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Popular Guy: JT Neal

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Apr 27, 2020

Known for his character in “Bless This Mess” and “Sierra Burgess”JT Neal it’s an actor full of determination and talent (and cuteness, obviously!). 

The Popular Guy – that is also a writer – is excited to get back to work soon and see his castmates again!


While we’re all waiting for this reunion to happen, JT is currently practicing a lot and making sure he is staying healthy. We had the opportunity to talk to him and find out some of his hidden secrets. Well, the result of that? You are about to find out!

 

1. Tell us about “Bless This Mess” and your character Jacob!

“Bless This Mess” is your classic fish out of water story. A newlywed couple, Mike and Rio, move from New York to small-town Nebraska in hopes of starting a simpler life. They quickly realize that farm life is not simple and it’s kind of up to the other members of the community to guide them through this new life. Jacob acts as a really wonderful bridge between the two opposing worlds. He’s often the catalyst for difficult conversations or necessary changes. I absolutely love being able to be this sort of neutral ground that can help bring people together!

 

2. How is playing alongside Dax Shepard?
He’s amazing. Absolutely professional and so talented. It’s really exciting getting to watch him work, and hopefully, I’ve picked up some of his natural ability to make scenes feel really authentic!

 

3. “Bless This Mess” just wrapped for season 2! How are you feeling and what are your hopes for season 3?
I feel very hopeful! I think we’ve created a really sweet show that people all across the country can relate to and all I can do is trust that that’s enough! Of course, anything can happen but I am really proud of what we’ve done and hopefully, we’ll be able to continue to do more of it.

 

4. Can you tell us your favorite moment from the set?
There are so many wonderful moments. There will be times when suddenly everyone bursts out into song. The cast is really fond of 70s rock and roll. One of my favorite moments though is when we were shooting on my birthday. I wasn’t expecting anything at all, but the first thing the cast and crew did when I got there was singing me a happy birthday. Our craft service guy even went out and got a special cake for me. I’ve never felt so loved at a job. It was just like, “wow, these people are incredible. I’m so blessed to be a part of this.”

 

5. You have been killing it on Netflix with “Malibu Rescue” and “Sierra Burgess”. How different is the shooting style of these shows/movies?
That is very kind, thank you! The shooting styles are very different! Movies are much slower generally. When we shoot Bless This Mess, we do an entire episode in a week. In a film, we’re sometimes shooting for 5 or 6 weeks. Maybe more. It’s just a really different feeling.

 

6. You have a producing credit for a short story called “A Taylor Story”. What can you tell us about that project/How being an associate producer came about?

My dear friend Alex Yonks wrote the project a while back, and when she was trying to pull together some resources to get it produced I hopped in to help in any way I could. I wouldn’t say I have a passion for producing, but I do have a passion for helping my friends fulfill their dreams. I’ve had so much support along the way, and I really believe in giving back as much as I can to help and support other artists.

 

7. You also have experience as a writer. How does this help you when you’re playing a character?
I feel like I’m a very amateur writer. I’ve had the privilege of working with some extremely talented writers, and I’m very practical about my skill level! However, I did study up on the art of screenwriting a lot. “Save The Cat” by Blake Snyder really helped me, both as a writer and as an actor. It was really interesting to see how he was able to categorize every film ever made into a small handful of categories. As an actor, that helped me to be able to take any script and know exactly what the vibe is supposed to be and where the story is going to go. Writing helped me to see patterns in scripts that made my character development much faster and more efficient.

 

8. Is moving to the other side of the camera something you see yourself doing in the future?
Right now my love is acting. I’ve been doing this since I was in middle school and nothing in the world makes me happier. I worked a little bit behind the scenes when I was doing my web series “Roommates” and I think I prefer acting. That’s not to say I won’t want to do more behind the camera in the future but for now, my focus is acting.

 

9. What is your ‘dream role’? (real or imagine)
For as long as I’ve been acting, I’ve wanted to be Elvis. I’ve gotten close to a few different projects. I love his life story, and rockabilly music in general so being able to tell that story would be a dream come true.

 

10. How are you currently staying sane?
I’m very lucky to not be by myself during all this. My wonderful girlfriend and I have been holding each other accountable and making sure we exercise, get fresh air, improvise date nights at home… really whatever it takes to not go crazy! We watch a lot of movies and play a lot of games.

 

11. What is one thing you wish more people would ask you about?
I don’t know! I enjoy seeing what people are curious about because everyone’s interests are different. I really enjoy talking about music. I love reading album liner notes and learning about bands so when I find someone else who loves that it’s really exciting for me. Hopefully, I’ll have a fulfilling answer for anything that someone might want to know though!

 

12. Favorite “Dear Evan Hansen” Song? (If it’s not “Sincerely, Me”… your answer may be marked incorrect)
Oh no! I hate to disappoint you! I love “Requiem” though. It’s my girlfriend’s favorite song in the show and I love it when she sings it around the house. She’ll sing it without even realizing she’s doing it and that makes me really happy. Whenever it comes on she just lights up and that’s my favorite thing.

 

13. Do you have a party trick?
My party trick is leaving halfway through without anyone realizing I’ve left! I love a good Irish Goodbye.

 

14. What are you most looking forward to in your career?
I’m really excited to see where everything goes! If all goes according to plan I’ll be doing this well into old age and hopefully, I’ve done a lot of things I’m proud of at that time. I’m just looking forward to doing this for a really long time.

 

15. Can you tell us about any upcoming projects?
Right now I’m only working on “Bless This Mess”! Hopefully, we get another season and I’ll be able to go back to Bucksnort again! I’m really missing my cast and crew but I know I’ll see them soon. But I do have some irons in the fire but due to the virus, things are of course on hold right now.

 

Keep up with JT on Instagram and Twitter! Go on… they’re clickable.

 

 

Credits

  • Photographer F. Scott Schafer @fscottschafer