And inside look into the world of actors and actresses at varying stages of their burgeoning careers. Brought to you by Clean Cut Reels.
And Susan Hunter Photography.
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
White is now the second Enterprise
profilee to be revisited and updated. Dane has been busy of late mounting his
own one-man show, titled “Born Lucky”, which chronicles his first year living
in Los Angeles.
had the pleasure of seeing “Born Lucky” last week (along with a one-woman show
by Rati Gupta titled “Not Another Teen Solo Show”) and cajoled Dane into meeting
up with me again to talk about it. While there’s only one more performance of
each on August 18 at the Little Modern Theatre on Santa Monica Boulevard, Dane
has greater plans for this project.
What was the genesis
of Born Lucky?
Since I last interviewed with you, things have been slow. I
was getting depressed. I was not satisfied where this was going. I do the actor’s
classes, I do the workshops, I submit for all the crap and it’s not going
anywhere. I was spinning my wheels. It was like, “You don’t understand. I’m
talented! Why am I not on TV?”
Right now I get called in for roles where I’m either not
goofy-looking enough or not handsome enough. I fall in that middle category. I
would have had lots of work in the 80s and the 90s.
So what could I do to help myself? I started writing and
filming videos to put online such as a mock Chevy Prism commercial, which appears
Then some guy I did improv with was doing a one-man show
class. I thought, “Let’s do that.”
It turned out to be a writer’s workshop. I never thought of
myself as a writer and I’ve never really written anything before. He was like,
“What’s the idea for your show?”
I was like, “Excuse me? I thought we were just going to
learn to do a show.”
“No, this is a writer’s workshop. What are your ideas?”
“Uh….I don’t know. I kinda have this story.”
I told him this drunken, funny story. He was like, “It’s a
good story. I don’t know if it’s a show.”
Then I thought about this one thing I did write. I brought
it with me because I didn’t know what to bring. I told him about it.
He was like, “That’s your show right there! We haven’t heard
For the next ten weeks, I’d write three pages a week, bring
it in, get notes on it, rewrite it, bring in another three pages, put it all
together and here I am.
The show has really
funny moments, but you also get pretty deep at a certain point in the show. Was
there any hesitation to go “there” with the material?
The only hesitation I had was asking my ex for her
permission to tell the story.
I was a little nervous about it all at first but I tend to
share everything with people that I shouldn’t anyway so I don’t have a problem
going “there”. It helps me get it out therapeutically. I do go “there” every
night and it is hard to go “there” and I’m exhausted every night but I don’t
feel bad about sharing. I like to share.
When all is said and done, if anyone takes anything from
this show, then it’s worth it.
Have you thought
about what might have been had that situation you talk about in your show gone
a different way?
I think about it a lot. I don’t know what I would have done
but I know I would have figured it out. I had that in the show at one point. I
had a moment where I said, “I don’t know what I would have done but we would
have figured it out together.”
I’m glad I took it out because, as you told me, that aspect
of my character – even in all his “douchebaggery” – came through anyway without
having to beat it over the audience’s head.
What’s the next step
for you after this one-man show?
There’s actually a Part Two to this show that I’m going to
write. My plan is to trim the first part down, write a second part and then
take a lot of the notes that I have been receiving from people about the first
part, incorporate them into the second part, tie it all together and just do a
full show by itself without an intermission.
The second act will be about how I lost control of my life
for a year-and-a-half. It’s my unraveling. I got worked. It got bad.
The ultimate theme of this show is not what about my acting
career. It’s about why I am so afraid to fail and why I am so afraid to
succeed. It’s about how all of the drinking, partying and staying with a woman who
clearly was not right for me was because I was too afraid to actually put
myself out there and give it a shot.
By the end of it, I’ll get the message and you’ll be like,
What is the timeline
for this part two?
I have to get hip surgery because I tore some ligaments
playing soccer so I will be down for six weeks. No walking. I’m going to try to
churn it out then. What else am I going to do? It’s not like I have to research
it. I know what happened. I just have to come up with a way to do it in a nice
theatrical way that tells a story and adds to what I already have.
I’ve been getting GREAT feedback from people. I didn’t think
it was going to be as well-received as well as it is.
I’m really proud of it. I didn’t know how it was going to
After you mount the
full show, where would you like it to go?
I don’t think the piece has reached its full potential. I’m
getting a response from people that I care about and it’s like, “You have more here
than you think.”
The whole time I thought why would anybody watch this show
and here I am getting great feedback. I’m like, “Who cares if this happened to
And people are like, “We care because this happened to you
and you care about it when you tell us.”
I’d like for a casting director to come and see and go,
“This kid can act.” Even though I’m playing myself, I’m still playing a character.
I’m still committing to moments on stage that aren’t there. I’m having
conversations with people that aren’t there.
I would like somebody to say, “Let’s call this kid in. Let’s
maybe represent him. Let’s give him a shot at something more.”
We’ll see what happens.
Pie in the sky, where
would you like this to go?
I went to Broadway for the first time last month. I had
never been to New York
in my life. It was a great experience. I got to see the excitement of it and
the theatre and the reverence they hold for it.
If that’s the pinnacle of theatricality, then that’s what I want that. Realistically, I want to get a six-week run where somebody
outside of my world, like a theater, promotes me and gets people to come.
I’d like to see where it goes. At least you get to bring
booze into my show.
What about a national
The national tour of the Dane White show? If I could support
myself doing it, yeah.
How about a film?
I would make a film out of it. It would make a good film. I
don’t know where it would end or where it would start. It would probably start
earlier than the one-man show – before I moved to Chicago
I’ve had two or three people say I need to make it into a
movie. Why not? I’ll do whatever.
How do you feel being
on this side of having done a one-man show?
Relieved. It’s exhausting. And I get so nervous beforehand.
I don’t think I’ve ever gotten this nervous since I was a kid. I always get
nervous before shows but this is a different kind of nervous. I have no one else
to depend on. There’s no crew. It’s just me up there for forty minutes holding
my own and you’re either with me or you’re not. Plus, it’s hard to try to bring
I’m glad I did it, though. I learned a lot about myself. And
it’s nice for people to see there’s more going on with me. My girlfriend knows
it, you know it, my friends know it but the world at large doesn’t. Yet.
Below are excerpts
from that first interview with Dane that was originally posted on February 24:
When, where and how did you decide to become an actor?
I fell in love with it when I was a young lad. We had a
senior program in high school where the older kids would come into the
elementary schools and they would mentor the students. I was fortunate enough
to be mentored by one of the senior guys in theatre.
He mentioned to the class that he was in this show at the
high school – Joseph and the Amazing
Technicolor Dream Coat and to come check it out. I found out the brother of
my neighbor across the street was an actor. He invited me to go see it. I go and
I’m just blown away by it because the guy was well beyond a gifted high school
student. You don’t think that talent like that would be at a high school show.
He sings professional opera now.
I was like, I want to do that. I want to go up there and do
that stuff. I wanted to be that guy that can take over a room and entertain and
have them leave happy.
What, for you, is the draw of acting and performing?
It just gives me so much joy. When people describe “being
in the moment” when they’re up on stage, it’s not necessarily that you go to
this other place. It’s just there’s nothing else but what you’re doing.
I love that feeling of just doing it, hearing the laughter
or, when I’m watching something that I’ve done, watching other people’s faces.
Whether I’ve done a good or bad job, I’ve changed them in a way. Art can leave
a lasting impression on someone. I’m still talking about Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as one of my top
favorite musicals because of what it did to me as a 5-year-old.
That’s why I like doing it. And I’m selfish. It makes me
feel good. I’m an attention whore.
Do you gravitate more toward comedy or drama?
I do comedy because it’s easy. For some reason, I hear the
music in it. Comedy is music, comedy is timing. If you have to choose, are you
going to write right-handed or left-handed, I’m going to write right-handed
because that’s what I’m good at.
That’s comedy for me. I fall into it. I understand it.
Drama is the hardest thing for me but deep down inside I yearn to get up there
and do Hamlet.
Unfortunately, I don’t look like that. Before you can do
those kinds of things, you have to show that you can be whatever they see you
as. I fit those comedy roles because I don’t take things very seriously in
I’m very light, I’m very jokey, I’m very easygoing so I get
cast in roles like Goofy Boyfriend or Romantic Comedy Lead. I’m Goofy Office
Worker. That’s fine and dandy because I love to work no matter what I’m doing
and that makes people laugh, but we all have that yearning to do it all.
What is your dream role or type of role?
I don’t know if it’s been written yet. Maybe I’m going to
create it. Maybe I’m going to write my greatest role. Maybe you will. Maybe it
will be a Shakespeare play that is turned into a movie. I would love to play Antony.
I know I’m talented enough that if I’m seen by enough
people, I will have success. They will see what this guy’s got to offer.
How do you approach a role?
I work from the outside in. I got to play MacDuff in high
school but it wasn’t until I got to put on the costume and carry the sword that
I started to feel it. So I like to get how this person walks, how he moves, how
they speak, how they think. Once I get that I work on the words.
I work on it to the point where I stop thinking about it.
It just comes natural. It flows out of you. And then you can go into that part
where it’s like now do it like a silly man, do it like a crazy person, speed
up, slow it down. I can play. I can gauge the other person -- really listen and
take what they’re giving me and give it right back in a way that’s different
Once you feel completely comfortable with it, there’s
nothing you can’t do. You can adjust. Then it’s just a dance. I really like
that part of it.
What do you draw upon to find a character?
My own life. Finally, I’m at an age now where at least I
have some life experiences to draw from. I’m not 20 years old trying to play
35-year-old characters that have lost their wives and children and have no way
of really understanding that. I can emulate it and I can try, but at least now
I draw from myself and I draw from my director and we work together to create
How do you describe your style of acting?
I hope it’d just be good, but shocking is a better answer
because if people underestimate me as much as they do, then they see me going
above their expectations.
I get this a lot – “You’re really good. I didn’t think you
were going to be that good.”
I can see why they’d say that. I’m a goofy guy. I don’t
come across as someone who takes the craft as seriously as I do, but when you
see it you go, “That was so much different than I thought you would give.”
And I’ll take that as a compliment. It’s a little bit of a
slight, but it’s a good slight.
Who are your professional inspirations?
I’ve always loved Matt Damon and Brad Pitt. Edward Norton. They
make great choices and I would love be able to make great choices. You must make
wise choices when it comes to work. I’m sure everybody wants to make the best
choice, but we’ve seen a lot of people not make the best choice for whatever
reason it may be.
Ryan Gosling is so hot right now. I’d love to have his
career. I did some research on him and he’s been working since he was a kid.
There was this huge span of nothing and then one little thing here like The Notebook and then years later, BOOM.
Patience is one of the things. You just learn patience,
patience, patience. It is a virtue. I don’t have a lot of it.
If a production was casting for a "Dane White" type, what would they
be looking for?
They would be looking for a very
nice, handsome, joyful, kind and charming person with a little bit of spice.
Very light-hearted. Very emotional. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve and I
tell people way too many things that they shouldn’t know.
A lot of people often think I
play the dumb card or the goofy card, but people that know me know I’m very
intelligent. I’m very educated. And I hope that that’s something that they
would write down, but that would be a long breakdown.
Dane White’s “Born Lucky” has one final performance on August 18 before
breaking to write the second part and putting together a full show. Stay tuned.
The So-and-So Profiles takes a break from its hiatus to shine a spotlight on the Lady Jacquelin Schofield, whom I met on the set of the web series "The Cavanaughs". She was so hilarious in her scenes that I had to have her grace the Enterprise.
She is currently appearing as Mrs. Muller in "Doubt" at the Westchester Playhouse through August 18.
1. When, where and
how did you decide to become an actress?
I was a precocious kid – always putting on shows to perform
in front of the family.
Wherever there was a camera, I was in front of it with the
hands on the hips posing red carpet style.
When I started school, I was always singing. I come from a
musical family. Music was always first. I thought I was going to do music but
it was very clear that I was not supposed to pursue a career as a solo artist
even though I tried.
In 1997, I was in my first stage play. This was when I was
living in DC. I just went bananas. I was like, “I love this! This is what I’m
supposed to do!”
I was going to go to law school and do all these things, but
it was like…no. The minute I hit that stage it was all over. I’ve been pursuing
it ever since.
That’s where it all began and I’m just so excited about what
is to come.
2. Where does your
focus lie -- stage, film, TV, internet, all or either?
I want to do it all. I don’t know if that’s even possible or
if that’s even wise to be able to do it all. Because I was trained in theatre,
I will always love that. But I really, really want to sink my teeth into doing
some good work on film. I want to be able to do that because I know I would do
really well just based on what I know about myself the work ethic I have.
3. What is your dream
role or type of role?
Something very dramatic with lots of layers and colors. And
I’m getting to do that. I booked another theatre gig. I’m doing Doubt. I’m obviously doing the role
Viola Davis played in the film because I’m a little brown.
She happens to be one of my mentors. I study her work. She
is the cat’s meow for me. I love her. I have met her, but to be able to sit
down and have a conversation with her – it wouldn’t be gushing. I would be
trying to pick her brain apart. I so admire her skill as a dramatic actor. It
leaves my mouth agape.
I saw Doubt three
times. There’s so much going on with Mrs. Muller. And I get to discover things
about this woman and use from my own life to help bring all this to life. This
is my first dramatic stage play where there’s no music. I’m just over the moon.
