- Q&A session at StarTrek.com -


Robert Picardo
Answers Your Questions, Part Two

Click here for Part I of the interview.

We continue now with Part Two of our Robert Picardo interview:

Q: What do you find most challenging in directing?

RP: Keeping the overview in my head, which we don't have to do as actors. Once you've directed, you realize how your responsibilities as an actor on an ongoing series are really well defined. You might have a big role, you might have lots of dialog, but at least you're only responsible for yourself. When you direct you have to have examined every scene in the material enough so that you really have answers for everyone's questions, no matter what department the questions come from. It can be the wardrobe department or the lighting and camera department, it can be from the actors. You have to have answers for everything. I have thought harder in preparing to direct than I have thought in anything else I've done since becoming an actor. The only thing I would liken it to is to playing a major role on stage when you have huge demands, like when you're in the last couple of days teching the show before your first preview. I know I've had that much on my mind then too.

Q: Will you be, or are you in negotiation to return to the theatre after Voyager is over?
Samantha B

RP: I am anxious to do that, but I have no plans at the moment for a specific role or theater to work in. But I'm very anxious to do that and I have a couple of ideas about how to do it.

Q: I'm aspiring to be an actor when I get older or grow up. I'm in high school and taking acting classes. I'd like to know if you'd have any advice for an aspiring actor?
Morgan S.

RP: Check your fly before you go on stage! If you're thinking of choosing to do it as a career, you have to really want it a lot. A career is a long stretch and you will have your commitment tried over and over again, so you have to really want to do it. Theater actress Estelle Parsons (she also won an Academy Award for "Bonnie and Clyde") gave a seminar that I went to when I was studying acting and she said, "The advice that I give young actors is if you can do anything else and be happy, do that. But if you have to do this, then do it."

How do you think the series should end?
Crystal J.

I think there should be a tremendous emotional buildup to us finally getting home and that there should be some terrible cost to it as well. I don't quite know what that means, but it should be a very exciting, highly dramatic moment when we finally burst through and get home. Which means we must need some sort of technology to make that final distance happen quickly, but with some sort of cost or repercussion. I don't know specifically what I mean, but it would heighten the drama. I know there have been all sorts of rumors about some crew members being killed. I don't know anything first hand about any of that, but I would be very sad if we lost any of our crewmembers. I, of course, can't be killed, only deleted.

Q: Before you played the Doctor were you a Trekkie?
Lori H.

RP: No, not at all. But my wife was, so I often get let off the hook by fans when I tell them that I at least had the good sense to marry a Trekkie.

Q: If Voyager makes it back to the Alpha Quadrant, what do you think will happen to the Doctor's program?
Bobby L.

RP: I'm hoping he'll get a talk show.

Q: I wanted to know what your greatest accomplishment was during the filming of Voyager?

RP: I would say the last show I directed ("One Small Step") just because it was technically difficult. I would consider that the biggest challenge I had, so in that respect, since it turned out well I would consider that my greatest accomplishment.

Q: What was your overall opinion on last season's "Virtuoso," where you were a famous singer for an alien race?
Karim, Canada

I had trouble with that script. As much fun as it was to make, and as much as I enjoyed the singing aspect, I found it hard to believe that the Doctor would turn his back on all of his friends for what was basically to gratify his ego. I had trouble with that story and I think it turned out pretty well, but it still didn't quite work for me. I attacked it with as much thought and effort as anything I do here, but it was a tough one to justify.

Q: After seven years with one show/character, will you be interested in going into another TV series next year, or will you be looking for shorter, more varied projects?

RP: I would think shorter, more varied projects. However, the caveat is always if another series role comes along with good writing and seems like an interesting and challenging character, then I enjoy working regularly.

Q: Do you get paid enough?
Patricia W.

RP: Yes. Now, I have a question for the readers to fill in the blank: Midwest farmer's daughters really make holodocs [blank].

[Robert is then called to the set.]

STARTREK.COM: Thank you very much.

RP: Thank you. I'm happy to do it again some time.

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