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Tristan Riggs: “The competition is very tough”

A lot of my films have filmed over the summer or on the weekends but sometimes I do miss school. I am attending school online for now so that helps. It is hard to try to get my schoolwork done by the end of the day. I sometimes feel exhausted by doing stuff on set […]

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A lot of my films have filmed over the summer or on the weekends but sometimes I do miss school. I am attending school online for now so that helps. It is hard to try to get my schoolwork done by the end of the day. I sometimes feel exhausted by doing stuff on set and doing auditions and school at the same time. If I am on set during the week, I have a set teacher who makes sure you do your homework. When the adult actors are on break, they are actually on break, but as a kid, I have to do homework, so I am constantly busy. Acting takes a lot of time. I will get 3–7 auditions a week and must prepare for them, tape them, spend time in the car to travel to them (pre-COVID). So instead of playing football, soccer, or other hobbies this is what I do out of school. When I am not acting, I like to skateboard and spend time outside going camping and hiking and being active in Scouts.


As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Tristan Riggs.

At the mere age of 12 Tristan Riggs is already “one to watch” on television and the big screen. Born in St. Louis and raised in Austin, Texas, the young actor has been showcasing his natural talent since the age of seven. His fearlessness athleticism allows him to tackle his own stunts which he loves. He has an older sister, Charlotte Delaney Riggs, who is also an actor.

Tristan’s latest lead role in the independent horror film, The Seventh Day, continues his streak of starring in projects in the genre. Young actors have a long history of making an impact in horror films — their innocence can be completely beguiling. Tristan is no exception so do not be fooled by his sweet face! He has perfected his ability to be terrifying on-screen. The Seventh Day, also starring Guy Pearce, Keith David and Stephen Lang will be opening at select theaters and On-Demand, premiering March 26. He performed most of his own stunts in the film. Prior to landing that role, Tristan co-starred in the feature films, Scare Package (2020), Blood Fest (2018), and Thunder Road (2018). He started his career appearing in several television roles including Season 1 of AMC’s The Son, Season 3 on the HBO series The Leftovers, Social Animals, National Geographic’s The Long Road Home, and Alita: Battle Angel. He has also held several principal roles in national commercials, music videos, and print-modeling.

When Tristan is not on-screen scaring audiences of all ages he enjoys volunteering at a local farm, tending to chickens, longhorns, and donkeys. He loves to care for animals and has three pets of his own, two rescued dogs, Aster and Levi, and a lizard named Dorito. He loves to skateboard and can often be found filming his latest tricks in skate parks all over town. He most recently mastered the varial kickflip! A natural-born leader, Tristan rose to the rank of First Class Scout in Scouts BSA in less than a year while also serving in various leadership roles. He is already well-traveled thanks to his adventurous parents. Together they have visited Japan, Spain, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, England and his favorite city, Prague. He is loves immersing himself in new cultures. Above all Tristan is curious to try new things and is fearless, which shines in all that he pursues.


Thank you so much for doing this with us Tristan! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I was born in St. Louis, MO and moved to Austin, TX at the age of 3 so I have always lived and grown up in the city. I started acting at the age of 7 but I think I still have had a pretty normal childhood. I love skateboarding, gaming, playing with my friends, and being active in scouts. Travelling to different places is also something that I enjoy.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

My older sister Charlotte Delaney Riggs got me into acting. I watched her as she started to land roles in school theater, and later, in commercials and films and I really wanted to be involved in that too. Like, her, I also started out in school plays and musicals. I had roles in Aesop Adventure, The Wizard of Oz, EI-EI-OOPS, and Junie B. Jones. Later, after I signed with an agent, I started booking commercials and films. It has been a lot of fun and I hope to continue to grow and book bigger roles!

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your entertainment career?

