Sean Ormond, a B.F.A. musical theatre major, has won Best Actor at the Miami Film Festival as well as several other festivals he has attended across the country. He has held lead roles in musicals at the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre, and will be starring in a show at the Adrienne Arsht Center this summer as well as attending the College Television Awards. With representation and several options for agents, he plans to move this summer and begin his career.
The Miami Hurricane: What was the film that you won Best Actor for in the Miami International Film Festival?
Ormond: It’s called “I Want to Beat Up Clark Peters.” It was written and directed by Joseph Picozzi and he is a graduate of Miami now. It’s the story of a neurotic 19-years-old college student who is frustrated with hookup culture and romance and seeks revenge after his hookup starts hooking up with somebody else.
TMH: What did it feel like when you won at the Miami International Film Festival?
O: It was great to be recognized because there are so many great films and a lot of solid actors, especially local talent, which is nice to be exposed to and see all these local professionals who do this. And then to be recognized as best actor, being young and having been up next to many other talented guys, it was a huge honor. Also a nice opportunity for us, and the film, to represent the University of Miami program. Not just the [acting]conservatory, but specifically the School of Communication. And I think this film has done a great job at representing Miami.
TMH: What was the most challenging part of filming “I Want to Beat Up Clark Peters” and what was the most fun?
O: The most challenging part was my schedule at the time. I was in two shows during the filming process so I didn’t have a minute off during that time. I was in a workshop of a new musical called “Carmen” and that was by Moises Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Project, so that was an awesome experience, [and]so I wanted to do both, and then I also finished up another show at the Ring. I would have rehearsal from 11 [a.m.] to 6 [p.m.] and then I would go straight to filming sometimes until 3:30 a.m. and then I’d wake up the next day and do it again. The most fun part was working with the people that worked on it, specifically Joe Picozzi. He is now one of my best friends and somebody that I work with now, and somebody that I’ve grown very close with, for a professional relationship but also a friend. So it was cool to have met so many people and also to see so many Miami people. It was a lot of fun.
TMH: What originally sparked your interest in theatre and acting?
O: I was exposed to it at a young age because I lived by a theatre where I grew up, so it was always there but it wasn’t until late high school that I really decided “Hey, this might be something I actually want to do.” And also I was such a bad student then, I didn’t care about school. So it was something that allowed me to come to a school that I normally probably wouldn’t have been able to come to.
TMH: Do you have a preference for working in film or theatre in the future?
O: I’m very fortunate and happy for the opportunity to work in both capacities, more in theatre. I’ve done much, much more theatre professionally. In the future I would love to pay my bills through film, that’s where the money is. But I can never say no to theatre or will never leave theatre. With acting, the business is so difficult that ideally I can always be doing something, and if I can always be doing something then that to me is the best thing possible.
TMH: Is there someone at UM who has served as a mentor to you?
O: I have a few. Specific professors are Bruce Miller, one of the head acting professors in our program, David Williams, Chris O’Connor and Julie Danao-Salkin. Those were acting professors in the conservatory that I’ve developed very close relationships with and they’ve been so great to me over my four years here. I owe any success to them, completely.
TMH: Are there any lessons in particular that they’ve taught you?
O: From Bruce Miller, what it means to have a technical approach to acting. From David Williams, what it means to have a creative and unique approach to acting, from Chris O’Connor what it means to have an authentic approach to acting and [from]Julie Danao-Salkin, she taught me what it means to ground yourself and be prepared for the business.
TMH: Is there a specific memory that stands out to you from your four years at UM?
O: “Clark Peters” was awesome and riding that wave has been great, but I’ve also been lucky since I’ve performed a lot as lead roles in the Ring, and that’s been awesome too. I did a show, “Saturday Night” last semester where I played the main character in that. That really was a great learning experience and also an awesome opportunity. That was directed by both David Williams and Bruce Miller, so that was great, to have them both on one project. I just finished a workshop with the legendary Tom Jones, he wrote shows like “The Fantastics,” “I do! I do!” and “110 in the Shade.” I would say playing Gene in “Saturday Night” and being a part of the workshop with Tom Jones at Actors’ Playhouse in Miracle Mile.
TMH: What are your plans after graduation?
O: I’m lucky right now that I have a bunch of work planned out. It’s likely that I’ll be involved in a film May and June. I’m starting rehearsals at the Adrienne Arsht Center downtown, which should be awesome. That’s for a show called “Rock Odyssey” and my contract there runs through May 13. After “Rock Odyssey,” it looks like I’ll be involved in a film down here and then I’ll be at the College Emmys and then I’m starting another contract in New Hampshire and June 13 through September 10, where I’m fortunate to be playing Jesus in “Godspell,” Rod in “Avenue Q”, Matthew in “Altar Boyz” and Leo in “Leading Ladies,” and that’s for a few months. So that’s really cool to be playing all those main characters back-to-back. It’ll be a lot of work but it’ll be great. And then after that I’m moving. I’m waiting until after the Emmys to decide where exactly I’m moving, but it’s either Los Angeles or New York City. I’m lucky that I have representation right now and they’re bi-coastal. And I have several options for agents and I just have to decide who I think is the best fit and where exactly I want to start my career.
TMH: Where do you see yourself in a few years?
O: I hope and I pray that I’ll be a working actor. Doesn’t need to be big-time, but if I can financially support myself or come close to it, through the performing arts, then that’s where I hope to be in a few years. It’s a hard business, a very hard business. But I’m lucky that the school gave me all the tools I need and all the connections I need to make that dream a reality, I think.