John Carrigan is an actor and martial arts instructor. John began his training in the martial arts in 1972 studying the Chinese martial arts as well as Karate and went on to become a 3rd Dan Karate black belt, also gaining rankings in several other martial arts along the way. John was a great follower of the legendary Bruce Lee so he went to the USA to seek out the original students of Master Lee, among those was Sifu Richard Bustillo.
John was accepted as a student under Sifu Bustillo and went on to become a Master Instructor with the IMB Academy of Los Angeles. John still practices the martial arts today running his own school in England teaching the art and philosophy of Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do.
John first got bitten by the acting bug in 1970 while still at school when he and some of his fellow pupils were chosen to be in a feature film called Melody, but it was not until 1982 that he began to pursue his second passion in earnest. John had put his martial skills to use by becoming a bodyguard to many celebrities and dignitaries, and it was after acting as security for the cast of the original Star Trek TV series that John was introduced to Star Trek’s creator Gene Roddenberry who inspired and advised him to Boldly Go and become an actor. Following Gene’s advice John tested for and won a place in a stunt team called The Stunt Action Service which led to years of touring Britain performing live stunt and stage shows.
During his time with the team John also began to study drama and eventually earned a coveted Equity card. He eventually left the team to concentrate on the big and small screen, appearing first in small walk on parts and stunt work, continuing onward and upward to leading film and TV roles in England and the US which has included acting in a remake of the classic Star Trek series and a co-starring role in a Western, where he also got to choreograph all the action.
Recently John has turned his hand to writing while furthering his acting work and martial arts career.
1) What inspired you to write The Other Side of Harry: A schizophrenic parent?
I was doing a signing at a convention, when a young man who was very over weight came up for an autograph and he was sweating, I looked up from my signing desk and smiled at him waiting for his name, when he exploded “I know you think I’m a fat geek ,It’s all right for you, your a martial arts expert and an actor who has been to “Hollywood”, But Iv’e had it hard” And he walked off. It really got to me and I just had to share my story somehow, to let people see that it does not matter what you are going through now, if you just hang on and don’t give in and work at your dreams, this time can pass and you can make an amazing life, I know because my terrible past with my Father nearly destroyed me and my family, but I fought those demons and became the person that poor guy sees today, I had to inspire people to know that if I did it, they can do it too.
2) Was it painful or cathartic to write such a personal story?
It was filled with so much pain to be honest. I had spent my growing years trying to re-invent myself and change from that terrified Boy with no self worth into who I am today, but in the two years it took me to write the book, I had to become who I used to be and re-live all those feelings and fears I have fought so hard to leave behind, it had to be that way to be a totally honest Book. It actually brought me so far down I often ended up in tears. But I also had to write the book to tell the incredible story of my Mother and Father, especially to show what an incredible person my Mother was, a real Hero in every sense of the word.
3) Where do the proceeds from the book go?
After the printing costs, the money goes to the mental health publishing company called “Chipmunka Publishing” they publish an incredible range of stuff, including inspirational stories, mental health and motivational Books.
4) What advice would you give to a family who suspects that a young person might be schizophrenic?
I would make sure that you do not just put your head in the sand and hope they grow out of it. So many young people self harm or starve themselves secretly and live in a world where they feel so cut off and alone, This can all be treated with with Love, understanding and the right professional help, but some of them who really do show signs of severe mental illness have to be closely watched and receive medication. These days there is not the stigma my Father and family went through, so please be open about it if you have worries and seek help, if left alone this illness can be tragic in so many ways.
5) Would you consider writing another book, either fiction or memoir, in the future?
I may put together a Book of Philosophical sayings that have helped me in the past and explain their meanings, I am thinking of calling it “So That’s what it means?”
6) How did you get started in acting?
In my troubled childhood, my only comfort in the sometimes terrible life we had to put up with due to my Father was “Star Trek” The original series that is and due to an amazing chain of events I got to go to Los Angeles and meet Gene Roddenberry. To cut a long story short (this is all in my Book) I sat in Gene’s office in Paramount as just a young fan and he asked me about my ambitions. It was stupid to say it, but it seemed right at the time, so I answered “I would like to sit in Captain Kirk’s chair.” Gene smiled and said “I can do that for you, but what are your life ambitions.” To that point my ambitions had all been just getting through the terrible life my family had lead, But I had always found escape in TV and Films, so I answered “I wish I could have been an actor” Gene looked at me with his big Blue eyes and said “Are you dead?” I said “No” so he continued “Why aren’t you and actor”? I said “I can’t act.” Gene put his hand on my shoulder saying the words that changed my life “If Man had only dreamed of walking on the Moon, but had never taken the steps to get there, we would still be earthbound, If you want to fly tomorrow you must flap your wings today, If you really want to be an actor, go and follow that dream, let today be that first step” I then went on an amazing tour of the “Star Trek” sets and sat in Captain Kirk’s chair. I went beck home to England a changed person, I went on to meet Gene several more times over the years and his inspiration continued….the rest is History.
