EP 110: Michael Judson Berry (autogenerated)
[00:00:00] Dane Reis: [00:00:00] you booked it episode 110.
[00:00:05] Okay, let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Michael Judson. Barry, are you ready for this, Michael?
[00:00:15]Michael Judson Berry: [00:00:15] I am so ready. I have so much coffee. Yeah.
[00:00:19] Dane Reis: [00:00:19] Michael first began acting at the age of six when he got his first laugh while playing a Prince in the King. And I, since then he has come a long way, receiving a BFA in theater arts from Boston university and an ma in classical acting from the prestigious London Academy of music and dramatic art. Michael has been seen in tours and regional productions around the country and is the creator of the current tick talk and Instagram streaming sensation.
[00:00:50] Corrine tee time in which he does a parody of Catherine O’Hara’s, Moira Rose from shits Creek, along with acting, Michael has extensive experience working in casting for TV, film, and Broadway in both LA and New York.
[00:01:06] Michael, that is a quick intro of who you are and what you’ve done, but why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself, fill in the gaps and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry.
[00:01:21]Michael Judson Berry: [00:01:21] I’m exhausted. Just listening to that.
[00:01:26] I, and it’s funny, I was thinking about that and I was like, well, this, this,
well, this, this, this, and I totally forgot you were going to do that full insurance. I was like, ah, that was my answer to this. Um, yeah, so, yeah, like I said, I spent probably the last 12 years going back and forth between acting and casting, which has been a really fun journey. Um, And primarily working in theater in when I’ve been acting. So mostly during regional theater, I did the national tour of spam a lot. So lots of news calls, lots of comedies. And then the casting I’ve done, I’ve been really fortunate to work with. Wonderful casting director is like Melissa to Louisiana, Susie Farris. Um, Alison Kershner I’m mostly focusing on ITV. TV and film. Um, so yeah, I think I’ve been very fortunate to spend a lot of time on both sides of that table. Um, you know, and when I’m not acting, I enjoy going for motorcycle rides with my dad and reading books and coffee shops.
[00:02:12]Dane Reis: [00:02:12] Yeah, beautiful. And let’s move on to this next section here. And Michael, look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What is your favorite quote? You’d like to share with everyone.
[00:02:25]Michael Judson Berry: [00:02:25] Okay, so this, I don’t know that it’s necessarily a quote. It’s one of those just
sort of things to live by. And it’s so general, but it’s something I think about pretty much every day, which is just a reminder that life is short. Um, a few years ago, my sister and I were in a really bad car accident. We were hit head on by a drunk driver. And I’m one of those ones where no one should have survived yet inexplicably we did. , um, and it’s one of those ones when you were told over and over again by police and doctors, that you should have died. All of a sudden life becomes much more precious. And so since then, really my, my motto is, you know, life is short, so really enjoy it. And so I try and just really enjoy where I am in this particular moment and surround myself with people I genuinely love and try and do things that actually make me happy.
[00:03:05]So as cheesy as that sounds, I actually do think about that every day.
[00:03:09]Dane Reis: [00:03:09] Of course. And you had such a terrifying experience. That makes that so real. Wow. That’s crazy. And let’s move on to this next section here. And Michael, of course you are an entertainer, I’m an entertainer. And I think that you would agree that this industry can be one of the most subjective, brutally, honest, personally, emotional industries in existence. And, you know,
you know, as a well as I, that in order to create and have a successful career in this industry, like you’re having now, it takes A lot of dedication and hard work and while yeah, sure. There’s an outrageous amount of fun and excitement doing what we do being on stage. There are also our fair share of obstacles, challenges, and failures. We are going to experience and we’re going to have to move forward through. So tell us, what is one key challenge, obstacle or failure you’ve experienced in your career and how did you come out the other side better because of it.
