"What!? Is this really my life?"

Mark Daugherty attended SHINE as a young teen, receiving much interest. He kept in close connection with CESD in Los Angeles and Frontier Booking International in New York. Mark decided to stay in school, train, and continue his education, while he continued to audition via video tapes for the next few years. After high school Mark was accepted into Western Michigan University’s Musical Theatre Department. A year and half later, Mark moved to Los Angeles where he's been working in films, television series, commercials and video games.

Your Twitter mentioned that you had five auditions over the past 48 hours!?

Yes. The auditions actually just ended a little while ago!

What was that like?

Well, I would be lying if I didn’t say that it has been super stressful. But it’s really fun and exciting! I kind of thrive off of it, and compressing the auditions so tightly together doesn’t really give you room to stress…it’s just go in, be confident with the gifting you are bestowed with, do your best and hit the ball out of the park. Sometimes the auditions will be amazing, and other times it’s just not right for you. You have to keep moving forward.

How did you initially get involved in acting?

Honestly, there has never been a time that I wasn’t involved. I was that little kid putting on shows in the living room and forcing my parents to be a captive audience. There has never been a point in my life where I have wanted to do anything else. It’s always been this passion burning inside of me.

When did this transition to acting professionally?

My parents were quite the opposite of "stage parents." I feel like I was the stage parent for myself (laughs). I begged my parents to take me to auditions, did church plays and community theater, and just started wanting more. I wanted to continue pursuing other avenues in whatever capacity I could find.

So there was 12-year-old Mark, researching, Googling, looking through the papers and periodicals. AMTC was a really big turning point, and made me realize that I could pursue acting professionally… it was tangible, accessible and valid. AMTC helped guide me in realizing that entertainment was a mission field. LA is like a foreign country in and of itself, and being there is mission work work too.

How did you initially hear about AMTC?

On the radio. We were going to be out of town on a camping trip the weekend of the auditions, but I kept begging my parents to take me. So we left a little early from camping and went straight to the auditions. I had no idea what I was doing (laughs), but I did my my best, and received a callback!

Did SHINE open up any doors for you?

When I was at AMTC, I got offers in New York, LA and Chicago. To know that people were rooting for me, wanting to see me succeed, was a turning point.

You’ve also stayed heavily involved in AMTC.

I am one of the talent scouts and consultants: I travel around the country auditioning people just like me. It’s a crazy, full circle, surreal experience to identify with kids and see how much they want it. They have these God-given passions burning inside, which is really hard to explain for someone who doesn’t have the same interest. To see them identify with my story is a really cool opportunity.

You have been back to SHINE a guest star. What was that like?

It is super overwhelming, so gratifying, yet so humbling. Again, it’s super full circle for me, and I never thought I would be where I am. I always knew that God had a really big plan for me, and I believe that every actor should have a game plan, but more than anything I am here for the journey. I am open to go wherever God wants me to go, so there is a lot of peace in that. Many actors feel like they have a deadline, or timeline set for themselves for aspirations that they feel like they have to attain. Coming at it from the opposite angle really helps to balance me.

What have been some of your favorite projects?

I shot a feature film this Summer – it is called Listen – and I play a kid who has Aspergers. It is a very dramatic film about listening to our youth… Filming was an incredible experience for me, so that was probably one of my favorites. I also just spent last month shooting in Vancouver as a guest star for a FOX series called Backstrom. It was with Rainn Wilson, from The Office, and it was so weird working with him. I feel that way with every actor who I have seen on TV and have the privilege of working with…it’s just like, "What? Is this really my life?"

Has anything exciting happened while being on set?

There was a project that I wasn’t sure I would do, due to content. Again, AMTC from the get-go was such a great place for me to start because they helped us realize that we need to have boundaries; to know what we will and will not do. But also, 10 years later, I realize that some things that were a “stark no” when I was 14 might not be a “no” now that I’m 24.

The thing is, we don’t have to go on set with our Bibles and horns blaring, but more than anything just shining our light into people and loving them for who they are, where they are at, and letting them know that there is a bigger picture to all of this. That outlook really helped to foster communication and dialogue with another cast member who needed help.

I was also just at a really big producer session this morning…I can’t really divulge that much information, but it was potentially career changing. And in the waiting room was Abbie Cobb, an AMTC Grad and one of my good friends. So it was cool to be able to chat with her. AMTC performers and grads are really all over the industry, and it’s really great to find that common bond.

Tell us about your unique career in video games.

That it actually another big God thing. I was always interested in voiceover, and I always thought that voiceover would be such a cool thing to do, but quite frankly I don’t think I have a clean enough voice. I had a lot of pre-conceived notions like “My voice isn’t unique enough,” and put myself in a box with that.

But there was a casting for this video game, and it was so specific: over 18 to play younger, certain size, asian, british accent and dance. The specifications boiled down to me, and I can say that with all sincerity. So I voiced a couple of characters for that Nintendo game, the producers put in a good word, and I signed with the voiceover department in my agency. From there I developed relationships and did other video games. It was totally a God thing because voiceover is a difficult field to break into.

When performers are first getting into the industry, what should they expect to be the biggest challenge?

Endurance and perseverance. It was all about having perseverance and faith that “I’m going to get out there one day,” and I did. There are highs and lows in this industry… but it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You have to keep pressing on. There is that right role, that part, those things God has already ordained for you, but you have to hang in there to get them.