That’s a dream, but I really want to do be able to do more.
Comedy, as you’ve been a witness, is not something that’s
hard for me. I can do comedy. I had coaches telling me when I was living on the
east cast that comedic timing was not an issue. But I had a tendency when we
would do dramatic scene work, to make it funny. I really needed to be able to work
on that so that the drama can be the drama. There is comedy in drama and drama
in comedy, but if it’s supposed to be dramatic, then let it be that.
This is why I am excited about Doubt.
4. How do you
describe your style of acting?
Prior to The Color
Purple [at the Celebration Theatre in Hollywood],
hilarious. Comedic. Zany.
I would definitely say the style/genre would be comedy but
because I love drama and I want to master it, I want that to be my style.
The Color Purple,
if we could talk about that for a minute, helped me because there were some
dramatic spaces in there – especially in the final scene where I also play
Celie’s young adult daughter where they come from Africa
and I see my mother for the first time. She sees me. That’s serious. That’s
major. And I really had to think about it, make the right choices.
My mother is still alive so that was great to think about
how I would feel if I was separated from my mother at birth and then to be
reunited with her. With that, it was easy to emote and give the director what
he was looking for with that. Then you’re reading the script and you’re always
discovering something – you can go deeper and you feel it in every fiber of
your being. The Color Purple helped
I used to be so shallow but as you mature as a person and
you discover things about yourself as a person, now I have all these colors and
layers and depth. I want to be able to bring that to the screen, to the stage
for people to feel it.
One of the attorneys that I work came. And at the end, I
came out and I was so happy. She brought her girlfriends. She was like, “I’m a
changed woman. I didn’t know.”
That changed her perspective. She got to see me outside of
the legal environment and was moved to the point where something changed for
her insofar as she saw me and how she treated me.
All I had to do was get on the stage.
To affect someone who knows you for all intensive purposes,
how much more will I affect the person that doesn’t know me from a hole in the
wall? If you can pull a style out of that for this interview, maybe God will
give you a revelation. What kind of style is that?
There you go. That’s what it is. So it goes in line with my
vision and mission – to affect change in the lives and minds of people so that
they not leave the same way they came in.
5. How does your
faith play into the decisions you make for your career?
I haven’t had any paid roles as of yet – especially for film
and television, so I would still be considered a neophyte. But even in the few
things I’ve done, there’s a certain way that I feel in my spirit. Some people
say, “I’ve got a feeling that I need to do such and such.”
For me that’s just not a feeling. That’s the spirit of God,
which leads and guides me in everything – not just my career, but just in life
period. For me, it makes a huge difference.
I have an agent and she knows where I stand. It’s important,
even when I’m looking for stuff on my own to submit myself for certain things,
I read very carefully to make sure I have a complete understanding of what I am
submitting myself for so I’m not taken aback should I get an audition.
People are observant. They pay attention and they see
certain things. I just want my faith to shine through. It’s not that I’m trying
to proselytize or anything or like that or force my faith on anybody but that
plays a big part in the person that I am. It’s part of my life and so that’s
going to shine through in anything that I do.
6. Do you feel that
will have an affect on your career?
I don’t think so. Not in a negative sense. It would help me.
I don’t know exactly how because no one really knows who I am. But I believe
that the time is coming because I’m absolutely sure that this is what I’m
called to do – not just what I love to do or what I’m passionate about. I am
absolutely sure, there is no shadow of any doubt, I am supposed to be in this
My mission/vision statement is to be a light in this
industry and to change the lives of people by the work that I do. My goal is to
do work that is pure, honest and tells the truth. When people walk away, I want
them to have something to think about. I want them to reconsider some things. I
want people to walk away thinking, “I’ve never thought about that.”
7. What are some of
the other roles you played – professional or otherwise?
In that very first play I was the neighborhood alcoholic. We
were singing and dancing. It was hilarious. It was called Parents in the ‘Hood. That was in DC.
I was a lead choir singer in Anatomy of a Brother. That required me to really sing. You’re in
church and you dance and you run across the stage dancing and singing.
I was also a news reporter – a British news reporter. I was
interviewing people in a club asking them if they thought they were going to go
to heaven. It was very interesting.
I worked with this guy named Tyga Graham. Every Good Man Ain’t Gone was the name
of his play. That role was kinda sorta dramatic because I was the matriarch of
the family but I also had to sing.
I did another stage play with him that was focused on youth.
I was the principal. That was sorta dramatic. It wasn’t heavy but it was not
comedic at all.
Maybe those things prepared me for The Color Purple. I don’t know. There’s a reason for everything. No
8. In your experience
thus far, have you felt pigeonholed into certain types of roles?
If I was booking a lot, I might be better able to answer
that question. There has to be a part two to this because some things are going
9. What would you
like the balance for you to be between drama and comedy?
Using Miss Viola Davis, she’s not done any comedy from all
that I’ve seen of her. I’ve seen comedic actresses do drama. Her co-star in The Help, Octavia Spencer, was a comedic
actress forever and then she gets this role. She got to be funny in it, but she
also got to be very, very dramatic and was very, very good.
To be able to get a job where I can do both within the same
project would be the syrup on the pancakes.
10. What would you
like the balance to be for you between musical theatre and straight acting?
Check back with me in six months (laughs). Whatever comes my
way -- stuff has just been falling into my lap. I had to submit myself for The Color Purple, but I knew that was
something I needed to do.
Then something else will come along because I’m listening.
11. Would you like to
win an Emmy, Oscar, Tony, Grammy, all, neither or it doesn’t matter?
I would like to win an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a SAG Award
and a Tony. All of those would be great. Just to be nominated would be great
just to be able to sit in the room with all of these people I have been
watching since I was a kid.
I’m a very social person so I have no problem approaching
folks. I would approach respectfully because they don’t know me and I only know
them because their faces are all over the place.
But we’re going to have some conversation. You’re not just
going to kee kee, hah hah and sip on lemon water. We’re here for a purpose. I
got on a cute dress, nice pumps, hair did, nails did and everything did, but this
can’t just be frivolous. It can’t just be that I was with this person, took pictures
and went to a party.
After I’ve said goodnight, and nice meeting everyone, and
thank you, I need to go home and break all of that down. When I begin to replay
the night, there has to be something that I have gleaned – something to have
propelled me to the next step of my journey. I don’t have time to gush and
So when I get back to the Ponderosa, and I would like to
have a Ponderosa some day, I’m feeling like there’s nothing wasted and it’s not
been in vain.
12. What would you
say in your acceptance speech?
Because I am a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, He will
get it all. They can ‘give me the music’ if they want to.
It will be God first because He gave me all of this and I
was a good steward over it and I did what I needed to do to hone it and be
skillful, so now I’m standing up here giving a speech.
Then it would be my mother and my father, who is deceased
now, for allowing me to be.
I would thank my family members who supported me and my
friends who loved me and supported me through the ups and downs.
You gotta give a shout out to your agent and all those other
people – the producer and the director of the film.
There’s an attorney, his name is Michael Kiklis. We worked
together and he would tell me constantly, “Jacquelin, this is not what you’re
supposed to be doing. When you get to the red carpet, don’t forget about me and
the princesses (which is what I called his three daughters).”
I so won’t. In my acceptance speech, he will get a good
shout-out and I will say his WHOLE name – “Michael S. Kiklis, Esq., to you and
This has been in my head for YEARS. And the fact that it’s still
there means to me that I’ll get to say this.
I don’t even know what award it’s going to be, but just to
be able to say that and to look at the camera and say, “You told me. Thank
And then I’m off the stage because it’s a wrap. I’m
collapsing. Not that that will be the end, but it’s the thing that has been
coming to pass for a minute and now it has manifested itself in the earth. The enormity of that . . . .
13. If a film were
written with you in mind, what would it be like?
One of my core values are as a person is justice -- so
something where I’m helping people in some way. I love action. I love suspense.
An action-suspense thriller.
A female who is definitely, because of who I am, a strong
woman. She would be funny, but she would also be compassionate and strong. She would have many colors.
14. Who would you
like to have as part of that cast?
Ms. Viola Davis of course.
Angela Bassett. I would love to work with her. She’s another
actress that I admire. I study her as well.
Kathy Bates. Kathy Bates is a phenomenal actress. She’s
dramatic but she’s funny and that reminds me so much of me as a person.
Morgan Freeman. Amazing.
I’d also like to work with Clint Eastwood. He’s amazing.
I would also like to work with Gary Oldman. He’s an
15. What would a TV
series built around you be like?
A crime drama. I want to be a detective. I watched all those
kinds of shows. I would be a great detective. It would be that or something
with fantasy like Grimm.
One of the other actresses I admire greatly is Taraji
Henson. She has grown tremendously. She is awesome. I would like to work with
her for sure. I was very excited to see her on television in Person of Interest.
16. Who would you
like to play in a biopic OR who, past or present, would you like to play you in
Because I haven’t seen it yet, Harriet Tubman. I say Harriet
Tubman because all that she did speaks to a couple of core values and the
person that I am – one being FREEDOM.
That would be a hard one to play. And it’s all drama. There
might be some funny stuff in there but not a lot. That was a hard life to live
but she helped so many people.
I can answer the question ‘who can play me’ later. Ask me in
17. If a production
was casting for a "Jacquelin Schofield" type, what would they be
That woman would have to be hilarious, passionate, secure in
who she is and fearless enough to look you eyeball to eyeball and not blink.
She would have to be bigger than life. You can be hilarious
and not bigger than life. You can be quietly hilarious. But she would really
need to be a character.
18. What is going to
keep you from giving up?
I’m the only person that can get in my way and I can’t do
that. I’ve done that a lot. It’s dangerous.
I understand that I need to be responsible from a natural
perspective and do the things I need to do but it’s not just natural. It’s
natural and spiritual as far as I’m concerned. I understand that I cannot
manage my life well just by myself. So I have to allow God to be the head of my
Basically, I’m saying to God, “Here are the keys to my life.
I’m going to let you go ahead and drive and I’ll be over here in the passenger
seat.” Wisdom has taught me that it’s
better to be in the passenger seat because His way is always better.
I’ve tried it 900,000 different ways. And what winds up
happening? I’m running into a brick wall and I’m bleeding all over myself and
everybody. That’s not pretty. And I like to be pretty.
It’s not just a job for me. It’s always a teachable moment.
This interview is a teachable moment. I have to take that and I have to think
about things. I learned such and such and such and such. That helps me grow.
I’m not a proponent of random. We use that word way too much. I don’t see this as
random. I see it as part of my path and along my path I’m going to meet certain
people and these certain people are going to drop certain things that I need
for my journey for me to get to the point where I’m supposed to get to. For me,
just sitting here talking, listening to myself, listening to you, watching you
watch me – is a teachable moment. And I don’t want to miss anything because
it’s all going to play a part in my growth as a person and as an actor.
This is not just something I’m good at and I like to do, but
something I love. Every time I do it, my eyes sparkle because I’m doing the
thing I’m meant to do. I don’t feel like that when I walk into a law firm. I
don’t. It’s almost nauseating but I have to do what I have to do because I am
an adult and I have to be responsible. I have to pay the rent and eat.
This is the thing that I absolutely LOVE. This is the thing
that God has given me to do. I can make a difference. I can live out my core
values and I can do it through this.
It’s the best thing in the world. It’s the best thing in the
The Arlene Victoria
The So-and-So Profiles shines a
spotlight on the delightful model/actress Arlene Victoria, who plans to do it
all -- and sees no reason why she can’t.
1. When, where and how did you
decide to become an actress?
As soon as
I really could understand what acting was, that’s when I knew I wanted to be an
2. Did your parents encourage all of
but they were the type of parents who felt education was first. As long as I
did what I was supposed to do in school, they didn’t care about doing the rest
of the other things. I wasn’t that interested in school. I was always good in
school, but I knew in order to do what I wanted to do, I had to do that. It was
motivation for me.
saying, “On Monday, I’m going to be a doctor. On Wednesday, I’m going to be a
lawyer. And on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, I’m going to be a dancer and I’m
going to a singer and I’m going to be a model.”
My mom was
like, “I don’t know if you can do all that at once.”
“Why? I can
do all of it once.”
think that. I still think I can do everything.
were always very realistic. “You need to make sure that you have your stuff
together. You need to make sure that whatever it is you want to do, you learn
it.” That was their thing. If you want to be a doctor, you can’t just say you
want to be a doctor and be a doctor. If you want to be a doctor, you need to
study. If you want to be a model, you need to study that too. If you want to be
an actress, you need to study. If you want to be a dancer, take your lessons
and take it seriously. Same thing with instruments.
encouraged me to just do whatever I wanted. They were just like, “That’s her.
Let her do what she has to do. If that makes her happy, let her do it.”
3. How do your parents feel now
about your acting career?
very supportive. My mom is very excited. She can’t wait for her first red
My dad is
really chill about it.
is like, “When you go on the red carpet, it might not be a good thing for me.”
going to get upset because everyone’s going to be looking at me. I’m handsome
and sexy. They’re going to be like, ‘who’s this guy?’ and they’re not going to
talk to you anymore.”
should have been an actor.
it a point to tell us there are all kinds of ways to do things, but do things
in the way you feel like you can live with that will make you feel like you’re
doing things the way you want to do them.
very much about independence, about working hard, about learning things, about
going for it. They had a very big impact on what I do. The things that they
tell me, they really stick to me when it’s hard out here.
always tells me, “What’s meant for you is for you.” You can’t look at what
someone else is doing and think about where am I compared to them because
what’s for you is for you and it’s better because it’s yours. You don’t know
anyone else’s struggle. You can’t say they don’t deserve what they got because you
don’t know how they got it. You don’t know what work they had to put into it.
