Homies Interviewing Homies: Randy Alvarenga
There are so many brilliant minds in our geeky community that I feel are not celebrated enough. From artists, actors, game designers, and more! They create such fantastic art that I felt the overwhelming need to take the time to reach out to these wonderful human beings and interview them.
Today’s interview is a dear friend of mine by the name of Randy Alvarenga who is an actor and TTRPG performer. He has had some amazing performances that you should absolutely check out!
Could you introduce yourself and your brand?
Hey, My name is Randy Alvarenga and I am a professional actor, voice-over artist, writer, and TTRPG performer. I am bisexual and damn proud and a young heart attack survivor.
But most of all I hope people look at me as a person who is a storyteller and who enjoys sharing those stories with others.
What is your origin story?
So I was born the son of an El Salvadoran immigrant and an African-American mother in Washington DC.
Growing up my family was pretty poor and that meant that doing things like art or music lessons wasn’t a luxury that we could easily afford. But my mother worked so hard to get me chances to do different things and always encouraged me. Writing became sort of my escape early on from a lot of the harder stuff in the neighborhood around me. And so I would do that all the time. ( even when I was in other classes and should’ve been paying more attention).
In high school, I shared my writing with a teacher who encouraged me to apply to the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in DC and I got in. And that’s where my life really changed. That’s where I fell in love with playwriting and theater.
I studied musical theatre and playwriting in college and had two works produced before graduating. But I wasn’t satisfied with the western centric approach to theatre and so I started studying theatre traditions around the world. That eventually led me to decide that I wanted to move to Japan and try out acting there.
Joined a famous Japanese theatre company (Bungakuza) and did a lot of stage plays, and film roles while in Japan for about 8 years before moving back to the states.
Now I am working as an actor here in Seattle doing commercials, voice-over, and industrial work fairly regularly, but also finally putting my passion for acting and gaming together by being a creator in the Tabletop Role-Playing Game space.
In the 2 years that I have been getting involved in TTRPGS I have had the pleasure of working with Saving Throw Show, Dragons and Things Network, GenCon, and doing work to bring more diversity into this space 😀
As a content creator we can often find ourselves working beyond our limits and ultimately burning out. What are your own self-care techniques to ensure you are taking care of your mental health?
So this is VERY hard for me. I tend to enjoy being busy and not doing so well without projects or things to work on. But when I do begin to feel that bit of burnout creeping up I tend to do things like meditate and go out into nature to relax and refresh a bit.
I also am a huge video gamer so if I can shut off from things and game with a game I love then I am all there.
We know that you have accomplished so much during your career but there has to have also been some ‘L’s(Losses) that you have encountered that you no doubt have learned a lot from. Could you explain what that moment was and what you learned from it?
I mean the hardest thing as a professional actor is constantly doing auditions for projects and not getting them, especially when they are ones you really want.
I have gotten to do some pretty awesome stuff in my career but there are always projects you have submitted for that you never get. It especially can hurt when you feel you would be so right for that project and work so hard for it.
I have gotten roles that I have put little effort into my audition and not gotten ones that I put hours of prep into and what that has taught me is to learn to accept that rejection just as gratefully as the wins.
I have learned to document my auditions when they are done. To talk about how I feel before and after and to document my own perspective of how they went. I try to accept that what may come is out of my control by that point. All I can control is what I present. My brand. And either that is right or it isn’t but that rejection doesn’t necessarily reflect on my worth. I can’t let that stop me from doing what I love. I love acting and storytelling because to me, it is when I am happiest.
Pivoting on the other end of the spectrum, what was your favorite W(Win/Victory) that you take the most pride in?
There are a lot of things I am extremely proud of. But one of the biggest was doing this big movie that played all over Japan.
First I got the role without auditioning which is always nice. The casting director came and saw a play I was performing back in Tokyo. A Japanese version of the British play Pentecoste.
He had enjoyed my acting so much that actually got several job offers for two crime drama’s and that movie from speaking with him.
That movie was probably my first foray into the world of film. Until then I had considered myself more of a stage actor which now is funny since it’s film that I get paid to do more and more of here in Washington.
But that movie was a great learning experience and truly was an experience that I deeply treasure to this day. From getting to work with some other brilliant actors to also getting to go to the red carpet premiere. It truly felt like. “wow I am actually doing the damn thing” which when I look back at my upbringing was a dream I never thought would be possible as a kid.
What geeky passions fueled you and your creativity that made you who you are today?
So as I have harped on a lot here today storytelling is big to me. So movies, tv, and video games with great stories are my big passion. But gaming is probably the passion that I have held dear since I was a kid walking around with my brick of a Gameboy playing the original pokemon.
I think gaming and especially RPGs speak a lot to me because they are a chance for you to be a part of the story in a way a side scroller doesn’t do for me.
I love seeing how my choices can affect the world or friends and really watch as the narrative unfolds.
This was only heightened when I fell in love with TTRPGS in college. Now I could be the character and shape the story in a way I never knew possible. That’s why I love performing in a lot of actual plays and TTRPG live streams. I can mix acting and gaming in a way that I never knew was possible. I also love that it’s bringing more diversity to a space that for a long time I didn’t know if I was allowed to be a part of. There weren’t biracial faces like my own there. And I hope that my being a part of it will make the space more inclusive for all people.
If you could go back in time and sit your younger self down, what advice would you give them that might make their journey as a creator easier?
If I could go back to young Randy and say anything it would be that “you are enough the way you are. In order to follow your dreams listen to your heart and create. period. You may not have the years of training or whatever you thing you need… but there are people who you can touch with your art if you just put it out there. There are people who are just like you waiting for voices like our own to be shared… and you young man are exactly how you should be”
Where can we find you online?
I have a linktree with a lot of my projects:https://linktr.ee/rollerraja
or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries about projects or shows you are doing
Currently doing several shows with some cool stuff coming down the pipeline. I’d love to build my following with awesome people who are passionate about TTRPGs and gaming in general. so please check me out and follow if you feel so inclined.