This episode introduces Stephen Walker. Brisbane based actor and recent Tik Tok viral sensation for his spider catching 'expertise'.
We discuss the change in the film making processes from the 70/80s to today and how he has become an all-rounder (aka 'slashee') by working with Channel 7 in Sydney.
We also delve into the financial arena and how having a sound financial plan has led him to having a satisfactory passive income which allows for him to now focus on his acting full-time.
And straight from my introductory episode, we touch on the subject of introversion and how that can hold you back then become a positive in your acting career.
You can follow Stephen at https://www.actorstephenwalker.com/ or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/actfifty/.
And of course, be sure to check out the famous video itself on Tik Tok at https://www.tiktok.com/@stephenwalker34
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Tik Tok Spiderman with Stephen Walker
[00:00:00] David John Clark: My guest today, I consider a great friend, although we have yet to meet in person having met in the online world of drama training with StageMilk.com. He currently resides in Brisbane, Queensland. He first got his feet wet in the acting game is an 11 year old making super eight films in primary school and has been fortunate to then continue in the media world through the decades, working across a range of mediums, including including film, TV, and stage.
He completed a bachelor of arts, majoring in script writing before following a career in government, primarily in key leadership roles in human resources. His acting career continued throughout the 1980s with this first ever professional role being in the acclaimed 1981, Puberty Blues film directed by Bruce Beresford, but it appears he is now entering the territory of the late bloomer status with a continual flow of roles in independent and student films since 2018 culminating most recently in a fantastic role in the television sitcom series, Young Rock an American sitcom based on the life of legendary wrestler and actor Dwayne The Rock Johnson.
He's also an accomplished voiceover artist with an extensive range of characters and accents, please welcome Mr. Stephen Walker. I should've got a sound byte on, Hey, we can use for clapping. It's a bit cliche, but
Welcome. Welcome to our podcast. Thank you for. Now I must say that you also recently supported my initial foray into filmmaking by providing a voice over, as the newsreader in our short film, Sam, a collaboration between myself and my young bloomer actor, son Connor for the 48 hour film festival.
So thank you very much.
I love it. And I must say that recently you've just become a Tik Tok sensation. Wasn't it, Spiderman?
[00:01:47] Stephen Walker: Very unsurprising, very surprising Christmas thing that happened. I'm, I'm up there now with the cool kids? I have to say I I hit 1.5 million views on the weekend. It's insane. So yeah, it was just, you know, innocently catching a spider that was people freaked out, but the fact that I sort of catch Huntsman with my hands, and so it's gone, it's gone nuts.
[00:02:16] David John Clark: And you had no plans.
[00:02:17] Stephen Walker: Was just one of those fun things. And I said to my son who was visiting, I said, oh, Jake film this. And he said, you should put on Tik Tok, go viral with it, ok, alright, let's put it on Tik Tok. And so it did, it did so much, so that. Fox News have run it. It's, it's out there all over the, the internet I had live cross with the Channel Nine morning show.
It was, it was insane and I must say they wanted me to do something, you know, bit different. And can you have a spider there? And so. I had, I caught it another spider and I had it in my hands waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, and it bit me, you know, all along. I've been saying, nah, I've never been bitten by one.
It beat me while I was waiting to go live. And yeah, it hadn't been just a slight tear in the eye, but it was alright. I was disappointed that I did not wake up the next day looking like Tom Holland or something. It just didn't work. So, so yes, completely surprising thing. That's just out there with, with thousands of followers and likes.
And as I said, at 1.5 million views now, nuts!
[00:03:26] David John Clark: Beautiful. Do you think something small like that? Do you think that's improved your acting in anyway?
[00:03:33] Stephen Walker: I think it does because we hear more and more that casting directors or producers particularly network. The, the word is that they're saying, I don't want to see a showreel.
Show me their social media, how many followers they got, what are they doing? What's their, what's their social media footprint looking like. And so from, from my perspective, it was a bit of an unexpected blessing. Whether or not someone of my vintage, they would even bother to even ask what their social media profile looks like.
But if they do, I have one, I have one. If you Google Stephen Walker or Stephen Walker, actor, boom up, it comes like filling pages of stuff because of the spider. And so it's got to count for something. I mean there's old saying of, of no bad press. Well, this was good press anyway. So, you know, And bringing on a Steve Irwin role.
[00:04:21] David John Clark: I love it. I love it. And so that sort of leads in, in my opening comments. I alluded to your acting career started in the seventies. So in primary school. So trying not to show your age, right?
[00:04:30] Stephen Walker: Yeah. We can go back to the seventies. We can go back. I liked my, my earliest, my earliest recollection of wanting to act I was in second class. So what what's that? Seven ages of seven, six or seven, something like that. And a a friend of mine close friend of mine at school had just been on TV in something like a Henny Penny commercial for the fast food, chicken. That's now gone because of health warnings or something or other.
And I desperately wanted to do that. And nothing happened. And then year seven year seven. There was a teacher as one of those, the sports, I'm not a sporting guy. I've never been a sporting guy. And there was an alternate activity for sports Thursday afternoons, where you could learn super eight film making.
