Exclusive - Cody Deal: A Success Story of His Own Making

Cody DealRising star Cody Deal, who starred in Syfy's Almighty Thor earlier in the year, is still working hard to make it in Hollwood (and blogging about it). We at SciFi Vision talked to Deal before the release of the Asylum film on Syfy. Since then, Deal is still working on his career, his goals, and following his heart.

During the beginning of his career, Deal hired a publicist, like most actors do, which is how he first became involved in Contamination, a horror, sci-fi, and popculture convention that starts today in St. Louis that he will be attending. However, he since he has learned he can promote himself well on his own. "Originally when I did Almighty Thor, I was like "I need to hire a publicist, I've got a movie out there."

"...So I hocked my iPad and got a publicist for $500 that month. He said I was getting his full services, but that didn't happen. But I learned about how to do it from him. I was like, "I can do this."

"...And then I put that grass roots effort into getting onto all the major networks and different stuff. But he is the one who got the event booker in contact with me, it was that publicist that actually got that set that up."

Contamination is Deal's first convention - as a guest or attending, so he doesn't know what to expect. Deal, however, who is always very personable, is looking forward to meeting people at the convention. "I hope there are a lot of people who show up who know who I am, that's what I hope. I feel like the majority of people are going to show up and not have any clue of who I am. "Oh, you were in [Almighty] Thor, that's cool!" I want people to have excitement on their faces and go, "I loved your movie!" Or, "Your movie sucked! But you're a cool dude." That's what I'm looking forward to the most.

"...I'm a pretty approachable guy, and I'm going to bring cards that have my Facebook and twitter on there...I'm such a small town guy, that I say hi to everybody."

Cody DealIt's a good bet that Deal will meet some online fans at the St. Louis convention. After working so hard to promote his movie Almighty Thor through social media outlets, he has a good deal of fans following him online through the social sites and through his own website and blog. Promoting himself this way has really helped his career, and he plans to continue it. "I don't think there are enough up and coming actors doing as much as they can with social media. I think maybe with my age it has just been inherent in me understanding things from the Zinga days to the MySpace days, to the Facebook days, and now the twitter days, and YouTube. That's why I do the blogging. I don't know if I'm going to do any V-blogging, but there are a lot of things you can do to kind of get out there into fans daily lives and interact with them and make them feel they are part of your adventure. That's kind of what I feel like is that I'm living this adventure, and I want as many people as possible to be able to see the journalings or the monthly activity of someone trying to make it in Hollywood. If that's interesting or appealing to people then that is what I do. But it's only coming from one perspective, which is my perspective, which might be a different than a lot of people trying to make it in Hollywood...The way Syfy asked me to tweet for the film brought a lot of attention, and I think things like that are always good. I think I'm going to investigate ways to be more interactive on twitter, such as with the convention and tweeting live and telling people what's going on and what's happening, who I met. I think that would be great."

It is really important to Deal to continue his blog, Hollywood and Beyond, so that others can learn from it and be inspired as he talks about not just his journey into acting, but also his life and asperations. "My ultimate goal lies with acting and my career as an actor. The reason I titled it Hollywood And Beyond is it gives you a chronological order of where my perspective is at that time and my mindset.

"I remember first moving here and wishing I could talk to someone who had already made it here, and how they did it - the daily struggle, the weekly struggle, and the monthly struggle that they went through. So I just turned to books and to text that I could find that originated at a time in an actors career when they were going through a struggle or not exactly who they were yet.

"I found this book, and I can't even remember the name of it anymore. But it was this book by this photographer who interviewed a lot of young and upcoming actors before they made it. She did interviews with Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves, lots of people. And I remember reading Brad Pitt's and he was twenty three at the time. I think I was twenty four when I read it. And it was neat to see. It was before Thelma and Louise and it was really interesting to get into his mindset and see where he was at. It helped me to see that people weren't always who they were.

"I think that we are always constantly evolving and I always want to show people that my story is a back story to human potentiality, what anyone of us can do here. So my idea behind my blog is to give a real life perspective of that struggle - the ups and the downs. I think the downs are just as important, and I believe that going beyond the glitz and glamour of Hollywood is the backbone of success, the happiness, the exuberance, the internal life struggle that comes with anything that you do or pursue in life. I think I go beyond Hollywood and beyond the surface oriented material and really journal about my feelings and emotions, and who I am as a person, what moves me deeply. I think that can help people beyond just a Hollywood adventure, to help people with what they are struggling with, their addictions or this or that.

"Again, it's not a cure all, but it's there for anybody to read that wants to read it. It doesn't have much of a following yet, maybe one day, who knows. But I want to continue doing it, even when things happen in my life. It's hard for me not to be honest and want to share it. I hope I can always be an open book. I'm not going to say that I don't make mistakes and that I won't be judged by some of the things that I write on there. But I'm a very open book and I want to be able to give people that interpretation from a small town kid from Kansas going to Hollywood, and chronologically going from A to Z all the way, with hopefully Z becoming one of the most successful actors today."

