We had the good fortune of connecting with Austin Chunn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Austin, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
I wrote my answer to the question, “Why did you pursue an artistic or creative career?” and then I realized, who cares? I think answering the question, “How do you know whether to give up or keep going?” would be more beneficial to others. So here we go… You could say that everyone is individual and every circumstance is unique, so it’s impossible to say, but I believe we are all, ultimately the same. Certainly, there are times to throw in the towel. Have you grown passionless in your business? Are you bleeding money with no end in sight? There’s wisdom in knowing when to concede. However, most of us should never give up the pursuit of our endeavors and certainly not our passions. We are brainwashed into believing that “success” is supposed to happen overnight, and if not, we’ve failed and should move on. That’s rarely the case (and thank God, because we need time and failure to gain experience). In the beginning, we’re green, fearless and full of passion, but as we move along, growing and gaining experience, feelings of doubt can begin to creep in. Things like, you’re not good enough, you’re a fraud, you’re a failure, you’re too old, etc. Unfortunately, this is a very natural occurrence in artists, and probably everyone at some point, if we’re honest. The Beatles wrote, “When I was younger…I never needed anybody’s help in any way, but now these days are gone, I’m not so self-assured.” Well, when you can’t see the forest for the trees. When work has been slow or lacking conviction. When growth has plateaued and your passion has cooled. When life becomes too busy. When you lose your way and want to quit, remind yourself of how far you’ve come. I recently came across my very first “self-taped” audition. A couple of years ago, I would’ve cringed watching it, but I just couldn’t help but laugh. It was awful! It was humbling and inspiring. If you’ve ever lost sight of your purpose, just remember, there are others who want desperately to be as far along as you are. Also, remind yourself that you are not defined by one thing alone. I am not simply an actor or a filmmaker, but a person, a man, an artist, a home cook, a friend, a designer, a historian, a free thinker…. You get the point. So why must you “give up” the pursuit of anything? It took me a long time to understand that everything has it’s season. I often pick up and put down subjects, depending on my passions and needs at the time. This is natural. However, You cannot reach the pinnacle by picking up and putting down your hobbies. It takes complete dedication, discipline and sacrifice to become something more than yourself. The secrets of your pursuit, will never reveal themselves to you at the beginning. You must pay the price for the knowledge. So, stay the course and gain the deeper understanding. You’re a winner and a loser, a student and a teacher, a success and a failure, you’re an artist. If you’re everything, you’re nothing. If you’re nothing, you can create anything. Lose the ego, defeat the doubts, and do what you were born to do!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I consider myself a film actor first. My greatest passion lies in front of the camera, trying to be honest and vulnerable. But my passion for acting has only deepened, through my greater understanding of filmmaking. As a filmmaker, I’ve learned story structure, camera angles, lighting dramatics, editing, casting, production design, directing and producing. These components all serve the greater “picture.” After all, a fighter should have knowledge of the human anatomy, nutrition, and energy flow. A musician must be able to comprehend frequencies, beats, instruments and vibrations. So too, learning every aspect of filmmaking helps me to be a better actor. More recently though, my focus has been on commercial and video production for Blue Goose Productions. BGP is a full service video production company, owned and operated by award winning filmmakers and specializes in commercials, brand stories, and social media content. For more information visit: www.bluegooseprod.com What sets me apart from other actors is my dedication to my work, my experience with feature films, and my collaborations as a filmmaker. I’m a problem solver on set, because I’m also a producer. I want to create the best picture possible and to do that, we must collaborate. I can control few things as an actor, but one of those things is my work ethic. If I’m your actor, I’m committed. I will give you everything, but I’m also headstrong with high expectations for the quality of work we produce. I’m an encourager and an energy bringer on-set. But I will also fight for takes, demand your dedication, and exclusively serve the art (never your ego).
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Though things have changed in 2020, Atlanta still has much to offer. Because I’m a home cook and food is important to me, I’ll probably focus mostly on that. I should note, that I’ve always lived ITP (inside the perimeter) so my recs are all local. Ticonderoga Club for food, drinks and a great atmosphere. I’ve been following Paul Calvert from bar to bar for years. Fox Brothers Bar-B-Q never disappoints. Grab some smoked wings and a chicken fried rib. Supremo for a taco or two. Say hello to partner and chef Duane Kulers (Octopus Bar, 8Arm) for me. Antico Pizza and Gio’s Sicilian Pizza are both owned by Giovanni Di Palma, but offer two very different and delicious Italian style pizzas. Buford highway offers some of the most amazing and diverse asian cuisines around. Any of Atlanta’s local breweries are highly recommended such as, 3 Taverns, Wild Heaven, or Monday Night Brewing. Coffee shops like, East Pole, Radio Roasters, Tap Room, Brash and Docent offer locally roasted beans. We might grab a quick sandwich at Victory Sandwich Bar and wash it down with a Jack and Coke Slushie. On the healthier side, smoothies at Lottafrutta cannot be beat! I recommend the “IWanna Guana.” Pop a hat on and be a part of the family at Il Localino Italian Restaurant. Maybe grab a fishbowl tiki drink downtown at Trader Vic’s. For things to do, I recommend the Porsche Experience, walking the belt line, or sprawling out in one of the many parks. When possible, go see some live music at Tabernacle or Terminal West, cheer on Atlanta United and the Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium or catch an improv show at Dad’s Garage Theatre Company. Atlanta’s neighborhoods each offer a unique experience, you just have to find what suits you.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
“Nothing great is ever accomplished alone.” – Usman Mustafa I am very grateful for all of the support and wisdom I’ve received from loved ones, teachers and colleagues throughout the years. Because we stand on the shoulders of giants, I always try to learn from those who came before me. You can learn from anyone and anything, even if you’re not in the same field. I find most professionals in any industry have a similar mindset, discipline and work ethic. Learn from everyone and be grateful!