Yeah, this teacher brought in his own super eight equipment and we made films. I wrote scripts, ran the camera, but also acted. And so my first sort of delve into screen was back then in year seven and I loved it. Absolutely loved it. But was such an introvert and. No one kind of new, how do you become an actor?
There was wasn't anything out there. But I was also terrified, terrified of getting up and you know, what would people think of me? And so I kind of very quickly went to behind the camera and started writing scripts. And as a young teen. I would attend playwright weekends at the shopfront theater in Carlton in Sydney, and spend a weekend with a big name writers of, of screen and plays and lots of other want to be young writers who were teenagers from around the country.
They'd fly them in. And, and I just caught a train cause I was living in Sydney at the time. So it didn't have its glamour. And that kinda got me on set. So in year, 10, when people were doing work experiences, you know, the mechanics or the butchers or wherever else? I was on set. I was on set, doing work experiences of whatever that is 16 years of age and seeing how it all worked behind the camera and the drama behind the camera.
And being on set, that's where I got to be in Puberty Blues as an extra and, and like, like so many extras unpaid at the time, because I was doing work experience, but, you know, yeah.
[00:06:54] David John Clark: Still happens today!
[00:06:56] Stephen Walker: That's where it all began, really.
[00:06:58] David John Clark: Oh, that is awesome. Do you look back now with your, your experience on sets back then and go, oh wow, how much has it changed?
[00:07:06] Stephen Walker: My sense is what has changed is the speed in which big productions are happening. Back then you know, a good director like Beresford would be given, given ample time to do what he needed to do. But you know, engaging me as an extra for no reason for no, no pay, because I happened to be doing work experience.
I was a work experience kid on set. They still have budget constraints, but they just had a bit more freedom I feel than some of the productions that I've been involved with. Some of the international productions film or TV where it's it's just it's go, go, go, go, go now. So I sense, in that 30, 40 years there has been a shift in the expectations of what's produced.
[00:07:55] David John Clark: And so I'm out of university. So you did a, a T V like script writing. So you, you had all the intention too...
[00:08:01] Stephen Walker: Well, the funny thing was the script writing actually came later in the nineties and I did it part-time while I was, I was working what, what I, you know, wanting to be behind the camera because I was still too scared to be in front of it.
It was the back end of the year 11. I wrote to all the TV channels and said, this is what I want to do. This is what I've been doing since I was 11. That's what I want to do. Have you got anything coming up and a couple of months went past. Like a week into year 12 and channel seven phoned and said, Hey, you know, it was Bernie Keenan, chief cameraman at channel seven in Sydney.
He said, you're still, you're still looking for work behind the camera. I went, yeah. And he said, can you come in on Monday for an interview? And so, and so I did, I didn't have a car at that point as you know, as caught a train. And And then it happened. And so I I'm a high school dropout. I dropped out of a year 12.
'cause back in the day, you know, to score a job in TV. Obviously you just have to write the right letter at the wrong time. I had applied to film television radio school at the same time. And, and they said that we just think you're a bit young. So their loss. So, so I, I I still, I do have my rejection letter from the film TV radio school.
And it's very interesting and that same year, and I'm now working in, when I occasionally I'll go to directors acting workshop. And discover that there were kind of potentially my era of, of yeah. Had I have actually been accepted at the time, which is quite mind-blowing in some ways. But so yeah, I started working in television news in Sydney and, and learnt sound, learnt lights went behind the camera.
I started there, so that was 82. And I started most of the news crews because I was on, on news. Most of the news crews were working with 16 millimeter film and there was one electronic. Camera that was used for live crosses. And in my time there at channel seven, everything transitioned out of film and into three quarter inch tape, and then into beta cam tape in that period.
So was quite an amazing period of learning to be there. And it was after that, that I went on and, and after a few years of doing that, then life happened and, and I started working in the Commonwealth. But I was still keeping up acting and doing singing lessons and doing, you know, musical theater and a few other bits and pieces in that way.
But, but that early job at channel seven that has been it's a measurable benefit to being an actor on set because I know what lighting is after I know what the sound is trying to do. I know what's going to work. I know what's not going to work. It just helps me having that as part of my DNA to know what's going on, on a set and, and how things are gonna, gonna work and certainly helps me set up a room like this for self-tapes cause I know exactly how the lights and the temperature of lights and how to sound, that sound, how the sound just not speak, how to sound, how to set up the sound correctly. And it was you know, I look back and I just think I wouldn't have had it any other way.
[00:11:18] David John Clark: That's awesome. And that's a, and that experience and all those learnings over the years have are quite evident in everything I've seen of you since we've met on StageMilk, because just your self-tapes and, and your contributions to our community in especially lighting, you know, some of the videos you put out there it's just helped.
So many people, even myself, I've changed the way I light my screens purely because of your video. So that's perfect. So that sort of goes on to. Do you consider yourself a late bloomer then to your acting career now seems to be coming into a new, well now I don't know. Are you officially retired?
[00:11:52] Stephen Walker: Yeah, well technically, technically yeah, that's right.
