Interview | Dave Droxler
Dave Droxler is a guy with a great voice. There’s something pleasant about it; the sound nestles just right in the curve of your ear and kind of stays there like a great cologne even after the source has walked away. Clear and strong, Dave’s voice can fill an auditorium but it’s like he’s talking right and only to you.
I believe the word we’re looking for here is: sigh. 🙂
I met Dave all the way back in 09. I was graciously invited to PICT’s History Boys play by my great friend Michael Karas and we met up with Dave after the show. Dave was awesome. He has a great handshake and smile and made me, a girl who always has a few walls up, feel like we’ve been friends forever.
I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed conducting it!
Hey Dave! Thanks for doing this interview. When I first started this site and thinking about whom I wanted to interview, you were one of the first names to pop into my head. So I’m really glad we can chat like this. We first met in 09 during your run in PICT’s History Boys. You were phenomenal!! Funny, brutal, charming and mean, you were electric as Dakin. In the years between, you performed a plethora of versatile characters. So my first question Dave, is what do you look for in a script before you take it on? What makes you decide to dedicate the many hours and hard work that goes into crafting a great performance?
First of all, thank YOU for asking me to be a part of this interview! You always say such nice things about me and my work. So I’d like to officially hire you as my cheerleader who will go with me to all auditions, shoots, and family gatherings.
I’m in! 🙂
Now that that’s taken care of…
What I look for in a script and character can vary. Most of the time I’m just hoping to be seen by someone and then get the job. : ) But when I do have a choice, I’ll know that I’m interested in the role or show when I read it for the first time and a bunch of ideas pop into my head. It could be the smallest role in the show but if I find something fun I can do with it, comedically or dramatically, then sign me up.
On the logistical end of things, it can sometimes come down to the compensation provided and/or the time commitment. I know that may put a kink in the magic of being an actor, but there are bills that need to be paid, and it’s a reminder that you’re in a business. I live in a one bedroom apartment inManhattanwith my fiancee and dog, so it’s harder for me to leave the city nowadays. And if it’s local, I need to make sure that if the project cannot solely pay my bills, that it still leaves me time to work those bread and butter jobs, and audition for things that pay nicely and allow me to stay in town so I can do both.
That’s so smart you understand it’s both art and business. I teach writing throughout the city and I’m always saying the same. A lot goes into getting a book on the shelf, just like a lot goes into getting actors on a stage. 🙂 Okay, on your website, you have your resume posted. (By the way…wow!) I love that you can speak in so many different dialects. The cockney one in History Boys was great. Do you have a favorite accent?
I’m a big fan of the British dialects. I somehow feel like a better actor with an accent. In fact, I sometimes will do my lines from an American play in a different dialect (at home, of course… I want to keep my job, after all) just to see what new inflections and emotions come out. There’s something so freeing when you deliver lines in a dialect that’s not your own.
You’ve branched out from stage work to film work – with a few commercials thrown in there too. 🙂 How was that transition?
Well, film is what I’ve always wanted to do since I was little. I actually had my first professional film gig when I was in high school. That was a big “Ah ha” moment for me. But of course, theater is always near and dear to my heart. The immediacy of having an audience reaction is a fantastic experience. Every actor will tell you that. So when people ask the question, “Which do you like doing better: stage or film?” It feels like Sophie’s Choice. I can’t give one up.
Alright, just had a huge flashback to that Friend’s episode where Ross said choosing between sex and dinosaurs is like Sophie’s Choice. (I’m a huge Friends fan.)
Anyway…..What advice do you have for someone who wants to do such a transition and really get involved in all areas of acting?
I think it’s crucial for any artistic person (particularly actors) to dabble in as much as they can. Film, theater, voice over, writing, directing, casting, producing, etc. It doesn’t mean that you’ll stick with any of it, but it does a few things for you:
1) It gives you a respect and understanding of everyone’s position in the business.
2) It can make you realize other strengths you have, even if it’s not in the position you started out with. I know many people who have changed their artistic career path because of going through this.
3) You never know who you’ll meet that can help grow your career in one way or another. Whether it’s right away or years later.
4) It can give you more options to have work in the business.
No matter where you are in your career as an actor, there will be chunks of time where you’re not in a show or film. And you have to do other things to keep the money coming in (unless you are REALLY far up on the totem pole and making a pretty penny… and I hope you are!) and/or keep the creative juices flowing so you don’t go insane (at least, that’s my situation). So fill that time with networking, attending workshops and showcases, asking crew members on sets what they’re doing, rent movies, read books, write a short script, etc. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn without having to go back to school.
Let me be cliche a sec and ask a classic question: did you always want to act? I think you sort of touched upon it a few questions ago, but elaborate.
I was always performing as a kid (being that little boy at a birthday party doing magic tricks, dancing like Michael Jackson at weddings, or doing Bart Simpson and Jim Carrey impressions at Thanksgiving gatherings). But when I got to be in shows in school that had a little more substance to work with, that’s when I was able to recognize that what I needed to be doing was focusing that energy into acting. How’s that for a cliche line??
Not cliché at all. 🙂 Now, you’ve gotten some amazing reviews!! “And David Droxler gives a powerful performance as Dakin, the oversexed and arrogant teen who is the object of everyone’s desires.” “But at the center of the play is the dynamic and chilling performance of Dave Droxler.” And more and more and more!!! So, my question: what do you do with those reviews? Take them with a grain of salt? Cherish them? Do they add pressure, erase pressure? Make you work harder, or relax you?
