Through my interviews with Sam Lant, Brandon Tyler Russell and Austin MacDonald and my friendships with their parents, I’ve become connected to a small group of young actors who have interesting projects (film, radio, television and charity work) to share. My latest interview from this “Burbank gang” is with Zach Callison. Zach has a great number of voice-credits under his belt that may be familiar to any of my friends with small children who watch Disney Channel. Zach’s also heavily involved in charity work. Since Zach’s celebrating his 16th birthday today, it seemed like the right time to post our interview.
ANTHONY: What was your first professional acting job?
ZACH: I began working in St. Louis when I was eight years old. I booked a local grocery store commercial. Following that I booked a small role in an independent film entitled ‘Kingshighway’. It was then that I knew I wanted to work in film and television and began working on my parents to help me pursue my dream.
ANTHONY: What is your favorite type of performing?
ZACH: While I love voice over work and have done quite a bit of it, my first love is on camera film and television. I am so excited that I just recently booked and worked on camera role. It is my first love.
ANTHONY: How did you book the role of Prince James and did you work with the director on creating the character?
ZACH: Booking any voice over role requires recording an audition and sending it in. The studio will usually do a call back session and put you through the paces by giving direction to see if you can follow it and still deliver what they need. Prince James’s voice is my natural voice only with a little more energy. James is a positive character with a lot of spunk. It is usually the actor who creates the voice for the audition and gets the job if the director and studio likes what they hear.
ANTHONY: Has anything in your approach to the character changed as you moved from the movie script to an on-going series?
ZACH: Not really. Doing a voice over role requires consistency so that the character is recognizable throughout.
ANTHONY: Do you think “Sofia The First” is not only entertaining but also educating younger children? If so, what lessons is the show imparting?
ZACH: ‘Sofia’ is an amazing show in so many ways. It is teaching lessons through stories. It is a departure from the recite and repeat formulas of so many shows targeting young children. The lessons imparted are morally based like kindness, sharing and belief in oneself. I hear from parents all the time how much they like watching the show with their children and the lessons they learning.
ANTHONY: Who do you play in the upcoming DreamWorks feature film “Mr. Peabody and Sherman”? What was it like to record it?
ZACH: I play King Tut in the film. I love the voice I created for this film. It was so much fun to record and Rob Minkoff who directed the film was amazing to work with. My mom is so excited about this film as she remembers the original cartoon and the episode with King Tut.
ANTHONY: It was one of my favorite cartoons, too. Can’t wait to see the movie. You’re not always acting. What do you like to do in your spare time?
ZACH: I am a big gamer. Right now I am obsessed with League of Legends. I play online with my friends and I am looking to begin league tournaments soon. I can’t get enough of it!
ANTHONY: What charities/causes are most important to you?
ZACH: I am a Youth Ambassador for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. I promote the organization and educate others about the importance of protecting our oceans and ocean life. Sea Shepherd campaigns in the Southern Ocean have been filmed and documented by the Discovery Channel for the show ‘Whale Wars’. They are a direct action organization making a real difference!
Other causes that I support are helping the homeless via ‘Little Red Wagon’, ‘LA Mission and Habitat for Humanity, as well as children’s charities like ‘Ronald McDonald House’ and the Children’s Hospitals of LA and Orange County.
ANTHONY: I’ve interviewed Zach Bonner recently about how he started the Little Red Wagon Foundation. How did you get involved?
ZACH: Zach Bonner and I met when I went out to support him when he was finishing his walk across the country. I made the last 3 mile journey with him to the Santa Monica Pier. We have become friends and I have been supporting him and his organization in any way I can. I recently arranged the space and rounded up some of my friends to help him stuff backpacks with school supplies for homeless and under privileged kids. We are also looking for more projects in the future to work together and bring funds and awareness to homeless youth.
ANTHONY: What other acting or charity projects do you have coming up?
ZACH: I am so excited about my new show on Cartoon Network titled ‘Steven Universe’. I play the role of Steven. The show is hilarious and I laugh in the studio every time I record. The show is airing later this fall. Rebecca Sugar is the creator of the show and she holds the title of the first female show runner. She is incredibly talented and our cast is fantastic.
I am also working on a new project that I can’t say much about at this time. It is being produced by Sean Hayes and Todd Milner and it is hysterical. I will share more when I can, but I am thrilled to be working on camera again with an amazing cast and crew.
ANTHONY: And my usual closing question: What is your favorite book?
I haven’t had a lot of time for recreational reading lately but one of my favorite series of books is the ‘Hunger Games’. I loved the action and the character development of the books and the theme of the story is semi-original. Only second to a Japanese film titled “Battle Royale” released in 2000.
ANTHONY: Thanks for chatting, Zach!
ZACH: Thanks Anthony for the opportunity!