Ross Beatty graduate is a working actor in Hollywood

CASSOPOLIS — In his forties, a Cassopolis man decided he still had time to follow his dreams and left for Hollywood to pursue acting. Around six years later, he is still there.

While his road towards movie stardom and success has not been easy, it has been sprinkled with amazing moments along the way, such as playing a role in a movie that starred Danny Glover, an uncredited part in the hit television series, “Grey’s Anatomy,” or flying to Iceland to shoot a feature film.

Brad Banacka graduated from Ross Beatty Jr.-Sr. High School in 1988, where he says he was a theater geek, who participated in most of the school plays. Yet it wasn’t until he lost his job in 2012 while living in Tucson, Arizona that he decided to give acting a real shot.

Brad Banacka

He said to his now ex-wife, “hey, we’re only a couple of hours from LA, I’d like to try my hand at acting.”

He drove there, rented a cheap hotel and began answering Craigslist ads. To his surprise, he quickly booked a gig as a background actor on the set of a feature film. However, that role did not satisfy him. While waiting for his scene, he struck up a conversation with a writer and director and quickly had an actual role in the film “Shift,” with Danny Glover.

“I got on the shoot as a second assistant director and a small role in movie,” Banacka said. “And that was my first movie I talked myself onto it.”

Today he has an agent and frequently auditions for acting gigs in the greater Los Angeles area, and like any actor worth his salt, occasionally books one. It is his perseverance that he says is key to keeping his dreams alive.

“There’s a lot of rejection,” he said. “I get no, after no, after no, after no and then I finally get a yes. … and this is what I love to do. I love to entertain, so I continue to perform.”

Some of his yeses have been films such as “Angels Never Cry,” a psychological thriller he just finished filming in Iceland and a role on the television series documentary “Deadly Wives.” He also says he was recently involved with a secret piolet that he is hoping could catapult his career to new heights.

But he is not just waiting around for his big break, he actively chasing it. Instead of simply auditioning for parts, he is creating his own. For the past two years, he and another actor, Patric James Callahan, have starred in their own web mini-series on YouTube.

“It’s a series called Midlife Crisis’ on YouTube,” he said. “It’s about two guys that are trying to make a web series. It’s about two old guys that are like ‘hey, let’s be like the young ones. They are making money hand over fist by making these YouTube channels,’ and the funniest stuff goes on as two guys try to figure out technology.”

Along with his writing and producing partner, Banacka also just finished writing a script for a feature film called the “Fix,” about a down-on-his-luck boxing manager, who is faced with the decision of fixing a match with one of his fighters.

He understands that he has not quite gotten to where he wants to be in the acting business yet. If the money he saved prior to acting runs out, he may need to start doing something else, but he is OK with that. He is doing what he loves and pursuing his dream.

“I don’t want to be lying on my deathbed saying I wish I would have tried that,” he said. “I wish I would have done that. My mantra up in my bathroom is ‘no regrets.’ Life’s too short.”

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