I had the honor of interviewing Jonathan Stoddard for our magazine and Podcast The Relatable Voice. Jonathan Stoddard is an Award Winning actor, best known for his leading man Christmas Romcoms such “A Prince and Pauper Christmas” where he plays both Prince Alexander and Patrick, “A Royal Christmas on Ice”, and “Furry Little Christmas”.
Hello Jonathan, welcome to BrandEducation! What’s your favorite word and why?
My favorite word is “Impossible” because broken down, the word becomes “I’m Possible”.
I can’t tell yo how many times, it felt impossible to go from where I was to where I wanted to be. To go from no bookings to being a leading man. To go from not paying my bills to being able to help other people. Just remember, that whenever you feel like something is “Impossible”, it really means that “I’m Possible”. YOU are possible. Your dreams are possible. Never forget that everybody started somewhere.
What’s the last book you read?
I’m currently reading a couple books because I just got out of a relationship and as we all know, the people closest to us have the greatest impact on our mental and emotional health. Whether it’s family, friends or partners, our relationships can either motivate us or feel like they are destroying us. Communication with ourselves is the number one thing we need to master and if you ever feel at odds with yourself, read this book: The High-Conflict Couple.
Recently, I forgot that I’m also in a relationship with myself, and if I can’t get motivated to do something even though I may want to, I have to figure out a way to communicate with myself to get it done. The High-Conflict Couple teaches a beautiful style of communication that you can practice with yourself and others.
Another book, that I always have near me is Way of the Peaceful Warrior. This has been one of my favorite books for years and whenever I get lost, I always pick it back up and re-read it. It’s such a powerful story of having dreams and then being completely broken, only to come back and achieve them. Exploring the differences between needs and wants, the ego and self growth, it’s told in such a way that it doesn’t feel preachy or like a self help book; it’s story format and it’s wildly entertaining.
I highly recommend this book for everyone!
What’s the book that changed your life?
Atomic Habits is one of my favorite books that changed me life because, simply put, our life is measured by the quality of our habits! Habits ultimately create our identity and character and the direction and destination of our lives; so they’re an important part of life to study.
Especially as an actor, I need to create new habits all the time while maintaining or modifying the ones I already had. With all the ups and downs of the world, social media and global access, I can get sidetracked very easily and before I realize it, my plans for the day are gone. Atomic Habits keeps me on track and always re-centers my focus towards what’s important and not just what’s urgent. Designing my life has been one of greatest skills I’ve learned and am still learning, and designing your life starts with your habits!
A few of my favorite things about being an actor are the emphasis on ‘learning’ as the single most valuable skill for growth in this industry, embracing humility and compassion for myself and humanity, deepening my self awareness, and working with some of the most creative minds on the planet.
In order to be an actor, I have change who I am while remaining aware and present, I have to lead while following, I have to laugh while crying and I have to be strong enough to be vulnerable. These dualities are challenging to embrace and exciting to explore. It’s a wild adventure to say the least, but it’s all worth it.
What makes you laugh the most?
Puns, dad jokes, inside jokes, and witty quotes that are beautifully timed for the right moment. I’m cheesy at my core and a great dad joke, will get me rolling with laughter.
Here’s one of my go to dad jokes:
“What do you call a Grizzly Bear without any teeth?” (Then hide your teeth behind your lips”
“A Gummy Bear!”
If you were a superhero, what powers would you have?
If I were a superhero, I’d want the powers of light control. Because I studied quantum mechanics and love the exploration of parallel universes, light is one of the greatest and influential things in our universe. Not to be confused with electricity, but light – the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible. By having light control as a super power, I could induce healing and eliminate illness, I could travel at the speed of light, I could influence the growth of our planet, and the decay of pollution, and I could even go invisible and fly, as a few other fun perks.
If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?
If I could tell my younger self anything, I would offer my journals. There’s an interesting theory that I could say something with the knowledge I have today, that would impact the course of history with my younger self. I don’t know if that’s true because if I really think about it, I heard all the advice when I was younger, I just didn’t listen or I didn’t understand how it was relevant to me. I wasn’t ready because I didn’t know how the advice applied. What I would offer my younger self are my journals. A glimpse into the trials to come and how I overcame them. Some lessons I documented and others that never made it to the page, but you can bet, I journaled about crawling out of the holes I dug. My journals would offer a peace-of-mind that my story wasn’t over yet, that the moments that I thought destroyed me, actually made me a better person, a more loving human being and a more creative soul. My journals share those stories.
What inspired you to start acting?
The quest and hunger to understand other people ultimately leads to the quest of self awareness, and acting blends these two ideas beautifully.
Ever since I was a child, I’ve been fascinated with people and why they do what they do, or how they got to where they were in life. From taxi cab drivers to homeless people to successful people, I would always make friends with people and ask them how they got there and what happened and so on. People are fascinating and ultimately, this curiosity inspired me to become an actor, to study people, and to explore all the colors of humanity’s personalities.
Do you hear from your fans much? What do they say?
