David FM Vaughn: The JamieSanford.com Interview

by Jamie Sanford on April 9, 2012

New feature! I have been thinking about doing interviews on the site for a while, because I come into contact with so many interesting people.

When I first started thinking about a series where I interview friends of mine who have interesting careers or have done something really cool, David FM Vaughn was first in my mind. We met during our freshman year of high school and have been friends ever since.

David knew back in high school that he wanted to pursue a career in entertainment, and nothing stopped him. He went to Florida State University and was a Musical Theatre major, and has been working steadily as a performer since he graduated. David has toured extensively, both in and out of the US, with shows ranging from Spirit of the Dance to Saturday Night Fever. His most recent theatrical stint was in Shrek the Musical.  After being a part of the original Broadway cast through the run of the show (that sadly only ran for just over a year), David took a step down (literally) to step up and play Lord Farquaad during the entire run of the First National Tour. Seriously, look at this picture.

This image of David giving us Farquaad realness is from the LA Times.

Here’s a great video of David as Lord Farquaad, tormenting a local news host in San Francisco.

What was your first official theatrical performance? How did it go?

My first official theatrical performance was in 3rd grade, during a summer camp production of “Punctuation Party.”  I was the exclamation point.  It went well, other than the fact that I forgot my costume and had to wear my t-shirt and shorts while the other kids had cool costumes.

What other activities did you do as a kid?

I did a lot as a kid.  T-Ball, little league, fishing, gymnastics, figure skating, soccer, piano, painting, etc.  It was a cornucopia of lessons.

Have you had a moment where you felt like you had “made it”?

I’ve had a few.  And each time I feel like is “the” time I made it.  First was in High school when after a production, I got my first piece of fan mail.  Then when I became a member of the professional actors union, I felt I “made it.”  But going back through my career to date, I think my “made it” moment was getting to perform on the Tony Awards.  It was exactly how I had pictured it would be, and was a moment I’ll never forget.
(Note from Jamie: I am offended that officiating my wedding was NOT the moment where David realized that he had made it.)

You cannot miss David in this video of the 2009 Tony Awards opening performance because he’s wearing that.

Did I know about this? When did you get fan mail?

It was after our production of “The Jungle Book,” and some of the classes who came drew pictures, and wrote “fan mail” to some of the cast.  I got 1 piece.  I still have it.

What’s been your proudest moment?

Strangely enough it didn’t happen in my first Broadway show.  It happened in my first big time national tour, “Saturday Night Fever.”  I understudied one of  the leads, and he NEVER called out.  This kid was a trooper.  But after 8 months, in Schenectady, New York, he called out sick, and I got to go on.  To this day, I’ve never felt so connected, confident, and ready for anything in my life.  I sailed through that show (minus a few vocal flubs) with such ease and confidence, and I felt SO powerful.  I was so prepared, that nothing could stop me. I was so proud that I had taken the time and effort to prepare myself for being a good understudy, and it paid off.

Other than performing, do you work in other aspects of entertainment?

Yes, I’ve been a composer, a director, a producer, and most recently, focused on writing.  I’ve always wanted to transition from acting to directing/writing, and I’ve started that transition in the past few years.

What have you written? Do you write alone or with others?

I have composed two award-winning musicals, and have written a few web shorts.  I also have a feature comedy screenplay and sitcom pilot I recently finished, and am currently working on other projects.  I do work with writing partners as well as alone, but prefer to collaborate, as I feel (that with the right partner) it can make your work that much better.

Tweet challenge! Describe your career so far in 140 characters or less.

I just joined twitter a few months back, so I suck at this.  My career so far has been self-made, a dash of lucky, and very fulfilling.  Is that 140?

Do you have sage advice for those looking to get into pursuing theatre professionally?

My sage advice is to do everything and anything you can.  Some people come from areas or financial backgrounds where taking classes or lessons isn’t a possibility.  I encourage them to do EVERYTHING and ANYTHING you can.  Read plays with your friends.  Learn to play the piano.  Do a community theatre show.  This business, like many businesses, is about connections.  And there is a snowball effect when you do one thing, it leads to another, and another.  So why not put more irons in the fire?  You’ll be surprised at which ones work.  (Hint:  it’s not the one you planned)

Also, I would encourage everyone to GO TO COLLEGE.  Yes, for the education, yes, to get away from your parents, but mostly to experience life by yourself as an adult.  College is the first time you fully become “you” and experiment with life.  These experiences are INSTRUMENTAL in your process as an actor.  You must experience and live life to show experience and life on stage.  Go to college.  And choose one that’s fun.

What’s your favorite website?

www.PeopleofWalMart.com.  Or my website of course!  www.DavidFMVaughn.com

What celebrities did you have crushes on in high school?

Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake.  Infer what you will.

What’s next for you? Are you working on any projects now?

I’m currently in LA working on a few writing projects.  Also I’ve been enjoying the sun and ocean.  Does that count as work?

How can everyone connect with you online?

www.DavidFMVaughn.com, or you can follow me on this twitter thing @davidfmvaughn.

Thanks David! Hopefully I will make a trip out to LA soon so we can hang out.  As mentioned, you can find David through his website, or on Twitter. In addition, David has a YouTube channel where you can see more snippets of his various performances. I highly recommend checking it out.

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