The Lesson From ‘Glee’ Chord Overstreet Carries With Him to This Day

Video Source: Youtube

The following audience Q&A for our on-camera series Backstage Live was compiled in part by Backstage readers just like you! Follow us on Twitter (@Backstage) and Instagram (@backstagecast) to stay in the loop on upcoming takeovers and to submit your questions.

Chord Overstreet is back and better than ever. Best known for his role on the musical TV series “Glee,” he’s spent the past few years delving into the music industry. Now, he’s making a return to the small screen on the Apple TV+ series “Acapulco,” which premiered last month. Chatting on Instagram Live, Overstreet discussed his journey with the new project, his tips for making a winning self-tape, and what he still carries with him from his “Glee” days. 

The 1980s setting of “Acapulco” attracted him to the project.
“The writers are such good storytellers. It definitely had this flair to it, this 1980s flash, and just the colors, the world is so much more vibrant, just being sent back [to] ’84. As somebody who didn’t get to grow up much in the ’80s—I was born in ’89—being able to work in film with the hair, the makeup, the cars, the clothes—it’s just such a cool way to travel back in time. It was just a real cool way to do something and tell a story, because you know, back then, everything was just completely different. Everybody didn’t have a camera on their phone; things were a little bit more wild, a little bit more crazy.”

Try for variety in your self-tapes.
“Try to do something different. You know, they’re probably going to be seeing 100, 200, 300, who knows how many self-tapes. If they’re always just getting self-tapes, everybody’s going to probably be doing similar things, so find a way that you can be different. Make choices. I was in Mexico, so I was fortunate [that] I had a pool at my disposal, and I drove up in one of the scenes in a golf cart—just playing around and having fun with it. [It’s about] finding different ways to set yourself apart from the other 150 people going for your role.”

He missed the disappearing act of performance.
“Shooting ‘Glee,’ it was pretty intense. It was 10 months a year of 16, 17-hour days, five days a week, [along with] dance rehearsals, tours, pre-records, filming an hourlong episode. It’s a lot of work. It’s pretty much like boot camp. After we finished that, I was like, ‘If I’m ever going to make a record, if I’m ever going to really dive into music, I’ve got to go full-on, and I’ve got to do it now.’ The last thing I wanted to do coming off of that show was jump into another show. So I went and did a lot of music and did a lot of writing, got to do a lot of me time and spend time with myself [in] the studio, and kind of figuring out what I wanted my music to sound like, what was the story I wanted to tell. I really dove into that world for the last five or so years. 

And then [I] kinda got the itch where I was like, ‘I really want to get back at it,’ because I really missed [acting]. There’s this feeling you get when you get to the disappearance of your character, and there’s this switch that flips when you get to kind of go on and do the performance side of things. It was something that I was craving after taking a break and going just into music. I started going back [into] the auditioning process, and I got this project.”

READ: ‘Glee’ CD on What Makes a Great Audition

He learned a lot from being on “Glee.”
“It was kind of like a college education. It was pretty much getting thrown into a machine—a well-oiled machine that’s working. You have to catch up, and you have to learn really quick to just keep up. It was one of those things where you’re also working with people that have been doing this—as far as musical theater, the performing arts world—that have been doing it at the top of their game for years and years and years. You learn a lot; you learn it really quick. You just have to pay attention. It was essentially like performing arts college.”

Don’t fear failure—embrace it. 
“Fail earlier on and get it out of the way. I mean, it’s kind of inevitable with the entertainment world. Everybody’s going to fail at something at some point, and I learned more from that than I have from doing the right thing, if that makes any sense. I probably would have liked to be less hesitant early on—the stage fright [for] everything. Then once you rip the band-aid off and start going, it starts becoming more natural and easy. And probably just overall, I would say spend more time studying beforehand so when you do get some of those opportunities, you’re able to go in there, whether it be character work or dancing, [so that you] don’t feel like you’re having to catch up.”

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