You just see the result. That keeps me focused.
really shaped my career. I’ve been offered so many different things that I
don’t want to do. Even though you don’t always want to say that you are, you’re
a role model. You have little girls looking up to you. I’m just beginning and I
get messages on Facebook from girls asking me for advice or just telling me
they think I’m great. I’m like, “What have I done to make you think that?”
It gives me
a responsibility because they’re watching me and I don’t want to be somebody
they can’t look up to, somebody that’s going to lead them on the path and make
them think, “I can just do anything and do this and do that.” You can do whatever
you want but there’s also so many different ways to do it. There’s ways you can
be proud of.
4. Where does your focus lie --
stage, film, TV, internet or either?
eventually want to have my own television station. I’ve already named it – it’s
called AVC, which is actually my initials, so it works.
5. What kind of programming will be
shows, things that kids can watch, things that families can watch. Movies that
are not so dumbed down. Don’t get me wrong -- I love a good silly movie
sometimes. There is nothing better than Bridesmaids
or Hangover, but you have to have a
I want to
be able to do things that show creativity.
6. What is your dream role or type
films that make you feel something. They suck you in and bring you to another
place in time. That’s really the type of movies I want to do.
action movies. I would love to jump off a building and shoot a gun and blow up
a car – all while wearing a bomb ass outfit and my makeup flawless. Then I
throw the bomb behind me and then there’s this big explosion scene and then
there’s the wind and the fire behind and I’m like, “I’m gonna go find my man.”
And then “I’m gonna go capture that spy.” And “I’m gonna go drive that car.”
actually taken stunt-fighting classes and I’m looking into taking stunt-driving
classes. I’m little but for some reason in my mind I’m like a big bad ass. I
need to be beating people up all day. I need to be on a harness and jump up and
role I can see myself playing is a Law
& Order-type character. It’s a show about being in these crazy and
horrible situations but still being able to find the humanity in it and being
able to help the people and do something positive. I love that kind of stuff.
characters have a morality to them that they want to do well for others. The
world isn’t always like that but they want to do well, they want to take care
of this person. This person has been through horrible things and they want to
to me in so many ways. I am the biggest mama bear with no kids. I will be the
smart, intelligent mama bear who’s protecting everyone and shooting things and
flipping over cars – with an awesome rack. It will be fake because I don’t have
a rack. And that’s okay because I’m going to buy it. It will be awesome.
7. How do you approach a role?
I do a
psychological profile. All you get is that little blurb about this is what it
is and I will flesh out the character off that little paragraph -- what their
family relationship is like, do they have siblings. I could be wrong. They
might have a totally different background set up but when you go in for that
audition, you are creating a human being. That’s what they want to see. They want
to see a human being in front of them, not an actor portraying a role. They
want to see that person.
It’s really not just about being able to do comedy or being able to do action.
It’s about being able to understand the character and being able to become that
character. If you can really understand the character and do that, you can do
any type of role. You can be that bad ass who shoots stuff up. Then you can be
that damaged person who is trying to hold it together. Then you can be the
comedy relief. You can do all these different things if you really can
understand how to understand a person and you can really understand what will
make that character tick.
8. How would you describe your style
have to know who you are. You have to be able to take it inside and take all
your insecurities, take all your doubts and put them aside and let it just come
out. Everyone’s going to have their own idea how a character’s supposed to be
but it’s about how you feel. It’s about what you bring out of it. Be honest
with it. Be real, be fleshed out. Not a caricature. Be a person. That’s really
all it comes down to. It’s not just superficial. Be that person. Who is that
person? What does that person want? Be honest about it.
9. Would you like to win an Emmy,
Oscar, Tony, Grammy, all, neither or it doesn’t matter?
Can I just
have it all and just have a big bookshelf and fill them up?
thing I want would be an Oscar. Or an Emmy. One or the other. To be able to
take those roles and move people to that degree, it’s amazing.
10. What would you say in your
acceptance speech and who would you thank?
mama. My daddy. My pa-pa. My sister Ariane. My best friend Rachelle.
Allen because he reminds me everyday that life is too short to waste. He was
16, I was 17 when he passed. He really understood me. He really pushed me. If I
had a doubt about anything, he was like, “No. You just go do it.”
me so much and had so many bad things going on in his life that I had no idea
about. He never once brought that to me. His whole relationship with me was
making sure I understood my work.
about how amazing a person he was. He didn’t have the chance to do anything.
His short life really gave me so much encouragement. It just really helps me on
those down days. I think about that. We were so young and he believed in me
him my guardian angel.
going to cry. On Oscar night, you cannot mess up your makeup. I have an ugly,
ghetto cry and I don’t want to do that in front of people. It’s not cute.
11. What is the balance between your
modeling work and your acting work?
finding the opportunity for acting in every modeling job.
portraying a character, but there are no words. It’s just all eyes, expressions
and body language. You get so much of that person just from those things. You
get their soul through their eyes. No words -- just seeing how they carry
themselves, how they hold their hands, how they look at the camera.
You can see
everything in a picture – one picture. You can figure out who a person is in
When I do
modeling, I think about that. I think about the opportunity to create another
character. It’s hard because you don’t get to explain that character. You just
create it and it is what it is. The picture captures it. It’s hard. I like it.
It gives you more experience. It gives you more depth. If you think about it,
in acting, you’re not always saying anything. Sometimes it’s just what you’re
all those layers that comes up to that one image. It’s crazy. I like it. It’s
all about creating. It’s all art.
12. What is your dream publication,
advertiser, model and photographer to work with as a model?
love to work with Iman. She’s stunning. And she’s a humanitarian. I love her.
She’s beautiful inside and out as a person. I love that about her.
love to be in Vogue one day.
I want to
have my own fashion magazine -- and be on the cover of that too. Like Oprah.
13. Describe yourself as an
want to think of it as a conglomerate or anything like that. It’s just
different ways to express me. My mind is always going a mile a minute. I’m
always picturing something. I’m always dreaming about something. I’m always
doing something. But it’s all art to me. It’s all expression. It’s all taking
that little secret part of yourself and displaying it.
I’m serious. I am a mile-a-minute. I’m quiet. I’m sad. I’m all these different
things at one time. With the art, I’m able to express all those different
things and all these different emotions and all these different thoughts.
really the biggest thing – to create and express that to someone in all aspects
of my life and for them to care.
14. What would this AVC empire
everything. It’s me. It’s this seven-year-old girl in New Orleans making up plays in the corner of
my parents living room. It’s everything that, when I was little, made me feel I
was invincible and powerful and smart and talented and beautiful.
It is the
art. It is the music. It is the fashion. It’s showing aspects of life.
Television and film is like showing people that they’re not alone. It’s giving
them something to connect to – especially in this world. We don’t talk to each
other anymore. We don’t talk to our neighbors anymore. We don’t know the
teachers who teach our kids. We don’t know any of these things.
We are so
closed off. We don’t trust. We don’t allow ourselves to open and in the
process, we’re stripping the world of the ability to see all these wonderful
things about us because we’re keeping it so locked in.
With AVC, I
really want to give people the opportunity to feel comfortable letting that go
and letting that fear go and just be who they are. And letting people know that
it’s okay to be different. Why do you want to stand in a crowd and not be seen?
We weren’t made to be standing in a crowd. We weren’t born to fit in.
films and music and fashion, I want people to feel comfortable being who they
are and not feeling they have to be in a box. That’s what it’s all about –
using art to connect and letting people know it’s okay to connect back over
that art. You seeing something in them and them seeing something in you.
-- that’s what it’s all about to me. That’s what I want to accomplish with that
company. I want to take kids who tag, bring them onto a set and let them use
that for something productive.
15. What is your greatest fear in
pursuing this line of work?
– not physically naked, but allowing yourself to be completely open. No filter.
That’s a scary thing to do. To be able to be that comfortable with who you are
to just lay it on the line and be okay with it, that’s scary.
16. What’s going to keep you from
always another day. There’s just always tomorrow. As long as you’re blessed to
wake up another day, there’s always another opportunity. As long as I have
tomorrow, I’m not going to give up.
I have so
many people who believe in me.
17. Who are your professional
Jada. I love Meryl Streep – how can you not? I love Glenn Close. She is
I’m in awe
of Katey Sagal. She’s amazing. I remember growing up watching her on Married..with Children and loving her.
She’s funny. Then I saw her on [Sons of
Anarchy] and I’m just blown away.
Mariska Hargitay. She went to my acting school. She’s amazing.
Vincent D’Onofrio in an elevator once. I love that man. He creates these
amazing characters and just brings them to life in these ways. And his
characters are so smart.
loved Denzel Washington. He really reminds me of my dad.
I love Sean
Penn. I want to be a girl version of Sean Penn, because he’s awesome. He’s my
favorite thing ever. I will watch his movies and no matter what you watch you
know he’s going to bring you somewhere. He literally can just go inside himself
and pull out things that are hard to do in acting. It’s so hard to be so
selfless and not aware of yourself to where it all flows out. That’s what he
does. He just flows. It’s amazing. And you just watch the emotions simmer and
you watch it come to a head. It’s there.
done amazing roles – tons of roles but when they are in that moment, you
believe that they are that person. You forget you’re watching Meryl Streep. You
forget you’re watching Sean Penn. Suddenly he is this character, suddenly he is
that character. Suddenly she is this.
Viola Davis. She’s amazing. We’re
going to be in a movie together -- me, Viola and Meryl and Denzel. Morgan
Freeman and Sean Connery are going to be narrating it because I like them too.
I’m putting it into the Universe.
18. Tell me about this star-studded
I blew up
Meryl Streep’s son, but Meryl Streep and Viola are best friends. Viola is my
mom and she’s says, “My daughter may be a spy but she didn’t blow up your son.”
“Yes she did.”
comes in there and says, “I am the owner of the agency she works with. She blew
up your son but it’s because you’re son is bad.”
Connery will provide the voiceover.
It’ll be dramatic
-- shooting-up, explosions and then we’re all going to cry into our tea when
going to be the inner thought. Whenever I have a voice in my head, it’s going
to be Morgan Freeman talking. I’ll have moments of thought where I’ll just
stand there in the wind. “I will throw this bomb and then I will go home with
my boyfriend, Idris [Elba].”
19. If a production was casting for
an "Arlene Victoria" type, what would they be looking for?
hot and funny. And she’d have a bangin’ rack. It’s be fake, but it’d be
I first profiled Jason Stuart back in December. As it turns out, we were both doing work for the "Bitter Bartender" web series starring David Gunning. "Bitter Bartender" was an official selection to the 2012 LA Web Fest, which took place this past weekend. Jason, along with fellow profilee Jon Paul Burkhart, won an award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy, Sketch Comedy, Translated Comedy or Mockumentary.
Jason was not present at the ceremony so David accepted it on his behalf and I delivered it to him in person the next day. While I was there, I asked him to record an acceptance speech.
Below is a modified version of his profile:
1. When, where and how did you decide to become a performer?
I never was NOT hit by it. I’ve been acting and doing stand-up and being on stage since I was probably around 8 or 9 so I never NOT wanted it.
2. What was your first acting role or performing gig -- professional or otherwise?
8-years-old I was in a Purim play I played a slave. I ripped up one of my mother’s sheets and she’s been unhappy since.
3. What was/is the struggle for you in being a full-time performer?
Doing things you don’t want to do. Taking one-nighters all over the country. Work in film or TV shows that you don’t like that’s really badly written.
They don’t respect someone being in the business a long time. They just want to hire people that other people like. It’s just odd.
I sit next to a wonderful character actress who has been around forever at a screening of the Meryl Streep movie The Iron Lady. She was telling me she went in to audition for five lines. The fact that they wouldn’t offer her that part…
4. What is your dream role or type of role?
My dream role would be one of two things. More like three things. Alright, six.
My first one would be to play someone bossy and controlling on an hour drama. I’d only have to do three scenes a week. You could do other things and then also [have] the celebrity of being in a series, [have] a regular paycheck and [have] a place to go so you don’t cry yourself to sleep every night, throw up and eat and watch TiVo.
A great supporting role in a film by Scorcese or Alexander Payne -- some great director that I’ve loved forever.
I’d love to do is a supporting role in a play where my kid was murdered that I have to tell someone about it and have that one great scene. That’s all I have to do is that one scene. And maybe another scene. I love that.
5. Do you now or have you ever felt pigeonholed into a particular type of role?
I don’t mind being pigeonholed. If you’re pigeonholed into playing a cop that’s great because there are tons and tons of cop roles, but if you’re pigeonholed playing the fussy manager – there aren’t a lot of them so you want them to keep adding stereotypes they think you can do.
I’m playing a boss in this movie. This is a new thing for me to play. It sort of came from the fussy manager. I’ve done some indie films but they didn’t care. They don’t know me from other things so they were more open.
6. Do ever think about awards like an Emmy, Oscar, Tony or a Grammy?
No. Not really. I just want to do good work. I want to be known as someone who does good work.
