FYIG recently had the chance to talk to actor Matthew Willson. Find out about how Matt got involved with My Roommate’s an Escort, his production company, and more inside!
I read that you started acting as a kid. What drew you to acting at that time?
What drew me to acting as a kid was, I saw a play that my parents took me to and I was AMAZED that adults could make people laugh for a living. No idea what the play was, but I remember where and I was completely hooked from that second
I also read that you only started taking it seriously in your early 20s. Why did you wait so long to pursue that creative outlet?
I took many years for me to actually accept the fact that I wanted to get serious about acting. Until then, I was totally devoted to my family’s business. I thought that I couldn’t do both. It’s my only real regret in life: That I didn’t pursue it earlier and that my parents didn’t encourage me more… granted, there wasn’t (and still isn’t) an arts school in this area.
How did your early theatre work prepare you for the TV and film roles you’ve had recently?
My early theatre work is my only real arts education. I will be indebted to community theatre the rest of my life! Everything I know as an actor is from learning on stage. On the job.
Could you tell us a little bit about your role as Jazz in My Roommate’s an Escort?
My role as Jazz in “My Roommates An Escort” came to be as I spoke to Katie Ulhmann, she had some questions about producing the show and then I decided that I’d like to be an investor. From there she offered me a small role. In a way, I wish that it was a bigger role… but I was cast in the last minute. In fact, I think that they were actually in production. She and Trish and David Carruthers were gracious enough to “find me a role”.
You founded your own production company, Willson Entertainment Productions. What made you decide to start that endeavour?
I started “Willson Entertainment Productions” because I was financing my own work. I wanted a legitimate company of my own. (at the time) I was doing so many shorts, features and docs, I really needed a stable company. To date, the company has been involved with over 20 projects and has donated over $100,000 to mostly children’s charities.
How is the behind the scenes process of filming different from the on-screen portion?
The difference between being in front of the camera compared to behind is you’re only acting your own scene when in front. Once behind, you’re in charge of every detail of the scene, including every actor, to the set and lighting etc. When you’re behind the camera you have to keep in mind the entire project and the many aspects that come with it.
You have two sons with your wife. Do you think either of them is going to follow in your footsteps?
Now that I’m a parent, I know what people mean when they say, “as long as my kids are happy, I’ll support them in anything that they do”. It’s so true… although, I’d LOVE for my kids to be involved in the arts… that world is a scary place. The theatre, to me, has always been my safe place. I hope they find something similar.
What advice would you give to aspiring Actors, Producers, or Directors
For aspiring artists, I’d say a few things: don’t get in this game for money! This is an amazing time to be an artist! There are SO MANY mediums, avenues and places to direct, act, produce, etc, etc, etc… get out there, meet people and get to work.
What goals do you have left to accomplish in the entertainment industry?
As far as my goals, more than anything, I want to stay relevant. I want to be respected. I want to work as an actor, as a director and producer. The older I get, I realize that I want to direct more and I want to continue acting under really great directors.
Do you have any upcoming projects we may not know about?
Next up, I have a film called “Bully” that will be making the festival circuit. Then in the new year, I’ll be directing the American classic play, “12 Angry Men”. Fingers crossed, it’ll be selected to go to Theatre Ontario’s – Western Ontario Drama Festival (last year I was nominated for best director). Also in the new year, an American feature film that I performed in, as well as executive produced will be released. It stars Donald Sutherland and my first American feature to finance.
Tell the readers where to find you online.
You can find me at:
Facebook – Matthew Willson
Twitter – @Mattyboy5150
Instagram – @matthewwillsonent
My agent – Oldfield Talent. Toronto
Publicity – Evolution PR. Toronto