Get your sleep! Working long hours on the set of a television series can be very exhausting. We practice so much all week long and have live shows on Friday nights in front of a studio audience. Any sort of lack of sleep can really mess with your “A” game. At first I did not realize this and I did not sleep as much as I should have and I was often sluggish. I learned that sleep is one of my best friends.
As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Michael Campion, the 17 year old star of Netflix’s popular comedy series, Fuller House now in production for it’s fifth and final season. Campion plays the teenage son of DJ Tanner, played by Candace Cameron-Bure. This busy actor also stars on the teen vampire limited series Red Ruby on the BRAT Network. When not taping for television, he is often practicing or performing his accomplished magic act. Campion is a Junior Member of Los Angeles’ Magic Castle.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up in Orlando, Florida with my mom, dad and older sister. We lived outside the city on a large property in what is considered to be more of a rural area. We have a big pool so much of my childhood was spent around the pool. I went to a private school early on but became home schooled when I started working on more and more television and film projects. Being an independent student was much easier for me as a professional working actor.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
When I was 5 years old I started doing community theater and I loved it. I wanted to pursue other things in the acting world and I got an agent through my mom’s friend and started doing tv, film and commercials. By chance when I was 12, I got an audition for Fuller House. I put myself on tape in Orlando and sent it to Los Angeles. Before I knew it, I was being flown to Los Angeles and I ended up getting the role.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
One time I was on set for a horror movie and in the movie I died a very bloody and gruesome death. They used a lot of special effects, especially a lot of fake blood. There was so much of it that it was hard to get it off me. They literally ended up having to hose me down to get it off. That was pretty interesting I would have to say.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I have made too many funny mistakes to count, especially on the set of Fuller House. I remember that it was the third episode of the first season of Fuller House and I slipped on silly string in front of the live audience. It was hysterical. I can’t say I learned anything from it but it sure was funny. Maybe the lesson I learned is that I should watch where I am stepping? (Laughs.)
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am pretty much working everyday at Warner Brothers in Burbank, California on Fuller House. We are in our fifth and final season. It keeps me pretty busy. When I am not working on Fuller House, I am practicing my magic or performing magic at Los Angeles’ famed Magic Castle where I am a Junior Member.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
For so long, so many people on tv and film looked like me, basically caucasian. I think it is important to represent everyone from all walks of life on television and film. Everyone wants to feel counted and everyone wants to look at the screen and see people who reflect who they are. It would be pretty boring if everyone looked alike and it would not represent what society actually looks like. If audiences can see people of different walks of life getting along, co-existing and thriving on screen, perhaps it will carry over better into real life.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
I wish someone had told me or warned me about the following…
- Work hard on your school work! I am homeschooled and I go to school on set at Fuller House. When I first started out, I did not realize that I had to put in so many hours of school in order to work according to government rules for working children. It sort of took a little getting used to at first but eventually I got the hang of it.
- Get your sleep! Working long hours on the set of a television series can be very exhausting. We practice so much all week long and have live shows on Friday nights in front of a studio audience. Any sort of lack of sleep can really mess with your “A” game. At first I did not realize this and I did not sleep as much as I should have and I was often sluggish. I learned that sleep is one of my best friends.
- Schedules can be rough! I have had to learn that my plans often get put on the side track because of work. Being on a television show comes first before everything else. So many times my plans get cancelled or moved around due to work conflicts. You just get used to it after a while.
- You have to be flexible. When you work on a show, they are constantly changing the script and you just have to adapt. They are always changing my lines and reblocking and at first I did not realize this but after having changes so many times, I can so easily change anything on a dime.
- Nobody told me that sitcoms have their own rhythm, timing, delivery and they are different from so many other genres. I had to learn comedy skills like how turning on certain lines make the line funnier. I got the job and then learned so much about the genre of acting while I was actually working.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
The real practical advice I would give right now is to keep your social media up. So much now is based on social media. You can be the best actor for the job but now they want you to be the best actor and have good social media numbers too. Also, keep working on your craft when you are not working professionally. Take acting and improv classes and keep auditioning if you can. Be prepared and know your craft for when the opportunities come your way. Also, appreciate the good things that come to you and don’t take anything for granted. If you don’t do this, you are setting yourself up for disappointment, negativity and burnout.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I think I would inspire a movement of “effective altruism”. We need to create a society where people treat others with kindness and respect for the sake of just being nice and not getting any benefit from it. All of this bullying is so pointless and cruel. I myself am constantly being criticised by fans online, associates at work and even by friends for one reason or another. Wouldn’t it be great for everyone to be just naturally supportive and kind to one another?
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My mom and my dad are amazing and they have been so supportive of my career, starting at an early age. They drove me all over for performances, auditions and opportunities. They deserve so much credit. One of the earliest people who really helped me is Kia Riddick Taylor who is my acting coach in Orlando. She believes in me and helps me to keep improving at my craft.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
There is one quote by Martin Luther King that I absolutely love. “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” I’ve always been one who has a lot of will-power and I always move forward no matter what the circumstance are. I always find the energy even amid frustration and hardships in my life. I often think about this quote and it makes it easier to keep going.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)
I would love to have lunch with Apollo Robbins. He is my favorite magician in the world. I would love to have lunch with him and hear all about his life and work. He is incredible and I have the utmost respect for him.
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