Get your own lullabye!

May 31st, 2016

Hi everyone,

We’re half way through our Kickstarter campaign and it’s time to give it a little boost, so here’s the deal:

Anyone that pledges or increases their existing pledge in the next 24 hours or so (we’ll give you til 8pm on Wednesday June 1), you’ll get your own personalized lullaby by yours truly.  Check out the video to learn more!

SUNDOWN Lullabye Video from Brendan Boogie on Vimeo.

Crew Conversation – Producer Sally Northrop

May 30th, 2016

Continuing my series of conversations with the cast and the crew behind SUNDOWN, we meet the engine behind the whole operation, producer Sally Northrop:

 

Sally is a veteran of indie films, including Fat and The Mayor of Rock & Roll.  We talked about what producing is all about and how she hates being interviewed:

Brendan:  So these little conversations are meant to be informal and back and forth, so it’s not like an “interview.”  

Sally:  Good, because I suck at being interviewed!

Brendan:  You don’t like the spotlight very much, do you?

Sally:  It makes me very uncomfortable – I’d rather blend. I think the worst day was my wedding day actually because it’s pretty hard to try to blend when you are wearing a white dress and are the focal point of the day.  Which is why we had a very small wedding.

Brendan:  Well, I think you deserve a little time in the spotlight because this movie would not be possible without all you do.

Sally:  That’s very sweet of you to say.  I like to think of myself as the person who makes sure everything is organized and in place so that the people who do the hard work can focus on their creative process and not be distracted by anything else.

Brendan:  You do a great job of it.  What got you into producing movies?

Sally:  I had produced television up until I started having my kids and then I took a step back to focus on being a mom. When the kids started getting older and I knew I wanted to phase back into working, I liked the idea of a film because it was a chunk of time working and then there was a break – so it didn’t feel like an overwhelming commitment to one thing.  And then I met the wonderful Mark Phinney  who made working on film so fun, and such a great environment and I was basically hooked.

Brendan:  What TV did you work on?

Sally:  I produced shows for PBS.  Funnily enough, I sort of got put in the cooking show niche. I produced Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito, a cooking show for Todd English of Olives, and one of the very first cooking shows for the Food Network when it was just getting started.  We shot 65 shows in 10 days…pretty high stress. I also did news producing in NH and Maine.

Brendan:  It’s funny – I never got into the cooking show thing.  At the end of the day, it bothers me that I can’t taste the food.

Sally:  I honestly never watched any of the shows I produced once I had finished editing them.  It’s not like I was passionate about cooking either.  It was just where the work took me. I will say working on the Todd English show was pretty great.  He made the crew amazing food so that was fun. And the people were great.

Brendan:  What drew you to this project?

Sally:  Well, I had a great time working with you on THE MAYOR OF ROCK & ROLL.  To be honest, my top criteria for any job I take is the people that will be part of the project. But also, having lost my own dad a few years ago, and having experienced what that loss does to a family firsthand (although our situation did not involve dementia) I really related to the material. I recognized my own family in the Shea family and I really wanted to help bring this story to life because I think it is something that many people will relate to.

Brendan:  I hope so.

Sally:  When you were writing SUNDOWN I imagine that you had a  vision of who the Shea family was. I’m wondering how close did we get to that image in our casting?

Brendan:  Good question.  I always think I have an idea of what each character is like, but then the actors bring something different to it that I end up liking more.  The characters on the page can only have so many dimensions until a real person brings them to life.  How do you think we did with casting?

Sally:  I think we killed it! I was fortunate enough to work with Grayson on my last project, and when I first read SUNDOWN he kept popping into my head reading Dewey’s lines.  Which is funny because the character he played in the last project is nothing like Dewey so I can’t really explain it. I think what I love most about the actors we cast as the Shea family is that I can really see them as a family.  There are even physical traits that they have that I think really link them together in a believable way.

Brendan:  Yeah, it was like we lucked into this family that sort of looks alike.  And they’re all great!

Sally:  Are you excited to direct? Is the excitement outweighing nervousness?

Brendan:  I’m mostly nervous about the Kickstarter.  I’m good at being nervous at one thing at a time.

