SPOTLIGHT ON BEST PERFORMERS: PETER MITCHELL
STARCAST: How long have you been acting, and what inspired you to become an actor?
PETER: I’ve been acting since I was a child. I mainly stayed in the realm of school plays until around high school age, when I started venturing out into regional and professional theatre/film. More than anything, I’ve always loved stories, so the desire to tell a story really fueled me to become an actor.
STARCAST: How did you prepare for your StarCast scene? What informed your performance?
PETER: I typically approach all roles the same way. I try not to have any judgment or preconceived ideas about the character, what he’s feeling, “how to say it, how to play it” sorts of things, etc. In my opinion, it’s all about acceptance and looking at the material/dialogue from the first person point-of-view. And from there, I set aside some “homework time” to create the life of the character: important relationships and memories…really anything that is dictated in the script that I can use to ground myself in the world of the story. While I don’t use my own experiences to inform my performances, I use my capacity as a human being to understand the story and the circumstances…which, after reading it, makes me sound super new age-y, but it’s how I work, I guess! :)
STARCAST: What kind of acting gigs have you had thus far, if any?
PETER: I’ve been fortunate enough to work on a few popular television shows in small roles recently. It’s been such a blessing to begin learning the ins and outs of film, because it is pretty vastly different from theatre, technically speaking, with a different set of terms, jargon, and etiquette. However, for the most part, I’ve mainly stuck with educational theatre and some student films during my first two years of school at USC.
STARCAST: We know you’ve fantasized about an awards acceptance speech. How does the opening line go?
PETER: I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t think about it. What actor hasn’t thought about an acceptance speech? I don’t have any specific words planned out or anything though…I’d probably stick to the basic “thanks to my family and friends for your unwavering support” bit and then get played off by the music – nothing too fancy or funny.
STARCAST: Have you had any notable successes or setbacks you think other actors could learn from?
PETER: I think the biggest thing piece of advice I could give would be to look at everything as a just an opportunity. I believe that success doesn’t have a concrete definition, but rather it is something that you must define for yourself. In either case – success or setback – you learn something valuable that you can apply to new opportunities as you move forward.
STARCAST: Have you had any acting training, and can you speak a little bit to the importance of drama programs or acting classes?
PETER: I’m currently enrolled at the University of Southern California’s School of Dramatic Arts. I cannot say enough about how this program has helped me grow not only as an actor but also as an artist. The mental game is such a crucial one in this business, and in my two years at USC, I feel that the School of Dramatic Arts’ faculty members have really helped me to develop a strong mentality that I can apply to all my future work. I’m really looking forward to the challenges that I will face in the next two years as a student in this acting program. While certainly acting classes are not necessary – there are many excellent actors who are out there working and who never had a single day of training – I have found that I have really benefitted from it.
STARCAST: What are your favorite actors’ services and resources?
STARCAST: I really love Actor’s Access. I think it’s a great way for an actor to take the initiative and start submitting themselves for roles right away. I also think StarCast is a tremendous resource not only for exposure and connections, but also for the daily practice of accepting material and working on creating a character.
STARCAST: What’s your dream role, and do you have a favorite actor or actress?
PETER: Choosing a dream role is super difficult for me! I can’t think of just one that I would love to play above all others. As for favorite actors, here we go: Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, Ed Harris, Robert DuVall, Paul Newman, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hanks – there are so many others in that list, but these are actors whose work I find extremely specific, truthful, and particularly inspiring to me as an actor.
STARCAST: What are your short term acting goals?
PETER: I would love to continue to work more and more in television and film. I love my background in theatre and would definitely never want to give that up, but for now, television/film is where I see my life heading.
STARCAST: The biz can be tough. What motivates you to keep at it?
PETER: I love it, plain and simple. I can’t envision a life without telling stories!
STARCAST: Do you have any special or funny skills we should know about?
PETER: I don’t really have any skill that is particularly hilarious. I love to sing – I’m in an a cappella group at USC called the SoCal VoCals. I also have a black belt in tae kwon do.
STARCAST: Do you have any audition tips for your fellow actors out there?
PETER: I may have mentioned this before, but look at any audition as a chance to tell your story [the character’s story] and to make a connection. That’s really all you can hope for. Directing your thoughts to “I hope I get it” or “I need to book this job” will fail you in the room, so shift your attention to thoughts of the story and the circumstances. Relying on your humanity, which we all naturally have, and trusting the work you’ve done outside of the room serves you best, in my experience.
STARCAST: Do you have a website, YouTube channel or reel you would like us to post? And do you have a Twitter or other social media handle where you would like people to follow you?
Twitter handle: pete__mitchell
Thanks, PETER! You can check out his StarCast performance at www.starcastauditions.com/best-performances. If you don’t see his video, shift the sort function from “Most Recent” to “All.”