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EP2 - Kenneth Duane

Actor, Photographer, Filmmaker.

· Mastery,Positive Energy,Love Yourself

"Fate brought me back to my happiness". Actor, Photographer and Filmmaker Kenneth Duane discusses his life journey, acting, self-expression, knowing and loving oneself and his healthy mind and body toolkit. At Union Coffee, Dallas.

Interview date: May 16th 2017

Publish date: May 17th 2017

Keywords:

#Eatingwell, #mastery, #acting, #BeAlchemic

Transcript:

Click button below to download free PDF transcript.

Text Transcript:

Brett Cowell:

Hi. It's Brett Cowell, and this is the Total Life Complete podcast. Today I'm here with Kenneth Duane, actor, photographer, and filmmaker. Welcome, Ken.

Kenneth Duane:

Welcome. Thank you for having me.

Brett Cowell:

My pleasure. Today, I think we might talk about visual creativity, natural juices, White Rock Lake. You're the most positive-minded person I know around, so I want to find out why and get to the bottom of all of that.

Kenneth Duane:

Well, I am just happy with life. I'm just happy with where I'm at right now, just where I've come from, and where I plan to be. I'm extremely happy for life. I'm passionate about life, about creating, about nature, and everything. I'm glad to connect, very glad to connect.

Brett Cowell:

Happy to have you here. Like a lot of us these days, you're wearing a number of hats. I think I mentioned three of them, actor, photographer, and filmmaker. How do you introduce yourself at parties when people ask what you do?

Kenneth Duane:

KD: You know, I’m still having, I guess, some issues with that because they ask what do I do and I, "Okay, where do I start?" And there's so much more that I want to do. Pretty much now I just, "Hey, I'm a creator."

I love taking pictures. I love making people look great in pictures. I love editing, bringing it to the next level. I love video. I actually started with video before I became a photographer. What actually got me into taking pictures and doing video is from my acting. I've been acting since I was, really, eight years old, but I really got serious with it when I got in high school. I did a lot plays, a lot of work outside of school. Yeah, so just being around cameras and watching these professionals create this art that we turn into movies, and plays, and short stories.

I had to learn. I had to learn because I'm just passionate about the whole creation process... Because, even prior to high school, I was in pageants when I was in the first grade up until fifth grade. I was pretty much an escort. At that time, the girl, she was doing the performances, and dancing, and doing her talent piece. I was just kind of sitting to the side and being a gentleman and escorting her down the runway.

I've always been a goofy guy. I've always loved fun, hanging out, and just impersonating people, just all in fun. When I came to high school in freshman year, I was looking for an elective and I saw theater arts and I was like, "Hey, you know, that seems like fun." I joined theater arts and right away I was hooked. Right away, I think in one of our first projects, we had to write our own short story, our own monologue. Again, I was just captured right away. That's my essence is creating. I feel that I've always been a creator.

Brett Cowell:

It's amazing that when you ask people about what they do now, quite often they just go back to childhood and it's something that happened, a formative experience, or a relationship, or something. Tell us a little bit about more the path from there to here, because it's not like, you, didn't finish high school and then went straight off to Hollywood or on screen. What happened then?

Kenneth Duane:

KD: Yeah. I did a little bit acting right outside of high school for maybe a year or two, did some community theater and things like that. Then, actually, I moved to Dallas. From there, I was in corporate America. I was working a job, basically, corporate America. I was working in sales and, hey, I made a lot of money. I made a lot of money doing that, but year after year, I was just fighting for a position. I was fighting to make more money. I was fighting to get a promotion, but I wasn't happy. I guess I had some experiences in my life, I mean, my grandmother passed away. I had some other just traumatic things happen all around the course of three months. I had to step back for a second and just analyze my life and look at what I was doing.

Through that experience, I went to a meeting and I just met a guy who was ... he was running plays. He was writing plays and he was looking for actors. I didn't expect to meet him. I didn't expect for us to even connect at that meeting, but I introduced myself. He even got upset at me because he told me call him right away, the first week. I was like, "Okay, yeah. Well, I'll give you a call." Two days later, he sends me a message like, "Hey, why didn't you call me?" I'm like, "Okay." Anyway, I called him, joined the play, and it was just like life had started again.

