About This Show
Fortt Knox is a digital show produced by CNBC that brings you rich ideas and powerful people. Guests include Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, AMD CEO Lisa Su, Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, Ex-Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach, and Broadway veteran Rory O'Malley (Hamilton, The Book of Mormon). Listen in on my conversations with power brokers on how they made it, what they value, and what makes them tick.
Most Recent Episode
10: Chasing Down Your Dream: Actor Drew Powell of Gotham
3 days ago
There's something hulking and sinister about him on screen that makes the bad-guy thing just work. As Butch Gilzean in Fox's hit series Gotham, Drew Powell represents the old-time brutal criminal who paved the way for the super villains of Batman's prime to take over.
Gotham, the Batman backstory, tees up the second half of its third season this week (1/16, FOX, 8 p.m.). In light of the occasion, I asked Powell to sit down with me for Fortt Knox to share his own backstory.
It's worth paying attention. For kids with visions of stardom, Hollywood dreams rank up there near hoop dreams in the unlikely category. There are only so many hit shows on TV, and so many recurring roles. So how did Powell make it?
There's not a formula, exactly, but there are a few lessons for anyone pursuing a passion that has long odds.
Mark Your Progress
Drew packed up his car two weeks after college graduation and headed out to L.A. He knew as well as anyone the clichés about waiters (and now Uber drivers) with screen ambitions. So he took a pragmatic approach to his journey as an actor.
"I promised myself that every June I would take stock in where I was. If I had moved forward, I would give myself another year."
"I promised myself that every June I would take stock in where I was. If I had moved forward, I would give myself another year. If I had stayed the same, I would give myself another six months. And that was how I needed my brain to work. Like, this isn't an open-ended thing. Because I saw a lot of people, when I got to L.A., that were like, these older people that had been just trying to fight it out their whole lives and had given up a lot of happiness to try and do this thing."
Powell was determined not to do that. But as you'll learn from listening to our conversation, he was willing to make some major moves – and take big risks – for the right opportunities.
It would be great if talent alone were enough to land your dream job. In acting, as in other fields, it often isn't. Powell worked to find the right balance between introducing himself to the right people and talking shop, and giving people the right amount of space.
"Somebody told me early on about the Nashville Handshake," Powell says. "They used to say back then, you'd shake hands and they'd have a cassette tape in their hand – their demo. I was always very wary of being overtly in-your-face. But no one else is going to promote you like you can. I know a lot of my a