Technically I am. There's money goes into my bank account every fortnight. So I guess that from, from, and it's free money. So it's, it's, it's, that's not a government retirement pension. It's, it's my own. It's my own contributions. And so, yeah, so it's not really free money. But, but yeah, so the advantage of that, that I find compared to so many other people, is that my time is my own. I can dedicate it to spending as much time as I want learning, reading, reading plays, watching, watching Netflix. It's a great excuse for watching Netflix and, and just learning and building on my craft because I don't have to worry, where is, where's that money going to come from? That puts food on the table. I don't have to try and I don't have to chase shitty, paid acting jobs in order to, to have something coming in. And so, yeah, so it is it is a benefit. I mean, my, my my accountant doesn't necessarily see the acting as a full-time career yet, but we're working on that. So so yes, in answer to your question. Yeah. Technically yes, I'm retired. That helps.
[00:13:12] David John Clark: And the late bloomer status. I've I'm doing a bit of research on that. Now, so there's two facets of late bloomers. Those that have been doing something all their life and, and later in life, finally gained some traction and momentum and success.
Samuel L Jackson, for example, he's been acting since he was young. But didn't really get his first major role or, or known in the industry until he was in his forties. I think so. I would say, is that how you feel your career is going now you're starting to come into it and you've got that ability to make things work now, like you said, you can just go where the work takes you?
[00:13:47] Stephen Walker: Part of the, the early days of, of really dedicating myself completely to acting was about my, I used to refer to it as catch-up, making up for lost time and understanding how the industry works, because it's kind of unlike any other and really getting to understand what you need in that space.
How do you actually get seen and not just seen by casting directors how do you get noticed by everybody. How do you put yourself out there when you don't have a spider that you can catch and go on Tik Tok? You know, how do you actually, how do you establish that? What do you need? What, what constitutes a good one of these?
And also an acceptance, particularly whether it's face or voice to recognize now, I'm, you know, I'm a short ass guy and I've never liked my voice, but I've recognized now that it actually doesn't matter what you look like or what height you are, what your features are, what your voice sounds like.
There's something for you because the there's. I mean, there's big D diversity in the small D, diversity on the screen, and there's still wanting that small D diversity of just a mix of it. We're not everyone has to be six foot four. Not everyone has to, has to actually have these features have a thick head of hair or be twenty-something and that they're...
[00:15:07] David John Clark: Streaming TV's changed that, hasn't it? Because it used to be, you had to be, blue eyes, blonde gorgeous, both male and female. And that's what everything was. But the, the shows like Breaking Bad have changed that they've gone for that, that bikey look, that druggie look, that's been living on the streets sort of look. So everyone gets a,
[00:15:25] Stephen Walker: You gave those three examples, just looking at me then.
No now, but, but yeah, no, it is. And that's. There's a, and I think it's fantastic that the big D diversity push has meant such a change to the landscape, but in amongst that there is still that small D diversity that's needed. So it's not just vanilla and plastic. We, you know, with the exception of social media, not the reality TV, I think most reality TV still wants a bit of the plastic.
[00:15:55] David John Clark: No exactly right now. And it's about people wanting to be famous. Isn't it. And I really hope that we're still going with skillset because I just read something the other day that they said way back in our days, when we were young, kids were asked what they want to do when they grow up 85% of kids would say fireman, astronaut, police officer doctor, that sort of stuff.
But apparently just recently it was the same percentage. 85% of children said they want to be famous. And that's all they've said. I just want to be famous. Not, I want to cure cancer and be famous because of it. Or I want to fly the moon and be famous of it. I just want to be famous. And that's probably a sad state of society.
[00:16:33] Stephen Walker: And I must say 42,000 likes or whatever it is for the.
[00:16:40] David John Clark: But it's hard because if you start looking at it, even with my podcast, I will, I'm watching the view counts each day. And I've had my wife's had decided when she said, when you get the spikes celebrate, but don't let yourself get down when you don't get the spikes, because otherwise you just end up focusing on that, that little button all the time.
I wanted to ask you quickly about training, but just want to go back a sec. Cause you brought something up in your opening statement about being introverted and my opening podcast for this talks about introversion a lot because when I first decided to go and do a course and say, Hey, let's not just be an extra, let's try and do acting, how can I do that? I'm introverted, I've done all the studies. I'm a classic ITJF or whatever it is. And then I found out my research, how many actors are introverted. So did you sort of go through that process as well in your head and have a realization, say, hey, I'm like.....
[00:17:32] Stephen Walker: A lot of, yeah, well, I, as I said back at age 11, I knew that I couldn't possibly do acting because I'm so introverted.
I, I tried to, I tried to break it. I 14, I think I signed up to Toastmasters at school. So I could learn to actually get up and, and, and shake away those nerves. Cause you know, it's that whole, you hear surveys taken nine out of 10 Americans would prefer death over, speaking in public. That sort of thing of getting up there and saying something. So I did Toastmasters and then later I did Toastmasters for years and years and years. And some of the leadership roles that you would were talking about, which included for three years as a diplomat overseas, where I was called on often to speak off the cuff, but a lot of public speaking, including the, the, the Bangkok based Asia Pacific UN forum, where I'll be there with a little Australia in front of me and just have to talk.
