Call Redialed: David Dean Bottrell: "David Dean Bottrell Makes Love" and ""Working Actor"
7 1/2 years ago David Dean Bottrell & I spoke about his one man show David Dean Bottrell Makes Love. Well, now, as the show is making it’s NYC premiere, David & I catch up on the evolution of the show, what life has been like since we last spoke, and his new book Working Actor: Breaking In, Making a Living, & Making a Life in the Fabulous Trenches of Show Business.
In David Dean Bottrell Makes Love, David revisits how love and sex (or the lack thereof) have affected the course of his life from age five to the present. David Dean Bottrell Makes Love plays at Dixon Place (161A Chrystie Street) on February 27 and March 6 at 7:30pm. Click here for tickets!
Working Actor: Breaking In, Making a Living, & Making a Life in the Fabulous Trenches of Show Business is available at Amazon!
1. It's great to catch-up with you David! You have so much going on right now, so let's get down to it. You are currently presenting your one man show David Dean Bottrell Makes Love which we first spoke about in 2011 when it was making its LA debut. What made now the right time to present in NYC? First off, it's great to be talking to you again, Adam. I'm shocked that it's been that 7 1/2 years since I first did the show. I never intended to be away from it that long, but as I'm sure you know, I'm a guy who can't sit still for long. After the initial 18-month run, I did a second solo show about all the strange jobs I'd done in my life. Then, I produced Sci-Fest (which was gigantic undertaking) for three years. Then I moved back to New York in 2016. I think being surrounded by so much incredible live theatre really sparked the idea that it was time to bring the show back and see how it would it play in New York.
2. How has the show changed since the LA run? I think the biggest change is that I'm 7 1/2 years older. As a result, there are a couple of new stories in the show now that are a bit "darker" than the ones they replaced. I don't mean they aren't funny. They're very funny, but they deal some of the bigger, gnarlier shit that can happen in life like addiction, death and wondering if there's anyone out there that answers to the name of "God."
3. How are NY audiences reacting to the show similarly and differently than LA audiences? The first show was packed, and the response was great. New Yorkers definitely laugh at different moments -- which was to be expected. They certainly don't mind it if you take a deep dive, that's for sure. They love that.
4. This current run at Dixon Place is only three performances in total. Do you plan to do a longer run of this show at some point? Yes, that's the plan! The three shows at Dixon Place are being used as a workshop. I'm swapping-out stories and trying out new material at each show. It's fun and terrifying, but I'm learning a lot!
5. In addition to your show, you just released your debut book, Working Actor, which "offers a practical and unsentimental look at what it takes to build 'a life in the fabulous trenches of show business.'” When did you get the idea to write this book? How long did it take you to write it from idea to inception? I just got really tired of what the popular definition of "success" in show business looks like. I'm not sure how the whole idea that "successful" means "world-famous" got started, but it sure sucks. I've been teaching a lot lately, and being around all these smart, talented young people who are entering the business without a coherent road map, sort of awakened some paternal feelings in me. I just wanted to offer them some of what I've learned about the business (and the life it offers) in the funniest, most honest way I knew how. I'm a fast writer, so the first draft was done in three months.
6. What was the hardest part of the book to write? Which part just flowed out of you? The hardest part was the "facts and figures" part. Mostly because nobody wants to hear about that. Nobody becomes a performer based on the latest employment figures from SAG-AFTRA. But honestly, if you're at the beginning of this journey, you might want to think a little about those numbers before you take the big leap.
The easiest part was telling the stories. I loved illustrating the chapters with tales about things I'd either lived through or witnessed. Writing the book kept reminding me of a zillion funny or tragic moments from the last 35 years; things I hadn't thought about in decades. The process made me really grateful for my life. I've really had a great adventure.
7. How many rewrites did you go through before getting to the final product? It wasn't that many. Although this is my first book, I was in the screenwriting business for over a decade in LA, so I'm a pretty experienced re-writer. It's not traumatic for me to edit or revise or abandon something. I also had great editors who were fun to work with and gave me really smart advice about the book business.
8. What did you learn about yourself from writing this book that you didn't know living through it? I think the biggest thing I learned was that I'm finally, at long last, out of fucks. And I don't mean that in any negative sense! Trust me, the book is in no way bitchy or bitter. Just the opposite. I try hard to be honest about what we're all signing up for, but I'm still a believer. I actually love what I do and I think it has meaning. I think in the past I've been a little afraid to admit what a Pollyanna I am.
9. After you finished the book, how did you reward yourself? I got a little drunk. Well, actually I got a lot drunk -- which is not something I do very often. I made sure I had supervision! My boyfriend was looking after me.
10. For this last question, let's play with the title of your one-man show and the title of your book. If you could make love to any working actor, who would you want to have between the sheets? Did I mention that I have a boyfriend? Since he's not an actor, maybe I can get away with answering this question. I think I'd have to say Zachary Quinto! I love that face and he's so talented which is always a big-turn on! In this particular fantasy, Zachary is very into slightly more mature men who wear tri-focal glasses. But then, who isn't? Right?
More on David:
After studying with the legendary New York acting teacher, William Esper, David began his career on stage performing everything from Shakespeare, to off-beat new comedies to edgy experimental work. His east coast theatre credits include productions at The Second Stage, The Manhattan Punch Line, La Mama, The Long Wharf Theatre, Joe's Pub at the Public Theatre and The Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival. On the west coast, he conceived and co-founded the critically-acclaimed Sci-Fest LA: The Los Angeles Science Fiction One-Act Play Festival.
One of his first TV jobs was a small part in HBO’s historic drama And the Band Played On. Known for his quirky characterizations, he’s since played many major guest star and recurring roles on such shows as Modern Family, The Blacklist, Rectify, Mad Men, Justified, True Blood, CSI, NCIS, Castle, Bones, Ugly Betty Criminal Minds, iCarly, Longmire, and Days of Our Lives. But he is probably best known for playing the creepy and homicidal “Lincoln Meyer” on season three of Boston Legal (a character created for him by TV icon, David E. Kelley).
David is also a produced screenwriter (Fox Searchlight’s hit comedy Kingdom Come), a columnist, a popular spoken-word performer and an award-winning short film director (Available Men). His critically acclaimed one-man storytelling shows consistently play to sold out houses. Since 2008, he’s taught seminars and private classes for professional actors, and when time allows, he serves as a part-time adjunct faculty member with the Professional Acting Program at UCLA and at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (both the New York and L.A. campuses).