By Steve Robinson | July 27, 2013 - 10:44 pm
Posted in Category: The Normalite

ethanharrisriggsNORMAL – In many ways, Ethan Harris Riggs comes across as your typical kid about to become a high school sophomore this fall. He enjoys hanging out with friends, and he’s loving the time away from school for the summer. It’s a summer that even includes enjoying visiting his grandparents, Charlie and Victoria Harris of Bloomington, for a week.

Ethan’s vacation will last a full week, too, unless he gets a callback for a movie audition he’s anticipating. That would mean flying back to Los Angeles, where he lives with his mother, actress Kymberly Harris, to continue the audition process.

As you might have guessed, 15-year-old Ethan Harris Riggs is an actor, and he’s becoming known to the population known as “tweens” (those kids between ages 10-12), and teens through a new TV show called “Awesomeness TV,” a sketch comedy show on the Nickelodeon Cable Network. The show runs Monday nights at 7p.m. on Comcast Channel 35. The show debuted in early July and features a cast of young high school-aged performers doing character sketches, celebrity satires, and music video parodies.

“Awesomeness TV” started out as a show on the internet on YouTube,” Ethan explained. DreamWorks Studios saw the internet sensation, and teamed up with Nickelodeon to bring the show to TV.

“Once that happened, the show’s budget got higher, and the producers started hiring professional actors like myself,” Ethan explained. “I’ve done about four sketches now, including one sketch last week and one sketch the week before that.” He said, to this point, he has been in a total of four sketches since the show debuted. The show presents sketches that are mostly done on location, Ethan said.

Now 15, Ethan is about to enter his sophomore year at The Music Academy At Hamilton High School in Culver City, Calif. He lived in New York City when he was younger, and he started out appearing in print ads as a baby and toddler when he and his mother lived the first six years of his life in New York City.

NickelodeonKymberly Harris, who has appeared in films and television, moved from the Big Apple to Bloomington when Ethan was six and opened a theatre training school called Theatresool, offering classes for aspiring actors of all ages. “Theatrescool is what helped me and motivated me,” Ethan said about the local training ground that specializes in method acting.

In the roughly seven years he and his mother lived here, Ethan attended Thomas Metcalf Elementary School and was part of local productions, including “Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory”, and appeared in local TV commercials for local businesses such as Busey Bank and the Normal CornBelters.

Some attendees could also remember Ethan in past productions of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” at the Bloomington Center For The Performing Arts. He has played both young Tiny Tim and a young Ebenezer Scrooge. “That was a blast,” Ethan said of being in those productions.

Now living in L. A., Ethan has an agent who helps him find acting jobs, sending him on auditions in hopes his skills, talent, and professionalism will land him work. “My agent sends me out for TV shows and commercials,” Ethan said. “It’s a blast.” Currently, viewers might recognize him, he said from an ad he has done for Direct TV satellite service.

When he works on commercials or other such projects during the school year, Ethan said tutors are provided at the studio to help him with his studies, even during the summer.

“I go out for callbacks and auditions frequently,” Ethan said. “For kids who want to get into the business, you have to train. Training is the most important part of being an actor.” He adds even kids his age who are serious about the business should learn to personalize their working relationships with the people they come in contact with.

At his high school, Ethan said, professional actors have helped train students. One of the more notable performers has received instruction from at his school is actor Daniel Roebuck, whose appearances on the small screen include the TV series Glee and the feature film version of the 1960-era TV show The Fugitive.

But while he’s enjoying his life right now, Ethan does ponder the need to stay grounded and remember all those who have helped him, not just along the way but as he continues his journey as an actor. “There are no small people, only big egos,” Ethan reminds.

Ethan said he’s “excited” about being among the next generation of actors people will see on their TV, movie, and computer screens. “It’s just a real joyous experience to be an actor on their way up,” he said. “It’s a rush and it’s really, really fun.”

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