Zack Ward: "Books were my only friends as a kid"
Interview by Carl Marsh
Your working life has been varied and numerous in TV shows and movies, but what motivates you each day?
Deep emotional scars from my childhood fill me with an endless engine of rage that I turn into a creative drive, in order to make sure I never kill again!
There is so much to learn and challenge yourself that I never find it difficult to be motivated, I just try not to be overwhelmed by how much I want to learn before I die.
The character you played (Scut Farkus) in the movie A Christmas Story, does it make you laugh/cry or switch over the TV channel every Christmas when it is on, or do you still look at it and smile?
It's a one in a million experience that would take hours to explain, as it's taken decades of living it for me to grasp it myself. But I “AM” honoured and grateful.
With so many TV channels, as an actor, do you believe that there is too much choice of smaller budgeted TV series, yet not enough conviction by the networks to commit to larger scale projects, with lots of shows being cancelled way too soon?
TV has grown up, it’s become the new story device, taking over from movies and connecting with complex writing and characters to a complex audience. There's no simple answer, just choice of what you find valid and content to spend your time with.
Have you read much over the years, and what sort of genres and authors tick the box for you?
Books were my only friends as a kid. Loved all sorts. Read a lot of science now, trying to grasp what is next. As a writer, the more you read the better you grasp language and writing, so it's a win win.
Why do you think that people should read more books?
It expands their minds, make their own choices, see the world in a grain of sand.
What do you reckon makes a great actor or actress, in that, what gives them the edge over anyone else, as I know you have formed your own production company, so what do you look for when looking at new talent?
Commitment and listening. Saying lines without hearing the moment is two dimensional and reads like a lie. Life experience helps imbue dialog with personal resonance.
Do you have any regrets over the years?
So, so many.
I recall you being in the TV show Titus, which bordered on the controversial fence at times. Do you think TV networks need to stop being so passionate about 'not' offending anyone, and just show what the hell they like?
Yup. And they're moving towards that design now.
In the UK we have all these networks that will show anything, and that is how it should be because if someone ever gets offended by what they are watching, they can always turn over! These days you will always find someone who gets offended at something, no matter what it is. It must wind you up as an actor, having to deal with all this political correctness nonsense?
True, but Rome wasn't built in a day. It takes time to break down walls and open minds. The multi-channel-verse is definitely creating niche oriented material for niche audiences, search engine algorithms breaking down "who" wants "what". So I believe it will be in the network's best interest to create that content and abandon a "one size fits all" mentality.
What makes you happy in life?
Scary question. Trying to answer that daily.
So, so much.
The industry you work in can seem glamorous to the outsider, yet in reality, it probably isn't. What advice can you give to anyone that is young and wanting to "move to LA" to achieve their dream, what can you say which will keep them grounded and motivated?
Don't move here! Stay home and shoot your own stuff, put it on the web and build your own empire. Unless you are ridiculously gorgeous, you'll just get lost in the thronging masses and lose your money. Invest in yourself, no L.A. If you do "you" well enough, L.A will come knocking at your door.
For yourself, what do you do to escape, what do you do when not working?
Train, play with my cats, read, have dinner with my lady. Not glamorous, sorry.
Would you change anything in your acting career?
I would have started writing/directing/producing/editing decades ago.
If you were an animal, what would it be, and why?
A honey badger. Cause honey badger don't give a shit!