David Lautman is a Professional Actor who boasts having a “Resting Nice Guy Face”. He has appeared in over 85 national commercials and is recognised as the spokesperson for Car Gurus. He has booked a range of commercials and worked with some of the most experienced and skilled talents in LA. I am extremely pleased to welcome David to Pizazz News in 2022.
Pizazz News Readers, it is a tremendous pleasure to introduce and to interview David Lautman who is a very kind, down-to-earth, engaging and naturally endearing in-demand Commercial Actor living and working in LA.
Thank-you David Lautman for joining me on Pizazz News!
Q: To your credit, you have done a great deal of commercials, what interesting characters have you portrayed?
A: Thank You Natasha! And thanks for having me. So I do have to say right off the bat that the CarGurus is my favorite, for many reasons.
One reason is he does something that I naturally do, all the time in real life – which is explain how to use technology or apps to people. I don’t know why everybody always asks me how to do stuff or fix stuff, but when it has to do with a computer, phone, camera or even TV I’m usually on speed-dial.
But there’s many more fun characters I’ve had the pleasure of playing over the years. For example, in a Duke Health commercial I got to play a wild-berry eating millennial who has a severe allergic reaction to the berries. In fact, the guy doing my makeup and prosthetics was none other than legendary Makeup & FX master, Matthew W. Mungle.
Matthew was nominated five times for the Academy Award for Best Makeup and won for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. He has also received something like 26 Emmy nominations, winning 6 of them. So yeah, we were in fantastic hands, quite literally. And by the way it was pretty hard to see out of those swollen eyes!
If you’re claustrophobic at all, you could be in for a panic attack (laughs). Another fun commercial I did was for Meijer where I played a customer leaving the store only to get lost in the whiteout of a snowstorm while looking for his car. It was also my first commercial ever shot where the director wasn’t on set and was directing us remotely via zoom from an iPad mounted on a c-stand.
Funny enough we shot that scene on a super hot day in Downtown Los Angeles, so even though there were snow machines blasting fake snow in my face, I was actually sweating underneath all the winter gear and pretending to be cold. Perhaps one of the toughest things to do is to pretend to be cold when you’re hot and pretend to be hot when you’re cold.
I just shot a commercial for Booking.com where I was freezing cold and had to pretend I was hot. In between takes I was shivering and rubbing my hands trying to stay warm, but once those cameras rolled I had to switch off the goosebumps and the shivering – a very special set of skills (laughs).
Q: Have you ever suffered anxiety prior to an audition and if so, what did you do to soothe yourself?
A: Yes! Absolutely. Every Actor goes through this, it’s super common. And there’s a great analogy that one of my acting coaches uses that I love to share with people if they struggle with this. Another way of thinking about it is like it’s a roller coaster. You have two types of people that go on roller coasters, people that love them and people that are scared of them. Now when they’re waiting in line the people that love roller coasters are excited, enthusiastic, happy and are genuinely looking forward to the experience. While the people who are scared have a nervous energy, they’re stuck in their heads second guessing whether or not they made the right decision. But once they get on that coaster and get past the first drop all the fear and anxiety melts away instantly and the scared rider starts having fun. When you confirm your audition you have just purchased a ticket to the roller coaster. Now you get to decide how you go along for the ride. Are you going to be anxious or are you just going to enjoy the process, have fun and roll with it?
Q: How do you prepare for an audition?
A: Every Actor has their own style when it comes to preparation and I recommend experimenting and figuring out what works best for you. It’s not a one-size fits all approach and also really varies depending on the medium. What works for me, might not be what’s best for you. With that said, the way I do it for commercials is I first read EVERYTHING. I’ll read the breakdown, read the instructions and the script multiple times, until I really understand what’s going on. Then I’ll take a look at the brand’s current campaign to get an idea of what their active spots actually look like and get some inspiration on what to wear for my wardrobe. Then I go back to the script and figure out how to put my own unique stamp and voice on the material without taking away from what the writers were intending. And then the last step before putting myself on film or driving in for an in-person audition is putting some thought into the character’s backstory. Pretty simple when you say it loud like that, but in practice perhaps a little more challenging to implement every single time.
Q: How important would you say getting along with others is in relation to your ability to book roles?
A: Getting along with others is extremely vital to booking work in my opinion. People want to work with good people and be surrounded by positive, happy, magnetic personalities. If you think about it, sometimes these commercials shoot in other States or Countries and may have multiple shoot days. I just shot a Virginia Credit Union spot out in Virginia a couple months back and just booked an AT&T commercial shooting in Nashville next week. Production is putting a lot of trust in actors that they will be on time, won’t miss their flights, connections, layovers or drivers and will conduct themselves professionally and be well behaved for the duration of the trip and shoot.