I’m an artist. I’m not about being famous, meeting people, or “see me all the time” anymore. That’s ended in my mind. I’ve done thousands and thousands and thousands of shows. I don’t need it anymore. I need the art. Artistic fulfillment.
It sounds so pompous.
7. What is your approach to comedy?
I show up. I make people laugh. They give me a check. That’s basically it. I think funny. It’s not an approach. It’s just the way I am.
8. What has been your greatest performing experience?
I have to say The Closer was a great experience working with Kyra [Sedgwick] and working with the director Michael Robin and producers Adam Belanoff and James Duff. They’re all so great to me. And Kyra is so on it. She had very little lines in my scene. I basically talk for six pages or whatever because I’m there to give a lot of information. She was just great.
When I worked on My Wife and Kids -- that was great with Damon Wayans. That was a career high for me.
I loved working on Bitter Bartender. That was so much fun.
9. What has been your worst performing experience?
The first movie I did was called “The Lost Empire”. I played Gay Dude #1 or something like that.
The whole thing was the lead guy steals my purse. He walks by me and I think my line was “That’s my purse!”
This is in the 80s. He [the director] says to me, “Come to the set and wear a blousy shirt.” -- which I did, sort of a gay blousy fun colorful shirt.
And then he says, “Oh, this shirt is all wrong.” He looks around. He looks at the makeup woman. He makes her change shirts with me. I had to wear her shirt, which was two sizes too small. It was one of the most degrading experiences I’ve ever had.
I talked him out of the scarf.
Now I would just say, “No honey, I’m not wearing that. It’s not happening.” But I was a kid.
Most of the time I have a really great time when I work because I just try to do the best I can being as prepared as I can be and have fun.
10. Who are your professional inspirations?
Whoopi Goldberg. Big Dustin Hoffman fan -- just love him. Streisand. Lily Tomlin. Philip Seymour Hoffman. All the great character actors – Steve Buscemi, Alan Arkin, the late John Ritter.
11. If a production was casting for a "Jason Stuart" type, what would they be looking for?
Somebody who plays an efficious manager because that’s what I played mostly. I’m in charge of something but yet I have no power.
12. What is your ultimate goal -- if you haven't already achieved it?
A husband, a home and a beautiful film career. I have a great home though.
13. What’s next for Jason Stuart?
I got cast in two more films. One is called DVD License to Thrill with Sean Young and Fred Willard. It’s a comedy.
Then I’m also going to be in this gay movie called Hush Up. It’s a satire on Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte that Billy Clift is directing.
K11 is a prison movie starring Goran Visnjic from Beginners where I play a straight guy who hates gay people.
Much of this has been about your performing career but you do other things outside of that.
Oh yes. Michael Ferrera had asked me to do this benefit for gay kids five or six years ago so I started doing that to support the youth. I do the benefit for gay kids every year. It’s in March usually.
I mentored a kid. It’s hard. It’s not like in a TV movie where it’s really great and in two hours they want to be your friend for the rest of your life. No. They fuckin’ hate you if you don’t do what they want you to.
And I’m the chairman of the Screen Actors Guild LGBT Committee that I created with Duncan Ireland, legal counsel at SAG and sort of a mentor to me. I started the first Screen Actors Guild LGBT Committee because it was time to get some support and now UCLA Williams Institute is doing their first survey on out actors.
Are you still lecturing?
Occasionally. I do it a couple times a year to Fortune 500 companies and colleges about being openly gay in the workplace. I actually started doing the lectures because I couldn’t get hired in certain colleges.
14. How do you respond when you tell people you're an actor and their first response is to ask you what restaurant you work at?
It’s an old joke. He’s probably trying to be funny.
They think, “What have you done? Have you ever made a living?” I’ve made a living for over 20 years. Since the late ‘80s.
It’s always in the back of your mind. Certain things have dried up for me in certain areas because you don’t get to do that forever.
How would you have reacted?
I’d just look at them and go, “Would you like to see my resume? I’ve been in 150 films and TV shows as an actor and a comedian. And you?”
For more information on Jason Stuart and to keep abreast of upcoming appearances, check out his website www.jasonstuart.com
The So-and-So Profiles shines a
spotlight on Paul Howard, a chameleon-like actor, writer, producer, model and
1. When, where and how did you
decide to become an actor?
been interested. It wasn’t until junior high that I got a taste of performing.
I took a drama class, which I was put into accidentally.
I took art.
Two weeks into the semester they pulled me out of class, took me to the office
and told me, “We’re changing your schedule.” I don’t know why. They pretty much
changed my entire schedule and changed my elective, which was art, into drama.
I thought I
was going to die. Not only had they taken me out of all my classes where you
kinda make friends, but then they took me out of my elective and put me into
It was a
great moment because I was forced into that then got a taste of performing and
was bitten. It started really young, but I started pursuing it in high school
more seriously and planning to go to college.
2. What was your first role --
professional or otherwise?
It was high
school, but the first thing I auditioned for I booked. I didn’t book the lead,
but I was like, “This is going to be awesome.”
called The Bad Seed. Mr. Dagle. He
was 45. It was a high school play, so you get cast in these roles you would
never play. It was very nerve-wrecking and very scary and very exciting. It
continued me on the path of loving theatre, fine-tuning those skills and
discovering can you do this, do you want to do this.
3. Is that the point you decided
that this is something you want to do, that you’re meant to do and that you’re
going to do?
the beginning of the understanding of the industry. In high school I was very
limitless because you hadn’t learned the “rules” yet of the industry.
creating things. By the end of my high school career, I had directed a play. I
was drama club president. I had been in multiple productions. I put together
different routines and imitated Michael Jackson.
I had done
so much in high school, but then life hits and I get into the industry and start
to realize I’m not allowed to do that or I shouldn’t do that. Only recently
have I come back to “Fuck it. I’m going to do what I want to do.” I’m going to
create things I want to create, things that I’m passionate about and I’m not
going to listen to what everyone’s rules are.
entertainment industry there’s no rule other than following your heart and
following your soul and what you believe. I have yet to find any real rules and
I would be fascinated to hear somebody prove me wrong. Tell me one of the rules
of the industry because I could inevitably show you an example that does not
fall under that rule.
there have to be rules?
4. What is the balance for you
between film, theatre and television?
now is whoever the hell will hire me (laughs).
I would say
I am a theatre-trained actor who is interested in film. I do primarily
independent film right now but television has changed a lot too. I’m much on
board with television than I was at the start of my career because television
has gone through a change. It’s amazing now. I love shows like Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire and every show on AMC. Great acting and great
storytelling -- it’s a different world. Television to me now is film.
passion, not really a career for me. Film is more of a career. I’m more
interested creatively in that – writing and producing and doing that kind of
stuff. I rarely think about writing a theatre show.
5. What is the burning concept in
your head you want to produce?
I did one, Sauce, and learned a ton. Literally, one
day a concept hit me like a lightening bolt. I co-wrote it with my roommate at
the time. We started talking and having dialogue. It was like, “This would be a
great film.”, and it came to fruition.
a short that’s called S.Cart. It’s
very Disney – a sweet story built on the same premise. All of a sudden I saw
something. Through that you start to create scenarios.
lots of ideas in my head – some that are much more tangible and some that are
just ideas. I think of many things – photo sessions, television shows, music
videos. I see lots of stories, characters, designs and colors. I hear music.
You have to reign it in and do it. I love that. I see so much creativity in the
world. That’s being an artist.
6. What is your dream role or type
that is different from who I am that isn’t playing type or isn’t playing what
I’m seen as. Any role that really changes the way I talk, the way I walk, the
way I look. I find those things fascinating. I tend to go after those kinds of
been fascinated by The Elephant Man. That’s one of my favorite plays. To play John Merrick,
who is the elephant man, who has never known human kindness. Any physical
contact he’s ever received has been negative. Can you imagine playing that?
It’s something that most people have no reference to, thankfully.
never been touched in a positive way? I can’t even imagine. It’s something
that’s so challenging and fascinating to me. How do you play that? You’ve only
been hit. We’ve all been hit, but to have never been kissed or touched or
caressed or pet?
play, he is touched for the first time in a positive way. That moment alone –
what an amazing thing for an actor to play. Very extreme characters like that tend
to interest me the most.
I love any
villain too. To play Hitler. Hitler didn’t think he was crazy. He didn’t think
he was wrong. To be true to him you have to play him like a man, not a monster.
I find that fascinating because the tendency is for the public to judge and
look at a person as a monster.
actor, we are not allowed to judge. Anybody who I disagree with venomously, I
find fascinating that I would have to play them. To play someone who’s racist
or discriminatory or crazy or a murderer, those are always the ones that you
are the most fascinated by as an actor because they’re so different from who I
7. How do you think you’re seen by
producers and casting directors?
a hard question. I’m seen different based on who. We project a little bit who
people are. I think I’m seen as driven, strong and reliable because I am. Those
are things that come to me naturally – being on time, having my job done right,
I think it changes because I look different and can act differently. Sometimes
people think of me as something very different than I am.
I did a
short called Rhapsody. It played at
the Newport Beach Film Festival. The director had a group of people come. I met
some of them. This one guy in particular was like, “You did a good job.”
I was like,
continued to talk in the group, he was like, “You did a REALLY good job.”
I was like,
like, “I say that because I thought you were playing yourself but now I realize
that the character I saw on the screen is nothing like you. You are totally
the best compliments. I could tell it was sincere. He wasn’t trying to blow
smoke up my ass. He was just sincere and surprised because he thought I was
this guy that he saw on screen. When he realized I wasn’t, I looked like that
guy but I wasn’t him, that’s when the real accomplishment came.
an actor battles all the time. That’s our job. You’re supposed to see us on
screen and think that’s what we’re like. It’s always perception.
8. Do you ever feel pigeonholed into
certain types of roles?
feel pigeonholed in the types of roles, I feel limited sometimes in the rules
of the Industry. I feel very lucky. I have played a very diverse amount of
characters and I do often get cast in things I’m not the first choice for but
I did a
feature called The Secret Handshake.
They initially called me for a lead role they were strongly considering me for
but they needed a guy with long hair. It comes down to silly things like that
sometimes. They really liked me and they liked what I did and so almost like a
consolation prize, they offered me the supporting role of his best friend.
I wasn’t right type-wise in their minds initially, they were like, “Would you
be interested in this?”
it and the guy was very thug and hardcore and not how I read in real life. I’m
lucky in that way. I’m lucky that I do play different roles. A lot of actors
would love that opportunity. Maybe they get commercials but they only get the
same thing. I’ve gotten a lot of independent film and got a lot of diversity
with those roles.
So I don’t
feel pigeonholed other than the weird rules of the industry that some agents
will look at my resume and say, “So you’ve done nothing.”
value in everything? If I did only student films or plays in my high school,
there some value [to that].
9. How do you describe your
particular style of acting?
A blend of
techniques based on the genre, the character, the forum.
you are just playing yourself or an extension of yourself. Sometimes it is the
dead opposite of you. That style alters. I never personally understood Method
acting in a literal form. So you’re going to play a rapist or you’re going to
play a burn victim. How the hell do you use Method?
Elements of Method absolutely make sense.
Sometimes on set I have to be like Christian Bale and be more reserved and
quiet and focused in my world because of what I doing asks a lot more of me. Sometimes
they can say “action” and I just do my lines.
think I could ever say “my technique is this”. It’s based on who you’re working
with, too. The people you work with demand more or less from you. Technique
varies and is dependent on the project, the genre and the character.
10. Would you like to win an Emmy,
Oscar, Tony, Grammy, all, neither or it doesn’t matter?
I would go with is all. I’m not one to say no. All of those awards and genres
of the industry interest me.
As much as
they say you have to find your own validation, everyone wants to be validated.
I stand by that. Everyone wants to hear they’re pretty. Everyone wants to hear,
“You’re the best.”
nothing wrong with wanting that. It’s a little star on the wall like when
you’re in kindergarten. For me, getting lots of stars just pushes me and
motivates me so I say all of them.
11. What would you say in your
acceptance speech and who would you thank?
point in the acceptance speech, I would encourage people to follow their
there’s work. There’s a lot of work. You’re going to be beat down. You’re going
to be told no. You’re going to be told you’re fat, you’re not talented and all
those things. You have to get up and you have to keep going. Anything that’s
worth it is worth the fight.
definitely be an aspect that I share the award with all those who struggle
everyday because I remember what it’s like and will always be struggling in
course my family and my friends. Anyone I’ve worked with or [anyone who] supported
me because, sadly, those people are rare too. Most people are like, “Good for
you.” But those who really support you, believe in you, are there for you –
they’re the ones who deserve it.
12. What is the balance for you
between acting and modeling?
balance, it’s an arm of the beast. Sometimes modeling is very specific to
promotion. In that case, it’s just more of a machine. I do a lot of photo
shoots because for me it’s a creative outlet. It’s good for marketing, it’s
good for exposure. You never know who you’re going to work with or who they’ll
be tomorrow or where that photo will go.
than that, I love meeting people. I love working with people. A lot of times I
work with people who are new to the industry. I love that experience.
13. What photographer, publication
and/or advertiser would you most like to work with?
a dream to be on the big ones – the GQ’s
or the Vanity Fairs.
milestone. There’s a local magazine called Studio
City Living or something, but my picture was featured in a little article
and I thought it was cool as crap. For me, anything that you’re featured in is
a milestone. You want to keep moving and you want those to be bigger and bigger
but there’s not one place.
