Interview With Actor Jeff Teravainen

By Ruth on June 27, 2016 in Interview, movie, mystery, science fiction, television
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As many of my readers know, I fervently attempt to focus on every member of the cast when I do a movie review (and sometimes that means a lot of exploration on my part). More often than not, this diligence on my part connects me with great actors that may go undetected by the general public, and in the case of Flower Shop Mystery: Snipped in the Bud, it did just that. One of the supporting roles in that film is what I would definitely consider an up and coming “star” waiting in the wings. Though he was on screen in that film briefly, it is entirely possible that you have seen him in something else as his credits are rather diverse and prolific. Furthermore, he is returning to the SyFy hit Dark Matter this summer, and I do believe that we will continue to see him featured more and more as the months and years pass. Recently, Jeff Teravainen took some time to chat with me about his nontraditional start in his current profession as well as many notable moments throughout his intriguing career.
13401072_10153758830077297_1575556632_nRH: What inspired you to become an actor?

JT: Well, I always wanted to do it. A long time ago in Toronto, it did not seem like something that was a viable career move, but over the last thirty years or so, they have really built up a very strong film and television scene there. Once I gave it a whirl, I discovered just how much I loved acting, and I was actually making money doing it.

When I was looking over your credits, your music career piqued my interest since I was a music teacher.

Yeah, I discovered that I could pick up almost anything and make a tune with it. So I was self-taught, and I play guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums and all that. On my solo stuff, I played the bulk of the instruments. It was great. Music consumed everything in my life. Unfortunately, the business part of music is not so much fun once you get into that end of things. It can be a weird business sometimes.

That’s one of the things I love about film and television is that after being on the cusp of doing some pretty great things with music and dealing with a lot of heavy hitters–I don’t want to paint the whole music business with the same brush, but there was a lot of–what do you call it–snake pit business. Whereas film and television, you can be working with the biggest star–at least in my experience– whether it’s the biggest star or right down to the lowest person on the crew’s seniority list, so to speak–and everyone’s pulling in the same direction, They all want to make a very big and successful product. And I love that feeling of everybody pulling in the same direction. There’s very little ego. I know you hear stories–you always hear stories–but I just haven’t come across that experience quite yet, even with the big hitters I’ve worked with.

That’s what I’ve discovered when doing all these interviews. There are a lot of nice people in the business.

Yeah, it’s nice, too. Isn’t it nice to deal with people who are appreciative of the fact that not only they’re doing well, but you’re doing well, too? It just seems like there are a lot more team players in the film and television business.

So since you were in the music business, how did you make this transition to the world of acting?

Well, while acting can be a bit of a funny industry sometimes, I thought–well, I’m young and this is a way to make a little extra money and meet girls. (laughs) My friend was a model, and he introduced me to the agent. And then I booked a commercial. And I really enjoyed being on set and doing that, so I thought I needed to take some lessons. So I just kept taking lessons and courses and working with various coaches. I guess you could say my path was a little nontraditional, but I have discovered there is not one right way to go about breaking into this business.

As I looked over your credits, I was amazed to see just how versatile you are and how many different genres have featured your acting talents.

Yeah, part of that is just where I am. And I mean both physically and career-wise. In Toronto, there’s plenty of stuff for actors, but you’re somewhat limited sometimes. I mean in comparison to a place like Hollywood. There’s so many shows they’re shooting right now. You hope that maybe you’ll grab a spot on one. And that’s one of the things I love about what I’m doing right now is that the roles that I am auditioning for and being offered have started to change to guest star roles and things like that. I’m actually getting to do the shows that I watch and I love. That’s really cool when you’re a fan of the show and you get on it.

So, I first noticed you in the Hallmark film, Flower Shop Mystery: Snipped in the Bud. How was your experience on that film?

That was such an amazing experience. Working with Brooke Shields was just wonderful. She is a cultural icon, and I had the opportunity to work with her. What amazed me is that she was so personable and down-to-earth. She related to me as a co-worker. She was accessible–something that you might not expect from a star like her. What you might notice, if you watch the film, is that it was really cold when we were filming. If you watch my mouth, it was barely moving as I said my lines because we were outside, and it was below freezing. But it was such an honor to work with such wonderful people. And as far as Hallmark goes, they make good television, and they are a great company to work for.

13393245_10153758822377297_2135413193_nI also got to do some great scenes with Rachael Crawford–another great actress–if you remember in the flashback section. There is really not much better than getting to work with such great actors–and people, for that matter–and all for a fantastic network. I hope I get to work with Hallmark again soon. I would sure jump at the chance.

I also noticed in your credits that you were on Dark Matter last season. So are you returning to the cast?

Yes, I am. That was a fun little part to do. And at the end of season one, my character kind of stirred things up right at the end, and people weren’t sure what was going to happen with that storyline. Well, I will be back in season two, so be sure to watch for it returning to SyFy on July 1st. No spoilers, just be sure to watch.

So do you have any other upcoming works you can mention?

Recently, on Lifetime, I was in a film with Claire Rankin {who was also in Snipped in the Bud} called Killing Mommy {Alternate title: Deadly Daughters}. So although it has already aired {June 11}, you know how Lifetime is–they reair things regularly.

I also had a recurring role in 12 Monkeys, so if you haven’t checked that show out, be sure you do. I play Agent Stack.

So when it comes to people you respect and admire in this business, who are the people you most look up to in acting/directing?

