Q&A with HBO & ABC Actor Alvin Cowan


Ben Russell

Ben Russell

·6 min read

Alvin Cowan has worked with the biggest names including Clint Eastwood, James Caan, Bradley Cooper and Bruce Willis. Since his breakout acting career post college, he landed a recurring role in ABC’s “Back In The Game.” which lead to apperances in HBO’s critically-acclaimed series, “Westworld,” and had a recurring role in Season 3 of Emmy-nominated “This Is Us”. Cool, right? If that wasn't enough, he also works as a producer in which he currently has a development project in the works with Zero Point Zero, Basil Iwanyk, Eric Tannenbaum, and Monami Entertainment.

He sat down with us to share his story along with tips and tricks into making it in the industry.

Tell us about your credits. What have you worked on?

I’m most proud of the specific acting jobs I’ve been involved in. I just had the opportunity to work on some REALLY cool shows/movies with some REALLY cool people. There’s a reason that This Is Us, Westworld, Eastwood – why all those people are successful. They treat people well – no matter how big or small a role they have.

What are you working on right now? Anything cool?

We just released a very cool true crime podcast through Imperative Entertainment entitled “American Coyote.” It’s the story of Elden Kidd, a Morman man from Riverside who started running people across the border in the early 1990’s. It’s a wild ride and I’m proud of how it turned out. I am developing another podcast series with Cavalry Media and will be pitching a feature to studios and a couple TV shows sometime in the coming months.

What advice do you have for others looking to break into the industry?

Man. Tough question. There’s so much. I wrote an article one time (reposted recently here) that was “10 Tips to Survive As A Creative Professional In Entertainment… And Not Go Crazy In the Process.” I think that advice stands up, even though I wrote it a number of years ago. It’s probably the best answers I can give.

That said, if I’ve learned anything since I wrote that, it’s that you have to give yourself your own “yes.” I don’t know that that’s sage advice or wisdom that you can’t hear from any coach/guru out there, but it’s been immeasurably true for me. When I finally decided that I had something to say with my art – and that it was worth saying – and maybe, just maybe, someone else might like/need/want to hear it… that was a game changer for me.

Also, there’s no rules.

What’s one insider tip to success you’d give for others in 2021?

I personally think the industry is regionalizing. My opinion is that Netflix and the rest of the streamers are moving the business away from a traditional LA/NYC model and going to be sourcing MOST jobs (save the top 1-5 on the call sheet) from regional actors, crew, etc. To me, there’s opportunity there. I can’t tell you the number of actors I’ve watched land small rolls as local hires, only to recur, then become guest stars. Next thing you know, they book a pilot – and have a career. You don’t need to be in LA or NY anymore. Build from a region – either through bookings or making your own material – and have LA or NY come to you.

What’s your favorite TV show of 2020?

I binged three seasons of Yellowstone right at the start of the pandemic. I love Taylor Sheridan and don’t know why I had not watched it before. It’s certainly on brand for me. I also really enjoyed ZeroZeroZero on Amazon, the most recent season of Ozark… I was on the Tiger King train… Cheer… there’s so much good stuff!

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