Sign up for classes. You can never learn too much. Taking classes has been a direct contributor to my skill sets and my success. There are times you may say what else can I learn? That is when you need to realize, there is always another perspective, there is another method, another path to success. Don’t be afraid to do the work.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Sean-Ryan Petersen. He plays the lead character Valentino on Cartoon Network’s Victor and Valentino. He is a drummer of many years, loves to play video games, and enjoys role-playing games specifically Dungeons and Dragons.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
When I was around 8 years old I was watching Saturday Cartoons with my family. When either Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh was on, I turned to my mom and told her that I wanted to be a voice on TV. I can just remember how each character felt alive to me and the emotion of the voice-over actors really made me feel a part of the story. Pretty much right then and there I set my heart on becoming a voice-over actor, but to be one on Cartoon Network especially :D. I am so happy that my dream is now a reality. #Blessed
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
In the Fall of 2017, my voice over Agent changed Agencies and she was unable to retain her under 18 Clients, which I was one of them. I found myself in a state of uncertainty, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do next. My Voice Over (VO) Coach Tony Gonzales invited me to a Voice Over Showcase that was attended by several Top Agents. After doing the showcase I met and signed with my amazing Agent Melissa Berger Brennan. Right away I received the audition for the show “Victor and Valentino”. It was around a 3-week process total from audition to booking, with a couple of call-backs and auditioning for a couple of characters. The most interesting part of it was how surreal it was living through the process. As an actor, you walk into a lot of casting rooms and you meet a lot of wonderful people. Each time you ask yourself if these will be the people you will get to work with. When I met Diego Molano during my callback it was no different. Diego is one of the chillest-nicest guys ever and my wonderful booth director/work mom Collette Sunderman is one of the sweetest ladies I’ve ever met and all I could think was man how amazing it would be to work with them. Fast forward to today, I kept thinking not only is this project amazing and how blessed I am to be a part of it, but the people I get to work with are everything I can imagine a work Family to be. How I Booked Victor and Valentino has definitely been one of the most interesting things that has happened to me to date.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
My first audition would probably be the best story for my funniest mistake in terms of acting. I was around 4, before I seriously got into acting, trying to get into the industry when I got a Leapfrog toy commercial audition. Now my young brain could not completely conceive what acting was and that it is basically pretending to believe certain things. Come audition time I am instructed to pretend that the man auditioning for the role of my dad was supposed to be my dad. I don’t know why, but I just refused to act like this guy was my dad constantly saying, “YOU’RE NOT MY DAD”, for like three solid takes. Casting didn’t know how else to explain to me that is was all pretend. Let’s say we can all laugh about it now.
Seriously though it was hilarious.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
1. There can be a lot of feeling of rejection in this industry no matter how many times it happens keep at it. Remember it is not you it could be any number of things. I can remember right before I booked Victor and Valentino, my voice over agent had just changed agencies and she was not retaining any of her under 18 actors, which included me. Here I was, no representation, but still determined. I worked hard, did a workshop and then suddenly I had 3 different agencies asking me to sign, and I am Blessed to now be represented by amazing Melissa Berger Brennan, and three weeks later I booked to Victor and Valentino.
2. Sign up for classes. You can never learn too much. Taking classes has been a direct contributor to my skill sets and my success. There are times you may say what else can I learn? That is when you need to realize, there is always another perspective, there is another method, another path to success. Don’t be afraid to do the work.
3. Wear plain colored clothes for on-camera auditions, logos can be distracting. I myself have had auditions where I could feel their eyes on my shirt and some even asked me after my audition what was on my shirt. Just remember the focus is you, not your clothes.
4. Don’t be intimidated by the look on a casting director’s face just do your best version of the role and move on. I can remember on certain roles I booked, the casting director had almost no reaction to anything I did and I booked the role. Then on other auditions, there were overwhelming reactions, yet no book. Just remember don’t read too much into any reaction.
5. (This one is a personal favorite from a close friend.) Thank you means get out of my casting room. No just playing, but remember you are there to show them what you got, do it, say thank you and go.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Well, right now I am working on “Victor and Valentino” for Cartoon Network as “Valentino” and just would like to add that it has been a blast working on it and we are slated for a second season so be sure to keep an eye out for that.
I recently booked a role on another animated series that I am unable to discuss at the moment but can’t wait to share.
Additionally, I am currently working on another project, but at this time I can’t share any details, but in this case, I am actually working on the production side, so I am super excited to be on the other side.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
When I first started “Victor and Valentino” I had been playing all the Persona games and watching the Persona 4 Animation with English dubbing. So when it came to my attention that Yuri Lowenthal (Yousuke Hanamura from Persona 4), Erica Lindbeck (Futaba Sakura from Persona 5), and Max Mittelman (Ryuji Sakamato from Persona 5 and SAITAMA FROM ONE PUNCH MAN) were going to be working with us on Season 1, I Geeked Out. So each time I found out they were coming in I fangirled so hard I thought I would faint. I even have my Persona 5 box signed by Max and Erica and a signed One Punch Man and Futaba poster. I love my cast so much they are all incredible people and each time someone new comes in it’s interesting in itself.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
There will be without a doubt times when in an actor’s career they feel like they hear more “No” then “Yes” when you audition for roles. That is normal for everyone. Even the biggest actors aren’t right for some roles and the sooner you are aware of that the easier it becomes to move on because eventually, the perfect role will come that is perfect for you and you are perfect for it. If the “Nos” ever gets too heavy and you feel as though you are going to burn out then take a break. It never hurts to take a break if things get too tiring because each audition you do won’t be at your best.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I believe that there truly is enough food in the world that no one should go hungry. To this degree, my brother Conner-Ryan and I started a charity that would involve gathering leftover food from places like Panera, Food Warehouses, or any other establishment and we would drop it off at local food banks. We are just two guys so this is really limited, I would like everyone to take the time to try on their own to gather food from their local restaurants or even food in their own kitchen that they wouldn’t eat and take it to a food bank instead of letting it expire.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I’m not sure if it is a popular quote but I am a bit of a history buff and one of my favorite quotes comes from Winston Churchill. He said “the pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”. That quote is so powerful to me because you have to stay optimistic.
Prepare for every audition because in that room its your opportunity to show Casting what they will get when they hire you. There are plenty of difficulties such as the no callback(s) but even that is an opportunity to learn, improve and prepare for the next opportunity.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Of course, I have several people who I owe my entire career to. My ever-amazing Momager who is the very reason I am in this industry as I talked about in an earlier question, my manager Amy who has stuck with me for so long helping me get some amazing opportunities, last but not least my incredible voice-over agent Melissa who signed me, got me the opportunity to audition, and from there book “Victor and Valentino” 3 weeks after I signed with her, CESD record.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
I would want to have lunch with Keanu Reeves because he is such a nice guy who has done tons of great iconic roles in the industry. Despite all the hardships he has faced he has proven himself to be an incredible human being and I’d love to pick his brain.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!