Balancing work with family life can be difficult, regardless of what industry you happen to be working in. I find that entertainment and the arts can be awfully tricky, however. It’s been nice to see partners and families of Oz Comic Con guests be a part of their trip over – sometimes I think about what it must be like to be off filming a movie or a television series which eats in to much of one’s year, so seeing girlfriends, husbands, boyfriends and children being able to come out to Australia for essentially a two week holiday, is great! Connor Trinneer, American actor/voice over artist/owner of an incredible beard, relates this balance to his own career.
“You want to try, as much as you can, to keep a normal life, even when you’re not at home.” he says. “Like today, I hadn’t really had a chance to practice guitar for an extended period because I’ve my boy around and while I can still do it then, there are other things that get in the way. It’s nice to be able to carve out a couple of hours on a book I’m reading or carve out a couple of hours of a little guitar practice. I think the days of tossing TVs out of windows…I don’t know if they’re gone, but they’re probably fewer and farther between.”
“I am very fortunate that my in laws and my parents are very helpful! That is extremely fortunate, that at the drop of a dime, they can come help out. In fact, my son flew up for the first time to visit them [in laws] and my mother in law flew back with him. It’s really easy and for some people it is difficult, but it works out for our family. You have to plan further ahead than you used to. For example, for the first five years of his life, I wouldn’t take a gig, say in Canada or I wouldn’t take a regular role. I’d be like, ‘I’ve gotta spend time here’. I don’t know if it hurt me or whatever, but it was the decision I made and it was the right one.”
Trinneer, best known for his role as Trip on Star Trek: Enterprise and Michael on Stargate: Atlantis also reveals that he’s learned how best to keep oneself on the ball and fresh when travelling around, attending these type of conventions (including the show-specific expos which are understandably more intense).
“I’ve learned [it] the hard way,” he laughs. “When you get – and they want to buy you drinks – loaded the night before, you don’t look good, you’re not in a good mood and you’ve got eight hours of constant interaction, which is really exhausting if you think about it! To be on that whole time, it really takes it out of you. It’s not like I’m exercising to get through the day, but you do have to bear in mind that some people don’t…I’m sure you’ve met some of them! They get out to these conventions and it’s like, throttle down, they’re out drinking to whatever…I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s parenthood, but those days are if not gone, they’re selective.”
When he’s not playing guitar, playing dad or soaking up the praise fans throw his way at these conventions around the place, Trinneer is working hard on some projects which are set to be keeping him quite busy for the next few months at least.
“I do some voice over stuff on the air back home which I’ve got going. It’s very sexy, I’m the voice of Häagen-Dazs ice cream. Then, I’ve got something at the end of April, it’s an independent film. A Little Red Riding Hood horror film. In May, for the same guy, I’m doing another film of his – more of a zombie apocalypse one, which seems to be the genre du jour of the moment, you know? It seems as though I’m going to be busy for the next couple of months, which is always good. You can go fallow for great periods of time and wonder if it’s ever going to happen again – you take what you get and the whole thing is to keep working and to keep moving.”
While his roles in Star Trek: Enterprise and Stargate: Atlantis may have brought Trinneer the most acclaim in recent years, he’s also been able to enjoy screen time on a variety of shows, whether it be The Mentalist, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles or Pretty Little Liars. Trinneer notes the difference in TV genres and the way actors work their way in developing the characters, what liberties they are afforded, and the like.
“Definitely with Trip, I did.” Trinneer says of the input he had in his time on Enterprise. “I was making sure that things that I thought were appropriate for him were done; some things that came across the page were not, I thought, appropriate, so I would say something. Sometimes lines didn’t seem to jive with something he would do, but then a dialogue would occur between the executives and the people who wrote it and you’d find a happy balance, or it would be taken away. They’d always listen, though. Early on, they gave me enough rope to hang myself with and I didn’t do it, so they trusted me with him. I don’t think that Michael was meant to be as big a part as he was; again, I think he evolved as we went along. You have less opportunity, you have less leverage or latitude as a recurring guest…the word ‘guest’ is important! I would ask questions and whatnot, but they were really…I mean, I was coming on to their show, so I was just trying to accommodate what was happening there. I was inventing this hybrid character though, so I definitely had a lot on my plate.”
“The great thing about science fiction, generally, is that the scope of the way in which you tell a story and just the dramatic size in which you tell it is much more interesting. To go in and play the father of a teenager is not that fascinating, but I’ll do it! To go in and play an Assistant D.A or an attorney…they’re not that different and they don’t ask that much more of you than what’s on the page. Typically, when you’re doing the roles that I’ve been fortunate enough to play in sci-fi, they ask a lot of you and you have to use a lot of your imagination and you really have to play a character. Less so with Enterprise with Trip; he was much more closer to me, but to play Michael on Stargate: Atlantis, I had to go to a whole different place. For an actor, that’s awesome to do; it’s a theatrical experience for an actor.”