At the time, I was 27, actually. From the time from, I guess, 19 to age 27, I didn't do any acting. It was really off the table, but I feel that fate brought me back to it. Fate brought me back to my happiness. That's just how it worked out.

Brett Cowell:

Tell me a little bit about how acting, if at all, if it's changed the way that you look at life. When you take on a role, and even when you're in your day-to-day life, as you're going through, do you notice people acting?

Kenneth Duane:

KD: Yeah. I notice people acting all the time. I think as far as being an actor, as far as over the course of my life of I've been on this awakening journey, and I think that you have to ... I mean, it's probably best that I stepped away from acting and I was able to come back when I was 27. I knew more about life. I knew more about myself, who I am as a person, as a man. As far as being an actor, you have to be grounded. You have to know yourself to take on these roles and to be able to play any character that is presented. You really have to dig in, again, knowing yourself.

I mean, acting is so out there. There's no template. There's no blueprint as far as, I think, getting into acting. I think the training and everything is good and it's all well, but there's no better training than just dealing with life and its experiences. Dealing with that has made me so much of a better actor. I'm looking forward to my next big role, whatever it's gonna be, whenever it comes. I always say that acting is life because you're putting life in acting. The beauty of acting is not acting. It's actually being whoever the character that you're called to portray from the writer, from the director, whatever, and actually being that person. Again, you have to know yourself to become anybody else in this movie.

Brett Cowell:

And, I guess, trust your instinct, which is something that most of us don't do enough. We kind of get our heads caught up in something and we stop trusting ourselves and what-

Kenneth Duane:

KD: Definitely. You have to trust yourself to make the right choices when you're acting. There can't be a format as far as how ... I was taught in high school ... I learned different methods as far as acting, but I had to relearn. I had to actually learn an organic method of acting and it's pretty much ... I mean, yeah, you learn your lines. You pretty much know the lines to where you don't even have to think about them, but then you actually become and you become that character.

You don't think about movements. You just let them happen naturally because, in life, we don't think about what we're gonna do when we're angry, or we're sad about something, or we're extremely happy. These emotions just come out and we just move. We react. In acting, especially when you're being organic, being an organic actor and playing this role, that's when the beauty happens. That's when it's real. I believe that's when you really, truly connect with the audience or the viewer who's watching the story. Yeah, I love the process all the way through. It's been tremendous.

Brett Cowell:

I looked at some of your qualifications there and I see that you've ... I want to talk about some of the cool things about being an actor, and I noticed stunt fighting and tactical weapons training. I had met you in real life and then I saw you up on the screen there whooping ... it was somebody. How was that? Was it fun to do that?

Kenneth Duane:

KD: Oh, it was extremely fun, and it was very difficult at the same time. I guess my first training was from a movie that I was a part ... a short film, actually. It was called Chasers, written by William Watson. Just in that film, it was all fighting. It was pretty much like a modern-day cowboy movie. Yeah, pretty much, stunt fighting and just actually trying to make it look realistic, a lot goes into it, still a lot more training than I have to do, I mean as far as that. Yeah, I mean, that was amazing. There's different ways that you have to fall, different ways that you have to actually throw the punches, and get so close that you're not actually hitting the person but making it look real, making it look like real life. I think it's difficult, but it's definitely fun.

Brett Cowell:

It definitely did look real. For such a serene guy, I was ... I don't want to make you mad ever, man. That's all I'm saying. Just saying that as a thing. All right. I sort of know the post you did on social media with you talking about the actor grind. Is that something you want to say about, talk about the process of that and ... ?

Kenneth Duane:

KD: Yeah. Well, as far as just the actor grind, I just relate that to anybody. I mean, we're all pretty much on a grind. We pretty much have a dream, or we have goals that we want to accomplish. Just as an actor, that same work ethic that I put into corporate America as far as trying to be the best salesman, trying to have the most sales on the floor, whatever my position was, and trying to elevate and get into a higher position, that's the same dedication that I have to put into acting as far as reading the script, and trying to read my script 500 times before I even really dissect my character and really actually know who he is. As far as an actor grind, I believe that's the grind.

