Austin Crute is a rising star who has worked in Film and Television. In this interview, Austin discusses his starring roles on series such as Call Your Mother and Daybreak.
Earlier in his career, Austin guest-starred on Atlanta, Orange Is The New Black, and Trinkets, as well appearing in the 2019 feature film, Booksmart.
Welcome, and thank you for taking the time to do this.
Austin Crute (AC): Absolutely, thank you for having me.
Having already appeared in a number of notable projects, who/what made you want to pursue an acting career?
AC: What made me want to pursue acting was that I was already a performer, in my personality. I was doing music. My mom and aunt would break the cardboard hangers, that would be in a TJ Maxx thing. I would go around the house, banging everything with the drumsticks and songs in the back seat. I remember, my parents were pastors. My Dad was a Senior Pastor of this 5000+ member church. There were always pamphlets, binders and outlines everywhere. I would take a random binder that was in the car and just beat on it, make a song in the car, forget it and make another song in the car.
But, I was shy. I didn’t want to sing in front of anybody, act in front of anybody, dance in front of anybody. I did nothing at church. So, at school, when sixth grade came around and it was time to choose our classes, my mom was like: “Get in drama!” I was like, “Okay.” I did that and I loved it. From then on, it burgeoned into a professional pursuit.
Currently, you’re playing ‘Lane’ on ABC’s new sitcom Call Your Mother, opposite Kyra Sedgewick (The Closer) and Joey Bragg (Liv and Maddie). How would you describe the premise and your character, for anyone who may be unfamiliar?
AC: I play a guy named Lane, in Call Your Mother, who is basically this gay dude from the Midwest. He doesn’t know exactly what his identity is in Los Angeles. So he’s like, “I’m going to try and find my own identity in Los Angeles, how I couldn’t find it in Ohio.” That is why Lane and Jean, Kyra Sedgewick’s character connect. They’re both trying to find who they are in LA. He can do it in his way, she can do it in her way. They relate to each other from that. It’s really fun.
As already alluded to, Call Your Mother is a multi-camera sitcom. How have you found working in this environment? Is it harder or easier than what you expected?
AC: It is definitely… I think it’s less hard and easy because I’ve done both and it’s melding. So, I’ve done stage since I was 12 years old. My whole dream was to get into Film and Television. I was like: “Oh my gosh, but I want to be on Film! Anybody can be on the stage.” So, then, in 2018 that’s when I booked Booksmart – actually, psych, 2016, I booked Atlanta. That was my first ever time on a film set. Then, Booksmart came and that was the first time on a movie set.
When Call Your Mother happened, it’s my first time ever on a sitcom. Since we’re not able to have a studio audience because of COVID, I don’t get the full experience of being on a sitcom. However, it is like the best of both worlds. It’s like you get to just perform without the stakes, almost, of a single cam. On a single cam, where one person would just be holding the camera and you’re getting it from whatever angle they choose to get it at, you have to work your own angles. Every camera’s pretty stationery.
It’s a new experience, but really really fun. I have such a good time. And, growing up, everyone wanted to be on Disney Channel and Nickelodeon where everything was a sitcom. So, now I feel like: “I’m on Disney Channel, basically on Disney Channel, ABC. I’m with Joey Bragg. “
What initially attracted you to the role of Lane – are there many similarities or differences between yourself and the character?
AC: What attracted me to playing Lane was how similarly his life mirrored mine, in a way. For example, him having to find his identity in LA. I had to find my identity in LA! I’m from Atlanta, Georgia. I’m not from the West Coast, much less California, much less Los Angeles. It took me a minute to really acclimate to my recreational life here. Love life… I got no love life here, I don’t date. I think also, I am kind of an ‘external son’, for a few families, in Georgia. You know, where moms liked having me around.
I have a wholesome, welcoming, happy-go-lucky presence. I have a few “play moms” in Georgia myself. I love Lane’s character because of that.
You’ve appeared in a number of projects for Netflix – Daybreak, Trinkets, Orange Is The New Black. How would you compare working on a streaming show compared to network TV?
AC: First of all, streaming and network are kind of two different things. With Netflix, I feel like there’s more creative control on an individual project level. The showrunners, producers and actors are all kind of on the same team. What their choices are will ultimately be the end. Netflix makes a tweak here, tweak there.
Whereas with network, I feel like you’re really in the process with everybody else. They’ll say, “Okay, we can do this, we can’t do that.” It’s more censored. You know, everything. But, I will say also that with Netflix, there’s a 10 episode ‘pow-wow’ where they come in with their season. With this, it’s like they’re writing as they go along. It’s more episodes per season. There’s more time to tell a story.
With Netflix, you might drop a season and not be back the next season. You have to make sure you get enough of the story out so where if it doesn’t come back, people have gotten a story. On network television, it’s like: “Okay, welcome to our world. Let’s keep on telling stories in our world and see where this goes.”
From an observational standpoint, that’s what I see from an experiential standpoint. I personally feel… it doesn’t even feel like work, Call Your Mother. You go, you show up, you do the thing. We do a lot more rehearsals – with Call Your Mother, it’s rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. With Netflix, you know your lines, you show up, and then we do it. A few rehearsals in the morning and then go crazy. Or maybe the day before, we’ll maybe run through it or say the lines.
