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I Am Sponge. An Interview with Trevor Eyster, Part I

Tim Eyster

This week we are dedicating our site to Salute Your Shorts. The reason? Our exclusive interview with Trevor Eyster. Trevor played camp genius—Sponge Harris. His nickname was given to him because if you squeeze his head, random bits of information will leak out! Trevor Eyster has recently opened himself up to the fans on his Sponge Harris Facebook page.  You may have only known him as the Sponge, but I think you’re about to learn a lot more on who Trevor Eyster is.

Part 1 of our exclusive interview with Trevor examines his life before he went to Camp Anawanna.

trevor_eyster

First, thanks for granting us this exclusive interview. I want to begin with what happened before you were cast as Sponge on Salute Your Shorts. How did you first get your start into acting?

When I was 5, I was actually a very shy kid.

My Grandmother was concerned that entering school, I’d have difficulty socializing and making friends with other kids. I used to hide behind my mother’s pant leg. So, with great foresight, she signed me up for a Kinder-theatre class at Pierce Community College (the summer program for kids).

At the end of the 6 week course, the instructor approached my mother and asked if I’d be interested in doing a play at a local dinner theatre that he directed at. The Instructor/Director was Mike Monahan. For a short while he gave me some acting lessons at the theatre and then he suggested that I audition for a part in his upcoming play, “The Music Man”. I auditioned and landed the role of Winthrop, and performed it for a nice run at The Showboat Dinner Theatre in Woodland Hills, CA.

Mike Monahan, the Director, had some friends that were Talent Agents, and one was in the audience one night. After the performance, the Talent Agent approached my mother about giving me a year’s contract with their Agency. (I was “discovered”).

From there I was sent on auditions… landed many, many commercials (Eggo Waffles, McDonalds, etc), guest appearances on TV shows like Married With Children, Family Ties, Matlock, did a television pilot, and eventually … landed the role of “Sponge” on the Nickelodeon TV series Salute Your Shorts.

As an actor, who do you look up to? Who influences you the most?

Actually, this brings up a very salient point in my life as to just how I identify myself.

You see, I don’t see myself as an Actor at all. I fell into the acting business (somewhat by accident) at the tender age of 5 and when you’re that young… the work you do doesn’t really require any TALENT.

Now, certainly it requires some maturity, the ability to take direction well & work ethic … but it’s not like I studied the Stanislavski method or anything. I mean, if you’re a “cute” little kid doing a McDonalds Commercial (of which I did somewhere between 4 – 6 of them), all that’s required of you is to:
look cute

  1. look cute
  2. eat the burger
  3. and say Mmmm … cutely.

Is that acting? Or is that just being a cute 8 yr old? I think the latter.

So, over the years, as a kid, I enjoyed the praise I received, and the respect and recognition it bred … but as I got older, while I enjoyed the wonderful opportunities that organically presented themselves as synchronicity directed what came to me … I never felt it was my calling. It was truly a double-edged sword (being a child Actor) that gave me many things, but took many things away as well.

Actors I admire would be … DeNiro, Streep, Holly Hunter, Jodie Foster, Heath Ledger, Franka Potente, Matt Damon. See I really feel like there are two kinds of Actors out there. Character Actors like: Danny DeVito, Jim Carrey, Arnold Swartzenegger ,who in their own right, people love their work, and they’re great at what they do … scripts are written around their persona. Not vice versa.  Then there is what I consider to be, perhaps, the truer form of Acting: the ability to be someone other than a version of yourself, of which a script is NOT written around your persona.

My real calling – that I have avoided being accountable for… for years now, without a doubt, is music.

Lets discuss music. What are your thoughts about the industry and who would influence you?

So – to answer the question: In general, who I look up to, in performing arts, are those that do something with the power of their ‘icon’ status.

See, here’s the deal … remember Backstreet Boys? You know how every little 12-yr old girl reads those Teeny-Bopper mags, and wants to know if so-and-so wears Boxers or Briefs? These girls want to know every intimate detail of their lives. And why?

Because: if you can shake your tush on stage, look good in a pair of tight blue-jeans, and carry a tune (you don’t even have to be good) – we American’s project this “idol” quality on them. And yet, they’re just people.

However, the benefit of “idol” is that people suddenly CARE about what you have to say. They WANT to know what you think about current events, and the world at large.

And, I don’t get how shaking your tush on stage, or being able to move someone emotionally with good script-writing, good direction, and a honed craft can CREATE this desire to know what you think about things– but it does. So be it. So USE it. I admire those who are out there USING their Idol status to bring attention to issues of increasingly greater and urgent global importance.

Musically, I’m greatly influenced by the works, lives & activities of Tori Amos (a fan since her first release in 1992), Annie Lennox, Ryan Adams, Duncan Sheik, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Abra Moore, Natalie Merchant, David Gray, Alanis Morrissette and currently just *drowning* in the sound of Rachael Yamagata’s latest release “Elephants ….”. The power of words has never been stronger. Nor the power of sonic subtlety.


trevor_married

You had a few interesting roles. You played a young Alex Keaton in Family Ties, a small role on Married with Children, and played the character of Simon on Babylon 5. Any interesting stories from the set or getting these roles?

I was still pretty young then. But during the Family Ties shoot … I remember how friendly Michael J. Fox was, and how comfortable he made us feel. Michael Gross (the Father), was also very friendly. I just remember that it was a fun place to be, and we laughed all day. I remember feeling sad once they no longer needed me on set. I have some memories from the Married With Children gig … the foremost in my mind is how David Faustino took me under his arm, “man to man”, and showed me a peep hole in Christina Applegate’s dressing room wall. He was a hoot.

kellybundy-thumb

Editors Note: We thought it was appropriate to show a hot picture of Kelly Bundy

So what did you see after David showed you the peephole?

Everything a boy my age could hope to see :o) The peephole was JUST at the right height and angle … and I have a feeling Ms. Applegate knew about it, and didn’t mind it. :o)


Trevor Eyster - Sponge Harris

So that leads us to what people are waiting to hear you talk about, Salute Your Shorts. You will have to excuse me for the multiple Salute Your Shorts questions. I am a huge fan of the show and I am excited to talk to you about it. How did you get the role of Sponge Harris on Salute Your Shorts?

Well, it’s kinda a pretty dry boring story on this one. It just happened through the regular audition process. I remember picking up a pair of really wide-brimmed glasses, and really hamming up the geek-ness factor. I remember “going to Network” (the 3rd audition when it’s down to you and only a couple of other actors), and walking up the steps feeling pretty nervous – but confident at the same time. I knew I could play a geek, because I AM a geek.

…to be continued


And with that we will continue our interview on Wednesday, August 26th when we will post part 2 of I Am Sponge. An interview with Trevor Eyster. We will learn about his favorite episode of the series, his favorite moments, and what does Dr. Khan really look like?

Trevor would love to read comments about the interview. Please feel free to leave them below. (note. All comments are moderated and need approval)


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