Little Caesars commercials–they are everywhere and if you are from the area you might have found yourself thinking “Hey, that guy looks familiar!” And you’d be right. That guy is 1998 Shelby High School graduate, Harry Ostrem, son of Richard and Valli Ostrem, and younger brother of Chris Ostrem, a 1995 SHS graduate.
“I really enjoyed the Little Caesars commercial since I got to put my poor saxophone playing skills from high school to good use,” said Harry. “Mr. Myers would be proud!”
Former high school band teacher Tom Myers isn’t the only one who is proud of this hometown boy making his way through the entertainment industry as those in the area who recognize him from the commercial are also in awe of his success. The road leading to his success has been a long one, with challenges and opportunities, both of which he has used to get to where he is today.
Harry shared he was 12 when the music bug bit and never let go. In 2005 he moved to Los Angeles to primarily pursue a career in music.
“A guitar player in an old band of mine lived with a friend who is a talent manager, and he started sending me out on auditions in 2012,” explained Harry. “During this time, I shot several non-Union commercials for such companies as Great Clips, Conoco and Dollar Shave Club. I was also in the music video for Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5. I also have shot SAG Union commercials for Del Taco and KFC. I guess they like skinny 70’s looking guys for fast food.”
Harry has continued finding success, working with his wife, Kat Brower, “the trained actor in the family,” who suggested that he get a more established commercial agent due to his success and unique look.
“We put together a press kit and I canvassed pretty hard two years ago,” said Harry. “I then hooked up with a small, successful agency, Flick Talents, and there has been a steady stream of auditions ever since. I had three auditions this last week, so I am very happy!”
The COVID-19 pandemic has not slowed Harry down at all, instead, it proved to be a new opportunity. Harry and his wife stage and shoot auditions at home and then Harry edits them.
“The audition process during the pandemic has actually been fun since it has all been through self-tapes at home,” said Harry. “I get to edit, which is one of my favorite things to do. This is a great opportunity to give casting something unique and different from the other actor submissions.”
Not only has the pandemic given him the opportunity to enhance his editing skills, it also afforded him and his wife the time at home with their daughter, Josephine Grace.
“We feel so fortunate to have our beautiful five-month-old baby girl, Josephine Grace,” said Harry. “Ironically, the pandemic has allowed us to spend a lot of time together, which has been great during her first months.”
Harry makes the most of every opportunity and also every challenge thrown his way. Success does not just happen and living in Los Angeles is expensive, as most can imagine. He has a great support group in his wife, his parents and his older brother but when it comes down to it Harry’s own tenacity and ability to adapt is what has played a huge part in where he is today.
“By far the biggest challenge has been the occupational duality of being a creative. When I’m not making enough money through acting and music, I work in schools as a substitute teacher and as a private academic tutor,” said Harry. “Years of doing this has brought doubt at times, but good things come to those who wait and persevere. Additionally, it is important to evolve.”
He shared, “About five years ago I stopped pursuing a career in rock bands and have focused on my own funk disco project, Harry Muffs Disco, and comedy sketches, which also bring other acting work.”
Harry says he cannot emphasize enough the importance of having a decent “day job” so the financial challenges of making it through the entertainment industry does not become too overwhelming. He advises others who are thinking of pursuing this avenue to look into substitute teaching work or other jobs that require specialized skills, such as website design or online marketing.
“These are great ways to make decent money while still having time to work on one’s craft every day,” said Harry. “I think everyone has something unique to communicate about the human condition, which is why I continue to write and self-produce. At this point in my life, my main goal is to follow through on inspiration because life is short.”
Life is short and Harry is not about to waste any time. He draws his inspiration from a number of sources, having had the opportunity to meet and learn from many talented people throughout his 16 plus years in Los Angeles.
“I have met so many talented musicians, actors, and creators, many of which are not household names,” said Harry. “These people inspire me because they are driven by creating original content regardless of whether it brings them commercial success. I feel honored to have been in several great bands and I am continually driven to make my own unique music and sketch comedy.”
In the past few months Harry hired a new theatrical manager and is currently focused on obtaining more TV and film work. In the past he has been cast as a bass player for the show “Mixology” on ABC, as well as a bassist on “Let’s Big Happy with Angela Sarafyan,” featured on HBO’s Westworld. His list of accomplishments continues to grow as he continues to branch out and hone his talents.
Harry’s dedication to his craft and his ability to adapt are keys to what is sure to be continued success and a long career in the industry that he loves. As he continues down the path to “rich and famous” Harry can be sure that the folks from back home are watching and it’s no longer, “Hey, that guy looks familiar,” but now proudly saying, “Hey, I know that guy!”