BSCkids recently got the chance to talk with “Kickin’ It” star Dylan Riley Snyder as he promotes the American Cancer Society Relay Recess Program. He spoke to us about the program and cancer awareness as well as his time on his hit television series on Disney.
Dylan Riley Snyder has been involved in acting from the beginning. Four days after his birth, he began attending rehearsals with his mother and sister in a children’s production of “Winnie the Pooh”. With acting in the family, it wasn’t a surprise that he began his acting roles at 18 months. The family soon found out that he enjoyed being on the stage and began letting him audition at the tender age of 5, where he won his first speaking role as Tiny Tim, in “A Christmas Carol”. After performing in several community theatre shows, Dylan wanted to take a chance on New York. On Dylan’s 9th birthday he and his mother settled into a Manhattan apartment. Within no time Dylan was thrilled to call home and let them know of his first Broadway show booking in Disney’s musical, “Tarzan”, as Young Tarzan. Currently he plays ‘Milton,’ the geeky, book-loving kid that turns into a Karate expert thanks to the Bobby Wasabi karate studio and the support of his friends in the Disney XD series, “Kickin’ It.” He also partnered with the American Cancer Society to become the Youth Ambassador for the LOLLIPOP Theater Network.
BSCkids: Dylan Riley Snyder
When did you first decide you wanted to be an actor?
I kind of happened into acting. My sister was involved in theatre and showchoir in highschool, so I found myself at all of her rehearsals. It was a natural progression to then audition to be in shows with her. I did a few walk on parts with her High school, but at age 4 I auditioned for the role of Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol. I think that’s when I found myself enjoying the company of the cast members in making art. I don’t think I thought too much as myself being an actor…. Merely a kid who enjoyed acting. Even after my time in on Broadway, it didn’t hit me until a couple of years later, that I had done what most “actors” strive for. That’s when it really hit home what I was doing.
How well does everyone get along on the set of “Kickin’ It?”
Our cast clicked from the first mix and match audition. Mateo, Leo and I hit it off right in the lobby while waiting for the audition to begin. Our week of “Kickin It”boot camp before we began filming the pilot really brought us all together with Jason at the helm. Now into season three, we function like a well oiled machine. We support one another and realize what each others strengths are to help make a scene believable.
Do you have an funny stories from set?
The latest giggle we had was a couple of weeks ago with our head writer/producer Jim O’Doherty. We were gathered in the office for our weekly table-read and he was caught in traffic. We decided as a group that when given a cue by one of the office assistants that he was walking in, we would do the last page of the script… Applaud and leave. Well, it went fantastic! We got the cue, began reading the last page … He came in, saw what was going on and was just going to sit and listen. We finished, the A.D. said, “The End” and we all clapped and walked out. Jim stood up and was so confused and began calling us back. We came back in laughing… That was a good day to get one over on the boss!
Do you share any similarities with your character on the show?
A couple of things. I think the writers have done a great job of finding our strengths and using those to help us mold our character. Milton and I share a love for education, family, and loyalty. Those that know me, know the differences, but Milton is making some subtle changes this year. These changes are due mainly to his relationship he now has with the members of the dojo and becoming more comfortable in his own skin.
What has been your favorite episode of the show so far and anything you can tell us about Season 3?
Gaaaaa… So many to choose from! I really enjoy when the whole cast is involved in the big fights. Our fight coordinator is so creative with the assortment of things we use in our fights.
I also like the episodes that the writers give me a different “character” for Milton to be… Example, the angry English chef, the fashion coordinator, the Barney Fife character, Tom Cruise characters as motivational speaker and cocktail juggler. Season three is bigger epic storylines. The kids are older, some have jobs, Rudy takes on a new role and what I love about the show, each episode has a message!
Besides Kickin It what other shows do you like to watch, do you have any favorite actors actresses?
I really like the show Elementary. I’d been watching the BBC version of Sherlock, so when this one came on I fell into it. Big Bang Theory and Modern Family are my favorite comedies!
I’m also a fan of the CSI shows. Favorite actors: Bryan Cranston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ed Norton, Robert Duvall, Tom Hanks, and Matthew Broderick.
Actresses: Allison Janney, Maggie Smith, Kathy Bates, & Sandra Bullock.
When you get noticed In public what do people like to talk to you about?
They love to tell me how much they love the show, that their parents watch it with them, they want me to say “Holy Christmas Nuts”, but mostly the kids are wondering what it’s like to be famous. I try to tell them I’m an actor on tv and a normal guy… I don’t see myself that way.
How do you find time for school work and friends?
Juggling and balancing priorities. I have a tendency to push myself with the school work and my mom tries to channel me into other activities and hanging out with friends more. I’ve kind of lived like a gypsy for the last 8 years so with each new place means a whole new experience to have. It’s been great but I do enjoy going home and hanging out with friends and family like a normal kid.
Was the karate for the show hard to learn?
I took all types of dance growing up so I just looked at it like choreography. Now I’m taking Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with Leo and Jason for enjoyment.
Do you have a trainer on set to help with the karate aspects?
Yes and Leo also helps a lot.
What has been your favorite project to work on so far?
That’s hard to say cus I’ve enjoyed all aspects of everything I’ve worked on. Every experience has helped me in some manner even in my everyday life.
Do you prefer television acting or stage acting more?
I find the immediate audience response from theatre to really push the adrenaline in me. Shooting Kickin It without an audience is fun but until the episode airs, you don’t really know how the audience feels about it. I like to read the tweets after an episode airs to see what the fans are saying.
Tell us why you chose to work with the American Cancer Society?
I am very close to my NaNa, and a few years ago my mom told me that NaNa had been diagnosed with cancer over 30 years ago and was given 6 months to live. My NaNa beat the odds and every year we celebrate her Life day. I want to spend my time making kids aware that they can make a difference. Get involved! While I was in school back home I participated in the relay for life program every year. Every lap I walked I gave thanks for my Nana beating cancer.
What does being a “Youth Ambassador” involve? Tell us about the LOLLIPOP Theater Network.
With the Lollipop theatre we help create a fun escape from the daily reality of the illnesses these children face and to offer them and their families a moment of normalcy in an otherwise stressful environment. As an Ambassador, I give of my time to hang out, color, play games, and lately teach plate spinning with the kids. I also love performing with the Rhythm of Hope girls, Summer and Ruby, teaching the kids about music and writing songs.
What is the Relay Recess program and how can students get involved?
Relay Recess is a great way for kids in schools and their communities to get involved, learn to stay healthy, and in a kids way, help support the American Cancer Society. Give of your time and reach out to help others.
Why do you think spreading cancer awareness is important?
It brings families and communities together because someone knows a person who’s been touched by cancer. Keeping yourself healthy, exercising, and becoming aware and focus on creating a world with less cancer is a priority.