Four States Living Magazine — March 2013
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Anything Is Possible
Molly Edwards

With hard work and a passion for life, Texarkanian Michael Ulmer realizes his dream of becoming an actor

Vincent Price, the popular 1950's actor, said, "A man who limits his interests, limits his life." In today's society, this quote defines our reality as very little is left to the imagination. Anything is possible. Vincent Price is admired by small town boy Michael Ulmer from Texarkana, Texas, for his ability to enact such intense drama and receive great emotion from his Vh viewers. As Michael is an avid fan of old school horror films, it is only natural for him to share, "my role model in life is Vincent Price." A passion for life, a passion for his craft and last, but certainly not least, a passion for his Creator are what Michael is all about. Always passionate with whatever he involves himself in, 24-year-old Michael exemplifies how hard work and passion pay off.

Aspirations, dreams, ideas ... we all have them. We all aspire to be something whether it's a writer, a teacher, an actor, or simply just to be a younger and better version of ourselves. Living in the 21st Century allows for a multitude of opportunities. However, sometimes you have to create your own opportunities to get what you want out of life. Michael explains, "Where there weren't opportunities, I made them." He took complete advantage of the opportunities his school provided for him. He says, "I was really weird. I was basically president of every organization in high school." Though Michael thoroughly enjoyed his time participating in extracurricular activities such as football, theater and especially track, he desired more.

Between classes in the hallways of Redwater High School, Michael gathered friends and began filming what was happening around campus. On Thursday nights, he would stay up and edit the footage they previously recorded. "Basically, my whole senior year I got zero sleep," Michael admits. His late night editing always paid off though as their show Dragon Breath aired every Friday throughout the school. Michael says, "The teachers and staff at Redwater allowed my friends and me to be very creative with the production process. Today, Redwater continues the tradition of broadcasting the show. However, there is now a class called DTV, offered to students allowing class time for students to film and edit the show now called Dragon TV. Michael smiles and says, "Humbled beginnings." Redwater allowed Michael to flourish. Though he enjoyed being involved throughout high school, there was one aspect Michael enjoyed most. He says, "Track was kind of my life, and it was kind of my thing." In fact, it was track which allowed Michael to receive a scholarship to Doane University in Crete, Nebraska.

As involved as Michael was in school, he was just as enthusiastic about church. During the summers, he worked as a youth minister at Church on the Rock where his father ministered. God has always had a great influence in Michael's life. His smile and personality exemplify that of a holy young man. "God has really ordered my steps," Michael shares. Two weeks before classes started he enrolled at Doane College, a small liberal arts school but one that would offer Michael so much.

Michael's time spent in college was very similar to his time spent in high school ... fast-paced and completely involved. Michael shares, "College is where I started to really study theater and study acting as an art form and get serious about it. It wasn't just getting on stage and spitting lines. It was about character work, getting involved, and dealing with in-depth things." College proved to be a successful adventure for Michael as many opportunities were thrown his way. As a freshman, Michael earned two lead roles in his colleges' plays. He excelled throughout college. Not only was he a full-time student but he also ran track, participated in theater and worked as a youth pastor all at the same time. As Michael progressed through college, so did his interest and talent in theater. Toward the end of his college experience, "The time came down to where I had to hone in on what was important... and that was theater to me.. .everything else had to be placed on the back burner," he says. "I wanted to graduate, but I wanted to do the things I loved well, not just a little bit of everything."

Michael says, "In my head and in my heart, I have always known I wanted to be an actor. I've loved other things ... I love graphic design, directing and film making, but I've always wanted to be an actor." Michael graduated college a semester early with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater. Having an extra semester to himself allowed him the opportunity to move back home and work for 6 months at his church. He was able to earn and save money to move to California. Having never been to California or visited, Michael moved to the big city of Los Angeles in August of 2011. He signed up with an agency which hired him for background acting. This offered Michael the opportunity to learn about T. V. and experience being on set, allowing him to learn the "lingo." "Television is a world of difference compared to theater," Michael exclaims.

The California cliche about all actresses and actors being waiters and waitresses is pretty true. Michael laughs, "It's flexible and pays good money." Though Michael is not the typical Hollywood host, he works as a customer service representative at a hardware store and loves the flexibility it offers. When asked about life in Hollywood and work, Michael says, "It's a frightening business because you do not know what's around the corner." It's his faith that keeps him strong and motivated. He confesses, "God has really ordered my steps!" Rent due, slow background work, and living on hot dogs, Michael was doubtful of it all. It was in that brief dark time that Michael says, "God clearly showed Himself to me." The dark brightened up for Michael as he was cast for a random modeling job he found off Craigslist. He was to model for a company that made T-shirts which said: God can. He grins as he reminisces on the past and what some may call a mere "coincidence." Michael, however, believes it was truly an eye opening experience.

"I'm always busy. I guess I get bored easy. I like to do too many things, and I don't like to do them on a small scale. I like to do them big," Michael says. Currently, he dedicates his time solely to acting. In fact, Michael has just finished with filming his first lead role in Rumors of Wars. He says, "It's a faithbased thriller set in the future but it's frightening how topical it is." Michael plays the "evil villain" which he loves as Vincent Price remains his inspiration. Michael and the cast filmed for a week and a half in Jackson, Mississippi, and he says "the cast was some of the best people I have ever had the opportunity to work with."

Michael is living proof of one small town kid on his way to big city famous. He is not a person you can easily describe as his personality speaks volumes; however, the way he carries himself and treats others illustrates profound glory. We all struggle with day-to-day happenings, some more than others. Whether you act kind or live kind, a smile can brighten anyone's day. Michael's smile brightens many. He smiles because, "God is continually reminding me He has my back. He has everything under control even when I don't completely trust Him. He proves He is trustworthy."