Month: October 2017

An Interview With Actor Basil Hoffman

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(Originally published on Act.Land)

Basil Hoffman is an actor who appears in the film The Pineville Heist; here is a link to his website:

 

http://www.basilhoffman.com/

 

 

Q: When did you know you were an actor?

 

A: When the audience loved me is a partial answer to a question that actually has two parts that need to be answered.   When I was in college, in the business school, two girls talked me into trying out for the annual original campus musical play (on the premise that I would meet a lot of girls, which I did).  The joy of performing for an audience and the laughter and applause I got as a reward completely changed my life’s direction.  I knew from that point that I needed to be an actor.  Even though it took me ten years after making that decision until I made a livable amount of money as an actor, my determination to pursue an acting career never waned.

 

Part two of my answer is this:  My career and the respect I get from those I respect in my industry let me know that I’m an actor.   I know there are many people in my line of work who feel comfortable calling themselves actors, which makes perfect sense.  Still, I feel better having other people call me an actor.  I can’t explain why.

 

Q: What is “The Pineville Heist” about?

 

A: “The Pineville Heist” is a suspense film about a teenager who witnesses a murder and subsequently becomes embroiled in the killer’s quest to retrieve the missing proceeds from his bank heist.  The boy is caught in a web of danger and deception until the end.

 

Q: What made you perfect to play the role that you play in the film?

 

A: The writer/director’s choice for me to play the part made me know that I must be perfect for it.  I didn’t audition (as often happens) for the role, so Lee Chambers, who created the project, left it up to me to find the qualities that he saw.  As a character kind of actor, I only become “perfect” (if that is possible) for a role by immersing myself in the material.  I don’t know how to play a part until I get to work on it, and then I usually find the man I’ve been hired to play.

 

Q: You have appeared in four Robert Redford projects. How does Mr. Redford communicate with actors?

 

A: In my experience, Redford hires those actors who he considers to be good actors he can trust to bring something good to the project.  He doesn’t do a lot of directing of the actors because he trusts his casting instincts.   He might do a lot of directing in some circumstances, but I haven’t seen it.  The direction he has given to me was always succinct and enhanced the truthfulness of the moment at hand.  I don’t know what he says to actors in an audition because I never auditioned for him.

 

Q: What is your creative process?

 

A: I begin by reading the script over and over again to absorb all of the information the writer provides about the story and all of the characters.  Then I reread all of the scenes in which my character appears.  Then I learn the lines, word for word.  It’s important for me to learn the lines as they are written, because the writer has created a character who speaks in a certain way.  To arbitrarily change the words would be disrespectful to the character, for the purpose of making the actor comfortable with the script.  Scripts aren’t supposed to be comfortable.  After I’ve mastered the words, I begin to behave as the character behaves.  To do that requires that I know everything the character knows.  (I address this process in more detail in my book, “Acting and How to Be Good at It”)

 

Q: What kind of day jobs did you have when you were a struggling actor?

 

A: When I went to New York to study I got a job on Wall Street doing statistical work from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. five days a week.  $1.50 an hour.  I had to keep that job (with some promotions and raises) for ten years.  I also took additional jobs like passing out fliers advertising plays and movies.  It was important that I never take a job that would interfere with my studies or my ability to audition or take an acting job.

 

Q: What advice would you give to a struggling actor?

 

A: I suggest that beginning actors understand their goals and not get confused about that.  Every actor has two goals. The short term goal is to get an acting job, and the long term goal is to get an acting career.  Other pursuits are directed toward achieving those goals.  Those pursuits include making a living, training, photos, being seen by casting directors, directors and producers, getting representation, publicity, etc., etc.  But jobs are the goal.
Q: What is the worst advice anyone ever gave you about acting?

 

A: There were two pieces of bad advice I got.  One of my first acting teachers in New York said that I needed to give up all of my preconceptions about acting.  That meant giving up my instincts, which turned out to be disastrous for me.  The other bad advice was the admonition that when I went to Hollywood I would have to have an agent.

 

Q:  What characteristics make a compelling war movie?

 

A: Humanity!  “Hacksaw Ridge” is a prime example.

 

Q: How does a guy from Houston, TX get a name like Basil Hoffman?

 

A: I don’t know where my name came from.  I do have a distant cousin in Birmingham, Alabama, named Basil.  My mother’s parents immigrated from Ukraine, and the name Basil (Vasily) is a somewhat common Slavic name.