14. What has been your greatest
Sauce, my short, thus far. I co-wrote it
and I had multiple producers and then I acted in it, but I ended up Executive
Producing it. It’s a cool title to have, but a lot comes with it when you’re
talking about independent and when you’re talking about shorts.
It was a lot of work. It was a lot of money, a lot of effort, a lot of blood,
sweat and tears. It was amazing in the end to have a product and have it done
and see people watch it and be very proud of it, which I am.
That it can
make people laugh and entertain them is a cool feeling.
try to appreciate each role, each project for what it is. Even if it was a
horrible experience -- what did you learn from it? Did you grow? What good
thing came out of it? There is always something good. It’s just how you choose
to look at it.
15. What was that horrible
I’m one of
those people that truly tend to forget the bad times. When you’re in the
moment, sure, I could talk about that. There have been experiences where you
don’t get along with people and you don’t get along on set. If I was pissed off
about something right now, I could bring it up. But that doesn’t do anything
for you, for me, for anyone else.
a one time because I’ve forgotten it by now. I don’t choose to revel in those
16. Who are your professional
Disney. Michael Jackson was a huge innovator for me. I have a lot of respect
for my peers like Edward Norton, Ewan McGregor, Ryan Gosling – I really love
what they do.
I have a
ton of respect for the Tom Cruises and the Will Smiths of the world. I really
you idolize what you’re more like or what you more want. For me, it’s the
chameleons. It’s the people who transition. The Meryl Streeps who play these
dramatically different roles. I think that’s amazing.
Bassetts that exist in the world who aren’t huge stars but do good work
I say about Christian Bale. He always does good work. I liked him in Swing Kids. He’s really good. I love American Psycho. I love his choices in
that. I understood them and agreed with them. I thought he was brilliant in it.
blown away by anyone who does this everyday and continues to do it. Longevity
is a big thing if you can survive. I’m a supporter of anyone who’s been here 20
17. If a production was casting for
a "Paul Howard" type, what would they be looking for?
good question. That’s a hard question to ask because you don’t want to be a
type. In this industry you don’t ever want to be a type because then you’re
that and only that. I will say that what I often get cast in is the boy next
door that is a serial killer. I tend to get the simple guy on the surface, but still
waters run deep.
point, the unassuming, nice guy who seems cool but can have a dark side to him
– which is not unlike I am.
I am that
middle ground. I could be your brother or your ex-boyfriend or your cousin, which
is a great quality for me as an actor because I can blend into what I need to
play. I don’t want to play just one role.
18. What is the ultimate goal?
I want a
career of respectability, influence and longevity. Those are my three words
that really determine what course I take, what roles. It’s really worked for
me. I haven’t had that model the entire time of my career, but since I’ve had
it, it’s really worked for me. It helps remind me when you get overwhelmed or
you get disappointed or when you’re tempted to take that gig on that reality
ask myself if that’s what I really want. The thing I love about that model is
it’s no judgment to anybody else. Those are my three words. I want influence. I
want respectability. I want longevity. The all encompass something different.
respected in this industry, not everyone wants that. I do. To have influence,
that’s about being able to greenlight projects. It’s about having an impact,
having a choice in decision making. Then to have longevity, that’s because I’m
not in it for a quick minute or for a quick buck. I’m in it because it’s my
passion, because it’s my life, because it’s what I enjoy.
things sum it up for me and remind me why I’m doing it and where I want to go.
19. What is going to keep you from
I’m not a
good loser. I don’t losing. I don’t like quitting and I’m the eternal optimist.
I always see what could be and what you could still do. I’m never backed into a
corner that I can’t escape from.
I had a
dream like this once. I was trapped. I was being chased and I was trapped. I
was in a room that you couldn’t escape from but of course because of the way my
brain works, I was like, “What if there was a secret thing on the wall?”
Then the wall opened and I got out. There’s always a way. Death is the only
inevitable end and that’s boring. That’s going to happen to all of us so I
don’t tend to obsess or focus on that. I’m more interested in what I can
have given up by now if I was going to give up.
Next up for Paul Howard: His film
short “Sauce” is on Kickstarter until April 12, which he’ll continue to market
and submit. He just finished another short (S.Cart), is writing a TV series
pilot with another partner and has another concept idea that is solidifying in
his head. In the meantime, he will continue to audition and do photo shoots.
More information on "Sauce" is available on the film's website.
For more information and to keep up
with all things Paul Howard, check out his website at www.getpaulhoward.com
The So-and-So Profiles shines a
spotlight on DeShelle Taylor, an up-and-coming actress who recently booked her
first major role in an independent feature. I met her on a location shoot for a
friend’s film and found myself staring at her because she reminded me of the
late, legendary Eartha Kitt. She caught me staring, we both laughed, exchanged
information after the shoot and here we are.
1. When, where and how did you
decide to become an actress?
passed away in April of 2011.
It’s been a
lifelong dream to act and model but he wanted me to go to school and get a
degree first. He influenced me not going into it right away so when he passed
away, it was like, “Screw this. I don’t want to live my life for other people
anymore. I want to follow my dreams.”
originally from Philadelphia but I moved here [to
Los Angeles] from Pittsburgh in September of 2011.
2. What did you study?
off as a theatre major in college, but again under the wrong influence, I was
told I couldn’t be a theatre major and be President of the Student Activities
Board. I couldn’t be a cheerleader. I couldn’t do all the things I wanted to do
AND be a theatre major.
like their attitude toward me being ambitious so I dropped the major. I studied
Geography and minored in Spanish and International Business.
3. Have your minor studies come in
handy with regard to your acting work?
does. I speak Spanish. It gets me by. I can speak it if I have to.
well-versed in different regional activities, comes in handy but I haven’t
found an explicit use for it yet.
4. How do you see those studies
augmenting your acting career?
found traveling to be an exciting activity. I love food. I’ve been to Spain, the Dominican
Republic and Puerto Rico.
to see how other cultures live. Depending on the role I get, if it is a
Spanish-type of character, I can pull from those experiences and use that for
the character building.
But that has yet to come so we’ll wait and see.
5. What is it about acting?
I get to be
someone I’m not.
allows me to do the things I need to do and hide behind it. It’s the façade of
I got to
play the role of somebody who kills people. There are a lot of people out here
I can’t stand, [but] I would never pick up a gun and go “matalo!”
mother – I’m not a mother. I’ve always wanted to be a mother but I don’t really
know that physically I want to go through that. Acting allows me to be a mom. I
can look at people and see the connection of a child and a mother and pull from
that and be a mom. I’m not a mother, [but] I get to be that person that I’m
If I want
to be a freak, I can be a freak -- but really I’m not. I might want to be, you
never know. It just allows me to be a character that I might have thought about
and never had the courage to actually be. I get to be myself in a weird
6. Would that freak be your dream
It depends on how I’m feeling that day.
7. What other things would you like
I might be
rich in other aspects of my life but I’d like to have the money to have the
lifestyle that I want to have and to help the people I want to help.
have to put on your oxygen mask before you can help anyone else.
like that all my life – wanting to help people where I could knowing damn well
I shouldn’t because of my own financial limitations or whatever. My heart is in
everything that I try to do for people, but it’d be nice if there was this
boundless bank account.
8. Is this role as an assassin your
9. Can you tell me about the role
and the movie?
She is a
woman scorned by her father. Her father, while she really looked up to him, could
only provide her with survival skills. I don’t want to discount what survival
skills really are to a person but what she really needed was love.
needed her father to be there in terms of moral [and] emotional support.
There’s that connection a father and a daughter have – just like a mother and a
She has a
tendency to be very focused and really not care about anybody else. Period.
She’s an assassin. She can’t care. She can’t have feelings. She can’t love. She
can’t be connected to any human in that way because it’ll make her normal.
diva. Think Columbiana. She loves
what she does and that is probably the only thing she loves at this point. At
this point in the movie where I get to bring her forth, killing is probably the
only thing that makes her happy because everything else that she loves is dead.
Sirena. It means “mermaid”.
10. How did this part come about?
sit at a computer and I submit, submit, submit. Sometimes I get auditions,
sometimes I get hits. This one came about the day before my birthday. He
emailed me the sides and it was like, “Okay, she’s a killer. I get to be
something I’m not.”
movies like The Matrix, Columbiana, G.I. Jane, and Domino. I
like women who kick ass.
I dressed in
all black and I just took on that role, that persona. I went in and auditioned.
He said, “I’ll talk to you in three days.”
hear from him [for] about a week and a half. I’m thinking I didn’t get it. Then
I got the email that I was the only one he considered because I had such an
amazing audition. There were other people who auditioned but they loved my
look. They loved the way I moved. It was just perfect for them.
11. What type of roles do you
typically go for?
myself for everything because I feel like I can do it all with the appropriate
training and the right amount of attention to it. I can be comedic. It’s not
something I see myself as but I pull from the things that I have seen and build
on that foundation.
the type of submissions they get, [it] could be anything from a student film to
a feature role. I have to start somewhere. If someone from the feature side
sees me and looks at my photo and says, “We want her for an audition”, then I
consider that a job well done. Just getting a foot in the door -- some people
don’t even get that, so I’m fortunate.
I can do
anything. Acting to me is about all the colors of a palette -- sometimes you
can be red, sometimes you might need to be a little yellow, sometimes you might
want to be blue or black.
12. Where does your focus lie?
13. You’re also a model. What is the
balance between that and the acting?
not filming I’d like to be in front of another type of camera.
films, I’ll be doing print work and looking for those opportunities. I’ve
always loved the camera.
14. Is there a dream photographer,
advertiser or publication you’d love to work with?
I want to
work with Cover Girl. I love the fact that they use Ellen, which represents
diverse culture – the GLBT. Just to see her with Cover Girl, and I haven’t seen
anyone else do that, makes me feel they’re open to diversity.
slogan – easy, breezy, beautiful – that’s me. It represents me well. Why not
I want a
billboard. I don’t know which company, I just know I want to see myself on a
magazines would be nice – Essence, Ebony.
15. What is the vision for your
I want a
trilogy – something that’s a little dark, a little drama, serious and modern that
a lot of people can identify with.
The Underworld series. That’s more than a
trilogy. She’s a bad ass character. I want to play something like that, but I
want it to be more like what’s going on and what’s happening now in 2012/2013.
lot of people I want to work with. I’d really like to work with Channing Tatum.
Shemar Moore would be fun to work with. I met him and he’s a great, great,
great guy. I’m sure he wouldn’t be too difficult to work with.
referenced Columbiana. That’s the
character like I need to portray. But
I’m not going to be Zoe Saldana playing Columbiana. You’ll see me. You’ll think
her but you won’t see her.
16. What would Channing Tatum and
Shemar Moore be playing opposite you?
hate to bring up the white/black relationship thing.
me to that with Channing is [that] I watched some of his other films. There was
this boxer movie he did and I was like, “He’s a hard ass”. Then I saw G.I. Joe or something else he was in and
it allowed me to see different sides of him.
in that movie was a black man. I want to see him face diversity on a different
level. So I’m like “Why can’t I be that girl?”
something I’d like to see.
Moore, I want him to be a lawyer. I see him in a business suit. Maybe he’s
representing me on a case. I want to see him not as a hard ass, but stern,
lawyer-like very diplomatic. I’ve never seen him portrayed like that. That’s
the vision I see.
The way I’ve
never seen these guys would be the way I envision them working with me. Maybe
there’s a fairy tale. Maybe I have to sue somebody or somebody had to sue me
and I couldn’t afford it. He’s my lawyer on charity and then not only do I win
the case, I get the guy in the end. That would be nice.
that’s really more Hollywood than anything. I don’t know. I don’t have to get
the guy. He could just definitely do his job.
I want to
do action stuff. That’s why Channing Tatum came in mind.
17. Who are your professional
favorite actors. But what fuels me to act isn’t them. It’s just them getting
there. I’m happy for Denzel. I’m having for Channing. I’m happy for Jada and
Will. I’m happy for them, for being who they are. They allowed me to see, “They
did it. It can be done.”
seeing people living out dreams because there are other people who are watching
them, like me, that say, “I don’t think I can do it.”
there’s something that clicks and you’re like, “if they can do it, I can do it.”
came from Philly – DJ, rapper. He wasn’t an actor and then The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air?
started because of a video. It wasn’t because he wanted to act. He was doing
his video and someone saw his video and was like, “I want him for this
character on that show.”
you are is so important. Being who you are first is more important than being
someone else. That’s a part of acting.
Channing, Denzel, Halle Berry. The women from The Help.
I’m in the
tub in Pittsburgh
contemplating moving – tears in my eyes. Dad died. A friend of mine, my
roommate from home, comes in and she’s like, “I have a magazine, you have to
it in the bathroom and I pick it up. It’s an article, I believe it was in Ebony or Essence, on Viola Davis and how she got started. It chronicled her
path and for some reason I felt like I could relate to her – not in terms of
academics, she went to Juilliard, but in terms of having a vision and having a
path. I ripped out the article and I put it on my vision board.
here September 24 and I flew back home in a month. My first month wasn’t easy.
I missed home. I was contemplating not coming back here. I was on a flight from
Burbank to Pittsburgh
that got delayed. It got delayed for four hours.
coming down the terminal to grab breakfast, Viola Davis walks past me. It was
like if the universe could have sent me a sign, that was my sign. Any airport –
I could have been at LAX, I could have been at Orange
County, [but] I was at Burbank and so was she.
for her to go through the line and I was like, “You’re on my vision board and
I’m happy to meet you because that tells me I’m on the right path.”
