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“My advice to writers and actors would be…. to write and to act. Get up or sit down and do it. Half of Los Angeles is more talented than anyone you’ve ever heard of but they don’t actually DO it. Be Ambitious and work hard at what you want to do.”

May 1, 2011

Entertainment, Interviews

DarkMedia Interviews Megahn Perry [Heather the Vampire]:

Actress and writer Megahn Perry starred in the film Silent Story along with the VH1 series I Hate My 30’s and has made guest star appearances on shows such as Dawson’s Creek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Additionally, she played Frances Culpepper in the 2005 Horrorfest film The Gravedancers.

She was in Liam Kyle Sullivan’s Text Message Breakup and No Booty Calls videos as Kelly’s Gothic, Vampire friend Heather. She also appeared in Sullivan’s video “Shoes” as the shopkeeper, as well as doing a reprisal of her role as Heather briefly at the end of “Let Me Borrow That Top”. She also co-stars in Wylde Bunch’s “She’s Nuts” music video along with Sullivan, where she plays Sullivan’s psychotic girlfriend, Susan. In 2009, Meghan started her own vlog as Heather Campbell, a teenage vampire, on YouTube.

How did you get your start as an actor and writer? If you had to choose, which do you like more?

I came to LA in the late 90’s, my father is a production designer and my Step-mother was a commercial producer at the time. I’ve always known I wanted to be a performer and a writer, so I moved to LA fairly young and started auditioning for shorts and indie features. I submitted my pictures to an agency and they picked me up (luckily), and I’ve been acting professionally ever since. I’d worked for my father in the Art department on a TV show called “Sweet Valley High” and met another actress named Amy Danles. She and I did another TV show together (acting) called “Prey.” Right after “Prey,” I did an episode of “Dawson’s Creek” where I met Michelle Williams and introduced her to Amy. The three of us got on really well and Amy introduced the idea of writing together. She had already tried her hand at screenplay writing, but Michelle and I were both newbies. We sat down and wrote a screenplay and it was optioned fairly soon after that. It was never made, but it was a great way to kick off a writing career. I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world.

If I had to choose one…I don’t think I could. I find a lot of excitement in both. However, lately, I’ve been really enjoying putting projects together whether I’m in them or not, so I might be swaying towards writing at the moment. That will change as soon as I’m done answering these questions, by the way. Yep, UPDATE: I’m back to liking acting more.

When and where did the character of Heather the Vampire originate and how did it evolve into its own vlog on YouTube?

Liam Sullivan and I have written sketch comedy together for a long time. He called me about playing “Kelly’s” best friend in his “Text Message Break Up” video. He wanted me to be the goth character that I seem to do a lot. He sent me a script for the video and one of Heather’s lines was “I’m a vampire.” On the day of the shoot, I was like, “Is it funny if Heather is ACTUALLY a vampire?” And Liam, thankfully, said “Yes.” This was actually years before the Twilight phenomena or Vampires being such a big deal in the media. So, after I read “Twilight,” I pitched Liam the idea of having Heather talk to youtube like a real teenage vampire. I mean, if you were ACTUALLY a teenage vampire, it would be like being the only Jewish kid on the block in 1952. And to top it all off, you have to live up to the media’s image of what a vampire should be (They’re all so hot and rich and in love, Heather’s family lives paycheck to paycheck and the only boyfriend doesn’t speak the same language, who knows if he even likes her). Heather is a working class, vampire. So, the vlog started there, with Heather answering questions about what it’s REALLY like being a vampire. I also knew I wanted Heather to have an alcoholic dad. I don’t remember why, but I did. So, we called Michael Cornacchia to play Lou Campbell, Heather’s dad and he’s become my favorite part of the whole thing.

You always look like you’re having so much fun. How much of the segments are scripted and how much is improvisation?

The vlogs started off pretty scripted actually, but then it sort of started to take on a life of it’s own with Michael and I bouncing back and forth. Now we start with a basic outline for the story and by the end of it, we’re pretty much just shootin’ the shit in character.

“Heather the Vampire” returned in January, after almost a year, to reveal she had been living in a closet with her dad. What’s next for Heather’s vlog?