7) What different roles have you played in the Star Trek universe?
Gene gave me a walk on role in the Next Generation but I got taken off the set due to not having a union card, so I won’t count that. But I played TOS “Klingon Captain Kargh” in Several episodes of “Star Trek phase II” I played two nasty ridge headed Klingons in “Star Trek Of Gods And Men”, one of which keeps questioning “Chekov” till “Chekov” gets fed up and shoots him and last year I played two great roles in the pilot episode of “Star Trek Renegades” One was yet another ridge headed Klingon and the other was a “Starfleet Admiral”, it was a blast acting alongside such a great cast.
8) How well do you speak Klingon?
Well, to be honest,if it is in the script, I find out what it means and how to say it, but that is as far as it goes, Qa’Pla and all that, sorry, just an actor.
9) How well does your wife speak Klingon?
In ST Phase II “Kargh” and “Le’ak” speak English as they did in TOS, with just the odd klingon word (thank goodness) But as I am sure you know that when any wife gets annoyed with her husband she can shout what Must be Klingon!
10) Which incarnation of Trek is your favourite?
I grew up with TOS, so that is my “Star Trek”, but not the JJ Abrams version.
11) What has your experience been like in attending SciFi conventions?
I first attended many as a fan when I was young and I have since been a guest at many more. It was strange for me to get used to being in front of the crown and not just a part of it, I love the passion of the fans and always feel very grateful at the affection shown to actors, it makes our job worthwhile to see the smiles and passion in the faces of the fans (I am still a fan at heart myself.)
12) Is there a big difference between fans in the UK, fans in the US, and fans in other countries?
Not really, just maybe the fans over here in the UK are a little bit more reserved, but every country has it’s fans from hell (you know who I mean) we love them but …Boy…These days it’s cool to be a geek, I am proud to be a geek, you would be surprised to see just how many actors really are geek’s at Heart. I think it is wonderful how fans of so many series, films and comics just get along at conventions, if only all humans could be that way.
13) What’s the silliest argument or conflict you’ve ever heard between two science fiction fans?
I actully heard two Doctor Who fans discussing how does the Doctor flush his toilet, does it mean that Who poo is scattered all through time and space (Crazy or what)
14) What kind of Martial Arts do you practice?
I practice Bruce Lee’s Martial Art of Jeet Kune do, I have been training for 42 years now and hold a Master instructorship in Bruce Lees art with the IMB Academy Of Los Angeles”
15) How did you get involved in Humber City?
The Director/Writer of “Humber City” saw me in “Star Trek phase II” and thought I would be right for the part.
16) What kind of character do you play in Humber City?
I have the leading role of DCI James McGavin, he is the head of the police squad and is a driven man with a lot of darkness inside of him, it is a great gritty role to play.
17) Can we see a clip?
If you log onto the indigogo “Humber Humber City” funding drive page you can see some promo clips which have been specially put together. http://igg.me/at/humbercity
18) What kind of perks can fans find in Humber City’s crowdfunding campaign?
There’s quite a few perks one can receive in exchange for a donation including Desktop Wallpaper of the Concept Art, Digital Downloads of the Series when production is complete, Pre-order the series on DVD or BluRay. Plus even special perks including seeing Simon Fisher-Becker (Dorium Maldovar from Doctor Who) live in show and dinner with the man before hand or a walk on role in a scene with Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones, Torchwood) and J Alexandra Marriott or the entire scripts for the series written by Peter Goundrill: bound and printed in a special book. Or for Star Trek fans there are a limited number of signed Tim Russ photos. These are just some of the perks.
19) How soon until we get to see a complete episode?
It all depends on the funding drive, we really want to get this series underway, so please support us in anyway you can, please donate or just spread the word, it really will be a great series.
20) Who shot first, Han or Greedo?
I think Han shot first, but if JJ Abrams re booted it now he has Star Wars, I think he would have Greedo shooting Han and running off with the Wookie hand in hand, we know how true to Cannon JJ is….NOT.
Very awesome article. I really liked this.
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