ByRebecca Raymer, writer at Creators.co
I am a writer and director. #WomenInFilm #WomenDirect
Rebecca Raymer

Major Dodson is only 12 years old, but already has a rapidly ascending acting career. He is currently playing the part of Sam, Jessie's youngest son, on The Walking Dead. A role in the wildly successful AMC series is a long way from one of his earliest roles in a collage student's short, Alfred Thinks We're Aliens. He played a kid whose parents were getting divorced, and he was "pretty darn cute."

"Pretty darn cute," indeed! (Jen Dodson)
"Pretty darn cute," indeed! (Jen Dodson)

He may not have known it at the time, but that role likely prepared him for his work on TWD. At Walker Stalker Con, Major participated in a panel called "Dysfunctional Family" with fellow Alexandrians Corey Brill (who played Pete, Sam's father), and Alexandra Breckenridge (Jessie). On the show, Pete is an abusive alcoholic husband and father. Jessie and their two boys have to cope with those difficult family dynamics ON TOP of the zombie apocalypse.

Major's real life parents did an excellent job naming him, as "Major Dodson" has the distinct ring of fame and prosperity. Originally from Dallas, Major lives with his family in Houston. Since The Walking Dead shoots primarily in Georgia, Major does a lot of traveling. Although he attended traditional school when he was younger, it became almost impossible as his fame and acting work load grew. He has been homeschooled for several years now.

Major goofing off! (Jen Dodson)
Major goofing off! (Jen Dodson)

In fact, one the pastimes when things are slow on set is school work, and there is even a designated trailer for the purpose of facilitating education. Socializing also happens a lot during down time. Major says that once an actor is part of the show, the rest of the cast and crew "basically adopt you." This reinforces the reputation those part of The Walking Dead have for treating each other and fans of the show exceptionally well.

Before The Walking Dead, Major had the role of Corey Bachman on American Horror Story. Since he is so young, and that particular show is even more intense and disturbing (in my opinion) than TWD, Major explained the care taken to prepare him for scenes. In addition to meeting the actors and getting to know them outside of their formidable characters, Major was able to observe the process of their makeup transition. In one particularly unsettling scene, he never even actually saw the severed head as it appeared on the episode.

Not that there wasn't a lot of excitement on the set of American Horror Story. Once during a scene filmed in the woods near Louisiana swamp land, he came uncomfortably close to a giant rattlesnake that was nesting in the bushes. When the snake was discovered, the set was cleared, and professional snake handlers were called in to manage the situation. It was all actually more frightening afterward, when everyone saw photos of the deadly creature that had been lurking so close by.

These days, Major only has zombies to fear, at least as his character on The Walking Dead. When asked if Sam was afraid of Carol, Major explained he did not think so - he felt comfortable around her. He also addressed one of the questions most frequently asked of him: what is his favorite kind of cookie? Even at such a young age, Major knows what he wants: moist and gooey chocolate chip cookies with mini M&Ms.

Major loves Nintendo AND cookies. (Jen Dodson)
Major loves Nintendo AND cookies. (Jen Dodson)

As for adulthood, Major would like to continue his acting career, and is also interested in some day dabbling in directing. He really enjoyed making his own films when he was younger, using a little camera. Going by his current success rate, achieving director status sometime in the future is highly probably for this bright and talented young man.

Major behind the camera. (Jen Dodson)
Major behind the camera. (Jen Dodson)

You can check out Major's talent for yourself in seasons five and six of The Walking Dead on AMC.

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