Having big dreams in a small town may be difficult for some, but not for recent Keene State College graduate Taylor Jorgensen. After collecting his diploma in Theatre and Dance last May, Jorgensen set off to Los Angeles, California with his brother to pursue his dream of acting.
“When I first became an acting major, I think the goal was to become rich and famous,” Jorgensen said. He continued, “With that in mind, I was really sure I wanted to move to L.A. to do TV and film. That started to shift my sophomore year, however.”
Jorgensen continued to say that the more he trained and learned about the art of acting and theatre, the more he fell in love with the art.
“It stopped being about some vain need for approval and accolades, but instead a need to learn and grow as a person through the characters I was portraying and the stories I was telling,” Jorgensen said.
Jorgensen said that he always pictured himself going to a city that had a thriving theatre scene. Jorgensen’s brother, Tom Jorgensen, had mentioned that one day he should move with him to California.
“My brother not only happens to be a filmmaker, he’s also my best friend,” Jorgensen said. He continued, “At the time [he asked] I had no real prospects in any other city and the thought of living across the country from him seemed unbearable. Plus I figured if the both of us were tackling the industry, we’d double our chances of success.”
Jorgensen arrived in Los Angeles a month ago and in that time he has been a production assistant on two separate TV shows. One of the shows is for MTV and the other is for Ovation.
“I was fortunate to land the MTV gig because my former professor, Ron Spangler, knew a producer out here who he put me in touch with,” Jorgensen said.
Since the big move, Jorgensen said that he is consistently asked some sort of variation of “How did you get the courage to do something like this?” He said that the truth is it was difficult to leave friends and family, but he knew this is what he needed to do to be fulfilled as an actor.
“Fear wasn’t a factor,” Jorgensen said. He continued, “At the risk of sounding cheesy, my soul was hungry, so I went where there was art that could quench it. It was a decision born from necessity. Sure, it was difficult to leave behind friends and family, but I know they support me and want me doing what will make me happy.”
Among Jorgensen’s friends is senior and Theatre major Cara Gerardi. She said that she knew Taylor through the first show that she was cast in as a first-year. Gerardi said that ever since then they have been very good friends and had continued to be in various shows together.
“When I heard about Taylor moving, I knew it was definitely where he is meant to be. He has what it takes to make it, both resilience and determination,” Gerardi said.
As a theatre major, Gerardi said that when she looks at life after college she has similar goals for herself.
“I will probably move to a city like New York, Chicago or Seattle,” Gerardi said. She continued, “I was inspired that Taylor set a date for himself to truly make a huge shift in his life and dive in head first. It’s extremely scary to do what he did and most people would it off, but Taylor is not one to wait for an opportunity to fall into his lap. He works hard and makes things happen.”
Jorgensen’s journey has also had an impact on not only students, but on his mentors as well.
Event Scheduling Manager and Advisor of the Group Theatre Performing Arts Organization Will Howell had nothing but kind words to say about Jorgensen.
“It’s interesting to see Taylor go the route that every actor wants to do,” Howell said. He continued, “I think he’s doing it with a pretty level head. He’s so committed to working for it and he’s not expecting anyone to hand him anything.”
Howell and Jorgensen met through a spring production at KSC called “How I Learned to Drive.” According to Howell, they were both cast in the production and, afterwards, Howell had reached out to Jorgensen about creating more opportunities for actors to do things beyond what the department offers.
“Taylor and I founded the Group Theatre Performing Arts Organization together,” Howell said. Howell continued, “It’s something that had been talked about for a long time and after our production together, we got together and created it. Taylor was the chair last year, and through that a friendship was created as well.”
Howell said that he was also a Theatre and Dance major when he graduated from KSC in 2003, and came back on campus in 2011 to take his current job.
“I actually wanted to move out to New York after graduation, but life ended up going in a different direction,” Howell said. He continued, “I always knew that Taylor was going to go and do whatever he needed to do, though. The thing about Taylor is he has a lot of the experience that will make him achieve success in an environment like L.A. He’s like a work horse, and he loves the work itself, so it’s not just about the lifestyle for him. It’s about being engaged and growing as an artist.”
Olivia Belanger can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org