Very interesting. I struggle too with how to stay humble and at the same time trying to become a writer. The obvious answer is that we write to serve. Nevertheless,I must admit that compliments are flattering, and even to be able to actually help somebody in his spiritual growth is flattering. I would like to hear your opinion on this issue

  2. I like your observation. I would also add that it's challenging to find a balance between the business of writing, like promotion for instance, and humility. I read something the other day by a writer who mentioned she hates it when the writers she likes overdue the self-promotion. She said that it made her really question them as writers. I guess the motto "be youself" comes to play here, but it's a complicated issue. (C.S. Lewis has written some powerful reflections on the issue of pride, by the way. In "Mere Christianity" he says it "...leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind." Thank you again for your comment!

  3. Oh man! I really have to find a way to fight this state of mind! However, I'm not proud to the point that I don't see the hand of Christ behind my work. I actually think that I wouldn't be able to write a word on my own. In fact, I felt compelled to write after my conversion, to the point that I learned how to write in English.