Interviews

Published on February 24th, 2017 | by Biz Books

The Biz Interview: Crazy8s 2017 Actors

BizBooks.net is pleased to support Crazy8s 2017!

What’s it like to star in a short film that’s completed in only 8 days?

We rounded up a talented bunch of thespians – Lee Shorten, Alex Barima, Jerome Yoo, Lorne Cardinal, Brad Duffy, Denise Jones, Lee Majdoub, Scott McGrath, Brendan Taylor, Darien Provost, and Peter New  to talk to us about their experiences in this year’s Crazy8s films.

________________________________

Lee Shorten of Anh Hung

Can you start by telling us a little bit about you and the Crazy8s film you are acting in?

I’m Lee Shorten. I’m a former lawyer from Australia and I’m playing Tuan in Anh Hung. Anh Hung is this great coming of age story that centers on a Vietnamese Canadian family. I don’t want to give too much away but it’s inspired by actual events and offers a snapshot of the Vietnamese Canadian immigrant experience. 

What kinds of preparation did you do to get into the role?

I read as much as I could about Vietnamese culture. I also looked into Taoism and researched Vietnamese gang life and gang culture. I managed to track down some old interviews with Vietnamese Canadian immigrants and gang members which was really helpful in rounding out my understanding of that experience, books can be a little clinical sometimes. I was insanely lucky in that I got to grab dinner with the guy my character is based on and he was incredibly generous with his time and insight. I also worked with him on the accent and learnt a little Vietnamese as well. I tried to prep as much as possible, but sadly 8 days is not a lot of time.

What was the most memorable moment for you in this production?

No one thing per se. But it was Athena Ho’s, who plays Jenny (my character’s sister), first role. So just watching her grow over the 3 days was really wonderful and I’m honoured to be a small part of her journey.

What would your advice be for actors who become part of a Crazy8s film in the future? 

Accept the nature of the challenge. You only have 3 days to shoot, so do as much prep as you can and come to set with as many ideas as you can. But when you get there, be willing to compromise and be willing to play. The pace is fast and the work is challenging for all involved. You might only get a single take, just roll with it.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career thus far?

If (and only if) you have done the work, then trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. You’re not always going to be right but some of the best moments are born from conflict and compromise. The director should have the best grasp of the overall story but you should have the most in depth understanding of your character. But again, I can’t stress enough, you might not always be right but it’s usually worth a conversation. 

What books have been important for you as an actor so far in your career? 

Oh man, tough question, there have been so many! The Art of Acting by Stella Adler, True and False by David Mamet, Stanley Kubrick: Interviews by Laurence Knapp, A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston and The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film by Michael Ondaatje.

What other projects are you working on and where can we find out more about you?

You can catch me as Sergeant Yoshida on Ridley Scott’s The Man in the High Castle and sometimes I hang out with Crowley on The CW’s Supernatural as well. If you really want to find out more about me, I guess you could follow me on Twitter @lcshorten.

______________________________________

Alex Barima and Jerome Yoo of Cypher

Can you start by telling us a little bit about you and the Crazy8s film you are acting in?

Alex Barima: My name is Alex Barima. I’m originally from Montreal, and I’ve been acting in Vancouver for the last 5 years. In Cypher, I play the role of Thello, the young rival of protagonist Jay. Our two characters resolve their personal issues through their connection to hip hop in the late 90’s.

Jerome Yoo: My name is Jerome Yoo and I’m an actor/writer. Prior, I was a Science student at UBC before I decided to pursue acting full-time. I’m a part of this year’s Crazy8s film Cypher and play the role of Jay, the timid Korean high schooler trying to deal with the lingering tensions between the Korean and African-Americans, 5 years after the LA riots. Entranced by the rap legends of his day, he finds himself drawn to LA’s underground rap scene where he must find the resolve to step up and confront his past to hopefully bridge the misunderstandings between the two communities.

What kinds of preparation did you do to get into the role? 

Alex Barima: We had a few rehearsals before the shoot with Lawrence, our director, to build and explore each character.

Jerome Yoo: Rapping. A lot of rapping. I watched an unhealthy amount of battle videos on Youtube, and spent hours in front of a mirror rapping along to Hip Hop greats. I also tried to write a verse everyday. Here’s one: Yo, I’m a savant, working in a restaurant. Here’s your croissant, so can I have your number, nonchalant? Worst pick-up line ever, haha…

What was the most memorable moment for you in this production?

Alex Barima: Filming the last scene was an experience I’ll never forget; it happened to be the last scene of the shoot, and everyone there gave it everything they had. 

Jerome Yoo: So many! I think I shed some manly tears when our DP, Leo Harim, pulled me aside and told me the entire crew had my back on the first day. It meant a lot to me. Our director Lawrence Le Lam announcing that I booked the role of Jay at our first production meeting was also a pretty sweet moment. 