Sally:  That’s a good plan. As my dad always said: “inch by inch life’s a cinch.”  I try to remember that so that I’m not overwhelmed.

Brendan:  That’s good.  Whenever I got too stressed about anything, my dad used to say “You know it’s all bullshit, right?”  I actually mentioned that in his eulogy.  The priests were less than thrilled.

Sally:  I love that! My dad had three girls who he was trying to raise into proper ladies, so unfortunately we weren’t privy to a lot of swearing.

Brendan:  My dad was Irish, so all bets were off.

Sally:  That sounds so fun!  Anyway, it is truly an honor to have been asked to be part of this project and to be trusted to help bring something that is so personal to you to life. I am looking forward to July and seeing our incredible cast and crew working together to make SUNDOWN a great film.

Brendan:  See?  You’re not bad at interviews at all!

Sally:  That’s because I’m hiding behind my computer and not on camera.

Help Sally and the rest of the SUNDOWN team make it all happen by backing the Kickstarter.

 

Cast conversaion: Nick Chambers as Todd

May 27th, 2016

We’re stoked to have Boston area standup comic extraordinaire Nick Chambers as the put-upon Shea family in-law Todd.

You may have heard Nick‘s jokes on the radio on your morning commute or been lucky enough to partake his genius Fake Song Fridays series.   I recently got the elusive Mr. Chambers to go on the record for a little chat:

Brendan:  This is exciting, isn’t it? Being on the record?

Nick:  Yes! I’m the Zodiac Killer!  Oops…

Brendan:  Wow. I did not expect this conversation to go there this quickly.  I figured we’d eventually get there.  But you came right out with it, huh?

Nick:  Feels so good to get that off my chest, man.

Brendan:  I think a lot of people know you as a stand up comic, but this role isn’t a comedy role. Is that weird?

Nick:  Not for me. As much as I love comedy, it’s almost more fun to be the straight man. And I notice in my stand up, I’m starting to add more serious moments where the audience is just quiet for a while.

Brendan:  When we met, we were working on a movie where there were a lot of serious elements as well as the comedy. I definitely am trying to bring both with this project because humor is the main way a lot of people deal with heaviness.

Nick:  I definitely see that. I don’t know how I would handle most things if humor wasn’t involved somehow. And I worked in the mental health field for a few years and being able to joke around with people was really helpful.

Brendan:  What do you think some of the challenges are going to be for you playing Todd?

Nick:  I feel like I’m a really immature person. Playing a father who is trying to be supportive while his wife and her family go through this major change in their life is way more adult than I would be ready for in real life.

Brendan:  What’s the most immature thing you did today?

Nick:  Watched Punky Brewster.

Brendan:  I had a big Soleil Moon Frye thing for a while. Remember when she reappeared as a teenager on The Wonder Years?  She took her sweater off in a boat or something.  And suddenly, I realized I was in full on puberty.  (Editor’s note:  Upon further research, she was in a boat but it was a polo shirt that she almost took off when Kevin Arnold got flustered and fell in the water.)

Nick:  I don’t remember that.  I remember her showing up on Sabrina the Teenage Witch though.

Brendan:  That was past my time. But back to SUNDOWN – I thought of you for Todd because even though he spends a lot of time getting shit on by the family, I think there’s a quiet upstanding decency to him.  He may have no idea what to do, but he’s trying, you know?

Nick:  Thanks!  It’s good to know I was successful in tricking you into thinking I’m upstanding in any kind of way.   So how did this script come about for you?

Brendan:  Ironically enough, it started out as a biopic about the Zodiac killer and somehow morphed into this.

Nick:  If you ever decide to return to the original story, let me know if you need a consultant.  

Help bring Nick to justice by supporting the SUNDOWN Kickstarter page.

