Category: GEMA, GEMA Alumni Spotlight

Title:GU Alumni Spotlight: Actor Christopher T. Wood (C ’89)

What was your first “big break”? Or, what is the most significant experience you have had that has made your success possible?
One could argue I haven’t had one. The biggest contributor to making my success possible was deciding to pursue acting in the first place. I quit my job and went all in. Acting is a tough job to be successful in. Much harder, in some ways, than law or medicine. Trying to make partner at Skadden working part time is not possible. Same for acting in film and television, in my opinion. The second big break was booking my first TV role on a show called “According to Jim”, starring Jim Belushi. The difference between having no credits and one credit is huge, particularly when you start as an older person.

What is the most challenging part of your job? What is the most rewarding part?
The low status that actors have answers both those questions. I love when people roll their eyes when I tell them what I do. There is something about willingly placing yourself on the outside of public affection that makes you feel like you are doing something very stupid, very brave or both. I like dwelling in that place. Strangely, it reminds me (a little bit) of growing up as a black kid in the US in the 1970’s.

What is a current project you are working on that you are excited about?
I wrote a screenplay about a historical figure, David Fagen. He was a black college grad who fought in the Spanish American War (1898 -1901) in the Philippines. He went to battle thinking he would gain the respect of whites while saving the colored indigenous people. When the US switched sides and attacked the locals, he defected and rose to the level of General in the local army. It’s a real life version of “Avatar”. I love it.

Are there any ways that you feel Georgetown especially prepared you for your career?
Georgetown prepares us very well for a life where someone puts an enormous amount of work in your path and tells you to finish it in less time than it should take. In acting, there is no specific path to follow to build your career. You are constantly making one up. That was a new skill that I had to develop.

What is your best advice to those who are starting out in your field?
Make your own project. If you build it, they might come. It’s easier than ever to start your own projects. Also, continuously work on your acting. You will improve, which will increase your chances of career success and longevity. The dirty little secret of our industry (in my opinion) is that who you know does not matter as much as most of us would like. By the time you are booking things because of who you know, you probably already have a pretty good career.

How is the digital world affecting your industry? How are you approaching this transformational change?
You can make your own projects. That is invaluable.

Best Business Advice Received: Have fun.

Trait You Most Admire in People: Hard work.

Favorite iPhone/iPad/Blackberry/Android App: Blackberry

Favorite Georgetown Professor: Jim Walsh, of course!

Favorite Georgetown Restaurant or Bar: Tombs

Favorite Georgetown Memory: ALL OF THEM!!!!