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The Trailblazer

The student news site of McNeil High School

The Trailblazer

The student news site of McNeil High School

The Trailblazer

Freshman Tristan Riggs’ Pursuit in Acting

Photo courtesy of Tristan Riggs.

The Priest stands watching over him, unsure how to help. Freshman Tristan Riggs is possessed. He frantically attempts to escape. Riggs knew he only had seconds to perfect his performance before the end of the scene.

At the age of seven, Riggs began his career in performing arts. Now at 15, he’s accumulated over 40 credits for acting, and the number is rapidly increasing.

“My first gig I did with my sister, a role on The Leftovers,” Riggs said. “At the time, I didn’t really know what it was, but it was definitely something I was excited to get started in.”

After booking the role on The Leftovers, Riggs decided to follow in the footsteps of his older sister Charlotte by pursuing performing.

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“I saw Charlotte doing theater and I wanted to follow in her path,” Riggs said. “I continued a little more towards theater, then I got back into acting.”

Riggs often meets with a Los Angeles acting coach over Zoom to improve his talent.

“I mean, coaching helps a lot, to help me on auditions, [he] basically just helps build the scene and really make the character [my] own,” Riggs said. “That helps a lot and also just getting more experience doing auditions and going on set more.”

For his part in the Netflix horror movie “The Seventh Day” Riggs acted as a possessed young boy, he describes the experience on set as the most memorable in his career.

“That was one of my first bigger roles and it was really fun to do,” Riggs said. “There’s a lot of makeup, which wasn’t that fun, but it was really cool and then I got to do my own stunts, I was being pulled up on a cable.”

During the filming of The Seventh Day, Riggs had the “surreal” experience of working alongside Emmy Award-winning actor Keith David.

“He’s been in a bunch of stuff, he’s played many famous roles,” Riggs said. “So that was really cool getting to meet him.”

Riggs not only enjoys his time on screen but he also admires many of the behind-the-scenes factors as well.

“Being on set is really fun, everybody is nice,” Riggs said. “Whenever you’re on set getting to work with all the other actors, you get to talk to people who go through the same things as you, as far as acting.”

Riggs’ favorite project is the Apple TV original movie “Best Foot Forward” because of the actors he was surrounded by during its production.

“That was fun because there were a bunch of other kids on set,” Riggs said. “Whereas most of the other sets, it would just be adults and although they’re nice to talk to, it’s fun to be able to talk to other kids and be on set with them.”

When balancing school and acting Riggs sometimes finds it hard to manage, but through the support of his friends and timeliness, he makes it work.

“If I have any scripts, I look over my auditions and make sure I have them memorized and down, so they’re out of the way,” Riggs said. “My friends, whenever I say that I’m going to be out because I’m going to LA or to book something, they’re always supportive and cheer me on.”

Riggs’ biggest supporter is his dad, whenever his sister’s not recording or helping him with his auditions his dad is.

“My dad is always taking me to set and pushing me to look at my lines even when I don’t want to,” Riggs said. “As well as making sure I stay on top of my auditions and do the best I can do on them.”

Not only does Riggs’ dad play an influential role in his career, but he even goes as far as to say that his older sister Charlotte is his inspiration.

“I mean cause she got me into acting and she started it all,” Riggs said. “She always helps me with my auditions too, from recording them and saying the lines for the other part, as well as giving me direction and helping me improve myself.”

Senior Charlotte Riggs started acting at the age of five after a director at the theater camp she was attending approached her and recommended she try it professionally.

“I reached out to film a studio of sorts, and I got a class there and they helped me set up getting an Agent, Manager, and all that stuff.” Charlotte said, “So that’s how I kind of started, started through theater, progressed, and then once you get an agent manager, they’ll send in like auditions and stuff for you to do.”

Charlotte has been credited over 40 times, including various commercials such as Proactiv skincare, St. David’s HealthCare and Baylor Scott & White.

“I’d say commercials are fun because they are pretty fast,” Charlotte said. “You have a lot of time to hang out with the people on set, whether that’s the camera, the other actors, or the director. You have a lot of time to just have fun.”

Charlotte’s biggest challenge has been facing the age requirements many casting directors have set.

“That may be a weird thing to say but you’ll probably even notice this when you watch movies, TV and film, they’ll hire 26-year-olds to play like 14,” Charlotte said. “Which makes sense because the hours you can work is a lot longer, so there’s a lot of roles that you may not get because you were younger and they can hire somebody for a longer duration.”

Charlotte Riggs performing a song. Photo by Luiza Deboni.

To work around this obstacle, Charlotte chose to graduate early, allowing her to spend more time on set.

“I did take a high school equivalency exam during, I think it was my sophomore year?” Charlotte said. “I took the CHSPE from the state of California and I passed that so I graduated high school technically, which means you can work those longer hours while being a minor.”

Charlotte has acted with her brother Tristan before and calls it a good experience, but she prefers working with others.

“I trust him, he’s a good actor, we’re both good actors, we can play off each other, do some good work,” Charlotte said. “I think It’s more comfortable, or maybe easier if you act with people that aren’t related to you, I can tell when he’s acting and you can tell when I’m acting so it just feels less genuine.”

Tristan Riggs hopes to pursue a career and make a living from acting, specifically to book something long-term.

“I would say honestly, TV shows because they go on for longer,” Riggs said. “Once you’re booked on a TV show, if you’re reoccurring you can be on it for a while.”

In the future, Riggs dreams of booking a role in the Marvel universe, as well as working alongside actor Ryan Reynolds.

“I want to work with Ryan Reynolds. For The Adam Project, I got a director session callback.” Riggs said. “Something in Marvel, for right now, maybe the younger version of someone but yeah, maybe later on once I get older, a superhero would be cool to play.”

Riggs’ most recent role is his biggest achievement, he couldn’t discuss too much regarding it but did share that it’ll be a recurring character in a series.

“It’s been going on for a really long time and I replaced someone. I should be going back maybe for like years to come every now and then.” Riggs said. “It’s been going on for a really long time and it’s something a little different than what I normally do, but I had fun going and traveling to film it.”




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Hannah Bland
Hannah Bland, Reporter
I am Hannah Bland, I am a Junior, and this is my first year on the McNeil Trailblazer staff. I spend the majority of my time outside of school working, watching movies, getting coffee, running in cross country and hanging out with friends.
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