Special thanks to Mrs N of Princess of the Light: Shining the Light for All for nominating ShannonAThompson.com for Blog of the Year: 2013 and the Dragon’s Loyalty Award.
Another special thanks goes to Jennifer K Marsh, author of ILIMOSKUS, for nominating ShannonAThompson.com for the WordPress Family award.
Today, I am delighted to announce that I was able to interview Andrew Vogel, the actor who played Carter Thibodeau in Under The Dome On CBS. You might have seen a photo of him holding Minutes Before Sunset in my last post. Afterward, he was nice enough to agree to an interview, and you can read it below.
Shannon: Hi, Andrew. Thank you for talking with me today.
Andrew: My pleasure.
Shannon: When do you remember deciding to become an actor, what inspired you, and how did you go about it?
Andrew: Well, I think I was always somewhat of a performer. I had done plays throughout grammar school and high school. It was always fun for me to be in front of people. Although it was always nerve-wracking and still is. But I never saw acting as a career option and ended up studying psychology in college. But even then I was always working on different creative projects. I even had a comedic rap group going at one point.
At the same time I enrolled in grad school for business of all things, I enrolled in a local acting class. Almost immediately I dis-enrolled from grad school and decided I wanted to give film acting a run. The class had certainly awoken my passion for the art. I had taken a year off after undergrad to work retail and I was flat out miserable. It was one of those things where I just knew it wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. I don’t know if that year inspired me, but it certainly made me realize that I would never be content if creativity wasn’t a significant part of my work.
Anyway, I began training for film acting and also working retail part time. Which still wasn’t satisfying enough. Did I mention I don’t like working retail? But soon enough, through some good contacts and well placed volunteer efforts, I landed a job as the Editor of Louisiana Film and Video Magazine which allows me to work from home and virtually pursue my creative endeavors full time.
Shannon: I also hear that you have a passion for directing. What do you like most about directing and do you have any upcoming plans with it?
Andrew: I directed one short film for a 48 hour film contest. It was one of the most rewarding creative experiences I’ve ever had. I had my hand on every detail of the film from the overall vision down to props and costumes. I think what I loved the most was the chaos of it all. There was so much creative freedom within that chaos. Ideas were flowing off the cuff for myself and the entire team. My wheels were turning as fast as ever, and yet I was forced to be in the moment and keep things moving. There was no time for creative blocks. We made decisions, improvised and adapted. It’s amazing what ended up remaining of the original vision by the time it was all said and done. We had added so much richness by the end of the project that wouldn’t have been there if it wasn’t for the driving force of chaos. Never have I felt more focused and alive, ha.
The feedback we got on the film after the contest was as good as we could have hoped for. Unfortunately, we turned it in a bit late and were not eligible for awards. On the upside, we did another version of the film with more footage and better quality sound that we are sending out to festivals.
Nothing is set in stone yet, but myself and the original crew of the 48 hour project are always cooking up new ideas. I certainly plan on directing again in the near future.
Shannon: What has been your most interesting experience as an actor?
Andrew: Being on set as an actor is always interesting. You kind of fall into a bubble where the outside world doesn’t seem to exist. And you tend to quickly get to know the people you work. Often times there is little sleep and a lot of waiting. That combination leads to interesting conversation.
For me, my favorite moment as an actor was my first day on Under the Dome. Keep in mind I had never worked on a project near this size before so I was excited to say the least. I felt like I was living the dream. I mean, I was getting paid to do what I love in a city I’ve never been. I had a king suite at the hotel, a personal trailer on set, and food on demand. Not a bad setup for a layman. So after being delivered a breakfast burrito to my trailer, I was taken to set with some other actors. They all seemed cooler than me. And probably were. Once I was on set, I was introduced to the director who responded, “I know who he is. I hired him,” and followed by telling me, “Do exactly what you did in the audition.” I was nervous at first. The scenes I was in seemed to revolve around my character, Carter, who is an older bully crashing a high school party with a sixer of beer and a bravado worthy of Steve Stifler. After my first take which to me felt shaky, the director said to me, “That was bleepin perfect,” and proceeded to give me minor technical notes. That in combination with a seemingly endless amount of takes had me feeling confident. By the end of the day I was teaching extras how to spin beer bottles in their hand and seeing how many winks I could fit in before they yelled “cut”. Slight exaggeration.
Shannon: Is your favorite genre of film to work with different from your favorite genre of film to watch?
Andrew: I don’t think I have a favorite genre to work with yet. I’m certainly still discovering my strengths and weaknesses. As a dream role I would like to play a villain in one of those comic book movies.
It’s hard to put a label on my favorite movie genre to watch, but I like films that have psychological or philosophical depth. Preferably with surreal or fantastical elements. In my opinion, a good film, like a good book, leaves me thinking afterwards.
Shannon: Has any one specifically encouraged you to become an actor? Has any one discouraged it? What are the best and worst parts about these careers?
Andrew: Since my decision to pursue a career as an actor, most everyone has been supportive. My parents have always encouraged me to perform I think from a young age. Because they knew I enjoyed it. More people are supportive since Under the Dome. Go figure.
I’ve always been a high-risk achiever. Meaning I try to accomplish the unlikely. And there’s always been people who have told me that I couldn’t do something, and then when I do it, they look for some sort of corruption. That’s okay though. I think the people closest to me have learned to expect the unexpected.
The best part about my career is the fact that I do what I love as a profession. The worst part is being rejected over and over. But even that isn’t so bad. I’m at the point where, unless it’s a major audition, I forget about auditions as soon as they are over with.
If you care about having a lot of money, it’s a much tougher road.
Shannon: Finally, do you have any inspirational quotes or thoughts to share with those aspiring to become an actor or director?
Andrew: My philosophy in life is simply to pursue passion and never stop exploring. If you aren’t sure what you are passionate about, then explore life with an open mind until you do. Finding passion will guide you to truth and happiness.
That being said, first make sure you want to act or direct for the right reasons, then jump in head first and don’t look back. Be bold. Take chances. And no matter how much talent you think you might have, be prepared to start from nothing and learn from the best. Without humility and flexibility, you won’t grow as an artist.
“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” ― Christopher Reeve
Shannon: Thank you again for speaking with me today.
Be sure to visit Andrew Vogel at IMDB.