A look back

Two years ago, I was in South Carolina working with my buddy Justin Robinson on his latest short film “Popeye the Pizza Man.” It was an experience that left me drained. I put so much preparation into that role, and when the time finally came to step in front of the camera… I’m not gonna lie, it was hard. It was a hard film to do. Not just for me… for Justin as he wrote and directed, for the other actors, for the crew. It was heavy. It was dark. I’m thankful for the splashes of comedy sprinkled through it, because when I go back and re-watch it, I tend to forget how heavy the whole thing was.

Not long before filming, Justin emailed me and said he wanted to give my character, Lewis, a little more depth. He wrote this monologue at the tree house and sent it to me. Man, reading that scene… I kinda sat back and took a minute because I knew what it was going to take. But I wanted to do it. The gift of a nuanced character combined with great dialogue is what I live for… I hunger for it. I need it.

That night on set, I was walking around in circles in the dark listening to my music while Brent Christy finished setting camera, and when we finally sat into it… it was like a graveyard, it was so still. Because of the camera and lighting set up, a couple of crew guys were only feet away from me. I remember watching the audio guy check his set up, and then turn his back to me to give me even more privacy. After the first take, no one moved. Justin came around, knelt next to me, whispered some direction, and then he crept back around the camera and called action.

To be given that much respect as an actor… if you’re not an actor, I don’t think I can describe it. I’ve been on sets where I had an emotional scene and people from the crew, to the producers, and even the DP once, were cutting up, telling jokes, standing in my eye line… completely not getting what they were doing. Clueless. And so I say I’ll always work with Justin and with Brent because they protect their actors.

Lewis was a gift. I’ll always remember him. I’ll always have a part of him left with me, and I know I left some of myself with him that night.

 

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NF “Therapy Session” music video

Doing NF’s Therapy Session video was one of the hardest things I’ve done emotionally as an actor. While we were shooting, I felt like the backseat passenger in a car watching something going on through the windshield but powerless to do anything about it. The character just took over–which is what I wanted–but it still didn’t cut the sick feeling. Between takes, I had to keep going over to Danielle to ask if she was okay. Her vulnerability just made it feel that real. I don‘t understand how total method actors do it.

I’ve never been in an abusive relationship. I’ve never struggled with cutting. I’ve never been threatened or trolled on social media, but I’ve had friends who have . . . and I’m so sorry. I’m thankful Nate’s willing to tackle subject matter like this. It’s not pretty. But it’s real. People all around are crying for attention. Crying for help. Crying to be loved. Open your eyes.

Baptized by Fire – a short film

A month or so ago, I had the pleasure of working on a new short with some buddies in SC. I posted the following to Instagram shortly after filming…

Bradford_WWII

“Two days after filming the fight scene, I’m still finding new bruises . . . the price happily paid for another chance to work with amazing friends.
It’s about relationships–relationships built over years of hard work and trust. Years of (gasp) completed projects . . . not “someday” ideas but meticulously planned, executed, and completed films.
Bradford is on my list of directors who I’ll show up for no matter what. I’ll take physical risks for him that I wouldn’t necessarily take for others because I know his attention to detail. I don’t hope the risks will be worth it . . . I KNOW they will. Because he doesn’t just talk a big game—he actually shows up and delivers.”

Check out the final result here: