You can't have a conversation about how to make a web series successful without mentioning the monster hits Lonelygirl15 and its spinoff serials KateModern and LG15: The Resistance. Jackson Davis appeared in all three shows as Jonas, even taking center stage in the latter. Now the talented, drop dead gorgeous actor is living the life he could only dream about while growing up in rural Pennsylvania, thanks to his breakout success on the web.
Tonight, however, it's old school TV where you can find Davis, appearing on an episode of the much-watched CBS crime procedural CSI, as a dirty, sexy drug dealer who causes trouble for the crime scene investigators. I caught up with Davis, who revealed why he left the Navy to pursue his dreams of becoming an actor, and how the website Amazon.com played a part in that development. We also talked about his upcoming web series Trauma Team, costarring an actress some of you might be familiar with. Her name is Eden Riegel.
Daytime Confidential: Tell me a little bit about the character you're playing on tonight's CSI.
Jackson Davis: Well, he is a drug dealer and drug maker, and he and his partner are being kept under surveillance by the CSI team. The title of the episode is "The Panty Sniffer."
Photo by Jon McKee
DC: "The Panty Sniffer"?
JD: [Laughs] Yeah, but that's not me, that's another storyline.
DC: Oh, okay.
JD: Yeah, it's a really good episode. It pushes the lines a little bit. It goes pretty far. Everyone felt it was a really good episode as it was going along, the director, everyone, so we'll see how it all turns out!
DC: Sweet, now you're mostly known for your online work. You were in the Lonelygirl15 series and KateModern. What was it like to be a part of those successful, groundbreaking web series?
JD: Extraordinary. It was an extraordinary experience.You know, how often does one get a chance to be at the forefront of storytelling for a new medium like radio or television? The Internet is now one of those experiences.Lonelygirl15 was seen as really the first successful web series ever, and it was great. I learned a lot doing that, because it was one of the first things I did as an actor. They even let me direct an episode, and KateModern, the same thing, it was great, I got to travel. I also did LG15: The Resistance which focused in more on my character Jonas's story. I'm glad I had those experiences. I'm doing a web series now called Trauma Team that I'm really, really excited about. It has a great script, a great cast, the producers are great, the directors. It's wildly fantastic!
DC: Eden Riegel from Imaginary Bitches and The Young and the Restless is doing this series as well?
JD: That's right, yes.
DC: What's it like working with her?
JD: It's fantastic. She's not only an amazing actor, but she's an amazing person too, and that isn't just interview b.s. [Laughs]
DC: So is Trauma Team a medical drama?
JD: It is, but it's a medical drama with a twist. It's kind of like the A-Team with doctors.
DC: Sounds awesome! I will definitely have to check that one out. When does it premiere?
JD: I'd say in about a month. I play a guy named Pierce, he's one of the more crazier characters. He's an adrenaline junkie. He has his share of problems.
DC: While reading your bio, I found out that before you became an actor, you were in the Navy. What led you to make that change? Had you always wanted to act, or did the acting bug bite you while you were in service?
JD: No, no I always wanted to act, but being from rural Pennsylvania, it just wasn't something I knew how to do. I didn't know how to go about it. Although, I always thought someone would find me some how. [Laughs] Like I would be at the mall and someone would discover me!
DC: Ah yes, that famous story! So walk me through the decision to leave the Navy and move to LA to pursue acting. What was the catalyst?
JD: I was two years into the Navy, and I remember this very distinctly. I was on an aircraft carrier somewhere out in the middle of the Pacific, and I knew that the Navy was not for me. It just wasn't the career path I wanted to be on, it was an avenue to get out of Pennsylvania and see the world. Two years into it, I remember standing there on the ship and asking myself, "What do you really want to do?" and I knew that it was acting. It occured to me in that moment that the only way to become an actor was to move to LA or New York and do it. I picked Los Angeles, because I was already on the West Coast, and I always saw myself living in California. So for the next two years, because I had a four-year obligation to the Navy, I got on Amazon.com and bought everything I could about LA and acting. The day I got out of the Navy, I got into my Rodeo and drove down here, and I've been at it ever since.
DC: That's an amazing story, how Amazon helped you achieve your dreams!
JD: Hey, maybe I can get a sponsorship? [Laughs]
DC: There you go, they can sponsor your next web series!
Be sure to check out Jackson Davis on CSI tonight on CBS. Check your local listings. Keep checking back with Daytime Confidential.com for news on Trauma Team, starring Davis and Eden Riegel.
CSI still courtesy of CBS
Photo of Jackson Davis by James Acomb