Hey guys, I'm happy to publish this weeks interview with Andrew Crabtree. Mr. Crabtree is a writer and actor, and is definitely one of the most down-to-Earth people I've talked to. I highly recommend you guys check out his site where he shares some of his past memorable experiences (spoiler alert: they're entertaining and amusing!) and take a look at his Twitter and follow him!
1. Age: 26
2. Hometown: Perrysburg, Ohio.
3. Favorite movie: There are too many movies (many I haven't see) to be able to claim a favorite.
4. Who or what inspired you to become involved in acting?
I've always loved storytelling and I've loved the idea of creating something that I could share with people. I did one play in sixth grade and one my senior year of high school. But then when I got to college, there was a student theatre group where I was able to be involved with telling stories to an audience of people every single quarter. The collaborative process of creating theatre and the ultimate pay off of being able to share the story with an audience was an addiction that I haven’t been able to shake.
5. Can you elaborate on your writing process? Where’s your favorite place to write and where do you draw inspiration from when writing?
That’s sweet of you to assume there’s a “process.”
My writing process varies greatly. Nine times outta ten it involves me hunched awkwardly over my laptop, headphones plugged in, blocking out the outside world with Coffitivity.com, drinking lots of coffee and banging my head against the wall. Can't say that I have a favorite place to write although I am extraordinarily picky. I write almost exclusively at my house or at my office. I'll occasionally head off to my local coffee shop's outdoor patio but I'm far too easily distracted so it's not always a great idea.
"Inspiration" is sort of an odd thing to analyze. Since it's such an unplanned phenomenon most of the time, it's incredibly difficult to know where it comes from. Often it's from a TV show, a movie or a play that brings out a certain emotion in you. Sometimes it's from something you experience in your own life. Sometimes your friend complains about their job or their significant other. Sometimes there is something in the news that tips you off. Or you'll hear a cool story on a podcast that sets the brain going. The biggest thing for me is to be a sponge. Talk to people. Listen. Observe what's going on and notice how you feel about it. “Write what you know” is suffocating to me. I’d prefer something more like “Know as much as possible so that you can actually write something interesting.”
6. What has been your most rewarding experience as a producer and director?
Tough to say. For arguments sake, I would say the work we did on Carrie: The Artist (http://youtu.be/gK4H7xM2bUQ) was a pretty wonderful experience. My girlfriend (Emma) and I just really wanted to "make something" and so I wrote a short script that we workshopped together through long rehearsals. After which, I brought in my two roommates (both wicked smart, talented folks) and one evening we shot it at Emma's apartment. Spent $0 and took us a couple of hours. But then, most importantly, people watched it and they reacted to it. People understood the character and what she was going through and they connected with the story that we were telling. That was really powerful and touching. That something we made on a whim for no money touched people and connected with them in that way. Reminds you what’s important in stories. Something honesty goes a long further than something expensive.
7. What have you learned about yourself as an actor?
Oh Lord… how much time ya got?
I'll try and keep it simple. The main thing I've learned about myself is that I work best when I'm able to strip everything away and relax into the character. I have a tendency to just add add add and add onto a character. To give them so much stuff. To TRY so incredibly hard. It’s my nature. Which is great…. in theory. But when you watch an actor who is "trying" you can tell. And it's painful to watch. My best work has come from when I have the time in rehearsal and am able to strip down the character and the story to it's simplest and most honest elements. Nothing extra. Nothing superfluous. Just honest. A director whom I've worked with many times (the lovely Michael Matthews) has a saying that has always stuck with me, "Say what you mean… and mean what you say." That's all acting is. The second you're doing more than that, you're doing too much and the audience is going to notice.
8. What would you say is the toughest aspect of being an actor?
Honestly? The professional aspects. The sheer numbers, odds and luck involved. There are countless actors that are immensely talented who aren't getting work and there are plenty of sub-par actors who are working tons. That's not anybody's fault. That's just the way the numbers go. More than most any profession I know, so very much of it is out of your hands.
9. In your resume you have that you are a licensed ice-skating and hockey coach. How long have you been involved in these sports, and what do you find most satisfying about coaching?