What would your advice be for actors who become part of a Crazy8s film in the future?

Alex Barima: Bring a lot of care and dedication to your work because it’s all that holds these projects together, and they are definitely worth it. 

Jerome Yoo: Do another hour of table work and analysis! I wish I had another hour…

What’s the valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career thus far?

Alex Barima: To never take for granted what I accomplish in this business, and always keep looking ahead. 

Jerome Yoo: Don’t eat chili on set and use the restroom while your lav mic is on.

What books have been important for you as an actor so far in your career?

Alex Barima: Unfortunately I’m not much of a reader. 

Jerome Yoo: One Piece. 

What other projects are you working on and where can we find out more about you?

Alex Barima: I’m currently doing Voice Over work for an animated Netflix series. You can follow me on Facebook or IMDB.

Jerome Yoo: Back to the drawing board for me! Find me on social media @jeromeoyoo.

______________________________________

Lorne Cardinal, Brad Duffy, and Denise Jones of No Reservations

Lorne Cardinal’s Photo Credit: Shimon

Can you start by telling us a little bit about you and the Crazy8s film you are acting in?

Lorne Cardinal: No Reservations is a comedic spin on the pipeline issues happening across the country today. A what if…story.

Brad Duffy: I’m a Vancouver-based actor who moved here from Alberta about six years ago to transition my acting career into more of a film focus. I’ve seen Trevor Carroll (the director) in the casting room for years but this is the first time I’ve been able to work with him personally.  He’s a pretty cool dude, for the record. I also do a lot of improv around the city.  No Reservations is a satirical take on the pipeline issues we’ve been having in BC, but has broader relevance.  I’d say it’s funny enough to be entertaining, while true enough to be poignant.

Denise Jones: My name is Denise Jones. I am a stage and film performer in Vancouver and the current Artistic Director of Vancouver TheatreSports League. I play the role of Marilyn Whiteman in No Reservations. It’s a fun satirical take on current pipeline protests.

What kinds of preparation did you do to get into the role?

Lorne Cardinal: Just read the script a lot, looking for rhythms & places where setups and payoffs can happen. Also being familiar with the story to allow for spontaneity and improvisation to happen.

Brad Duffy: The preparation was pretty standard: memorize the lines, look up what the material was referencing, and try to figure out the tone it’s going for.  We had a meeting where Trevor talked us through some of the beats where he needed something specific.

Denise Jones: I had been an avid watcher of the coverage of the protests at Standing Rock, so was pretty in the loop on the material. As far as prep for the role, I showed up ready to play. The cast assembled was so funny and talented it was so fun and easy to step into.

What was the most memorable moment for you in this production?

Lorne Cardinal: Seeing people I’ve worked with before and feeling welcomed into a highly dedicated group of creative beings. All I had to do was not screw up.

Brad Duffy: The most memorable moment was probably hitting Lorne Cardinal in the face with a beach ball; there he is being so professional, and my mind is just saying, “please beach ball, don’t make this guy get hit in the face 17 times, fly true.”  I’ll also remember Denise Jones cracking me up all weekend.

Denise Jones: We were shooting an idyllic look at the main married couple’s lives when out of nowhere a massive rainbow appeared and the whole cast hustled to move the entire camera set-up and video village to  accommodate it. It was insane.

What would your advice be for actors who become part of a Crazy8s film in the future?

Lorne Cardinal: Don’t stray too far from set, save your energy when not working and nap when you can.

Brad Duffy: Just come ready to work, and to enjoy the work.

Denise Jones: Come prepared for anything. Know your lines backwards and forwards as time is VERY VERY limited. Know that it’s going to be a great time as awesome things happen under pressure.

What’s the valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career thus far?

Lorne Cardinal: Always be learning from everyone and respectful to who you’re working with, especially crew members.

Brad Duffy: “The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating — in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around like rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.” Anne Morris

This quote really helped me.  I’ve also learned how to let go after auditions better than I used to, which is largely due to repetition, (and maybe that Bryan Cranston on acting video you should look up).

Denise Jones: Don’t be an asshole.

What books have been important for you as an actor so far in your career?

Lorne Cardinal: The works of William Shakespeare. He shows what the power of words can do.

Brad Duffy: Impro for Storytellers by Keith Johnstone first ignited my passion for improv which has heavily influenced my career.  You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney helped me get ahold of my ego.  Books and graphic novels by Neil Gaiman have also been instrumental in keeping me filled with a sense of wonder and possibility: a necessary tool for any actor I would say.

Denise Jones: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

What other projects are you working on and where can we find out more about you?