It’s really fun when people reach out to me on instagram or email me telling me that they loved a movie or didn’t want to see me as the bad guy (laughing). When I had my first bad guy role come out, I had a lot of people reach out and say, “NOOOOOOO, don’t turn the romcom guy into a bad guy!”
Months later, I started getting messages with people saying that they loved the diversity and range of my characters from Romcom to Bad guy. All I can say, is that it’s fun to see how people respond to my movies, and hear what they have to say when they feel compelled to reach out.
Having an impact on the world around me is one of the reasons why I do the work that I do. I hope I continue to keep people on their toes with diverse acting choices from Romcoms to Christmas Movies to Thriller/horror movies and bad guy roles.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
When I grew up, I always loved making people laugh and entertained through physical comedy, adventure and shock. As an actor, I still love doing that today, so in a way, I haven’t grown up yet!
What are your guilty pleasures?
I’ve got a few guilty pleasures that show up from time to time depending on roles and life’s circumstances. Some of my guilty pleasures are positive and some are dangerous, like food and movies.
With my culinary background, I LOVE cooking for friends and myself, but if I’m going through something, food turns into a friend that punishes me a few hours later.
Same with movies; some of my favorite guilty pleasure movies are Face/Off and the The Emperor’s New Groove and the Princess Bride to name a few…let’s just say anything animated, is a guilty pleasure for me.
What creative things do you do to develop a likable company culture?
When I’m on set, creating a likable culture around me is EVERYTHING. Making movies and tv shows is difficult and you’re constantly facing unforeseen challenges; everybody is stressed, and everybody is working harder than they’re getting paid for, so I take it upon myself to try to make it just a little more enjoyable. A few things that I like to do on set are Magic Tricks, Dad Jokes and Bad Puns. If I can show up and do my scenes AND make someone on the crew smile while they’re working hard, I’ve succeeded as an actor.
What motivates you?
Other people motivate me. Both the success stories and the horror stories all motivate me to do better and be better, to strive for more and to look deeper within myself and others. We have greater access to the most inspirational stories ever in history. Whenever I feel like I’m alone in my struggles, I go to YouTube and watch inspiring stories in bite size 15sec – 1min videos. It always puts everything into perspective for me and get’s me going.
What is the first step to becoming more self-aware?
Start asking yourself “Why?”. Pick one topic and ask yourself ‘why’ 5 times like a child would, and really try to give different and empowering answers each time. Chances are you’ll get really frustrated with yourself, but it will be the most insightful exercise you can do to get to know who you are and why you are they way you are.
For example, Topic: I really liked this movie! Why…did you like it? Because it made me laugh and feel inspired by the end of it. Why…do you feel inspired? Because it reminded me of when I gave up on something really important to me, but this movie makes me want to try again. Why…did you give up if it was important to you? Because I didn’t believe in myself that I could really make it happen. Why…do you think you could accomplish it now? Because this movie reminded me to have compassion for myself and love myself through the process, to never give up. Why? Because I realize that the greatest people on the planet have gone through exactly what I went through, and they found ways to succeed, and that means I can too!
Obviously, this is a simple example, but if you do this every night with one topic, you’ll be surprised where your mind takes the questions and how quickly you’ll get to know yourself.
Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?
Read and become insatiably curious. Train yourself to start asking questions and seek out the answers. All the answers and human evidence in the world will lead you to love, hope, possibility, growth and generosity. Strengthen your character and go after your dreams.
What do you enjoy doing on your spare time?
I love playing music, cooking, learning and creating something new in my spare time. These days, it is a constant battle with myself because there is so much going on, but I also find time to settle in and take care of my heart.
Who are your cheerleaders?
My core cheerleaders start with my family and close friends. At this point, it’s no longer chasing a dream, it’s a reality that I’m navigating and those who have stuck by my side, are my biggest and truest support system. This has been a hard road and so many people have disappeared for different reasons, but my core, will always be my core. I also have to say, my fans are incredible cheerleaders that motivate me every day, and I’m so grateful for them.
What’s the single most important reason for your success?
Manifesting, for lack of a better word, is everything. We have the power to create, or at least strongly influence the world around us and if you harness this power, you can accomplish magical things.
I’ve accomplished things that don’t make sense in timelines that shouldn’t have happened, but yet they did, and when I look back, I can see the seeds of their creation in the pages of my journal.
What was the tipping point for your business?
After a really hard relationship years ago, I was at the lowest I’ve ever been in my life. This is when I started manifesting and creating a vision for my life because I was willing to try anything. Within 3 months of starting a few new routines, I became the top commercial booker at my agency and I haven’t stopped working as an actor since then.
What’s the key lesson you want everyone to take away from your work?
Anything is possible. Whatever you want to accomplish, whatever you want to achieve, whatever you want to do, you can do it. Give it time and have patience while you work tirelessly on your craft, your mind, your heart, yourself and trust that the reward for self work and dedication will always lead you to the height of success.
Find out more about Jonathan on : @jonstoddardofficial and https://www.relatable-media.com/