What it takes to make it in L.A.
“This is Lady. She’s a unicorn, and a pegasus.”
These are the opening lines of a recent, endearing television spot for the Toyota Rav4 SUV. We hear them in a voiceover by Anthony Bertram ’99 as we watch him in the role of a bemused dad driving along a tree-lined road, his wife beside him, his daughter in the backseat and a giant pink, winged unicorn strapped to the roof of his Rav4. As he glides down the road, saluting to fellow fathers, it is evident that no matter how small the role, Bertram gives himself to it. His warm voice and cheeky grin reveal his pleasure in acting and voice-acting, and it is no wonder considering the commitment he has shown to get where he is now.
Bertram has lived in Los Angeles for a decade now and, despite never having had any conservatory training, has made significant strides in the entertainment business. His commercial work includes acting roles and voiceovers for such brands as Sourpatch Kids, Best Buy and Outback Steakhouse. On the small screen, he’s had dramatic roles in CBS’ CSI: Cyber with Patricia Arquette and CBS’ summer 2014 sci-fi series Extant starring Halle Berry. It is the comedic roles, though, such as stints on The Kroll Show and sketches for Funny or Die, that Bertram finds most appealing. “I want to be on a sitcom, so I gravitate towards those roles,” he said.
About three years prior to landing the Extant part, Bertram had added Halle Berry to his vision board— a physical map of his career goals—as someone he hoped to work with one day. It is a testament to his perseverance that he subsequently found himself working alongside her. “That was a great experience, but there’s not one moment where I can say this was the best moment of my career because each new experience is something that I can learn from,” Bertram said.
At Adelphi, Bertram first enrolled in the General Studies program—a highly personalized program for students who show promise but whose standardized test scores and/or high school grades fall shy of Adelphi’s admissions requirements. He excelled and pursued a major in business administration.
It was only in the final semester of his senior year that he took an elective acting class. “It was my first experience of acting,” Bertram recalled. “When I got a taste of it, I knew it was something I wanted to explore more. That class exposed me to the creative side of myself. It was so enticing.”
Just one week into the class, Bertram learned that he needed to drop it in order to fulfill a statistics requirement. But he had caught the bug, and after Adelphi, he took more acting classes. A week after visiting Los Angeles, as part of a program at New York’s TVI Actors Studio, he moved there.
Bertram said his business degree has come in handy in Hollywood. “My business degree taught me that you have to be strategic in what you do. Knowing you’re a brand and what your brand is and how to market it is extremely important out here.”
Nothing, though, trumps hard work and a willingness to show up. “I’ve gotten auditions for commercials where they said I had to be there in two hours, and been given a script to learn for the next morning,” Bertram said. “The individuals that step up to that challenge may have more success, but it’s also about preparation meeting opportunity. You just have to be prepared, ready and available for everything.”
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