Bryan Dodds, an alumnus of the Beta Tau Chapter at Slippery Rock, isn’t spending the hours of 9 to 5 sitting behind the desk at an office every day. Bryan is a full-time stuntman and actor living his dream in Los Angeles, California. We caught up with Bryan this January to get a look at his less-than-ordinary life.
Q: You live a unique life. What does a typical day look like for you?
A: I am an actor, and I am a stuntman. So my everyday life consists of usually training, acting class or stunt training. Stunt training can really range from anything from acrobatics, wire work, martial arts, stunt choreography, fight choreography, and also working out at the gym to make sure I am still physically fit to do the actual stunts.
When I am not training I am usually “hustling.” Which in the stunt-world is walking onto a live production set to introduce yourself to a stunt coordinator. Or maybe it’s going to a stunt workout knowing a stunt coordinator will be there. My days are usually work, training, and “hustling.” Mainly because this industry is so up and down, you always have to keep yourself sharp and looking for work.
Q: Tell us about your start in this industry?
A: In high school, I started acting and theater as a hobby and just for fun. My senior year, I randomly got into modeling. I didn’t too much with it. However, my brother got really into it and moved to LA. I went to college, where I became a part of Sigma Tau Gamma, at Slippery Rock University. I had no plans of getting into the entertainment industry or even going out to California. I am from a small town – Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania. We figured everyone in LA was too good and “stuck-up.” When I was at my internship in Arizona, the flights to LA were super cheap, so I went to visit my brother who was doing the acting and modeling thing. I realized that it was pretty cool in LA and that the people were great.
Long story short, I graduated college and moved out to LA with my brother. And with the first eight months, I started dabbling in it. I had been doing martial arts ever since I was in college, so as I got into the acting thing, I was continuing to train in martial arts. Two years after I got into acting, I met a stunt coordinator. He told me if I enjoyed martial arts and acting, I should think about doing stunts, and that I would get a lot more work. So I started training for stunt work.
About four years ago from today actually, I fully got into stunt, which opened up many doors.
Q: Tell us more about your collegiate experience and joining Sig Tau at Slippery Rock?
A: I joined my freshman year; I loved the guys. I was extremely into sports and was a walk-on on the football team when I became a brother. The Brothers were the coolest guys, they didn’t seem stuck up. They looked like the coolest and most active fraternity, and they were also very well-rounded, not just a “jock fraternity.” They were all very intelligent and nice guys to hang out with, and because I was super into sports, it was a great fit. I made some of my best friends, still to this day, in the Fraternity; which has been great for support especially being out here as an actor and stunt guy. While in the chapter, I was president for two semesters. I got my degree in exercise science, and after graduation, I moved out to Arizona for my internship, then realized I wanted to do the LA thing and moved there.
Q: What is the biggest piece of advice you have for your fellow brothers, especially the undergraduates?
A: I have encountered a lot of pushback in my industry because it’s not the easiest and most stable thing and that I could always just ‘use my degree,’ But I knew that I loved this.
So be persistent and patient and let it happen – go for what you love. The money will come. It will absolutely come. But do what you love because when you’re working your but off, you want to be working your butt off for your dream and not someone else’s dream. You may not see fruit in the beginning, and you may not be where you thought you’d be at that point, but that’s okay. If you’re enjoying what you’re doing and you’re enjoying the process of getting there, that’s all that matters.