I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s interview with Anthony over at Something Ghoulish. There are a lot of great interviews lined up for this week at Effective Nerd. There is so much great talent out there that I try to meet as many of you as possible.
This week I also got to talk to actor Chad Meisenheimer. Chad and I have been friends on Twitter for a while. Much like The Embalmer, Chad was another person I met through my friends at Fearter Horror. I hope you enjoyed our chat!
An Interview With Chad Meisenheimer
Aaron Iara: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me this week! Please tell the readers a bit about yourself.
Chad Meisenheimer: My name is Chad Meisenheimer. I’m an award winning, Los Angeles based Actor – Comedian – Content Creator originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. I also co-host a podcast called “20 Minutes with Chad” with co-host Simon Watson that’s on Extra Features Movie Review Podcast.
Aaron Iara: Nice to meet you! What inspired you to get into acting?
Chad Meisenheimer: I’ve had such a weird career trajectory, which is why I tell fellow artists and creatives there is no right or wrong path in show business. I knew I wanted to make movies when I was six years old.
The older I got, I realized it wasn’t in the cards for me financially to attend a big film school and I didn’t have any Hollywood connections either. So I knew at a young age that acting was the best path to becoming a director. I started acting in youth theater and community theater at the age of twelve.
Aaron Iara: What is your process for finding acting gigs?
Chad Meisenheimer: I have to break this question into two parts. The first part – creatively something that sparks my interest, that challenges me or the complete opposite of me. Which is funny as a comedian doing stand up or sketch comedy I try to do more things based on me.
The second part – business-wise, I ask myself three questions: Am I passionate about this project? Does it pay well? Will it advance my career? If I say “No” to all three of these questions I will pass on the project. Like the saying goes ‘It’s show business, not show art.”
Aaron Iara: That sounds like an excellent strategy. Passion, compensation, and progression are three major factors when choosing a new project.
What do you do to practice/refine your acting skills?
Chad Meisenheimer: I’m a classically trained actor, I studied at a two-year acting conservatory in the Bay Area and also earned my AA degree in Film / TV Production from Solano Community College.
I’ve been acting for twenty-two years, professionally eighteen years. Basically I keep myself sharp by reading a lot, watching people in public and just living life. Without life experience you have nothing to grab onto as an actor or a creative in general.
Aaron Iara: Do you often feel performance anxiety? If so, how do you deal with it?
Chad Meisenheimer: I very rarely have performance anxiety when I’m doing a film or TV project. But for theater, stand up comedy or a live performance I do get a little bit of performance anxiety, which I feed off of and use to give myself the adrenaline to perform. Not the most healthy thing to do, due to having OCD, Generalized Anxiety and mild clinical depression.
Here’s a fun fact about me. I have a deep hatred for auditioning. I don’t find it fun at all. When I get into the room I usually start feeling claustrophobic and my weird neurosis comes out like a bat from hell.
Aaron Iara: Every craft requires hard work and dedication. How do you stay motivated to keep going?
Chad Meisenheimer: Not having a plan B and the possibility of living on the streets working at a Pizza Hut until your 62 is a pretty scary image, haha. In this business you will have to work those crappy day jobs or part time jobs that will crush your spirits. But during those times if you have the patience, perseverance and persistence you will eventually succeed. Also, making my own content makes me feel focused and productive between gigs too.
Aaron Iara: I am sure that most of us can relate to those feelings. The lack of a passionate career was one of my main reasons for starting Effective Nerd.
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to film and television. What is your strategy for collaborating with others?
Chad Meisenheimer: Besides acting professionally for eighteen years, I’ve been creating content (writer-director-producer) for fifteen years and as a comedian (stand up comedy / sketch comedy) for nine years, collaboration is remarkably different at my level verses someone who is starting out or earlier in their career.
One of my key secrets? I will work on a few student films for no compensation and will network with everyone on those projects. Because they are the future of the business and the ones that will eventually be doing the hiring. Also, I’ve met a lot of my long term collaborators on those student projects and have brought them in on my projects.
Aaron Iara: Building relationships within your craft is an excellent strategy to create opportunities. Plus, it is always great to make friends with like-minded people.
Who are some of your current favorite indie actors/filmmakers?
Chad Meisenheimer: My favorite indie filmmakers as of lately – Boots Riley, Jeremy Saulnier, Shane Ryan, Sean Cain, Ramzi Abed, Barry Jenkins and Josh Pierson.
Aaron Iara: Do you have any current or upcoming projects you would like to discuss?
Chad Meisenheimer: In 2018 I wrapped the film festival circuit with my award-winning short horror film “Nite Nite”, which I was the writer-director-producer, and the award-winning comedy short film “Check Please!” which I wrote-directed-produced-costarred in. In 2019 I’m mainly going to focus on my podcast, acting work, stand up comedy and writing my one man show “The Chad Man Cumeth!” Unless I get an offer to direct something that will blow my mind away to do. I also do photography and I’m looking to continually upgrade to better cameras and learn new techniques.
Aaron Iara: That sounds like quite the busy year! It is always great to see people putting in hard work. Goals are extremely important. It looks like you are on the right track.
Please let the readers know where they can find you and your work.
Aaron Iara: Thank you for taking the time to talk to me this week!
A huge thank you to Chad Meisenheimer for taking the time to chat with me this week. Make sure to keep an eye on chad for more projects, podcasts and more!
Chad Meisenheimer is on Vimeo