Rising Star G. Brian Benson: “Why we need a movement toward more self-love and self-acceptance”

I have realized that the more I love and accept myself for who I am and what I have to work with, everything else falls into place. I would love for everyone to work toward self-love and self-acceptance. It would clean up a lot of our countries and world’s problems. As a part of my […]

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I have realized that the more I love and accept myself for who I am and what I have to work with, everything else falls into place. I would love for everyone to work toward self-love and self-acceptance. It would clean up a lot of our countries and world’s problems.

As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing G. Brian Benson. G. Brian is an actor, spoken word artist, filmmaker, TEDx speaker and multiple award-winning and Amazon #1 best-selling author, knows the value of trusting intuition and wants to share his own personal journey of self-growth, discovery and accomplishment to help others re-connect with their own personal truths to live an authentic and fulfilling life. As a 4x Ironman triathlete and cross-country bicyclist, Brian knows the value of hard work and never giving up on his dreams, a message he shares with audiences through each of his creative expressions. Brian can be seen this fall in the upcoming El Rey channel TV series Sangre Negra, as well as numerous Jay Shetty and Prince EA inspirational videos. Brian’s brand-new book Habits for Success — Inspired Ideas to Help You Soar is an Amazon #1 Best-Seller and was selected as a 2019 Book Excellence Award Winner in the Motivational book category. Brian lives in Los Angeles, CA.

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

I was very active. I grew up in Salem, Oregon playing lots of sports through high school (baseball, basketball, golf etc.) I also started working for our family business in 7th grade which was a golf center. I would pick up the range balls driving around a beat-up john Deere mower with a chicken wire cage to protect me. I was also a huge Portland Trail Blazer fan, my dad and I attended many games and I have very fond memories.

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

It was an accident really. I really had no intention of becoming an actor. It wasn’t even on my radar. After I left my family business in my early 40’s, I wrote my first book and was really uncomfortable talking in front of people. So, I signed up for a beginning acting class because I thought it would be a good tool to help me become more comfortable and gain confidence. Shortly after finishing that class, I had an idea come to me in the form of a dream that was about a street guitarist…when I awoke, I felt like I should write it down and then tried to make some sense of it. At the time I was a closet guitar player and I had never played in front of anyone before but I really loved to play the delta blues. I ended up giving a young filmmaker I had just met named Michael Sweeney a call and asked if he wanted to hear an idea I had about a potential short film.

We met a few days later in person and he loved it! No more than a few weeks after that we found ourselves on the streets of Reno, Nevada making a short film that I wrote and I acted in called Guitar Man. I didn’t really know what I was doing…I just knew that I wanted to do it…I had a vision. And with Michael’s help we made it happen. It was a very empowering experience for me…I mean I felt totally alive! I had never acted before and I certainly had never played guitar in front of anyone and there I was doing it on film. Guitar Man ended up getting accepted to 11 film festivals, but more importantly it opened up the door to acting for me.

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

I have been blessed…I feel like I have a lot of interesting stories. I don’t know how interesting this is to everyone but me, but I find it kind of funny that I get cast a lot as the normal guy with a dark side. You see a passion of mine is to write and create positive and empowering media in many different forms which also helps supplement my income when I am not acting. Self-help books, children’s books, short films, spoken word videos etc. So, to be cast as the villain was a little bit of a surprise at the start but I just go with it. I think what helps casting directors see me in that way is my outgoing yet introverted nature.

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?

Early on I booked a commercial that was filmed at Lake Tahoe up in the mountains in the snow and was playing a recovered addict for an addiction center who was climbing a peak representing his journey to sobriety. At one point I was supposed to fall back down and do a summersault before getting back up and I did…but in the meantime also gave myself more than likely a concussion because the snow was packed hard where I fell. I was seeing stars and felt a bit out of sorts the rest of the day. What did I learn? Hmmm…I am very eager to please on set and always try to go above and beyond with whatever I am doing, in this case I would have checked out my landing area a bit better for sure!

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

I am really excited to have a part on the new cable television show Sangre Negra. Season one will be airing late fall on the El Rey channel as well as one of the major digital streaming channels. It stars Erik Estrada, Eric Roberts and Anthony McKay among many others. It is an LA crime drama that one could say is a cross between “Dallas” and “The Sopranos.” It has been an absolute joy and wonderful learning experience being a part of the show. We are like one big, supportive family.

We are 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?