[00:04:13]Michael Judson Berry: [00:04:13] Oh, so my biggest,
um, one that I’ve had probably my entire life, but really after I graduated, graduated from BU and got into the professional world was just having confidence in the audition room. Um, Um, that’s where I. Take solace in knowing Lucille ball had the same problem. Um, not to compare myself to Lucille ball, but like apparently she’s one of those, like an audition is in rehearsals. She was pretty rough, but then give her an audience and she was amazing. And I’ve really connected with that. Like once I get the show and once I am in costume, in front of an audience, I am so comfortable, but I am the worst auditioner sometimes, and I’ve gotten progressively better and better. And a lot of that is just confidence. That’s been, my biggest problem is, um, Walking into a room and just trusting that I can actually do it. And then I’m worth these people’s time. Um, I think that’s a really. Big struggle that I have, that I know a lot of other people have. And what helped me with that a lot was working in casting and seeing it from the other side and seeing just how, just how much casting directors are rooting for you. So just having to remind myself when I walk into a room, like knowing that the person on the other side of the table wants me to succeed as much as I do.
[00:05:14] Dane Reis: [00:05:14] Yeah, that’s so great. I’m right there with you. I feel like I am not all that great of an auditioner most of the time. I mean,
I mean, sometimes I go in there and it’s like, it was the easiest breezy as thing I’ve ever done, but other
[00:05:29]Michael Judson Berry: [00:05:29] Oh, yeah, I’m the King of psyching myself out.
[00:05:31] Dane Reis: [00:05:31] Yeah, but you put me on stage. Get me comfortable. The show, man. I’m your guy.
[00:05:35] Michael Judson Berry: [00:05:35] Oh, yeah. But then I have friends who are brilliant auditioners who were like, I dunno why he gets the nervous, you just walk in and sing the song. And it’s like, how are you? So.
So. Blahzay with this. I’m so envious.
[00:05:45] Dane Reis: [00:05:45] and I love that you brought up for a second,
you know, it helped because you were part or you are now part of the casting side of things. And it’s great to hear that. From your end that yeah. All those casting directors they’re rooting for you. They want you to be the person. To cast.
[00:06:02]Michael Judson Berry: [00:06:02] Oh 100%. The biggest problem of casting director can have is too many great options.
You know, there’s nothing worse than finishing a session and you don’t have enough to show the team. So really you want every single person coming into that room to be brilliant.
[00:06:16]Dane Reis: [00:06:16]
Right. So good and such a great takeaway for everyone listening. And let’s move on to a time that I like to call your. Spotlight moment. That one moment in time you realized, yes, I am going to be an entertainer for a living or maybe it was, yes. This is what I need to be doing in the entertainment industry. Tell us about that.
[00:06:42]Michael Judson Berry: [00:06:42] Yes. And that it’s,
uh, it’s an old one. So when I was eight years old, I did a production of Oliver. And as the understudy for Oliver, he was willing to call if I think he was 12 and I was eight. And I finally got to go on one weekend. He had like a family wedding or something. And I remember my first night on singing, where is love. I get to that point in the show where Oliver’s sitting alone, literally in a spotlight. So perfect for spotlight moment. Um, and looking out in the audience was all dark, but I could just feel them. And that was, I think the first time, you know, I’m alone on stage, I’m singing this beautiful song. Feeling all my little eight year old emotions. And it was just the greatest feeling in the world and I can still vividly see it in my mind. , um, I can see the exit sign above people’s heads, you know, you know, it’s like it, like it was yesterday and I just will never forget that moment. That was the moment I think that from then on, I was like, no, this is what I’m doing. Um, so when it came to looking at colleges and everything, there wasn’t even a question like this is, this is what I was doing.
[00:07:35]Dane Reis: [00:07:35] Oh, that’s
[00:07:35] such a good story.
[00:07:37]Michael Judson Berry: [00:07:37] . And then will came back. I only got to do it for three days, but it was a very special three days.
