MICHAEL ST. JOHN'S CONFIDENTIAL FILE
By MICHAEL ST. JOHN
Mar 14, 2012 - 11:08:59 AM
HOLLYWOOD—HELLO AMERICA! There is no doubt that this new age of television and filming is very different from that of the early days of Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando or a Bette Davis. The young actors who are arriving in Hollywood from every corner of the globe are tougher, knowledgeable and have a more realistic idea about the actual business of the film and tv game. And WILLIAM JAMES CAMPBELL III from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is one of these young actors who is determined to reach the top on his own terms. Already he is being considered for a major role in a film being developed as a television series. He has made it clear that he is ready and prepared for anything. His objective is to win and he'll do what it takes to make it happen.
Our recent session was impressive and very inspiring in every way.
Q: WHAT WAS THE FIRST FILM YOU SAW THAT CONVINCED YOU THAT BEING AN ACTOR WAS GOING TO BE YOUR LIFE’S OBJECTIVE?
A: Of course as a young kid I had seen loads of films and V shows. and I watched how some of the great actors worked and also how people reacted to them. So when I first saw Dumb and dumber, I was completely convinced what I wanted to do. The actors timing, their subtle reaction to each other and what was happening in a scene was overwhelming. Believe it or not I was impressed with wrestler Shawn Michaels, I liked how he throws himself into everything he does. The man takes over -- his very presence is compelling and you can't take your eyes off of him. Now that's "star" quality. Yeah, he really inspired me.
Q: WHAT ACTOR IMPACTED YOU MORE THAN ANY OTHER WHO HELPED YOU DECIDE WHAT KIND OF ACTOR YOU WANTED TO BECOME?
A: A mixture of Jim Carrey, Jack Nicholson both helped me decide what kind of actor I want to become. These guys represented honesty--nothing was forced, whatever they do as a character is smooth, and nothing is forced like a lot of guys who find themselves in front of a camera.
Q: WHAT DID YOU DISCOVER ABOUT THE FILM INDUSTRY ON YOUR ARRIVAL IN HOLLYWOOD THAT OPENED YOUR EYES TO A CERTAIN REALITY OF THE BUSINESS ITSELF?
A: It seems to be about making friends, as well as a 50/50 draw between Talent and Networking. Then too, Hollywood makes you grow up fast and realize that you're trying to crack a business that is a magnet for millions of people around the world. Any actor worth his or her salt dreams of landing in films. This means you have to be prepared and tough--if you get a chance to work, make the most of it. Because that one featured or major shot can lead to something extraordinary. Make the most of any opportunity which might launch you into another dimension of opportunity and growth. I mentioned "friends" earlier--well, this aspect of the business is vital because in Hollywood it's all about give and take. and this process develops loyalty between people.
Q: HAVING GROWN UP ON THE EAST COAST DID YOU DEVELOP A CERTAIN HARD CRUST OF ENDURANCE THAT HAS HELPED YOU TO SURVIVE IN A PLACE LIKE TINSELTOWN?
A: It's true the east coast mentality involves a fast-paced mode that has a very stubborn top layer. Sometimes it's frustrating but it toughens you. And it's why I didn't mind traveling 3,000 miles to reach my goal as an actor. I'm prepared for the rough times, it's all a part of the territory. I don't waste time crying the blues about anything. I just get up and hit the road and keep trying to keep making things happen.
Q: HAVING SPENT SEVERAL YEARS TRYING TO WORK AS AN ACTOR, HAVE YOU DISCOVERED THAT YOU ARE A DIFFERENT KIND OF ACTOR OR PERFORMER? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO IMPROVE AS AN ARTIST?
A: I'm more of a method actor. I search for the center of a character--for me it is exciting to be able to touch basis with the truth and then let it all hang out from my own perspective. When you watch Marlon Brando, Paul Newman or James Dean on film, there is something magical they bring to the moment. Instantly you realize that you're watching something extraordinary, something beyond the norm. I feel the same way when I observe a director or cameraman--I marvel at how they paint pictures of life from their own point of view. they are composing their kind of music, there kind of artistic genius.
Q: DO YOU LIKE WHAT IS GOING ON IN HOLLYWOOD THESE DAYS? THE WAY ACTORS ARE TREATED AS WELL AS THE KIND OF STORIES BEING PRODUCED IN FILM OR TELEVISION--HAS IT MADE YOU MORE DETERMINED TO SUCCEED?
A: It is true that much of the film product in the industry generally these days is very thin. Not only do we have available the networks but there are so many cable channels, too. They are all begging for material, shows, new ideas and as a result a lot of crap is aired. And because of "Reality shows" you see a lot of people who should never be in front of a camera. That seems to be the fallout of change itself. I just try to concentrate on improving my own skills as an actor and not worry very much about what other people are doing or thinking. Everyone has to resolve their own personal difficulties for themselves. It seems to be the only way to retain your own personal power.
Q: WHEN YOU'RE ALONE AND LOOK IN THE MIRROR WHAT DO YOU SEE? AND DOES THE IMAGE PLEASE YOU?
A: We all have something we could change about ourselves, but what I see when I look at myself in the mirror is an attitude of determination--someone who will not give up or quit.
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