Thomas Kasp’s quiet competitiveness pays off in Hollywood

Thomas Kasp and his family moved from Chicago to Los Angeles so he could pursue an acting career. (Photo by Jon McKee)

Thomas Kasp and his family moved from Chicago to Los Angeles so he could pursue an acting career.
(Photo by Jon McKee)

Deciding to pursue a career in acting is a difficult choice, especially when it means moving thousands of miles. But that’s what Thomas Kasp and his family did. After he participated in the International Modeling & Talent Association competition and realized he had a shot at Hollywood success, Thomas and his family moved from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Thomas knew he had a passion for acting. What he could not prepare for, though, was just how tough it was going to be. As Thomas learned how to handle all of the pressures of the entertainment industry, he especially had to learn how to deal with failure. Not failure of a career, but simply getting rejected for parts. When he first moved to L.A., Thomas was the younger guy amongst all the other actors. This motivated him though. He watched the older actors and learned from them. He knew that some day, he would be where his older competitors were: more experience, more widely known. He knew that if he was diligent, he would become the guy with the experience and confidence to get the job.

Which is what happened: Thomas has appeared on several TV shows, and his first feature film, Space Warriors, hit theaters this spring. He’s also featured in the pilot of a TV show, Surviving Jack, which was recently picked up by Fox.

Thomas Kasp says he has a quiet competitiveness which pushed him through the tough times of rejection. (Photo by Jon McKee)

Thomas Kasp says he has a quiet competitiveness which pushed him through the tough times of rejection.
(Photo by Jon McKee)

Thomas shared some of his insights on making it in Hollywood with LSY’s Jessica Miller, Francesca Harvey and Tim O’Shei. Here’s an edited version of their conversation:

What is something people don’t know about this business until they’re in it?

Thomas: It’s tough. (He laughs). It’s really, really tough. You have to keep auditioning, you have to keep going after it. You will feel like you don’t fit in. But you do fit in. You just have to keep going for it. You have to go to every audition and just focus on what is happening in the moment. Be persistent.

Was there ever a time you wanted to give up, and if so, what stopped you?

Thomas: Definitely, especially in the beginning. It’s very much an uphill climb. It was about two or three years before I got my first great guest-starring role, and in those years there were a lot of ups and downs. You start to question yourself. You start to question if you can really make it there, and if it is fair to your family and to yourself.  You kind of begin to question if you do belong. But you just have to have that faith. You have to look at yourself and you have to know that what you have is real and you have to learn to motivate yourself. Once I started believing in myself I started having much greater success when auditioning. The callbacks, the feedback … everything just was much better.

Where did you find the determination or the drive to keep going when you wanted to give up?

Thomas Kasp says making it in Hollywood is "an uphill climb." (Photo by Jon McKee)

Thomas Kasp says making it in Hollywood is “an uphill climb.”
(Photo by Jon McKee)

Thomas: I’m a very competitive guy, and when you come out here, you become part of a group of actors who are your age and who are your “type.” You see these guys everyday, and there is a circle of actors that you come to know. I looked around and saw all these other actors, and I didn’t want to give up. I didn’t want to fall behind.

Was your competitiveness ever an issue?

Thomas: No, I’m a quiet competitive. I’m a very outgoing and friendly kind of guy. I am competitive against myself. I knew I could do better, and I knew I shouldn’t question myself. I knew that I was good enough. So I had to prove to myself that I was good enough.

What advice do you have for kids and teens who want to perform?           

Thomas: Don’t give up. Keep practicing. Give it a shot. Put yourself out there.

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