As many of my readers may know, I am a huge Glee fan. One of the Glee cast members, Curt Mega who plays Nick, a Warbler on the show was also my inspiration and unknowingly encouraged me to take over this website from my son at the beginning of this year. Curt was therefore the first person whom I had requested an interview from. Due to his busy schedule and of course the difficulties due to being in different time zones, many occasions were rescheduled. I am beyond excited and proud to have finally caught up with Curt. I hope that you all enjoy reading this interview as much as I enjoyed conducting it. We all know how busy some actors can be or how desensitised or misanthropic they can act towards their fans, this is certainly not the case with Curt! I have honestly never seen anyone reach out to people as much as he does. For that Curt, we all thank you!
I read once that you were homeschooled, on reflection, do you think homeschooling may have hindered you in any way or helped you?
Being homeschooled helped me immensely. The thing about homeschooling that I am so grateful for is it allowed me to pursue my true passions and interests. I would not be acting today if it weren’t for the opportunities that home schooling gave me. I think people home school for 2 reasons: the 1st is the negative aspect of simply trying to shield children from the world outside the home. I feel this to be very dangerous and risky. While any parent should protect their child, simply removing them from society until they leave the home does not prepare them well for the world they will be facing. I feel homeschooling can sometimes get a bad rapport because of this stereotype. I feel the reasons my parents chose to home school me were for all the right reasons, they wanted me to be free to move at my own pace, to pursue interests that I felt drawn to and to be free to create my own structure of learning and truly have a passion for learning. I was on a swim team from ages 9 to 17, I began doing theatre at the age of 12, took outside classes for English, Sciences, Philosophy and world history all through high school and was completely comfortable in any social setting I could be thrown into while also knowing how to educate myself, that to me is the greatest gift schooling can provide: learning how to educate yourself.
I completed above and beyond all required HS course work and even had a graduation with fellow students (there were like 600 people there!) and received my HS diploma. I attended college for 2 years but chose to not finish out my degree.
I think it also takes a special kind of parent to be able to teach their own children a wider subject range than is usual within a home.
Very true. My mother’s areas of expertise revolved around music and the arts (she was an opera singer and is a piano/guitar/voice teacher) and I think that definitely impacted my life significantly!
In the areas where she was not as well versed (science, etc) I would go to private tutors or take outside classes to fill in any gaps educationally. It was great because I was actually done with almost all my required coursework well over a year early so I really spent the last year of my HS education doing AP tests and saturating myself in theatre. I was free to move at my own pace and as such, finished things early and had the time and freedom to really delve into interests beyond what a typical high school setting might provide
I would literally finish my school work and then rush to the theatre to build sets/paint, etc from 1pm-5pm. From 5pm on I was in classes for 2-3 hours every night (acting, improv, scene study, stage combat, dance, etc) then around 7:30 or 8 it was onto rehearsal for whatever play or musical I was working on at that time. It was an amazing 4 years of high school. I would not trade it for the world.
I began volunteering at a local theatre doing tech work when I was 15 (sound, lighting, backstage crew, etc) and by the time I was 18, my first job out of high school was becoming the Technical Coordinator OF that theatre and letting all those things I’d learned all through high school really come into play as a true designer and technician.
I did not realise you knew the technical side of theatres too.
Oh yes! It’s one of the passions that I sort of had to retire for the time being in my pursuit of acting work here in LA.
So long hours and hard work are no stranger to you?!
How easy was it for you to move to LA and start with auditions etc?
The acting side of things actually started back in Texas, I was doing a show with a girl who had just been cast in a huge movie (Secondhand Lions) that was shooting in Austin, Texas (about 5 hours south of the Dallas area). I loved acting and loved films and had wanted to figure out how to go about auditioning for them but had NO clue. I asked her and her mother what they did to begin and they told me about agencies and all that and gave me some contacts.
I went and had my first round of headshots done and then sent off a bunch of mailers to various agencies in the Dallas area asking if they’d be interested in meeting me for representation. About 3 months later, I finally heard back from ONE agent who was willing to interview me. They ended up signing me (I was 17 at the time) and then the next few years I went on to do commercials and a few film/web series gigs here and there.
They ended up having a contact in LA for representation so I visited, fell in love with it and the industry here and moved myself here as fast as I could; the first 6 months were rough. I had no friends, very little money, working LONG hours at a coffee shop to pay the bills, maybe 2 or 3 auditions total and a whole lot of short films and student films with no pay. In the summer of 2010 I received a call from the Glee casting office and went in, interviewed/read for them and the next week tested for the role of “Sam” which ultimately went to Chord Overstreet, 3 months later they remembered me, I went in and read for the Warblers and booked my first job!
During the third series of Glee you were the lead singer for Uptown Girl, which not only reached number 8 on iTunes but was also featured on Billy Joel’s website. How did you feel about that?
Billy Joel is one of my all time favorite solo artists. I love his storytelling, I love his musicianship. Uptown Girl is one of my favorites because it pays homage to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons which is also one of my favorite groups/eras of music. The fact that I got to sing THAT song on the show I already loved and then got to be a part of was overwhelming enough but knowing that he saw it and liked it enough to endorse it and put it up on his site was just beyond amazing. I was on the floor!
I still can’t believe the song happened. I am so grateful that they let me sing on the show. I owe Ryan Murphy so much. That song has opened many doors.
That is good to hear; hopefully you will have more solos at some point.
What would be your dream role?
