April Walterscheid is an actress who appears on the show Trial 20/20 and is the creator of The Vegan News; here is a link to her IMDB page:
Q: What made you interested in acting?
A: When I was younger, I loved movies like The Wizard of Oz and Hook! I watched them religiously. I was really taken aback when I learned that the villains in these films were just normal, everyday adults, just like my parents. Seeing them without all that makeup on made me really consider what this whole acting thing was about, and how we can transform ourselves into something else completely different, and ghastly and menacing looking.
Q: Who are some of your acting influences?
A: That’s a tough question! It changes almost every year. I don’t Play favorites. I never do. All my life, comedic actors were the ones I admired the most and hoped to even remotely emulate one day. Comedic Actors like Mike Myers in Austin Powers and other Saturday Night Live cast members, Rowan Atkinson from the British TV Show Mr. Bean, stand-up comedians Maria Bamford and Emo Phillips, and comedic voiceover actors for cartoons. I also really admire actors who are spot on with their voice impressions of political figures and celebrities. Who doesn’t like that? So, I guess, I would have to say the biggest influence on my acting has been the comedy genre.
I find drama to be somewhat more difficult to perform. I mean, I can do it!
But the preparation for it can get too deep and put you in a bad mood for weeks if you let it. If I were to choose a recent dramatic actor who has influenced me, I would have to say Christopher Waltz. His Meisner acting method approach, how he interprets the roles, and how he hit it “big” later in life, is all really interesting to me.
Q: What is Trial 20/20 about?
A: It’s a TV show about different criminal acts in and around New York City. It’s pretty groundbreaking stuff and has never ever been done before. Haha! Just kidding. But seriously, it was created by the nicest guy ever, Abraham Doe, and what makes it different is the subject matter, I think.
I got to work on Episode 3. The story of this episode revolves around the death of someone’s pet which is something near and dear to my heart. The Meissner actress portraying the pet’s owner (Jane Fendelman) is a good friend and does such a great job portraying the emotions of fighting for your injured (or in this case, dead) pet. Her performance gave me goosebumps!
Q: What role do you play?
A: I was a Bartender briefly in one scene, but I actually got to Help cast extras for the show! It was an awesome learning experience. I got to experience what it’s like to make quick last minute casting decisions, communicate with actors from the production side of things, and I made friends with all of them. It was cool when they were all arriving to set, I had to wrangle them up. I greeted them each by name because I already knew their faces from the headshots they had sent.
There were times when I worried we wouldn’t get extras cast for scenes that were filming in less than 48 hours, but I created flyers and went around Phoenix posting them at different coffee shops, and posted in every acting Facebook group I could find. It got the job done and then some!
Q: What makes you want to be on Saturday Night Live?
A: As I mentioned, I love comedy. And only in recent years did I realize it’s one of my strong suits. I was always a kind of proper, obsessive-compulsively-organized, goofy kid. Kind of a weird combination, I know. Ever since I was 7-years-old,I’ve watched the show. When I turned 10, I started recording every episode onto VHS tapes every weekend. During the week, and against my parent’s rules Of having no friends over after school until my chores were done, I
invited my friends over right after school and we would perform and imitate each hilarious scene from Saturday Night Live that weekend. I was fascinated with the witty writing and how goofy all the cast members were allowed to be. I wanted to be that.
To this day, I still do want to be that. It has stuck with me for over 23 years (I’m now 30). I’ve performed short form improv for 10 years, and just recently started up my own long form improv troupe and started doing stand-up comedy as characters I’ve created in my head and on Vegan News. It all makes me think back to when I was 10 years old – I essentially created my own improv troupe at that time without realizing what I was doing. So basically, I’ve secretly wanted to be on Saturday Night Live my whole entire life just so I can be a goof.
Q: Who is your favorite SNL performer and why?
A: Damn. This is also really hard to answer. I think of it in terms Of decade. Almost everyone on that show is very good in their own strange way, so it’s unfair to pick JUST ONE to rule them all. So for the 1970s, I choose: Gilda Radner. The 1980s: Dana Carvey. The 1990s: Ana Gasteyer. The 2000s, so far, it’s a huge tie between: Bill Hader, Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Taran Killam, and Kate McKinnon. I won’t say why, just watch all the episodes that have ever existed, and draw your own conclusions! I’m sure my favorites are no different than anyone else’s.
Q: What inspired you to create Vegan News?
A: I was really just sick of the news. I don’t watch the news, but the reason I don’t watch it is because — I’m freaking sick of it! It really just brings you down and makes you obsess over things that have a 1 in a billion chance of actually happening. And I loved Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update growing up, so I created my own news show based on a subject I’m passionate about! (Veganism!) Most of the new stories are real, but twisted and exaggerated a bit, and some of the stories are fabricated and based on my own wishes for the future of humanity. I think it’s my little way of making the world more “aware” somehow, and keeping it interesting at the same time. (You can watch Vegan News here:
Q: What kind of day job do you have?
A: I currently work part-time for an extremely-extremely popular, international company that helps customers pay for things securely online. Unfortunately, I cannot disclose their name, but it pays very nicely with full benefits, 401k, stock options, and other advantages. It helps me do what I want to do outside of work and survive on my own. I’m so fortunate and grateful.
But I’m not the kind of girl who wants to work at a desk job for the rest of her life and have 60 plaques on her wall that say “Employee of the Month!” so I do other things. I help out on film sets, brand ambassador, write sketches, bake vegan gluten-free donuts, bake vegan pizzas, and take art commissions to change things up and make ends meet. I need to have an interesting life by doing things that scare me or I feel dead.
Q: Why Mesa and not Los Angeles?
A: Well, get ready for a long story. I was born in Phoenix, Arizona. When I was 5-years-old, my parent’s moved to Mesa and that’s where I stayed! I’ll be honest, for the longest time, I didn’t know where I was going in life. I was much more random and aimless than I am now. I thought I would always just stay in Mesa for the rest of my life, and was actually pretty hell-bent on just staying here. I went through so many different phases here, like some sort of love affair. I had always dabbled in acting and music ever since 2nd grade, so I started doing tons of stage acting at Mesa Community College then suddenly just stopped. Then I transitioned straight into doing music (and art photography) again. I started getting really good at piano and guitar, performing at open mic nights then just suddenly STOPPED. It was pretty sad and I felt haunted and heartbroken a little bit. I felt REALLY guilty for being unfocused. I probably even started subliminally blaming my quirky, sleepy town of Mesa for de-motivating me, and my family or how I was raised or something. Luckily, I soon realized I loved the theatrics and writing side of the entertainment industry thee absolute MOST, and that whatever I had done in music (and photography) could carry over into the acting and writing world too! I also finally moved out of my parent’s house at
28-years-old, so that helped a lot too. It made a world of difference to be on my own completely. I got a lot happier real-quick. Suffice to say, I don’t feel guilty whatsoever anymore, and now I’m totally open to moving to Los Angeles, or wherever there is film or comedy work! Yay! I’m currently working on a comedy TV show based on this experience as well. There is so much material there that I think everyone can relate to.
Q: If you could change something about Hollywood, what would it be?
A: It would be a few things. Some of them include unwanted egos on set; scam agents giving legitimate agents a bad name; mistreatment of animals and insects (yes, even insects feel!); more opportunities for actors of different shapes, sizes, and race; taking more chances on off-the-wall ideas from filmmakers and writers; less ‘woe is me’ type mentalities (I see this mostly from fellow actors on Facebook); and for the love of life—more vegan options at craft service, please! Like, cheap vegan donuts or something. They do exist, and they are DELCIOUS, you just have to ask around.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)