One doesn't have to read much of Deal's blog to see that he is good at expressing his thoughts, even if he doesn't always see it himself. "I've been told often that I write well, and the funny thing is, I'm very insecure about my writing.

"...I'm actually writing a new blog this week and it is going to encompass a lot about my two years here. It was two years June 1st, and it's going to talk about what I've gone through in that year two; and I've gone through a lot. It was actually July of last year, living in the back of my car to July of this year, and starring in a film, having it ranked in the top 100, having myself ranked in the top 1000. It's been a long way from living in the back of my car, so it's a lot to talk about. But on top on that, I have a lot of different goals in year three that didn't really align with what I thought I wanted, but it's kind of what I want to do. So in that blog there is going to be some really interesting updates about the direction of my career and my life that is coming up for this third year."

Deal has decided to move forward in a different direction and his goals have changed. "I think with my blog, I'd like to be an author, but I also have a deeper weakness for my writing than I do for my acting. But I think it's impossible for me to write a book. And that's what I wanted to do before I became an actor, and I know I'll grow.

"...One of my goals this year is along those lines. I'm not putting acting on a back burner, but I really want to take this new year to do a couple of things more on the forefront and that is working on my self in different ways. This year has been a whirlwind with work. Everything I did, I booked in this second year. The first year, I didn't audition. I'm not going to turn away any work, but I let my agency know that I'm only interested in very serious roles and very serious projects. And those aren't going to come along very often for a complete unknown. I'm still a complete unknown to the mass of population, so I'm not going to be called in all the time.

Cody Deal"I made a decision that starring in my own film was an impossibility at one time. Being on TV was an impossibility in Vegas. Being a valedictorian in my high school was an impossibility when I was that age. So we grow in steps and my next goal is that I want to write a script. It may go absolutely nowhere, and it may do absolutely nothing. But it's going to do something for me, because I don't think I can write a script. I don't think I have the creativity or ability to write something for somebody else.

"So in my blog, I'm actually going to touch bases on how my biggest goal this year is to write a script, and that is my biggest focus. I'm sure the acting gigs will continue coming in and I will work, but it's honestly not at the forefront of my mind. At the front of my mind is getting heavily involved in acting classes again and training even more diligently this time with an acting coach and an acting studio, weekly; two different coaches. While I'm working on my script and investing my time in another area of the business, I also want to continue evolving myself as an actor. If my ultimate goal is to win an Oscar at twenty nine, and again, an Oscar is only won by the opinions of others and has no reflection on true performance, then that is an impossible goal too. I want to be able to invest the time. If I cared about the glitz and glamour and being famous, then I'd rush after it. But I'm not doing that.

"Sometimes I wonder why I choose what I choose, but it makes me feel happy. I hope I can [write] this script and have people believe in me in a script in the way they believed in me in a film, and have a studio pick it up, and have me star in it. That's a dream, but it's also a creation. I don't care, I don't have to star in it. But it would be great, because it's a character I could play and that would be smart as a business move, but that's honestly my biggest goal."

Writing, however, is not all that Deal has planned for the next year. "I'm also going to get involved in Kung Fu. It'll be useful for screen, but I'm also a big guy. I'm 6'3', 220 lbs so I'm a big guy, especially for an actor. Most people think MMA, boxing, all of that stuff. But Kung Fu is very interesting to me as a martial art. It's very fluid and pretty and for a big guy to be able to do something like that, I think would look pretty cool. But I'm also doing it for the mental and spiritual aspects. I want to take this whole year and get discipline in the martial arts in a mind/body/spirit thing, in addition to using it for screen...

"There are some things that I write about in my blog that made me come into a really deep depression, and made me have to re-evaluate the direction of my career. I was getting too hungry for it, and when you get too hungry for it, you miss out on the things that are in front of you, and you start grabbing and it doesn't flow right. You can feel a disconnect. I was hungry, and because of that hunger and since it was coming in the way I wanted, I was doubting the whole system, how I'd come to where I'd come. So this allows me to take a back seat approach to my career, although the funny thing is that when you get your mind off things and focus on other things, that's usually when the work starts coming."

Deal also wants to continue to help people as he's done in the past. "I've always had a fascination for helping people see their own greatness, and I know that sounds corny and cheesy. But even before moving to Hollywood, when I was twenty one, I helped my mom loose eighty seven pounds on this weight loss program and I just became a passionate little boy and shared it with the world. So I really started getting online and doing a lot of different things. I had a conference call that I did where I was a life coach to 2000 people all across the country in twelve different states. I loved that energy and I loved all of that."

Deal will continue to focus on this more now. "It's kind of like growth and rebirth, and this year, I've been given so much, so I want to give back. I'm going to focus on volunteer work and charity; on what exactly I can contribute with my time and energy. I really want to work with children. When children see my movie, they are going to think I'm a bad ass, so you can really affect people like that. When you start when children are small, and you tell them about their greatness, they tend to believe it more than an adult does. An adult has so much conditioning built around their whole life, it's difficult to break down the false limits they have around themselves."

