Hours after scoring a Golden Globe nomination for his work in Your Honor, Bryan Cranston was in front of a computer for a surprise virtual appearance on behalf of Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts as part of its Master Class series.
Cranston joined students for a Zoom conversation led by professor Leah Aldridge that also included a portion for a student Q&A that covered his advice on how to make it in Hollywood and how to approach the craft of acting. Though he was quick to point out that his words should not be held any higher than anyone else. “I don’t think I should be the vanguard of anything right now,” he said. “I’m an older white privileged male. And I recognize that and what I should do is step aside to create space for voices of our time to really step forward and fill that space.”
That said, Cranston still doled out sage advice, especially regarding how to make it in a tough business. The Breaking Bad Emmy winner suggested aspiring creatives must fall in love. “If you want to become a professional in this business, whether it’s a producer, a writer, a director, an actor, whatever, you’ve got to fall in love with this. It’s got to be a relationship, you have to be dedicated to this.”
He continued: “This is not something where you give yourself some arbitrary two [or] three years, and say ‘If I don’t produce a hit series in three years, I’m gonna find something else’ or ‘If I don’t get on Broadway in two years’ and, you know, ‘If I don’t direct a movie’…If you want to be rich and famous, and you want to do it within two or three years, I can save you two or three years: don’t enter this business,” he said. “I’m serious. I just saved you that time, trust me. The only thing that’s going to sustain you is love. Love. It has to be love within you that drives you to do this.”
More than love, Cranston suggested students form well-rounded lives. “A good relationship or a good personal life can act like a tether. You know what I mean, it’s like something that you’re connected to, that at any given time, you’re flying away in your career and going and doing dangerous, exciting things, but you can always come back down to a nice foundation. I’m telling you, you’ve got to have it all.”