Scifipulse recently caught up with Shannon McDermott. She is an Autistic actor, writer, singer and voiceover artist based in NYC. She has played Typhoid Mary in many not-for-profit Marvel fan films. And is best known for her role as the villain Selista in the independent superhero web series Phantom Faye. Additionally, Shannon is the author of “So You Want To Fly Private“. A collection of humourous experiences told by private flight attendants. During this interview Shannon discusses her dream role and advice for autistic people who want to break into acting.
SFP: What made you want to be an actor?
Shannon McDermott: I honestly cannot remember or pinpoint the exact moment. I was very young when I “knew” what I wanted to devote my life to. Back when I was a kid, I just knew that acting was the most purposeful and free I had ever felt, and I always refer back to my younger self when feeling the struggle.
SFP: Does voice acting require a different skill set than acting on screen?
Shannon McDermott: Absolutely. You need to constantly be aware of all this technology around you, even if you have a full audio engineering team in the studio with you. You need to make sure you’re speaking into the mic at the right angle. You need to be aware of your diction, your volume. You need to adapt your performance style to a microphone, otherwise it won’t sound good.
SFP: What are your thoughts on people who believe that superhero films “aren’t cinema”?
Shannon McDermott: I have to laugh because when “cinema” was first invented, there was a large part of the population that criticized it as “cheap” and frivolous. History doesn’t repeat, it rhymes.
SFP: As an autistic actor do you think that Hollywood is moving in the right direction with autism acceptance?
Shannon McDermott: Yes and no. It’s beautiful that Autistics are successfully organizing and demanding that Hollywood do better. However, we need more systemic change to take place before true equity can be achieved. We can’t just hold star-studded galas sponsored by predatory organizations such as Autism Speaks and call it a day. We need to start putting openly self-advocating Autistic people in leadership roles.
SFP: Please can you tell us about your book “So You Want To Fly Private”?
Shannon McDermott: It’s a book about service industry workers, told by service industry workers. It gets into the nitty gritty details right off the bat and does not gloss over the ugly parts. Private aviation is traditionally painted in a glamorous, glittery light, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. So You Want To Fly Private? showcases personal accounts of what it’s like to work as a private flight attendant in an industry that hasn’t progressed much since the 1970s. From Sugar Babies and wild Karens to toxic, misogynist bosses who don’t understand the meaning of consent, this book will provide a darkly comedic inside look to a famously secretive industry using the same uncensored rhetoric found in venting sessions with co-workers over happy hour drinks at the bar.
SFP: What would be your dream role?
Shannon McDermott: I would LOVE to play the Marvel villain, Typhoid Mary, in the mainstream. I’ve already played her three times in fan films by director Chris Notarile of Blinky Productions (Titles: Typhoid Mary, Rogue Redemption, and Domino). I feel I could bring a unique comic relief to the character that we haven’t seen in previous mainstream adaptations of her.
SFP: Have you any advice for autistic people who want to get into acting?
Shannon McDermott: Acting is still very much a neurotypical-dominated industry. Take any “advice” with a grain of salt, as it most likely was framed for an NT mindset. You will receive a ton of well-intended “feedback” that wasn’t curated to be respectful for people like you, and don’t be concerned when that “feedback” unsurprisingly does not work for you. Always trust your instinct, and do not be afraid to exit a situation that does not honor the artist you are.
SFP: And finally, who would win a rap battle between Deadpool and Spider-Man?
Shannon McDermott: I think there would eventually be a moment of silence when they’ve exhausted all diss tracks. They will gaze into each other’s eyes…first with curiosity, then questioning and longing. Deadpool would pull Spiderman in for a tender, yet passionate kiss. “What are we doing?” Spiderman says, breathlessly. Deadpool gently caresses Spiderman’s thin lips and whispers, “Shhh…it was never about the rap battle…but the toxic fanboys we pissed off along the way.”
Scifipulse would like to extend our most heartfelt thanks and warmest best wishes to Shannon McDermott for so graciously taking the time to answer our questions.
Shannon’s website: SHANNON MCDERMOTT – Home
Her Twitter: @iamshannimal
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