Rocky Carroll on NCIS

I recently started to think about my time here, in Hollywood. I came to L.A. 18 years ago from the New York City theatre scene. I had just finished a successful run on Broadway and was invited by my friend, Charles Dutton, to come to Hollywood and audition for a pilot for the Fox network that he was starring in. Roc went on to become a success for three seasons and pretty much wiped out any chance that I'd be headed back east anytime soon. I was smitten with the town and the industry. I love living in Los Angeles and I was learning a new craft. Television and film were new to me. I had (and still have) so much to learn about acting on camera. I'm still fascinated with the business and I'm still fascinated by the people in front of and behind the camera.

I've been asked if there's a secret for longevity in show business. I don't think there's an actual secret, but the performers that I've met and have had the pleasure of working with - like Mark Harmon, who I worked with on Chicago Hope and now NCIS - all seem to share a common trait. The people with long, sustained careers still love what they do, as much as they did when they started. There's no sense of entitlement; they know that this business owes them nothing. They give their all, they expect very little in return, and they are truly grateful and humbled when the business is good to them.

That's a very hard lesson for many performers to learn. When a performer's career changes, it can be a very shocking and sobering experience. What makes it so shocking for many is that sometimes the changes come with seemingly no warning at all. One day, all's well - you're going from project to project, you've got film offers and TV offers, everbody's interested in you and what you have to say - and then .... it stops. When you ask, "Why? What happened?" the response usually is, "That's the nature of the business."

It takes a pretty grounded person to absorb that reality. That's why when I meet people who tell me that they want to get into show business, I ask them, "Are you sure that there's nothing else that you'd rather do?" OK, I have to somehow try and tie up this subject that I've wandered into... the ability to "love" the business even when the business is not showing much love for you... to not become bitter or envious of others' success and to remember the hard truth that this town "owes you nothing" is the key, in my opinion, to career longevity. It allows you to still be able to walk into an audition or a producer's meeting with no chip on your shoulder and present your talents in a way that makes directors, producers, etc; think, "Here's someone that I want to work with!"

Enough for now. I'm open to talk about the business, my role on NCIS, my career or anything else related to these. These are the things I feel I know a little about, and I now open it up to you, the fans, the curious, the devoted NCIS followers. Feel free to add a user comment below asking a question, and each week I'll do my best to answer them all!

Thanks for checking in, 
Rocky Carroll