Cast conversation: Lamont Price as Needle

May 25th, 2016

Here’s another conversation I had with a SUNDOWN cast member.  Needle, degenerate gambler and the world’s least effective 12-step sponsor will be brought to life by comedy living legend Lamont Price:

Lamont is one of Boston’s funniest comics, recently named one of Comedy Central’s “Comics to Watch.”  I talked to Lamont about the role of Needle and his probable next role in a Spielberg blockbuster:

Brendan:  Before we talk about the movie, tell me about your experience working with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

Lamont:  That was a lot of fun. I got called and booked literally the night before shooting. I went up to NH early the next morning and sat in a conference room for 6 hours til we shot.   It wasn’t as bad as it sounds. Robert Smigel showed up, had some instructions about the sketch but gave me no script. Just trusted I could do the job. Two takes later we were done.

Brendan:  I’m a Conan freak, so I don’t know if I handle working with anyone or thing so closely associated with that show.  I would lose my shit.

Lamont:  Getting to work with an icon is great for sure.

Brendan:  What was your first reaction when you read the role of Needle?

Lamont:  He seems like the hilarious enabler type only looking out for his personal interests.  I know a lot of people like that. My first thought was he reminded me of when I saw a guy at my gym barking out instructions to people working out while he was just standing there eating chicken wings. It’s emblazoned in my memory.

Brendan:  That’s amazing.  What’s your strategy in bringing Needle to life?

Needle:  Just gonna try and channel people I’ve met in my life that have been the type and bring an element of self into the role. A character you’re familiar with but are intrigued by.

Brendan:  Even though you play a comedic role, this is also a serious movie.  What’s your next role for serious acting?

Lamont:  Jurassic World 2.

Brendan:  I hear you play a very serious pterodactyl in that one.  What are you most looking forward to in the SUNDOWN?

Lamont:  Craft services.

Brendan:  What size of production do you think you’re dealing with?  So you’ve got a big event coming up with the Boston Calling festival running May 28th and 29th.  Fill the people in on that.

Lamont:  It’s the fastest growing music Festival in the country right now looking to expand with a comedy stage. The guys asked me if I’d like to produce/be the face of said stage and I jumped at the opportunity. Should be a crazy weekend.

After checking out Lamont and the other great comics at the Boston Calling comedy stage, be sure to stop by the SUNDOWN Kickstarter page and help make our movie a reality!

Cast Conversation: Anna Rizzo as Chelsea

May 24th, 2016

The cavalcade of cast members continues as we meet Anna Rizzo who plays Chelsea, a free-wheeling gambler full of secret grief:

Anna is an actor, singer, and songwriter with an impressive body of film work.  We chatted about her character and how acting is like being a little crazy: 

Brendan:  What has your experience been like so far with the pre-production of this movie?

Anna:  It’s been fantastic. Just even reading the sides for the auditions, I could tell it was something exciting. And the first time I read the script I was quite literally buzzing with excitement afterwards!

Brendan:  I thought I heard a buzzing. That was you?

Anna:  Probably.  It’s just the best feeling to read a really good script that speaks to you.

Brendan:  We’ll have to work on the buzzing before shooting starts.

Anna:  Yeah – the sound person will hate that.

Brendan:  What do you like about Chelsea?

Anna:  I like how uniquely herself she is. I think there’s a part of her that feels numb, so she’s always looking for stimulation and a new adrenaline hit to fight that feeling. And while inside she might feel pain or numbness, from the outside she feels so alive.

Brendan:  Yeah, it’s funny – I think Chelsea in a lot of ways is the most mysterious character in the film. It’s awesome how open you’ve been to pouring your real self into her.

Anna:  She is mysterious. But there was also so much to her, that I when I read the script I felt like I had a strong sense of the parts of her that weren’t specified in the script. I felt like I knew who she was right away.

Brendan:  I think once you did the read through, it helped fill in the gaps of Chelsea in my brain. And you indulging my weird phone calls about your deepest darkest secrets has certainly been helpful too.  Has that been strange?

Anna:  Maybe a little bit – but so much of acting is very strange to the casual observer. I always joke that if it wasn’t a recognized form of art and expression, then we’d probably just be labeled crazy and institutionalized.

Brendan:  It still might happen.

Anna:  Any day now really.

Brendan:  What do you like about being a crazy person… uh, I mean acting?

Anna:  I feel like it gives me an outlet to make sense of my crazy. It lets me take things I’ve experienced and either work through them or give voice to them in some new abstract world as a different person.

