Throughout the years, The American Dream has been eponymous with three core components: a happy family; a home for that family to reside in; and enough prosperity to allow for a few luxuries beyond the basic necessities. In reality, the components of “The American Dream” differ for everyone. The traits required to reach that dream, however, remain mostly the same. Complacency won’t result in met dreams, of any capacity. Hard work, determination, initiative, and the ability to mold perceived hardships into borne opportunities will.
For actor, producer, and construction entrepreneur Brad Bowen, these principles permeate everything he does. Bowen has led anything but a traditional path—and he’s proud of that. At 16 Bowen dropped out of high school, and pursued his passion for surfing. After a number of years of surfing competitively, he transitioned into life as a construction laborer, eventually starting his own company in 1994. Throughout the years Bowen dipped in and out of the world of surfing, construction, and even karate, until he found a love for acting—but not by pursuit, by chance. Bowen had been working as a background actor on a film set, when he was offered a principle role on the production. Today, Bowen works as an actor, producer, and still manages his construction business.
From high school dropout, to nearly professional surfer, construction worker, to now an actor/producer on the “up and up” you’ve traveled a unique path. What do you attribute your current successes to?
I attribute my current successes to determination, an ability to adapt, extensive research, reaching out to and following up with contacts and a supportive family.
Before the opportunity to act fell into your lap, did you ever consider a career in entertainment?
No, I have never considered a career path. I do things for two reasons, If I have too, and if it’s exciting. I have to make a living and I want to enjoy doing it.
What has been your biggest challenge in the entertainment industry?
My biggest challenge is learning when to say “no”. When I was coming up through the construction industry, a General Contractor told me, “Some of the best jobs for your career, are the ones you didn’t do”. The same applies, be selective.
Are you still involved in construction? If so, what’s juggling the two worlds like for you?
Yes, I have a few construction projects going. If it works, no need to stop. At this point in my career, it is relatively easy juggling the two. My construction company runs smoothly. I have a solid team working for me. So, I’m able to focus my efforts on my new career, acting.
A lot of actors and even their agents frown on background acting, yet it appears that your experience as a background actor served you well. Would you suggest other actors who are starting out also try doing extra work?
They can frown if they choose. My learning style is kinesthetic. Besides, why would they frown? Would they prefer a person that works hard, does what they say, without complaining? Or, someone who has a sense of entitlement sits around complaining and thinking they deserve better? I would also remind them that, “a quick nickel is better than a slow dime”. Yes, I would encourage all to learn on set.
Tell me about your current project.
I’m producing a feature film based on a novel written by Hugh Wilson called “Caledonian Skies.” The story is an action adventure tale set in prewar Scotland. February 1939, Ian Mckay is 42, a veteran WWI flying ace. Although the term is not in the book because it did not exist at the time, he is clearly suffering PTSD symptoms from his war experiences. While away to WWI, he loses contact with one and only true love, Ellie and can’t find her upon his return. Now at 42 he is still alone and has never married despite being a highly desirable bachelor. While out for an early morning hike up Ben Lomond when he sees a high flying aircraft with no markings. With war clouds gathering, he suspects it is a Nazi reconnaissance flight. He warns the authorities but the sighting cannot be confirmed and Ian volunteers for a spy mission to Germany to see what he can learn of the mystery flight. He is an amateur spy and nearly blows his cover on multiple occasions. Without giving it all away, the story culminates in a daring do escape flight.
In many ways you are highly entrepreneurial in your ability to mold yourself and grow in your experiences. Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur at heart?
According to the definition, absolutely! en•tre•pre•neur, a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so
Now a challenge: if you could write your five word bio, what would it be?
Bradley has an addictive personality.