June 16th, 2017
An aspiring and successful actor, Che is deeply immersed in the Rochester cultural scene. So much so, we’ve named him Che of The Town!
Exclusively for Talker, Che has solicited and is conducting interviews from about 100 Rochestarians working in a diversity of creative fields.
For the full series, see Che of The Town: Interviews
Tell us a little about yourself, where your from, grew up, what H.S./College you attended etc.
I was born in Riverhead Long Island and grew up in Sullivan County which is at the southern most point of the Catskill Mountains. I graduated from Jeffersonville Youngsville Central School (now known as Sullivan West). I received a degree in TV/Radio production in 1992 from Tompkins Cortland and completed my Bachelors Degree in Music Education at the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1996. I’ve been teaching both publicly and privately since 1995. I currently teach elementary instrumental music for the Spencerport School District.
What inspired you to be an artist/entertainer? Early experiences worth sharing?
I have been interested in performing and acting since I was a child. I came from a musical family. My father and mother were both good musicians and routinely would have “music nights” where they would play guitar and sing dozens of songs. My sister played several instruments and I knew I could do the same and studied 5 instruments in school. My band and music teachers were some of the biggest influences in my life. I remember my first acting experience came in 3rd grade when I auditioned for and landed the lead in the school musical. It was a thrill to be on the stage and be the “center of attention”. I continued my acting through a mime troupe in 1986. We toured several area school districts and other performing venues performing a program called “Mime over Matter”. It was around the same time that my best friend got a video camera. From that point forward throughout high school, we were ALWAYS making films. They were simple at first, but we honed our skills and each one got more dynamic than the previous ones. I stepped away from films for a period of time while I worked to become a teacher, but the film bug quickly returned and I opened my own production company in 2009 called Str82VDO Productions. To date I have more than a dozen short films and a medium length feature completed. I’ve recently joined forces with a talented group of filmmakers in Rochester and we formed Phoenicks Films where we are quickly moving through pre-production of our first feature, Bottom Feeders.
I believe that we all have demons of some sort. For me, it was alcohol. I have seen alcoholism and what it can do to not only oneself, but to all those around. After much denial and rationalization on my part, I finally got up the courage to ask for help. I spent a little time in rehab and turned that page of my life. I came out of rehab a wiser, more confident person. I don’t need alcohol to make me funny or happy. I get my happiness from fulfilling dreams of acting in bigger projects.
What do you believe sets you apart from other artists/entertainers?
I have a great deal of respect for all entertainers. While I tend to be a perfectionist in anything I attempt, I am not afraid to make mistakes or look silly. I love comedy and do whatever it takes to get that laugh from the audience. I’m pretty quiet, but I can step out of my comfort zone and really stretch what I can do. I always want to surprise my audience with what I am capable of.
Besides making films and performing I also love photography and golf. I love having my camera at the ready for those moments in life that scream to documented. As for golf, I feel I am a solid player, but I wouldn’t quit my day job to join the pro tour……..yet.
Any projects you have out or currently working on?
I’m currently a producer for a feature film called Bottom Feeders which is in pre-production with shooting set for late summer/early fall. I’m bringing my old comedy webseries Junk Drawer back this summer after a 1 year break and in August, I will be shooting my next short film, Circle the Block with a fantastic cast of local talent. I continue to act in several projects including a heavy hitting drama called Finding Rigby and a Star Wars fan film, both by the talented B. Anthony Gibson.
I envision a future where I can work in film full time in some capacity; be it producing, writing, or acting, which is what I love to do the most. While I enjoy being a teacher, film will remain my first true love and I hope to be fully entrenched in film work in the next 5 years.
What advice can you give to aspiring artists/entertainers?
I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. You have to believe in yourself! You need to believe that you are the best person for any challenge that comes your way. If you have doubt, so will others. You’re never as good or as bad as they say. Be confident and chase your dreams.
You can find me in a variety of places online.
For information about my production company Str82VDO Productions:
For information about my acting:
- https://www.facebook.com/KennethTRhodes/ (Facebook page)
- http://krhodes10.wixsite.com/kenrhodes (main website)