Joe Ries is an amazing man. Since the first day he walked proudly into my office despite having one leg amputated at the knee and having a hard time getting around I knew he was special.
Every time Joe goes out on the set I get great feedback from our clients that he is prepared and willing to go the extra mile. I have witnessed him falling hard literally and also at auditions but he always gets right back up even more determined and prepared to succeed. I have had many people who had a ton of talent but not many have what Joe has inside.
Joe has had the opportunity to work with some great actors, Charlton Heston, James Coburn, Tom Berringer, Della Reese, Ozzie Davis, Ruby Dee, Anthony Hopkins, Richard Thomas, Cheech Marin, Scott Glenn, just to name a few.
What made you decide to get into the acting and how did you get started business?
My first experience in the industry was about 25 years ago when I answered an ad on a bulletin board at the VA Hospital in SLC, looking for extras. I applied and was hired - Ordinary Hero starring Valerie Bertinelli and Richard Dean Anderson, I was bitten.
I found a local agent and she was absolutely great in her teaching methods and protocols for new actors. I learned so much from her which lead to me working on several sets, both TV and film.
After my original agent moved on I worked for a couple of other agencies with lots of fun and exciting roles but I became discouraged due to the lack of projects I was sent on to work. Then I found Craze Agency and found my niche.
What made you stick with it when you first started and received some rejection?
I just loving being an important part of each production I am in.
What has been the hardest thing for you as an actor?
The biggest challenges I have had is convincing producers and directors that a disabled person can act and that we do have a place in this industry.
What was your worst experience in the industry?
I was working on a TV series and the director yelled out to everyone to get that one legged man off his set. It was humiliating but I later received an apology from the producers.
What is or was your regular occupation? How did you juggle both?
I am retired so I have not had to juggle work and my passion working in the industry is always there! Call me and I will be on set!
One of the toughest things for me as an agent is when I continually promote our talent really hard and because of things like the size of the market, the time of year or that there just is not a job coming up immediately for that particular talent, some talent get discouraged and lose interest. As an experienced agent I know things will soon get busy when you do the right things and stick with it. How have you not let the slower periods or times when you are not booking jobs discourage you?
I know that there are dry spells but I always keep applying and auditioning with every opportunity that arises.
What advice would you give newcomers entering the business?
To take all available quality training classes, be patient, take advantage of workshops and have fun on the set.
Anything else you would like to tell about this business?
My biggest adventure was working on the Stand and meeting Steven King, Independence Day, and Worlds Fastest Indian and many made for TV films... Also as mostly a featured background regular on Touched By an Angel and Promised Land.