On Call Your Mother, we get a new episode on Wednesday, we read it for the first time. Go down, put it on its feet. On Thursday, we rehearse it again. Friday, we rehearse it again. Then, Monday and Tuesday, we shoot it. It’s a different flow, but it’s all so fun. I love them both.
In particular, Daybreak was sadly short-lived. When reflecting on that experience, do any memories in particular stand out in your mind?
AC: Thank you! I loved Daybreak, I loved being in Daybreak and I loved Wesley Fists. The most highlighted part of the experience for me would be the sheer other worldliness of the set, everything that was going on. There were zombies walking around, I was training with swords and actually learned how to use swords for the first time. I’m good in an apocalypse, I still have my two katanas! They’re in a storage facility down the street, but I still have ’em. That was the first time I ever had to work with CGI.
Aly Linz, who plays Angelica, she was 11 when we filmed that. There was a scene in the very first episode where we have to… she fires a flamethrower. It was completely fake fire and there was a little light at the end of her gun. There was a light behind us, that a guy was holding or something. I had to just kind of pretend that fire was happening.
It’s so funny, because usually I’d be watching something like Spy Kids or a Marvel movie, then on the DVD commentary you see the ‘behind the scenes’. They’re completely faking it. And it’s like: “Yo, I got to do that!” So, that was cool, that was cool.
Matthew Broderick (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) was in Daybreak. How was your experience working with him?
AC: Yeah, he was great to work with, a delight to work with. We talked a few times, just running lines. He’s very down-to-earth. Very humble. He doesn’t look at himself like Matthew Broderick. I told him straight up, I said: “For me, it wasn’t Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. You’re Inspector Gadget, for me.” He got a little kick out of that.
Daybreak is a lot of referencing Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. So, I watched that from a research perspective, but Inspector Gadget is the one. Yeah, I love Matthew Broderick.
What’s some advice you would give to an aspiring actor?
AC: I would say two things. The first piece of advice that I would give to somebody starting out acting or performing, is literally shake off the nerves. Don’t be nervous. If you can get to a place where you do things and you’re not cripplingly nervous… it’s less reflective that you perform a lot and it’s more reflective that you trust yourself. It’s like: “Honestly, I don’t care about you, you or you watching.” I’m going to do what I bring to the table and if you don’t want it, that’s great. I’m going to watch the project when it comes out and hopefully, you’re right. You made the right choice, the actor you chose was better off for the project.
It’s not pertinent, it’s just there’s a TV show, movie, play, musical. There’s a story to be told, are you the person to help tell that story? If you’re not, fine. It’s literally fine. That’s the first thing. Second, is that I would say auditioning and working are two different ballgames. I feel that I started booking after I mastered auditioning. I was like 19 when I started auditioning, for real for Film and TV. I was 20 when I got Atlanta on FX.
I forgot that I even did the Atlanta audition. I was doing like two auditions every other day in-between classes. One audition at 12, one audition at 4. I was having to go from class in Union Square and then go up to 57th Street or something like that, then come down to 14th Street for class. Because I was in music school at NYU, I wasn’t really focused on getting rejected. I could just do it and go to class. When I got word that I was in Atlanta, it was like: “Are you serious? Ahhh!” I had kind of forgotten that I had even auditioned for it. If you’re auditioning, just focus on auditioning. Focus on getting it right, then when you get booked, it will be the surprise because you weren’t so focused on getting a a job and more so comfortable with just being yourself in the room.
For anyone who may be reading or listening to this interview, where can people keep up with your career or you personally?
AC: You can follow me @AustinCrute on Instagram, Twitter. I am on Facebook, but I never check Facebook. If you’ve been messaging me on Facebook and take it personally that I don’t respond, that’s on you. I’m not on Facebook. You heard it here, I’m not on Facebook a lot. That’s my team doing all of that.
Instagram is me, Twitter is me, Snapchat @acrute if you want to snap me and Tik Tok, @austincrute. That’s where you can find me. All of my work is going to be posted on Instagram and Tik Tok.
Of course Call Your Mother is a series regular gig, but do you have any other projects you can talk about?
AC: Not at the moment. I’m in the mix on a few things that are about to happen. So, we’re going to see about that. In the meantime though, I am going to be dropping mad singles from the music side. Mad singles, mad songs. I’m not one of these actors trying to make music. No, no, I am like a musician that then moved into the acting world. It just so happened that it worked out, like: “Oh, snap!” Now, I’m like: “Alright, now let me introduce myself.” to the world as I am, rather than as a persona. It’s all about the songs. 2021, it’s happening.
What do you hope to accomplish with the rest of 2021?
AC: In 2021, I hope to accomplish… and this is not predicting. So, if I don’t achieve this, I flop. I’m not a flop if I don’t achieve these things. But, I do want to achieve this in the next year. One, I will be releasing Twenty, the mixtape. Period, it’s going to happen. Two, I want at least two more crazy music videos out. At least two more. Three, I want to be in an action movie. Action movie, action flick, something sci-fi, maybe something indie.
Something that really pushed a boundary for me as an artist and an actor. Also, something that’s riveting, good. Also, maybe I’ll hit 100k on Tik Tok. Those are my goals – release my mixtape, get some new music videos, get in some kind of indie/iconic action film, again, this year. And, establishing my presence on Tik Tok. Like, a hundred thousand.
I’ll wrap this up by saying thanks again for taking the time to speak with me. Take care and stay safe!
AC: Absolutely! Thank you, for having me.
Call Your Mother airs Wednesdays on ABC.