I'm also an experienced Zamboni driver, for what it's worth. Will that ever be relevant enough to get me a gig? Probably not. But hell, it's a conversation starter.
I started ice skating and playing hockey when I was five years old. My brother and I both. My parents had season tickets to a local college's hockey team (who were quite good) and from a young age we became quite obsessed. We didn't understand that most kids weren’t getting up at 5AM to get ready for hockey practice. We thought that was just the norm. I played hockey competitively until I graduated high school. At which point I played pickup hockey off and on for a few years following.
Coaching is wonderful for all the stereotypical reasons that you’ve heard a million times. “It's nice to work with people.” “It's nice to teach someone something new.” “It’s nice to give back” BUT -- here’s the one that coaches leave out --
It's nice that someone is turning to you and saying "Hey, you're smart. You know something about this subject. I do not. Could you please show me?" That does a lot for your self-esteem. Even though… "Yeah, we're all in it for the kids." Sure you are…
For me, the most interesting part was teaching people how to ice skate specifically. It's one thing to teach someone how to throw a football. Or how to swing a bat. But teaching someone how to ice skate is like re-teaching them how to walk. It's legitimately frightening for a lot of people. Understandably so. It's scary to forgo the comforts of being able to stand or walk as you like. People give you a lot of responsibility during an ice skating lesson but - once they get it, and you see them flying around the rink, they're having a blast and you know that you've given them an ability that they're going to be able to hold on to for a very long time. That's a truly wonderful feeling.
10. You also have an expressive list of sports you’re experienced in: what is your favorite sport and why?
As with the movie question, I'm not big on "favorites". But, for the sake of argument, I think I would pick hockey. It's got speed, finesse, and just enough violence to keep things interesting. There's also something about it, I don't know if it's the cold, the rundown rinks, the early mornings or what, but there's a certain sense of community with playing hockey.
It's hard to be too arrogantly individualistic when you're carrying twenty pounds of gear in ten degree weather at six in the morning.
11. Which do you prefer: boxers, briefs, or boxer briefs? Why?
Boxer briefs. No question. A friend of mine once referred to them as "the underwear that gives you a hug". Not too free flowing to get bunched up and cause trouble and not too tight to be constraining and… well… cause trouble.
If Goldilocks would've gotten into Papa Bear's underwear drawer, she would've tried on boxer briefs last and said "these are just right…." and then been arrested for being a total creeper.
12. Do you favor any underwear brands? If so, which and why?
Nah. Honestly, I go inexpensive. I hate doing laundry so I like to have as may pairs in my drawer as possible. Keep it simple. Fruit of the Loom. Hanes. Easy peasy.
13. What would someone find if they went through your underwear drawer?
Welp. Not to be anticlimactic but…. underwear. Pretty much only that.
Also maybe an ancient watch that I inherited that doesn't fit me and hasn't worked in about two decades. And a pair of cuff links that I wore one time in high school.
14. Do you have any funny or memorable underwear stories?
Lets be honest -- if somebody has any underwear story, wouldn't it automatically count as "funny or memorable” just on principal? I vote that it would.
That said, I don't know if I have any underwear stories. I had a swimsuit fall off while waterskiing once (http://bit.ly/14bf2aq). If that counts.
In lieu of an underwear story, this could be filed as an "underwear tidbit": Of the last four plays that I've done in Los Angeles, three of them have had my character gallivanting in only his underwear. Bad luck? Coincidence? Or type casting? You be the judge…
15. GQ wrote an article a few months ago stating that “tighty-whities” are stylish now. How do you feel about tighty-whities, & do you agree with GQ?
First and foremost, I am incredibly disconnected with what is considered "stylish" or, dare I say "hip." But even if I was, I don't think that it would extend into my "intimates," if you will.
I love a good pair of brightly colored socks or maybe some cool stripes or argyles but when it comes to underwear, I keep fashion out of it.
GQ knows what they're talking about so if they say it's stylish… they're probably right. I just don't need to have anything to do with it.
16. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about?
That no one knows about? No. I'm not the type of guy to keep a talent all to myself. Although, I am pretty darn good at throwing food up into the air and catching it in my mouth. So… if you need a guy for that… you let me know.