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

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An Interview With Actor Scott Vinci

scott v

 

(Originally published on Act.Land)

Scott Vinci is an actor who appears in the film, High and Outside; here is a link to his IMDB page:

 

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1328866/

 

 

Q: When did you know you wanted to be an actor?

 

A: When I was a kid, I remember I dressed up as Groucho Marx for Halloween one year. Most kids didn’t even know who he was. I just wanted to make people laugh.

 

Q: What is High and Outside about?

 

A: High and Outside is a Baseball film. I had a small part and was never handed the whole script. So, I’m not totally sure.

 

Q: What role do you play?

 

A:  I played the part of a salesman at a used car lot.

 

Q: What kind of day job do you have and how did you draw from it when playing a salesman?

 

 

 

A: At the time I was working in the coffee biz (Starbucks) so I drew from that by talking to everyone. That’s what salesmen do. They don’t know who their next sale will be! My current day job is managing an apartment complex. Dealing with all types of tenants has helped with every role actually.

 

Q: What is your most memorable audition story?

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A:  I remember in college, I was auditioning for a play, and I forgot part of my monologue. I tried again and was a little too nervous. I still couldn’t remember. I felt terrible and my audition wasn’t that great, BUT I got the part anyway. The director and producer, at the time, had seen my previous work. They knew I could deliver, and I did.

 

Q: What is the best and worst advice anyone has ever given you about the pursuit of acting?

 

A: The best advice was, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” The worst advice was to crash auditions.

 

Q:  How would you approach playing a character that you did not like?

 

A: I would realize the thing I didn’t like about the character and find out why they were that way. Then I would remind myself, that’s not me and it’s ok to be this guy for a moment.

Q: What famous role would you like to attempt?

 

A:  In theater, I think Felix in the Odd Couple.

 

Q: What one thing would you like to change about the film industry?

A: When we go to the movies– free popcorn!

Q: What makes you castable?

 

A:  The fact that I work well, respect everyone’s time, and know how to build a character make me castable.

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Writer Stuart Canterbury 

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Stuart Canterbury is the author of Turning Blue a novel which takes readers behind the scenes of x-rated movie production; here is a link to the books Amazon page:

https://www.amazon.com/Stuart-Canterbury/e/B00K5JN008

 

 

Q: When did you know you were a writer?

 

A: I started as a writer, then became a director, then became a producer.

 

Q: What made you interested in writing about the porn industry?

 

A: Much of what is written about the porn industry is lurid, sensational or dark, with evil pornographers coercing innocent victims.  But this has not been my experience.  People in the industry are warm and colorful, with families and interesting lives, and most of what goes on behind the scenes is fascinating and  hilarious.  Many people have asked me what it is really like, so I decided to write this novel.

 

Q: What sets Tiffany apart from other fictional porn stars?

 

A: Of course, I try to avoid stereotypes because there are as many kinds of porn stars as there are kinds of people.  Tiffany is a hell-to-handle diva, but the other stars depicted in the book have different personalities.  Ginger Vitus is emotional, and sensitive, Traci is an easy-going professional.  Tiffany is the most fun to write.

 

Q: What kind of research did you do for the book?

 

A: Much of the book is taken from personal experience or witness, but it is all fictionalized so that I can actually tell the truth.

 

Q: Who are some of your writing influences and how is this evidenced in the book?

 

A: I have a background in English Literature, so I have a love for the classics.  I particularly like Dickens so the larger than life characters and the stylistic voice are deliberate choices.  The idea was to take the formal and humorous tone that  Dickens uses and lay it over a contemporary setting in the x-rated industry of Los Angeles to make it funny.

 

Q:  What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing?

 

 

A: I am a well-established, award-winning producer and director of adult movies, so this book is the ultimate insider’s view.

 

Q:  What is your strangest LA story?

 

A: What is always strange about LA is how one encounters movie stars and celebrities just going about their business.  But because you are so used to seeing them as characters on the screen, it often feels like you yourself have now migrated into the fictional world.  You cannot help associating them with their performances.  I suppose the same is true of x-rated stars, one of whom once complained to me that her fans think she wakes up in stilettos.

Q: What have you done to promote your book?

 

 

A: I have done interviews, mostly on radio and the web, and we had a very successful signing and reading at Book Soup on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, where the book was their number one bestseller.  There has been a lot of word of mouth, especially inside the industry.  It was covered by all the industry press.

 

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of self publishing a book?

 

A: Self-publishing is the vogue these days, so it does not have the stigma it used to, and you get to keep all the profits.

 

Q: What books to you think Hugh Hefner will read in the after life?

 

A: Penthouse and Hustler.

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.