Nobody wants to be stuck traveling the world or on set with someone for days on end that has a ‘difficult’ personality. I’ve heard stories of Actors losing out on roles they would have otherwise been great for because they had a reputation of being ‘difficult’. So just be cool! Right? (laughs) You know, to me it’s common sense but – treat others the way you’d want to be treated and chances are things in your life will go smoother and shine a whole lot brighter. Sure, you could act like a diva and make irrational demands on a film-set and they might actually oblige you and give you what you want; but that’s not how to build strong relationships and longevity in one’s career. The way you treat other people, especially those who you have nothing to gain from, is the true measure of your character. And guess what, it doesn’t cost anything extra to treat people with respect.
Q: During our stellar Pizazz News Interview Exclusive Extravaganza *now available for the world to see on YouTube, you discussed “Authenticity” – how important is being yourself in life and can you share a story of a time when you couldn’t do something because it didn’t sit well with you?
A: Authenticity in our Acting work is vital, without it we have nothing. And yet it’s so very common for Actors to rob their auditions of their own authenticity by not making any fun choices and performing the script just like everyone else. It’s so easy and safe to not take a risk and that’s why the ones who are bold enough to make strong unique choices that are authentic to their own personalities are normally the ones who end up working the most. But YES authenticity does not just stop at acting, it absolutely should be present in our everyday lives. I think living inauthentically sounds like a horrible way to live one’s life. If there’s one thing I could leave with your readers it’s that if you feel like you can’t be yourself around your close friends, family or colleagues – maybe it’s time for new ones? Seriously. Real, high-quality people will support you no matter what – so let that freak flag fly and show the world the real you, who you really are, because there’s room for you and your voice deserves to be heard.
Ok, let’s see a story of when I couldn’t do something, because it didn’t sit well? To be honest – nothing is coming to mind (laughs). I guess I’ve been pretty blessed to not have many of those experiences. But if I did, I’d have no problem saying ‘no’. People need to remember the word ‘no’ is a full sentence and doesn’t need or require an additional sentence accompanying it.
Q: What roles do you feel you resonate with the most?
A: Well, I do very much enjoy playing the underdog! I think characters that have everything going great for them aren’t very funny. But the guy who’s struggling is always going to be more interesting and funnier to watch and will generally gain the audience’s sympathy as long as he’s likeable. So ‘Likeable Underdogs’ would be my answer! (laughs) The overarching message I love sending out to people through my acting and the roles I take on is that no matter what struggles you may currently be experiencing and going through in life – you always have to hold onto hope, things can always get better and improve, if you just believe they can.
Q: Do you think as an Actor you are type cast? If so, what is the general assumption made by others about your character type?
A: Truthfully, I don’t think so. I’ve had the opportunity to play so many different characters in Film, Television & Theater that I find it hard to see a common thread among them. I mean I’ve played so many roles that are on such opposite ends of the spectrum. For example, I played a man who murdered his own mother in Horror Film ‘Consumption’, a Catholic priest in ‘Broken Horses’, Ringo Starr in ‘Yesterday’, an arrogant filmmaker in ‘As Real As You Make It’, a sleezy swinger in ‘Judge Dad’, idiot detective in ‘Sunny Afternoon, heroic Jew in ‘Hunters’ I can never predict what type of character I get next and that’s part of the fun of it. Now with that said, when it comes to commercials, YES, I’d agree that there’s definitely a lot less flexibility when it comes to playing a wide range of character types. And the reason why is because commercials are so quick, the audience needs to understand who you are within seconds – and sometimes the commercials are over within 6 seconds! So, you’ll generally see Actors who are very close too if not are the characters they are portraying.
Q: Have you ever been portrayed in a villainous role? What was that like for you and if you haven’t, is that something you’d like to do?
A: Oh yes. Many times, and I really enjoy it! In fact, they say that villainous roles are generally the most fun to play and I completely agree. You can almost do no wrong when playing the villain as long as your actions and choices are all channelled through your genuine hate of the protagonist.
If you’re familiar with the movie ‘Pulp Fiction’ by Quentin Tarantino, I got to do a show called ‘Pulp Shakespeare’ which was ‘Pulp Fiction’ as if told by William Shakespeare set in Elizabethan England. I played a few roles in the show, but the main character I was cast to play was ZED; who if you remember from the movie is the evil guy who captures ‘Marsellus Wallace’ played by Ving Rhames and ‘Butch Coolidge’ played by Bruce Willis and then proceeds to rape Marsellus. That show sold-out almost every single night from the night we opened at the Actors Circle Theatre, in Los Angeles to closing night at SoHo Playhouse in New York City approximately 100 performances later. A few fun facts, we had a few original cast members of the movie come see the show and hang out with us afterwards. And we also had the honor of performing at the famed Cherry Lane Theater in Greenwich Village – which to date is one of my favorite performances we ever did. There’s also approximately 15 minutes of the show out on YouTube that currently has over a quarter Million views. I had an incredible time working on it and am super grateful for the experience.
Q: What is Spoof Troupe and how did you come to get involved?
