Scotty Dickert is an American actor on the rise. Within a few months of relocating to L.A, he had already booked a role in the HBO pilot for All Signs of Death. A notoriously dedicated and hard worker, Scotty has continued to secure roles in his young career. He is currently filming the upcoming Netflix original movie, XOXO along with Sarah Hyland and Chris D’Elia. You may also have seen him in Michael Bay’s series, The Last Ship. When Scotty isn’t in front of the camera, he also enjoys songwriting and recording music with his band, Reasons Be. I was excited to find out the books that are behind this driven young actor; so here is my interview with Scotty Dickert…
When someone asks you ‘what do you do for a living?’ – how do you respond?
I’m an actor. I am also a singer/songwriter, but fortunately acting has kept me very busy lately.
What are you reading at the moment?
As my career grows, scripts take up a good amount of my reading time; though I’m currently reading Complete Poems 1904-1962 by E.E. Cummings. Studying poems helps fine-tune the muscle that allows actors to successfully break down scripts.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I had a few dreams growing up. One was to be an astronaut, another an ice cream man; and believe it or not I dreamt of being an actor or musician. I’ve done all of those at this point…except I’m still working on the astronaut part. I’m sure that’ll be in the works until the day I die! I always felt that I would end up doing something unconventional as a career and I’ve proven my childhood self correct with that prediction.
What do you think your school aged self would think of the present day you?
I think my school aged self would be looking forward to becoming my present day self, mainly because I wouldn’t have to wake up at 6am any longer to catch the bus.
If you could wrap up a single book and gift it to yourself as you left education – which book would it be?
Does your reading have routine? Is there a particular time or place that you like to read?
I need to read in a very quiet place and if I can’t find that, I turn to the trusty ear plugs. When reading a script, I typically read the end first and then the middle before starting my full read from the beginning. This allows me to better understand the journey that leads to the end result. Though, if I’m just reading for pleasure, I prefer not to ruin the surprise.
Which book has had the biggest impact on your career so far?
Well, there is nothing that prepared me for my career like actually being on set. That’s the gold, and every time it gets easier and more fluid; but I think the most influential book that pertains to my career is Sanford Meisner on Acting by Sanford Meisner.
If you could give just two pieces of advice to young aspiring actors and actresses, what would they be?
First, study! Learn and practice your craft. There’s something to be said about a natural actor, but do you become a professional basketball player by being athletic alone? No. You put countless hours into every aspect of your game. You focus on your weaknesses and turn them into strengths. So my advice is to take classes, lots of them, for many years. Everything from scene study to audition technique. My other piece of advice has a couple of aspects to it – build a thick skin to get through the ups and downs of this career, and learn how to brand and market yourself. This is vital to attracting and building the team of agents and managers that believe in you and who are absolutely vital in building a successful career.
The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. I associate that book with a few of my family members; some who naturally have a positive energy and others who the book has helped with their outlook on life.
What book have you recommended the most to friends and family?
Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?
In general I prefer fiction, but it really comes down to each book on an individual basis.
Do you think reading is important?
I absolutely think reading is important. It keeps your brain sharp and your creative imagination running. I became much more involved in reading the older I grew, and I am quite happy I turned a new leaf; or page, I suppose.
What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 6 months?
About five years ago, I was in an HBO pilot called All Signs of Death. The producers gave me the book that the show was based off of and I came across it once again about a month ago. I re-read The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston. I was reminded what a great book it is and what a shame it was not going to series, especially with the amazing director Alan Ball at the helm.
Do you prefer real books or digital books?
I much prefer a hard copy.
What is the book that you feel has had the single biggest impact on your life?
I have to say the Bible. I don’t take all of its context literally, but I think that in general it teaches a sense of right from wrong, and it’s incredible the staple it is in this world thousands of years after it was written by so many different people. No human can be absolutely certain what to expect after this life, but when a belief or even a hope gives people incentive to live the best life they can, it’s a wonderful thing. I’m a spiritual person and the Bible has been important in my own life in my own way.
Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?
What books or subject matter do you plan on reading in the next year?
I plan on reading books in the genres of some upcoming films I’ll be working on, Sci-fi being one. I’m also going to try to find some books written by British authors that have been adapted into screen plays, correlating to a film I’ll hopefully be starting later this year.
If you were to write an autobiography – what would it be called?
Push It. Push It Real Good. This reflects on the hard work and perseverance it takes to make it in the acting world these days, while being accompanied by a fun, pun-intended title.