Disney’s “A.N.T. Farm” Star Jake Short
Disney’s “A.N.T. Farm” Star Jake Short
Written by Heidi Ortlip
While some kids sit at home and dream of one day making it to Hollywood, Jake Short is already there. At the age of nine he moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting. Now, less than five years later, he’s starring in a hit Disney Channel show and is the winner of a Kids’ Choice award for Favorite TV Actor.
After being cast in several commercials, making guest appearances on the show Dexter and staring in the 2009 film Shorts, Short became a part of the Disney family by landing the role of the artistic Fletcher Quimby on A.N.T. Farm. The series follows a group of kids in the “Advanced Natural Talents” (or A.N.T.) program at their high school. In 2011, A.N.T. Farm was the highest rated TV series for kids ages 6-11 and number two in tweens age 9-11. [Source: Nielsen Television Ratings]
Despite his success, Short maintains an attitude of humility, expressing his gratitude for taking the time to interview him. Risen spoke with the star about how he hopes to avoid falling into a trap so many others have, his faith and advice for aspiring actors.
Interviewed Exclusively for Risen Magazine
Risen Magazine: You started acting when you were just nine years old. What has been the most challenging part of this process so far?
Jake Short: Rejection. A lot of auditioning and a lot of no’s. Actually before I got the show I kept getting callback after callback after callback. And I just got to the point where I was ready to give up. I don’t know, I just kept persevering and God helped, and I always prayed, If this is Your will and Your way, Your will be done. So he gave me this and put it in my path and I can’t thank him enough.
Risen Magazine: How did you land the role of Fletcher on A.N.T. Farm?
Jake Short: I had just turned 13, it was really exciting. It was 2010 and I was going to go on a cruise with my family. It kind of fell through, but it ended up being okay because I got the job. First we filmed the pilot in August, it was super duper exciting and I had a great time. Then we got picked up for a season in October, only two months after we shot it. First season is done and now we are in the second season and cruising along having a great time.
Risen Magazine: How do you hope to leave an impact on the kids that watch your show?
Jake Short: I just want them to remember me as the goofy, dorky guy. I’ve never tried to impress a lot of people. I’m a big fan of just sitting back and relaxing and being yourself. I want everyone to know that I’m a big Christian and that it’s God first before everything else.
Risen Magazine: You’ve been so open about our faith, how has the feedback been so far?
Jake Short: It really depends on the person. A lot of people on Twitter are really supportive and agree with me [when tweeting about faith or Bible verses]. Some are like “Why do you tweet this every night? Why do you do this? Why do you do that?” Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten the chance to tweet a lot lately, I’ve been super tired. I do read my Bible, but it’s hard to think about tweeting it every night, but I try to. And some people are like, “Yeah, that’s awesome” and others are like “Could you please stop?” I’m going to do what I think is right.
Risen Magazine: A lot of A-list actors and musicians have come from the Disney Family. What are you doing to make sure you don’t fall into the same trap some of these people have fallen into?
Jake Short: My family and God and my friends. And honestly, if I hang around the right people I don’t think I’m going to go anywhere. It’s all about who you hang out with, and who is surrounding you. If they are pushing you to do this [acting] – which my family is totally not – they are saying if you don’t want to be in this, it’s totally up to you. And my friends are super supportive. We just hang out, we don’t even have to talk about it, because they know, and I know, it’s just a regular part of life. I think that’s a mistake that a lot of people make – you hang around the wrong people, you make the wrong decisions.
Risen Magazine: People are quick to judge celebrities, especially kid actors. What do you have to say about the negativity that surrounds this profession?
Jake Short: Yes, you are totally right. I’m not like that. Being modest. I think a lot of people are right, and some of them are wrong. I have really good friends in the industry, who are not like that at all, and their parents are just like mine and they are very supportive and they care about their kids. I think people make quick judgments of kids like us because some are jealous and some want that for their kids. I think the biggest mistake you can make is pushing your child to do what they don’t want to do. Some of it’s right and some of it’s stereotypical and people have to look past the stereotypes to see what kids are really like.
Risen Magazine: You speak to kids who are interested in acting and want to make a career out of it. What advice do you give them?
Jake Short: Start small. I went to some acting classes and got some referrals, and here I am. I think it starts with your school and local plays, and then maybe traveling plays. Do as much as you can locally and if it’s really your dream you can move to California and try to get an agent. If people think you’re natural and you do a good job, then I think there’s a good chance.
If they can just see through my eyes and get to know God, I think it’s important for people to know what they are missing out on.
Risen Magazine: In the show A.N.T. Farm each student has a special gift. How are you using your acting talents for God?
Jake Short: I wouldn’t consider myself famous. I haven’t gotten used to people recognizing me and being on TV and I don’t think I ever will. That’s what keeps me here. The publicity that I get really helps me have an influence on teens and children and some adults. If they can just see through my eyes and get to know God, I think it’s important for people to know what they are missing out on. Acting is really presenting me with an opportunity to profess my faith and let people know that God is great.
Risen Magazine: You just won a Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards for Favorite TV Actor, that’s a huge accomplishment, what’s next for you?
Jake Short: I’ve been looking into doing movies. I hope to get nominated for more awards. I’m trying to find a modest way to say this, but I was in a very good category and I’m honored to have won. In the future, I hope to do movies and other TV shows, sitcoms possibly.
Risen Magazine: What was it like when you found out the pilot got picked up?
Jake Short: I was overly thrilled. I was actually talking to a friend about it, and then someone texted me that they picked it up and I thought it must be unofficial. Then three seconds later my manager called and said they picked up the pilot. And I was like “Ahhhh!”
Risen Magazine: Who do you look up to as a role model professionally or personally?
Jake Short: My grandma. I would say one of the big people is Zachary Levi. I’ve heard a lot of talk about him. He’s really down to earth, a Christian, good singer. He’s a cool guy.
Risen Magazine: What gives you the most joy out of all this? What gets you up in the morning?
Jake Short: I would say, hanging out with the cast. Just chilling and playing basketball is awesome. It’s a calm work environment, very relaxed, except for the school part.
Exclusive interview originally published in Risen Magazine, Summer 2012