Mark Labella Talks Working On “NCIS Los Angeles” In Exclusive Interview!
We recently had the chance to chat with Mark Labella about getting his start in the music industry, working on “NCIS Los Angeles”, upcoming projects and more!
- How did you get your start in the entertainment industry? It all started in Chicago. Someone stole my (USMLE- United States Medical Licensure Exam) and other medical review books with my ipad and backpack. Everything was stolen out of my locker at the LA Fitness. I was devastated.
I was going to Kaplan at that time to review for my medical boards so I obviously had no job, no capital to replace everything. My roommate at the time suggest doing background for CHICAGO FIRE. They were looking for real doctors. I said “why not.”
On my first day of background acting, they somehow gave me a few lines to say. I was so invigorating that it took me back to all of the times I was a kid – acting out scenes in my parent’s apartment. The passion was always there. It was just rekindled and subsequently set ablaze when I broke up with my girlfriend at that time. She continued on to become a doctor while I diverged coMpletely.
- What was the first big project you worked on?
After my little “acting stint” at Chicago Fire, I somehow scored an audition at Chicago’s biggest casting agency: Claire Simon. There’s me- this wide eyed and busy tailed Filipino guy auditioning with no experience/ no training. The end result is exactly what one would expect… DISMAL FAILURE.
The following week, I somehow scored a second audition for a principal role in a SAG project. I chugged two sugar-free Red Bull’s and said “eff this! I’m going to go in there and kill it…” I somehow did well enough to get the part. On the second audition of my life, I scored a role! I scored my first Principal role on a SAG project on the second role I’ve ever done.
- If you could describe your experience working on NCIS Los Angeles in 5 words, what would they be and why?
“Be prepared”. I think it’s important Train and hone your skills (at whatever you do). No one is ever a “natural” at anything. Everything requires discipline and practice. Lines have to be memorized and verbatim so you don’t trip anyone up. In a way, it’s just like medicine. Fine tuning your skills is vital to be good at what you do.
- Did you have a favorite scene you filmed?
Just wrapped a commercial with John Legend, Adam Levine, a Chrissy Teigen for a super bowl spot. It was THE BEST experience of my life. I never imagined in my life that I would be able to sing with one of my life’s heroes- JOHN LEGEND. He is the first singer I’ve ever seen live! I was in a USO event and there he was (back in 2004). I can’t believe he is exactly as I remember him. I didn’t tell him this during the shoot because I wanted to be “professional”. I didn’t want to be THAT actor. Still- John Legend is as humble and friendly as rumors have it. He’s one of the most incredible human beings I have ever met in my life.
- How was working on that project different from others that you’ve worked on in the past?
I got to sing with JOHN LEGEND! Most importantly, I had an incredible team of actors with me. These guys were as talented as they come and I got to be a part of them. It was an incredible set.
- Do you have any other upcoming projects?
Acted and wrote a project called “PAMILYA” producer and directed by Kartik Garimella. Got to work with Daniel Sugimoto (creator of the musical “Letters to Eve”), Olga Natividad- both of whole ive worked with before. This young actress Joy Tuck is going to make waves soon.
- What are your goals for 2019?
Have fun. Enjoy the ride and keep on writing. I love writing! As an Asian Male actor, roles still aren’t available… hopefully, we can build on the successes off the path that’s been partly cleared for us. I’m here because storytelling is a passion of mine. Whether it’s writing or acting, being a storyteller is my favorite part of this life!
- What are your social media platforms?
I’m on Facebook: just search Mark Labella (there’s not a lot of Mark Labellas in the world and I’m certainly the only Asian).
I have a Twitter but i haven’t really written on it. I hear a lot of people getting in trouble on Twitter. Tweeting scares me now.
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