And so that helped, that helped break it down to make it possible for me to. Think about, oh, I could do this as an actor and I guess in a way, and this is how I think a lot of actors probably do it because there are a lot of introverted actors, just, introverted, introverted introvert, occasionally see an extrovert, but mostly they're introverts.
Who wants to go first in a, in a workshop and every actor, sitting there going and don't make eye contact, I can't do it. And. I think it's because we get the opportunity to just not be ourselves. And so if we're not ourselves, people can't judge us. They can judge that character, but I'm not that character. So it's actually, okay.
I can get up there and I can be that character. You ask any number of those actors. Can you get up there and deliver a speech as you, a lot of actors are going to go, oh, I don't think I can get up there in front of people and speak! Could you actually read this monologue in front of people? Yeah, sure.
That's great. I'll get up there. I'll I'll act. And I think, I think that's, that's the advantage of being, becoming somebody else and, and, you know, playing pretend when you play pretend you can be introverted, you can be extrovert, you could be a psychopath. I know a lot of actors that are psychopath's too!
[00:19:47] David John Clark: And they're not acting! And it does, and I think it changes you as a person as well, though. I'm mean, I don't, if you're introverted, you're always introverted, but I've had people at my work say when I've said, oh, I'm introverted. You, really? I said, well, no, because you know me in a, in an environment I'm comfortable with, but even now I'll go to an acting a show or something like ,
[00:20:07] Stephen Walker: I was a lousy diplomat because I just can't do the cocktail setting. You know, it's just one of those things for me, there was always some texts to send in a corner quietly while a function was happening. I. I can't network that way. It just doesn't work for me,
[00:20:27] David John Clark: But certainly helped your it's certainly helped with your speech. I mean, your voice training, your voice acting, it just says it all. And even just our one-on-one now your speech is fantastic and it shows me that I know that I need to go into some sort of speech training because I don't have that ability to keep that flow going. I have, I still have a lot of the arms and RS and my brain's not talking to my mouth. So,
[00:20:47] Stephen Walker: I think that that's, I think that's a sign of any, any late bloomer actor is probably going to have that disconnect from brain to mouth because it's just, it's just, it's it's age Dave!.
[00:21:01] David John Clark: I'm turning 49 this year. So the big fifties approaching faster. So acting training, what have you done over the years? You done formal stuff. You're a bit like me where you've just done. Do you have any?
[00:21:12] Stephen Walker: Almost everything? Almost everything. I did. I kept going with little odd, odd things through the eighties and the nineties, just the occasional thing here and there. A bit of NIDA, a bit of this, you know, like intensive workshops and master classes and things. Mid nineties, I did a weekly singing lessons to try and sort of build up lung capacity and that sort of stuff. When I decided to, to move into and actually do it. And it's, it was my, my youngest who was doing some acting at the time and he was We were on the way home we were living in Canberra, we were on the way home from Sydney.
He was on set for Love Child. And I was saying, look, I don't want to be a stage dad. You know, this is my story and the background and I never followed it. I went behind the camera. So it just, if you think I'm pushing, just tell me to back off and whatever else. And so my, my 13 or 14 year old at the time, he just said, Hmm, why aren't you doing it then, if that's what you wanted to do. And so it was that point. I went, you know what, smart-arse! Yeah. Yeah. And so I then thought, okay, so he hadn't done, he was heavily involved in drama and dance at school. And that was where he was getting his, his acting training from. And so I hadn't actually researched what was available for him.
And so when I said, okay, what do I. What do I need to do? And so you kind of like a lot of actors starting out. Okay. Well, let's sign up to StarNow to, to see what's out there. Cause you know and what else, what else have we got there? He had an agent and it was like, okay, now I have to think about an agent.
I need to think about doing all this other stuff. What's out there. And so for me at the time, I hadn't quite switched everything off yet. It wasn't like an overnight, okay, cancel everything I'm doing. I was running my own business at that point and consulting back in the government. And so it wasn't like I had a boss to say, see you later.
I resign, but I had the wind, that stuff down and it to me and living in Canberra, it was like, oh, I can't, I couldn't at my age, do whatever I was. I think I was 50 was I can't do it. I couldn't possibly sign up to a three year acting course. That's just not going to work for the family or anybody.
Particularly as we're living in Canberra. It was not a lot in Canberra. And so I, I, I searched and I searched and I searched and looked at at what Tafta were doing. And then to basically all of my auditions were in Sydney and it was long before the doing the, you know, the, the, the COVID or the post COVID do auditions from home.
And, and self-tapes everywhere. It was. Drive up to Sydney for four or five hours walk into an audition room for a non-speaking TVC and two minutes later, walk out and drive home again. So driving to Sydney was nice there for me. And so I was like, okay, Tafta has got some things coming up, but is there anyone that does anything online?