Deal, however, is still not done with acting. A trailer for one of his recent projects, Avey & Pete: Superseeds (Rainfall Films), has finally been released on the movie's official site, however, distribution for the film has not been deternined yet.

There is hope of a release, however. "They are going to shop distribution and see what they can make happen."

In the comedy, Deal plays villian Mark Hardon. "It's like a Superbad with super powers...It's almost a satirical comedy."

Cody DealThere are, however, some things that Deal wishes he could change about his performance. "With Superseeds, I wish I could reshoot that [movie] because there is so much I know now that I didn't then. It's still good, and I'm very happy with it, but there is so much I could have brought to that character, even more. The thing is, we filmed half of it before Almighty Thor, and half of it afterwards. So it was very interesting."

Another comedy of Deal's is Surviving Therapy. "It's coming out later this year as a web series, and is about these therapy patients, and my girlfriend and [my character] come in. I don't have a problem with it, but she has a really big one with it because I like to wear women's underwear. It's just something that's comfortable for me because I like to wear panties, but she kind of freaks out about it.

"So that's a huge comedy. In fact, we had three cameras rolling, two 7Ds and one Canon 5D, and we literally shot that scene of nine and a half minutes from three different angels, and it's all improv. It's about a minute long scene in the office, and we just went with it."

Deal enjoys the improv. "I love it. I think it's fun, and with any comedy, there is a lot of [it]."

Deal also recently landed a recurring role in the series The Girls Guide to Depravity, which is supposed to take place in Chicago, that will be airing in October.

Deal auditioned for the role in January. "I actually auditioned for the lead bartender who was an exuberant and gay bartender. I went in full force trying to own that world, but I wasn't right for it, so they had me read for another character.

"We didn't hear anything back for months, then the casting director called me directly and said, "Cody, when this part came up I knew it was exactly for you. I'm offering you the role, you don't have to read for it and he's in two episodes."

"From there I got onset and did it and Steve [Beswick, the producer] and I ended up having a conversation and getting to know each other, and he wrote me and asked me to come back for the final episode, so it worked out great...He is a very nice guy and he has been keeping me in the loop and there are a lot of very nice things about working with it. I believe episodes one, two, and three are on their second edit and they have already gotten notes back from HBO/Cinemax on the series. I'm in episodes seven, eight and thirteen; the season finale. It's a half hour comedy drama on Cinemax, and they are changing their whole line up.

"..It's the only half hour comedy coming to Cinemax, and if it gets picked back up, you'll see Jordan, my character, more often. But it's about these women who try to pick up men at their local bar or whatever, and they live by this code. Unfortunately the code is so stupid, but they live by it, and that's what creates such conflict. My character is a funny sensitive guy, and he is a really nice guy in this place where all of these women are messed up." Deal will appear in the second season if the series is renewed.

As with Almighty Thor, The Girls Guide to Depravity had an accelerated production schedule, but it has helped him grow as an actor. "There is only so much time for everything. Thor, obviously, was on a very accelerated schedule. But the best thing for an actor was that crash course 101 with Thor. I literally went thorugh every single situation I think I've ever gone through as an actor, from the get go. So learning is great.

"So even with Girl's Guide, I was rushed, but I still put up good work. With Almigthy Thor, I put up good work. Superseeds was so low budgeted that it's still just so much going on that you are helping out with that you are not able to concentrate on the acting. So everything is going on.

Cody Deal"But even with a big production, which I'm hoping to do this year, you get the time to put up your best work, and have assessments with the director to go over role and character and all of these different questions; everything that is involved with making a film on a right schedule, I think I will look very, very good and I look forward to that day to see what I can put up professionally with a wonderful talented director, a wonderful talented team around me, and the time to shoot it. To have story boards, to have everything mapped out perfectly before you shoot it."

Deal is the kind of actor who learns by watching his performances back. "I probably watched Almighty Thor like five times. I think you can learn from that, and it's kind of like watching game tape when you are playing basketball. You just sit down and you watch it. You go, "Man, I let my guy get away here, I should have been half way between the ball and my guy." I think there is a lot that you can learn and take from that, so I think I'll watch that. But I don't think I'm one of those guys who can't watch themselves. Why I would be doing this if I didn't enjoy watching myself?"

Besides wanting to work on a bigger production, Deal has thought about some of the people he'd like to be able to work with in the future. "I just feel like as my career progresses, I'll work with many wonderful people. I look forward to working with those people who want to invest a moment into my growth working with them. So honestly, whatever actor enjoys working with me, I'd want to be able to give them something.

"...But if it got specific, and we're just talking about A-Listers...I'd have to say, I'd like to work with Brad Pitt. I really like Anthony Hopkins. I really like Russell Crow, and for a female, I really like Amy Adams and Meryl Streep...Comedywise, I'd love to do a movie with Seth Rogan or Jason Bateman."

Cody Deal will be appearing in St. Louis at Contamination starting today and continuing through the end of the weekend. He will also be tweeting live during the convention. To find out more about the convention, be sure to visit the official Contamination site. To learn more about Deal you can visit his official website, or read his blog Hollywood and Beyond.

*Photos by Tom Cullis*

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