Exclusive Interview With One Life to Live’s T.J. Glenn!
TJ as the fight announcer on 09-19-06 (Soaps.com)
Soaps.com would like to give a warm welcome to One Life to Live’s very own T.J. Glenn! Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for us today.
“A man of many, many talents, please tell us a little about yourself.”
“I’m a Brooklyn boy, born and bred. I’m six foot six and have a background in martial arts, am a stuntman and western sword master, so I get cast as bad guys most of the time. I’ve done over sixty films, a couple hundred soap appearances (On all the New York soaps going back to Edge of Night) and done Shakespeare across the country and in Europe.
I was trained as a book illustrator in college and still do that and have found it is useful when explaining camera set-ups to directors when I’m doing stunts to be able to do a full storyboard for them to see. I have been writing all my life as well, but finally in 05 sold my first novel under my full name Teel James Glenn. I’ve sold five since and have three more waiting for final judgment from publishers. I also, and more importantly, have an awesome nine-year-old daughter, Aislin, who has actually accompanied me twice at Renaissance faires as a story telling partner.”
“You have appeared on One Life to Live numerous times throughout the years, can you name a few of the roles you have taken on?”
“I’ve almost always been a bodyguard (Russian, Serbian, and Italians-I am the all purpose ethnic), hitman or in my last incarnation, prisoner. I almost never have a name, and when I do, it’s Ted, or Tony, etc. very nondescript.”
“Which role did you like playing best?”
“They are all fun; it is such a charge to work with most of the crew and cast I’d show up in a dog suit if they asked me (I did Santa two years in a row on GL-really).”
“Can you give the readers an insight into a normal day for you on the set of One Life to Live?”
“Everyday is a little different, but there is a similar general shape to it all. One calls the day before for the call time, which, depending on the role, can be horribly early, sometimes as early as 6:30 a.m. for a walk-through of lines in the green room downstairs.
But to back track, OLTL is the only castle on the block on the upper west side. When you enter, the guard directs you downstairs to the check-in guard, the green room, costume shop and dressing rooms. It’s a cozy basement with a common area like your home playroom, with a TV mounted high on the wall. When the show is taping they run the live feed through it, so we, downstairs, can see what’s going on up top.
After the early morning dry read through, which is done to get a rough timing of the scenes and try to iron out any last minute script problems”if there is any action, a fight scene or stunt sequence, the initial work is done on it here, in the green room. The stunt coordinator ,often Danny Aiello III, meets with the actors involved here and begins to map the fight out so the director can see it. This dry read goes on for an hour or so, and then everyone is release to their dressing rooms to prepare for the day. Then when they are called on the intercom it is upstairs to the first floor where the cavernous studio and cameras are.
The show can be taped two ways, either dress/block/tape, in which the scene is rehearsed in costume, worked out for the cameras and taped right then and there, in isolation. This happens usually with a difficult or dangerous sequence. More often, the show is done all the way through in dress/costume from start to finish in order, then a break for lunch, and then the whole thing is done again and taped in order. Both have their advantages, but usually, either way, the day can go on average to seven at night. Difficult or complicated sequences may keep the cast there till much later. It is not an easy job, no matter what actors who work only in film or theatre might say. It requires skills from both worlds of acting.
For a minor actor like me, it is mostly painless but for the leads who often have twenty or thirty pages of dialogue a show, I am in awe. It is a hell of a lot of work.”
“Is there any One Life to Live cast mate who you have particularly enjoyed working with?”
“The nice thing about most soaps, and One Life in particular is that no matter what you hear about star behavior or diva attitudes by and large they don’t exist on the soaps. Everyone there is a working actor, usually with a theatre background who knows you can’t act alone so there is a tremendous sense of camaraderie. And mischief with the regulars (they all have a great sense of humor to get through all the character death/rapes/murders/evil machinations etc.
That being said, Thom Christopher gets my vote as the nicest guy I’ve ever worked with on any set. I had known him from the health club where I used to be a personal trainer ten years ago and the first time I worked with him on OLTL he greeted me like an old friend with a big smile and how are you? And he is so amazing to watch working-changing into that evil genius of Carlo [Hesser] from nice Thom, it is a delight for an actor to watch.”
“If there were one person you could star opposite, anyone, who would it be?”
“Oh, that is the hardest question I’ve ever been asked. There are so many amazing actors, past and present who would be a charge to work opposite. Thom Christopher is certainly one of them, though I’d have to work so hard not to be blown off-screen by him. And Will Lymon, who in days gone by played William Tell for TV and has done some good soap work. I’m actually in a film with him-Matty Fresno. But we had no scenes together. I met him on a soap set, and again, the nicest guy.
I also admire the work of B-movie actress Debbie Rochon. I’ve done three films with her, though we had no scenes, and a trailer for a project I wrote, in which we did have a brief scene and it left me hungry for more. She is a very under appreciated actress.
I’ve always wanted to do a sword fight with Adrian Paul of Highlander fame. I admire his work so much. And of course, I would kill to be in a scene with my idol, Sean Connery.”
“Which excites you most, performing on stage in front of a live audience or on a closed set?”
“It is very much an apples and oranges situation: I still get just as excited walking on to a set as I did the very first time. The unreal sets and lights that make a reality when seen through the camera lens is still a very exciting thing to me, and, of course, if you mess up, you can retake it.
On the other hand, I love relating to a real live audience, particularly with the storytelling that I do. I like to go right into the audience and speak to people directly. It is a tremendous rush. Can you love hamburger and steak equally?”
“Fans may not know this, but you’re a published author. Is there a particular book you’d like to give us a sneak peek into?”
“Like any father, I love all my children; I have three fantasy published and two mysteries set for release, but if I had to choose, it would be Knight Errant: Life and Death at the Faire. It is the first book ever set at and behind the scenes of a renaissance festival (I’ve done over forty of them) where the hero, Eric Knight, an actor/fight choreographer hunts down and finally confronts the killer of his best friend. It is 75% autobiographical, and intended as the first in a series, of which Knight in Daytime (about murder on a soap set) will be the third book. They say, write what you know.”
“Can you tell your fans something about yourself that they would never guess?”
“Poetry. I write and perform epic Celtic/Norse poetry at medieval events. It’s gratifying to see grown men crying at some of my recitations and know I’ve touched them. I also write a range of poetry from love and pain to lighter humorous stuff. I even published a book of my poetry at Lulu.com/tjglenn”
Again, Soaps.com wants to thank T.J. Glenn for taking the time to talk with us today! You can learn more about T.J and his career by visiting his website at: TJ Glenn and in September at the launch of his new website Teel James Glenn