A: So Spoof Troupe is a YouTube sketch comedy team that I’ve been a part of since 2012. At the time of this interview, we have approximately 65K subscribers and 41 million video views – so we haven’t done too bad! (laughs) But from its inception we were producing all sorts of sketch comedy videos from stand alones to series, but as the years went along, we started to niche down and focus on doing parodies of big blockbuster superhero/comic book movies. The way I got involved was at the time I was attending classes at Monkey Butler Comedy, which was an improv school in Los Angeles. There was a guy in my class named Charles Dewandeler who was a funny improviser and was making funny sketches online and I remember telling him I thought they were funny and that I’d love to be involved. Next thing you know, I’m starring in my first video with him and then something like 70+ sketches later, a few short comedy films and feature film teasers later, here I am!
Q: Have you ever been star struck? And if so, who was it?
A: Have I ever been star struck? (laughs) So I used to work at Universal Studios Hollywood as a valet driver for years. And what was interesting was every single day we either had some sort of celebrity, famous singer, comedian, entertainer, or exotic car come in. So, I got ‘over’ celebrities and exotic cars real quick. But yeah… in the very beginning I absolutely took photos with them. I saw the other guys do it, so figured why not? And by taking photos with ‘them’ I mean the cars… and sometimes the Celebrities too. (laughs) But to answer your question, I think I was starstruck when I met Quentin Tarantino. And when I say met, I mean I pulled up his car which I believe was the ‘PussyWagon’ from Kill Bill and dropped it off for him and that was quite literally about it.
Q: What shows, or films, do you find highly bingeworthy?
A: I like this one! (laughs) Ok in no particular order here are some of my all time favorite top ‘binge-worthy’ shows; Silicon Valley, Entourage, Game of Thrones, Nathan for You, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Breaking Bad, Ted Lasso, Squid Games, Last Man on Earth, BoJack Horseman, Family Guy, Dave, Archer, Upload, 30 Rock, Jack Ryan, Fauda, Futurama, Disenchantment, Who’s Line Is It Anyway?, White Lotus, Bob’s Burgers, and if there’s one thing you need to know about me this goes without saying but ANYTHING & EVERYTHING Star Wars related! (laughs) And I’m also a HUGE foodie, if I had the time I could just sit by the TV and watch Food Network or Chef’s Table or any Cooking Competition show all day.
Fun Fact: You can see David in a stellar show on Amazon titled ‘Hunters’ AND if you are lucky enough to have a NEW streaming service called Peacock, look out for David in another entertaining show titled ‘Angelyne’.
*Another Fun Fact is David has appeared in over 85 commercials! The list is quite long Pizazz News readers but to name a few, he has appeared in commercials for CarGurus, Booking.Com, Burger King, Hippo Insurance, Samsung, Bestbuy and Citibank.
Q: If you could be in any acting role(s), either one already performed or something that has not yet manifested (like a future role) what would that role be?
A: My dream role is to be in a Star Wars franchise movie. I mean, I grew up watching all those movies as a kid idolizing Luke Skywalker, Yoda, Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon Jinn, Han Solo, truthfully I even liked Jar Jar (laughs), I don’t know… he was entertaining and fun to watch – lighten up everybody! But yeah we’d have lightsabre battles with friends, we’d play the video games, collect Legos and toys. Not only did I have the original 1996 Nintendo Gameboy Star Wars game, which I would bring to school and play during recess. But my friends and I genuinely had our hearts set on building an actual real-life pod racer. We’d design sketches and make plans in school together to go searching for real decommissioned fighter jet engine parts and try to hobble together a real pod racer. Of course, we never actually got anywhere remotely close to doing it, but our imaginations ran wild. When Star Wars Episode I: Racer came out on N64, we settled for that and got to live out our dreams racing each other for hours on end.
Q: What is something profound you have learnt, or perhaps continue to learn, during your life thus far?
A: I think the two most profound things I’ve learned in life so far is how powerful our thoughts are and the importance of letting go. Every time we have a thought we are literally programming the Universe to give us what we are thinking about. So please protect your mind and your thoughts from negative energy, wherever it may come from at all costs. Because the Universe is always listening and waiting for your instructions.
I’ve also noticed when we release control and attachment to outcome, we attract more abundance to us.
Q: What are you most grateful for?
A: Oh my gosh, I don’t know if you have enough time for me to list everything – I could go on forever (laughs). Ok ok… you know what? I’ll just keep it short and sweet. I’m grateful for all the wonderful people that are a part of my life, my family, friends and colleagues. I’m grateful for the burst of positive energy that will flow into anyone and everyone who reads this article and I’m grateful for your time and your readers’ time. I hope this interview was helpful, entertaining or inspiring in some way and I appreciate you taking the time to read it. Thank you and have an amazing day!
Thank-you so very much for joining us on Pizazz News David! You’re super amazingly easy to get along with and I appreciate your openness, candid sharing, and insights into the entertainment industry! We at Pizazz News are all cheering you on and cross our fingers for you to have another spectacular blockbuster year in 2022!
Thank-you for reading my dear Pizazz News readers and I send you all much love and many blessings, Natasha