Monroe Mann
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The Sierra Visa Herald



By Bill Hess


Lights, camera, action were the words Monroe Mann heard often during the filming of “Swimfan”.

Mann plays Jake Donnelly, the ex-boyfriend of Erika Christensen’s character, the psychotic athlete stalker.

Second Lt. Monroe Mann also graduates today from the Military Intelligence Officer Basic Course.

For the 24-year-old, his break in a movie was like performing in a silent film.

He had no lines in the three scenes, which he called pivotal in the development of the storyline. Those scenes were the beginning, middle, and end of the film, which recently completed a run in Sierra Vista.

Mann said it was more important to have his name in movie’s credit than to say a single word.

“For an actor, credits speak louder than words,” he said. Having one’s name on the screen is a big push for a career, he added.

People in the entertainment business wil remember a name, but not necessarily the words spoken, the lieutenant said.

Mann, who calls New York state, and Maine home, has appeared in independent films, on television, in commercials, and what many actors consider the ultimate training camp-on stage-walking the boards of a theater. He also appeared in three operas. Some of his roles have been leads or principals, others were background.

Like many people who break into the entertainment world, the early days can be lean, so Mann has his own business that deal with acting.

Mann is the founder and president of Unstoppable Actors, a business school for actors that’s motto is, “We take the luck out of success.”

He also is an author and he uses his book, “The Theatrical Juggernaut: The Psyche of the Star” to help others.

In a light vein, he describes what actors need to do to build their confidence in a field that is full of people waiting to make it.

In his book, he writes that there are two types of actors: pretend ones, and real ones.

“You should be aiming for the latter category,” he writes in the book. “These pretend actors are ones who insist on living the Bohemian lifestyle to better impress people of their ‘actor’ status.”

One thing people in the entertainment business must realize is that while they may be actors, what is more important is that they are business people.

In his book he writes, “Forget what anyone tells you about your pursuit of acting as an art.”

“It is not an art until you are on the set.”

“Even then, being on set is just another opportunity, an opportunity to sell yourself once again to the cast and crew.”

To Mann, having a master’s degree in business administration is more important than having a master’s of fine arts because “acting is a business; not a talent show”.

The business of selling oneself is entrepreneurial, Mann said, adding the business of becoming an actor requires confidence in one’s self.

He admits his confidence may be seen as arrogance, but without self assurance, he and other actors would fail. Being confident is what a person does is not limited to actors, Mann said.

But acting is not all of his life.

Like many others in the country, Mann is a citizen soldier; a member of the New York Army National Guard.

On November 29, 1999, Mann signed on the line, as he put it, and enlisted in the National Guard. He took basic training in Georgia at what he called, “The (Fort) Benning School for Boys.”

Mann has a bachelor’s degree in international economics with a minor in French from Franklin College in Switzerland.  He went to Officer Candidate School in July 2001.

On September 11, 2001, he was in New York City, where he lives and works, when the terrorists attacked the World Trade Center.

Knowing he would be called up, he put on his uniform and went to the area of the two plane crashes.

Joining him was his father, a retired Air Force colonel.

The men knew their sister and daughter, a lawyer, had gone down to the World Trade Center area that morning to see clients.  The father and son team found her alive and brought her away from the area.

Mann’s guard unit was almost immediately called to duty, and for part of the time he was a ground zero helping with the clean-up operation.  Later he moved to the Lexington Street armory where a family support center had been set up.

Although he was assigned as an intelligence officer for his unit, Mann said it was not until he arrived at Fort Huachuca and started Officer Basic Course that he knew how important the intelligence community is to the war on terrorism.

As a member of the National Guard, Mann said he knows he may be called upon to leave what he has chosen to be his career, acting, and serve the country.

But for now, Mann is ready to return to his civilian pursuits, while awaiting any future Army orders.

After his graduation today, he will head for Florida to scout out some locations for a film he has written.