It’s not every day that a Hollywood actor joins the ranks of students at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith, but in January of 2018, Logan Parks did exactly that.
Working in Hollywood was a dream that Parks has pursued since a young age. He worked through much of his childhood and high school years to make his dream a reality, beginning acting when he was six years old and living in Alaska. He spent much of this time working with a coach and traveling to find work along the west coast.
“Living in Alaska, there weren’t a lot of opportunities, so I had to go to Seattle to do commercials and training,” Parks said. “I didn’t see it as a challenge but an opportunity to grow.”
As Parks continued to work with his acting coach, he got his big break: a chance to work on a Facebook campaign called “Last State Standing.” Parks was still in high school at the time, but he traveled back and forth to Hollywood to work on the project while finishing up his senior year. After graduating, Parks immediately began working toward his associate degree while continuing to take on roles out of California.
Over the two years that it took him to earn his degree, he had racked up a handful of small parts. It was at this time that Parks made the move to Los Angeles and began working on full length television and YouTube series. However, his time in Hollywood lasted only six months before Parks says he realized the experience wasn’t all he had hoped it would be.
“Sometimes plans change and situations lead you down a different path,” he said. “I looked up to the people I was working with for so long, and then I realized I didn’t want to be anything like them. I wanted to be better. I took what I learned from them and removed the parts I didn’t agree with, and I moved.”
Wanting to continue his education, Parks decided going back to school was the best option for him. He began researching and discovered the theater department at UAFS. With his father having just moved to the Arkansas area, Parks felt like UAFS was the right fit and applied to begin school in Spring 2018.
“The industry is always changing, and to know how to recognize the next trend is very important,” Parks said. “That’s one of the reasons I chose UAFS, because this theater department is always looking for new trends and ways to enhance your knowledge.”
Parks, who is set to graduate in December of 2019, says he feels more prepared to succeed after the guidance of director Bob Stevenson and designer Pablo Guerra-Monje.
“They definitely have made me think creatively and analytically more than I have in the past. With theater shows ‘Under Milkwood’ and ‘Mist and Shadows,’ I’ve been forced to be more physical and show my emotions rather than say them,” he said. “Bob and Pablo do way more than expected. They always have an answer to your question and they are willing to help you succeed. That’s not something you see in Hollywood. There, everyone is after their own gain. Here, people just want to see you succeed.”
Parks was signed to an agent quickly after moving to Arkansas and he has continued to take jobs along the east coast while attending UAFS. Parks says he has no plans to stop anytime soon.
“I’m toying with the idea of getting a master’s in film studies, but I’m also into the idea of joining touring companies in the south. There’s a company that gives me the opportunity to teach during the day and perform shows at night. I’ve always wanted to be able to teach the craft and perform. I’ve also started working on scripts for screen plays, and I don’t see myself ever not being involved with the entertainment industry.”