The grind is also going to auditions and being told, "No," 1,000 times before you hear one, "Yes," and being able to keep the passion and to keep it real for yourself because, if you don't believe in yourself, you're not gonna continue to do this actor grind. No one else can really give you so much motivation to make you continue, because there's days that you have that you're all alone. What are you gonna do then? You really have to grind on yourself. I think that goes in with me, as far as my actor grind, it goes into how I eat, how I take care of myself, how I work out, and just try to keep a focused mind, and really just stay on top of everything that I need to be so I'm prepared for whatever role that comes my way. I'm definitely all about the actor grind.

Brett Cowell:

BC: No. I thought it was a great phrase because, obviously, my current career and focus of helping people to live their potential and all this sort of stuff, it's amazing. I think a lot of people go, "Oh, you know, I've got this kind of dream job, [in my head]" and in their dream, you're not working hard at it whereas, in the reality [of realizing your dream], you are. I think it's just so great, people caught in their daily grind [but not doing what they really want to do]. I think it's such a privilege to be on a grind towards your dream, to actually do something every day that's furthering that. You don't mind the grind if it's something you've got to do but you're seeing, hopefully, the results of it.

Kenneth Duane:

KD: Definitely, yeah. I mean, seeing the results, that's the beauty of it. If you're gonna start, why not finish? That's how I look at this whole situation with acting, with my photography, with creating videos. I have to grind. I have to go in and just dissect the whole situation. I want to master each level of it.

Especially if I'm doing a photography session, I want to make sure that I get the best shots possible so the client's happy. All in all, really, first of all, I'm shooting for myself. Then second, I'm shooting for the client because, more so, the client, in most cases, doesn't know what they ... they don't know what they really want. Me, as a professional, I'm supposed to be that professional, that expert, to show them what they want and what they need. If I deliver, if I'm a professional, if I've done the grind, if I've done my research and my homework, if I'm on top of it, if I know the settings on my camera, if I know how to control the lighting the right way ... Also, if I'm on set, if I've memorized my lines, if I know how to deliver my lines, then it makes everybody else more comfortable, the director, my client, whoever I'm putting on video, to where the end results are great. That's what I live by is always by just taking it to the next level.

I want someone who's like, "Okay, yeah, you're coming out for a photo shoot. Yeah, it's gonna be nice," but I want you, when you get your pictures in, your final thing like, "Wow, that's amazing." That's what I live for. I get so much more happiness out of this and being able to create these pictures and these characters and these videos. I get so much more enjoyment versus working a job where I'm not really showing my potential, I'm not showing what's in my mind, what's in my heart. I just, again, I love creating.

Brett Cowell:

BC: I think that's the key thing. Off mic, we talked a little bit about different definitions of success and people striving for success versus people who are going for success out of their heart. I think you used that phrase that you're grinding and working hard, but from your heart outwards as opposed to trying to be someone else, or something different, or someplace else than where you are right now.

Kenneth Duane:

KD: Yeah. It's grinding, and you definitely have to be true to yourself throughout everything and throughout this whole process, and just being true, being true to yourself. I know, with me and through my work, it's gonna show through my work. I feel that I'm so true to my work, if I'm in a bad mood, if my energy isn't right, I don't even logon to the computer to edit or to touch a picture. I never do that because I just feel that, all in all, I wouldn't want to put bad energy on any of my work, because then it's not gonna be as good as it could be. Yeah, I definitely stay true to, again, who I am. Again, that's been my process is just, again, learning myself and becoming more grounded as a human being so I can put truth in all of my work no matter what it is.

Brett Cowell:

BC: The point about energy there ... We'll come back to it later, because I know it's a topic that a lot of the listeners will be interested in. You just made a point about you're not turning on the computer unless you've got the right energy. Certainly, it's something I've experienced and written about in the book. We have this corporate world, and the jobs we have, and the schedules, and the social media fragments all of our attention and energy and we're just scattering it around everywhere. There's definitely something to being in tune with where your creative energy is and using it for the most important thing in yours and others' lives rather than scatter-gunning it around everywhere and not really achieving much.