And so that's where I first tapped into StageMilk and, and one of their sort of early adopters of, of where they had previously been, not where they are now, but where they were just starting out with weekly lessons. And so I tapped into that. I then tapped into Greg Apps early on and, and stayed connected with, with Greg in one capacity or another, for a good couple of years after that.
So really tapping into what could be possibly done online and realizing there's actually a lot in the acting space that you can do online, quite, quite an incredible amount of stuff that you can, you can do, but supplementing that with director workshops and casting director workshops and masterclasses with people like, like, Tafta, and then spreading that further and further and further and further.
And you know, particularly, particularly the last couple of years with, with lockdowns. There were times where I was doing five or six online classes a week. And, and just putting it down or putting it down or putting it down and connecting and really getting comfortable using this space as well.
And being able to, to recognize that a lot of casting is in this space and callbacks are in this space and to maximize it. So I've never shied away from the online. And I, I Yeah, everything that you could possibly potentially cover, I've covered outside of doing a you know, a three year rolling or long-term course.
And it's, and it's. It's been great. I'm winding down some of the workshops this year. I only, because I feel like it's not, not that I feel like I've learned it all because every single class, there's something to learn and to practice, but more about the fact of how. How can I maximize the return on investment and is it better to, to be learning through smaller productions or myself.
But but yeah, it's, it's been, it's been fantastic and it's been rewarding. And even as an introvert, it's a great way to network and, and build an incredible array of, of professionally. Contacts and friends at that I just didn't have before, because as an introvert, you know, your friendship pools pretty small.
[00:26:32] David John Clark: Both by StageMilk and Greg Apps of which I've done both myself. I have done that to the amount of people that you now follow on Facebook or you're in the Greg Apps graduates Facebook group and the StageMilk group, they reach out to you. They know that you've got that experience and it makes you realize that, Hey, I know some stuff and, and you, you're starting to get that follow through now, too, because we have to work in this realm.
Of the audition space. And that's where we focus a lot of our training because it's not about the acting once you're on the stage, you just onset you just, you just do it. But making you stand out in that audition space is, the hardest thing. And clearly you've made that step over with your, your role on the, the Young Rock.
So, so how has that experience?
[00:27:14] Stephen Walker: It was, it was great. And it was one of those things that when I look and compare my audition to what aired. Yeah, they're pretty identical. And it's obviously whatever it was that I produced at that that audition tape. And I, I'd done a few auditions for Young Rock and I'd for different characters and I had callbacks as well, but this one.
Must've just given them exactly what they wanted because there was no, there was no follow-up. There was no recall. There was nothing was like off the first tape, bang you booked the role. And then how the director wanted me to play. It was basically a hundred percent identical to the character and the energy that I put into the into the audition itself. And it was it was great was it was at the backend of, of 2020, Queensland productions were still happening, but they had some serious COVID protocols in place. There was, there were training and workshops to do about COVID safety and so forth that have become fairly much the norm now, but it ended up being the world's hottest day, it was like Brisbane's hottest day on record or something that we were shooting. And it wasn't in the studio. At screen Queensland, it was actually on location at a house in, in Brisbane. And it was a house with very little ventilation and a dark timber walls. And of course it's it's set in Pennsylvania in Autumn, and so I'm wearing corduroy pants and, you know, the, the Priest's collar and a thick woolen, cardigan and had the character playing the character played the character, my wife sitting next to me, pressed in to make sure the eyeline was tight. The guy playing my son pressed into her. So five actors in this tiny space with two cameras.
Lights. . They weren't the nice, cool LEDs. These were hot lights! Hey, there was sweat pouring down. It was, and we had to pretend it was cold. It was one of those classic classic moments. And there was a point there after they'd taken all of my shots, they'd done everything. They were focused on the other actors now.
And so they wanted us to press in even tighter and huddle in really close, like her head was here. So they could really compress the eye-line and the other two actors like, oh my God, makeup was no longer focused on whether I was sweating or not. Cause I was done. And it's like, oh my God, what have I got?
And I reached into my pocket and I thought it was actually my, my a cloth mask, but it wasn't ended up being a tissue. So I dabbed myself down, to try and get the sweat off. And the the action they do their thing cut. And they just broke down into hysterics because un-knowingly I had ended up looking like Norm Gunston with tissue left all over my face where it disintegrated.
And I didn't know, I looked down there was tissue in my lab. There was there, it was, I was very embarrassed, but it made everybody's day in the really hot, hot Brisbane heat, pretending you don't know where there's a photo of the Norman Gunston. I quickly got rid of it, but yeah, there's, I think there's photos of his sweating a lot.
[00:30:34] David John Clark: I love it. I just want to say you've done the character training with Greg Apps. The same as me. Do you have a preferred character type you like to do, or do you like to play with, or you're happy to do anything that they throw at you.
[00:30:49] Stephen Walker: It's an interesting question. A lot of actors love the dark. We, we there's something about playing the dark, a likable dark character. And yeah, love that. But I also, I also really like the comedy dopey. I had Danny described that character, you know, just the, just the completely oblivious, dopey comedy character. I've done a lot of comedy training and I've done comedy training with Darren Bealesham.
