BWW Interviews: Ceasar Fernando Barajas Talks His Career and Teaching
Houston native, Cesar Fernando Barajas has been working hard as a professional performer for years. He recently relocated to New York City, where he is currently making a living doing what he loves. Next week, he'll be returning home for a highly anticipated Q&A on March 6th and to teach a workshop on March 7th at The Wilson School of Acting & Musical Theatre. Recently, I got to speak with Cesar Fernando Barajas about his career and his passion for motivating and inspiring others.
BWW: How did you first get involved with performing?
Ceasar Fernando Barajas: I actually, as a kid, started performing. My mother would relate stories to me about how I would be the lone three or four year old on the dance floor at weddings, quiñceaneras, parties, and anytime I heard music. I started formally performing in the fourth grade, so that would have made me seven, eight, or something like that. I was lucky enough to start professionally when I was 15, and that was at Six Flags' Astroworld right there in Houston!
BWW: You came to performing as a career after attending Houston ISD's High School for Health Professions and being in the Navy. When did you know you wanted to perform professionally?
Ceasar Fernando Barajas: It didn't dawn on me that I was going to go professional until my initial route of going to medical school didn't pan out. I literally was told in 1999, a year away from my commissioning as a Naval Officer and a year away from graduating from Prairie View A&M, which is right outside of Houston, that I would have to wait at least five years before I went to med school. At that point, I sort of panicked because I had these plans of going to medical school and becoming a doctor, hence going to Health Professions in Houston. Performing was always just a hobby, so I decided to finish out my undergraduate degree. I switched majors over to Health and Psychology. During the summer between my junior and seniors years of college, because I got asked to do a world tour with country music artist Jo Dee Messina, and I had to turn it down. I turned it down only because I was two semesters away from graduating, and my parents', first and foremost, request for my brother and I was to finish school. They worked their butts off to get my brother and I situated and to go to college, so they wanted to see us graduate and have a degree. But, I made the vow then that if I ever got the opportunity again to perform on that sort of professional level that I wouldn't turn it down. Low and behold, literally, I graduated and I was on a bus and touring with a recording artist, named Laura León, in Mexico. That started my professional career. From there, I went off to grad school and learned about musical theatre. Then, I went off on subsequent tours, and that started everything else. Here we are now, almost 11 years later. [Laughs]
BWW: You've performed on stage, in music videos, in commercials, and on film for television. What are the differences between these different mediums of acting and dancing?
Ceasar Fernando Barajas: A lot of people try to relate them, and even though you're in front of, let's say, an audience, the differences between them are so unique. For instance, on stage you have a live audience. On stage things go wrong all the time, and you have to play through them, where as in commercials, music videos, film, and television, you do take after take after take.
A lot of film, television, and even music videos-depending on the budget of course-are very much a hurry up, hurry up, hurry up, now sit and wait. Because they're going to go and make sure everything is set up via the cameras. You have the lighting crew, the electricians, the grips, you've got dollies being moved. Where you've got two hours of a film or a half hour of a television show, you're looking at months of preparation and work just for those two hours. On stage, your three weeks of rehearsal is all you have. Then, you're on the stage and that creation you've put up is now alive and moving. With film and television, you can go back and always change things. You can re-shoot, you can decide to delete a scene, add another scene, change locations, or you can mimic locations. It's just completely different.
I actually don't have a preference. I love doing them both because they are so different. I never really feel like I have the same thing going on all the time. Of course, dancing on stage as opposed to being in a straight play is a whole other subject and a whole other storyline.