We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Bauer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael, what inspires you?
I am inspired by one thing: watchability. It’s the standard by which I measure my own art and the art I consume. Have you ever asked yourself what makes a good actor? Meryl Streep and Jim Carrey would both be considered good actors by most accounts but if you cast Meryl Streep as Ace Ventura, how would she do? Would Jim Carrey be able to pull off Sophie’s Choice? Maybe, maybe not. But what matters is that when they get onscreen we want to watch them. For some reason, they are watchable. Our eyes are fixed on them no matter if they are surviving a holucaust, or puppeteering their butthole. In my opinion that is what makes a good actor; not whether we believe what they are doing, but whether we want to continue to watch them or not. Creatives today seem obsessed with what is real and what is believable. As for me, I am obsessed with what is watchable.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I recently graduated from UCLA’s MFA acting program in March 2020. The day I presented my thesis was the last day campus would be closed for the foreseeable future due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As I write this, I am still currently in lockdown but I am not without an artistic outlet. I have written two comedy short films during this time of covid, and shot them with colleagues within my “bubble.” They have both been submitted to film festivals and I just want to say here that no matter how powerless you feel, or lost you may be, there is always work available to you. It is the work you do on your own behalf. The stuff thats left in your head as you fall asleep, and waiting for you when you first wake up. Those ideas you have that start with the phrase “wouldn’t it be cool if…” I’m here to tell you thats always available to you. Even during a pandemic. Especially during a pandemic.
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?
There is a certain charm about Northridge, CA. It’s at the foot of the mountains, in a college town, and if you know the right streets, you can curate a walk that transports you to 1950’s suburbia. Thats really important in this time of Covid- where neighborhood walks become a necessity. If you find yourself in Northridge, I’d encourage you to visit CSUN campus. Take a bike with you, ride the elevators to the top of the parking ramps and speed all the way down. Check out the Garden of the Gods for an interesting hike, and wave to the rock climbers scaling the boulders. My favorite hike is the Aliso Canyon park for a nice hour and twenty minute out and back trail.
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?
The MFA program at UCLA has helped me find my own voice as a performing artist as well as teachers like J. Ed Araiza, Carter Gill and Julia Proctor of “Clown Gym.”