Kenneth Duane:

KD: Right. Definitely. I always say that to people. I'm actually bad on social media. I need to be better as far as we all want to promote ourselves on social media. Again, I want to show love as much as I can. Again, I mean, you need that time for yourself so you can ... I mean, what am I gonna post if I'm in a bad mood? I don't want to share that energy. I don't believe I would be helping anybody if I'm just sharing any negative energy.

I mean, yeah, if I'm just sharing a story or whatever and something that people can relate to, but I want to be one that just ... I want to share positive energy, maybe something that's gonna motivate somebody, maybe something that's gonna inspire somebody, maybe something that somebody can learn from. I love to eat great. I love sharing different things that I'm eating that make me feel better, that give me energy when I first get up in the morning. That's the energy that I just love to just give to the world. Sometimes, I have to take a break on social media because there's a lot of ... Obviously, we know there's a lot of energy on social media. We all have to market ourselves, but I'm working on that. I'm definitely working on that.

Brett Cowell:

Before we move off the acting and filmmaking, how do you see Dallas developing in the time you've been here as a movie capital? I know there's various folks in Dallas that want to re-setup the movie industry here. Are you thinking about, "Oh, look. This is my step here in Dallas, and then I'm going to Hollywood or going somewhere else?"

Kenneth Duane:

KD: Well, Dallas has a lot of opportunity. I have a great team here in Dallas which I'm very appreciative of. I mean, just Texas in general, Dallas all the way to Austin, Houston. There's a lot of great projects. I thought about it. To be honest, I don't want to have to move anywhere. I'm kind of in a place to where if there is a great project that, hey, I'm wanted to play this character or to play this role ... I'm just at a place now to where, hey, I'll get it. I can get it being here in Texas. If I need to fly out somewhere else to shoot it or whatever the case is, but I'm just not a point now to where I would just leave and, "Let me go try it out in LA," or, "Let me go try it out somewhere else." I can try it out where I'm at.

I think Dallas has a lot of potential. I know now we're in a space now where, hopefully, they actually keep the funding for arts here in Dallas. I believe that the decision is gonna be made here at the end of May. Hopefully, that works out great for all of us as artists, also for the kids and just for programs that we need as artists. We need art programs. We need funding because Dallas has a lot to offer. I'm happy with Dallas. This is my home. Yeah, I don't plan on leaving any time soon.

Brett Cowell:

I start saying about Dallas, "Anything can happen," and the emphasis, sometimes, is more on the can. Anything can happen as opposed to anything! It varies depending on the day.

Kenneth Duane:

KD: Also, and not to cut you off ... Just as far as being here in Dallas and just hoping that things happen, too, that's why I want to position myself and be in a position to where I can create these things to happen. Again, I'm passionate about visual arts anyways, so I want to be able to create and, hey, if it's not coming to be as an actor, I'm more than happy of being on the other side of the camera and putting other great artists ... giving them great work, giving them great photos, great videos that can be seen by the masses. Again, we're in Dallas, and I believe that you can create wherever you are. I don't believe it's where you are. If it's in your heart, if you're true to it, then it's gonna be seen, and it's gonna be appreciated.

Brett Cowell:

Let's talk a little bit more about that in terms of visual arts and creativity. Where did this start for you? Is this a form of expression, or did you start by saying, "I love this type of movie, this genre of movie, or this director, or this photographer," or whatever, or was it in the natural environment? Where was it? What made you want to capture this?

Kenneth Duane:

KD: I think it was just all just natural expression. I guess, generally, I'm a quiet guy. I don't do too many interviews. I guess I'm an introverted person, so it's a form of expression. I'm able to be extroverted in my work when I act, when I take pictures, when I do video. That's how I'm able to express myself. I want to make powerful stories. That's a goal of mine is, whatever it is, I want to piece it together. I want to make great stories that can, again, inspire people. I want to be able to move people just from the screen. I want people to be excited about what they're watching. So definitely self-expression. I feel that I have a lot of stories in my heart that I want to share with the world. That's why I just learned, and I want to continue to work on mastering putting these stories together visually and delivering that to the audience in a clear-cut platform to where everyone can understand. Again, it's great-quality work, and that's what I stand by. Yeah, I want to do this so I can express myself fully.