[00:07:43] Dane Reis: [00:07:43] Amazing. And let’s piggyback on that real quick. And I want to talk about your number one, booked it moment. Walk us through that day, the auditions and call backs. If they happen to be a part of it, what was going on in your life? And what about that moment? Makes it your favorite? Booked it moment.
[00:08:05]Michael Judson Berry: [00:08:05] So this is a recent one.
Um, And it was for a film I did that we shot last year was my first like movie, you know, feature film that I got a party. Cause I, like I said, it mostly active in theater and this was, it was so last minute, which is what made it fun. I think I got the audition at nine o’clock in the morning. My manager emailed me the script and the sides. And it was for a self-tape and he was like, the film has already started, and this is a last minute casting. I need your tape by noon. So three hours. And I was like, I had to work that day to my, my day job. And so somehow ministry rearranged my schedule, rearranged my schedule, learn my lines, get to a studio. Have someone film the tapes for me and get them sent in. I had no time to read the script and no time to properly prepare. So the script besides seemed kind of funny. And it was for this character. Who’s that at the time his character name was Tinder, Ted. And he was supposed to go the main characters, like Tinder date and in my head, I don’t know why he felt like Alexis from shits Creek actually. And so I did sort of like sort of like if Alexis was a hell’s kitchen, gay man. Um, and that’s kinda what I did and just throw it out there. And I found out by, I want to say five o’clock that afternoon that I had booked it. You know, got the tape sent in. And then I was like, Ooh, that was a crazy whirlwind. , um, and then got the email that afternoon that I booked it. And then I was on set less than a week later.
[00:09:16] Dane Reis: [00:09:16] Oh, my gosh.
[00:09:18] Michael Judson Berry: [00:09:18] Yeah. And then of course got there and found out that it’s actually more of a drama than it was a comedy. And I had completely misread everything and the director was like,
you know, you stood out because your, your take was just so different. And it was like, well, well, probably every other actor was smart and read the script.
So, and then, you know, luckily she thought I was funny and I ended up with, um, a larger part being more of the film than originally she had anticipated. So the whole thing. There’s got to be a wonderful experience.
[00:09:41] Dane Reis: [00:09:41] Oh, that’s so good. And see, it goes to show sometimes just got to throw caution to the wind and just.
[00:09:47]Michael Judson Berry: [00:09:47] Yeah, just trust your gut, make a bold choice and stick to it, I guess.
[00:09:51] Dane Reis: [00:09:51] Yeah, for sure. And let’s take a moment to talk about the present. What projects are you working on now? What are you looking forward to? And it’s a crazy weird time, right? We’re amidst this global pandemic. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?
[00:10:12]Michael Judson Berry: [00:10:12] Oh, gosh. .
Um, um, So the, , uh, the first one I’m working right now on this, this little series called corn tee time, that’s on primarily and Instagram and tick tock that started out as a little inside joke with my roommate. Basically who’s a big shits Creek fan, and I realized doing improv classes and, um, the friends that I could do a decent, more rows impression. And so that’s sort of sort of where this all came from was like, what’s, you know, you know, maybe Moira Rose, we’ll host a tea time talk show. Um, and it has inexplicably done very well. Um, so that’s sort of sort of where I am right now. I’ve never even thought of myself as a writer or a creator before. And so now I’m in charge in every week. I come up with a couple of different episodes and I write them and provides them myself and directs them and do everything myself. So it’s, that’s where I am right now. And it’s been this amazing learning experience, um, and I’m loving it. And so I’m very excited to see where this takes me as far as doing more writing. And we’re creating myself. Um, I’m learning that I’m actually halfway, even Catherine O’Hara actually said that my writing was good and funny. So if, I mean, I mean, that was high praise. That was enough of a confidence booster to be like, cool, I’m going to pursue this. Um, Yeah, that was, that was, that was a big one. Um, so I’m excited to see where this takes me in that respect. Um, and then with the industry, I think it’s been changing a lot recently, just because of even before the pandemic, because of things like Netflix and Amazon, and so many things streaming and, um, shorter web series. And so I think what we’re entering feels almost like this. Digital vaudevillian era, where instead of theaters all over the country with ax touring, we are just on our phones. Computers and he’s still these acts students. It should be shorter numbers. And so I think there’s this boom of creativity, because you don’t need to have a huge budget. You don’t need to pitch to a network, you can create your own thing. And so I don’t know where exactly that’s going to leave the entertainment industry, but I think it’s kind of an exciting change, um, or an exciting direction that we’re moving in. But so many people have access to. Create things that they didn’t before.
