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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

From UMB to the Boob Tube

Michael Fennimore, a lecturer in the UMB Theater Arts Program, is a very unique individual. He is currently the artistic director of “Sheer Madness,” working towards his 7000th show. He says he is “primarily a stage actor”, but his entertainment credits including a stint as president of the New England Screen Actors Guild for 9 years, appearances in McDonalds and New England Patriots commercials as well as television shows like “Unsolved Mysteries” and “Spenser: For Hire.” Most recently he has been cast on the Showtime series “Brotherhood”. Based on the lives of Boston’s own Bulger brothers, Billy and James “Whitey,” Fennimore plays a criminal lawyer in this award winning program. Originally from New York City, Fennimore has been working in the Boston area for the past 20 years and has worked in Cleveland, Fort Lauderdale, and Washington DC.

Mass Media: You’ve worked behind the scenes and in front in many different mediums, including commercials, theatre, and television, which is the most rewarding?

Michael Fennimore: Well the big money is in the commercial and movie work but I think that stage in the first step, and its a totally different medium. With the stage work you get to do it over and over again, and theres an audience, which means you get an immediate response, I like that interaction with the audience. With the film work you have many more crew people, you have the camera, the concession guy, the guy holding the boom. With film you also don’t have a lot of time to work with the director like you do on stage. Of course when it comes to the final product you obviously like to see yourself on the screen, but I’m primarily a stage actor.

MM: You’ve recently worked on the Showtime show “Brotherhood”, what was the best moment you had on set?

MF: Well, when I first got to the set, I had originally tried out for three characters, they decided that I wasn’t fit for any of them, but the casting director said that he thought I was perfect for the part of a criminal lawyer, apparently a lot of people were going to be getting arrested in the show, anyway I arrived on the set for my first day and I couldn’t find my trailer, everyone has their own little room, pretty basic, it’s a bed, dresser, small bathroom, et cetera. Anyway, So they said my trailer was around the corner, I walked over to it, opened the door and walked in. The next minute I stuck my head out and yelled to the casting director, “are you sure this is my room, no mistake?”. It was a beautiful suite, big bathroom, small kitchen area, it was awesome. I guess they made a mistake but I wasn’t about to complain.

MM: How did you get involved in the entertainment business?

MF: Well, I first got my SAG (Screen Actors Guild) card when Jimmy Carter was President, you figure out how old I am. I was in Boston with my then girlfriend now wife, and I was walking down to the Greyhound Bus Station, near the old Hancock building, and this lady comes up to me, 7:30 in the morning, sticks a mic in my face and says “why are you taking greyhound?” I said “it’s the best way to beat inflation” she gave me a dollar and I signed the release and was on my way. That night I was watching the TV at work and I saw my mug flashed on the screen, they stared sending me residual checks and I leaned I could join the union through that, and I applied for my SAG card.

MM: What is your proudest accomplishment?

MF: Well my worst moment was losing bachelor number three on the dating game, but that story is a couple of cans of beer away. My proudest accomplishment is, you know, my kids. My son who designs video games and my daughter, the web-host for www.boston.tv.

MM: If you weren’t doing any entertainment-based work

MF: I’ve always wanted to be an accountant but I just can’t get rid of this acting bug, no thats wrong. Well, my sign is Cancer, so probably something with archeology, I’ve been glued to the Discovery channel lately. Never mind, just hit the lottery, go down to the Caribbean, open up a SCUBA shop and float in the water drinking margaritas all day, is that what you wanna hear?

MM: What is your mantra when it comes to acting?

MF: Well, when you do a show, a lot of actors get bored with especially long or short shows. What I do is before every show I look through the curtain at the audience who have never seen the show before and who heard from their friends how great the show is and who are anticipating that greatness. I know what that anticipation feels like. I decided I could never deny an expectant audience that same excitement that I feel when I go to a show for the first time.

MM: Which do you prefer; teaching or acting?

MF: Well ultimately I would like to teach permanently, I am thinking about going back to school to get my MFA, but before I give acting up I have to show the world what I can do.

You can catch the second season starting September 30th at 10pm on Showtime.Michael Fennimore at a glance? Graduate of American Academy of the Arts, New York? 9 years as New England Screen Actors Guild president? B.A. in Theater from Bridgewater State College? Teaches On Camera Acting at Boston Casting? Television credits include “Spenser: For Hire” and “Unsolved Mysteries”? Commercial credits include New England Patriots, New England Toyota, Boston Gas, McDonald’s, Stop and Shop, Brooks Pharmacy