She was headed to Pittsburgh.
Isn’t that great?
I take stuff
like that and that tells me I’m supposed to be here. You too can be here. You
can do this. You can do it! Si Se Puede!
moments like that that occur in my life that allow me to feel blessed enough to
know that I can do this.
the High School for Creative and Performing Arts in Philadelphia watching those kids follow their
dream – I actually pay THEM homage. I had to be a counselor with a bunch of
academically aggressive high schoolers telling me, “Miss Taylor, you should go
I felt like
a hypocrite. I felt terrible. I love that school. I can’t wait to go back. I
can’t wait to be on the silver screen and then go back to that school and say,
“thank you”. And give them a scholarship. Some artist deserves that.
If it wasn’t
for that school, I wouldn’t be here. If it wasn’t for my dad passing away, I
wouldn’t be here.
18. Back to something you said in
the last question. So who are you?
Who am I
not? I am that I am. That’s me.
actor and I love the entertainment industry, but I don’t watch a lot of movies
and I almost feel like people will look down on me because of that. They may
consider it homework, but the less I know about movies that have been done, the
more a director can direct me without already having programmed knowledge of
how to be and how to do and how to deliver.
play-do, clay, whatever you want. I want to be as pure and as blank of a canvas
for a director to work with as possible. Working with a fresh medium, you get
to see what they can do and it might be something [they’ve] never seen before.
19. “And the Oscar goes to…DeShelle
Taylor.” What would you say and who would you thank?
dance! Why not? It’s my moment. No one gets to take that from me.
What do you
to be more than excited. It’s going to be one of those out-of-body experiences.
I can’t believe I’m here. I can’t believe I did it. But at the same time, I can
believe it because I put so much work, so much time, so much effort and so much
sacrifice into this.
I bought a
red carpet so I could practice. I wasn’t going to tell you, but fuck it. Why
not? Before I moved here, I bought a swatch. I googled “red carpet” and this Hollywood place where they order their red carpet from
popped up. I sat on it for a little bit and I told a friend what I was doing.
He googled it and was like, “I got the same place.”
So I went
ahead and ordered just enough to walk the catwalk and pretend – stepping out of
a car, walking onto the carpet, smiling at fans, giving autographs, taking
photos with them and seeing other fellow actors on the carpet.
dream come true.
Toward the end of the interview, a
woman came up with her teenage son. She had “shockingly” overheard our
conversation (we were rather boisterous). Based on what she had heard, she felt
that DeShelle was her soul sister. Her son is starting out as an actor and a
singer and they were in the process of relocating out here from Cleveland.
Be on the lookout for the actor Kole
Selznick-Hoffman and the writer Robin Selznick in the near future.
The So-and-So Profiles shines a spotlight on the
actress Chelsea Didier, a combination of acting, singing and dancing talent
seeking to just make good art.
1. When, where and how did you decide to
become an actress?
Most people have a defining moment. I didn’t have
that. I’ve just always known. There was never a time I thought I’d be doing
I started off as a dancer when I was three years
old. Dance then led me to a dance teacher by the name of Steven Lovelace. He
started a dance company for young kids which I was a part of.
Then he started doing a summer theatre program. He
suggested to my mom that I do it. I was only eight years old. I went out and I
auditioned and it was all over.
Then as I started getting older, I just continually
kept doing these summer theatre programs whenever I could. Dance was my thing
to do during school and then as soon as it was summer, it was only theatre.
As I started getting older, I started taking weekend
The only thing I ever wanted to do was perform. And
that’s what it really came down to. It was something I couldn’t ever stop
thinking about. When I wasn’t doing it, I wanted to be doing it or I wanted to
be talking about another opportunity to be doing it. It was everything. When I
wasn’t doing it, I was reading about it. I was reading memoirs. I was reading
interviews with Laurence Olivier.
It just became everything.
2. Do you have a preferred style of dance?
I love dancing lyrical. It’s very feminine dancing
but it’s not as structured as ballet. It’s just more free. That’s what it is.
My favorite style to perform is hip-hop. You get to
be funky. That’s when I was able to express the most. I was most free. If I did
that in the middle of a lyrical dance, people would probably frown upon that.
3. Where does your focus lie -- stage, film, TV or either?
I want to do film, [but] I never want to stop doing
stage. It keeps you grounded as an actor. It keeps you very real, it keeps you
humble and it makes you work harder than you’ve ever worked.
If the opportunity presents itself, I hope I can
move to New York for six months and do an awesome play. That would be great for
me. That’s my dream.
Movies made me feel so much more intensely than any
other form of expression I’ve ever come across. I would re-watch Forrest Gump 17 times. It was about that
for me, I wanted to notice all the little moments and re-watching it gives you
a better clarity of the story and choices the directors are making.
You can create things in movies that you can’t
create anywhere else. I love all of the different processes and how are we
informing each decision by the next.
I was just obsessed with that whole world. It was
never, ever about the fame for me. I was so inspired by people making such
great art that made me think differently and view people differently or
re-think a conversation I had with someone and go, “that’s what they meant.”
It kept me open. That’s the most beautiful thing
4. What movie(s) makes you feel good, what movie(s) make you
laugh, what movie(s) make you cry, what movie(s) expand your mind?
That’s so hard. Movies that make me laugh are movies
like Wedding Crashers and Bridesmaids.
I’m a big fan of sarcasm. Vince Vaughn is the most
sarcastic human being ever. If he’s a common denominator, I’ll probably like
I love Kristen Wiig. She’s someone I’ve really grown
to look up to. She’s absolutely brilliant.
Any movie that’s daring, especially with comedy -- having
Melissa McCarthy take a shit in a sink! It makes me happy that people aren’t
scared or holding themselves to certain weird values. They’re making what makes
them laugh. They’re just doing it. It’s just great.
Movies that make me think are probably my favorite
types of movies. 50/50 was one of my
favorite movies this year. It’s so good. It’s so well-acted. It stuck with me.
There were so many moments that could have been overacted, overdone and
overdramatic and stupid. It was real and that’s what I loved about it. I love
anything that expresses real life.
I cry all the time. I never used to be a person like
that but I’ve become this softie. Forrest
Gump can still make me cry. I will cry out of happiness for a movie that is
about not giving up hope and the strive to live or to succeed or to make it
because at the end of the day I can relate to that. Those are all inspirational
things to me.
50/50 moved me. A lot of movies have this effect on me; even
movies that I don’t think are really meant to do this do -- like It’s Complicated.
5. What would this great play be that you envision yourself
doing for six months in New York?
I’m always down with a musical.
I saw All My Sons a couple years back
with John Lithgow, Patrick Wilson and Dianne Wiest (whom I love). The story was
I like some of the classics -- maybe not
Shakespeare. I love Shakespeare but I’m not a Shakespearean actor. I can
appreciate it, but I’m not going to go down that road. I would love to do some
Chekov or Ibsen, newer plays -- plays that make me think.
6. What constitutes bad acting?
I know what it feels like when I’m bullshitting. We
all do it. We all go there. Everybody has moments of bad acting. You’re not
going to be awesome all the time.
If someone’s not really giving it with their eyes,
they’re not there. You have to actually believe everything that you’re saying
and you have to feed it to the audience with your eyes. You have to believe it
to your core. There’s really no other way to go about it. You have to convince
yourself. It’s so psychological, it’s crazy.
7. What for you is the importance of
classes and seminars?
I feel most seminars in LA are bullshit, [but] I
hear that there are some that are awesome.
They can be helpful. Sometimes in those rooms you’ll
meet the right people. You never know. It’s all about being at the right place
at the right time. It’s amazing how much of it is luck. You also have to be
prepared and be ready at the right time.
There’s something to be said for them. Everybody
needs training. I would not be half the actor that I am without training. Classes
keep your skills sharpened in a constant way that will do nothing but propel
you forward. A smart actor is an actor that never stops wanting to learn and
improve their craft. You can never know everything.
8. What would you say to the naysayer who thinks they don’t need
You absolutely need acting classes -- with the right
teacher. It’s like yoga. Yoga with the wrong teacher is going to suck. Yoga
with the right teacher is going to be awesome and give you absolutely what you
need. You also have to click with them. – if someone’s going to be too intense
or too strict, they’re going to scare you or it’s going to be too intimidating
the learning process wont work.
[But] the teacher you’re paying money to is going to
be a lot more forgiving than any casting director that you’re just walking into
the room for. It’s really good to get your butterflies out in front of these
teachers who are here to help you and want to see you succeed – for the most
part. That’s why they’re there. That’s why they’re doing their job.
You just have to keep working toward your craft.
It’s why I get up and try to do vocal exercises. Even though no one’s telling
me to, even though I don’t have to get up at 9am for my voice class, I’m still
trying to stay active -- even if it’s humming in the car.
If you are fully new to the table, you have a lot of
work to do because there are a lot of people here that have been doing this for
a long time and they know exactly what to do. They know every person in the
room. There are people here who get auditions all the time. They know everybody
because they’re always auditioning.
There are thousands of those actors in LA. You have
to be prepared to compete with those people. I’m not even ready to compete with
those people and I went to school for four years. That’s how I think of it.
If you want to be here, you have to make your
presence known and come with a vengeance. You have to want to be here [and] work
harder than you’ve ever worked.
Right place, right time, but you also have to be the
right person at the right time.
9. Does the concept of self-taught apply to the craft of acting?
It can. For some people. There’s a few exceptions to
everything I’ve just said. There are people who were just born to do this and
they have inherently good timing and talent. They just have to prove themselves
and they still have to work hard.
It’s when people think that it’s just going to
happen that I get almost offended. They
think that by moving here and just taking a class will be enough to make it
happen. When I was at CalArts studying for my BFA in acting I took classes for
40-50 hours a week for four years and I still am taking classes and still
learning. This is because I want this more than anything, I have since I was 7.
I have real passion for this craft and its hard to think that someone that just
woke up one day and decided to be an actor or to be famous, has the same
passion as I do.
10. Where is the line between someone that doesn’t have IT and
can never get IT versus someone that doesn’t have IT but can develop IT?
It’s up to the viewer. Some people are going to
think you’re awesome and some people are going to think you suck. At the end of
the day, that’s true.
I’m an actor but I can’t sit here and say that
person definitely can do it and that person can’t. Who am I to say that? That
isn’t even my place. I’ve seen what it looks like when it happens and it’s very
different from when it doesn’t happen.
11. How do you describe your style of acting?
Rooted but off the cuff.
I like to be truthful and present but if I think of
something in the moment, I’m not one of those actors going over my script and
be like, “Definitely here, I’m going to turn my head.”
There are actors that are like that. They feel like
they need to be choreographed to a tee. Part of me wishes I could be like that
but that’s not where acting lives in me and it’s different for everyone. I like
the spontaneity of it. It’s that much more truthful and it makes my brain get
that much more rooted into the character.
It doesn’t mean I’m not going to rehearse, doesn’t
mean I’m not going to do research.
12. What role has been your favorite to play and why?
was able to play Gunhild in John Gabriel
Borkman. She’s supposed to be this haggard, tormented woman that’s very
lonely and she’s angry. I was given this part and I loved it.
like playing people that are nothing like me. The farther away from me you are,
the more I want to play you. I want to be shook by what I’m doing. I want to be
riveting -- for the audience, but also for me.
that respect, that’s why I love Rooney Mara right now. When you see her in
interviews, she’s like [soft spoken], “I’m just really happy to be here.” And
in Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, she’s
what I love. That’s what it should be all about -- surprising people. Making
them forget you are who you are.
13. Would you like to win an Emmy, Oscar, Tony, Grammy, all or
if we’re being real about it.
amount of recognition is great but that’s not why I’m doing it. It’s a plus.
paid is a plus right now.
14. What would you say in your acceptance speech and who would
would thank my family. I would thank Steven Lovelace, who was the one who
taught me how to dance. He’s still in my life. He’s still like my
pseudo-father. He showed me theatre. He showed me dance. He showed me
performing. I owe him a lot. I’m indebted to him forever.
are also so many people in the wonderful community of Santa Barbara. It’s a small
community. Everybody who does theatre knows each other. There are so many
teachers and so many friends that have endlessly supported me and done whatever
they could to help me out.
feel incredibly indebted to a lot of people.
15. What is going to keep you from giving up?
literally wanted to do this since I can remember.
I give up on it, it’s like giving up on myself and I can’t do that. At the end
of the day, when you don’t feel that there’s all the support in the world for
you, you have to be your own support.
belief in myself. There’s this new quote I saw the other day. It’s actually in
a painting but I loved it. It was, “She believed she could, so she did.”
going to work hard. And make good art.
16. What has been your greatest acting experience?
The best time I’ve ever had doing theatre was
creating my own work – the hardest and most painful but also the most
My favorite acting experience is still, and I have
half a mind not to say this, playing the Scarecrow in The Wiz when I was eleven. It was so fun.
I should have something better to talk about, but
that is my best acting experience. That was the first role that I really loved.
I got the most lines and I was totally somebody else. I basically was Michael
Jackson and that was awesome.