This is a perfect example of how we work. Originally, Heather and her Dad were supposed to come out of the closet and find that the “angry mob” had left months ago, then Liam came up with “What if it’s just one guy protesting gay marriage?” ….And then he grew that moustache and it all made sense. Anyway, I digress. What is next for Heather the vampire? Hmmm. Good question. We have a few more in the can and I think we might be doing some new ones this month. I love these characters so much and there are so many other characters in this world that Liam and Michael and I have talked about that the youtube audience hasn’t even seen yet. I really hope we get the chance to show them off. But, it’s a little tough. We all have other acting gigs, I spent the last year producing a TV show and Liam has been busy doing his other videos and directing for other people. We’re really trying to keep this thing going. What I’d love to see is Heather on TV or landing on the right web network. We’re pitching that around too. If we could put a little more money behind Heather, I know we’d all do it full time. It’s a blast and no one wants it to go away.

What is your favorite vampire character of all time?

Uuuuuuugggggggh. You’re killin’ me!!!! That’s like asking what my favorite movie is. Okay, I’m gonna answer this in stages of my life. If you asked me at 9 I would have said “Count Duckula,” a nerdy, vegetarian, duck vampire? Um, I’m in. At 14, I would have gone with Louis de Pointe du Lac in “Interview with the Vampire” (Remember how awesome THAT book was the first time you read it?) and in my early twenties I would have given you a great argument for Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” (Book, not the movie). But right now, I’m gonna go with Eli in “Let the Right one in.” I mean, you have to respect a preteen vampire who makes no bones about it…..”Hey, look I kill strangers and suck their blood to live, you’re gonna grow up and bring me said strangers and if you don’t? Well, lets just say, I suggest you DO.” She’s a take it or take it kinda gal, and I like that.

What, or who, is your greatest inspiration? What about it, or them, inspires you?

I think, professionally (personally, I’m not so sure) my greatest inspiration is Charlie Chaplin. I have to say that I think about him a LOT when I’m working. It’s a little weird. I have great respect for his work ethic and his product. I’m sure he was a womanizing, drunken, pain in the ass in his personal life, but his work is awe inspiring to me. He’s the dead guy I’d most want to have lunch with.

What advice would you give aspiring writers and actors? What’s the best, or worst, advice someone gave you?

My advice to writers and actors would be…. to write and to act. Get up or sit down and do it. Half of Los Angeles is more talented than anyone you’ve ever heard of but they don’t actually DO it. Be Ambitious and work hard at what you want to do. Put one foot in front of the other, ask questions and get to it. Even if you are so insecure that you can barely speak, get into a room with people who can help you and barely speak there.

Some of the biggest actors and writers in the world were some of the least likely to make it.

I think the worst advice I’ve gotten (and continue to get), is to somehow not be myself. I remember I met with a potential new agency with my manager wearing a skirt and a blouse that my manager didn’t think was “sexy” enough and let me know about it in no uncertain terms. There was nothing I could do about it and I thought I looked just fine (I FELT great, by the way), so I decided to ignore her and walked in like I usually do. I’m still with that Agency and I’m no longer with that manager. If someone is not comfortable with who you are (and you’re obviously not a train-wreck) that’s their problem.

What are you working on right now?

Well, right now I am doin’ a little work for the fine People at Colgate (I think I’m officially a “spokesperson”-There goes my street cred). I am finishing up a draft of the feature I am writing based on my one woman show. Liam Sullivan and I are doing a little talking about what’s next for us (check out http://www.liamshow.com). My website http://www.exboyfriendjewelry.com is doing quite well, I’m always working on that aaaannnnd I’m a contributing writer in the television department over at msn.com. Reading this back I’ve realized a couple of things; I’m a kind of a geek and I’m using this interview to procrastinate. I’ve got a lot to get done today.

Finally, what’s got you inspired or excited?

PODCASTS! Dorky, fun-filled, self-produced podcasts! I’m big into the Nerdist podcast, Doug Loves Movies, This American Life, The Moth and Stuff you Missed in History Class right now. It’s a great storytelling device. Liam and I started doing one like seven years ago and I don’t think we even knew how to get it onto the web, so I’m thinking about what the podcast world could mean for me again. I love them and they’ve got me a thinkin’.

_________________________________________

Megahn, and Heather the Vampire can be found at http://www.liamshow.com/ on YouTube and her website.

(Bio via Wikipedia, Photo by Brie Childers)

(All interviews are the exclusive property of DarkMedia, and may not be reproduced or shared without permission.)

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