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Friday, February 7, 2014

The Rise and Grind of Actor Vincent M. Ward

by Cyrus Webb

He has appeared on hit shows such as Everybody Hates Chris, The Starter Wife, Desperate Housewives and even Hot In Cleveland,however in 2012 fans of the hit television show The Walking Dead on AMC got to know actor Vincent M. Ward as Oscar. Regardless of when you were first introduced to him, it is evident at this very moment that the man who has been bringing characters to life for more than a decade isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

"I'm honored to be here," Ward told me during our conversation together. "I'm accomplishing stuff that I never dreamed of. I look at myself as being a normal person that just happens to be on some of the shows that people like."

And like him and the show The Walking Dead fans do! I asked Vincent if he thought that where he is right now is really a result of the hard work he has put in over the years paying off. "Most definitely," he replied, but he went on to add that it required some changes in him as well. "God had to humble me in some things," he explained. "I always tell people the best is yet to come. When I am walking out on faith then more doors are going to open. That's why I try to stay in a place where I can do what God has put me here to do."

Vincent is definitely eclectic in his interest, even last year releasing an erotic spoken word cd called Eargasms. When I asked him about it he says he was encouraged to do it because of his voice but is going to "leave that for the professionals." "I told myself that I'm going to stay in my lane and stick to acting," he told me. The decision to be careful with what he puts out he says 'comes with the walk.' "I'm trying my best not to straddle the fence." We would talk more about that fence and his responsibility to his fans a little later.

I went on to ask Vincent when he looked at what he's been able to do does it really feel as though he has found his place when it comes to acting. "I believe this is where I belong," he told me. "I didn't choose acting. It chose me. I tell this story all the time how I walked in a theater in Ohio for my first play and fell in love with it. To be here now and to get up and rise and grind is a blessing. I tell myself that you're going to be one of the best in this industry, and that is what I expect to do. Anytime you stick with something it's bound to pay off sooner or later. People would ask me if it doesn't work out with acting what are you going to fall back on. I told them I don't have anything to fall back on because I'm going to fall on what I love, and that's acting."

That positive attitude and that passion is a key to why he has become so popular, even after his time on the show ended. Vincent M. Ward literally has fans around the world that attend events or communicate with him online. I asked him about that layer of his success. "I've gotten used to the fans," he says, "but I'm just a regular guy. The biggest thing I have going for me is my personality." Vincent told me he doesn't understand some in the public eye distancing themselves from their fans and their base. To him it is a privilege to have them and spend time with them. "It can be taken away just as quickly as it was given to me," he says. "I don't like to even call them fans. To me they are people who support what I do, and I love them for that. I'm probably just as excited to meet them as they are to meet me."

Probably one of the most poignant times during our conversation was when I asked Vincent what it was like to be a part of a show like The Walking Dead. His answer surprised me. "To be honest two years ago I didn't even know what The Walking Dead was. I was asked about being on their and I said 'Why would I want to be on a show about zombies.' I found out, though, it's more than just zombies. It's the actors and the writing that make the show. It's the best cast and crew I've ever worked with and that's saying a lot. We all came to it with the thought 'let's make greatness.' In reality the character Oscar is not too far from who I am in real life." Vincent went on to say that he knew the show was a hit when he would call his mom and she would start reciting his lines.

Picking up on his point about the show being more than just about zombies I asked Vincent about the commentary that the show The Walking Dead presented when it comes to mankind, how even in times of trouble we can't all band together. "It's just like Katrina," he told me. "As bad as it was then people were still raping and stealing from each other. You're always going to have a bad person no matter what is going on. That's one of the reasons the show definitely hits home. There is always going to be someone who lives their life the way they want to live it."

Earlier in our talk Vincent had mentioned the importance of not straddling the fence. I asked him what responsibility did he feel to those who do admire and look up to him. "It starts at home with your parents and your teachers," he began. "Our fans have to remember that we're normal people too. We're going to make mistakes, and you have to remember that when you see us on a show we're playing a role. It's all fake. When we shoot someone on set and the director yells 'Cut!', they get up. In the real world when you shoot someone on the street they're not getting up. You have to be wise about the decisions you make in life. Life is about choices. You make that wrong choice and that could be the end of your life. You have to think about the people that are there for you to support you. When you mess us we all have to pay for it."

No matter what your calling in life Vincent says his advice to you would be the same as for himself: "Rise and grind. Get up everyday and do something to better your life or somebody else's life. Be ready so you don't have to get ready. If you're looking to break into the entertainment industry have your head shot and your business cards. No matter what have a good attitude. Make the people want to work with you."

Vincent is preparing for the release of new movies and plays in the near future. To stay abreast with his projects and upcoming appearances visit his website www.vincentmward.com and stay in touch with his Twitter updates at www.twitter.com/vincentmward.

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