I did everything ass-backwards. After University, I went out to L.A. to be a movie star. Hilarious, I know. But I was committed. I was going out there to be a working actor. I had a little money saved, about $2,000, a reliable car, and a house-sitting gig. I was pretty set, in a modest way. Like I said, I didn’t go out there to be a server. I wanted to be an actor.

When you go out to L.A. to become an actor, one of the smartest things you can do is get a commercial agent. And that’s what I did. Stew Strunk was my first agent, at RLA – Robin Levy and Associates.  After sending out a bezillion headshots, I scored one, and was able to start going out on auditions. It wasn’t a theatrical agent (movies) but it was a good start.

If you do a commercial, it can definitely buy you some time. In my career, I was fortunate enough to act in 12 National Commercials, and I made great money. I did a Phillips Light Bulb commercial, I’m not bragging, just giving an example, that made me over $100,000, for 1 day of work. But that wasn’t without rejection. A lot of rejection. In the beginning, I was going out on 6-8 auditions a week, and nothing. Rejection, rejection, rejection. For 8 months I booked 1 paid gig. I was down to about $13.00 in my bank account. I remember having a mini-nervous breakdown. What am I doing?  I’m a failure. I have a college education, and I’m broke. I was crying. Sobbing, really. I wasn’t embarrassed. I was at the end of my rope.

But then, at the end of that period, it happened. I booked 3 gigs in a week and a half. A music video, a short film, and a feature. I was lucky. But I payed my dues.

When people ask me about my time in L.A., I tell them, “It was the best of times, and worst of times.” I was blessed to meet thousands of people, make a few friends, and have some mind-blowing experiences. Go on YouTube and search “Stairway to Heaven Compact For Tube Playboy Mansion” and you’ll see me sneaking into the Mansion, with a couple of friends, for the Millennium party. Crazy times. I don’t regret the experiences I had, good or bad, I look back on them, without remorse. You have to go after your dreams, or you’ll be sitting around 10 years from now, wondering what if.

So why did I move back to Iowa?  To summarize, there was a 6 month commercial strike, and I worked on 1 movie in the span of that time. It destroyed me – both mentally and financially.  I hobbled back to Des Moines and lived with my mom and step-father until I was able to pick up the pieces.

And here I am now, 13 years later, with a wife, 2 kids, a mortgage, and a job as a bartender – at age 40. I’ve never been more fulfilled in all my life. That’s what I’m saying about doing things ass-backwards. I did the acting first, then the bartending, instead of the other way around.

And you know what?  I absolutely love my job at the Mews. Yes, I’m 40, and doing a 21 year old’s job, but what else am I going to do?  Take your time and get back to me on that.  You can’t worry about what others think about what you do for a living. If you’re ecstatic working at McDonalds making Apple Pies, then you should do that.  Customers ask me when they enter the bar, “Are you the owner?” as if I must be something more. I say, “Nope. Just the bartender.”

I’m still doing a little acting. I have an audition next week for Veridian Bank. I’m sure I’ll get it. Not!  I play a 50 year old. Good one. I’m a damn senior citizen!

But I try to look on the bright side. It’s for Veridian…not Viagra.  Yet.

From my heart to yours,

Clint Curtis. Bartender.

1 thought on “LA STORY

  1. anna P

    Clint you are by far my favorite bartender in DSM. Do what makes you happy. Those Viagra commercials are hilarious half the time anyway. Sorry for all the times I’ve been a PITA.


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