Theatre of Arts class of 2017 alumnus Marcus Jay Allen [IMDb] is a US Marine Corps veteran, composer, editor, and musician recording and performing as Journey to the View. We checked in to see what this multi-talented content creator has been up to since earning his TOA degree.
Marcus Jay Allen
Los Angeles, California
TOA: When or how did you first realize you wanted to become an actor?
Marcus Jay Allen: March 2016, I had just left the Marine Corps after 5 years of service and was feeling lost. I went to see "Starwars: The Force Awakens" in theaters and was intrigued by an actor I had never seen before, Adam Driver. When I got home I looked him up and was surprised to find out he was a prior Marine. He gave me inspiration and hope that I could do something more with my life. The next day I was on the phone with the Theatre of Arts, and a month later I was in class starting my Hollywood journey.
TOA: What about ToA attracted you to choose it over other acting conservatories?
Marcus Jay Allen: I have always been drawn to small, tight-nit, family environments. I felt like people here would have my back. Failure, bravery, full-unapologetic commitment was encouraged here. That's what I needed, and that's what I felt from TOA. That's what drew me to it.
TOA: What was your favorite class or classes at ToA and why?
Marcus Jay Allen: Acting class. I loved my teacher Kevin Stidham. The constant scene work over the years, with his direction, and with brilliant scene partners, was where I felt myself slowly becoming a real actor.
TOA: Can you share an example of a lesson you learned at ToA that has proved especially helpful in your acting career?
Marcus Jay Allen: I entered TOA a judgmental conservative person. I left TOA an empathetic compassionate person. I learned empathy is the key to embodying a character, and that bled over into every aspect of my life. It made all my relationships better. It made me a better leader. It made me a better person. Never will I judge another human being.
TOA: What advice would you give to prospective students considering pursuing their degree at ToA?
Marcus Jay Allen: Know that in this school, it is not just about you. Your scene partners, and classmates are counting on you. Being and actor requires 100% of your energy and focus. You must be fully present, sharp. You must eat right, you must get exercise, you must get sleep. There is no option, you have to make it work. Figure it out. Whatever it takes.
TOA: Anything else you'd like us to know?
Marcus Jay Allen: When I left TOA I found I enjoyed the visionary role of productions more than acting, and choose to purse directing and songwriting. However, what I gained from learning acting has elevated me in both these other art forms in unexplainable ways, and I wouldn't change my experience at TOA for anything.
TOA: Thank you Marcus for sharing your continuing journey with us!