Lakewood native Josh Jones' dream of becoming an on-screen actor recently became a reality when he landed a part on ABC's "Modern Family."
Jones, a 2003 graduate of Panama Central School, appeared in the season four episode of "Modern Family" entitled "Mistery Date" on Wednesday.
Before getting the part, Jones had never before experienced an on-screen acting role. But, he moved out to Los Angeles after he graduated high school to attend Biola University with the hope that he would one day pursue an acting career. While at Biola, he worked toward a Bachelor of Arts and Music with an emphasis on voice, but unfortunately he had to take some time off due to financial reasons. However, the time off allowed him to focus on finding acting opportunities, he said.
Lakewood native Joshua Jones appeared on episode 8 of season four of ABC’s “Modern Family” that aired on Wednesday.
"I decided to pursue acting because it was my childhood dream," said Jones. "I've always loved movies. So, when I was in high school, I got a job at Dipson Theaters, and worked there for about two years. It's always been that whenever I watch movies I love, I wanted to be a part of it. And,then when I ended up having to take time off from Biola, I had to ask myself what to do with my free time. That was when I decided that this has been a dream of mine for long enough, and I'm going to see if I can make it."
The first thing Jones did was join a talent development company called AMTC, Actors Models and Talent for Christ.
"With them I received training as an actor, singer and a little modeling," said Jones. "Then I went to a talent competition in Florida (AMTC's SHINE). Basically it was through AMTC that I met my acting coach, the agent at Rage Talent Agency who now represents me and a lot of the connections that have helped me get to where I've been able to go."
According to Jones, getting the part on "Modern Family" wasn't an easy process. It started with a call from his agent regarding an audition for episode 7 of the show. So, over the course of a weekend he worked with his acting coach to get ready for the audition. On the following Monday he performed in front of the casting director Jeff Greenberg.
"Most casting directors don't really spend time with you unless they think you have something to offer," said Jones. "But, after doing my original read, he said, 'Now I want you to try it this way.' So I made the adjustment that he asked for and then he said, 'You know what, I really kind of like what you were doing better before.' So, he spent some time working with me."
Jones left that day hoping for a callback that he never received. But, then during the Thursday of same week his agent called him to tell him that he had another audition scheduled for that Friday. Jones then met with his acting coach that morning to prepare for the audition. After doing his original script line reading Greenberg asked him to do it a different way again.
"I made the adjustment again, but this time he said, 'Great adjustment, good job,'" said Jones. "I had the feeling that he didn't really need to see anything more because he saw what he needed to see. So, I was getting ready to go and that's when he asked me how old I was. I've been told before that I look younger than I am, but I also realized that last time we met I had told him I was 28 years old. And, I hadn't lied to him then, so I can't lie today. So, I told him I was 28, and he said,'Ok, good.'"
Jones left the second audition to go to work that day hoping once again for a callback. And, on the way his agent called to tell him that he did actually get a callback.
"I had to run into work to tell them that I couldn't stay because I needed to go back to L.A. for a callback," said Jones. "While waiting I noticed that there were far fewer people in the waiting room than there had been at the auditions. The first thing the producer of the episode did when he saw me was say '(wow).' I didn't know what that meant, but I auditioned anyway. After the audition he said, 'Really good.'"
Jones didn't know what to expect next, but his agent finally called him to tell him that he was their first choice. So, Jones started the paperwork to find out the next day that he got the part.
"The role is for a store clerk, and what I do is interact with one of the main characters," said Jones. "Two of the main characters, Jay, played by Ed O'Neill, and his son Mitchell, played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson, are in a store shopping for something and miscommunicating like they always do. Mitchell begins to pick up what they were there to get, and in the background Jay is interacting with another character, that's when I walk up as the store clerk to offer to help him.
"'Modern Family' is definitely a show that I've followed so it was really cool to work on it," said Jones. "But, I think one of my favorite aspects was meeting Ed O'Neill. I was there with the one other day actor, an actor who is only there for one day, and Ed came up to us to introduce himself. He also came and sat with us to talk during scene changes, and he was a really nice guy."
Jones' mother Jan is incredibly proud of her son for pursuing his passion, she said.
"I'm excited that doors are opening up for him," said Jan. "We're going to try to Skype with him while we're watching the episode. I always knew that he enjoyed acting and singing, but I didn't know that he'd end up trying to make a career of it. But, I'm very happy that he is able to begin to see some of his dreams come true."
In addition to his acting career opportunities, Jones currently works as a cognitive development trainer for Well Street and LearningRx.
"I do different games and exercises that strengthen all the areas of the brain such as auditory processing, memory, logic and reasoning and processing speed," said Jones.
The episode is available at abc.go.com or at Hulu.com.