Lorne Cardinal: Currently working on Corner Gas animated series, the never-ending auditions and looking forward to the releasing of a few projects I’ve been working on, should happen very soon. Find our more at facebook.com/lornecardinal or lornecardinal.com.

Brad Duffy: Right now you can regularly see me performing in various improv shows throughout the city, primarily with Instant Theatre, the Rookie League at Vancouver Theatresports, and Sin Peaks the Improvised Soap Opera opening up at the Revue Stage on March 7th.  I have a fan page on Facebook, “Bradley Duffy”, where I regularly post about my film and TV projects, but should probably work on a website.  Thanks for reminding me!

Denise Jones: I am currently directing an improvised stage production called Western World at Vancouver TheatreSports League. Check me out at www.vtsl.com or IMDB!

______________________________________

Lee Majdoub, Scott McGrath, and Brendan Taylor of The Prince

Can you start by telling us a little bit about you and the Crazy8s film you are acting in?

Lee Majdoub: Hi, my name is Lee Majdoub, and I play Amir in The Prince. The film tackles Islamophobia and what it means to be Middle Eastern-Canadian.

Scott McGrath: The film I’m in is titled The Prince, and it’s about a young dancer and her Uncle dealing with what it’s like to be Middle Eastern post 9/11.  It struck a cord with me as an actor because I feel as an actor it’s important to be truly connected with yourself and the characters we play.  It’s my job as an actor to affect change and push if necessary current issues to the front line even if these issues are difficult to discuss or view.   Films and events like Crazy 8’s allow us to stop and reflect on the choices, opinions we have currently and hopefully create an outlet to make things better.

Brendan Taylor: The Prince deals with a young Muslim man and his dream of being actor, but facing challenges of racial and religious stereotypes in this modern world. He and his family have an encounter on a bus with an intolerant person and he has to decide how to react to him.

What kinds of preparation did you do to get into the role?

Scott McGrath: Well, because of the serious nature of the film it was hard not to feel compassion for the lead but the important thing for my scene was to be light natural and not think anything I was saying was offensive or inappropriate . Just everyday set talk between costumer and actor.

Brendan Taylor: I play the role of the instigator on the bus. It’s important to try to understand the perspective of someone who is intolerant or openly racist, that it comes from a place of fear or ignorance. Then, we as humans portray all kinds of behaviour to cover that up, often resulting in anger and frustration. I explored the many ways this person could have acted towards this family.

What was the most memorable moment for you in this production?

Lee Majdoub: It’s hard to whittle down this project into one most memorable moment. So many people came together and volunteered their time to tell a story they believed in… that they felt needed to be told. That, to me, is most memorable as a whole. So much work was put into The Prince, from all sides of film-making. It was inspiring.

Scott McGrath: The joy I felt in the trailer prior to our scene where everyone of many different ethnicities were laughing and truly enjoying each other’s company.  Non-competitive,  non-judgemental, a genuine spirit of love and support.  This support was across the board from the producers Danielle Stott-Roy and Robin Nielsen, the Director Kyra Zagorsky (who I learned much from) and all the cast from make to wardrobe and everyone I encountered that day on set.

Brendan Taylor: Well, to be honest, amidst the seriousness of the storyline, there were many lighter moments, that were necessary to break the tension: one of them being, I was sitting in my seat on the bus drinking water, and I went to get up, and being a taller man I often bump my head (I don’t fit on buses to begin with), and I bumped my head on the roof handrail, with a mouthful of water. It squirted out like a super-soaker on an unlucky background actor! 

What would your advice be for actors who become part of a Crazy8s film in the future?

Scott McGrath: Savor every moment and realize your part of something magical. Be grateful and enjoy the ride!

Brendan Taylor: Follow the Crazy8s, get involved, go to readings, contact the filmmakers, and even submit a pitch yourself! 

What’s the valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career thus far?

Lee Majdoub: A valuable lesson I’ve learned in my career so far? That’s a tough one to answer. There are so many. I would say learning to let go of control is a huge lesson. There are so many things I’m not in control of in life… and career. All I can do is work hard and be ready for every opportunity that comes my way.

Scott McGrath: I believe it’s important to have wonderful, harmonious relationships with the people we encounter, where on both sides there is caring and mutual respect.  I believe it’s important to let my heart be open so that. Have space within me to grow learn and give back unconditionally.

Brendan Taylor: Definitely persistence. I’m fortunate to say this is my main source of income right now, but it was not a smooth road. So many reasons to give up along the way. But I always train, or do a play, or do something to keep my art alive. But it’s what I love doing, and that’s a good test. You have to love it undeniably. 

What books have been important for you as an actor so far in your career?

Lee Majdoub: I’ve found a lot of books that have nothing to do with acting have helped me on this journey. I think living life and learning as much about oneself as possible is the greatest thing you can do for your acting. I’ll list a few that have helped along the way and no two are similar.

