We had the good fortune of connecting with Calvin Picou and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Calvin, how do you think about risk?
I don’t know how to speak to risk taking as it pertains to my career, but as far as the craft of acting goes I believe risk taking is essential. I think its easy to play everything safe and make typical character choices or get away with only scratching the surface of a character, but when I find something that excites me -a detail or a specific character trait- I know the best way to feel that inspiration out is to take it in public and give it a try in character. At the very least you have to give it a try in rehearsals, you can’t just let it sit in your brain. I have to find a way to activate the discovery, but it typically means trying something a little out there. It can feel like there’s a lot to lose and you can start to feel resistance from inside, but to me that just means you’re headed in the right direction. If there’s risk involved that means the stakes are high, which is excellent. Usually when something makes me feel nervous I make myself lean in, because I know there’s a good risk somewhere in there. There must be risks to reap rewards.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Lately I’ve been very excited because I have a series that was released last June 24th through Dekkoo. I’ve worked on a lot of projects over the last year so to see one of them have a wide possibility of viewership is a dream come true. We all put a lot of love into Here Comes Your Man. Omar Salas Zamora (who created, wrote, and directed the series) has always given me a great amount of freedom to dig into the stories he creates. We have a great working relationship and friendship. To me the work is never completed. I try not to make concrete choices, because my focus is on the present life of the character. We all change and grow every day, and as we spend another day with ourselves we become more aware of who we are. My relationships to the characters I play works the same way, I like to know everything I can but I never close the book on them until the job is finished, and even then I find myself making observations and ideas for their sake long after the shoot is wrapped or the show has closed.
I believe it has benefitted me to work this way because I put the character first, and the directors I’ve worked with appreciate that. It typically allows for a lot of different options and perspectives. I find when you take the time to really put the work into representing your character it makes everyone else’s job easier because you’re bringing more to the table.
But it hasn’t been easy. I’m very lucky because I’ve been able to take pride in the work I create, regardless of its popularity. On the flipside though it means blocking a lot of other stuff out to focus. It can be very tedious and time consuming.
I’ve gotten better at the audition process, learning to make choices and execute with minimal preparation and the endless distractions of the self taping. I don’t know that I have that “through the door” quality, but I do know that the way I work is appreciated by my collaborators because I come inspired, curious, and prepared to contribute my part of a larger vision.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I ALWAYS take my friends to see the abandoned bunkers at Murphy Ranch. I think its fun and unique and if you hit the top part on the trail there are some really amazing views of the west side. If they can handle that I know I can take them on more adventurous hikes.
I’d definitely try to convince them to see a double feature at the New Beverly Cinema, because its fun for everyone, not just cinephiles. There’s such a warm feeling in that audience. Its a very special movie going experience.
I would insist on showing off one of the local theatre companies. My favorites are Loft Ensemble, The Fountain, and The Antaeus Theatre Company.
And for a personal touch during the inevitable traffic I would show them some of my favorite houses in LA. There are so many architectural treasures here that I could spend a whole day just driving around and looking at houses.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Cameron Watson. Cameron is a fantastic director of stage and screen. I met him when he cast me in his production of The Little Foxes, which was a huge hit thanks to him. Cameron also has a successful web series and many other projects in the pipe. I’ve learned a lot from Cameron and he does a great job guiding actors in his studio.