El Campo native pursues acting dream in L.A.


March 26, 2010 at midnight
Updated March 25, 2010 at 10:26 p.m.

Trying to make it as an actor in L.A. is never easy. Trying to make it as an Hispanic actor in L.A. is even more difficult, according to Jeremiah Ocanas.

"There are a lot of Latinos pursuing acting out here, but I really don't know the reason why they aren't more visible. Maybe there aren't enough Latino writers," he said. "You see Latinos auditioning all the time, but you don't see them in movies and on TV."

But that hasn't stopped the El Campo native from pursuing his dreams in the City of Angels. For five and a half years, Ocanas auditions and works as an actor. He also studies his craft under the tutelage of long-time acting coach Judith Weston. And now, his hard work is finally paying off. Ocanas has one movie about to be released in April and another will be released in the fall. He's also currently writing, directing and starring in his own Web series called "No Kids No Cry."

"I had this idea of making child support comedic, looking at the funny side of it. I know how it can be sometimes, and there are lots of dads dealing with this," the father of two said about the series. "As an actor, you spend a lot of time sitting around waiting for an agent to call so the Web series was more of a challenge to myself to keep creative and active. So, I'm writing, acting, directing, doing it all the way."

After graduating from El Campo High School in 1998, Ocanas moved to Austin, where he soon considered acting as a serious career. A few years later he landed in L.A., he said.

Since then, he's been busy filming the lead role in "Drive By Chronicles: Ghostown," in Mexico and more recently, "Transmission" in Ireland. The "Ghostown" DVD is set to be released April 6 in various stores, such as Blockbuster, Walmart and Target. "Transmission," in which Ocanas plays an autistic man, is set to be released in November.

"Being in Ireland was like a dream. Every day, you'd wake up and see green like you've never seen before in your life," he said about filming "Transmission." "It really opened me up to seeing the rest of the world."

It was also challenging. Although it was tough to prepare for a lead role like the one he played in "Ghostown," playing someone with autism was even more of a challenge.

"In prepping for that role, I did a lot of research, read a lot of books and watched as many documentaries as I could that dealt with autism," he said.

Although he doesn't currently have any projects lined up, Ocanas is determined to keep auditioning and pursuing his passion. If he's learned anything as a struggling actor in L.A., it's that you should never give up, he said.

"If anything ever comes out of this, out of what I'm doing, I want to tell kids in Texas that want to be creative to stick with it. Go after it, no matter what it is, acting, music, anything else," he added. "Do it fully and live it fully, because really pursuing this career has given me experiences I never could have otherwise had."



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