I've done comedy training with the foundlings, not foundlings. I've now got to my mind blank out of, out of LA?
[00:31:31] David John Clark: There's the old age coming out!
[00:31:32] Stephen Walker: Ground ... Groundlings. That's not foundlings. I know what that is, man. I need another coffee or something today.
[00:31:44] David John Clark: Google that later and see who they are.
[00:31:46] Stephen Walker: So I, I, I love that comedy stuff. As well. You know, I tend to, I tend to be stereotyped in a sense into dads, good dads and bad dads. There's the caring dads. And then there's the darker, you know, alcoholic Dad.
[00:32:06] David John Clark: I get bad dads, all the time. I get more bad Dad's than good Dads!.
[00:32:09] Stephen Walker: His role though. We need dads in everything, so, you know, that's all fine.
And so look to me, I, I don't have a particular preference. I enjoy, I enjoy playing any number of characters. I, I, I. I do bring a lot of myself into whatever that character is because, you know, we don't, as a rule, you don't hate any character. You've got to love every character. And this is going to be something good in every character.
And I try to invest a lot of just, Steve into any of those characters. And so in some ways you'll see quite a bit of me in there and going, is he acting or is he just, you know, just reading something because it just feels like that.
[00:32:52] David John Clark: I get, I always get told that are you a too nice in that? Because then I said it's because your nice guy, well, that's great. I'm glad people are saying I'm a nice guy, but to be able to try. Especially when you're doing a role where you don't want that niceness in it, that stuff...
[00:33:05] Stephen Walker: I find it, maybe I find it too easy to actually read that. Not nice guy. I can very easily get into that guy that just will give you a look. And you just don't know whether he's going to knife you under the table or pat you on the back. Kind of look. Yeah, I like those kind of guys.
[00:33:24] David John Clark: And that means that your training has just come through because you are a nice guy.
So that, that makes me really your almost winning entry in the monologue games. That was a tough piece. You know, a bit of background for people listening or watching is the World, Monologue games, as you just submit a video as a monologue as judged by peers, et cetera. And your piece was about a father that I think there's a term for it.
I can't remember, but left his son in the back of his car. Didn't drop him off at daycare and then went to pick him up. How, how hard was that to do that scene?
[00:33:58] Stephen Walker: It's for me, I haven't experienced anything like that. Then you've really go into that space of what if, what, what would happen if, how would that, how would that be?
It's actually, it's actually a piece that I, I did, I think in my very, very first workshop ever, my very, very first one. And. I felt something with it and was really easily able to connect to the, to the emotion and the story. And I've performed it a couple of times, since you generally, as more of an audition piece there was a commercial that I did or maybe 18 months ago or so.
And they wanted to see a piece where you were, you were delivering a monologue and, and you had a strong emotional reaction and, and broke down. And so I used the use that and had, had, had the, the casting people. go, thanks. That's I, I, I need I need a glass of wine now. That's you've great. And so it's, it's always been one that I've been able to connect with.
And the, the thing about the monologue games is that every step along the journey with the monologue games, you have to submit a fresh version. So you can't just record it once. And that goes all the way through. It's the same, it's the same script, but you've got to record a fresh version. And that's always, , there's always this in the back of my head and I should stop it because it works every time, but there's always in the back of my head.
Am I actually going to be able to get there and have it believable this time round? And it's usually. It's gotta be first, take or second tape after that. It just falls flat and it doesn't work. It's cause it's going to have that energy right up upfront. And so I know a lot of people found it very distressing and I think good job done.
That's work. It's believable and it's gut wrenching. And.
[00:36:05] David John Clark: Yeah, I felt, I found myself going on the journey with you and I could almost visualize the car and then visualize the, the feelings that you were going when you turn in the car and realize what's happened and that, and then that, that last minute, please, please be asleep.
Please, please be sleep sort of thing. You felt that. So...
[00:36:22] Stephen Walker: I enjoyed it. It was it was one of the, and it's, it's very easy to play that one where the emotion is there from the start to the finish. But the one, one bit of feedback when I was getting some coaching on, on trying to do it even better for the, for the games was take us on that journey if you can.
So just be a bit more cold and clinical upfront. And then as the character is telling the story, he's reliving those moments. As if it was happening and then you'll have the audience build. So I so, I adapted this time round to previous ones and I think it really, it, it really nailed that journey as you, as you say, and who was able to bring the audience along as well.
So it's just a subtle things, I think. Yeah.
[00:37:10] David John Clark: Yeah. Would you call it your go-to monologe now?
[00:37:14] Stephen Walker: It has been my go-to monologue and it's just ironic that it was the very first monologue that I ever did in a, in a face face workshop. And so it's kind of, it is part of my DNA. I, I, I don't, I don't ever need a script or to refer to the script on it anymore because it's just embedded in my head with emotional triggers along the way.
[00:37:35] David John Clark: Hmm. So that sort of leads a little bit into I want to ask this question every time I do an interview because we're all older actors memorization of lines. Is that a problem for you? Do you have tricks or techniques that you'd like to share with people and get it done?
