Thursday, September 20, 2012

Legacy of Oden

This is a basketball highlights video produced by Bryan Hiltner.  In it, I narrate the triumph and tragedy of Greg Oden's ill-fated career with the Portland Trail Blazers.  Michelle Vincig photographed my sections.

LEGACY OF ODEN from Bryan Hiltner on Vimeo.

Bryan posted this on several Blazers fan sites, and it had over 2000 viewings in the first two days it was on line.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

C'mon Doll

Earlier this month I performed in a music video for the Seattle band My Goodness.  This video was conceived, directed, photographed, and edited by the amazing Jon Meyer.  It turned out wonderfully well, and has been released on the U.K. music magazine web site to promote the band's upcoming U.K. tour.

Last fall, Jon Meyer had asked me to perform in a music video he was planning because he wanted an actor who could handle some aerial work.  I enthusiastically agreed.  Unfortunately, the project never received funding.  Eventually, that project evolved into the one you see here, and luckily for me, Jon decided to keep me as the lead character.  Working with Jon is always rewarding because he is willing to take risks and exploit the synergies that develop between his actors and the material.  Yet even when we were improvising, he maintained a very clear sense of what was working and what was not.  This allowed a great amount of freedom in developing the performance.  The other aspect of this project that was unexpectedly interesting is that since we had no live sound, Jon was able to direct us from behind the camera as we were shooting.  It was not unlike the way the way silent films were directed in the 1920's.

Since its initial release, the "C'mon Doll" video has made it onto a number of music web sites.
Here is a short "behind the scenes" video about making the video:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Fertile Ground 2012

Portland's Fertile Ground is a 10-day festival of new plays that takes place in January each year.  This year there were over 100 productions on the boards, ranging in scope from staged readings up to fully staged productions.  I was fortunate to be cast in three projects this year:  "Triptych Americana" written and directed by Karen Alexander-Brown, "Fully Loaded Russian Roulette" a collection of six one acts produced by Edward Lyons Jr. and Dug Martel, and "Jerusalem Story" written by Sharon Sassone and directed by Jeremy Benjamin.

"Triptych Americana" is composed of three short vignettes of American life. In "Precipice", I played Benny, a man whose marriage and life are on the verge of falling apart after the onset of medical problems.  In "Transparent" I played Rich, a businessman who is too busy and self absorbed to notice the things around him.  In both of these pieces, Pat Janowski played my wife.  Two very different relationships, same actress.

Jack Wells, Tom Stutzman, Gordon Romei, Karen Alexander-Brown, Pat Janowski, Jon Farley, Angela Freeman

"Fully Loaded Russian Roulette" was a collection of six one-acts, each by a different author.  I was in two of them.  One of these was "Breakfast Knives" by Wally Jones.  I played "Dream Jillian", the dream counterpart to the character Jillian in the story.  The main story and a dream were enacted on stage simultaneously, then eventually merged into a single crazy finale.  The other one-act was "The Good News" by Dyami Clement.  The play is a farce which concerns two young men and the mother of one of them who is lying dead on the floor.  What exactly caused her death and was it murder?  I played a police detective who investigates briefly, then decides to get out quick.  Karen Farley played the deceased mother, who talks to the other characters from beyond the grave.

Me as the noir'ish police detective in "The Good News."

Karen Farley as Martha,  Jon Farley as the cop

"Jerusalem Story" is a re-setting of the Romeo and Juliette story into modern-day Israel.  I played Rabbi Lawrence, a prominent figure working to bridge the Isreali-Palestinian divide.  Though effective in winning many considerations, he ultimately is unable to prevent the demise of the young lovers.  Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of this production.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Fever

Recently, Barbara Kite of Barbara Kite Studio produced a reel to promoter her acting studio and her students.  As part of this project, I performed a short monologue from Wallace Shawn's play "The Fever."  Here is the complete monologue:

Jon Farley performs excerpt from THE FEVER from Bryan Hiltner on Vimeo.

Barbara has been a wonderful acting coach for me.  I've studied with her since 2007.  You can go to to see the fully produced showcase reel.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Red Carnation

This film is atypical for me, but I thought the script was good, and that it would be a good way to push out the boundaries on my work. No words; just inner monologue. We filmed on the steps of the downtown public library with the camera well back from the action. All of the "extras" you see are just people who happened to be walking by. Working this way blurs the distinction between acting and life. We were just out in a public space, playing out our story without the artifice of a stage or studio to frame the work. Not surprising, then, that the actress didn't want to give back the prop money after we were done shooting!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bryan Hiltner Shorts

In the summer of 2011, Bryan Hiltner, the writer/director of "sLipPage", decided to write and produce a series of short films in rapid succession.  I was fortunate enough to be asked to act in two of them.