Brendan:  So it’s free therapy, basically.

Anna:  Definitely. And then other people watch it for some reason.  What are you most looking forward to with this film?

Brendan:  I’m excited by seeing what the actors bring to the characters. When I write, I have what I think are full versions of the characters in my head. But then when the actors start bringing them to life, I realize how full they can really become. That’s an exciting process.

Anna:  Actually, I feel a lot of the same. I feel like when I read a script, I’m forming a sense of each of the other characters, my character’s relationship to them, and who my person is. But then seeing what each person brings to their own character always takes what I initially came up with initially so much further. Just even being at the table read and seeing what everyone was beginning to bring to each role started to do that. I’m really excited to start rehearsing and going even further with it.  Basically that was a long winded way of saying: talented people help me act more good.

Brendan:  What’s important for the people reading this to know about you?

Anna:  That I’m simply fun crazy, and this interview was not a cry for help. No one need be concerned.

Brendan:  The ambulances will be by soon.

Anna:  I best go wait for them.

Give Anna the help she needs by supporting the SUNDOWN Kickstarter page!

Cast conversation: Caitlin Graham as Tracy

May 23rd, 2016

The team is honored to have Caitlin Graham on board the SUNDOWN train as Tracy, a mother trying to juggle her role as a wife and mother with the decline of her dad to dementia:

Caitlin is a Boston-based actor of stage and screen, including her own web series that she wrote and directed called No Method. I chatted with Caitlin about all things SUNDOWN:

Caitlin:  Let the ball-busting begin!  Always a great way to start an interview.

Brendan:  I’m glad you said it and not me.  So we’re very excited to have you playing Tracy!

Caitlin:  Aww, thanks! I can’t reiterate enough how excited I am to have been cast. You have no idea.  On just about every count. You guys were so smart and kind and communicative during the audition process. And the script is wonderful, which is incredibly rare. I feel so lucky.

Brendan:  Yeah, I’m usually good at first impressions. All downhill from here.

Caitlin:  Sounds fantastic.

Brendan:  What do you like about Tracy?

Caitlin:   That combination of someone who is incredibly strong and can take on so much but is also actively hurting all the time – because she never takes care of herself or what she needs – is really appealing to me.  And I relate to it a lot. I was in a production of Chekhov’s Three Sisters almost a year ago, and I played Olga, the oldest sister. And she’s the perfect prototype of that. It’s been a common thread in a lot of the characters I’ve played.  After this, I’ll have to play a complete hedonist.

Brendan:  I get compared to Chekov a lot.  And by that, I mean I’ve been in a lot of police  lineups with well-known neighborhood pickpocket Vladimir “Some Fingers” Chekov.  We look a lot alike, apparently.

Caitlin:  Some Fingers. I’m intrigued.

Brendan:  I am really intrigued with the “dark side” of being a generous person. In earlier drafts, Tracy wasn’t nearly as prominent but when I started to get to know the family, her story became more and more interesting to me.

Caitlin:  I’m glad it did!  I feel like characters like the ones I’ve mentioned can often be seen as archetypes and nothing more, and we don’t really delve into the pain underneath it.

Brendan:  That’s one thing we’re definitely going for in this one – fully realized characters.

Caitlin:  I’ve been most impressed with how the mother and the father are written.

Brendan:  Well, I had good ones.

Caitlin:  I’m sure you’ve already heard this from the actors, but how often do actors in that age range get to play truly well-rounded, funny, vulnerable, intellectually badass characters?  Sadly, it’s incredibly rare.

Brendan:  What are some of the favorite characters you’ve gotten to play?

Caitlin:  Olga was definitely a favorite.   A few years back, when I was in New York, I was a part of this amazing short film based on the Abu Ghraib scandal, and played a war prison interrogator. I got to be really vicious in these interrogation scenes, and also have these scenes in private where I break down under the weight of it all.  I love opportunities to explore both the public and private sides of characters. I think that’s a sign of excellent writing, when that element is there. (P.S. Shout out to Langston Kahn, who made that film. It’s called Bad Apples. It’s amazing.)

