For Adam Ray, there’s nothing unsettling about the unknown.
“If anything,” said Ray, “it’s an opportunity to see what you’re made of.”
With minimal formal training, Ray moved to Hollywood to pursue an acting career. The Fox School of Business alumnus, who appeared in two seasons of the HBO medical comedy series “Getting On,” is looking to continue his path in the Entertainment Capital of the World as an actor and producer.
Ray earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with a focus in Marketing, in 2012. Along the way, the Phoenixville, Pa., native said he “took two theater electives,” stoking a deep-seeded interest. A few months after graduation, Ray put on hold his career plans and moved to Los Angeles.
“I at least had to see and experience the entertainment industry for myself,” he said. “I didn’t come to L.A. with the intention of staying here, but I knew that if I took a 9-to-5 job right after graduating, I’d never pursue acting.”
His early months in Los Angeles were what Ray termed “a testing time.” He had little in his savings account, so his living arrangements were constantly in flux. At times, he spent nights in a hostel. He had no West Coast friends or relatives to lean upon, either.
“It was isolating in a lot of ways,” Ray said, “so it became a matter of asking myself, ‘How badly do I really want this?’ Let’s be honest: You can spend months in L.A. without landing an audition.”
Without marketable experience or an acting-heavy resume, Ray bounced between talent agencies. He relied on his education at the Fox School to objectively view his professional predicament. He had to think clearly about his decision-making processes. He assembled a list of targeted agencies and identified a niche in his career – all skills he developed at Fox.
What Ray called “a last-minute opportunity” led to an audition for the writers/producers of “Getting On,” the HBO comedy series that follows the staffers of an extended care unit of a hospital set in Long Beach, Calif. Ray improv’ed with the producers, performing for them and with them during his audition, before landing the part.
Ray shared a first name with his character, Adam, who was an intern in the show’s first season and a resident in the second season. Additionally, his work on “Getting On” led a fellow actor to introduce Ray to her agent, who’s helped “push me into other rooms and secure other auditions that never would have been possible,” he said.
To expand his acting depth, Ray has studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in Los Angeles. Inspired on set by the show’s lead actor Laurie Metcalf, Ray started studying comedy at Lesly Kahn & Company in Hollywood. He also produced and co-produced two short films in 2015. Fellow Temple alumnus Alexander C. Fraser wrote and directed Ray’s first short, “Cabo,” which led to Ray meeting Al Pacino and Broadway director Robert Allan Ackerman.
Ray admits his Hollywood career is a journey and he’s continued learning along the way.
“Acting isn’t something you can study for four years and say, ‘I’ve perfected it,’” Ray said. “From that vantage point, I’m happy I got a business education and studied at Fox. It taught me to be confident, overcome self-consciousness and nervousness, command a room, be assertive, and how to communicate your clear idea to a room of strangers.”
“That last one is extremely helpful in L.A. because, like I said, it can be lonely out here.”