January 1st, 2008 09:08 EST
Chase Von Interviews Rising New Talent in the Acting World
Interview on behalf of the Student Operated Press with...
Actor Jason Seitz, a rising new talent on the big screen.
Chase von: Jason, my thanks to you for finding the time in your busy schedule to do this. You're really doing some amazing things and it has been evident in every communication I've had with you, that you're a ball of energy. People are going to think I am making this up, but even when we correspond through writing, it comes through. Can you share with our readers some of your philosophies and also are those philosophies things you live by, that keep you energetic and so positive in your thinking?
Jason: My philosophies most definitely are guidelines by which I live. For what other reasons would I have them? Beyond acting, I've made it a point to always work on becoming a better person. Sure, I fall off track…like all the time! But, there hasn't been one experience that’s set me back so far that I wasn't able to rebuild my foundation, or utilize it to become a better person.
Chase von: I hate to bring this up, but your father passed away in 1995. I've had to deal with some losses in my life as well, people I've served with as well as family members and close friends. I can tell you from my own experiences, losing someone often makes a person, at least for a period of time, almost immobile. Did you go through a period in your life when you weren't quite as optimistic as you are today? And I couldn't help but pick up on how you truly established meaningful relationships with your teachers. I firmly believe that we have blood family, and we have extended family. Meaning, sometimes a role that is absent in our own families or that they are incapable of fulfilling, is represented by another individual outside of the family. Did teachers in your life, in some regard, not fill, but rather, help with the loss by keeping your mind active and involved in the positive things life has to offer?
Jason: As much as I loved my teachers, when it comes down to it, although people have the power to influence, the choice to maintain a positive outlook is your own.
One of the things I've been blessed with is an amazing mother and father. To date, I've never met anyone as cool as my dad and second to that, there’s no one I've ever met who pays more attention to me than my mother. Unfortunately, I grew up with a very large lack of male attention. This happened because my mom and dad got divorced when I was 1 years old, and the man who became my step father had serious issues with loving me.
As I'm sure you can imagine, when my father past away, it got even worse. My dad once told me he believed that I was the only thing he ever did right. Which is so far from the truth, but he really believed it. He had the IQ of a genius, was incredibly creative, charismatic and such a strong person. Even though he wouldn't live long enough to discover what it may be, he always knew there was something special about his good son, Jason Seitz.
Chase von: You pursued acting quite early in life. Packing your bags and moving to Seattle Washington to do so. You also worked very hard at it and also some other jobs not remotely related to acting as well. You can honestly say, having been a shoe salesman, that you didn't just suddenly appear on the scene. We don't have to get into the number of toilets you've cleaned, either, unless you want to. (smile) And don't get me wrong, all work is honorable, so I am not taking any shots at anyone in whatever they do. Cleaned my share as well, as a private in the military. What I am saying is that you dreamed of more and, even while doing those things, you still had the ambition and desire to reach for your dreams. And you're achieving them. You received a speaking role in "Elephant" (2003) directed by Gus Van Sant, and not only that, but it took home the Golden Palm Award from the Cannes Film Festival. I told you I had to ask Kimberly Prendez, an actress friend of mine, what that meant. (smile) Her response was something to the effect of, "That's huge! That's not just big, THAT'S THE BIGGEST!" I congratulate you on that achievement but I also want to know, how did achieving that feel, especially in contrast with what you previously had to do?
Jason: Awe, thanks. I'd like to make something clear, though. As much as I was the key player in my scene, I was not the star in "Elephant.’" Gus is notorious for hand-picking talent, even his extras. And when you sum that all up, even though I may not be the star, Gus cast me as a principal actor; and, what could be more special than that?
You mention some of my previous jobs. Once I discovered I was an actor, every job I did after that was in support of my acting. Thankfully, I was never forced to miss auditions because all my managers supported me, as well as the cleaning clients I had.
When I was informed that "Elephant" won the Cannes Film Festival, my jaw dropped. It was at that point that I knew there was no turning back from here. One of my very first acting appearances, and the film took home the largest festival award there is.
Chase von: You're not only an actor, and one who is rising up in the ranks, with roles in "Elephant" and the strong cameo in the 2007 film "Rolling," as well as work in a Landmark Feature "Emilio" scheduled for release in 2008, but you're also quite the poet. "1st Place Winners," a piece you wrote, is an excellent poem that I think should be circulated through out the high schools of America as well as the colleges. It really drives home what happens out there on a daily basis. Do you foresee your writing eventually leading to books of poetry? Novels? And, in your profession, perhaps some screen plays or movies?
Jason: Nah, I write poems just for fun. This piece was very different and had an extremely powerful twist. I've always believed that everything has meaning IF you bring meaning into it. If I can guide someone in the direction of expanding their mind with a poem, I find deep satisfaction in that.
