001 - Buddy Campbell - Be Yourself in Auditions #TAH!M
Today I'm interviewing Buddy Campbell, an Arkansas actor, producer, and casting director! Buddy and I had an interview planned for this evening until tornados swept through the air and he had to seek shelter a couple of times... of course I asked if he was okay and his response was, "That’s pretty standard around here." Have you heard anything more midwest USA than that?
Buddy Campbell is an actor who has appeared in nearly 50 productions in less than three years. He's done everything in town from: TV and web series to commercials.
"I didn’t make the move into acting until I was in my mid 40s. While I wish I would have started when I was younger, I do believe that the real life experiences I’ve had over the years have helped me to become a better actor. I had lead roles in high school and college plays back when I was going to school but I thought my acting days were over when I graduated college. It was time to make my mark in the real world and get a real job.
I do believe that the real life experiences I’ve had over the years have helped me to become a better actor.
A few years ago I saw an open casting call for a movie that was going to be shot in northwest Arkansas about a legendary football player who played for the Arkansas Razorbacks named Brandon Burlsworth. On a whim I decided to audition. When I got there I found myself auditioning for the role of redneck number one. While I didn’t get cast, I was invited to come back as an extra as a high school teacher. I thought that was really cool and I ended up spending a day on an actual movie set and I got to meet a couple of famous people who were really kind to me; people like Neil McDonough and Wayne DuVall. That experience gave me the acting bug again. I enrolled in classes with Melissa Moody’s Excel Models and Talent out of Little Rock. Soon after, I was cast in a short film which led to another short film which led to a speaking role in a feature film and then another and then another. It is really taking off for me even though everybody around me told me I couldn’t do it. They said things like, "you’re too old to get started in the movies", "you’re not handsome enough", "you’re not fit enough", "you don’t have the connections." But I proceeded anyway and now all those people who told me I couldn’t do it have zero credits on IMDb and I currently have about 36. So haha to them! Haha!"
It is really taking off for me even though everybody around me told me I couldn’t do it.
I know that you're an actor, producer, and casting director... which do you love most?
As far as crafts are concerned, I am interested in film acting, tv acting, as well as being a producer, I love being casting director, I've done that several times. Film acting in general is what I am striving for right now.
As far as acting, casting, and producing goes, which came first?
Since you're based in Arkansas, what is the Arkansas acting scene like?
Definitely non-union, we are hoping to change that. A lot of films are made but they're non-union and non-paid. There's a lot of good talent here, but we have to go out-of-state to act. A lot of us have to go to Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Missouri to shoot. I'll go anywhere in the world as long as they pay me.
What is your A-Ha! Moment in your craft?
I enjoyed doing it ever since the first play I was in in grade-school. I enjoyed being someone else. To be honest, I liked, even back then, the applause, the accolades. When I started doing plays in high school, it really was satisfying knowing that people appreciated what I was doing. I know most of them would applaud no matter what kind of performance I did, but I knew most of them were appreciative of the performance and they told me so afterwards. So being a performer has been in my blood for a long time. Now people are more accepting than I ever thought they would. And even if they don't accept me, so what? Being an actor you not only get the accolades but, you know, you also get the negative responses too and you've got to learn to live with that. Now that I've learned how to live with that, I can get beyond those and just perform for those that enjoy what I do and the performance I give.
being a performer has been in my blood for a long time.
Be yourself when you are auditioning and when you're looking at casting calls. What I mean by that is, don't try to perform the way you think a Casting Director will what you perform or what you think the expectation for that character is that you're auditioning for. I made mistakes early on trying to imitate famous people in my auditions. I tried to be super imposing when I was auditioning. I would do a big booming voice thinking that's how actors sound, I just went over the top with it. Be yourself. I do it the way Buddy Campbell would do it. That was an A-Ha! Moment for me when I discovered I didn't have to do it the way everybody else does. I do it the way I do it. Casting directors appreciate that more than your imitations. Take the role you're auditioning for and make it your own. Make it your role, not anybody else's role. When I realized that, I went A-Ha! That's the key to auditioning.