Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Full Monty on Jake Yarberry

This week's gendance Trendsetter is Jake Yarberry. You read our side of his story in gendance today, but we felt that our skype interview with him was so good that we wanted you to capture it in its original context. For those who are inspired by Jake's story, here's the original. PEACE OUT. 
-The gendance Trend Crew

We heard you are now living in Japan and working for Universal Studios in Osaka. Tell us about your transition from LA to Japan. How did your lifestyle change and what do you miss about the states? 
It’s funny but my lifestyle didn’t actually change that much. I guess the big changes now are that instead of being a starving artist, I am a well-fed one, and that I longer have my girlfriend to come home to (both of which I miss very much!). My surroundings are definitely different. Most people here, including the performers I live with and myself, commute by bicycle. Also, the food is extremely different from American food and since it is all in Japanese you pretty much don’t know what you are eating half the time. They don’t refrigerate eggs, and a lot of times have meat products wrapped and sitting on the shelves unrefrigerated. They also have donuts that appear to be amazing but, in actuality, when you bite into them they are filled with beans or some kind of meat product, which is really nasty when your expecting something sweet.
The reason I said my lifestyle did not change much, though, is because I prefer a bland diet.  I am able to get everything I need here and don’t actually need to eat much of the Japanese food. Also, I am a big believer in always training so I stick to the same routine I had in LA and continue to take classes over here in Osaka.
First of all, what was the audition like; where was the audition, and how long did it take for you to hear that you got the job as the Terminator and how many other people auditioned?
The audition was in Los Angeles. It’s held every year all around the world and they are actually very fun if you let them be. I only did the stunt audition and for that we had to do basic tumbling, 10 pull-ups, and a choreographed fight. Then, at the end after they had made some cuts, they interviewed you individually. The USJ people are incredibly nice; I think when you audition for them, or even for anyone else, you just have to remember that they need certain types to fit certain roles and the role that you may fit may not be available for you. In other words, "don’t take anything personally".
It took me about 2 months to hear that I had been cast for the job. It was funny because the year before I was in really serious debt and, in my mind, felt that if I got the job it would solve "all my problems". Luckily, I didn’t get the job that year. This year, however, I was no longer in serious debt, but rather in the position where I had no money and owed no money. I also had just moved back to Los Angeles to start pursuing film again. So, when I had so many other things going on that I didn't really care about the Universal job, that was when I received an Email stating that I was one of their top picks to come to Osaka this year. Because I am stupid about half the time, I emailed them back saying that I was no longer available for the job, that I appreciate the offer but am currently pursuing film (only problem was pursuing film without any money, which makes it difficult to train and market yourself). Fortunately, about a week later I received another Email telling me that I was hired. I felt like it was a sign since the day before I had seen Terminator 2 at Universal Studios Hollywood only because I wanted to go out with my girlfriend and we used our annual passes because neither of us had any money. I smartened up and said "Heck Yeah, I will take the job" and I am very glad that I did.
Have you always been a fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger?  This is where you tell us about your years of body building, competing, training and dieting.  Who prepared your meals? When did you start training?  Who did you train with? How has this affected where you are in life today?
I started bodybuilding when I was 12. I was just kind of drawn to it. I think partly because Arnold was at his prime in Hollywood so he made it popular, and partly because I needed some way to take out all the energy and aggression I had from a difficult childhood. I love bodybuilding for the discipline and goal setting skills that it gives you. I was also very lucky to find people that believed in me, which further helped me with some of my bodybuilding goals. I had a great training partner, Phillip, who would get mad at me if I talked at all during our training sessions (pretty much I was his little bitch), and then I had my ex-girlfriend’s grandmother Kathy, who would prepare all my food, which at the time was about 3 pounds of chicken a day and a lot of brown rice, oatmeal, and yams.

