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Ex-Goffstown resident's work pays off with part on '30 Rock'

Union Leader Correspondent

March 20. 2012 8:28PM


GOFFSTOWN - Matthew Porter is living proof that with hard work, a dream can become reality.

The former Goffstown resident and graduate of Trinity High School is an aspiring actor, and will appear Thursday night on the NBC hit show '30 Rock,' which stars Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Jane Krakowski and Tracy Morgan.

Because he appeared briefly in last week's episode, it's considered a 'recurring role,' and Porter said he is excited to see his hard work pay off.

The show is loosely based on Fey's experience as a head writer on 'Saturday Night Live,' and Porter has worked on the show since 2008, serving as a stand-in for Alec Baldwin.

He describes the set as a lot of fun.

'As a comedy, there is inherent laughter in all of the scenes,' Porter said, 'and the cast and crew are fantastic.'

Porter was in middle school when he caught the acting bug, but said it wasn't until high school that he chose to pursue it as a career.

As a student, he was cast in local productions put on by the American Stage Festival, the former Notre Dame College's New Thalian Players and the Amherst School District, where he further honed his craft.

Starting out in community theater gave Porter some opportunities he may not have had otherwise, he said.

'It's a great way to get experience,' he said. 'I'm a big believer in paying your dues.'

Porter went on to study at New York University in one of its musical theater studios, Cap 21. A standard liberal arts curriculum was supplemented three days a week by acting, singing and dancing classes.

'We were pretty busy,' Porter said. 'It was great, it was a very concentrated environment.'

Porter went on to further his education in London, at the Royal Academy for Dramatic Arts, which was a significant departure from what he was doing in New York.

'It was all Shakespeare, all the time,' he recalled with a laugh, but it gave his acting further dimension.

Once back in the United States, Porter did what most struggling actors do - he took odd jobs to earn a living while continuing to look for acting jobs.

'You still have to pay your bills,' Porter said.

He landed the job on '30 Rock' after responding to a call from an online audition source, seeking a stand-in for Baldwin for season 3 of the show, and he's been there ever since.

'By and far, it's the best set in New York,' Porter said, adding that stand-ins get pulled from their regular duties for 'day player roles' every now and then.

'That means you work for the day, and you may have a line or two,' Porter said.

Porter said the job security the show provides is valuable, but more than that, he gets plenty of on-the-job training.

'It's a great job to have because you're working consistently,' he said, 'and my face isn't always on camera, but I get to be in that environment.'

Porter clearly admires '30 Rock' star Alec Baldwin, describing him as 'one of the most talented comedic actors of his generation.'

'The writing on the show is A-plus,' Porter said, 'and he just brings it to A-plus-plus.'

Porter said people perceive his job as a lot of glamour, and that reality shows have catapulted people to fame, but that isn't the case for most actors.

'It's a lot of hard work,' he said. 'It doesn't really happen that way.'

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