Having an ability to tackle different mediums -- from TV to film to the stage -- can be a saving grace in an acting career. Some say it is vital to simply surviving in Hollywood.
Actor Michael Cassidy is a shining example of an 'all of the above' kind of guy.
PopCultureNow.com got a chance to speak with Cassidy about his career and his new, hilarious show, People of Earth.
"I grew up in Portland, Oregon and my mom was a single mom and she was a school teacher," he said. "When I did a play at school when I was 12 and wanted to be an actor, she said, 'Oh, well take a class.' I took a class at Northwest Children's Theater in West Portland and from there auditioned for one of their plays and my first professional acting gig was a play at their theater company. Then I worked with a couple other theater companies in Portland after that and sort of went pro about 20 years ago. That's how it got started."
Cassidy has his hands in almost all forms of storytelling. He enjoys not being constrained to one lane. He even even directs some web series episodes. Each style lends itself to creative opportunities that he must have on a regular basis.
"I like different things about different mediums," he said. "I like theater the most, but I do it the least. What I also like about TV that's the same as theater is that you work with a company. You work with the same actors, directors, writers year after year. I really enjoy that part of it. I like film essentially because it is the opposite," he explained. "Everyone has to come together quick and tell one story. It's cool to have that kind of focus and have a contained story and have a long amount of time to tell a story. I've really enjoyed working on a bunch of different projects over the past year or two."
Over a long-running career, Cassidy's skills behind the camera have become polished and worthy of much larger future projects.
"I produced a movie that was a zombie romantic comedy called Night of the Living Deb and loved the experience of producing that movie," he said. "I'm proud of it. I'm proud of what we did. I definitely would like to produce and direct. I've directed a couple short sketches online and I'm going to make a couple more before the year is over."
But according to Cassidy, there is one part of filmmaking that is the most challenging on every level.
"The hardest job in this industry is producing. It's the kind of job that ends when I stop working versus when they work is done. You just can't finish the work in a day. As an actor, you're done when they say, 'We got it.' As a producer, you just have to go to sleep and know you can work on it tomorrow. That's a really big difference."
Currently, in Cassidy's television universe, he has filmed a show for TBS called People of Earth, a sci-fi/comedy. The show tells the story of a journalist who is on a mission to explore a group of people in a small town who claim to have been abducted by aliens. Over time, the journalist slowly starts to relate to the group of abductees.0comments
"For me it is two things," he said. "The way the e-mail comes in for an audition in my inbox is you see who is involved in the title before you see what the material is. And I saw Conan O'Brian, Greg Daniels, these names that I recognized, but had never worked with before. This e-mail goes immediately to the top of the pile. With such solid people at the top of this thing, you know that it is really going to land and it has a shot of going a long time. And with the role, I was totally in. It is this weird combination of being a strange premise, but almost having some sort of connection to a comedic voice that feels right. And my character, specifically, there's something going on with him from a sci-fi element."
Cassidy's eclectic work over the years has opened up some thoroughly entertaining roles. And, as represented by People of Earth's highly unique plot, his career is only just getting started with the different dimensions it will feature.