LONG ROADS – short film

My friend Ashleigh Chavis-Wolfe called me up and asked me to come work on her latest short film. I’d collaborated with her before so I was already interested, but when I read the script I knew I wanted to be involved; bonus points when I found out I’d be working opposite my wonderfully talented friend Stefanie Butler.

We spent a couple days in the little town of Aynor, SC, putting together a heartbreaking story of friendship.

I can’t thank the crew enough who all came together to bring this film to life.

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“Prelude” short film update

Excited to announce that “Prelude” has now been accepted to its second festival. Both Nashville Film Festival and Hill Country Film Festival will be showing my film in late April.

Super proud of the entire team that came around and helped me bring this dream of mine to the screen.

Versorium – short film

Ryan Smith called me up a couple months back and asked if I’d be down to jump in on this project.
I love it when people don’t just talk about making stuff . . . they pull on their boots and do it.

If you find artists who put some bite behind their bark, befriend them; work with them; learn from them.
They’re the ones who won’t still be sitting in the same place five years from now.

A study in hats

As I was going back through pictures of past jobs, I noticed that some of my favorite roles included characters wearing some kind of hat (I’m including helmets and wigs).

Interesting wardrobe allows an actor to disappear into a character much more easily than when I hear “and can you bring a bunch of your own clothes for wardrobe options?” I realize that using your own clothes is part of the deal on a lot of low budget films, but I love it when a director has a vision for their characters that’s super specific. It tells me that they’ve done the work to honor their characters, and it puts me at ease.

Just something to ponder for you directors out there…

hats

Projects (left to right from top to bottom):
Popeye the Pizza Man
The Originals
Travis Manion Foundation PSA
Riffraff
House of the Righteous
Popeye the Pizza Man
Champion
Marine Corps training video
Burt’s Eye View

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.

 

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: