Showbiz Tonight: Freelance actor Jeff Reyes on finding work during a pandemic

Born in Batangas, Philippines, actor Jeff Reyes moved with his family to Canada when he was 12.

It was while growing up there that his mom encouraged him to dance and to pursue creative endeavors.

He studied theater in the university and immediately booked stage roles, and later found work in TV like for the hit show “Lucifer.” He also appeared with Kristen Stewart in the movie “JT Leroy.”

Like most Asian actors, Reyes found representation limited. But in recent years, he saw how Hollywood has started to finally hire more talents like him.

Then the coronavirus pandemic hit, and studios shut down productions.

But there are glimmers of hope, Reyes said.

“One of my friends, who’s a screenwriter, who has been pitching his show says that studios and networks are still buying. So, that’s good news because that means that there will be work. After everything blows over. I know that networks who were supposed to produce pilots. This past pilot season, that they are now ordering new scripts, and some for some series, they’re now being done in a straight to series kind of way, because they now have the luxury of time, which is great because that means a lot more work in the future.”

It is hard enough for Asian actors, particularly Filipino actors, to get regular jobs in Hollywood — but the business shutdowns brought by the pandemic is especially painful for the freelancers and self-employed like Reyes.

“Most actors don’t have the luxury of being able to jump from set to separate from project to project. Unfortunately, this pandemic will have a quite a bit of an effect on us. A lot of us rely on acting jobs, or even background work, for supplementary income, or for not an actual income apart from our part time jobs.”

The actor takes comfort in being able to write — and hopes that one day, after the pandemic, he will get a chance to tell and star in his stories.

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