Meet Troy Iwata, actor on stage and screen. The Netflix series Dash & Lily in which he plays Langston, Lily’s slightly immature, hopelessly romantic, big brother garnered 12 Emmy nominations. Troy made his Broadway debut in the viral sensation Be More Chill, and can be heard on multiple musical theatre albums. Here he shares three things he wish he had learned sooner:

Troy Iwata on What I Wish I Knew

Understand that for most actors, including famous ones, acting is not their primary source of income. I wish I would have known that a career in the entertainment industry would take me into a variety of opportunities. I have dabbled in writing, directing, producing, teaching, and performing non-musically in more ways than I can count.

Do not pigeonhole yourself just because you studied one specific thing in school. Never stop learning new things and know that you are not a failure if you do not make most of your money from acting. That legit never happens.

Enjoying Yourself Helps You Shine

Have fun in auditions. Enjoying yourself is as impressive as being professional, prepared, or as “perfect” as you can be. Yes, auditioning is an interview of sorts, but I’ve booked so many jobs where I beefed so hard in the audition room. I had fun, made the flub my own, and it was entertaining.

Of course, be the standard baseline of professional and prepared but do not kill yourself over getting every detail right. Perfection does not exist.

Own What Is Yours

Your energy is yours and you get to decide upon whom and where to spend it. Over the course of your career, you are going to work with literally thousands of big personalities and egos. Do not blame yourself for not being able to schmooze with everybody all the time. Let your kindness, work ethic, and talent speak for you.

Then, if you have some desired energy to spare, schmooze away with the people you admire or feel a connection with.  ♦   

Watch for Troy Iwata’s latest film project, Summoning Sylvia, an LGBTQ-horror-comedy in which he stars alongside Michael Urie and Frankie Grande. Check out his many projects at Troy Iwata and connect with him on Instagram @mrtroyiwata.

Thomas Schultheis is a teaching artist and lives in Long Beach, California. He loves his spouse, books, movies, theatre, his sons Anthony, Elijah, and Danny, and his cats Jack and Charlie. Connect with Thomas at

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