Growing up with a famous father had advantages that many don't think about. Some believe that having someone with close ties to the industry automatically propels one into instant fame without having to pay the dues all the others must pay as they climb the ranks. I hate to burst anyone's bubble, but that isn't true in most cases. However, the one major advantage to having a parent who has climbed the ranks all on their own is having unlimited access to advice and wisdom about the entertainment business. Learning how to act can become second nature and knowing what's ahead can be a lesson that will pay its weight in gold.
Such is the case for Pretty Little Liars star Keegan Allen (Toby), whose father, Phillip Allen starred in dozens of film and television shows over his long and illustrious career. Keegan grew up with a front seat look into the business and along with his appreciation for the craft, he also developed a love of photography and hopes to pursue both going forward.
I've been able to interview hundreds of celebrities over the years, but Keegan was easily one of my favorite interviews. Get a better look into this versatile young actor as we asked him about his interest in photography and his breakout role in ABC Family's hit show Pretty Little Liars.
Q: Growing up, did you know you wanted to be an actor?
Keegan: "I grew up in a very Bohemian household as both my parents are artists. My mother is an expressionist painter and my father was a Broadway actor, and if you look at his IMDB resume, he was in so many TV shows and movies. Growing up, a normal day for me was sitting at the piano or playing guitar while my parents were painting and listening to Bob Dylan and Neil Young. I love photography; that's my first passion. Having the ability to see through the camera and capture an image or capture a moment and translate it into video or film production is wonderful. I wanted to be a cinematographer and learned all about apertures, shutter speed and all that and it eventually led my to work in front of the camera."
Q: Do you hope to do some work behind the camera at some point?
Keegan: "At this point in my life, I am so fresh and new. When I'm not shooting a scene, I'm usually on the set sitting next to the producers or in video village trying to learn as much as I can about scouting, shooting and understanding how the directors talk to the actors. It's really been helpful, not just in my work, but how shows today are shot in this digital era."
Q: Did you read the Pretty Little Liars book series?
Keegan: "I read the books as soon as I got the role. They were pretty addicting. and have an edge to them, a throwback to the old Nancy Drew mysteries. you live vicariously through these characters."
Q: Your character was killed off early on in the books; was the initial plan for Toby to be on the show on a short-term basis?
Keegan: "Oh yeah, I definitely knew that was the plan from the start. It was supposed to be a four-episode arc and then it was over. As you know, in the books they killed off the character Tobias, who killed himself in the second book. They were going to kill off my character in season one and a lot of the book fans contacted the writers and asked them not to kill off my character. The show is really geared towards the fans of the books and what they've done is take really important, key notes from the fans and listen to what they want. The show is so driven by the fans and social media because people really do listen to what the fans say and what they really want. Every day I go to work, I say thank you for not killing my character... yet."
Q: Do you watch any TV shows on a regular basis?
Keegan: "I don't get a lot of time to watch TV, but I do love Breaking Bad. I also love watching old TV shows like My So Called Life. I also love animated TV shows."
Q: Do you use Twitter to keep in touch with fans?
Keegan: "I do use Twitter and keep in ferocious touch with my fans. My handle is @KeeganAllen. I also use Instagram."
Q: Any other projects in the works?
Keegan: "I mentioned that I loved photography and I just found out today that one of the photos I took on a photo shoot with a friend of mine is going to be used in a UK issue of Vogue."
Find out what to expect when Pretty Little Liar returns this January - CONTINUE READING INTERVIEW