[00:37:51] Stephen Walker: The funny thing is. It's always, it's always been pretty, pretty good.
And somebody explained part of the reason why this might be. So the other thing we've talked before we talked earlier about the fact there's a lot of actors that are introverts. There's also a lot of actors that are have some that they're on a dyslexia continuum. And, and I'm on a dyslexia continuum in so far as particularly if I'm writing something or if I'm reading something take a, like a cold read is a nightmare for me because of my form of dyslexia, because I will see the patterning of a word, the first letter or first couple of letters and the last letter or a last couple of letters.
And. My brain will just put a word in there that fits that shape. If I'm reading something fast. And, and to give you to give you an example in a recent table read that I was doing, I was reading the big text and there was a character called Whitey. And reading big, fast pelting out, you know, rapid big text reading to keep the flow of the table
read going half the time I read it as a Whitney, not Whitey. And I was like, oh my God. So then this was being recorded for producers and everything. And I'm going and Whitney, blah, blah, blah, blah, is going, oh my God, it wasn't Whitney. It was Whitey. Come on, come on. So that's the form of dyslexia that I have. And, and so when it comes to reading scripts, sometimes I will read it and I, the wrong word will be embedded in my head.
And it, and it will stay one to me, once something is, it's almost like the first read through that kind of lock something in there for me. And so. It's not that I don't know the script is just be, there'll be some words in there that will be the right shape, but the wrong word completely and totally differently.
And so that. Techniques that I've learned. In the past I've had like white boards where I actually write a script out if I actually write a script and I can actually get it. The, the physical, the physical word written down letter by letter, I can actually combat that. That's the word shape. Cause it's not because I've actually written and I've transcribed and once I've transcribed it it's in.
And so this, this voice coach that I had this accent voice coach had actually said that. What she's aware of is that a lot of dyslexic actors are off book really, really fast because reading's not great for them. And so their mechanisms for actually remembering their brains are wired differently.
They're actually off book really fast and I'm off book really fast, really, really fast. And with occasionally I'll have a word back to front. But apart from that. And so it's, it's extraordinary. I, I, you know, I I'd love to run a survey to say, okay, dyslexic actors out there scale of one to 10, how easy is it to get off book?
Because allegedly really fast, just because of the way things work. Cause I, I, it doesn't take me very long. To actually work through a script and do a lot of the speaking out loud. I do a lot of pacing and mixing up where I'm going, what I'm doing, how I'm doing things just to, to change it. So there's no surprises and do my very best not to overwork what I'm reading and try to just read it flat.
Yeah. You know, there's, there's What you've also done some, some work with, with Jeff out of out of LA. Yeah.
[00:41:38] David John Clark: Jeff Seymour.
[00:41:38] Stephen Walker: That first read to go through, and that technique, that first read to just be a bland, nothing in it, nothing in it whatsoever. Just to focus on the words, none of the emotions, none of the punctuation, really just working on that.
So I try my best to go down that path, but I do find that, you know, I'm a emotional guy, I like to throw in emotions, start planning what I might do, but. So, yeah. So whether it's a technique or not, there's something, there's something that I've always found relatively easy is to get off script.
[00:42:11] David John Clark: That's awesome. Yeah. So I've, I'm learning techniques and it's weird because for monologues, I'll use the first letter process that we've learned on StageMilk. And I've done monologues where in five, 10 minutes, that works a hundred percent, but then next month I can do it. And it just doesn't doesn't kosha.
My biggest problem I have with a lot of scripts is I'll get halfway through and I'll be off book pretty much, but there'll be one line one damn line. in that script, my brain just goes, you know, I'm not giving it to you or not giving it to you. So it's really interesting how that works. So I know it's always interesting how people learn and how different it is.
And I think my last actress that I interviewed, she had a similar learning problem, so she had to find ways to make her brain make it work. So that's good. So I'm just mindful of the time. So I'm going to ask the last question before we jump into the speed round and let you get back to your normal life.
This is a cliche question, but As an actor, do you think you're making it yet or you're on your way to making it and or what do you consider it? Making it to be?
[00:43:14] Stephen Walker: To me, I've asked that question. Many times in, along this, this journey what maybe slightly differently, what does success look like?
Hmm. In a sense, you know, there's, there are people where success is, you know, a hundred thousand followers and fame. Yeah. For me, it has been the opportunity to, to enjoy and portray a character. And I, I get that. That buzz, that success buzz, where the portraying that character is in like a homework assignment for like StageMilk , monthly thing standing up in a workshop and being able to, to nail it or take directions and be able to nail it, to be on set, whether that's a big Hollywood blockbuster movie or a, a TV show or a student film an independent being able to, to deliver it, not even see it on screen, but just deliver it and have a director like the the most recent film that I was in was the portable door, which is the Jim Henson production.
That wrapped July last year. That's this year in cinemas and 2023 on Stan stay watching for, so there's a particular, there's a particular scene in there. And I was given that scene that day, the morning his, his assistant came up to me said, oh, has anyone spoken to you about doing this particular scene?
