Learn to light your own inner flame, don’t let anything or anyone dim it or blow it out ! Don’t allow people to define your journey, remain the author and creator of your own story!
I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Lance Alexander.
In 2017, Lance began taking acting classes in his former home town of West Chester, Ohio, and participation in a talent showcase sparked interest from both a talent agent and manager from Los Angeles. A part-time move to L.A. led to commercial bookings for Boost Mobile, Anchor Hocking and Michael’s “Slime Make Off” starring Busy Phillips and Nick Cannon. Television bookings include roles on Disney’s Raven’s Home and Teachers on TV Land. Lance can also be seen in the recurring role of Elvis on the Netflix comedy Family Reunion, starring Loretta Devine, Richard Roundtree and Tia Mowry. Lance and his family now live in Los Angeles full-time and when not acting, Lance enjoys playing volleyball, biking, karate and chess. Lance is also a volunteer for Best Buddies, an international organization that creates opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Yes, I am blessed to have a very supportive family with my mom, dad and sister who all cheer for me from the background. My family unit is my greatest asset and secret weapon, with them I can do it all. I grew up in West Chester, Ohio which is a suburb of Cincinnati. Life as a kid has been amazing, with tons of fun and opportunities! I have always been involved in different extracurricular activities. I enjoyed playing in the community volleyball league, school basketball tournaments and volunteering in my community. Before I really got involved in acting, singing was my thing! I spent a lot of timing performing and signing as a member of the Cincinnati Boychoir before I became an actor. I’ve been able to attend both public and private schools, and even online school so that’s been very cool for me to experience each one of those! My parents have always given us the best opportunities and I am eternally grateful for it all.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
It’s so crazy because I never realized it but I had been preparing to become an actor my whole life! As mentioned before I’ve had the opportunity to do lots of cool things but one of the best things was when my mom offered to enroll me in a summer theater camp, this is how my journey started and I didn’t really connect the dots until recently! In 2017 things got a little more formal when I began taking acting classes at a local talent agency. That led to me participating in a talent showcase which sparked interest from both a talent agent and manager from Los Angeles. The showcase was a success and with only local acting experience and 5 months of training we headed to Hollywood at their requests.
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?
Ha-ha do I have some stories to tell! One of the biggest mistakes starting out with auditions for me was this idea that I did not have to memorize my scripts for auditions. I thought it was ok to simply be prepared to “act it all out” while reading from the script. Now understand it was never my intention to be underprepared nor am I lazy, it was simply overwhelming during the busy seasons to prepare for multiple auditions. There have been times where I had 3 auditions on the same day. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way after receiving negative feedback from a casting agent, I quickly realized I had to be off book for each audition! The lesson I learned was never take on more than I can prepare and sometimes I may have to pass on an audition.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Who do you think that might help people?
One of the most recent and coolest projects I had the opportunity to work on was an Anti-Vaping campaign. Vaping chemicals are dangerous for everyone and when the project is released, I especially hope it reaches the teen population because many don’t know the consequences of a vaping addiction.
Most young people your age don’t have to balance work and school. Can you tell us how you manage to balance your schoolwork, auditions, and time on set?
Here comes the challenging part! Without a doubt it is definitely challenging trying to balance acting, school, auditions and time on set. During a work week it can be extremely hard to focus on school while on set especially if you have lots of scenes because of the constant rehearsal interruptions. When I know I’m working during an upcoming week, I always try to get ahead on my school work and strategically avoid school assignments on set that require extreme focus like writing essays.
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?
It’s so hard to pick one person because so many people have made sacrifices just for me to chase my dreams but if I had to pick one person it would definitely have to be my mom. I learned very early what it meant to work hard for the things you want in life. Both of my parents are highly educated, my father is an attorney and my mother has a Ph.D. I have listened to lots of stories about their education and careers which has given me insight on how to develop a good work ethic and nurture good healthy relationships along the way. Their willingness to share with me and teach me has given me the desire to work hard in every aspect of my life and career. I have learned there are no shortcuts and it’s better to take the long route around to explore and experience more.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s jump to the main part of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
I wish someone would have told me the following before I started this journey:
1. “No” doesn’t mean not ever !
