Congratulations on your role in Channel Zero, which recently wrapped! Can you tell us about that experience and role?
Thank you. Yeah, it’s been cool! Being Nathan, an awkward yet caring social worker in the 3rd Season of Channel Zero, wasn’t like any other project I’ve previously worked on. The writing by creator/show runner Nick Antosca brings a depth for us to truly play rich characters but gives the actors the possibility to create undiagnosed foibles. The creative producer, Tim Smith, was dedicated to teaming the vision into the show while he worked closely with the director, Arkasha Stevenson. Seeing Arkasha and Tim sitting on the floor with monitors in their laps on set as we rolled to obtain closeness to the work was incredibly inspiring. I can’t say enough great things about Arkasha; seeing her work with each actor as individuals is something I will remember always. Her ability to go in-depth to obtain the needs of the project was beautiful. I am very excited to see Season 3 of Channel Zero.
When did you become an ACTRA member, and what was your first union gig?
I became an ACTRA member in 2006 on the set of “House Party”. Over the craft table, Rob encouraged my membership. I was a permittee for a long long time. I had dealings with ACTRA back to when I was an extra on the “Shirley Holmes” mystery show… So, yeah. A long time ago.
How has being a member of ACTRA benefited you?
As a Comedian / Improviser, when people hire you for live shows they often don’t see the value of the work and attempt to underpay. As a film/ TV actor, ACTRA allows me to get a dollar amount that represents the time taken to train, study and travel to obtain a particular skill set. If anyone watched “Video On Trial” – as a comedian we were paid $100 each show. That’s it. That was everyone. $100. The episodes aired a ton with no buy out. (“Video On Trial” was a non union gig FYI). Also MIP’s are freaking amazing! Remember to make more opportunity then what you find.
What has been your favourite or most memorable role thus far?
Playing Nathan for “Channel Zero” allowed me to showcase some of my assets as an actor like I’ve never been able to before. But playing Stan on “House Party” was FUN! It was a comedy network show. Stan was an increasingly more drunk character, only to reveal later that he was a pre-med Doctor that was late for his shift. “Those CAT scans aren’t going to read themselves.”
How do you stay sharp? Do you have any training suggestions?
IMPROV! And On Camera Acting/Auditioning. I work both of these skills pretty regularly with my wife, Lauren Cochrane, in our improv/sketch duo, Bucko Comedy. Shameless plug: check out our live shows or on Youtube. As individuals when we have an audition we run lines with each other, as well as put our work on camera to really see how our choices for the role will read. The time taken working with each other on camera is so valuable to us both. Utilizing both skill sets, Improv and On Camera work, has made us adaptable and aware of choices as actors.
Do you have any advice for other actors out there?
True confidence is your biggest asset.
Last year I was extremely close to booking a very large role in an out-of-province gig on a large network show. I was called repeatedly after my audition; to make sure the dates were clear. Then to tell me I was pinned. A follow up call for dates again. Then on a Thursday at noon I received a call asking about dates and time. “This is really good!” My agent expressed. Then I received a four o’clock call. “They went with another actor”. It sucked. I sank.
What I can tell you is REAL Confidence is YOUR biggest asset. If someone, or something is making you self doubt or feel bad… STOP. Recognize and understand why. Even if reading this actor rambling about this and that makes you feel annoyed, frustrated or “who or why this idiot?” Stop. I’ve been there. Your confidence is worth more than surrendering and diminishing your character. Remember to float. It’s just an audition.