In "Engage-Fail" I play a private investigator who has been posing as a young man's future father-in-law.  The moment of the film is the point when the young man discovers that no one around him is quite who they say they are.  The filming schedule was very compressed on this project, and there was little opportunity for re-takes.  Never the less, the finished film turned out nicely.  This film won First Place at the July 2011 edition of the "Suck My Flick" monthly film festival.

Engage-Fail REDUX from Bryan Hiltner on Vimeo.

"For the Benefit of Others" is a Faustian vignette in which a young woman arranges to make things better for her family by offering up her "friends" for sacrifice.  I play Mephistopheles, and once again, Bryan paired me with Emily Galash.  This is an atypical role for me, and it required me to enact a murder scene with spurting blood, etc.  It took a bit of work to find the place where this character could live in me.

For the Benefit of Others: DIRECTOR'S CUT from Bryan Hiltner on Vimeo.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Tooth of Crime (Second Dance)

When I saw the audition notice for this show, I knew I wanted to be in it.  I mean Sam Shepard, right?  I had seen a production back in graduate school, and remember liking it.  So, I sent away for a copy of the script, bought a CD of the music, and quickly decided that I was perfect for the role of Meera.  Fortunately Dug Martel and Edward Lyons, the producers of the show, agreed with me on this point, and I got the part!  We did eight performances in the middle of summer in a theatre without air conditioning.  Regardless, the show was quite good.  It was a great group of people to work with, and I had a blast! (Photos by Travis Becker)

 Entire Cast (L-R)
Jon Farley,  Sam Hediger,  Paul Susi,  Zach Koeller,  Sara Lynn Herman,  Dug Martel,  Edward Lyons,  Micah Loiselle

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Shared Dream

This was a very satisfying little project that Michelle Vincig and Bryan Hiltner put together for "48 Go Green", part of the 48 Hour Film Festival.  If you are not familiar with the 48 hour film festival, it is an annual competition for filmmakers in which you have exactly 48 hours to write, cast, photograph, and edit a short film.  The topic is assigned at the start of the 48 hour time period, so very little can be done to prep.  Regardless, people do as much ahead as they can.  Michelle and Bryan asked me a week or so ahead of time if I would do the project, and of course I said "Yes."  I showed up at their house early on a Saturday morning and was given a script that had been written overnight.  While I was madly cramming my lines they were gathering up all the production equipment that was going out to our location.  I was to play a recently-deceased environmentalist speaking to his daughter from beyond the grave as she visits a wet-lands area he fought to preserve.  Emily Galash did a nice turn as my daughter.  There were so many ways this could have gone off the rails.  It could have been corny or sappy or it could have been raining that day, but instead it was sweet and to the point, and beautifully photographed.

The Shared Dream from Michelle Vincig on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


This is the second feature film in which I've had a major role.  The film is currently in post production, with ADR and VO scheduled for February 2012.  Release is scheduled for late 2012.  It is really difficult to summarize what "sLipPage" is about.  It has elements of psychological drama, science fiction, and dream fantasy.  The central character, Sanders, is a young man who may be grieving for his recently deceased mother, or who may be under the influence of aliens.  I play Dr. Eton, an unscrupulous hypno-therapist (and religious obsessive) who believes that aliens are angels, and who uses Sanders (his patient) to make contact with them!  I know.  Wild, huh?  It's a great role and I am really looking forward to the finished result.  Bryan Hiltner wrote and directed this film, and he plays the lead character "Sanders".  Emily Galash plays his girlfriend "Champ".

sLipPage Trailer from Bryan Hiltner on Vimeo.

How the Light Gets In

This was a staged reading of a play by Claire Willett, presented as part of the Fertile Ground festival in January 2010.  I played Father Pascal, a Catholic priest and Benedictine monk.  In my long trek back to the stage, I consider this project to be a key milestone.  It was the first time I had played a character in a scripted play with multiple performances since I was in college.  And even though we were carrying scripts, we still had blocking to learn, and I really had to work on my character.  It took a lot of digging to figure out where I would stand in relationship with a character who is a priest and a monk.  What made the character finally click for me was some insight I found in a text about Michael Chekhov acting technique.  There was a chapter that discussed the concept of the "archetype", and that sent me looking for an archetype that would fit Father Pascal.  I read through the script and made a list of the actions he takes, then I started asking "who would do these things?"  The answer that made sense to me was "a shepherd", and that answer unlocked all of the scenes for me.  Of course, there was still the reality of doing the performances to deal with.  It was harder than I had remembered from my college days to keep my energy up from one night to the next.  However, the five performances went well, and we received many positive comments.

Pictured above are Jennifer Rowe as Molly, Brian Burger as Brother Leo, me as Father Pascal, and Rod Charrel as Abbot George.