Jackson Dollinger Interview – talks new video for “I’m Yours,” quarantine life and more!
Actor and songwriter Jackson Dollinger is set to debut an exciting new video on July 31st for his first single, “I’m Yours.” It was shot on Catalina Island off the coast of California, where Jackson and his family spend their summer holidays and features Scarlet Sophia Spencer, (Netflix’s Black AF). Jackson’s best friends, Slater and Ashton Bray, also make special cameo appearances. The video is dedicated to the loving memory of Jackson’s grandfather and was produced by Jackson’s very own production company, Mad Scout Productions and directed by Elizabeth Sim.
The release of the video will be followed by the release of his second single, “Reflection” on August 14.
I got the chance to ask Jackson a few questions in anticipation of the release, along with some general questions about his work on Disney Channel’s Sydney to the Max, how he has been coping with the Covid-19 lockdown, and some fun facts! Scroll to read the Q&A!
Hello Jackson, nice to chat with you again! Before we jump to your role as Young Max on Disney Channel’s Sydney to the Max, can you share what your routine has been like during quarantine and what’s been both the best and worst parts?
My routine during quarantine has actually been pretty enjoyable. I sleep in really late and start my day with an easy workout, then I make some breakfast. After breakfast, I’m pretty much in the studio all day working on music. Also, in between the many hours I’m in the studio, I might go out to the front yard and skateboard. At night, if music is going well, I’ll work on music until around midnight or I’ll just play Fortnite with my friends LOL.
Anything you have learned to appreciate more during this difficult time?
I have definitely learned to appreciate the frontline doctors and nurses. If it wasn’t for the brave men and women out there on the frontlines risking their lives to help the community, I cannot imagine where we would be. I just want them to know that we greatly appreciate their hard work and we see you.
Alright, moving on. Now that you have some success under your belt, how is being in showbiz, especially on a Disney show, different from how you first imagined it would be?
I never imagined that I was going to get this many amazing opportunities. I thought I was just going to go to work, have fun and get the job done, but there is actually a lot more that comes with it. It is without a doubt alot of hard work, but so worth every bit of it. I have learned so much and continue to learn and develop as my career progresses.
Your character is set in the 1990s, so I am sure you have learned plenty about that era. What’s your favorite gadget or other thing from the 90s?
I have learned so much about the 90s. By far, my favorite gadget of the 90s is definitely the beeper, aka the pager. It just amazes me that people that lived during the 90s used that to communicate!
Single best or funniest moment from working on the show so far?
It was MOST DEFINITELY when I ollied over a Disney Network executive on my skateboard during my final audition for Sydney To The Max. That was so fun and crazy! They even had me do it twice because they didn’t film the first one!! I’m so happy that I landed the trick and the role!!
And the hardest scene to shoot so far (maybe you forgot your lines, or something emotional, or etc.)?
There was one scene that was scheduled to take 4 hours to shoot. And ohhhhh did it take 4 hours. It was a 5-page runner scene, which means no cuts, and I was running back and forth scrambling around the arcade with three guest stars. It was exhausting, but we did it!
What can you tell us about what’s coming up for Young Max in Season 3? (congrats on renewal BTW)
Thank you. Season 3 production was delayed due to COVID-19, so we have not filmed any of the episodes yet. I am anxious to see what the writers have in store for Young Max in Season 3. His character had so many hilarious and emotional moments in Season 2. I think viewers really got a deeper understanding of Adult Max through Young Max’s scenes.
Tell us about your new song and what inspired it.
The inspiration for “I’m Yours” is young love and what experiencing that for the first time feels like. Many kids my age begin to explore relationships in their teen years. It is an exciting and emotional time. The song is meant to capture and reflect on those feelings.
What was the video shoot like on Catalina island?
Catalina Island is very near and dear to my heart because I grew up spending my summers there and hanging out and fishing on my grandparent’s boat, doing British Soccer Camp, the Junior Lifeguards Program and spending time with some of my best friends. The video captures so many special places where I have made so many memories and has a lot of subtle nods to our family life on the island. I dedicated the video to the memory of my grandfather, Ted Butland, because I developed my love for the island through my experiences with him and because of his strong ties to this very magical and special place that is just a short 26 miles across the sea from Long Beach. The video also features my friend, Scarlet Sophia Spencer (Netflix’s BlackAF) and a cameo of my friends, Slater and Ashton Bray. We all had a great time shooting the video and hanging out on the island.
You are involved in environmental causes, and even did an Instagram takeover of our account on a beach cleanup day you participated in. Why is this cause in particular so important to you?
As a surfer and someone who grew up spending their summers in the ocean on Catalina Island, I see first hand the damage that single use plastics are doing to our waterways and oceans. That’s why I’m so passionate about raising awareness, advocating and educating people about the environmental impact plastic has on both the planet and our bodies. It is up to our generation to put a stop to the irreversible damage these plastics are causing to our planet.
Have you had any crazy fan experiences?
At Disney Channel Fan Fest, I got off a ride and tried to make my way over to the bathrooms without a Park Guide and I took two steps and got mobbed. It was crazy! I mean photo after photo, I don’t even think I ever made it to the bathroom. I am so appreciative of all my supporters and grateful for all the encouragement. It is very satisfying to know that your work brings joy and laughter to others.
Favorite holiday and why?
Well, we celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah in our home. If I had to choose one, I’d have to say Christmas is definitely my favorite. I love spending time with my whole family during the season. I also love all the family traditions during this time of year and of course the presents are awesome too!
One habit you are trying to fix or change in yourself?
I’m really trying to exercise more. During quarantine, my physical activity levels have seriously declined.
Blue… Like the ocean. 😎
Favorite movie of all time?
That would be a tie between Wall-E and Nightmare before Christmas!
If you could live anywhere in the world apart from L.A., where would it be?
The North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.
If you were a superhero, what would your name be and your superpower?
Aqua Boy!! I would want to be able to clean up the trash from the ocean in a flash and protect marine life.
Favorite skateboarder and why?
Curren Caples because he also surfs and his style is incredible.
Tell me something you absolutely REFUSE to eat and why?
Tomatoes are like the only food I don’t like, but I like tomato sauce. I just can’t stomach raw tomatoes. Almost everything else is fair game. I am a foodie for sure!
What is your overall showbiz or career goal, and do you plan to go to college (and what will you study if “yes”)?
In terms of my acting career, I just want to keep working and having fun. I would love to do a feature film, so that I can compare the experience with television. I am definitely going to college. I really want to go to Stanford and study business.
What else are you working on or have coming up next?
Right now I’m just hoping to get back into production of Season 3 of Sydney to the Max. I also am going to keep releasing more music. I’m gonna drop a couple more singles and then possibly an EP. There are a few other irons in the fire, but they have been postponed due to the Pandemic.
Could we get a selfie of whatever you are doing at the moment? It’s something we ask to keep it real for the fans!
Yes!! Thank you so much!