IU alum, actor says don’t follow set career path

File photo.
File photo.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Arian Moayed has heard it before.

“When people move to New York, they ask `What do I do?”‘ he said. “`How do I get an agent?”‘

Instead, they should just start doing whatever they are passionate about, said the 2002 IU graduate, who moved to New York to pursue a career in theater with fellow IU graduate Tom Ridgely. The duo started Waterwell, an award-winning nonprofit theater, which has created more than a dozen original productions.

“We knew nobody in New York; maybe Tom knew two people, and I knew Tom,” he said.
Since then, Moayed was been nominated for a Tony Award for his role in “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” and is a cast member on the new TV drama “Believe.”

On Friday, Moayed received an Outstanding Young Alumni Award from the Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences, one of six alumni and faculty awards presented this weekend as the winners returned to Bloomington to work with students, The Herald-Times reported.

Moayed said it’s an honor to receive an award from his alma mater, where he started his career and met the people he still works with today. He spent Thursday and Friday meeting with acting students informally, hoping to inspire them.

“Hope and positivity isn’t thrown out there that much,” he said.

The advice to go after what the students are passionate about really stood out to Evelyn Gaynor, a third-year MFA acting student. She said Moayed talked about choosing not to be cynical and instead waking up every day to follow your passion.

That doesn’t mean not making mistakes, Moayed said. He said when he first came to IU, he was a lead in one of the plays.

“I had no idea what I was doing,” he said.

But to do something well, he said, you have to do it a lot. And so, when he and Ridgely moved to New York and launched Waterwell, they decided to just make their first show happen.

“I’m sure it was terrible, but we did it. And that gave us the confidence to do another,” Moayed said.

A willingness to take a risk and not know if something is good or not is rare, said Aaron Kirkpatrick, a third-year MFA acting student. He said he liked that Moayed didn’t let not knowing if something was good stop him.
Moayed said fear will always be there, so the key is to always have things you want to do and you love, and that’s how he and others found the next things they wanted to do.

“It wasn’t that we were the best at anything,” he said. “We were passionate and stuck to our guns.”
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Information from: The Herald Times

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