[00:12:08]Dane Reis: [00:12:08] I totally agree with you. With the entire vaudevillian variety act. It’s so cool. And for anybody listening, who is not seen corn tee time, make sure you check it out. It is hilarious. I love it. My wife and I are both giant fans of the show and stumbled across you. And. They’re amazing. Hilarious,
[00:12:34] which is why I reached out to you.
[00:12:37] Michael Judson Berry: [00:12:37] Yeah, no, thank you.
Um, yeah, it’s been, it’s been a lot of fun and doing her and then I play, you know, you know, a whole bunch of other characters I had. You know, Moira interviews, Brittany Spears, you know, and I do ones with the whole family. And so now I’m doing impressions that I never, ever thought I would. I’m probably one of the only people on the planet who hadn’t done a share impression before and now I’ve done share. So again, yeah. It’s been a really fun challenge.
[00:13:00] Dane Reis: [00:13:00] Ah, that’s so good. I love what you’re doing.
[00:13:02]And it is time to move on to one of my favorite sections in the interview. I call it the grease lightening round. Yes, I am going to ask you a handful of questions. I want you to answer them as quickly and concisely as possible one after another. Are you ready?
[00:13:24] All right. First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?
[00:13:30]Michael Judson Berry: [00:13:30] The instability of it both financially. And just the fact that you have to travel so much.
[00:13:35]Dane Reis: [00:13:35]
Hmm. And the second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
[00:13:41]Michael Judson Berry: [00:13:41] My mom told me when you’re creating or acting or anything, do what you know. So when I’m improvising a writing and drawing on things that I already know, so they can have that basis of truth.
[00:13:51] Dane Reis: [00:13:51] Oh, that is such incredible advice. Everyone just write that down real quick.
[00:13:57] Michael Judson Berry: [00:13:57] Do what you know?
you know? Yeah. She’s a psychologist. She’s smart. She knows what she’s
[00:14:00] Dane Reis: [00:14:00] Oh, there you go. Boom. And the third question, what is something that is working for you right now? Or if you’d like to go pre COVID, what was working for you before our industry went on? Pause.
[00:14:15]Michael Judson Berry: [00:14:15] What’s working for me right now is finally creating my own work and creating characters myself.
[00:14:20]Dane Reis: [00:14:20] Oh, I
[00:14:20] think there’s something to be said about. Creating for ourselves as well. Because. Pre COVID. I feel we’re all caught up in the hustle of life, gig to gig job to job. What’s next. And. We also, I think seek fulfillment or seeking so much fulfillment in that work stuff that was outside of ourselves. And this whole pandemic time has really, I think, shed light. On that we are in control of our creativity, of our art. And we. Have the ability to fulfill ourselves.
[00:14:53]Michael Judson Berry: [00:14:53] Oh, for sure. Yeah,
it’s, it’s, it’s been an incredible process of in creating my own thing and finding my own voice, which as an actor can be very difficult sometimes. So that’s been a really wonderful thing to come out of this for
[00:15:05] Dane Reis: [00:15:05] Absolutely. For sure. And the fourth question, what is your best resource? Whether it is a book, a movie, a YouTube video, maybe a podcast or a piece of technology that you found is helping your career right now.
[00:15:21] Michael Judson Berry: [00:15:21] Honestly, my facade Iris app.