My dream role… this is a hard one to answer. I always say that it hasn’t been written yet because in film, it’s always new. On stage… Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys, Jack Kelly in Newsies and I would love to play Mortimer again in a production of “Arsenic and Old Lace”
So you are ultimately aiming for films roles rather than TV roles?
I really love both. I absolutely love the medium of TV. I’m in love with the idea that you can live with a character for more than 2 hours. You can see them grow through the years. I can’t think of anything more rewarding as an actor to see a character grow through the span of multiple stories and chapters and just keep growing. I am fascinated by that but I also LOVE films. I love that they can transport you and sweep you away into a whole different world. I love the impact they have on me and what a tool of communication and inspiration they can be. There’s nothing like seeing a film on a big screen.
You are currently working on Buffering which has released 3 episodes so far as well as the mini episodes of The Ben Diaries. How amazing is the reception for it? Fans seem to be falling over themselves to see more. Did you expect this reaction when you started it?
It is beyond amazing. I can’t even begin to tell you what it means to take an idea that was shared in someone’s living room one night over a year ago and see people across the world not only enjoy it but become passionate about it and be as excited as we are to make it.
The fact that I even get to talk to you about it (when we truly live halfway across the world) and that you even know what it is just blows my mind.
We do not take the blessing of an audience for granted. That’s one of the hardest parts of making a web series… getting people to actually watch and care. We do not take a single fan for granted or view, comment, repost or contribution; we are truly moved by the response.
I do not know how many viewers there are for each episode but it certainly seems popular worldwide.
I mean we’re definitely not at the level of a show like “The Guild” or “Lizzie Bennet Diaries” yet but we have a faithful couple of thousand via twitter and many more views than that across social media platforms so it really just blows us away considering that we’re still in (what I consider to be) a very early stage of development.
I hear that you are writing and starring in Wordline, are you able to tell me more about it?
Funny you should ask about that… I actually JUST had some developments with that project TODAY!
It’s definitely something I want to see happen. I co-wrote a screenplay with a good buddy of mine well over a year ago and think it has a voice and a market. This is a 90 page feature film project; we’ve gone through about 8 revisions of the script and are really working on the details of possible shoot locations and equipment. We are in the final stages of budgeting and mapping out an exact framework of what we need to logistically make it and will be launching a whole campaign to raise the needed funds to get it made.
Now this project is like Bufferingx100 it will take a lot of effort and labor but I think we can do it. Before you can seek out investors, you really have to have a solid sense of what your production will require so we’re finalizing all those semantics before we open it up to a wider audience for collaboration.
The fundraising for this one will be a beast and will take quite a bit of work but we believe in it and want to see it get made. We first started writing the script in January of 2011 so it’s almost 2 years in the process. We hope to start shooting sometime next summer.
Can you divulge the storyline?
The best way I could describe Wordline it would be an “economic, time travelling thriller”.
You and Kimberly Whalen will both be in it, do you already have a full cast lined up?
No full cast yet. A lot of the auditioning and hiring of actors will be out of the Dallas, Louisiana, Arkansas areas of the USA as all filming will be done in Arkansas.
Who is your co-writer for it?
My friend Colley (my co-writer) has been in quite a few films and made a name for himself in the indie film market. Kim has some pretty big projects coming up and between Buffering and the work I’ve done on Glee, I think we have a good chance of finding some potential preliminary investors in the indie film scene.
You certainly always seem to be busy on one project or another, but was has been the biggest struggle for you so far, either personally or professionally?
Let’s see… biggest struggle…Definitely the uncertainty of the day to day. I never know what tomorrow holds. I may be employed or I may be out of a job. I may be getting paid tomorrow but have to make that paycheck last for 4 months if nothing else pans out. I may have to be on a flight the next day for some huge audition in NY. I may be whisked away for a year if I book this show or that job. It’s all very very very very up in the air.
But I love it. I love the craft. I love doing it and I love being a part of the art of acting and storytelling so all the uncertainty is worth it.
The fact that I even get to pursue this career and art is beyond amazing. I do not take it for granted. Sure, it can be hard. It takes a lot of worth and dedication. But I have been blessed with some amazing opportunities that allow me to pursue this dream and I do not take that for granted for one second. When I struggle with self doubt (which is daily), I remember what I fell in love with and what compelled me to begin to pursue doing what I’ve set out to do in the first place. Then it all makes sense once again. I get myself out of the way and let love and passion lead me once again. I believe my life is purposed and not an accident and I can walk in that faith.
The main things that keep me going are my family, friends and my love for of storytelling.
Where there is self-doubt, there has to be self-belief too in some form.
I think there has to be. You have to walk in the confidence that you can do what you set your mind to.
I believe that having the knowledge that there are possible barriers in your way also gives you the strength and determination to find other paths or ways to knock down the barriers.
Do you have anything that you wish to say to our readers?
I know I say this a lot but the biggest thing would be to express my gratitude to the beautiful souls out there who take their time to listen and respond to the work and words that I put out there. It means oh so much to me, deep in my heart, that there are people out there who support the work I love to do. What more could one ask for? It overwhelms me. I learn so much getting to share a dialogue in this amazing community of people brought together by the work that we all love. That inspires me and drives me to work harder than ever. If I could express anything it would be a giant thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Anyone who has seen Curt’s tweets on Twitter or come across him on Facebook and Tumblr will know that Curt has always been humble and gracious to anyone who talks to him, he tries his best to reply to everyone that speaks. Not only does he respect and respond to as many people as possible, he will also give out advice and his opinion on practically any subject area. Go speak to this lovely young man, he is fun to talk to.