Brendan:  I never said you could do shout outs.  I have a strict “no shout out” policy.

Caitlin:  Okay. I’ll go back to my actor hovel now.

Brendan:  What are you most looking forward to about shooting this summer?

Caitlin:  Oh God, everything! I think this is my first time playing a major role in a feature, which is incredible. It’s my first film project since moving back to Boston. I’m thrilled to be inducted into the Boston indie community. More than anything, I’m excited to work with your crew. Everybody in the audition room was a joy. I don’t say that often. I’m a giant misanthrope.  What are *you* most looking forward to?

Brendan:  Probably the “haze the new member of the Boston indie community” rituals.  Those are always fun.

Caitlin:  I hope it involves whiskey and nudity.  Not necessarily in that order.

Help Caitlin and the rest of the SUNDOWN crew make this film a reality by visiting our Kickstarter page.

Cast conversation: Paul Kandarian as Solomon

May 21st, 2016

The SUNDOWN casting conversations continue as we are thrilled to introduce you to our Solomon – the brilliant intellectual struggling as his greatest gifts slip away – played by Paul Kandarian:

Paul is a veteran actor and writer based in the Boston area.  He writes about his most recent project “Four Legs to Stand On” in this Globe article, which I highly recommend reading.  I chatted with Paul about the challenges of playing Solomon: 

Paul:  Are there parts of your dad you see in the character of Solomon?

Brendan:  Yeah, I think so.  Certainly my dad was a brilliant guy and great wit but was also a bit of a rascal. He always sort of did everything with a wink. I think of Solomon as a little crustier than my dad was.  Is it intimidating to play someone with dementia?

Paul:  No, I don’t think so.  I mean, there’s so much of it around us.  I’ve seen it up close and sadly personal.  As an actor, you absorb what you need from real life and tool it to make the character real, right?

Brendan:  We’re definitely going for reality.

Paul:  I love challenging roles, and this certainly is one.

Brendan:  What have been some of the more challenging roles you’ve played?

Paul:  A serial killer in a web series.  Rev. Shannon in Night of the Iguana.   Vanya in Uncle Vanya.  I love complex, multi-layered souls.  There’s a richness to them that makes them challenging to portray and satisfying when you do it right.

Brendan:  You were in Night of the Iguana? I named my production company and my band after a line from that play.

Paul.  I LOVED that play – had a blast. I’ve never been in anything so physically and emotionally draining.  What was the line?

Brendan:  “Broken gates between people so they can reach each other, even if it’s for one night only…”

Paul:  Nice.

Brendan:  What do you like about the character of Solomon?

Paul:  His acerbic attitude, his feistiness, his thought processes, his love of language and using it bluntly.  And the bond with his son.  My son and I have the same relationship.  We love each other immensely and show it by insulting each other and busting balls.

Brendan:  It has been very cool in the early stages to see you and Grayson (who plays Dewey) play off each other.

Paul:  Yeah, he’s a good kid.  And tall like my son!  I did feel that chemistry, so this will be good.

Brendan:  What are you most looking forward to in shooting the film?

Paul:  Tough question.  Again, the challenge of bringing Solomon to life. I think I am a lot like him – the sharp wit, no-bullshit attitude, straightforwardness.  So playing a guy who sees that melting away from him with the right amount of fear and confusion and maybe regret….that I look forward to.  And of course working with you and everyone else!  I didn’t have to say that – I honestly mean it!   I love this group.  I think we’ll jell nicely.

Brendan:  Yeah, it’s a pretty good group. No assholes so far. Wait… does that mean I’m the asshole?

Paul:  Yeah, that’s the conventional thinking.

Help Paul and the rest of the SUNDOWN team make this movie a reality by supporting our Kickstarter.

Cast conversation: Zele Avradopoulos as Clara

May 19th, 2016

We are thrilled to welcome Zele Avradopoulos to SUNDOWN as the role of the family matriarch juggling her high-achieving professorial career with the decline of her partner Clara Gregg-Shea!