Um, cause a big part of Moira is her incredibly superfluous and unnecessarily floral lexicon. And so I am now, I am constantly on my app when I’m writing the finding fun multisyllabic words. And now my vocabulary has expanded. I don’t even know how, how much larger it is now, but that, that is my biggest tool is my
[00:15:44] Dane Reis: [00:15:44] Oh, it’s. I love that. And that’s one of the best parts of the entire character. Isn’t it. Oh,
[00:15:50] Michael Judson Berry: [00:15:50] Oh, yeah, that’s definitely for me the most fun part.
[00:15:53] I mean, when else would you learn flux and oxen, Aila, vilification, you know, Which someone dared me to is it’s the longest word in the English language. Last time I checked and it,
um, and now I’m having a brain fart on what it even means. I was just proud. I could get it all out in one breath.
[00:16:09] Thank you.
[00:16:11] Dane Reis: [00:16:11] And the fifth question, if you had to start your career from scratch, but you still had all the knowledge and experience you’ve collected from your career in this industry, what would you do or not do? Would you do anything differently or would you keep it the same?
[00:16:28]Michael Judson Berry: [00:16:28] What if I could start it all over and knowing everything I know is I would focus more on honing and developing my skills as an actor within my wheelhouse. So I would try and really focus on what are the things that I inherently do very well. And what are the characters I can play without even trying and really nailed down and hammer those and get good at those before I start to really try and branch out.
Um, I think I tried to push myself. More than I should have at the beginning. I had a professor who told us to do that when I was in college and I wish I had listened to him more. I think I would have had more success earlier on.
Like get good at something first before you try and
[00:17:09] Dane Reis: [00:17:09] Yeah,
[00:17:10] Michael Judson Berry: [00:17:10] if, yeah, I think I didn’t have a very good sense of self. I think when I was trying to tackle characters, like I can play anything. I have a BFA in theater. You know, I am versus I can do accents and we had voices. I can pay everyone. And it’s
like, no figure out who you are, what do you bring to the table? And then build from there. And I wish I had figured that all out sooner.
[00:17:29]Dane Reis: [00:17:29] Yes, such good advice. And the last question. What is the golden nugget knowledge drop you’ve learned from your successful career in this industry? You’d like to leave with our listeners.
[00:17:43]Michael Judson Berry: [00:17:43] I think it’s one word that we already talked about was just. When you walk into audition. Take that breath and know
that that casting director in front of you really, really wants you to do well. And I think that at least me personally, I think it makes me feel a lot less nervous because knowing that you have a friend in the room, who’s really rooting for you, whether it’s an open call or an appointment, knowing that that is a friend and that is an ally should hopefully make you feel much more comfortable and much safer to take big choices and make big choices and take big risks. I would, I wish more actors would remember that. Like casting directors or your friend.
[00:18:18]Dane Reis: [00:18:18] Yes, so good. And to wrap up this interview. Michael. It is time to give yourself a plug. Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to promote?
[00:18:33]Michael Judson Berry: [00:18:33] Ooh.
Um, well it’s right now, it’s all quarantee time. That’s, what’s taking up most of my brain space right now. So that is on Instagram and tick tock under M Judson Berry, M J. D S O N B E R R R Y. Um, so that’s both tick talking Instagram. And then I’m on YouTube as well. If you look from Michael Judson, Barry, I am on there and that’s where all of my current T times R so if people are shits Creek fans or are they just like vocabulary or crazy wigs? Definitely check me out.
[00:19:04] Dane Reis: [00:19:04] Brilliant. And for everyone listening out there, I have put the links to everything. Michael just said in the description of this episode. So you can easily connect with him and check out his corn tee time. It’s hilarious. Do it. Michael. Thank you so much. For being here today, it’s been an absolute pleasure to have you on.
[00:19:24]Michael Judson Berry: [00:19:24] Oh, thank you. This was really fun.