Creative Patapatai

Connor Johnston

Actor Connor Johnston is all about individualism when it comes to auditions; keep reading to learn why. Watch out for Connor in the upcoming NZ On Air production Here If You Need.

Your occupation, job title, artistic discipline (or very brief description of what you do):

I love working in TV, film and theatre. Theatre is a very different kettle of fish as you only get one take, but I love the rush of a live audience. You have to make sure you know the story well enough to find your way back to the script if things get off track.

I love being that actor who throws in their own twist to make things feel more natural. Furthermore, I relish spicing up the scene with some bald offers (while trying not to piss off my scene partner by taking them off-guard).

Additionally, I enjoy writing for screen/short stories, and help with casting on small local productions as well.

What cities/towns have you lived in (or spent more than a few months in) beginning with the place of your birth? 

I’ve spent most of my life in Mount Maunganui and I’ve fallen more and more in love with it as time has passed. I love the night life in Auckland, and the nature spots in Hamilton, but I have my roots planted in the Mount.

If you went away from the Bay of Plenty for a long time and then came back, what are the first three things you would do or visit?  

Traditionally, the first thing I do when I get back home is take a coffee in to my old man at work and spin some yarns.

Then I crank the sunroof back, let the sun stream into my car, blast some Mako Road on the speaker, and cruise around enjoying the beautiful palm trees and beaches of Mount Maunganui.

If you had to eat the same meal every day, what would it be?  

My bro Jacob’s special ‘Chinese spice udon noodle and vedge sauté’. It’s nutritious and delishemo.

What music was present and still memorable from your youth/adolescence?  

I remember when I was five and at an extended family reunion at this pool resort in Australia. They had a big karaoke set-up on a stage looking out over the hundreds of outdoor tables where everyone was dining. I put on Something Stupid by Robbie Williams ’cause it was my favorite song. I guess I assumed I would automatically know the words, but the backing track came on and the lyrics on the screen were far too fast for my five-year-old brain to keep up with.

Me and my brothers made up for the long awkward silence cringe that was my performance, by doing a four-piece Bob the Builder theme song ensemble choir-of-sorts shortly after.

For you as a creative person, who are three influential artists or thinkers? 

An influential artist to me is my friend and colleague, Rose McMahon. I remember seeing a rad short film directed by Rose, and I got in contact to say how impressed I was that they had the confidence and drive to make such quality work at such a young age. I sent the email to Rose cold, and years later they had me auditioning for the cast of their new TVNZ production, ‘In the Rainbow.’

Another huge motivation for me was a classmate from TAP (The Actors Program), actor Jacob Masters. We flatted together during our studies and I remember he would be up at 5am playing keyboard, singing, and learning monologues, and doing meditation with the sunrise.

Even as I crash with him currently (while we shoot our new NZ on Air and RNZ funded series, Here If You Need), he’s a productive beast with a million new things on the go – very refreshing to be around.

David Lynch and M. Night Shyamalan are some of the minds that truly invoke my imagination; notably the films Eraserhead and Blue Velvet.

Finally, one of the most inspirational shows I’ve been to in a long time, ‘The Haka Party Incident’, which stars one of my best mates, Aidan O’Malley. That work was life changing, as well as extremely entertaining, and certainly inspirational. I can’t wait for his Auckland Theatre Company show to tour down here through Baycourt. I’ll definitely be taking the whānau to enjoy it once again.

Where would you like to live, but have yet to?

I’ve always wanted to live in Nederland. It would be so cool cruising everywhere on bikes and exploring the beautiful architecture. Could even skip over to Spain for just the weekend… definitely on the bucket list.

What word of advice would you offer an aspiring creative person?  

Try and find something that is individual to you and makes you memorable. Something that gives you a competitive advantage. I try to step back and look at things from a systematic point of view. I think about how many similar looking people to me did the an audition scene a certain way, and I try something new, fresh and impulsive.


More about Connor

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