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That One Audition with Alyshia Ochse

Apr 27, 2021

Today we sit down with actor Tom Pelphrey. What began as a sports injury, from a very short-lived high school football career, and a friend subsequently suggesting he try out for the school play, a perfect storm of influences and awakenings (and the power of encouragement) made Tom realize that he was good at something for the first time in his life—his natural aptitude on stage eventually launched him into a full and thriving career in theater, television, and film. Tom’s work continues to captivate audiences, with roles on Cinemax’s Banshee, Marvel’s Iron Fist, Netflix’s original hit series Ozark, and many more. From his first audition with casting director Alexa Fogel (where he didn’t land the job), Tom explains how not booking the role evolved into a now 15-year working relationship with one of television's most respected casting directors. He shares how self-doubt and struggling with feelings of inadequacy accompanied him throughout his twenties, and how he discovered validation out of admiration, how to evaluate self-value, and the realizations that can only come from maturity and experience. We get to chat about the power of memorization muscle, soap stage stories, and how to navigate the tide of workload shifts, seen through his mountainous climb from one-take-wonder jobs to working under the guidance of an industry master, Mr. David Fincher. Coming out of “guest-star land” to becoming a series regular, Tom explains what it means to not take things personally and the importance of not attaching one’s self-worth to the results. And of course, we get to gush about his experience of working alongside Jason Bateman and Laura Linney, where he has gleaned even more tricks of the trade. Tom even shares the daily practices he continually uses to remain grounded in an ever-changing industry, which is even more valuable given the nature of these unprecedented times—in fact, this is my first ever Zoom interview, making it not just an honor, but also befitting, that we get to retell the stories of adaptation and triumph that landed Tom Pelphrey right here.

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  • WRITER: Erin McCluskey
  • SOUND DESIGN: Zachary Jameson
  • WEBSITE & GRAPHICS: Chase Jennings
  • ASSISTANT: Elle Powell
  • SOCIAL OUTREACH: Bebe Katsenes