Perfect advice from the stars of The Perfect Summer

Jason Castro, left, plays a surf shop owner in UP TV's The Perfect Summer. Eric Roberts, middle, plays a grandfather who's also a legendary surfer. (Photo courtesy of UP TV.)

Jason Castro, left, plays a surf shop owner in UP TV’s The Perfect Summer. Eric Roberts, middle, plays a grandfather who’s also a legendary surfer. (Photo courtesy of UP TV.)

Eric Roberts and Jason Castro are at opposite ends of the acting business.

Eric, who’s 57, has starred in dozens of movies and TV shows. He’s part of one of the most famous acting families around (Julia Roberts is his sister; Emma Roberts is his daughter), and he’s been an Oscar nominee.

The man is successful.

Jason rocks too, though in a totally different way. He’s a 26-year-old singer-songwriter who gained fame on American Idol and has built a successful solo career. Singing your own music, as Jason knows, is a risk: Every time you do it, you’re putting a bit of yourself out there and hoping people connect with it. So he’s accustomed to taking creative chances, which is exactly what he did in a different way by taking an acting role in UP TV’s new movie The Perfect Summer.

Jason plays a surf shop owner named Cody who helps a frustrated, fatherless teenager realize that his grandfather (played by Eric Roberts) is a surfing legend. (Check out the movie this weekend on UP.)

For Eric, the movie was a chance to play “a cool cat,” as he told me in a recent interview.

“I thought, ‘What a great way to start playing somebody my own age, to play somebody cool as opposed to somebody cliché,” he said.

Jason Castro, who gained fame on American Idol, is featured on the soundtrack for The Perfect Summer. (Photo courtesy of UP TV)

Jason Castro, who gained fame on American Idol, is featured on the soundtrack for The Perfect Summer. (Photo courtesy of UP TV)

(Eric also looks awesome as a surfer … even though it’s not him: “I do not surf, but I had number three in the world on the longboard as my stunt double, so I look like a real surfer out there!”)

For Jason, the role was a chance to get more exposure for his music (his songs are featured on the soundtrack) and push his comfort zone by acting.

“It was a cool, creative exercise,” he said. “Once you figure out what you’re doing as an actor, the performing aspect (of being a singer) transfers over.”

I asked both Eric and Jason to share some insights and tips on fame and Hollywood for you, our Live! Starring … You! fans who dream of being onstage and on screen:

Expect people to not like your work, then focus on the people who do connect with it. On Idol, Jason learn quickly to except and accept criticism. (Thanks, Simon!) His outlook now is simple and true: For every person who doesn’t like your work, there’s also someone who does. “If somebody isn’t crazy about your music,” he said, “it doesn’t mean it’s not great, it doesn’t mean people won’t connect with it. It just means they weren’t into you. It helps you to keep that in mind.

If you’re offered an opportunity, take it. I asked Eric is he shared any advice with the young actors and actresses on the set of The Perfect Summer. He did: “Everything you’re ever offered, do it. The worst thing that could happen is you’ll have an experience that’ll teach you something.”

Eric Roberts was excited to play a guy his own age (57) who's also "a cool cat." (Photo courtesy of UP TV)

Eric Roberts was excited to play a guy his own age (57) who’s also “a cool cat.” (Photo courtesy of UP TV)

Do something 10,000 times. Eric lives by this rule: “If you do something 10,000 times, you’re going to be great at it. And it’s a long way from one to 10,000.” Which is why he suggests taking every opportunity (see previous tip).

Break new ground for yourself. Performing your music live – or working on a movie set if you’ve never acted before – can be daunting. But pushing through that fear is key to being a star. Even before Idol, Jason had to gear up to perform at his high school talent show, and in a local coffee shop. “It was terrifying!” he said.  But it was also necessary. “Early on, getting through that initial fear is really groundbreaking,” he said. “You’re going to have to go through it before you get to wherever you’re going.”

Really think about whether you want to be famous. Eric and his über-famous family have had their lives dissected by the media for years. Medical issues, family quarrels – it’s all out there for every one of us to read. “Once you’re famous, you’re a target,” Eric said. “That’s just how it goes. If you didn’t want to be famous, you should have been a plumber. You just have to accept it. It isn’t always pleasant, but you have to act like it is, because you’re lucky to have the job you have.”

Tim O’Shei, LSY founder

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