It is important to know that “not now” which often feels like a hard “no’’ doesn’t mean not ever. I remember my first in person commercial audition in LA, I went in and killed it and felt like I was on top of the world. Well, a week passed … I heard nothing then 2 weeks.. nothing.. fast forward a month, still nothing ! Then a whole year later I got a call saying “Remember your first commercial audition, they want to hire you!” Long story short, you never know what’s going on behind the scenes and Hollywood timelines are nothing like the rest of the world!
2 .Don’t ever lose sight of why you started acting and what your goals are .
I often feel like it’s easy to get caught up in the lights, camera, action aspect, but one thing I’ve learned along the way is to keep your eye on the prize and don’t lose sight of that. Learn to light your own inner flame, don’t let anything or anyone dim it or blow it out ! Don’t allow people to define your journey, remain the author and creator of your own story!
3. Always make time for friends and family !
One of the things I can’t stress enough is to make time with your loved ones even if you find yourself with limited time. These are the people who add fuel to your fire, keep your spirits high and people you truly love. During the week my family and I at least try to have one family dinner together because all of our schedules are crazy. For friends, I always try to catch a movie, play some video games or even just go play basketball !
When I left Ohio to chase this dream, I left all of my friends behind and for two years my dad and sister were in Ohio too. I had to get very creative with facetime and online games to try and stay connected to each of them. My dad and I played virtual chess a few times a week across the miles.
4. Always keep your skills sharp!
This is the most critical part. It is not enough to just be a good actor. As an actor you want to always be working on your skills whether that’s acting class, plays, drama club, making your own skits/movies. You have to remember you’re not the only one with this dream, others want to act also, so it’s your job to figure out “how will I stand out in this crowd” and a great way to do that is to always be improving your skills so that you’re ahead of the game.
5. Networking is important!
You know what they say… “It’s not what you know, but who you know” that’s true here in Hollywood for sure. Thank goodness I am honestly a people person, I love meeting and getting to know new people and I am not afraid to start a conversation with adults. My mom often teases me about being an old man and not being afraid to work the room when we go to events. I’m the same way on set, I love having real conversations with everyone, the production team, writers, editors, producers at Family Reunion because I love hearing their point of view on things and sharing mine. It’s amazing how they are able to take a vision and put it on paper and create good television, it always amazes me! You never know who will be doing what in 5 or 10 years so meet as many people as you can, remember receptionist today, may be the casting director tomorrow. My parents have always taught us to treat every person with respect so this comes easy for me no matter who you are and what you do in Hollywood, you have value in my eyes.
You are a person of enormous influence. How do you think you can use social media as a platform to be a positive influence to your fans, and for society at large?
First, I want to say thank you and how very blessed I am to be able to influence others. Please know that I do not take these opportunities for granted, in fact I make it my business to provide safe and fun space on my pages for everyone to interact without judgement. I want my followers to know I appreciate them and that they are loved and respected by me. It is important for everyone on social media to remember to respect each other, because real people live behind usernames. Secondly, I want to say that social media can be a fantastic place to meet others and hear about their lives because we all have a story to tell. One thing I love the most is the positive feedback I receive from strangers when I make my TikTok videos. Their positive and encouraging posts always put a huge smile on my face. When people say “Hey Lance your video made my day today” or “I always look forward to what you post”, it warms my heart. I was never a big TikTok creator until the pandemic hit. During the last few months I found myself struggling to stay positive as a result of being stuck in this house with very little opportunity to work or get out. School and quarantine was all I had, even my church was closed. One day I made the decision to leave the sad and lonely lane and stop focusing on myself. I decided to start creating videos because I knew others must be feeling the pandemic pressure and sadness too. I have 60 secs to make a difference and my goal is simple, make them laugh! Now that I am back working, trying to keep up with school and auditioning it is a little hard to create new content but don’t worry I will be back as often as I can bringing the laughs!
If you had the ability to choose to work on any TV show or film, or work alongside any co-star, or with any director, what or who would that be, and why? You never know who might see this article, especially if we tag them. 🙂
If I had the ability to choose a film, it would definitely be a Spider-Man film! My favorite movie is Spider-Man Into the Spider Verse. I love the action part of Spider-Man Homecoming and Spider-Man Far From Home, both are epic. I know the Spider-Man Games will be amazing when I am able to land a PlayStation 5 it will be hours of epic fun.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You can follow me on Instagram and TikTok @thelancealexander
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!