What do working for American Idol, owning a successful skateboard shop and acting in several feature films have in common? They are all things that Plano resident Colton Tapp has already achieved in his short lifetime — to name just a few. “No, I never get tired of working,” Colton assures me, as we sit comfortably on the couch of a local coffeehouse and sip chai tea. “I always find the energy to do what I love.”
Colton is an actor and musician with one goal in mind: to win an Oscar one day. He has been cast as a lead in more than 15 films, booked more than 50 projects and traveled extensively within the past 18 months, with many awards under his belt. It would seem this Planoite is well on his way to achieving his dream.
“Plano feels like home to me,” said Colton. “It’s full of exciting people, especially people with similar interests. There are so many young people pursuing what they love in Plano–many still in school–and it’s very inspiring to be around that kind of passion every day.”
Raised on a ranch in Wylie, Colton knew from an early age that he wanted to be an actor. He became a newscaster for his high school, where he created funny commercials and delivered the announcements each day. He also wrote and directed a film his senior year that Lar Park Lincoln, acting coach and previous Hollywood actress, helped produce.
After he graduated high school in 2006, Colton moved to Plano to pursue an entirely different business venture: opening his own skateboard shop in Collin Creek Mall called Vertigo. “I just became more involved in the Plano lifestyle,” explained Colton. “During this time, I really learned how to work with people, whether they worked for me or were buying from me. It was a really valuable experience.” Vertigo had a half pipe in the back so customers could ride their skateboards in the store. They also had many local bands and DJs come and perform for customers.
After running Vertigo for a year, Colton worked on a feature film called “Blood on the Highway” and landed a camera crew position on American Idol Season Seven in 2007. His experience there brought out a flair for the dramatic, as all of the camera crew were encouraged to push the boundaries and start as much on-screen drama as they could.
From 2008-2010, Colton enrolled in studies at Collin County Community College (now Collin College) to pursue a music career. Colton recalled, “I had some great instructors that gave me a better understanding of both technical skills and song design. One teacher I will always remember is Mr. Williamson, who took us on trips to see live music or booked time at a recording studio so we could sit, write and engineer whatever we could come up with.”
Although acting is currently his highest priority, Colton did not let all of his music training go to waste. He released his first original single, “Back to Life,” in December 2015, and it’s now available on iTunes and Spotify. This electronic/dance song was written and performed by Colton, and the video was filmed at Celebration Event Center in Plano using actors from local talent agencies, including International Conservatory of Performing Arts in Plano. “This is a relatively new thing, to have a solo vocal career,” Colton said. “I couldn’t have done it without many local people coming together to help.”
Although Colton worked in film occasionally during his years at Vertigo, his first big acting role did not come until after he sold the business in 2014. He reunited with Lar Park Lincoln in 2014 to study under her direction. Lar currently provides audition coaching and mentoring at her Plano-based company, Actors Audition Studios, and she has helped actors book roles for “The Walking Dead,” “American Horror Story,” “Salem” and other roles on Disney, the CW and more.
“My parents always raised me to do what I wanted to do, but Lar pushes me to do things I didn’t even know I wanted to do,” said Colton. “She encourages me to try and get out of my comfort zone, which is the mindset you need to succeed in this business. You have to go out there and be vulnerable.”
Colton also hired an agent in 2014 who helped him land what he would later call his favorite role so far—the role of a grandson in the upcoming feature film “Three Days in August,” alongside Barry Bostwick (from “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Spin City” fame) and Mariette Hartley (of “One Life to Live”). The film will premiere at the Dallas International Film Festival on April 14, before a wider theatrical release.
Recently, Colton returned from Sri Lanka, where he shot “Solar Eclipse: Depths of Darkness,” which will be released mid-2017. The film marks another landmark in his career–his first work out of the country.
Colton is also currently starring in a 35-minute film called “The Boundary,” which was written and directed by Evan Hara, a student at Clark High School. Hara’s goal is to present this drama at a film festival in the hopes of getting it turned into a feature film. Many other Plano students were on the production crew and “are quite possibly the biggest group of teen prodigies I’ve seen together in a long time,” according to Colton.
What’s next for the rising actor, producer and musician? “I’m moving to Hollywood!” Colton laughed. “I just got an agent out there and a job lined up, and I signed a lease. I’ll just have to see how it goes!” One thing is for certain: No matter where this actor’s career takes him, he will always be supported by his fans back home in Plano.Colton Tapp on Facebook > Back to Life video > Back to Life on iTunes >