Thursday, June 30, 2011

Joseph Brandon Interview

Joseph Brandon got the bug to pursue acting a little later in life, while he was in college. After graduation with a degree in Management and Finance he moved to Los Angeles to see what kind of career he could make for himself. Being a natural joker and being someone who doesn’t take himself to seriously, he gets along with everyone that he meets. Before this year Joseph has landed 13 lead and supporting roles in everything from shorts to feature lengths as well as numerous commercials, print work and music videos.

2011 has started out to be a great year so far. It started out by landing a spot for Mun2 (similar to a Latino MTV) which shows primarily music videos and tv shows designed for younger Latino’s with the majority of the programming in English. After that he also landing a print shoot for a pharmaceutical company. More noteworthy he has landed 3 lead roles as well as a supporting role this year playing everything from a drug dealer to a serial killer to a psychiatrist.

Wanting to expand his talent he has studied improv/sketch comedy as well as traditional scene study. He studied improv at the critically acclaim iO West Theater in Hollywood. He was also part of a group who performed a sketch comedy show earlier this year at Second City Comedy in Hollywood. Even while he is trained at improv/sketch, film and television still remain his main focus. Most recently he has studied with Gregory-Berger Sobeck, MFA who is the current winner of the Backstage West Readers Choice Awards for favorite scene study teacher.

Check Joseph out. He's all over the internet


What is the current project you are working on?

I have a supporting role in a film called Exit 13 which should be filming next month. Shooting had to be pushed back because of scheduling issues. I'm doing a short that should be filming next week.  Also have a lead role in a film called The Religion where I am a drug kingpin named Pretty Tony, which I'm really excited about because the director, Andretti Dante, is really going to give me leeway to try a lot of new things.

Did you always want to be a actor?

No actually. I didn't really get the desire to pursue acting until college.

What inspired you to become actor?

I've always been pretty funny (in my mind anyway). I love making people laugh whether it's a physical gesture, something I say or a facial expression. I just like making people happy. Plus I love telling stories because all of the attention is on you. When the audience is captivated but what you are saying and you have their full attention it's just a really great feeling. It's kind of odd because I was a dork growing up, shy, not wanting to have the attention on me but somewhere along the way that changed. I'm not really sure when, maybe college. There are a lot of actors out there who are the same person in every role they play but 2 actors that I really love and respect are Daniel Day-Lewis and Gary Oldman. I love the way they transform into completely different characters for every role that they're in. That's very inspiring. I want to be able to do that.

What is the best thing about being one?

Acting is the closest thing we can get to, to being a kid again. When you're a kid and you say out loud, "I'm a sheriff", in your mind you are completely that thing. You are no longer a kid, you're a sheriff. Your hand is a real gun. I miss being able to do that without judgement. If I said out loud, "I'm a sheriff" and started running around in circles shooting things with my hand, people would think I'm crazy but if I didn't it in a film people would think the character is crazy, not me. Acting gives me the freedom to just let loose and have fun again. Another thing is the feeling I get when I'm completely connected to the other person. My actions and objectives are completely focused on the other person. During that scene I am living in that environment with the other actor. I forget that I'm Joseph Brandon, I forget that there are cameras, I forget that there is an entire crew there. I am that character for those few minutes. That feeling is intoxicating.

What is the worst thing about being one?

Not having the opportunities or not being given the opportunities to be able to do what I love doing. Oh and being a poor struggling actor is no picnic either.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

Total number of leads (about 10), supporting (about 10) , featured extra (about 5), extra (about 10), commercials (about 5), music videos (about 5), print work (about 5). About 50 all together. Granted the featured extra and extra work was about 3-4 years ago and shouldn't really be counted so I guess it's closer to 35.

Who is is your favorite filmmaker?

Directors, in no particular order: Francis For Coppola, Oliver Stone, Sam Mendes, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Robert Zemeckis, Cameron Crowe, Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino. I hope I didn't forget anybody.

How has your life changed since you became an actor?

If I didn't become an actor I would be married to girl a didn't love, live in a city I didn't like and have a job that I hated. I'm poor but I'm happy, kind of like Alanis.

What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in the movie business?

Don't get into it to be rich and famous. Get into it because you love acting. You have to love it because making it as an actor is a lot of hard work and hustling, everyday. Everyday you have to do something that helps you, either on the business side or on the craft.

