While many 27-year-olds are stuck looking for a job, working 9-to-5 or living in mom and dad’s basement, Darin Brooks gets to go to college every day.
Brooks plays Alex Moran, a college quarterback who prefers partying to passing, on Spike’s Blue Mountain State. It’s a fitting role for Brooks, a self-described “big kid,” who said, “It’s like I’m still in college.”
The Hawaii native first experienced the world of performing arts in high school when he landed the role of Rapunzel’s prince in Into the Woods. He then attended the University of Hawaii where he spent his time surfing, playing music searching for acting gigs. However, acting opportunities were hard to come by in Hawaii. While he was able to perform in a few Japanese commercials, Brooks craved more. I would do “anything I could get my hands on,” he said.
To formally build his skills, he enrolled in an acting workshop, where Brooks happened to meet a casting director from LA. It was then that he realized he needed to leave for LA if he wanted to seriously pursue acting. So Brooks left college behind and with his connection with the casting director, which helped him land his first agent, Brooks moved to the TV and film mecca.
Although Brooks felt lucky to have landed an agent so quickly, a process that often takes years, he attributes his success to his hard work. Brooks attended two acting classes a day, six days a week from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. He also auditioned to hundreds of gigs, and continued to do so even after being rejected over 200 times. Brooks finally experienced his big break the day before his 21st birthday with Days of our Lives, the role for which he later won a Daytime Emmy.
Although daytime soap operas sometimes get a bad rap, Brooks said the amount of work on Days of our Lives was tremendous—they shot 100 to 120 pages of a script a day, whereas on Blue Mountain State, they shoot maybe 10 pages a day. “It’s one of the hardest working crews and casts and all that stuff that’s out there,” Brooks said.
Brooks then made the transition from drama to comedy with Blue Mountain State, now in its third season. Although his character Moran does not hold back when it comes to partying and sleeping with women, Brooks injects the character with a lot of humor and a sense of humanity. “I try to make him kind of a heroic character. He could easily be a bad guy.”
He added that the sense of camaraderie the stars of the show have on set translates to the screen, and viewers can see how much fun they have with each other. “It’s sort of like our own little frat house experience,” Brooks said. “We just try to make the best college experience possible.”
Brooks has also been writing scripts, and said he would love to produce and explore different genres of acting. But for now, he is content with the pace at which his career has excelled. “It’s kind of nice that it’s not all happening at once,” he said. “I’m blessed in my career so far.”
Brooks may be an award-winning actor rather than an underachieving football player, but Blue Mountain State isn’t always a far cry from his reality. After all, Brooks said that his friend joked, “It’s not a scripted TV show, it’s a documentary of [your] life.”