17. If a production was casting for a "Chelsea Didier"
type, what would they be looking for?
one of the best things about me. I have a lot of different types. I can play
Sarah for days – girl next door, sweet, innocent, loving, maybe a little
quirky. Maybe the best friend. I can do all of that.
me just lay it out his way. It’s the easiest way to describe it. I’m having new
headshots taken. There’s three different works that I’m encompassing:
We’re going to do sexy secretary – Law
& Order/CSI bitch.
We’re going to do bad ass bitch – True
Bloodesque, Walking Deadesque, Dexteresque, kick some ass. Maybe a
little edgier, harder.
We’re also going to more funny, quirky, girl next door, sweetheart. Maybe a
18. Who are your professional inspirations?
Mara because I can’t stop thinking about her. That movie (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) is ingrained in my head.
Streep. Kate Winslet. David Fincher. Brad Pitt. Natalie Portman. I love Tina
Fey. And Kristin Wiig. Charlize Theron. I have much respect for Dianne Wiest.
Davis. If you’re a great stage actress and you transfer into film, I have
nothing but respect for you. That is not only one of the harder things to do,
but it also means that you’ve paid your dues more than anyone else. There’s
nothing like being a stage actor. Things do not fly in the theatre that fly on
films. It’s a whole different caliber of actor. You’re dealing with people that
are very well trained, take it very seriously. It’s a craft. It’s not just
something to do. It’s art.
Davis hasn’t been given the opportunities that Meryl has but I feel like she’s
the same caliber of actress. She’s absolutely tremendous. I want to see more
from her. It’s sad that she’s not given more. It’s because she’s a powerful
black woman and there are not enough roles like that out there.
a big fan of Anthony Hopkins.
want to be Lucille Ball – absolutely. She’s been one of my heroes my whole
life. That woman. Vitameatavegamin is my favorite episode.
19. How do you react
when you tell people you’re an actress and the first thing they say is, “What
restaurant do you work at?”
I moved here I was embarrassed to tell people I was an actor. You tell someone
you’re an actor in this town and all they do is smile or they do a little
giggle to themselves. It got to be degrading a little bit.
am an actor but I’m happy about it. I’ve learned to have pride in it. I have
something different and special to offer.
For more information on Chelsea Didier, check out her website at www.chelseadidier.com.
The So-and-So Profiles shines a spotlight on Dane White, a comedic actor who's more than meets the eye and has promised me an exclusive interview as soon as he wins his first Oscar. I don't care if he gets so big that George Clooney himself will holding his umbrella for him, I am holding Dane to that promise.
1. When, where and how did you decide to become an actor?
I fell in love with it
when I was a young lad. We had a senior program in high school where the older
kids would come into the elementary schools and they would mentor the students.
I was fortunate enough to be mentored by one of the senior guys in theatre.
He mentioned to the class
that he was in this show at the high school – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat -- and to come check it
out. I found out the brother of my neighbor across the street was an actor. He
invited me to go see it. I go and I’m just blown away by it because the guy was
well beyond a gifted high school student. You don’t think that talent like that
would be at a high school show. He sings professional opera now.
I was like, I want to do
that. I want to go up there and do that stuff. I wanted to be that guy that can
take over a room and entertain and have them leave happy.
We had The Nutcracker for the fifth grade show
and I wanted to be the lead. I got
the script beforehand and I rehearsed it for my audition. I was working on it
in my bedroom, looking in the mirror. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m a kid. I
go in, I audition, nail it and they cast me as Arabian Dancer #3. I was heartbroken.
I had a great time doing
it. It was fun but I was so jealous of all the people that got to go up there
and say their lines and speak. From that very young age, I wanted to perform
for people. I just knew. There’s nothing else I could be doing. I wouldn’t be
happy any other way. It just wouldn’t fulfill me.
2. Do you feel that losing out on The Nutcracker prepared you for future disappointments?
I felt really
disappointed but I did get to be an Arabian dancer with a really cute girl. I
got to hold her leg. That was one of my first lady-touching moments. She put
her leg up and I had to hold her belly. She dipped down. For a young
12-year-old that’s a pretty exciting moment. So I think I won in the end.
It just taught me that I
need to work harder than anyone else. I worked really hard on that. If that
wasn’t enough, what will be?
I’ve always been one of
those people that would win out in everything because I would do more than the
other person would. I may not be as talented but I will get cast because they
know I will work harder. I will put in the effort. If you work two hours, I’ll
3. What, for you, is the draw of acting and performing?
It just gives me so much
joy. When people describe “being in the moment” when they’re up on stage, it’s
not necessarily that you go to this other place. It’s just there’s nothing else
but what you’re doing.
I love that feeling of
just doing it, hearing the laughter or, when I’m watching something that I’ve
done, watching other people’s faces. Whether I’ve done a good or bad job, I’ve
changed them in a way. Art can leave a lasting impression on someone. I’m still
talking about Joseph and the Amazing
Technicolor Dreamcoat as one of my top favorite musicals because of what it
did to me as a 5-year-old.
That’s why I like doing
it. And I’m selfish. It makes me feel good. I’m an attention whore.
4. What role has been your favorite to play and why?
I did a comedy in high
school called The Foreigner by Larry
Shue. I play this very corrupt, evil Reverend who’s very southern, charming and
confident. I loved the show. It’s one of those shows that got people roaring
It may not have been my
best work and it was in high school, but that was the role that if I wasn’t
completely committed to [acting], I was after that. Satisfied with that
Good. I hope I’m giving
you everything you’ve ever dreamed of.
No comment. (laughter) You set me up. I’m surprised
I have the class not to jump right on that.
5. Do you gravitate more toward comedy or drama?
I do comedy because it’s
easy. For some reason, I hear the music in it. Comedy is music, comedy is timing.
If you have to choose, are you going to write right-handed or left-handed, I’m
going to write right-handed because that’s what I’m good at.
That’s comedy for me. I
fall into it. I understand it. Drama is the hardest thing for me but deep down
inside I yearn to get up there and do Hamlet.
Unfortunately, I don’t
look like that. Before you can do those kinds of things, you have to show that
you can be whatever they see you as. I fit those comedy roles because I don’t
take things very seriously in general.
I’m very light, I’m very
jokey, I’m very easygoing so I get cast in roles like Goofy Boyfriend or Romantic
Comedy Lead. I’m Goofy Office Worker. That’s fine and dandy because I love to
work no matter what I’m doing and that makes people laugh, but we all have that
yearning to do it all.
I was trained in theatre.
When I was 17-years-old, I got to play MacDuff. Nobody’s going to let me play
MacDuff until I’m 40. I couldn’t play MacBeth until I’m 45 or 50. I had a hard
time accepting that when I came out here.
It’s hard to go, “But I played
People are like, “Welcome
to the business, buddy. You are what you are.” And that’s frustrating.
6. Where does your focus lie -- stage, film, TV, web or
Film is the goal I’d be
going for because you get one story, commit to that story, shoot it over a
couple months and you’re done. But I would just like to perform – whatever it
7. What is your dream role or type of role?
I don’t know if it’s been
written yet. Maybe I’m going to create it. Maybe I’m going to write my greatest
role. Maybe you will. Maybe it will be a Shakespeare play that is turned into a
movie. I would love to play Antony.
If I could have done Fight Club, that would have been
awesome. I would also love to do a Gladiator.
I’d love to do Scrubs [if it was
still on the air]. They had so much fun.
years of being here, I finally got full representation. She has the opportunity
to submit me for the things I could never get to. I know I’m talented enough
that if I’m seen by enough people, I will have success. They will see what this
guy’s got to offer.
8. You’re generally cast in the goofy type of roles as the
date guy and/or the romantic lead. Do you feel the need to try to combat that
at this point?
I’ve accepted it. What’s
best is to embrace it and really commit to it and be the best at that task.
Whether it’s being that goofy frat guy or that romantic, I’m going to do it
better or slightly more different than anyone else. Instead of just making that
character the goofy frat boy, I see that character for what he is and why he’s
like that to give that performance that makes them go, “I thought it was just
going to be about goofy frat guy when really I got to see this character that
was completely well-rounded and developed.”
Eventually they’re going
to go, “Bump him up, give him the lead in this [other movie].”
9. How do you approach a role?
I work from the outside
in. I got to play MacDuff in high school but it wasn’t until I got to put on
the costume and carry the sword that I started to feel it. So I like to get how
this person walks, how he moves, how they speak, how they think. Once I get
that I work on the words.
I work on it to the point
where I stop thinking about it. It just comes natural. It flows out of you. And
then you can go into that part where it’s like now do it like a silly man, do
it like a crazy person, speed up, slow it down. I can play. I can gauge the
other person -- really listen and take what they’re giving me and give it right
back in a way that’s different each time.
Once you feel completely
comfortable with it, there’s nothing you can’t do. You can adjust. Then it’s
just a dance. I really like that part of it.
10. What do you draw upon to find a character?
My own life. Finally, I’m
at an age now where at least I have some life experiences to draw from. I’m not
20 years old trying to play 35-year-old characters that have lost their wives
and children and have no way of really understanding that. I can emulate it and
I can try, but at least now I draw from myself and I draw from my director and
we work together to create it.
11. How do you describe your style of acting?
I hope it’d just be good,
but shocking is a better answer because if people underestimate me as much as
they do, then they see me going above their expectations.
I get this a lot – “You’re
really good, I didn’t think you were going to be that good.”
I can see why [they’d]
say that. I’m a goofy guy. I don’t come across as someone who takes the craft
as seriously as I do, but when you see it you go, “That was so much different
than I thought you would give.”
And I’ll take that as a
compliment. It’s a little bit of a slight, but it’s a good slight.
12. And the Oscar goes to…Dane White. What would you say?
I don’t think you could
prepare for that moment. Everyone goes up there and they always have that
speech written down and they stumble through it like a mess.
Of course I got to thank
Mom and Dad. Always. I can’t believe when I told them I was doing this, they
supported me 100%. Always thank the theatre teachers. Thank those that inspired
Then I’d probably start
crying like a baby. I’d thank my wife, children and dog for being there. And
just leave. Just go home. Snuggle with it. Polish it. I don’t know if that day
would ever come. I hope it would. We’ll see what happens. Re-interview me in
ten years when I’m holding it.
I’m holding you to this.
Fair enough. Call me and
I’ll have it sitting right here.
I’m telling you. As soon as I find out you’re
nominated, I’m going to email you.
What makes you think
you’ll be able to get to my email address.
Are you going to change it?
I’ve had the same one
since I was in high school. Hotmail!
And it’s on your facebook, that’s how I got it the
Is it? I’m right there on
facebook. You can’t hide from the world now.
And I have your number.
I haven’t changed that
since I was sixteen.
I’m telling you. Another guy said the same thing
about a follow-up interview. I will hold you to this.
I’ll be here and I’ll
give you the exclusive. Alright, where are we at?
13. You’re not an ugly guy. In an image-focused industry,
do you think that really good looks are an enhancement or a hindrance to
someone who wants to be an actor versus just wanting to be a movie star?
I don’t think I have
really good looks. I’m Everyman attractive. I work out and I try to keep my
body in shape, but you’re never going to see me in a Ralph Lauren commercial
with my shirt off coming out of the pool dripping wet. But you can definitely
see me with a very attractive girl on my arm being the nice guy.
I don’t think it hinders
I’ve often been told I
have a look that’s different than the typical because I’m so Anglo-looking, so
American made. I’m all English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh with a dash of German.
But my family’s been here so long, came here on the Mayflower. I’m the prototype
of the American.
This is what I got. This
is what I’m bringing to the table. It can only help if you know how you look
and how to market yourself to the best of that look. I’m a jeans and t-shirt
kinda guy. I think people see me as that. It makes me very humble. I’m
approachable and I’ll be that guy that fixes your flat tire on the side of the
If you look at a lot of
leading men, they’re pretty sculpted but there’s always something different
about them when you look at them. It’s more their charisma. It’s something that
comes from within that overwhelms you [and] makes you look at them in a different
14. What has been your greatest acting experience?
I got to work with Rob Lowe
on a Butterfinger commercial. That was cool. I didn’t get to talk to him a lot
and I didn’t get a lot of one-on-one with him but it was cool to watch somebody
so big come out of their trailer and be like, “What are we doing? What’s
happening? Oh, we’re doing this part? Mind if I just make it up? Ok, here we
I got to do scenes with
him. It was just awesome.
As far as theatrical
experience, I got to do this thing called the International Thespian Festival
when I was in high school. We performed for 1500 people. There’s nothing that
prepares you for 1500 people. The electricity in the room and the feeling of it
is so great.
What’s funny is when I
went up there and did it, what I did was no different than what I had done in
front of two people.
15. What has been your worst performing experience?
I’m on an improv team and
I perform around town. I was [previously] on a team that wasn’t necessarily the
greatest. We got along real well but we just didn’t click on stage. We weren’t
mentally connected. We went up there and just BOMBED. I wanted to stop and go,
“Guys, I’m sorry, stop. I’m sorry, audience, that you had to watch this first
ten minutes. We will get down now, Thank you.”
I fully expected people
to boo us. I’m surprised they didn’t. I deserved to be booed off the stage.
What I did was bad. Maybe I had to get through it and learn, but them not
laughing is ten times worse than booing.
I’ve never felt so
uncomfortable and humiliated on the stage. I’m embarrassed thinking about it.
Let’s move on.
16. Who are your professional inspirations?
I’ve always loved Matt
Damon and Brad Pitt. Edward Norton. They make great choices and I would love be
able to make great choices. You must make wise choices when it comes to work.