What do you like to do besides acting?

Usual stuff, hanging out with friends, watching movies, going to the beach, lounging by the pool, video games. I would one day like to be a licensed sky diver though. I've been twice, once in Texas and once in Hawaii and it's amazing. Especially in Hawaii, the rush you get plus the view was ridiculous.

Have you had any other jobs before you decided to become an actor?

I am the stereotypical actor, I've been a waiter for the last 3-4 years at a couple of different restaurants.

What are some of your favorite American films? Foreign films? Television shows?

This is going to be a long list. For movies: Caddyshack, Constantine, Dark Knight, The Departed, Forrest Gump, The Godfather, Inception, Jerry Maguire, The Matrix, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Old School, Reservoir Dogs, Sideways, Training Day, Usual Suspects, 12 Monkeys, Weird Science, Tombstone, There Will Be Blood, Swingers, Super Troopers, Sixth Sense, Scarface, Pulp Fiction, National Lampoon's Vacation, Napoleon Dynamite, Menace II Society, Memento, Jurassic Park, Half Baked, Groundhog Day, Ghostbusters, Friday, Fight Club, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Dogma, Devil's Advocate, Clueless, Clerks, Casino Royale, Boyz N The Hood, Boondock Saints, Big Lebowski, American Beauty.

For TV: Southpark, Seinfeld, That 70's Show, It's always Sunny in Philadelphia, Sopranos, Family Guy, Glee, Fringe, Entourage, Modern Family, The Daily Show, The Mentalist, How I Met Your Mother, Colbert Report, American Dad, Hawaii Five-O, House, The Office, Tosh.O, Louis, Mad Men.

That should be enough.

How would you describe your film education?

I've studied with a lot of acting instructors. Proclaimed film acting classes, audition classes, cold reading classes but most of my training has been scene study with Gregory Berger-Sobeck. He has his Masters from the Yale School of Drama so he teaches us what he learned from Yale as well as incorporating elements of Stanislavski and Uta Hagen.

How would you describe the film "scene" where you live?

It's LA so it's where stuff happens.

How has social media changed the independent film industry?

From my experience, it's easier to get funding now as well as get the word out about a movie. You can post something of twitter, facebook, youtube and ask you're friends/follows to repost it and it just gets the word out so much faster now. You can shoot a trailer, put it on youtube to help get funding for the project. Plus sites like kickstarter are amazing at helping projects get made.

How does independent film differ from the mainstream?

I think it's more gorilla style, depending on the budget. More sacrifices have to be made since the money isn't there. But that situation can inspire true creativity because the money isn't there to do a particular scene, it has to be retooled and adjusted and it takes creative people to be able to do that successfully. I think with that in mind indies can be more story/character driven because you don't have the money for big effects so it's more about the relationship between the characters and those can be some of the greatest movies.

You could go back in time and see any classic film being made. Which film would it be and why?

Empire Strikes Back because I'm sort of Star Wars nerd. I mean I don't dress up and go to conventions but I've seen all 6 numerous times plus I've read some of the SW novels. The Jedi Academy Trilogy, The Thrawn Trilogy and some others. Empire is arguably the greatest of the 6 plus it was a relatively low budget, less than $20 million. It would be amazing to just be there and see the entire process, the different locations, the sets plus they were ahead of their time with respects to special effects.

What's your favorite movie quote and why?

There are so many amazing movie quotes but when you ask a question that broad, I can't focus, it's just too opened ended. I guess I'll go with "I gotta pee" from Forrest Gump. It's silly and stupid and I get to say it everyday. It just makes me laugh, but you have to do it with the voice or it doesn't work.

You could have any super power. What would it be?

Teleportation. It would save me so much time traveling. I wouldn't have to worry about traffic, no car payment, vacations would be sweet. Wake up, teleport to Paris, spend the day, then teleport back home before I have to go to work the next day.

What do you think would of happened if the dinosaurs didn't go extinct?

I don't think humans would have made it.

What is your opinion on movie remakes?

I would say 90-95 percent of them aren't necessary but every once and awhile you'll get an Ocean's Eleven. Scarface and The Departed are both classics.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Hopefully one day you'll see me on the big screen.




Thanks Joseph for doing the interview.  I appreciate a good Alanis Morissette. I'm a big fan of the Exit 13 cast/crew. Good luck with the rest of filming :)