I spend a lot of time watching the comedy series, ‘Til Death‘ on Netflix, so when I saw that we’d be featuring Shawn Carter Peterson, I instantly said, “Hey…it’s UPS Mitch!” But, after Pitch Perfect 2 took the #1 spot on its opening weekend (May 15-17) and raked in over $69.2M, the whole world now knows Shawn as ‘Dax’. Here, he shares his journey to a successful career in acting, and offers fellow actors some key advice.
Please tell us how you got into acting; like, who or what influenced your decision to do this versus something more stable like most folks?
I’ve always been a performer so I knew it was something I wanted to do right from the start. My father was very supportive from the beginning having started me out playing piano at the age of 4. Once I got a little older and started acting he was also there making sure that I was exposed to the arts, taking me the to theatre to see top notch performers…even taking me out of school once to drive me over to the Library of Congress in Washington DC to see the original television production of Peter Pan with Mary Martin when I got my first lead role (of Peter Pan). It was even my dad’s idea to move to Los Angeles when I was trying to decide which way to turn.
You’ve done quite a few TV show guest roles over the past decade. Being a working actor can be hard work! What keeps you going when things are slow?
I always try to keep a few projects going on my own so that when things slow up with auditions, I still have my cogs turning with something in play. I’ve taught acting classes, I produce and direct content such as music videos, television and film projects and I’m currently working on getting a benefit piano concert off the ground with a good friend of mine who also plays. The key is to not be waiting for the phone to ring.
Let’s talk about your role in the new movie that’s in theaters now, Pitch Perfect 2. What’s your character’s name and overall role in this film?
I play Dax who is an intern at a record label. He’s the kind of guy who always has a lot of ideas…most of which are not necessarily well received. (laughs)
Why should people go to theaters to see this movie?
This movie is so much fun!! The music is phenomenal and the laughs that you’ll have really make for an awesome time!!
There are some actors out there who have been going for a few years now and still haven’t gotten any major film/TV work, so they’re getting discouraged; from your experience, can you give them some advice that might help them stay focused?
The most important thing to remember is that it takes time. When you’re not booking as much as you would like or haven’t gotten that big break, keep yourself occupied by taking classes, doing plays, getting into student or independent films or creating projects that you produce for yourself. You have to just keep it moving…. eventually someone is going to notice.