Yes, yes, and yes. I wish I was better at not reading reviews before a show is over, but I have too much uncontrolled curiosity when it comes to reviews. If it’s a great review, like the ones you mentioned, it’s exhilarating! To know that people are appreciating your work is what every actor wants. Otherwise you’d just hang out in your bathroom and makes faces in a mirror for hours (not that that’s a bad idea, really). But the thing to remind yourself is that it’s only one person’s POV. You can either learn from it somehow, use it to invigorate your performance, or just pretend it never happened (usually the best option if it’s a baddie). But ultimately, you have to feel confident in the choice you and the director have made together. Easier said than done, of course. But if it IS a good review… YOU FLAUNT THAT THING IN FRONT OF EVERY CASTING DIRECTOR/AGENT/MANAGER/PRODUCER YOU POSSIBLY CAN!!!!
Uncontrolled curiosity! Great phrase! Okay, let’s talk about your writing! You’ve written everything: plays, a one-man show, a web series, short film. That’s a lot to tackle! So let me ask first: how do you find the time to write when you’re also acting? Do you have an average day? Geez, is it even possible for you to have an average day? After all, you travel all over the country with national tours, you’re filming this and that, you’re acting in that and this. It sounds like exhilarating but exhausting work!
Well, you are totally right in saying that I do not have a regular day. It changes constantly. I’ll go from not having anything planned, to all of a sudden having to run around the city changing from one wardrobe description to another, working on this side and then that side, improvising through a commercial audition, and on and on and on (that’s a good thing, by the way).
But as I mentioned earlier, exploring other projects, like writing, is a great way to get yourself out there. You can go from working non-stop for 2-4 months to then having nothing for the next 2-4 months. So you’ll need to fill that time with either booking more work or creating your own projects.
Do you think you’ll ever write a book?
Randomly enough, I’m actually writing a graphic novel at the moment. I know that may not be considered a book by many. 😉 But I don’t think I could ever write a novel. Most of the time, with my ideas for a story, I see it as a film or play, so I can’t help but write it in that format.
Graphic novels are great! Comic books are fabulous! Nothing wrong with those mediums. 🙂 What’s next for you Dave? What are some things we can look forward to?
I’m in post production for a short comedic film I co-directed and acted in called The Imperfect Properties of Perfection. I’ve written two other short films I hope to direct at the top of next year. I’ll be acting in a new show called The Bus Test by David Meyers, that’s currently in the workshop stages, having just had it’s first of many staged readings a couple months ago. I’m writing a play about Buster Keaton with my writing partner, Shane Portman (also a former Point Parker). I illustrated two books (both written by Shane) that are currently being self-published. One is called Allister Cromley’s Fairweather Belle: Bedtime Stories For Grownups To Tell, and the other is a children’s book series called Adventures in Boogieland with Miss Melodee & Friends: Dancing In The Rain. And of course, as I mentioned there is the graphic novel which is currently a three part series called Project Triad.
Finally, you graduated from Point Park University and I have to ask:
a. Do you have any plans to come back to Pittsburgh, to either visit or perform?
Well, my fiancee, is actually fromPittsburgh, so I come back quite often. In fact, we plan on having our wedding there next fall! Professionally, I don’t have anything lined up yet, but I’m always game to work again in my old college stomping grounds!
b. Was there anything particularly inspiring or motivating to you about living in the city?
This may sound odd, but living in NYC, where “everyone’s an actor” can make you feel like you can’t slow down (to an extent, that IS true). But being inPittsburghmade me see how people don’t allow themselves to constantly be consumed with having to act or do something performance related every five seconds. Instead they find a balance of that motivation and passion in the arts, intertwined with living a calmer and fuller part of their lives (going to cool jazz bars, staying up late socializing in someone’s apt, hanging out with their family, watching the Steelers!!). I’ve definitely taken that quality of life fromPittsburghand applied it to my everyday life in NYC and it’s calmed the nerves and stress that’s so unneeded.
c. Finally, what sort of advice can you give to someone just out of college, they have their art degree in hand, and they’re looking to really make a splash in the Pgh arts world?
First of all, I have to mention this to college kids all the time… living inPittsburghto work as an actor is a GREAT idea! Whether it’s long term, short term, or coming back from living in a bigger city. I’ve noticed that so many students graduate and feel like there’s this pressure to leave the city and go to NYC or LA or Chicago to make it as an actor. There are so many opportunities in Pgh to perform and create art. There are films coming into Pgh (and Philly) constantly because of the film tax incentive in PA. There are so many smaller theater companies being formed and growing alongside the bigger ones that already exist. Like, Off The Wall, which started out inWashington,Pa(where my fiancee grew up, actually) and now has a bigger Equity contract and a closer location.PointParkeven has their film department growing bigger each year. And if the opportunities are not coming right away, then do as I mentioned before, and go make your own work. Get together with people you work well with, write something, film it or stage it, and show that thing to people. Some of it may fail and some of it may not, but one thing always leads to the next. So go make that thing! Then hire me! ; )
Thanks so much Dave! You’re awesome!
You’re welcome,Bethany! And you’re awesome-er. Your cheerlaeding job will start next week. Check’s in the mail.
Dave Dave he’s our man!
If he can’t do it no one can!
Who do we appreciate?
(insert pom pom clap!)