Gerry Neugent spent 18 years working as a professional actor. He loved the audience and the team environment of creating a story on stage.
What he didn’t love was working nights and weekends as his kids got older.
“I was missing a lot of things,” Neugent said.
In search of a greater work/life balance, he took a job five years ago at Wauwatosa-based insurance software firm Zywave where he now works as a product trainer.
The acting bug never really left and when Tim Mason, a college friend of Neugent’s, reached out to see if he was interested in a role, the answer was “yes.” After a few auditions, Neugent had a role on Showtime’s “Work in Progress” as the brother-in-law of the main character Abby.
“They needed a 40-something father of two that does IT,” Neugent said.
The show, directed by Mason (co-creator), aired in December and January and has since been renewed for a second season. Neugent views additional opportunities as a bonus.
After five years with little acting, Neugent said the challenge wasn’t in knocking the rust off but adapting to the differences in acting for television.
“I had to learn that, delivering in front of the camera, I didn’t get instant feedback from an audience; I really had to trust the director that what I was doing was correct,” he said.
Filming required 10 days of work for Neugent. He praised Zywave for working with his schedule and allowing him to work remotely when needed.
“Being able to have that option to go and pursue that while at the same time having the job security of my work that I do here at Zywave, that is such a blessing,” he said.