The director wants you to you've got to say these lines, these series of lines. And you've got to have it in this specific English accent. So the accent coach will be working with you from 9:00 AM. And and so there was a, there was a. There was a lot of pressure. And the scene itself was very high pressured in that there was a lot of physicality involved.
And when you, when you finish and the director calls moving on and comes up to you and says, nailed it! You just think, okay, that's validation, that's validation that it doesn't matter. You know, in the scheme of things, it was a half a page of text or, you know, whatever the amount was. But you know, wearing prosthetics and false teeth and, and contact lenses and playing a, you know, a fantasy creature in an English accent at, at breakneck speed.
But that it's that nailed it that, that stands out and go, yeah. Okay. Wow! Don't need to see it. I don't, it doesn't need to, they could cut it. It doesn't matter, but getting that feedback and so that feedback to say, yeah, you did it great. Could it come from an acting coach? It can come from, from someone giving feedback in a class.
And that's where I feel like, yeah, I've made it. And yes, I'd like more opportunities to be able to do that in a, in like a streaming show or know as a regular in something rather. Sure. Of course, but I'm not holding my breath for it. I get as much enjoyment putting down something for a monthly project for StageMilk, as I do onset.
[00:46:41] David John Clark: I love it. And it seems to be the common answer that no one's saying or when I'm at a million dollars or when I get an Oscar. It's always about the acting. And I think it boils down to when you're not having fun, then you're no longer doing it. So that's great. All right. So we're going to go into my fast round for a sec, but just quickly, where can people find you?
Facebook Instagram, that sort of stuff. What's your, what's your handle? Or you Tik Tok!
[00:47:09] Stephen Walker: You can Google Stephen Walker, actor, spider, you know, a million things. But certainly my website is the easiest thing in the world, which is Actor Stephen Walker with a pH of course stephen walker.com. That's the easiest thing, but all across all the other socials, especially Tik Tok
[00:47:27] David John Clark: All right, let's go. Number one. What is your t-shirt quote? If you'd wear a t-shirt...
[00:47:34] Stephen Walker: When the student is ready, the teacher appears.
[00:47:39] David John Clark: Nice. I like it. Your most inspirational actor, someone that guides you.
[00:47:42] Stephen Walker: Inspirational actor, I at these are rapid fire and I'm letting the system down here
[00:47:49] David John Clark: That's how it works. That's how it works. You don't have to answer you...
[00:47:54] Stephen Walker: Do I lose a thousand bucks?
Is this like 66 in a second long? I'm going to. I, I D I don't have one actor. That's, that's inspirational. That's that's the, the issue. Yeah, it's too hard. It's too hard. It's not fair.
[00:48:13] David John Clark: Who is your favourite child?
[00:48:19] Stephen Walker: The Adelaide based ones.
[00:48:21] David John Clark: That's good. I've already answered asked 'em what is your go-to monologue? That's good. What's the latest show you've binged?
[00:48:28] Stephen Walker: I'm actually currently bingeing Reacher. Reacher. . And so I've got to say, I'm not a great fan of the Tom cruise version of Reacher.
I mean, the guy's six foot five and Tom, Tom Cruise is my height as that anyway, so Reacher currently we're halfway through.
[00:48:49] David John Clark: Nice, nice cool. I'll put that on my list. It's a very long list. Is there any questions in this podcast that perhaps I should have asked you that I haven't?
[00:48:57] Stephen Walker: Nah!
[00:48:57] David John Clark: Good. I love it. Good. And and finally can you name one person you'd like to see on the podcast, either a fellow late bloomer actor or industry professional that that you'd like to hear from, or that you'd like others to hear from, into the late bloomer actor journey Again, you don't have to answer it. It's only if you can think of someone because I, add to my little list there, because I'm only doing a monthly podcast, so it's not like I'm scrambling for people, so that's good.
[00:49:23] Stephen Walker: You know, it'd be, it'd be fabulous to, to flip it and talk to Greg from his perspective. Because of the fact that, that Greg sees people at all parts of their journey. But I, my sense is from all of the work that I've done with Greg, he sees a lot of people like us coming through people that have late bloomers or they're they're in their second act. And he might have some really interesting perspectives as to what they bring, particularly, even if it was just focused on character.
Do late bloomer actors bring more to their character because of life experience, then, then younger people. It would be interesting to know. So it'd be, it'd be fabulous to hear that.
[00:50:10] David John Clark: Well, Greg's on my list for sure. So hopefully sometime during the year, we'll get him on board. So thank you, Stephen. That's it?
[00:50:18] Stephen Walker: That was fun.
[00:50:18] David John Clark: I hope you enjoyed that. Is it your first podcast as a guest?
[00:50:22] Stephen Walker: I've done. I've had some interviews with some different production companies that do different things and have had me on to do a couple of things, but it's strictly podcast. Now you could Virgin podcaster, Virgin podcaster.
[00:50:37] David John Clark: Beautiful. Awesome. Well, thank you very much for coming today. I hope everyone listening has got some great insights out of it. Yeah. It's really a wonderful actor. I'm enjoying being on the journey with you. Like I said, we have yet to meet in person. But we will meet some day soon.