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.