Zele is a veteran of the screen, from commercials to indies to big budget features. I chatted with Zele about acting challenges, Irish Catholic guilt, and her big fight scene with Kevin James in PAUL BLART: MALL COP.

Brendan: I have one question about your role in PAUL BLART: MALL COP. Who is more handsome in person – me or Kevin James?

Zele: Definitely Kevin James.

Brendan:I knew it!

Zele:  It was my first feature day player role and I couldn’t have asked for a more positive experience. Did you know that Kevin James is actually quite shy? He is a gentleman, was wonderful to work with, and I can’t believe 8 years have passed since that scene.

Brendan: Do people recognize you from it?

Zele: People who know me from the past and see the film recognize me. But strangers on the street? No. I still get high school acquaintances contacting me. It’s fun.

Brendan: I was thinking of changing the name of this movie to PAUL BLART: SUNDOWN just to see if we could capitalize on your crossover appeal. Either that or STAR WARS EPISODE 8: SUNDOWN. That might be a little misleading, though.

Zele: Unless we get some light sabers and robots.

Brendan: True! I’ll run it by the lawyers. (I have no lawyers.) So what is it that you like about Clara?

Zele: Clara is an intelligent woman in a difficult situation trying to handle things as best she can. What I like most about her is she isn’t a victim. She uses her humor and has distinct relationships with her family.

Brendan: As I was writing drafts, I got more and more interested in what she must be going through. I’ve had the experience of losing a parent to dementia, but my loss pales in comparison to losing a partner.

Zele: What was the tipping point that got you to start writing this script?

Brendan: It’s been a long process and it’s been through many drafts. I started while my dad was still alive and as he deteriorated, I learned more and more about what a family goes through, so it informed the story. I think that’s why the character of Clara came more and more to the forefront – watching my mom lose her partner and best friend.

Zele: It’s what Clara doesn’t say that I find exciting. And you’ve written a script allowing us to explore. Some inexperienced writers tend to explain too much, thus not trusting the actor. You haven’t done that. Your script has so many layers which is another reason why I am so excited. How’s that for kissing your butt?

Brendan: Yes, I’m very unfamiliar with this level of appreciation. My Irish Catholic upbringing makes me suspect something horrible is about to happen.

Zele: Don’t worry- my Greek Orthodox background will make sure there is no ‘evil eye’!

Brendan: What do you think are going to be the biggest challenges of playing Clara?

Zele: Finding all her levels. Being three-dimensional. Honesty. I don’t want her to be cliche.

Brendan: All the conversations I’ve had with the actors have been about exactly that – how to keep the characters as real and grounded and honest as possible.

Zele: I don’t want to be an ‘ACTOR”. So many directors have wanted over-the-top in the past and it just doesn’t work for TV & film. OK, maybe Mel Brooks but that’s it.

Brendan: And PAUL BLART: MALL COP. Which – I confess – I’ve never actually seen. Is the first or the second one where he gets kicked by a horse?

Zele: He gets kicked by a horse? That must be the second one.

Help Zele and the rest of the SUNDOWN team by supporting the movie at our Kickstarter page.

Cast conversation: Grayson Powell as Dewey

May 17th, 2016

It’s time to learn more about our SUNDOWN cast and crew.  First up, the role of Dewey Shea – an irresponsible gambler who returns home to help his family deal with his dad’s dementia – will be played by Grayson Powell:

Grayson is an actor originally from Columbia, South Carolina. These days, he splits time between New York and Boston (where his wife lives) and anywhere else that the acting business takes him. In fact, I chatted with Grayson about SUNDOWN while he was on one of his many train rides…

Brendan: So you’re on a train right now. Where are you going?

Grayson: Back to New York. I had to help my wife pack to move into the new apartment. I leave for a play in North Carolina on Friday so we won’t see each other for a few weeks. Had a good night of boozing and eating and watching THELMA AND LOUISE.

Brendan: It seems like you’re definitely living the life of the working actor – traveling a lot, having different adventures. Do you like it?

Grayson: I’m starting to get used to it. The last 5 years I’ve gotten some regional theatre gigs and some commercials, but this is the first time I’ve had 13 months of work lined up. So it’s a lot of excitement mixed with nerves mixed with confusion.

