Mark O’Brien: Today’s Notable Young Professional

Today’s Notable Young Professional is actor/filmmaker Mark O’Brien, whose currently starring in CBC’s hit show ‘Republic of Doyle’. What advice does he have for other young actors looking to break into the industry? Find out in today’s profile…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I’m an actor/filmmaker. Right now I’m one of the lead actors on CBC’s Republic of Doyle, of which I’m also directing an episode.

What was the inspiration for this career route?
Movies. It sounds pretty simple, but I’ve just always been obsessed with film. Since my teenage years, I’ve immersed myself with as much film and film theory as possible. I still probably watch at least six or seven movies a week.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part is finding something new and original within your work. When that happens, it’s the most fulfilling feeling because you’re truly creating something. The most challenging part would be the exact opposite. When it’s not working, it sticks with you. You also want to be surrounded by a certain mix of professionalism and fun. 

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself directing and writing more and more. I’ve very interested in creating my own work.

What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
It’s difficult to break in to this industry. It can be frustrating. And most actors deal with it at the beginning of their career. When I first started I saw this problem and just told myself that I’ll have to take every opportunity that comes my way to get better at my craft and showcase what I can do to the right people. A lot of it is confidence. 

What does success look like to you?
Success to me is surrounding yourself with the people you love. It’s more important than any job, and the funny thing is that fulfilment will probably help you in getting what you want because you’re happy.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Working with Mads Mikkelsen. I recently did a recurring role on Hannibal. I’ve been a fan of his for years and it was such a pleasure to work with such a courteous and professional actor. He is the perfect example of how to conduct oneself on set. 

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Learn everything you can about your craft, and let the passion inform your decisions. Don’t do anything you think you should do. Do what you know you should do. 

Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Right now I’m shooting in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and my favourite spot here is a restaurant called Raymond’s. The food is incredible and the atmosphere is exactly to my taste. When I’m home in LA, my wife and I love Musso & Frank’s. Just an old-fashioned LA steakhouse that makes me feel like I’m in the 50s.

When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
I watch a lot of movies. That’s my thing. I’m just as excited to sit back and watch a movie as I was when I was kid. I also read a lot.  

Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
Venice. I feel like I’m living a movie when I’m there. 

If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
Wrecking Ball by Bruce Springsteen. 

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
I think I’d be teaching. I really enjoy learning and discovering with other people.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I support the local arts community in St. John’s. It’s where I started acting and directing and if it wasn’t for the community there, I would never have been able to do what I do. 

What to you is notable?
Helping, supporting and acknowledging others. 

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