Chase von: Tell our readers what it is you love about acting. You have so much energy and determination, I am sure you would succeed at anything you put your mind to. But for you, acting is your calling. What drew you into this world where you are quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with? And, is there a role out there you would love to play? Something you think would further challenge and strengthen your acting abilities?
Jason: Why don't I list a few actors whose work I look up to? Topher Grace, Scott Mechlowicz, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman, Seth Green, Jack Nicholson, Elijah Wood, Emile Hirsch, Johnny Depp, Shia Lebouf, Jim Carey, Jon Abrahams, Martin Short, Giovanni Ribisi, Freddie Highmore, Anton Yelchin and, of course, James Dean.
The reason why I act is communication. I've always been interested in sharing my perspective but, during my youth, there was always something in my way. On the other hand, God has always given me a powerful way with words so, naturally, I needed to communicate.
Right now I'm looking for roles that expand my pigeon-hole type. When you're starting out, it’s important to take whatever you can get, but I'm definitely paving the way for more. I also love fantasy films. I love parts that have some type of trouble, substance abuse issues or even mentally challenged types of characters.
Chase von: How important is family to you, and what is your take on the state of our current world?
Jason: I already talked about family above, so I'll just skip to the state of our current world. I think people need to talk to other people more. On a personal note, I find religion to be anti-productive. Let me start with saying I think it’s great to have a group of people with similar interests and beliefs. However, I feel the wise man knows that God speaks separately to each and every one of us, using catered forms of communication that match the needs of our unique and specifically handcrafted spirits. Religion gets in the way of that. It separates humanity by putting everyone into groups when most of us already have what is really important in common, our belief and love for God.
Chase von: What would you say, if you were standing in front of a microphone that could be heard by every child on the planet and, regardless of what language it was they spoke, they would understand you? What positive advice would you give the children, if that were possible?
Jason: To understand that each and every one of us was made to be different and that it’s okay to be yourself. To believe that everything happens for a reason even if you can't figure out the reason. That everyone’s thoughts, ideas and emotions are always specific to their own experiences. Which obviously means everyone’s thoughts, ideas, and emotions might potentially be different.
To remember that nobody is like you and, because of that alone, you are special. To, at all costs, find a way to be comfortable with yourself and set goals which will help you become the person you want to be. Stick to those goals so you can accomplish your career dreams as well. To find value in every experience, because it is those experiences that shape the person you are today.
Chase von: Where can our readers learn more about you? Can you share your links and web pages? And what projects are you working on now that we can expect to see in the future? And, can you also tell our readers the names of them, if possible, so they can be on the lookout for them?
Jason: Sure, you can reach me my official MySpace page at www.myspace.com/actorjasonseitz or visit my web site, www.jasonseitz.com At this point I still maintain them both. It’s not super high-tech but they're great resources. Just search for me like you would any other actor and you will find more things than I could mention here.
Things are really slow right now, Chase. I'm reading the script of a film I just booked called "The Pentagon Memo" but, with the WGA strike, some casting directors have temporarily closed their offices, several shows have been canceled, the Oscars are going to be without their WGA writers and agents aren't interested in new clients.
Chase von: I really do hope that gets resolved soon. Is there a possibility you might just share "1st Place Winners" here with our readers so they can see why you are certainly a deep individual as well as an accomplished actor at the young age 21?
Jason: Sure, Chase, just as long as everyone understands it has an official Jason Seitz copyright.
1st PLACE WINNERS
"Come on! Give me a hit, I just want to try!"
"Sure kid, go ahead, but prepare to be high.
Prepare to be a loser, in the world of drugs.
Rarely having someone beside you, to give you warm and reassuring hugs.
Prepare yourself kid, to scrounge for food.
To fulfill the craving, of whatever drug you use.
Prepare yourself kid, for a world of hurt and sorrow.
A world of hate and backstabbing, bitches and ass holes,
who don't care about tomorrow.
Go ahead kid, throw your life away...
You realize you can do this by liking your one hit today?
Prepare yourself. Go home high.
Do it often, and don't be surprised if your Mom ends up giving you the big bye bye.
So you're out on the streets now with all of us here.
The home of the 1st Place Winners, of the losers, every year."
By Jason Seitz
All rights reserved
Chase von: On behalf of The Student Operated Press and myself, Jason, we really want to thank you for finding the time for this interview. I'm wishing you continued success and, who knows, you've already won the biggest Film Festival there is, is there an Oscar out there with your name on it?
Jason: What a powerful day of acknowledgment that will be. I love the journey.
Chase von: Thanks again, brother, and I look forward to seeing your star on Hollywood Blvd, you keep working as hard as you are and it is a done deal. Stay blessed and wishing you an amazing New Year!
Jason: Thanks, Chase. Happy New Year to you, too. It is an honor to be the first Student Operated Press Interview of 2008. Feel free to contact me, anytime.