I’m sure everybody wants to make the best choice, but we’ve seen a lot of
people not make the best choice for whatever reason it may be.
Ryan Gosling -- he’s so
hot right now. I’d love to have his career. I did some research on him and he’s
been working since he was a kid. There was this huge span of nothing and then
one little thing here like The Notebook
and then years later, BOOM.
Patience is one of the
things. You just learn patience, patience, patience. It is a virtue. I don’t
have a lot of it. I’m a quick draw.
He didn’t mean that ladies.
It’s true. Quick draw
I’m trying to help. You can’t have a man who won’t
You can’t help me.
There’s no help. But I have good hands.
You can get by on those looks. I have to have
Alright, get back on
track. What do we got?
17. If a production was casting for a "Dane White"
type, what would they be looking for?
They would be looking for a very nice, handsome, joyful, kind and
charming person with a little bit of spice. Very light-hearted. Very emotional.
I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve and I tell people way too many things that
they shouldn’t know.
A lot of people often think I play the dumb card or the goofy card, but
people that know me know I’m very intelligent. I’m very educated. I hope that
that’s something that they would write down.
That’d be a long breakdown.
18. What is your ultimate goal -- if you haven't already
To make a living without
having to support myself any other way than acting. If I can achieve that and
live my life where I can still support a family, go on vacations, put a kid
through college and I can do it all from acting in whatever way – theatre,
film, TV, standing on the corner dancing in the streets -- I would be happy.
I’m not going to say my
ultimate goal is to be Oscar-award winning. That’s the supreme thing I would
love to have achieved but my realistic goal that would make me happy wouldn't be
If I’m detective on a cop
show for the next ten years and I get to do the cop show but then on my spare
time I get to go and have my own theatre company and experience that, I will be
19. When you tell people you’re an actor and the first
thing they ask is what restaurant you work at, how do you respond?
It’s probably some dope
at my restaurant so he knows I’m a server. [It’s] clearly not anybody in the
business because somebody in the business would have the class to not say that. [But] you can’t take yourself that seriously. Who cares? I’ll come back with a joke
and move on.
There’s a reason why they
say that. A lot of us are. It’s not like you’re breaking the stereotype by any
For the first time, the So-and-So
Profiles shines spotlights on two actors -- Brandy Kopp and Jon Paul Burkhart
-- who are starring with David Gunning in the upcoming web series “Bitter Bartender”, launching Thursday, February 16 at 8:30pm PST on YouTube.
1. When, where and how did
you decide to become an actress?
Growing up I was just always a little attention whore. Always goofing off and
trying to make people laugh. And I really liked how entertained I was by films
that I enjoyed and I wanted to be a part of that.
I lived in a small town four hours outside of Vancouver. I got an agent and started driving
into town for auditions. I did a little bit of work. At first it was more the
paycheck that excited me and then I did a few things for no paycheck.
I was on set one day for 18 hours and they were apologizing and apologizing and
I was going, “No, no, no, are you kidding? Keep me here. I don’t care. I’m not
even getting paid and I love it.”
If you can do something and not get paid and still love it, you should do it.
I moved to Vancouver
and worked on some projects there. Then I moved to LA and I work on it here.
2. What was your first role -- professional or otherwise?
The first professional role was a movie called Cheats. It was a teen comedy. I
got to film for a couple months. It was just amazing. I [made] friends my age
and a bunch of people just took me on and taught me.
They’d be on set and yell, “Check the gate!”
I literally looked around for a gate. Like an idiot, I was like, “Are we shooting
a gate in the next scene?”
They taught me set lingo because I really needed to learn. It was a great
3. What is your dream role or type of role?
An Erin Brockovich-type. That would be very cool. I would love to play someone
who’s still alive – hang out with them and take on their energy to try and play
them in a movie. I would love that.
I also just love the roles that Rachel McAdams gets to take on. She just gets
to play with all the facets of emotion. She’s likeable and fearless….I love her.
And she’s Canadian.
She completely inspires me and seems like a really good person who is doing
well in this industry. That’s what I want.
4. How do you approach a role?
I have learned different tricks. For me, I try and figure out what I think what
music they would listen to, what movies I think they would watch. While I’m
reading the sides, what would they be doing? Would they drink coffee or tea?
Just down to little details just so that I can start to feel like that person.
I used to just memorize the lines, dress pretty and go into the audition. Now,
what to wear and how to do my makeup is a background thought.
I need to make these people believe that I am her. If there’s something in the
script that she is well-versed in, I’ll research it on the internet.
That’s just what works for me. It might not work for someone else. Some
people’s ways of doing it doesn’t work for me. The point is to find what will
help you find that character in yourself the easiest.
5. What has been your greatest acting experience?
Bitter Bartender has so far actually been my favorite time on set because I was
so proud of everyone putting in 100%. These extras would come at two in the
morning and shoot until we stopped. Not once did they complain. Not once did
they not have a smile on their face.
David [Gunning, the creator/writer/producer] was so great to work with. He
would give advice on what he wanted in a scene and then for a few of them would
go, “Do what you want.”
As an actor, you don’t realize how great that opportunity is until you get to
do it and trust that you can do what you really, really want to do. It’s a good
way to get genuine creativity out of somebody.
I had the greatest time working on this of anything I’ve worked on so far.
6. What has been your worst acting experience?
I’ve never had a bad acting experience on set but I have had some really bad
acting auditions. One was actually around the time I auditioned for Bitter
Bartender. I went in for a movie and the guy had his laptop up.
As he’s reading the lines with me, he’s looking over at another computer and
typing and typing. At no point looking at me, not paying attention, just
completely engulfed in his computers and his emails.
When I was done, he was like, “Thanks, good day.”
I can only imagine what that set would be like.
7. You mentioned Rachel McAdams. Who are some of your other professional
Certainly the obvious ones – Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet.
You can take classes, you can learn, you can work very hard. Some people just
have this something in them. It’s not that they’re more interesting than anyone
else or work harder than anyone else, it’s that they can truly morph into other
human beings so well that the next movie you watch them in it’s almost like
[you] don’t believe it’s them because they were so good in the last one. [You]
believed they were that person. Then you see them in an interview and you
actually get to know who they are.
When you watch me in Bitter Bartender, or even other roles, you’re actually
getting me. [With] them, it doesn’t seem like you’re getting any of who they
really are in those roles. It’s so fascinating. The obvious ones are really the
best for a reason. I’m completely inspired by them.
Plus, they haven’t made their way to the top through shitty ways that you can
make your way to the top in this town. If that makes people happy, good but
they made it because of how good they are and I love that.
8. If a production was casting for a "Brandy Kopp" type, what would
they be looking for?
The girl next door goof. A girl who’s not afraid to embarrass herself. Playful
9. What’s next for Brandy Kopp?
Pilot season. Just auditioning and doing my best to try to get on a show.
I would love to be on a show like Shameless. I love how real it is. You feel
like a fly on the wall. I feel like I’m watching these people actually live
this life. They do such a damn good job. These actors are just so damn good.
10. How do you respond when you tell people you’re an actress and they respond
by asking what restaurant you work at?
I say, “'Wood and Vine' on Hollywood
and Vine. Come visit! First drink’s on me!”
Working at a restaurant in this town is a reminder of not [being] a constant
working actor or even just making it my living enough that I could quit here.
It feels like shit. It really does.
But we all know going into this career that there is the chance that you’ll be
also doing a job that you don’t’ love in order to pursue one that you do. You
can’t cry the blues about it.
I don’t apologize for it and I’m not embarrassed by it.
Jon Paul Burkhart
1. When, where and how did you decide to become an actor?
I was raised in a suburb
of Dallas. I
sang with my Dad in church as a little kid. I started doing musicals in high
school because I could sing. While I did them, I didn’t care about the acting.
I went to college and was
an opera major because I was a singer. Halfway through I thought, “I don’t want
to make a career out of this.”
I’d been acting just a
little bit more during musicals in college. I was getting more into the acting
so I finally decided to switch my major to acting and I ended up changing
After college, I moved
back to Dallas and started working and pretty
soon was making a living as an actor in Texas.
You have to do a lot of different things, but I figured if I could do that
there then I could do it somewhere else.
So I moved to LA in 2007.
2. What was your first role -- professional or otherwise?
My first professional
role was at this place called the Pocket Sandwich Theatre in Dallas. All they do is popcorn dramas. They
boo and can yell things, [but] the only thing you can throw is popcorn.
I got to play a really
funny drunk Irish guy. It played for nine weeks and it paid crap but it was my
first professional job.
Around the same time I
got hired by the Shakespeare Festival to go to schools during the day and do
this 45-minute show [of] famous Shakespeare scenes. We wrapped a cool, hip
script around it. It was really fun and the kids really enjoyed it. We liked
going to the lower income areas because they really loved us.
And it was like I was
making a living. I had a day job as an actor right out of college. That was
3. What is your dream role or type of role?
I’d really love to play
Richard Simmons [in] a biopic.
In my brain, I’ve got
everything set – except for the script and the story because I don’t know
anything about him. I’ve taken his class. It’s an amazing class. I burned 2000
calories in one hour. It was amazing.
It’s simply going to be
called Sweat – The Richard Simmons Story.
I don’t know if that’d be a dream role or just something I think that would be
a really fun role.
4. What do you draw upon to find a character?
It’s different for
everything. Sometimes I barely even have to look at the lines. For some TV
roles, I just read the lines a few times and I’ve got it. I don’t have to do
any weird actor things. I’m there.
In theatre, sometimes
there’s stuff where I can just be joking and cracking up right offstage and go
out on stage and be in character.
It’s different for every
character. I played Amadeus once and I literally got there two hours before the
show every time. I would basically go through the entire script in my dressing
room as a warm-up. Out loud from memory. [It] was a great way to warm up.
I’ve done all sorts of
strange stuff to make myself do strange things on stage – hurting myself,
pinching myself. They say whatever it takes and sometimes it just doesn’t take
5. How do you describe your style of acting?
I like to be memorized as
soon as possible because you can’t really get any work done on a character
until you’ve got the words in your brain. I like to memorize as much as I can
without adding any character into it, which is really difficult, but then you
can add so much more on top because it’s a part of you already.
Sometimes I would lean
more toward the crazy, Method thing. If I’m doing a dialect, I have to stay in
that dialect full-time.
I don’t have to prepare
as much for roles I’m closer to as a person. I have to prepare a lot more [for]
roles that are further away from me because I have to bring more that’s not
real and make it believable.
6. “…And the award goes to Jon Paul Burkhart.” What would
you say and who would you thank in your acceptance speech?
I’d probably be
I’ve practiced this
enough. I would definitely thank God – because I’m religious. (I laugh.) Well, sometimes people make
fun of that.
I made fun of the qualification.
Okay, that’s cool. I’d
thank God. I’d definitely thank my parents. I’d thank my other half Mimi.
I would probably thank as
many people as I probably could in the time I had. I would probably keep it
7. You’ve mentioned God and your faith. You’re religious.
How does that affect your choice of roles or your approach to roles?
It doesn’t really. I
really don’t have qualms about doing anything. I guess nudity would be
something I might shy away from unless they could explain exactly to me why
And if they say because
it would be funny, then I would probably be okay as long as I could get a laugh
-- which I think nude I probably would.
My spiritual life is
personal with me. It’s my relationship with God, not mine and the rest of the
world and what they think. So if I ever do anything that would go against my
own personal morals and ethics, it would be between me and God and not between
me and what other people think.
I’ve definitely done some
things that afterwards I’ve gone, “Crap, I shouldn’t have done that.”
8. Who are your professional inspirations?
Lately, I really enjoy
watching anything that Joseph Gordon-Levitt does.
I just saw 50/50.
It so good! He’s so good
I love Kate Winslet. I
think everyone loves Kate Winslet.
Paul Dano. I really like
him. I like stuff that he brings to the table. I’ve seen him play a serial
killer and I’ve seen him play a brother.
I love Vincent Price.
9. What’s next for Jon Paul Burkhart?
I was on hold for New Girl. I’m going to be on a Hallmark
Channel movie in June or July -- Bulletproof
Bride. There’s a lot of fighting. There’s a big fight scene in my scene. I
don’t get to do any of it but I got to watch the entire scene be shot with the
actors and then with their stunt doubles. It was a really, really neat
experience. I’m curious to see how much of me is seen because I was just the
coffee barista in the scene.
Mimi and I just made one
of those Shit Shit Says videos.
And of course “Bitter Bartender”.
10. How do you respond when you tell people you’re an
actor and they ask what restaurant you work at?
I actually lie a lot and
tell people that I do other things. I’ve told people I was a pediatrician
before. I told somebody I owned a marijuana dispensary and they thought that
I just don’t like “Oh,
what are you in right now?” or “What are you doing?” because a lot of the time
we’re not doing anything and then we have to say that and it’s awful. Or you
feel like you have to list everything you’ve done and you feel like you’re
bragging. It’s annoying.
I’m not a big fan of that
question unless people are like, “Oh, you’re an actor! That’s awesome!”
I don’t have a problem
saying I’m an actor. I’ve actually never waited tables, so that’s nice. I don’t
have another job right now although I definitely need one.
It’s much more fun to say
I’m an actor when you’ve just worked on something or just shot something or
just booked something. Even if you got a callback you’re just like, “Well, I
got a callback for this, so hopefully…”