Fast Forward Friday with Allan Wasserman

For this week’s Fast Forward Friday, we interviewed actor-producer-musician Allan Wasserman. He most recently appeared as Adam Sandler’s doctor in Funny People and as Matthew Broderick’s psychiatrist in Finding Amanda. He guest starred on TV shows such as Two Broke Girls, Bones, The Office, ER and The Sopranos. On stage, he performed in the Broadway production of The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel with Al Pacino, directed by David Wheeler. He produced the multi-award winning film Echo Park Blues in which he stars and plays the jazz saxophone.

Q: What are you currently working on? Tell us about it.

I am working on a one man show of a famous Hollywood producer. It is still in the early stages so for now it’s under wraps.

Q: What was the inspiration and impetus for doing this project?

Many years in the industry on all levels are my life influences.

Q: Who are your artistic heroes – who have had an impact on you and your work?

So many heroes to admire and emulate when possible but I surely admire Olivier, Pacino, Streep, DeNiro, Caroll O’Connor, especially as a character actor, Paul Muni … so many, many more for so many reasons.

Q: What keeps you motivated and inspired as an artist?

I have always been a very ambitious and energetic individual with a need to artistically express myself. It’s important to me to continue to express.

Q: What other projects would you like to tell us about?

I am producing Common Ground at two Los Angeles theaters – a project I created in 1995 where actors write and perform biographical 15 minute monologues based on personal life changing events.

Q: What is one instance of knowing you are living in your vision?

My recent film that I produced and have the lead character in, Echo Park Blues, and a 47 year acting career that continues on.  Echo Park Blues was a three-year process from conception to screenings with director-co-writer Michael Bofshever, writer Rick Lieberman and myself. We were all acting colleagues for decades in NYC and our shared past and current collaboration was key to sculpting and embroidering my jazz saxophone side career with a fictional script to represent the aging artist who still desires to express, be heard and leave a footprint. The film has been more successful than we ever imagined and the numerous awards and accolades were all due to a larger cadre of fellow actors, musical artists, crew and donors. I could not be more grateful for the true and total ensemble effort and results.

Q: If there were no barriers to entry, what is one thing you would be doing?

More regular theater, feature film and television series work without having to audition and gain other’s permission to participate. You can say I’m a dreamer!

Q: What has been big your biggest obstacle in achieving your vision?

Fierce and talented competition and aging. Such is life.

Q: What do you do to stay connected to your creative self?

I continue to work onstage, and big and small screens and I create projects as well as teach.

Q: If you could let go of something that has held you back, what would it be?

Self-doubt. Worry. Those are monumental wastes of time. I do little to none of that anymore.

Q: What is your favorite piece of art?

Anything by Chagall.

Q:What person do you most admire, living or dead?

So many. I cannot nail that down. I have broad appreciation for many.

Q: If you could be known and celebrated for one thing, what would it be?

Being a good person. A “mensch” for those familiar with the vernacular.

Q: If you could describe yourself in one word what would it be?

How about four words: A hopeful renaissance man. An individual who acts, writes, teaches. plays jazz saxophone and loves life.

Q: What is your guilty pleasure?

Hiking with my dog and being a foodie. I actually am not feeling guilty about those pleasures.

Q:  If you could sit down with yourself 15 years ago, what would you say?

Relax. Breathe. Trust. Don’t worry. Keep doing the footwork!

Q: Where would you most like to live?

Where I am for the past 20 years: Altadena, California.

Q: What is your idea of success?

Good marriage,  family, friends and pets. The rest is ancillary.

Q: What is your idea of happiness?

Same as success.

Q: Final Thoughts?

Great to be back in contact with you Joanne! You were an integral part of the success of our acting company THE ACTORS PRODUCING COMPANY early in our careers in NYC. Eternally grateful to you then and now.

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