Brendan: I don’t know if I could do it. I need the stability of my own bed. (My bed is very stable.)

Grayson: If I get sleep I’m usually good. I’ll wake up not knowing where I am, but what better way to start your day than that? Actually that sounds scary now that I said it.

Brendan: Sort of like a MEMENTO thing.

Grayson: So you mentioned this was a personal story but you didn’t go in depth yet. Is this the right forum to ask about it?

Brendan: You can ask me whatever you want.

Grayson: Are you Dewey?

Brendan: No, I don’t think so. I think there are certainly parts of me in Dewey. For instance, I think Dewey tries to use humor to deal with difficult things. But I think I have my shit together a little more than he does. Are there particular parts of Dewey that you relate to?

Grayson: I definitely had a similar relationship with my sister. She followed all of the rules and had book smarts. I was the class clown and I think she got frustrated with me because my parents sometimes would pay more attention to me getting in trouble than they would in her good grades.

Brendan: An actor that likes attention? I’m shocked.

Grayson:  My parents were also actors when they were younger so that didn’t help my sister’s cause.

Brendan: So you come from a family of actors? What was that like?

Grayson: They would take me to plays at a festival every year in Charleston, South Carolina and sit me front row center. Do you know how hard it is for a 5-year old to sit still for an entire play? If I moved around too much, my father would pinch my shoulder.

Brendan: And you still ended up with the acting bug? Sounds like diversion therapy.

Grayson: My mother is a therapist. So she would try to balance the hats.

Brendan: It’s amazing how therapists and actors seem to tread the same boards a lot, so to speak.

Grayson: How so?

Brendan: I think they’re both all about being completely present with another person. That’s incredibly hard to do without training.

Grayson: Yeah it took me a long time to understand being present with someone and actually listening. I was in acting class once with a scene partner and a professor asked me “Are you looking at her?”  I said “Yes.” Then he said “Are you REALLY looking at her?” And then it was like a lens peeled away from my eyes.  I was like “holy shit.”   I could see her.  It was beautiful.

Brendan: It’s hard to get out of yourself and into the moment with someone else.  I think one of the things that blew us away in your audition was your ability to be in the moment.  It wasn’t about acting – it was about being present.

Grayson: That’s very nice if you to say.  Olympia Dukakis told me once “The only way you are going to get through the scene is through the other person.”  That coupled with the “Are you REALLY looking at her?” usually helps me get to where you probably saw me in the audition.

Brendan: Did you just name drop Olympia Dukakis?

Grayson: Yes.  Yes, I did.

Brendan: Nice work. I once saw Mike Dukakis at a Dunkin Donuts. Not a tall man. Is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to about shooting SUNDOWN?

Grayson: I’m looking forward to exploring more about your personal experience with dementia. I THINK I know what it would be like if my dad had dementia, but it’s probably not the same.

Brendan: It’s definitely complicated.

Grayson: The real fear and the real anger are definitely present in the script. It’s just about how I can access it.

Brendan: I’m thinking all kabuki theater style. The makeup, the kimono – the whole deal. Did I not mention you would be in full kabuki dress?

Grayson: I’m glad you’re open to actor exercises. I once did an exercise with a woman in my class where we got down to our underwear and just laid on top of each other for ten minutes. My professor said he didn’t believe we had been intimate before in the scene, so that was the best way we knew how.

Brendan: Are you sure this was an acting class?

Grayson: I told you from day one, Brendan. Whatever you need, I’ll make it work.

Want to support Grayson and the rest of the SUNDOWN team?  Please visit our Kickstarter Page and learn more about the movie.

The SUNDOWN Kickstarter page is live!

May 14th, 2016

Hello friends,

I’m thrilled/nervous/terrified to announce that the Kickstarter page for the new movie SUNDOWN is now live.  Please stop by and check it out.  There’s a video to learn more about the movie and the cast as well as some really cool rewards.  Crowdfunding is the only way us po’ indy filmmakers can put our art into the world.  We are relying on you to make this film a reality.  Help us out, eh?

Ain’t too proud to beg,

Brendan