Tell us about your cheerleading history as well as your acting training.  How did it transition you into a performance career? What else were you involved in high school?
I started out doing football but I never played very much. So one day the high school decided to add boys to their cheerleading squad. I thought that that would be a great opportunity for me to get girls... but I’m pretty sure most of them thought I was gay. I did make-out with our mascot Wolfie, though, which I believe was played by a girl that year. 
Acting was kind of funny. I always wanted to do theater and film because I had seen so many plays growing up. My dad had done a few and I really liked the idea of getting to be someone else in some other situation that I wasn’t normally in. I remember chickening out from doing a play in high school because I got so nervous I couldn’t remember the first line of my monologue. Later on I took acting classes at my community college and did a few plays, but for a long time I kept second guessing myself about what I really wanted to do. My mother hasn’t worked in 20 years and I have always been afraid of not having a decent job so the idea of becoming a starving artist was not very appealing to me. But I’ve come to realize that although she may be poor, she is still alive and gets what she needs, and now I am a lot more willing to go through the tough times in between jobs, as long as I know I am doing what I want to do. I also now have a lot more training and life experiences under my belt.

What's the camaraderie like among the performers at Universal Studios?  What's your living situation like?  What kind of classes do they offer there?  Are you learning Japanese?
The people here are great. They are all very, extremely talented and they definitely make me want to be a better performer. 
I guess living here is kind of like living in a dorm. I have my own room but I live in an apartment building filled with incredible people. Many people here are offering their teaching services through dance classes, fitness classes, and voice lessons. I am currently taking advantage of all of it and also trying hard to pick up Japanese. You are so well taken care of out here that sometimes you can allow yourself to get lazy, but I know I have to keep myself busy, that way I can remain focused enough for when I return to the U.S. and need to find another job.

What's your favorite part about being the Terminator? What are your other duties besides being in the show? Tell us about the Magical Starlight Parade.
Honestly, my favorite part of the Terminator is the Japanese Techs that I get to work with. For me, Terminator is very repetitive with no crowd interaction. The show is great to watch and was a great learning experience but it’s mostly about the paycheck and the backstage crew for me. On the other hand, the girls that play "Reika", the host of the show, have a very exciting job because they get to interact with the guests.
The Best thing about the Parade is seeing people smiling and waiving, especially little kids. I love performing for little kids because they still see the world as being a playground. 

What inspires you to grow as an artist?
Other artists. Seeing how talented people are. The Idea that the more I learn, the better I will be able to play with others. Not wanting to have a regular job. Not wanting to have a regular life with regular problems—I hear so many people talk about problems that don't even matter. I feel that the more involved in the arts you become, the more you realize that we all create our own lives. So if you want a good life you need to create that for yourself.

What advice would you give other performing artists that are waiting for their big break or for the next cool gig like yours?
My advice is to constantly work on your self, on your craft and to market yourself like crazy. A really big one that I have to work on everyday is not judging myself, and to stay away from anyone who brings negativity into my life. I have realized and continue to realize that people are full of shit, including myself. I have made comments to people that I later realize are just bullshit. Every single person in the world wants to give you their input on your life (and the sad part is a lot of times we ask for it!), but truthfully no one knows you better than you. People just like to talk and that’s the bottom line.

What was the transition like moving from Las Vegas to Los Angeles? Where did you grow up?  Why did you move?
I grew up In Las Vegas where I performed in a few shows on the strip; I did a lot of character work and worked many conventions. I decided to move back to Los Angeles because I missed it too much (I had lived there for 5 years when I was 21). You can earn a great living as an entertainer in Las Vegas but Los Angeles and New York are where the big time jobs and big time training centers are.
After Universal Studios, what would be your next 'perfect gig’?
My next perfect gig would actually be more of just a plan unfolding. I want to be able to do enough film work to pay my bills while also continuing to take my classes. I want to make a living having fun with other people.
Thank you Jake! Rock on, GFF style in Japan. (And don’t eat anything that looks like its something else!)

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