Check out our interview with star & creator of the series “.AFTER” Joshua Schubart.
Some of his recent work includes a recurring role in the Amazon series The Tick, and appearances in Seven Seconds (Netflix) and High Maintenance (HBO). His voice can also be heard on a long list of audiobooks available on Amazon Audible, a list that keeps growing.
In addition to acting, Joshua is a highly trained stunt man/stage combatant, with training in hand to hand, almost every bladed weapon and most guns. Passionate as well about stepping behind the camera, Joshua is the co-founder of the production company 2 Ladies & A Giant. Together with his production company Joshua created After, a series about a widower navigating life and the dating scene after losing his wife. The series starring Joshua, is a story of life, love, and rebirth, and streams on IFT Network. The show did pretty well in the festival circuit, winning Best Drama in NJ, Best Music in Minnesotta. It was nominated over 50 times in multiple categories, and was ranked 6th in the Web Series World Cup.
Follow Joshua @josh_schubart
Hi Joshua, please tell us a little about you?
Hi! Thank you so much for taking the time to learn a little about me. My story is interesting to say the least, and I’ve had anything but a normal life. My biological father left the picture when I was around four years old, and my biological mother tried to pick up the slack. She loved me very much, but was unfortunately plagued with mental illness that haunted her for the entirety of her life. As a result I bounced around with friends and family a lot. Living here and there for short periods of time, until my bio-mom was cleaned up enough for me to live with her again. This cycle continued until I eventually became homeless. Living in a clocktower when it was cold, and a slide in a local park when it was warm.
Then, my two sisters and I were fostered by our biological aunt and uncle. It’s called kinship foster care. The same system as conventional foster care, but your foster parents are blood relatives. At that point everything began to change for the better. They had three children of their own, and it was a major adjustment for everyone, but we came out of it as one big loving family.
Now I am an actor, writer, producer, model, VO artist, and I do my own stunts. I’m married, own a home, and my wife and I are expecting our first child! Things are majorly different from where I started, but I’ve never forgotten where I came from or how my past shaped me into who I am today.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Open. Loyal. Strong.
How did you get started into acting?
I was fourteen years old, and I had just come off the streets and into foster care. I was doing tons of drugs, drinking, and just making terrible life choices. My trauma induced stutter kept me from expressing myself. Until my foster parents enrolled me in Catholic school, and needless to say that brought in a whole new world of challenges. I saw the announcement for the auditions for the school play, and for whatever reason I was drawn to it. When I stepped on stage, I was able to speak in full sentences for the first time since I was very young. It was like I was hit with a lighting bolt. I knew immediately what I needed to do with the rest of my life, and I never looked back.
How has this changed your life?
Before I found this art form I had no focus or purpose in my life. I was floating around trying to figure who I was, and where I belonged. Once I found this, I became laser beam focused on changing my life for the better. I knew that the path I was on would change my life in a positive way forever, and would lead me into something far better than I had at the time.
What is the best and worst part of being an actor?
I believe that the actual job of a performer is to heal. If I am playing a character that someone deeply connects with, and something clicks inside them that helps with a positive change. Then that is the best part of all this. The worst is not being able to do it all the time. The fact of the matter is, you spend more time auditioning for projects than actually doing them. I had to change my mindset, and fall in love with auditioning as much as I do working on projects.
Tell us about your work in IFT’s series “.AFTER?”
.AFTER is the story of a young widower, who moves back home and tries to get back into the dating game. It is a wildly funny, and devastatingly heartbreaking tale of loss, love, forgiveness, and rebirth.
I wanted to create this show for multiple reasons. First, I wanted to do a deep dive into what it means to be mentally ill. The triumphs, failures, how messy and awkward it can be, but also how absurdly funny life can be when a person is dealing with these kinds of complex emotions. Secondly, as an extremely large human being, the beginning part of my career was spent either being the funny guy, bad guy, or bad guy who is also funny. I wanted to create something where a large bearded man experiences all aspects of the human condition.
And about your role as Jeremy Hurns?
I wrote Jeremy Hurns largely using many of my own life experiences. My wife is very much alive, but I have had my own struggles with mental illness and self harm. Being able to bring Jeremy to life has been so rewarding, and I hope other men will see this character and know it’s okay to not be okay. Big fellas should be able to be open and vulnerable, without the social stigma.
How do you prepare for a role?
First thing I do is read the script over and over again. I personally need to know how my character fits into the overall story. That way I can understand how all of the actions I take create the domino effect for the audience. After that I dig deeper into what is not on the page, and daydream (literally) about my character. I spend some time thinking about what they would be like in different situations, with different types of people, and doing mundane tasks like brushing one’s teeth. Then when it’s time to go to set or on stage, I throw that all into the back of my mind and try to live in the moment. Trusting that my prepwork will be with me every step of the way.
What other projects have you been part of?
I have been in many fun and rewarding projects, but most notably I played Frank on Amazon’s “The Tick”. Frank was a bad guy with a heart of gold, and being a lifelong fan of the big blue hero made this one extra special.
What kind of roles do you like or would like to play and why?
I like to play roles that allow me to express a full range of human emotion, and complexity. All of us in the industry are deeply complex human beings, but some of us don’t get the opportunity to be more than one thing. Please don’t get me wrong, I am happy to be working and will continue to work for the rest of my life, but any opportunity I get to show larger people in a positive way. Well. I’m going to grab onto that and make it shine.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
Being able to create something people enjoy and connect with. If it hits them in a visceral way even better.
What did you learn from your biggest failure?
My first big professional failure taught me how to pace and release my energy when working on set. TV/Film is a marathon not a sprint. Figuring out how to work with the energy I have, while conserving and replenishing it throughout the day, was one of the biggest lessons I learned.
