April 10, 2015 by Speakers' Spotlight
Spotlight On: Scott Christopher, Actor and Co-Author of The Levity Effect
Scott Christopher travels the world entertaining and motivating thousands of people through his laugh-a-minute lectures, sharing how levity, humor, and becoming more of a “people person” can help you excel in business and at home. Practising what he preaches, Scott presents meaningful data, research, case studies and stories in a relaxed, interactive, and hilarious way. He’s the co-author of the bestselling book The Levity Effect: Why It Pays to Lighten Up, and the author of People People: Who They Are, Why They Win, and How to be One, as well as an accomplished actor. Currently, Scott has a recurring role in the online series, Granite Flats, which stars Christopher Lloyd, Parker Posey, Cary Elwes. We caught up with Scott to ask him about how acting has (or has not) informed his speaking. The photo above is him in character for the show:
What inspired you to be an actor? And what inspired you to be a speaker?
I wanted to be an actor as far back as I can remember. I just always knew that’s what I was and am. Speaking was just what I gravitated towards as a ‘day job.’ I recognized that very few actors can make enough money to support a family of seven (!), so I focused on an education and ‘real world’ business experience, with acting on the side. I knew that public speaking would come very easy to me since the skills were innate, but I had to focus on having an actual message. And that’s where a Masters Degree in Human Resources and years working as a leader in various organizations really came in handy.
How does acting inform what you do on-stage at when presenting your keynotes?
Ironically, ‘acting’ has nothing to do with my speeches. I pride myself on being as authentic as possible when I talk to an audience. I mean, I’m not just speaking off the top of my head, all great presentations are well thought out and rehearsed, but I take great measures to be ‘in the moment’ with the audience, the theme, the mood and environment. The best keynoters understand that they are performing, and I try to apply the tools of the performance trade: preparation, relaxation, spontaneity, diction, range, energy and of course, levity—all while striving for a complete lack of cheesy insincerity or detachment.
Your book, The Levity Effect, reveals how humor can help people communicate messages, build camaraderie, and encourage creativity in the workplace. Do you have examples of how “the levity effect” has helped you as an actor?
Myriad are the tales of high tension film sets where budgets are stretched thin and egos are out of control because cast and crew are so stifled by fear of failure or underperforming. I like to think that an actor who can bring a healthy perspective and humorous disposition helps facilitate peace among the ranks over very long days. I’d also like to think that I’ve been that guy on more than a few occasions. Season three of Granite Flats requires me to tackle some really heavy emotionally-charged scenes. I’m not a method actor. I still laugh in between takes or joke with the other actors. I can turn tears off and on. In any work environment, the ability to keep perspective and have a light attitude, regardless of joke-telling skills, is an asset to morale.
What’s next for you acting-wise?
I’ll be playing the husband of a woman who auditions for and is accepted to sing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in a family-oriented film called Singing With Angels, and then hopefully back to shoot Season four of Granite Flats after that. Netflix is rumored to be picking up the series and I hope that portends a lot more work: it’s a seminal series. Truly. You have to watch two or three episodes to get ‘into it,’ but then you’ll be hooked and thrilled that you can see every episode free, online at www.graniteflats.com or www.byutv.org
Fun question: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three movies would you *have* to have with you?
Groundhog Day, Star Wars, Gone With The Wind.