Another fun interview from a member of the Buffering cast, well it was fun for me! Matthew Zimmerman is a young actor living the dream in Los Angeles but is it the dream he actually dreamt? Matt is such a down to earth fun-loving a fun-loving young man whom from now will be known as my sweet Prince, he is such a lovely, kind-hearted young fellow.
I am still new at this entertainment thing. I never really put much effort into my appearance in the past, so now that I am being seen, it is quite a challenge for me to be mindful of how I look. I don’t even brush my hair! I’m lucky to have the hair that I do. When it gets to a certain length, it requires practically no maintenance! I just shake my head when I get out of the shower and it is fine. It’s the fashion that I am horrible at. If I could, I would wear workout shorts and t-shirts EVERYWHERE!
Wait till you get to the red carpets and need a suit!!
Oh gosh, I feel like I will need to hire someone to sort all that out for me.
Okay my kind Prince, time to put you on the spot! Tell me all about you.
I always find this the hardest question to answer; I never know where to begin. Well, I’m a good ole Texan boy. I grew up racing race cars on the weekends and acting on the side. My ambitions for my career have taken several twists throughout my life. I believe, when I was four, my life’s ambition was to be a train conductor. I then decided watching the movie Waterworld that I wanted to be a film actor. In High school I was introduced to the amazing world of Cirque Du Soleil, and since then my ambitions have been switching between acting in film and acting in a Cirque Du Soleil production.
I graduated from Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi with a Bachelor degree in Theatre and went to a Graduate school in Blue Lake, California for physical theatre in hopes that I would eventually audition for Cirque Du Soleil. After the first year, I left and decided to move to LA.
And now here I am.
What made you move to LA after only a year in Grad School, why not finish school first?
Well, mid-way through the year, one of my professors took me into their office and had a talk with me. He didn’t think that I had enough perspective on theatre. He didn’t think that I knew what theatre meant to me and urged me to take a few years off to work and gain a perspective. I decided to leave the school a few weeks after that, but would finish out the year. During our clown section, I apparently showed everyone that I did in fact have a perspective on theatre and that there was hope for me yet. They wanted me to stay, but I had already made up my mind. I think that because I didn’t have the pressure of having to prove myself for the next two years, I was able to open up and really show what I could do. What could they do? Ask me to leave again?
I have grown to realize that when I am pressured to be good, I tense up and really am horrendous. But if I have nothing to lose, I soar!
That could be difficult with auditions and such is it not?
Surprisingly not, I already don’t have the job when I go into the audition; therefore I have nothing to lose!
Surely auditions mean research and a lot of pressure to be what they expect you to be.
One thing that I have learned is to not worry about what they auditors expect you to be but to show them what you CAN be.
Has LA been everything you expected? How easy was it to take that leap?
LA has been everything I have expected. I expected it to be a cut throat city, and it has lived up to that expectation and then some. It was very easy to take the leap but the fall was shocking. For the first 2 months I was out here, I was unemployed. Then when I finally landed a job, it was as a pizza delivery boy. I have bounced around jobs since being out here, from being a personal assistant, to being the Mayor of Whoville at Universal Studios, to now being a brand ambassador for Cirque Du Soleil’s Iris.
I am still trying to get my footing in the acting world. I have yet to get an agent but am very hopeful that it will come soon.
Why is it so hard to find an agent, I would have thought that there would be many out there?
Well, you never really know where to start. I know that I should do some mail outs, where I mail them my resume and headshot. I feel that this would be very lucrative for me as I am a very unique actor. There aren’t many 6’7″ actors that have my look but the fact that there ARE so many agencies and agents out here; I have no idea where to begin. I know the tools to use to find an agency but when there are literally thousands of postings for agents, where do you begin? I don’t want to waste any time with an agent who can’t get me auditions but there isn’t a secret list of “good” agents.
Have you managed to meet anyone that could advise you on such things? Sometimes, having the right contacts can be a god send.
I have met quite a few people who could help, but I feel weird hitting them up for a meeting with their agent. I plan on starting the serious search for an agent in the next few weeks, it’s just finding the time to do it.
Courage my dear boy!!
I have always had a bad case of procrastination.
As they say, if you want it bad enough, only you can make it happen!
Tell me about the roles you have acquired.
Since being out here, I have done two web series, one where I played an eccentric inventor of sorts. I have done several short films playing everything from a boy next door type, to a villainous high school student, to a handsome gay music store clerk.
They sound fun! Which was your favourite?
I would say the villain. I always have had an easy time tapping into my dark side. The production where I was the store clerk was great as well. I have been blessed being cast in such different parts; I feel that it proves to me that I can be a versatile actor and not one who plays themselves the rest of their lives.
Versatility is always good! I was hoping you would say the store clerk.
The store clerk was a lot of fun!
