You probably just sang the Charlie Daniels Band song in your head, didn't you? Me too; like every time I went to the set while shooting an episode of Your Worst Nightmare for Investigation Discovery Network. That was the name of the Episode on the TV Series. Shot in Georgia; get it? Go ahead and enjoy the song by clicking the CDB link, if you like.
Playing Detective Frank Shelton (Season 2, Episode 10) was fun for two reasons. First, I always wanted to play a Detective. Why? Because in all my years of acting, I hadn't played this type of character. Secondly, while working on SEDUCTION AT DAYBREAK (#seductionatdaybreak on Instagram), my latest novel, I was confident I'd get a sense of the environment and the physical characterization of a detective, even though it was acting. It proved to be extremely helpful.
I got to thinking, over the past twelve-plus years, I've played a Radio DJ in One Tree Hill on CW Network, a Television Anchor in Army Wives on Lifetime, a money-grubbing philanderer in The Ultimate Gift (feature film), a scum-ball lawyer in The Confession on The Hallmark Channel, a father of two precocious graduating teen daughters in Remember The Daze (feature film), a Television Reporter in Surface on NBC, a former Special Ops Sniper in my film Chasing Grace, and most recently as the detective on ID's Your Worst Nightmare.
None of the roles were too much of a stretch; you can decide which roles you would imagine were "outside my wheelhouse." And since I'm on this tangent...
The acting profession is a funny bird. You attempt to crawl into the mind of a person, living, dead, or from scratch, and create this performance in order to entertain. And in the process, you're either handsomely paid or not, and if you're one of the "Lucky Elite" [fill in famous actor here], you're placed on a pedestal as a "Star" or "Hero" or "Untouchable." To me, that's crazy.
We don't put our mechanics, or school teachers, or police officers in the limelight as "Star, Hero or Untouchable." Well, sometimes we do. And perhaps we should do so more often.
I've had the honor of working alongside some truly stellar actors: James Garner, Moira Kelly, Sherry Stringfield, Bill Cobbs, Lee Meriwether, Abigail Breslin, Drew Fuller, and Brett Rice, to name a few. Brett's most recent role I've enjoyed was his role as Tucker Baggett on Longmire, where he played a bad guy (very well, I might add). I had the pleasure of working with Moira Kelly on both One Tree Hill (my first "official" acting gig) and Remember the Daze. She is down to earth, charming and unaffected by the business. One of the funniest people I've worked and hung out with was Sherry Stringfield. The role she played in The Confession, and not too dissimilar from her role in ER, was not nearly as "light-hearted & goofy" as she is in real life.
My favorite part of acting, and one that's taken me entirely too long to master is "being natural." In other words, (1) taking the words on the page, (2) inhabiting them as if those words were my/your own, and (3) just have fun with it, not taking it too seriously. That, to me, is the secret.
Now, if you've hung in here this long, go ahead and take a look at my Demo Reel. It's only about 20 minutes, and shows a good breadth of my work, all of which I had a total blast creating.
Detective Frank Shelton in "Devil Went Down To Georgia" from YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE (ID)