What’s your advice for the newer actors?
Don’t give up. The average actor gives up after about three years, and that’s usually when you start getting called in for projects you want to work on. The beginning of your career can feel like a nightmare meat grinder, but don’t give up and don’t stop. The only way you fail at this, is if you stop trying. I’m going to tell you something right now that you may never hear again. I believe in you, and you can do this. Don’t stop!
What would you say are the greatest lessons you learned so far in this business?
You are enough.
In the beginning of your career people are going to try to tell you who you have to be in order to “make it.” There is no one like you in this world, and you bring so much to the table. Find those things that are uniquely you, and cultivate them.
There are no shortcuts.
There is no substitute for hardwork and experience. If anyone offers you a shortcut based on how much you pay them. Or offer you never ending classes from a “guru”. Throw rocks at them and run away.
Failure is awesome!
You want to be failing hard, and often. It is such an incredible tool. Change what failing means to you. It’s not bad, it’s growth. You’re not embarrassing yourself, you are learning how to do everything better. How can you do things right, if you don’t do them wrong?
You don’t know what you will love doing. I had no idea I would end up being a multi-hyphenate member of this industry, but I will tell you it opened up my creative world more than anything else. Everytime I tried something new it was terrifying, but it always made me a better artist. Understanding brings greatness.
Be curious, not judgmental.
If you are curious, and ask questions about everything, all you do is learn, and get better. You will meet so many different types of people, and encounter so many different stories in our wild and crazy world of entertainment. If you close yourself off from new experiences, conversations, ways of life, and people, how can you grow into the storyteller you are meant to be? Nothing is binary, everything is fluid and alive with magical potential. Get out there and find out why!
How would your best friend describe you?
Instead of making something up I asked my best friend to write something down. Her name is Claire Celeste and she is awesome! She said,
“I would describe you as an unbelievably funny and brilliant person who’s heart is as deep and as powerful as the ocean. Your unyielding support for others is truly beautiful.
A huge teddy bear of a human who very rarely makes use of his claws, but would do so only in defense of others. A super nerd with an endless supply of related factoids to all things nerd, making you a supreme choice as a trivia partner. The person I would call to share in my highest highs and my lowest lows…. and to maybe help me hide a body.
You’re loud, joyful, and ever present in life; fully immersing yourself in every experience you come into, never afraid to go walking into something new. Your zest for life is contagious, always improving the environment you occupy.
In general, you’re just a super awesome dude, which is why I let you be in my lab group 20 ish years ago.”
I love you Claire, thank you for letting this weirdo into your bio lab group all those years ago.
What book should every entrepreneur read?
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
What’s next for Joshua Schubart in 2021?
I have a few irons in the fire. I’m always working on a new audiobook, so those will be coming out steadily throughout this year. I have a feature I wrote that is going to have a reading for some folks soon, and there may be some new acting work coming that I can’t talk about yet. Of course the main event for this year will be becoming a father!
What is your favorite healthy food?
I’m a salad guy.
And your favorite cheat food?
Gimmie some Nashville hot chicken!
How would you explain your fashion style?
I have nice suits and things like that, but I’m generally nerd casual. You can find me in a Batman shirt with jeans most of the time.
What is your own definition of happiness?
When I get the opportunity to really enjoy life, that is when I feel the most happy. To me that means trying everything that’s new, meeting people I haven’t yet, and listening to stories I never would have known.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
It’s Abraham Lincoln, and it’s for his capacity for change. We are taught a very nice version of history in America, that largely leaves out important details. I used to look at President Lincoln as a shining beacon of progressive change, which is what he became through working with Frederick Douglas, but he didn’t start out that way. That type of growth. That type of radical improvement is at the very core of me, and Lincoln helps me understand that nothing is perfect but you can strive for greatness.
Best advice ever given?
Education is your only way out of this life Joshua.
Do you support any charity?
Not at the moment, but I do advocate heavily for foster care. Our whole foster care system needs a serious revamp, and a whole lot more funding. Social workers are disgustingly underpaid and overworked. We need more programs to get foster kids inspired to go out into the world and excel, especially when they feel overlooked and forgotten. This community has some of the strongest people you will ever meet. More resources are needed to help bring that strength to the front. You won’t find a group of young people with more potential, or a more explosive need to change their circumstances. More attention must be paid to these “invisible” children.
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
I fully expect to be doing all kinds of fun, and new things! If you would have told me five years ago I would be doing all the things I am now, I would have said you were crazy. I can’t wait to see what the next five years brings, but if I have my way; I’ll be playing Ben Grimm in the new Fantastic 4.
Favorite song? Why?
The Thing on the Bass Amp by The Aquabats. I’m a huge fan of Ska, and I don’t care who knows it! This song reminds of all the good times with my brother Evan when we were younger. Growing up had very few bright spots for me, and this was one of them.
What do you think of Social Media?
I think social media has its purpose and role in our life, and that’s mostly for marketing. At least that’s what I use it for. It can become a monster consuming people’s time, energy, and sometimes sanity. Although it can be a powerful tool for social justice, and societal change. I’m old enough to have watched social media grow into what it is today, and I’m sure it will look different a few years from now and beyond. When you are using it, try to be proactively positive with it all.
Where can we follow you?
Favorite book: The Outcast of Redwall and Best Served Cold.
Quote: “It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.” – Batman
Movie: The Birdcage with Nathan Lane and Robin Williams
Tv Series: Batman the Animated Series and Dr. Who
Favorite Food: Tacos…all of them.
Travel Destination: Europe for the win. I want to go to Germany next!
Sports Team: Team USA women’s soccer