Brett Cowell:

You've mentioned mastery a couple of times, and I think it's worth just picking up on it again before we move on, which is what does mastery mean to you? Is it a means to allow yourself to more freely express yourself without worrying about the settings on the thing? Where does this thing come from?

Kenneth Duane:

KD: Mastery, I'll relate it to acting. I believe mastering your character ... We're all different. Every actor is gonna approach every role differently. I believe the mastery of mastering a character is, again, knowing every line to where you don't even have to think about the lines. You're not supposed to have to think about ... When you're still thinking about lines, that's not acting. It's where you're embedded into that character same was as I'm embedded into life. That's just, again, knowing yourself, and really just knowing ... having an idea what you want to share with the world. What are you here for? What do you want to leave here when you're gone? I believe you have to have some type of a mastery of yourself as far as being grounded.

I talk about eating well, and I believe that's a huge part of it is putting the right things in our body so we can be a master of ourselves, because if we're putting the wrong foods in our body, then our body's not gonna function right.

Brett Cowell:

The right thing is steaks and alcohol, is it? Tell me it is, Ken. Don't leave me hanging here.

Kenneth Duane:

No, I won't!

Brett Cowell:

Okay, what's the secret? Let's move on to this. What's your formula here? What's your process in eating?

Kenneth Duane:

KD: Yeah. Well, as far as eating, I learn more and more every day, but now I've been a vegetarian for the last three years. Hey, it works for me. Hey, it might not work for everybody else. For me, my mind is so much more clear. I don't eat meat, but I've learned how to eat without needing meat. We don't really need meat. We can get protein, and nutrients, and everything else from other sources. Now I do a lot of juicing. I think green juices are amazing, especially if you have a green juice first thing in the morning. I just feel alive. I just feel inspired, and I'm more creative. It makes my mind work better.

These are tools that I put into my body so I can create better, and so my heart can vibrate higher, so I can express myself on a higher vibration. I believe that's a huge part of just mastering myself, my body, my mind, my heart, so I can express myself and so I can make a stronger connection with other people and with the world. That's what I live by and that's what I like to share, because it's helped me. It's helped me out, different things, and just different ways, and different things that I've cut out of my diet that ... I've escaped illnesses from leaving different foods alone. When I've shared with other people, they've ... People have been able to heal themselves. That's just what I want to share. I believe, since we're here, we don't want to prolong death. We want to prolong life.

Brett Cowell:

Right, right, right, right.

Kenneth Duane:

KD: Yeah. We want to live healthy, and be strong, and reverse the aging clock, right? I'm getting older, but every day I feel like I'm younger because I feel like a kid again. I'm able to create and be compensated for my work, and that's an amazing feeling.

Brett Cowell:

BC: Well, that's a great point, I think, which is spot-on for a lot of the listeners, which is a lot of folks find themself, and I certainly did, painted into a corner. I think when I first met you I was a really low energy. I was on the road all the time and getting in a bike ride every once in a while. I was amazed by your positive energy, and that's kept through.

I think there's definitely something about looking at health, not from the perspective of saying, "Look, I want to be in a sports magazine or a bodybuilding magazine," but actually to ... Well probably, I don't know. One, it helps my performance, right? It's just almost impossible, even for me, to argue that focusing on health isn't a great investment in your achieving your dreams, if I could just put it that bluntly, right?

Kenneth Duane:

Definitely.

Brett Cowell:

It's trying to actually make that part of your day-to-day. I think if we stop loving ourselves in that way and then it becomes a downward spiral, then it's hard to recover and think about changing your life if you've got no energy and you-

Kenneth Duane:

KD: Yeah. It's a struggle. Even now, even though I eat well, it's still a struggle every day. I still want to go and pick up 20 cinnamon rolls and just eat them and do whatever I want to do. I still eat sweets. I mean it's everything in moderation, but as far as health and things that we put in our body, I know it's hard. I always relate it to a car. We're not gonna put the wrong oil in our car. We put the wrong gas in our car, it's not gonna work right. It's not gonna run right. We're not gonna put the wrong oil in our car and then try to drive to Canada somewhere. We're not gonna make it. It's the same thing with our bodies.