I have a lot. You know, you see people and think, “Wow, that person is doing an amazing job.” Cate Blanchett–she’s amazing. Kevin Spacey–he’s amazing. I love Brad Pitt. I think he’s amazing. I think he’s one of those guys who is so good-looking that it takes away for some people the fact that he’s an amazing actor. I feel bad for him that way because he really delves into his roles. Damian Lewis–you might know him from Homeland. Again, some of the people I’ve mentioned earlier, I’ve been blown away by. One of the best actors I’ve ever seen–it’s funny, him and his wife–David Richmond-Peck and Alisen Down. She has been on 12 Monkeys. He’s been on Dark Matter. We did a show called XIII: The Series years back. I remember when I watched him, I was pretty blown away. And since then, I could show you clips where I’m just like, “Wow!”  I’ve watched his clips before auditions to sort of inspire me. And this is a guy I know. So to me, that’s kinda cool. He’s a friend of mine, and yet I’m completely in awe of him.

I have only heard of 12 Monkeys. What season is this show in now?

Season two right now. Season two, hopefully a season three.

I will have to check the show out. Honestly, since I have over 40K followers, I admit I don’t see everything, and I just now am seeing tweets about this show.

I always wondered how someone with the following you have filters everything.

It’s not easy, but I do have lists set up. When an actor like you comments on a review or something like that, I put them on a separate list that I check periodically to see if I can help promote something they are in. I realize not all actors have time to notice a review or something like that, but when they do, I like to give back.

That’s cool. I can’t fathom having that many people who want to interact with me.

It’s crazy, but it sure helps out with promoting stuff and getting the word out.

I would love to have that problem. Definitely a good kind of problem to have.

So we talked about the Lifetime film and Dark Matter coming up. Man, we’re going to see you a lot this summer.

Hopefully.

And I’m sure you’re still in lots of auditions.

Yeah, there’s a bunch of things. One thing I can’t say anything about yet, and there’s still a lot up in the air. So we’ll see. That’s the crazy part about the job is that you never know what’s gonna happen. The sad part is you never know what’s gonna happen. I’m lucky though ’cause I have another career in voicework. I’ve been truly blessed to be able to do that. The community has invited me in and accepted me, and it’s a great thing to be able to do. I’ve done a lot of video games–love doing those. In fact, Kate {Drummond}, from Snipped in the Bud, she’s a major player in that as well. She does a lot of different commercial voicework like I do as well. It’s a great field to work in, and it’s still acting, too. In fact, with video games, it’s more real acting now than doing voicework. You’re wearing emotion caps, and you’re doing scenes. And the only difference there is that instead of having a crew and all these different cameras that pick up every angle, you don’t have to reshoot the scene like five times. They get it all in one take.

Yeah, I got to interview Kate, and it’s interesting because she got started in this career a little later in life, too.

Yeah, we talked about that. And it’s funny, too, just before I did Snipped in the Bud, we were doing something together just briefly before that. It was just kinda weird how we got to know each other right ahead of the time. But I’m really happy for her. Flower Shop Mystery has done so much for her and her career.

She’s also on Wynonna Earp, and that show sure has taken off. I’m a bit behind on watching the show, though I must admit. I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but it wasn’t long before I got hooked on it.

Oh, really? That’s good. Really, a lot of the same directors and stuff are on Dark Matter.  We were talking about that at the wrap party. It just so hard to keep up with all these new shows. I mean, I want to, but there are only so many hours in a day. So I’m behind on watching that show, too.

So, you mentioned your daughter–how old is she?

She’s six. I choose to spend the time before she goes to bed with her. There’s a lot of things I want to do, but I try to cram those all in after she goes to bed. Then I try to watch all the great shows after she’s in bed, but that’s hard to consistently do when you’re tired. Plus, I love my video games. Add into that anything else I have to do for acting–getting ready for auditions, learning lines–it’s a very busy life.

So is your daughter in school yet?

Yes, our daughter was born right before midnight on New Year’s Eve, so we had the choice of putting her in kindergarten or grade one, and we put in her in grade one, so she’s by far the youngest in the class, but she’s doing well.  I think we made the right decision, all things considered.

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Now, if there is one thing that stands out to me in this interview, it is that Jeff is always willing to learn something new in this business and just in life in general. Sometimes, people come into this business thinking they are so ultra-talented that training with and learning from others is beneath them. Jeff came in with incredible life experience, but he came in with a willingness to “pay his dues” and learn from everyone with whom he was privileged to share a set. Even when he and I were chatting, we discussed a wide variety of topics, and having him listen to and interact with my thoughts and experiences is something that truly impresses me. He wasn’t a passive interviewee by any stretch of the imagination. His priorities are straight, and he knows what he wants in this business. But unlike some, he also understands and appreciates the fact that he has to work for that ultimate success. So many times, he was impressed with me (really? I’m the interviewer!), and I can only hope I provided him with some pointers on a few things. Moreover, he is supportive of my work (every time I turn around, he has read another of my interviews–it always amazes me when actors do that), and that is one way to continue to engender and ensure my lifetime support. As far as I’m concerned, Jeff is yet another “good guy” in this business, and I wish him nothing but good fortune as his career continues its steady rise up the ladder of success. Be sure that you tune in on July 1st to SyFy to see him in Dark Matter, and don’t forget to follow him via the links below because something tells me he is on the very brink of stardom, and you don’t want to miss a single step in his compelling journey!

FOLLOW JEFF

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth
42-year-old single mother of an active 13-year-old girl Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA Entertainment Writer Available For Interviews and Reviews Substitute Teacher

3 Comments

  1. Hilary August 9, 2016 Reply

    What happened to Rachel Crawford and why isn’t there an interview on her career ?

    • Author
      Ruth August 9, 2016 Reply

      Hilary I have asked her for an interview but no response so I’m afraid I don’t know. I cannot force an actor to have an interview with me. I send out hundreds of requests regularly. If I get no response, I ask again later. I’m sorry I cannot fulfill fan requests. It is a difficult business.

  2. Brian October 25, 2016 Reply

    Really cool interview! Hope to see Jeff in some stuff soon. Thanks for sharing this!

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