The film and television actor, producer and director has overcome physical and medical challenges to continue doing what he loves and will offer his expertise Thursday through Sunday in Goliad as he conducts on-camera acting classes for aspiring actors and actresses.
The classes will be held at the Von Dohlen Building located at 236 S. Commercial St. Thursday’s and Friday’s classes will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday’s class will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and include a one-hour lunch break. Cost is $175 per student.
Thursday’s class will include introductions and cold readings. Friday’s class will include cast scenes, cold readings and rehearsals.
On Saturday, Horny will conduct rehearsals and block scenes. Sunday will include shooting scenes on location.
Horny grew up in San Antonio but spent many weekends in Goliad, where both of his parents were raised.
“I live down there now most of the time,” Horny said. “I still have a lot of cousins and family still there.”
Horny, 44, said he became interested in acting and filmmaking from cousin, Goliad native Lenny Von Dohlen, who has played roles in such movies as “Home Alone 3 (1997), “Electric Dreams (1984) and “Tender Mercies” (1983).
“It was kind of a family thing,” Horny said. “I always enjoyed choir and singing and I just made the move over to acting.”
Horny was a junior Texas A&M University in College Station in 1991 when he and some classmates drove to Colorado on a ski trip during the Christmas break. Horny’s vehicle lost control on “black ice” near Amarillo and he was thrown out of the automobile.
“I flew out of the car and broke my neck,” Horny said.
Horny severed the C6 and C7 vertebrae in his spinal cord and underwent six months of physical therapy. The former high school football standout at San Antonio Clark High School found himself struggling to face the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
“I had it all figured out as most 21-year-olds do,” Horny said. “I was going to graduate from A&M, get a job in Los Angeles, get a job in a restaurant and try to pursue the acting thing.”
“This threw a big hitch in my plans. I was mad at the world, mad at God.”
Horny later struggled with alcohol and drug abuse problems.
“If I drank and got drunk, then some kind of drug would be involved, too,” Horny said. “But in August, I’ll be sober for 10 years.”
Horny said he returned to his faith in God while overcoming his substance abuse.
“That’s what brought me back to God,” Horny said. “When I began to trust God and ask Him for help, my life changed immediately.
“I’m not saying that I’m perfect or don’t get angry, because I do. Being disabled and in a wheelchair, you have your days just like anybody else. “
Horny resumed the pursuit of an acting career and his first role came in a 1995 episode of the TV series “Picket Fences” when he played a court clerk.
“I tried getting in television and film, but as far as film goes, I played anywhere from a low-budget independent, to a medium-budget independent to a studio film,” Horny said. “I’ve done them all.”
Horny began to find himself typecast due to his disability.
“Everybody wants a guy in a wheelchair,” Horny said. “I was called in just for playing a Vietnam vet. I knew if I wanted to make a living at this, I would have to get into the production side of it.”
Horny later had a role in the movie “I Woke Up Early the Day I Died” (1998), produced the short, “Rebirth” (1999), and directed the documentary, “Behind the Confessions: The Life, the Music and the Revival of Radney Foster” (2009), which was about the singer-songwriter.
“The studio system is so hard to get into,” Horny said. “There’s a wall around the studios. Once you get over it, under it or through it, you’re in. The tough part is getting in.”
Horny, who has his own production company, said he wants to share his experience and knowledge of filmmaking to others in Texas.
“If you are not a working actor, you should be training if it’s your passion,” Horny said. “Our training is our work as an actor. I’ve been on television, on stage, in films and made a living doing it. I want to try to bring that experience to people who have never done it on a much smaller level.
“I have trained with a lot of talented people in Los Angeles and I’ve taken a little bit from each person. The purpose of the classes is to get people in front of the camera and behind the scenes, too. They might think they want to act, but once they get in front of a camera and look like a deer in the headlights, they may realize that’s not for them.”
Horny said anyone mentioning they read this story would get a $75 discount on the price of the classes.
For more information on the classes, call Horny at 210-859-6638.