If we're thinking about things that we have to do in the future, I mean yeah, it's ... I think just getting started with trying to change our lives and try to do anything, we first have to make it become a habit. I always tell people, whoever asks me or whatever, just if we can force ourselves to do something for at least 20 days, then it becomes easier. That 21st day, it's more like repetition. It's become a habit. It's like, "Hey, you know, I've been doing this. Why would I stop? Why stop now?" If it's helping you out, if you're becoming a better person, why stop? Why don't we want to become better? If we have goals, if we have dreams, if we love ourselves, we have to love ourselves fully and treat ourselves as such and put the right foods in our body. Again, you said it best. First, we have to love ourselves.

I think with loving ourselves, we have to know that there is somebody. I know we all have different family situations, different life situations, but there is somebody who loves you, somebody who loves you dearly, our families, whoever it is. They want you to be great. People, they want you to be great. I know there's a lot of negative people, a lot of negative energy out here that we have to ... I mean, we have to deal with it, but once we love ourselves first, just the negative energy, the negative everything just starts to fall off and you really just become one with yourself. Then, the sky's the limit. Then you can really heal yourselves. Then you're a better vibration for others around you and you're able to share that love. Yeah, it always starts with love. We have to love ourselves first.

Brett Cowell:

What else is in the tool kit? I know we're in our final minutes here. We've talked about, as if this is not enough already, following your dream, pursuing creativity, looking after your body, and loving yourself. Is there anything else in the tool kit that you want to share with the listeners about the blueprint of positivity that I experience every time I talk to you? It's contagious.

Kenneth Duane:

KD: I always say that there's not blueprint as far as really just trying to structure your life and just trying to, I guess, get your life on the path that you want to be on. I just tell people, "I mean, if you believe in yourself, others are gonna believe you." That's the same thing, again, I put that into my acting. If I don't believe my character, if I'm not believable, nobody else is gonna believe it, so I can't ... If I make the wrong choice in this scene, if I come out of character, it's not gonna be believable. If I'm doing photography and I'm taking pictures and if, again, I haven't studied or if I haven't researched the right angles, and the right lighting, and the right pictures to get, nobody's gonna believe me as a photographer, or whatever the case is.

First thing is believe in yourself. I think once you fully believe yourself, then I think the beauty is getting to a place to where people always are ... they're gonna have opinions about what you do, whatever you do. Well, when you get to a point where, if it's negative or positive, whatever people have as far as an opinion, be in a state to where you know, to where you're in the middle, you know. Hey, if it's a positive remark or opinion about whatever you're doing, "Hey, thank you very much. You know, that's very ... I appreciate that." If it's a negative remark, "Hey, okay, I appreciate that too," but it doesn't sway me either way, because I know who I am. I know the work that I've done. Because I believe in myself, I put the work in, and no one can tell me anything else.

I just give that to people, man. First thing is just believing in yourself. Just believe that you can do it, and believe that others ... I mean, being an actor, doing this other stuff, you get nervous. You're nervous or anything can kind of slow you down, but just know that people want you to be good. People want you to be great, so believe in yourself. Don't let negativity just sway you or get you off of your path because, hey, this is about you. You're the only one that can be accountable for yourself. Yeah, believe in yourself.

Brett Cowell:

I think if you've got that attitude, it attracts others into your life, and people want you to be successful because you trying to do it in the right way. Okay, so what about any current projects or anything else that you want to talk about in our closing minute or so of our time together?

Kenneth Duane:

KD: Yeah. Well, I'm auditioning. I actually have a film that I'm working on. Legally, I can't disclose the name, but I'm very excited about it. I'm looking forward to more things to come as far as being an actor. As far as my photography and video, Visions by Ken, visionsbyken.com, and Instagram, Facebook, everything. Yeah, I'm always creating. I'm just looking forward to doing more things with you, Brett. We're gonna create some great projects. Yeah, that's pretty much it. I'm kind of day-to-day. I just move how the energy sways me to move. I'm staying positive, and I'm just looking forward to making great connections here in the future.

Brett Cowell:

That's great. Well, let's leave it there for today. It's been a pleasure, as always. Thanks again Ken Duanne.

Kenneth Duane:

Definitely been a pleasure, man. Yes, sir. Thank you.

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