Better known for his guest appearance as Jordon on Disney’s Raven’s Home, we caught up with breakthrough US actor Hunter Payton Mendoza to discuss his time on set and what’s install for fans of the Californian based actor. Mendoza begins by explaining how his character Jordon was the first Disney show he was booked for, in addition to the first time working with multi camera filming, which he recalls as a massive highlight of his career. The episode itself focusing on peer pressure and the dangers of vaping.
The actor explains that every since he was little, he has enjoyed performing in front of people, and making people laugh. Using his coffee table at home as a stage, from which to perform dance moves and sing to the surprise of his parents! He recalls how his journey into performing was given a major boost when he was approached by an acting studio at a street fair he was showing off his moves. This subsequently led to being offered a scholarship, leading to getting signed with the agents that represent the actor today! He explains that living in California has afforded him the opportunity to audition locally being so close to Hollywood, which he is extremely grateful to have as a location.
Location aside, Mendoza explains the greatest challenges is his view of being an actor, is dealing with
the rejection of not booking an audition. Highlighting how it is especially tough when you are super excited about an audition that you really want and you never hear back. Further to this is learning to balance your time and deal with sacrifices. “There have been times where I was leaving on a plane for a family vacation and we had to cancel or postpone the trip due to an audition or a booking. I don’t know how many times I have been on vacation and I got an audition I had to tape”. Learning it is okay to not hang out with friends, celebrate birthdays and having plans change due to last minute auditions/bookings in perseverence of his dream. A business, which in his honest opinion is not for everyone, especially when looking at the uncertainty surrounding the industry, but when you are in it, for the actor, there is no better drive!
As an actor, Hunter explains that you are always learning and he feels it is incredibly important to take acting classes. Notably as it is part of the process in becoming not just a good actor but a great actor, he points out. “I have worked with so many different coaches since I started this journey at 6 years old and I have learned from each and every one from how to look at a role, how to prep for a role to how to break down a script and so much more”. The actor additionally references UCB [school] where he got to perform on stage and a factor he feels definitely helped him with sketch comedy and improv skills. The actor has also extended his talents to learning the art of parkour. Pointing to a skillset he has incorporated into some of his roles where he was afforded the opportunity to do his own stunts.
Mendoza points out that it is pretty normal to get nervous on auditions. Highlighting how he used to get nervous all the time when he first started as 1. it was new and 2. he openly admits to having no idea what to expect at the time. “When I didn’t book something I worried about it and wondered what I could have done better. But now after 10 years of going out on over 200+ auditions it just becomes easier and easier because you get to know the casting directors, producers and other actors auditioning”. He explains that you learn how to deal with rejection and focus on positive outlets. When it comes to getting into character, he focuses his efforts on making a back story if the character does not have one, so he can relate with them more. Using his own life experiences to bring the character to life.
For Mendoza, his love for acting stems from being able to play different types of characters, especially roles completely different from his own persona. He opens up about the times where is was subjected to intense bullying due to his love for pursuing a career as an actor. “I would leave early for auditions or be on set and the kids would say mean things to me when I came back to school. That was another reason why I started homeschooling to be away from all of that”. He openly admits to losing drive, but remembers all the highs that got him to where he is today, and explains that he cannot wait to get back on set! The actor’s dream role is to be a super villain where he can take on his own stunts!
For anyone looking at getting into the acting profession, Mendoza believes it is vitally important to not give up even when it gets tough. To keep working hard even if you don’t book an audition as there will always be another audition that you may be even better for. “This industry is tough and it has its highs and lows but when you do book it is one of the greatest feelings!” #watchthisspace