The story was about an awkward high school girl who falls in love with the clerk of a local music store. He invites her to the open mic night at the store where she shows up and sings a song she wrote for him. He invites her to his apartment for an after party where she misconstrues him for flirting with her. At the party, she finds him kissing his boyfriend and lashes out at her friends. There was a great scene at the end where the girl and I talk in the bathroom about life and how to live your life for yourself and not be concerned with what anyone else says about you. I had a lot of fun throughout the entire production, though there were some very awkward moments while filming the party.
Mostly the fact that I never met the guy playing my boyfriend until literally 20 minutes before we were filming the kissing.
How did that go? Did he help you relax or was it rather awkward?
Also, was it your first time kissing a guy or did that aspect not bother you?
It was awkward! In a situation like that you just have to dive in! We agreed to go all out and it really shows in the final product. I can’t stand when actors in movies “fake” kiss.
It really didn’t bother me at all. I have played several gay characters in my time as an actor. Several of which required kissing and other sensual scenes. University theatre is a great way to gain perspective on acting if you are open to it.
I agree that fake kissing is obvious to the viewer and takes away from the realism of a scene.
Buffering! Tell me everything!!
Geeze… where to begin? Buffering is a dream come true for all of us!
I knew Stephanie from High school and hadn’t seen her since. When I moved out here and found out that she was out here, I instantly wanted to meet up. The first workshop I took out here, the woman told the class to not wait to be cast in the perfect part but to make your own. So upon learning that Stephanie knew Mike Tobias and Eric Carroll, I asked them if they would like to make a web series. Mike and I talked about some ideas and out of that, Buffering was born. I love working with everyone involved with the production, I have a feeling we will all go on to have long amazing careers.
So it was your idea initially?
I wouldn’t say it was my idea initially. It was collaboration between all of us. I did come to the group with the idea of starting a web series but Mike deserves all of the credit for the final story and plot of the show. He has done an absolutely amazing job!
It is a fabulous series and the cast are fantastic!!
I am very grateful that you are doing a one on one interview with the cast and crew and even more that you enjoy the series. As I look back at the first two episodes, I find it hard to believe that we have actually made it to where we are, even more so that we will actually finish the first season.
I am not surprised at all; from the first episode it was obvious that it would be a hit.
So many web series fail after two or three episodes, but we are still going strong!
For those that have not seen Buffering (Where have they been hiding?!!) Tell us about it and your character.
Okay, so Tim is a mixture of all of my worst qualities. He’s impatient, harsh, and quite the ladies man. Being that the character is only 2 episodes old, it is hard to really talk a lot about him. I want him to become a multifaceted character in the end but being that this is the first character that I have created myself without a set script, it is taking some time. I absolutely love Tim. He allows for me to express sides of me that never show themselves, which is why acting is so therapeutic.
So there is no script for Buffering? Everything we see is ad libbed?
No, there are scripts, but the beauty of working closely with the writer and director is that we, the actors, have a HUGE say in what is written and any rewrites we see happening while filming. Mike does a lot of work to get us scripts for the episodes but nothing is set in stone until it has been filmed and edited together. That’s what I mean by there is no set script. It’s not like creating a character in a Mamet play where the script has been written years before. We have a great amount of freedom to allow the character to evolve from episode to episode.
Has the series helped at all with other auditions, whether by giving you more confidence or by people hearing about it already?
It hasn’t had any effect so far. I haven’t had many opportunities to go on auditions as of late. I am still trying to settle in to my job with Cirque Du Soleil and haven’t yet felt comfortable enough to start looking for auditions. I am still not yet in the union (SAG-AFTRA) so all of the stuff I would be auditioning for would be non-paid or very low budget. Once I get the money to join the union, I will be trying to audition for EVERYTHING!
It sounds as though you have not had an easy ride in LA so far, do you have any regrets about moving out there?
Not a single regret! I have a steady job and a great project in the works. I think so far, my ride in LA has been rough, but the ball is starting to roll!
Where do you see the ball rolling to in 5 years if all goes well?
Buffering will be a television show and I will have several films under my belt.
With everything you have mentioned, what has been your biggest struggle?
My biggest struggle would be getting a steady job. It’s not easy out here!
It’s not glamorous but it pays the bills! I have been blessed with the opportunities that have been given to me!
Do you have a support group out there or are you pretty much doing it alone?
I always have my Buffering family!!!
They are lovely!!
I couldn’t agree more!
If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?
You know, every decision I have made has led me to this point in my life. I can’t say that I would do anything differently. My life isn’t perfect, but I love where I am at and look forward to seeing where it takes me!
Oh actually, if I could go back, I would probably join AFTRA before the merger and then I would already be in the union.
Do you have any advice for budding stars thinking of moving to LA?
I have always been advised that if I could fathom doing anything else in my life that wasn’t being an actor, that I should do it. I could never do that , so here I am. My advice would be to never let anyone tell you that you will not become something. If you can’t see yourself happy being a doctor, or an accountant, or even a CEO, then LA is where you need to be. It is fool hardy to move out here without an amount of money saved up but I did it and I am doing just fine.