"The So and So Profiles" shines a spotlight on Anthony Engelken, whom I met on the set of a web series in 2011 and have since worked with him on a number of short films.
1. When, where and how did you decide to become an actor?
In June of 2009, my brother and I were living in a loft apartment in downtown Springfield, Missouri where I'm from. I've always been a singer, songwriter and musician. Extending to the other performing arts hadn't ever crossed my mind.
We were within proximity to the small theater district in my town. My brother thought it might be fun to take an acting class with the Springfield Little Theatre. He and I started taking this Theatrical Monologue class. We wound up being the only students in the class during that eight-week session.
After two weeks, my brother lost interest. I wound up having six weeks of private monologue lessons with this instructor. After that, it just rang with me.
I started checking out CraigsList in July for local film productions. Springfield has ten colleges so there were a lot of film students in town that liked putting together independent features and shorts. I started looking for them.
I found an open casting call for this sci-fi Western that was being produced in Springfield. After my audition, I wound up getting called back and being cast as one of the leads in the movie – a Bounty Hunter. That movie was shot in August of 2009 in a warehouse entirely against green screen.
So it was that out-of-the-blue random idea acting class that I took with my brother back in June of 2009 which put the seed in my head to be a theatrical performer. After the Western, I performed in two other web shorts, another feature film, and a web television series before moving to Los Angeles.
2. Where does your focus lie - stage, film, TV, internet or either?
I'm really split between film and television. I love them both for completely different reasons.
I love the huge well-developed stories that you find in movies. Then again, I really love fantastic characters in a television series. You connect with them and essentially they're like friends you get to see once a week and check in on.
A TV show is a relationship, but a movie is a fantastic experience. I really love both and want to be a part of both.
3. How do you describe your style of acting?
Stella Adler was an advocate for imagination, and that as actors we're multi-colored and multi-faceted. We have broad, vivid imaginations. Our tools to get into a character's state of mind are essentially built into us.
A two or three-year-old doesn't have to prepare to be a fireman when they're playing firemen in the backyard. They just imagine that's what they're doing and are totally into it; it's real. It's something that we kind of grow out of as adults, but it's there. A professional actor trains hard to rediscover this.
4. If there was a completely new and different Anthony Engelken acting technique, what would it be?
There wouldn't be, because I'm mostly just following in the footsteps of the amazing talent who have paved the way before me. I'm no teacher, and I certainly don't have all the answers. I'm just enjoying the process as I go along.
5. How do you think you might be seen by casting directors and producers?
I try to make a good impression whenever I can. Hopefully those who I've read for like me, and I always appreciate those who keep bringing me in.
6. What are you not?
I try not to think in absolutes like that. There's a time an place for everyone to be anything. This is the industry of make-believe, isn't it?
7. What is your dream role or type of role?
That's a difficult thing to describe. I love science fiction. I love action. I love romance.
If I could find myself in a mystery sci-fi action romance as the leading man, that would be pretty neat I guess.
8. Would you like to win an Emmy, Oscar, Grammy, Tony, all or neither?
(Dryly) Golden Globe.
An Academy Award would be great, but not so much for the award. I would be delighted at a nomination simply because I'd be allowed to go to the awards ceremony.
9. What would you say in your acceptance speech and who would you thank?
Clearly, I'd thank God and my agent -- also my Grandfather and siblings. My roommate, she's also in the performing arts as an actress. For as long as we've been living together, we have been very supportive of one another and helpful in whatever capacity we could. Beyond that, I don't know. Depends on who I meet and who I really like leading up to that point.
Terrence Moss too, probably.
10. What are your greatest fears in pursuing this line of work?
I don't have any immediate fears. However this life turns out, I'm probably going to be okay with. The end game is a point at the end of 100 different roads. I can't think of very many scenarios that I'm going to be bitter or resentful about in the end.
11. What's going to keep you from giving up?
If the films and television shows that I'd like to be a part of completely dried up, I would just go find something else to do for a while, then come back when the wind changed direction. Why give up when there's always something new on the horizon?
12. Who are your professional inspirations?
Gary Oldman, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael Sheen, Robert Carlyle and Alan Tudyk in anything and everything.
13. If a production were looking for an "Anthony Engelken" type, what would they be looking for?
I'm sort of the late 20's to early 30's middle-ground between Tom Cruise and Paul Rudd. I'm pretty okay with that.
To keep up with all things Anthony Engelken, follow him on Twitter @AnthonyEngelken.
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