Actor, Writer, and Bullies Keep Out Supporter Michael Coleman (“Happy” Once Upon A Time)
Michael Coleman is best known for his role as Happy on the hit ABC show Once Upon a Time; however, Michael has played in other such memorable roles on popular shows such as Supernatural, Smallville, Fringe, SG-1, and Eureka.
Michael has also done voice-over actor work for several commercials for radio and television, and is an accomplished writer as well.
I recently had the great pleasure of connecting with Michael via social media to support Bullies Keep Out, which he was more than happy to do and offer whatever he can do to lend his voice.
It is my pleasure to introduce you to Michael and he voice on bullying both on and offline and his role on Once Upon a Time. I hope you enjoy getting to know Michael Coleman a bit more personally off-screen as I have. Michael will also be doing a PSA for Bullies Keep Out, so stay tuned.
Michael is also offering autographs for anybody who joins Bullies Keep Out Message of Love campaign, which you can find out about on the site under contests and challenges or email me directly. If that is not enough, he is also willing to do fan calls. You do not want to miss out on this, and to help spread awareness and love.
In the few chats I have had with Michael, I have found him to be not only humble, but honest, loving, caring, compassionate, and straightforward in discussing bullying. He is an awesome guy, and I am happy to have had the opportunity to do this interview with him and share it.
Dana Jacoviello: Besides acting what are some of your passions and hobbies you like to indulge in?
Michael Coleman: I love this question! I have many passions and hobbies. Fortunately my primal passion is telling stories and I get to do that literally every day as an actor and a writer. My daydreams and my realities blended nicely at an early age, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything other than my passions for a living. I am a big sports fan and play hockey as much as 5 times per week. I play all kinds of sports and rarely turn down an invitation for a competitive sweat. I am also in love with my two favorite roles all-time– Father and Husband. My wife, child and I often start the day with “Who wants to have an adventure?”, and we find new exciting ways to explore the world around us and build memories together. I also have an incredible circle of friends whom I adore and would do anything for, and we also like to have great adventures both locally and abroad.
DJ: What causes are you currently supporting and why did you decide to support and lend your voice to Bullies Keep Out?
MC: I think it is important for us all to keep one another in check. I am far from perfect myself, and I am a firm believer in love cures all things. We all make mistakes and many of us need to unlearn behaviors or habits we pick up along the way. I don’t believe anyone is born a bully or wants to do harm. The more we all talk about it, the better opportunity we all have to leave the world a better place than how we found it. If we all commit to this idea… I think there is hope for us all.
DJ: What do you think of the cyber-bullying situation on social media? Have you ever had this experience online on any of your accounts or people you know?
MC: This is all very new to me as I didn’t even know what Twitter was 3 years ago, and I think we are experiencing bumps along the way with this new paradigm of communication. When I grew up we never had a chance to glimpse into the lives of the celebrities or sports figures. I think this is a part of what makes all of this so fascinating. Many of us are in very new territory with fans and celebrities alike communicating with the click of a button. I think there is tremendous value in all of this that supersedes the downsides, but it is something we are all learning how to navigate. I think we all see the positives and negatives on a daily basis. It is both freeing and dangerous, this new world of interaction with all. It will take time for everyone to grasp. I know lots of celebrities who have already jumped into the Twitter pool and then out again as these blurred lines have caused more hurt feelings than positive. It will be interesting to see what this all looks like in a few years. I am not certain this is not a short-term experiment that looks completely different in the future in terms of how and what we communicate.
DJ: I have recently noticed a great deal of fandom bullying taking place with certain shows and with actors getting attacked. Some have even taken their Twitter down due to this issue. Why do you feel that celebrities or public figures get attacked for no reason online for what they say or do or their storyline?
