Mike O’Hearn sits down with Johnathan Schaech and Max Martini on the set of Blue Ridge to discuss setting foundations for success and how to also stay humble.

Mike O’Hearn is currently on set for the upcoming TV series Blue Ridge, where he will appear alongside Johnathan Schaech and Max Martini. So this week we are bringing The Mike O’Hearn Show on the road – discussing with these veteran actors the importance of setting a foundation in acting for future success. How does the hard work in acting relate to training in the gym? Mike sees a through line between these two concepts and dives deep into Schaech and Martini’s acting process. This episode is presented in collaboration with Barbend.

Mike O’Hearn sees a connection between his success as a strength athlete and his growing success in acting. For him, both endeavors required passion and work started at an early age. It also required that passion to be put into a consistent routine every single day. The big achievements didn’t come right away. In fact, they came much later. When fans see Mike O’Hearn in an acting role or on a magazine cover or lifting incredibly heavy weight – they only see the end result.

What they miss is the decades of hard work, setbacks, and continued commitment over the course of 20+ years. For Mike O’Hearn in bodybuilding, that started in his teenage years and allowed him to have a solid foundation no over 50 years old. For acting, the bug may have came later – but what started as a role in a 1990s movie (Death Becomes Her), led him on a path that starting baring fruit only just now nearly 30 years later.

Mike O’Hearn is now working on a series called Blue Ridge – and had the pleasure of sitting down with his co-actors Johnathan Schaech and Max Martini. They discuss the acting process and the key to building a foundation for blooming opportunities farther down the line. Let’s jump into it.

“It was easy getting in. The slumps is where your skin gets thicker.”

– Max Martini


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A post shared by Max Martini (@maxmartinila)

The biggest misconception about acting and how it can apply to bodybuilding

During their conversation on set, Max Martini mentions that the hardest parts of his career were not the very beginning. In fact, in his experience, getting his foot in the door wasn’t the hard part. The hardest part was after that – when he faced slumps in his career, setbacks and movies that failed to make a splash.

Mike O’Hearn agrees with that sentiment. While it can be hard to start something, the truly hardest part is when you start to face struggle further past the start. It’s at this moment that your dedication gets put to the test. Do you give up and consider it a failure? Or do you learn from it, fuel your fire, and get the vigor to keep pushing forward?

Quentin Tarantino once said during a Q&A session that after making an entire independent movie by himself, he looked at it and realized it was terrible. This was before the success of Reservoir Dogs. It was a movie he funded himself instead of selling the script to a studio. He never finished editing or released the film.

But Tarantino did not consider his time and money spent on the film a failure. He considered it his version of school. He learned from it and then went on to make better films – and became one of the greatest modern directors of our time.

Tarantino states that for many people, finishing a film and it failing is the end. They see it as a sign that they aren’t cut out for the craft, mourn the failure, and give up. But a failure should be a teachable moment. It wasn’t a waste of time – it was an opportunity to get better.

This very notion is what Max Martini, Johnathan Schaech, and Mike O’Hearn have experienced in their lives. Those failures. Those slumps after the start. Those are the hardest moments. Because they require you to move forward and learn from it rather than give up. Neither of these three men gave up – and it led to the best work of their career later in life.


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A post shared by Johnathon Schaech (@johnschaech)

Avoiding the “Hollywood Disease”

Johnathan Schaech and Max Martini also discuss the importance of staying humble as you start to climb the ladder in acting. While this is specific to Hollywood, it can apply to any industry where fame can come with success – such as bodybuilding.

Max Martini calls it the “Hollywood disease.” That moment when an actor loses sight of “normal life” and becomes disconnected from humility. It’s an easy trap to fall into – with fans idolizing certain actors, with money making things easier, and with yes men always trailing behind your successes.

But success is not a one way road. It can turn back around on you and suddenly you are back on the bottom. This is why Max Martini and Johnathan Schaech always put effort into staying humble.

In fact, staying humble during both success and hardship is a vital part of growing as an actor (or bodybuilder or businessman). If you can learn to always keep your feet on the ground, always work hard, and always appreciate what it took to get you to success – it frees you to be more flexible in your passion moving forward. Acting stops being acting. It is just a natural extension of your drive and passion. Bodybuilding and training stops becoming an activity you do throughout the day. It becomes a lifestyle.

Wrap Up

It can be extremely challenging to push yourself during early years – especially if things seem like they are going very well already. But that push, that consistency, is what will help build a foundation for your future self ten years down the line. We as humans often have trouble keeping that far off horizon in our view. But the true greats always have that horizon locked in their sights.

Mike O’Hearn has often discussed the importance of developing healthy fitness habits at a young age. This tactic is true for any form of progress towards success. The earlier you can make it your foundation – the more likely it becomes a part of who you are rather than a chore to overcome. That makes success far easier to obtain – and more fun too.

You can watch Mike O’Hearn, Johnathan Schaech, and Max Martini go in-depth about acting in our latest episode of The Mike O’Hearn Show above. Don’t forget to check back every Friday for new episodes only on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.