BWW Interviews: Film, Stage and TV Actor Sebastian La Cause
There is something truly amazing when an actor can take control of their own fate by using their energy to produce something that not only catches the attention of others, but can feed their creative soul as well. Broadway, film and television actor Sebastian La Cause has done just that when he created his own web series HUSTLING - a sexy and thought-provoking look at an aging hustler in search of the 'next thing' in life. The series has been winning awards and numerous fans. Broadway World set down with this actor to discuss this series.
BWW: Thanks for joining us, Sebastian. With such an amazing career on stage (from Rocky Horror to Chicago to A Chorus Line), film (Keep The Lights On, Bear City, Ghost Town, Chicago to name a few) and television (Homeland, Gossip Girl, SVU, Days of Our Lives, and the upcoming Orange Is The New Black for Netflix) - what made you decide to create your own web series?
Sebastian La Cause: I wanted to take more control of my own artistry and development as a creative person. Like many actors, I felt my destiny was held in the hands of others and I wanted to do something about that. I had returned from a six month auditioning stint in Los Angeles and was so energized by the TV and film world that when I returned to New York, with the encouragement of my friend Todd Riegler, I started exploring the world of web series and was completely inspired by the work I saw and instantly knew this was a space I wanted to try to work in.
BWW: How did you choose the subject matter in the series?
La Cause: I created my Production Company Actorman Entertainment, LLC and started brainstorming ideas. I knew that I didn't want to make the show about a struggling actor or auditioning life in New York City so I created a show about a struggling hustler who wanted to change his life...which is somewhat a metaphor for being an actor ha!
BWW: So true! Running your own company and directing, starring, producing the show - wow! That is so much work. What has been the biggest challenge for you in doing all of that in an episodic series?
La Cause: In many ways they each have their own set of challenges and obstacles. Directing is the most fun. Starring brings with it the pressure of, well, starring in your own show and not sucking but I think producing holds the most challenges. If you can't produce the show it doesn't get made. Producing is putting out the fires, solving problems and dealing with the actual 'how'; how the hell am I going to manifest this nothing into something without a studio, production house or network backing me? All three have pushed me in ways I never expected. It has opened me up artistically in ways I had no idea I was capable of. I have been fortunate to have done some very cool things in my career so far. However, I feel like I'm just now reaching and understanding my full potential as a creative being. It's been liberating.
BWW: One awesome thing about a web series is longevity as it can live forever (or as long as it is posted). You started in 2011 so what has it been like for you to gain new followers (and awards) on this journey?
La Cause: I also do all the marketing and PR myself through social media. It's a lot of work and I don't have the media reach a publicist would have so every new subscriber, like, follower and view is an absolute gift. About two weeks before I launched season one I started to have a mini-meltdown. I was coming out of my creative bubble that washed over me like warm bath water and it suddenly dawned on me that once I launched the pilot, it was going to be 'out there' for the world to see and criticize. I suddenly got very scared and had to talk myself down from the ledge. What if it was awful and no one watched. That was the risk. I hadn't really seen any shows like Hustling before with a sexually ambiguous main character that has sex with men for money.
BWW: Having written a controversial book myself, I know that subject matter can always make it difficult to know how people will respond.
La Cause: Before the series went live online I screened the teaser, the trailer and the first three episodes at a private screening at Tribeca Cinemas to generate some buzz and to photograph it. I had to keep reminding myself that once you set your mind to achieve something the universe will conspire to help you get there. As many bumps as there were along the way in season one, things still kept falling into place. I had been able to solve the problems. So, I knew in my gut that I was on the right path and that I had to put the fear behind me and move forward. I kept following my instincts and did what I thought was authentic and funny and told the story that I wanted to tell. The screening was magical. I could not have imagined a better response to the work. And as season one continued, the viewer's responses followed suit.