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna

Notes to an Actor by Ron Marasco – I really recommend this one if you want a book on acting. It’s very different from other acting books.

Love Anthony by Lisa Genova – personally, a tearjerker. 

Scott McGrath: By far the greatest tool I have used is a marvelous toolbook titled AuditionCraft For Film & TV – The Craft, The Mastery, The Reality By Linda Darlow.

Best advice … “Keep stretching and growing, and remember to always be willing to learn, no matter how often you work, or how long you’ve been in the business”.

Brendan Taylor: Uta Hagen’s Respect for Acting, Sanford Meisner’s On Acting. Learn from the greats. Start there. And watch, read, or listen to interviews and biographies to be inspired.

What other projects are you working on and where can we find out more about you?

Lee Majdoub: I’ll be appearing in a few episodes of the new season of Prison Break, which begins airing in April.

And, I start work on the third season of Zoo very soon.

Scott McGrath: Other projects I am part of is the new web series “Inconceivable” where I get to play the Step Dad Terry in a wonderful new comedy.  Check it out – http://www.facebook.com/thisisaspoon/

I also have been fortunate enough to be part of some fun Music Videos:

Check out Hey Ocean’s “Make a new Dance Up”

A Wallace“Shake it Out”

And lastly, my website where I get to play my favourite character… SANTA with my Elf Spandy Andy: www.hireanelf.com

Brendan Taylor: Currently about to shoot another short film called Pearly Nights, and I have an episode of The Magicians airing March 29th! You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram check out brendan-taylor.com for past work! 

______________________________________

Darien Provost of The Undertaker’s Son

Can you start by telling us a little bit about you and the Crazy8s film you are acting in? 

My name is Darien Provost, I’m sixteen years old. I have been acting since I was four years old. I have done various TV shows and Movies but my role as Christopher in The Undertaker’s Son is one of my favourites. The cast and crew were amazing. The set and script made my job much easier due to the realism.

What kinds of preparation did you do to get into the role? 

I would talk to my fellow actors and rehearse lines. I’ve always found it useful to listen to music and read over the script. It helps me get into character.

What was the most memorable moment for you in this production?

The most memorable moment for me was on the last day when we shot the opening scene for the film. I loved watching all the components of the set come together to make for an amazing scene.

What would your advice be for actors who become part of a Crazy8s film in the future?

My advice for actors who become part of a Crazy8s film is to show up with your lines fully prepared and practice being able to get into character quickly. There is not much time to spare on these shoots so it is important that everything moves smoothly.

What’s the valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career thus far?

The most valuable lesson I have learnt in my career so far is don’t pretend to be the character. You must become the character and add your own personal twist.

What books have been important for you as an actor so far in your career?

The most important book I have read so far is No Acting Please by Eric Morris. The book teaches you to be present in the moment rather than mechanically act.

______________________________________ 

Peter New of Woodman

Can you start by telling us a little bit about you and the Crazy8s film you are acting in?

My name is Peter New and I played the Woodman in the film Woodman.

What kinds of preparation did you do to get into the role?

I had a 3.5 hour long makeup application in the morning which was a useful time to gradually purge my silliness. The more our talented makeup team applied layers, the more trapped I felt, which is exactly the state the character lives in. By the time they were done I felt transformed.

What was the most memorable moment for you in this production?

There are so many memorable moments to choose from! I think I’ll never forget being on set, with my prosthetic nose being supported by three people, prop shears, fishing line  and a great deal of hope that it won’t collapse into its three component pieces between ‘frame’ and ‘action.’

What would your advice be for actors who become part of a Crazy8s film in the future?

Don’t write yourself into a part that traps you under a heavy typewriter while attaching your face to a 600ft tube thus pinning you to a chair and restricting your movement for hours and then drink many coffees because your makeup call is at 5:30 am. It’s a smidge uncomfortable (but 100% worth it).

What’s the valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career thus far?

Keep moving, keep doing. There’s no value in fame, only in work.

What books have been important for you as an actor so far in your career?

True and False: A Practical Handbook for the Actor by David Mamet.

What other projects are you working on and where can we find out more about you?

I’m a voice on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Find me on Twitter @actorpeternew and on Facebook and Instagram.

________________________________

Thanks to Lee Shorten, Alex Barima, Jerome Yoo, Lorne Cardinal, Brad Duffy, Denise Jones, Lee Majdoub, Scott McGrath, Brendan Taylor, Darien Provost, and Peter New.

You can see all them on screen at the Crazy8s 2017 Gala on Saturday, Feb 25th. For ticket information please visit Crazy8s.film!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


About the Author

Biz Books



Back to Top ↑