One of the first things I got to do is travel to LA to spend a day filming with Pauly Shore. We were filming flashback scenes for a film he was creating about his life and I was “Little Pauly” in this still unreleased project. I remember he was very nice and funny. We drove around in his car and went to many of the places he grew up and hung out, including The Comedy Store, and filmed these flashback scenes. One stop was at a convenience store where he bought me some of his favorite snacks that he liked when he was a kid and I got to eat them for one of the scenes. We also went to one of the schools he attended and filmed a scene. That was funny because school was in session and we just showed up and everyone was staring at us. I remember people would walk by when we were filming and say lines to Pauly from his movies that were funny. It was a fun time.

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?

I look back at some of my early audition tapes and laugh. When I first started auditioning, I sometimes used my script versus being off book, or would look directly into the camera and sometimes just do funny stuff. I would use props and overact and just make silly mistakes because I did not know any better because I had not started coaching yet. I have really grown and learned a lot since then.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

Well, I just finished working on a feature-length comedy filmed in Houston, TX. I think it helps people because it is good to laugh and be happy. It also helps people because it keeps the local film scene going. A lot of projects have been put on hold or delayed due to COVID-19. I am currently very busy with auditions and waiting to hear back on my next project. I hope to be in projects that people find entertaining and that they enjoy.

Most young people your age don’t have to balance work and school. Can you tell us how you manage to balance your schoolwork, auditions, and time on set?

A lot of my films have filmed over the summer or on the weekends but sometimes I do miss school. I am attending school online for now so that helps. It is hard to try to get my schoolwork done by the end of the day. I sometimes feel exhausted by doing stuff on set and doing auditions and school at the same time. If I am on set during the week, I have a set teacher who makes sure you do your homework. When the adult actors are on break, they are actually on break, but as a kid, I have to do homework, so I am constantly busy. Acting takes a lot of time. I will get 3–7 auditions a week and must prepare for them, tape them, spend time in the car to travel to them (pre-COVID). So instead of playing football, soccer, or other hobbies this is what I do out of school. When I am not acting, I like to skateboard and spend time outside going camping and hiking and being active in Scouts.

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?

My manager Garrett Lindsay at The ESI Network has helped me over the last several years. He pushes me to do my best and has been there to really see me grow. My parents helped me get into acting and they support me by helping me memorize lines and prepare for auditions. My dad films my auditions and reads with me and my mom helps me memorize lines, oversees my social media accounts, and takes me to and from auditions and set. They have spent countless hours to help me along the way.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s jump to the main part of our interview. 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. It is a lot of hard work, but it is really fun when you get a role. For example, it can be overwhelming with all the auditions but it all worth it when you book a role and get to be on set.
  2. There is a lot of rejection, and even if you do amazing on an audition, that does not mean you will get a role or even a callback because you may not be what they are looking for. I was one of two actors being considered for a role in a big TV series last summer. Even though my auditions were very strong, the role was offered to the other actor because of a physical trait. It could have been my eye color or height that was the determining factor.
  3. Everything is last minute, and you have to be prepared to drop everything for an audition or booking.
  4. You have to continue to train and take classes to get better. I am in weekly acting classes and train for individual auditions many times. When you book a role, then you really have to practice and get prepared and create the character. That is when the hard work starts.
  5. The competition is very tough. Sometimes there are thousands of people that audition for a single role and sometimes your audition is never even seen. It can be discouraging.

You are a person of enormous influence. How do you think you can use social media as a platform to be a positive influence to your fans, and for society at large?

Lead by example. I think being a leader and positively influencing others by setting a good example is a great way to use social media. Inform, inspire and be a good person!

If you had the ability to choose to work on any TV show or film, or work alongside any co-star, or with any director, what or who would that be, and why? You never know who might see this article, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Oh, there are so many. TV shows, Stranger Things and Cobra Kai since these are two of my favorites. As far as other actors I would like to work with Finn Wolfhard, Jack Black, Ryan Reynolds and Adam Sandler because they are all funny and they are all involved in fun projects. For directors or producers, I would say Steven Spielberg, Sam Rami, Jon Favreau, and Jason Blum. Robert Rodriguez would be another because we both live in Austin, TX.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Follow me on Instagram @tristanriggsofficial, you can find me on Facebook or on Tik Tok @tristan_riggs

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