MC: This is always unfortunate. I think public figures will always be subject to random attacks as there is an expectation in society that it is acceptable. It isn’t that different from going to a sporting event and heckling players on the field or ice, shouting hateful things to politicians at various events, personal YouTube videos of anyone… celebrity or not, etc. Truthfully, I am not sure why we have chosen to accept this as OK as a society. Again, I think all people really are good at heart but these are life skills we don’t have opportunities to develop in our currents systems. Celebrities are normal people in extraordinary circumstances. Their feelings and responses are no different from anyone else but their spotlight status creates interesting elevations to their ideas and opinions. I think the answer is as simple as “Be the change you wish to see in the world” and while we won’t get it right today or tomorrow, or commitment to making things better each day will be successful.
DJ: What words of wisdom would you give to someone being bullied online at any age? Would your advice be different for youth than adults?
MC: I have learned many lessons in my life the hard way. I will never profess to perfection at any stage of my life or career and believe we are all a “work in progress”. The advice I would give today is “love”. Love your bullies like you’d love your friends. We have opportunities to block, report, and ignore… anyone who hurts us. There is power in not giving air to their insults or hurtful words. I am certain smarter people than I will give better advice when needed and I would advise seeking out these professionals (counselors, therapists, spiritual leaders…) in any situation where you need to talk. I think a lot of us feel silly or perhaps even weak when we ask for help. I think it is always important to ask ourselves how we’d respond if someone came to us for support and how we’d feel. The answer with how your concerns will be met is usually found within that same answer.
DJ: What are some suggestions you would recommend for bullying outside of social media such as in schools and the workplace?
MC: The important thing is for us all to talk about it and to give it a voice. I have yet to meet anyone who has experienced a bully free existence at some point. As this is something we all share we need to remember to be ears for those who need us. I like what I am seeing even today versus how things were when I grew up in terms of how we discuss and educate the bullying idea. I have hope for us all. Maybe it’s the Dad in me with a 2-year-old daughter, but I have to believe the world wants to be a better place and we all want to be a part of the strategies that take us there.
DJ: Some say that it is not so much that it is more prevalent just more in the public eye, especially with technology. Would you say the bullying epidemic has gotten out of control, and do you feel not enough is being done about the situation?
MC: I think we simply talk about it more. I say this without knowing any of the stats but I know bullying was epic when I was a kid. We just didn’t speak of it as much and in fact considered an unfortunate part of growing up and learning how to survive in the world. I think I would agree that the technological advances we have made in recent years have placed a needed spotlight on the issue.
DJ: Do you believe bullying stems from the home and that parents need to be teaching their kids more about this subject? I for one believe that everybody in a bullying situation is a victim. Though a bully should have consequences for their actions, do you believe they should also provide them with help as well?
MC: I think we all take some responsibility. I do believe most life skills are initiated and developed in the home environment but our circles of friends, the media, and other areas of our lives all shape how we think and behave. I think the ONLY way to resolve bullying is through helping the bullies AND the victims. While I would not suggest consequences are not in order, I do not believe you solve anything through punishment alone. Without opportunities for education and personal growth you will only delay a bully from bullying again with punishments.
DJ: It is evident that Once Upon A Time provides a great deal of hope for many, and fans are so grateful and appreciative of the cast. Has being on Once Upon a Time changed you in the fact that the show has so much support and love from the fans, and have you ever experienced anything like this from any other roles?
MC: Before Once Upon a Time I didn’t know what Twitter was and I am glad to have been introduced. I have met few people who are more passionate about a story or group of individuals (cast, crew and fellow Oncers) and it is impressive. Even those who have not always agreed with what I’ve said have an enormous place in my heart and I love everyone I’ve met through this show. I have become friends with many of the cast and crew and seeing their incredible talents and humanity appreciated at the level it is always warms my heart.
DJ: Where can people find you on social media if they would like to connect with you, and do you have anything you wish you add?
MC: I am Michael Coleman on Facebook and @1MichaelColeman on Twitter… I have all of the other things too (Instagram, Flipstream, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Houzz…) but I am mostly found on Twitter or FB.
Written by Dana Jacoviello: Founder, Manager, Writer, Cyber Bully Investigator, Motivational Speaker/Coach/Mentor of Bullies Keep Out and Host of La Bella Vita Podcast