Exclusive interview with author "Matt DeBoer"
Author and actor Matt DeBoer’s newest book, “Until Tomorrow, Little People” is the hilarious account of how he and his wife holed up in a 2-bedroom apartment for three months in Hollywood, to give their two kids a chance to break into stardom. Both Matt and his wife Tammy thought the kids would “get it out of their system.” Wrong. Son Chandler is now an accomplished actor who just wrapped a Warner Bros. movie. Daughter Olivia played Young Love in “You,” (Netflix) and is awaiting her newest film release.
Matt describes his book as “Beverly Hillbillies meets Modern Family.” Feeling trapped in Burbank, he began writing a humorous blog to cheer himself up, unaware that it would unleash his own long-buried dream of becoming a writer. Matt’s book will make you laugh even as it speaks to the hidden dreams of kids and parents everywhere.
Matt can currently be found in Charlotte, NC with his supportive family, Tammy, Olivia & Chandler. During our time together, Matt shared a little bit more about his book. Read on for an exclusive interview.
Tell us a bit about your book.
It started as a family vacation to see Hollywood and drive the PCH to San Diego from Los Angeles. Along the way, we watched a live taping of America’s Funniest Home Videos and were seated directly behind the winning family, insuring plenty of TV time. That was the bite.
The itch began a few days later when they were asked to tape a segment for the Jimmy Kimmel show while walking down Hollywood Blvd. They, along with countless other kids, auditioned and we went on our way. We got a call while at the San Diego Zoo a few days later and were told that BOTH kids had made the cut and would be on TV that night.
The infection set in around the time they saw themselves on TV that first time and we have not been able to find a cure since. Following an 11-page Powerpoint that my 11-year-old son put together on all the reasons why we should immediately move to California, we agreed to give it a shot if they started locally. They did and after the success came, we decided to head to California for pilot season.
This book starts day 1 of that journey and captures the moments leading up to a decision the family would have to make about how far down this rabbit hole we were willing to go.
It’s described as a cross between BH & MF – can you elaborate?
When we first arrived in Hollywood, I referred to us as the Beverly Hillbillies because we were fresh out of Charlotte and had no idea what we were in for.
I acted a lot like Jay Pritchett from Modern Family when we first arrived but transformed into Phil Dunphy once I started finding the humor in what we were doing.
I think as a family we all coped in our own way, created much of our own craziness, but ultimately grew closer, stronger, and tighter because we knew we were all in this together. The message is very similar in both of those shows when you think about it.
What is the significance of the title?
The original goal was to capture the events that took place on our trip so that I could put it all together and give it to them one day as a memory. With everything that happened, it turned into a blog to keep those back home and relatives across the country, informed on our adventures.
I used “Until Tomorrow” as my sign off…. until I became the first paid actor in the family. When that happened, lives were never the same and the world felt a cosmic shift. I’m sure you remember where you were when you saw me play the role of Bryant Zalenski in Supreme Justice with Judge Karen. From that point on, everyone else compared to my stature in life were simply “little people”.
It became an entertaining way of creating an alter ego that has an incredibly inflated view of his self-worth. The book is full of sarcasm, blunt opinions, and self-deprecating humor and I felt this just topped it off.
What is the main message you’d like readers to take away?
The stereotypical answer would be to give life a shot, take a chance, swing for the fences, etc.
The more I wrote it, the more I read it, and especially during the editing process, I came to understand it’s deeper than that. It’s about the realization that at the end of the day, it’s about family.
It’s about trying to figure out your own life while giving advice to others about theirs. It’s realizing you don’t have all the answers,
that stepping outside your comfort zone never gets easier, just more rewarding.
It’s about facing whatever silent dreams you have – the dreams you don’t share with anyone – and creating your voice. I would never share my writing with anyone, but I always wanted to be a writer. Tough to do one without the other, so I found every excuse needed to keep it silent, but when I ran into Clerk 8 that first day at the post office in Los Angeles, I knew it was time to write and warn the world about her.
Truth be told, my mother, sister, wife, and kids were the ones that encouraged me to share my writing and it allowed me to give voice to that silent dream. I wrote most mornings and would judge the success on whether or not I could get my wife and kids to laugh. That was a great way to start the day…unless they didn’t laugh. Then there would be hell to pay.
Who do you think this book will appeal to most?
I think it hits from multiple levels depending on what you are looking for. For parents, it proves we are all crazy no matter how organized and together with others may seem. For young adults, it shows the path a couple of kids took that worked for them, but it is far from a How-To book. I hope it hits home with those just looking to have a laugh or two, those that want a book they can take to the beach, on vacation, or just forget about life for a bit.
My ultimate dream is to run into someone reading one of my books one day. That would bring this silent dream full circle.
Are they working on any projects?
Yes. Our son is currently working on proper hygiene techniques and our daughter is on a life-long journey to understanding why we clean our rooms.
Outside of that, our daughter is a rising junior and busy with school but is actively auditioning for some great roles. She filmed a movie that has yet to be released due to the pandemic, so we are waiting on the word when The Healer will be released. She seems to draw a certain type of character – she played Young Love in season 2 of You and (spoiler alert) killed someone and in this one, she tries to claim another victim. We couldn’t be prouder. Some are born to sing, while others are born to spread blood. We just got lucky I guess.
Our son just wrapped a movie coming out in November called 8-Bit Christmas with Neil Patrick Harris, Steve Zahn, and June Diane Raphael. Michael Dowse produced the film for Warner Brothers, and it was hilarious watching it get made so I am excited about the final product. He plays Timmy Keane, a spoiled little brat who whines whenever he doesn’t get what he wants. He’s been practicing for this role for fourteen years.
We spent three months together in Toronto while under complete lockdown and passed the time by going to the dog park on a daily basis. Sometimes twice. Nothing says “you made it” like standing in 30* weather watching dogs play with each other and none of them are your own. I told Chandler we should start carrying an empty leash and just stand there to freak people out. He talked me down.
He also stars in a short new film that is debuting at the Tokyo Film Festival called Piano Lessons. Great film and one of his first major projects, so it will always be special.
Do you have plans to write a sequel?
I have a couple of projects going on with writing, and yes, one is definitely a sequel to this book. So many incredible things took place since the end of the book, including dealing with the pandemic, that it only made sense to keep the story going. Whether it sees the light of day revolves around the success of this book, so it is really up to the people, the little people out there, to make me even more successful than I obviously am today…so I am begging you for your help dear reader. Support my Skecher habit by buying a book today. My feet will thank you.
For more information on Matt please visit: www.untiltomorrowlp.com