Washington C.H. native and Wilmington College alumnus Michael Camp’s acting career will observe a significant milestone Friday, Feb.22 when he appears in the popular CBS television crime drama, “Hawaii Five-O.”
He is cast as a “bad guy” alongside Michael Ironside (“Top Gun” and “Total Recall”) and Ultimate Fighting Champion Tyron Woodley in the modern iteration of the classic 1970s police series, a la “Book ‘em, Danno!” CBS is airing back-to-back episodes beginning at 9 p.m. Friday, with Camp’s appearance slated on the 10 p.m. show.
Camp’s experience with acting goes back to 2011 and his days at Wilmington College when he had a supporting role in the independent film, “The Pledge.” Bitten by the acting bug and having visions of making it big in Hollywood, he blindly pursued the often-elusive profession in Los Angeles soon after graduating from WC in 2011.
But, the harsh glow of reality quickly sank in.
“I was young and naïve,” he said. “I didn’t really understand the industry, so I left and came home.”
Home was Washington Court House, where he is a 2007 graduate of Washington High School.
After WC, Camp decided to join the U.S. Navy and was stationed in Hawaii. He was assigned to shore duty in 2017 and — “even though it scared me to death” — decided to pursue acting again.
“Acting was the one thing I couldn’t go a single day without thinking about, so I went for it,” he added, noting that, with trepidation, he began taking acting classes in his leisure time. “There, I met some amazing friends/artists, who continue to push me today.”
Camp hired an agent and, over time, built a good relationship with casting directors in the Hawaiian film market. “They bring me in a lot for TV and film auditions. I have some independent film roles backing me, so (“Hawaii Five-O”) gave me an audition and I booked.”
Camp studied criminal justice at WC and fondly recalls Dr. Joyce Dozier and the “lifelong impact” she’s had upon him. He sees his College experience as helping prepare him in a unique way for acting.
“There’s a big maturity curve for most individuals during four years in college,” he said. “I’ve always been a huge people watcher, so being around so many people from different cultures and backgrounds — and the different emotions they carry with them — was a great life experience that helped prepare me for acting.”
Camp admitted he hasn’t thought much about his upcoming prime time television appearance, as he’s busy with other acting work and looking to the future. He is currently in the filming stage of a pair of feature films, Higher and 20 Seconds, in which he’s cast as the lead character.
His short film, “Dillon” (2018) — he’s writer, director and an actor — recently won Best Film at the Worldwide Women’s Film Festival and will be featured at the upcoming Pasadena International Film Festival/North Hollywood Cinefest in Los Angeles, which he will attend.
The film recounts the story of a young couple that loses its son and a mournful father who must reconcile with his sanity to save his marriage.
He is “shopping around” another original film script.
Also, Camp stars in a feature film coming this fall with Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino (Woody Allen’s “Mighty Aphrodite”, 1995) and John Savage (“Deer Hunter”, “Godfather III”).
“If anything, ‘Hawaii Five-O’ is another stepping stone,” he said. “I’m very thankful to have been part of the show, but I’m always looking at the future. Getting caught up with the past won’t get me to my goals.”
Camp finishes his military service in early 2020 and plans to move to Los Angeles to pursue acting and film as his full-time career — he’ll go into that Hollywood venture wiser and with a portfolio of acting, writing and directing experience. For he has ambitious goals.
“I want my name to be mentioned next to the greats one day,” he said. “I have a long road to travel to get there, but that doesn’t scare me. I’m doing this for a lot more people than just myself and, when you have a reason to succeed for something outside yourself, it’s really hard to fail.
“I’m keeping that mindset heading into L.A.”