I met Sheldon in 2010 when we crossed over at a theater in Arizona. He obliged to an interview, and I recently ran into him at Shetler Studios so I can report that he alive and well. I am pleased to introduce Sheldon Rogers!
When did you move to NYC and why?
I moved to the city for the first time in September 2010. I was between contracts in Pennsylvania and frankly, I wanted to come to NYC instead of going home. I just wanted to see what it was like, so I subletted a room from my best friend for a couple months. I’ve been moving back and forth between contracts ever since.
What borough and neighborhood do you call home?
I live in Brooklyn on the edge of Flatbush and Midwood.
Any advice to someone thinking about moving here?
Firstly, as wonderfully Bohemian as it might seem to pack up your car with the essentials and just move here and trust God or the Universe to make things work for you, you won’t make it unless one of those essentials is a healthy savings or bank account. Following a dream also includes preparing properly to make that dream happen. And unfortunately, most dreams take money. I personally think a good rule of thumb would be to set a minimum and a maximum rent budget, multiply your maximum by six, and don’t move until you’ve got that much saved up. When you do move, search for apartments that fall somewhere between your minimum and your maximum. If you move to the city with six months of expense money and hit the ground running you should be fine.
Speaking of hitting the ground running, my second piece of advice would be to really hit the ground running. Before you move, figure out what you want from NYC and go for it as soon as you get here. New York is a wonderful place and it is full of opportunities for everyone in virtually every profession. But, those opportunities only rise up to meet you if you are on their path and you’re going after what you want. In order to make your dreams a reality you have to have a plan of action. Every morning when you wake up, ask yourself, “What can I do for my career today?” And go do it.
Do you feel like a New Yorker?
I feel like a New Yorker in the sense that I hate Times Square, know where I’m going on the subway, and pretty much can’t eat pizza anywhere else anymore. I feel like a New Yorker in a Robin Scherbatsky kind of way. But I’ll always be a Southern boy at heart.
Aside from acting, do you have a survival job?
Yes! I’ve been serving for a Belgian chain restaurant, Le Pain Quotidien, since 2012. I’m also a box office assistant for Second Stage Theatres. I’m aiming to start offering affordable photos for actors, musicians, and engagements as well. Anyone who reads this and is interested can contact me at PhotographyBySLR@gmail.com for rates. I also have a Facebook page here.
What is your favorite thing about living in the city?
This might be a cliché, but I really love the diversity of this city. I love that I can walk down 9th Avenue and get anything my heart desires for dinner. I love living in a neighborhood with Russian Orthodox families and old Jewish women. New York really is a huge melting pot and I think it’s a necessity of anyone who lives here to take advantage of that. There are so many great experiences at your fingertips. It would be such a shame not to explore them.
What is your least favorite thing about living in the city?
Honestly? The smell of the streets in the summer is pretty terrible. The only other thing I don’t love about the city is those people who have been here long enough to let the city turn them into bitter, negative versions of themselves. It’s easy to let it get to you, so it’s important to stay positive.
How long do you see yourself here?
I like to keep that question open-ended. I’ll be here until it’s no longer part of God’s plan for my life. That could be because I’m not happy here anymore, or because I decided to settle down and start a family, or because some other huge opportunity comes along and takes me elsewhere. Part of me thinks that putting a deadline on my time here puts a lot of pressure on me to succeed. And with that pressure comes the tendency to view little victories as insignificant instead of steps in the right direction. Having an open schedule and an open mind for whatever opportunities might come along leaves lots of room for things to happen the way they should organically.
So the short answer is: until further notice.
What is your next theatrical/artistic endeavor?
I’m hoping to get a Christmas gig with Spirit Productions. I recently had the opportunity of performing a show with them and had an absolute blast. I’d love to go back again.
Other than that, I’m keeping an eye on auditions and brushing up my skills as much as possible. I’ve been fortunate enough to have relatively consistent work since graduating from college, so this break is much needed.
What is the craziest/best/worst thing that has happened to you since you moved to NYC?
Best? Getting an agent. I came to the city on a whim for an open call with Daniel Hoff Agency last summer. I didn’t expect to get it because I sort of thought I didn’t have enough credits to really be an asset to their team. But it went really well and they took me on as a freelance client. Having someone in your corner is always a great thing.
Craziest? Last fall, I was at my friend’s bar in Midtown. I was sitting at the bar enjoying a drink with another friend when a blonde girl came and wedged her way up to the bar. She was really in my bubble, and in true New York fashion, my body language quickly suggested I didn’t want her in my grill…until I realized she was a childhood friend of mine! We had lost touch since we played the Lost Boy twins in a county production of Peter Pan, but she was still the same old Alison. New York is perfect for experiences like that. I run into people I haven’t seen in years all of the time.
Worst? I’d have to say getting kidney stones. As awful as that is to begin with, add being all alone and sick and not having your mom to bring you soup and water made it worst thing ever.
That and the time a bird pooped in my quesadilla at Blockhead’s.
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