I am really lucky to be a part of probably the most diverse cast in TV today on the show “Sangre Negra.” So, for myself I am witnessing first-hand the benefits of having a very diverse cast. We are represented by an incredibly large mix of ethnicities. Latino, African-American, Asian, Persian, Middle-Eastern, Indian, and Caucasian. There are so many reasons why it’s important. I think if we can learn and work together on a micro level it can only help us try to do it on a macro level. It’s a huge plus for our culture…if we can all just realize that despite some differences, we really all are the same. Ultimately at the core level we all want to love and be loved.

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

1) Be patient and trust the process- Anything that is worthwhile takes time. Especially if one if venturing into something new. When I first moved to LA, I was gung-ho…and dove right into classes and anything else I felt would help me advance. And because things in other areas of my life sometimes came easy, I thought that this might be the case as well. While I did start to book a few things, I soon realized I had a lot to learn. Be patient and trust the process.

2) Don’t take rejection from auditions personally- This is huge…especially at the beginning of one’s career. It can be really tough to continually be told no at auditions and it brings up all kinds of our personal stuff. Am I worthy? Am I cut out for this? Can I act? Do I have what it takes in this field? After a while it can really be hard to even psyche yourself up to go to the next one. Initially when I started and went through the audition rejections…it really brought to my attention that I had some work to do on myself in the self-acceptance and self-worthiness field. And as I began to address that and come into a more self-accepting place, I realized that I also would show up to auditions with a more care-free and confident attitude. I wasn’t placing all of my self-worth “eggs in the proverbial basket” and was able to be so much more relaxed and myself. It was a big lesson for me.

3) Be grateful for every project you get- This is a competitive field. Jobs can come sporadically. It can be easy to take things for granted if you have a good streak going, but when things slow up it can be tough. Just remember there are thousands of people who would love to be on set the day that you might be complaining about something insignificant.

4) Keep working on yourself- Embrace the self-growth process. The more self-aware that you can become the easier it will be to not only navigate the ups and downs that acting entails, but you will also be able to use that knowledge/self-awareness to incorporate into the characters you play in a much more authentic way…truly bringing parts of yourself to the role.

5) Watch, listen and learn- Be a sponge on set. One thing that I notice sometimes with new actors is that there can be a level of ego and selfishness. What I mean by this, is that they are out there thinking it is all about themselves and hunting to “be discovered” and a lot of times they aren’t present and are looking ahead to try and procure something bigger and better. I get it, we all want to advance our careers, but the only way to get there is to act like a professional. I have found that really watching, listening, learning and being a reliable, positive, prepared and hard-working actor has definitely been one of the reasons that I book work. I just always remember that it isn’t about me, it’s about the project and try to leave my ego at the door.

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

Find some healthy releases that you can incorporate into your life. Hiking is one of mine. Also become self-aware in the areas of life balance. Try and figure out some things that help keep you in balance as well as identify those items that throw you out. I am a bit believer in being pro-active as much as I can. Living reactively can be quite stressful. It’s interesting that my first book that I wrote was on a whole bunch of ways to find life-balance, so it’s been a huge benefit having that knowledge in my back pocket as I move forward.

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 have realized that the more I love and accept myself for who I am and what I have to work with, everything else falls into place. I would love for everyone to work toward self-love and self-acceptance. It would clean up a lot of our countries and world’s problems.

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?

Absolutely. After I left the family business, I ended up moving from Oregon to Reno, Nevada. I took a community college speech class as one of the ways that I used to become a more confident speaker/person that I met a fantastic human being by the name of Joe Giampapa. Joe was the teacher of the class and just a very kind, empowering individual. He had been a motivational speaker and was a teacher at heart. He really took me under his wing and gave me the confidence that I was on the right track and that I could be successful. He also nudged me to take the acting class that I talked about earlier which he also taught. He was the perfect person for me to come into contact with at that time of my life.

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

“We are all here to learn about ourselves and inspire others in our own unique way.” I really like this because I feel like it gives me permission to truly stand in my own power and be ok with who I am. It ties in with the self-acceptance message I just made mention of prior. I came up with and used this quote in a book I wrote after I left my family business and was searching for my true identity and working toward more self-worthiness.

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. 🙂

I would love to have lunch with Russell Brand. I love his authenticity and fearlessness in totally owning who he is and what he is about.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

www.gbrianbenson.com and www.gbrianbensonactor.com and most of my social media handles are @gbrianbenson

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

Thank you kindly!

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