“Not Preparing Before An Audition — Stupid Waste of Everyone’s Time” 4 Acting Tips with Lofton Shaw of Marvel’s Inhumans

By Yitzi Weiner and Bethany Stout

Well I am the luckiest guy ever because I started in this business with a great manager who has been brutally honest and straightforward with me from the beginning. But despite having been told all the important things from the get go, there are still some things you can’t stop yourself from doing until you do it and realize it’s a waste of time.
I had the pleasure to interview Lofton Shaw. Lofton is 17 years old and has been acting for three years. Most recently he has starred in Marvel’s Inhuman’s.

What is your “backstory”?

My parents didn’t know what to do with me. No really — I was awful. Severe ADHD, struggled in school, it was clear from a very early age that I had some issues. My mom treated my ADHD holistically — which means I still made her crazy every single day. Martial Arts and Sports were my only outlets for a long time so when I wasn’t getting into trouble I was excelling at sports or working out in the karate studio. And also at Social Life — if only that were a class that earned credit! Class clown, Mr. Popular — ya that was me — but not really functioning well in all the areas of basic human being-ness! (Is that a word? It is now!) I really believe finding acting saved my future — my focus comes into view when I read lines — when I bring characters to life — storytelling — all of my excess energy can be focused in this direction — and I finally feel a stillness inside — not all the time but more often than not I can now channel that energy into my craft. And my mom can stop worrying about how I am going to support myself LOL — this is all I can imagine doing now — and the more I research the more I learn how many actors and artists suffer from ADD/ADHD — I like to think it was always my creative energy trying to express itself — and it now has a place — but truthfully I still drive my mom crazy — that’s my job, right?

It’s been an incredible experience. Living in Los Angeles is a huge blessing, as so many of my acting peers have to travel far to be here for auditions, callbacks, and bookings. My first booking was for a Nickelodeon movie of the week. Soon after, I auditioned for the same director, this time for a sketch comedy series on DreamworksTV. That opened a super sweet door for me working two plus years doing so many awesome projects — a variety of stuff for them from sketch comedy, to hosting, to pranking! I’ve also guest starred in a few Nickelodeon series, and was the lead in an independent short film… but my biggest booking came last April as a recurring Co-Star on Marvel’s Inhumans. A drama of all things! I portray the character of Young Black Bolt, and had the time of my life.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your acting/directing/performing career?

Lots of funny things happen to me but one of the craziest was while I was in Hawaii filming Inhumans, my manager came to be my set guardian and hang out with me. She had never been to a luau so she came a few days early and we were going to go around the island and have some fun, first stop Luau! Getting ready to pig out, literally, we were heading to the bus stop, my manager following behind me while I lead the way, and I hear this big THUD! Turn around and my manager is on the ground, purse contents all over the place, screaming and crying — she broke her wrist! A really bad bad break, incredibly serious apparently — but while she is crying and panicking and strangers are coming and helping, 911 is called. I am standing there and in between her crying fits she keeps yelling out, “Where is Lofton? I need to see him at all times!” LOL — can we all stop for a second and remember I am 16 at the time? They load her up in the ambulance yelling about not being able to see me. I am in the front seat and I have to keep calling her name every once in a while so she knows I am still there. She needed surgery because she literally broke her hand off her wrist but she refused to go back home to CA and stayed the whole week in HI with me like we planned. Of course the part we didn’t plan was that I was going to learn how to do her hair, makeup, and carry her things, etc. the whole time. Who was taking care of whom? She says I still owe her a luau. Oh wait… she loves to tell people, “Lofton did this to me,” as she shows them her battle scars from her surgery. Then she waits for their horrified reaction before she says she’s just kidding. Oh ya, she’s hilarious. :D

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

What I am working on now is promoting Inhumans on ABC as much as possible through social media and events, and auditioning weekly looking for the next big project! It’s the life of an actor — we can never just sit back and relax we always have to be looking for the next opportunity — but I thrive on the excitement of never knowing what is around the next corner!

Who are some of the most famous people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

Well in my job I get to meet many famous people and I try very hard to just be respectful and give them their space and treat them like anyone else. So luckily I haven’t made a complete fool of myself with anyone yet — well there was this one time…. I mean come on — ‪Selena Gomez‬? I can barely say her name without geeking out. I might have snuck into a meet & greet with a friend of mine and took a picture with her — I might have — okay, yes I did. Can you blame me?

Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?

Going back in history it would have to be William Shakespeare. Literally the legend of theatre and writing. His way with words was magical and he is still admired to this day for the way he was able to portray emotion in his work. I only hope to be able to portray my emotions in film and writing the way he does in the future. He has changed the world with his work.

Is there anyone you aspire to be like?

Ashton Kutcher is a huge inspiration of mine — started his career young, has made some really great choices, married a gorgeous woman, started a beautiful family, keeps most of his family life private, has a great sense of humor with the perfect balance of serious, does a lot for charity and helps other people. He uses his celebrity to make a positive difference in the world. I admire that and think he is an amazing example of a life well lived!!! Yeah, I aspire to live life like he does.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Well “not enough” is the honest answer. I hate to get all serious but I am so glad you asked this question because I’ve been putting this goal on back-burner for too long waiting to have enough time to give it. I’ve recently realized I must reprioritize my time because this is important, I need to be doing more in this area. I try to make people happy. I try to be super positive and encouraging. But I really am going to focus in on some causes near and dear to my heart and family’s heart and give of my time to it. You may not hear too much about it because I do believe that the reward is in the doing and I don’t need to advertise or get credit for it, but again I am glad you asked — refocus time! I truly want to make a difference wherever I can.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Well I am the luckiest guy ever because I started in this business with a great manager who has been brutally honest and straightforward with me from the beginning. But despite having been told all the important things from the get go, there are still some things you can’t stop yourself from doing until you do it and realize it’s a waste of time.

  1. Agonizing over every word a casting director said to you in an audition to try and guess whether you are going to get a callback — waste of time.
  2. Worrying after a callback every day whether I booked it or not — waste of time.
  3. Overthinking whether I am right for a role so much that it messes up the audition — waste of time.
  4. Not preparing before an audition — stupid waste of everyone’s time.

I can go on and on but you get the idea!

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. 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 see this. :-)

Justin Bieber‬, hands down. I think for someone like me he would be an amazing person to be able to meet with — learn how he has handled all the ups and downs — ask him what lessons he learned along the way — make sure he knows how much I admire and respect him for growing up in this industry and still managing to get everything back on track even when he fell off for a second. Who his mentors are — who guides him everyday — what grounds him, is spiritual faith important to him, so many questions. As far as I’ve ever seen, he’s consistently been true and friendly, always willing to sign an autograph or take a pic with a fan. I would really love the opportunity to get to understand what’s on the inside, and learn from him that is for sure!