Filmmakers Interview

Brock Burnett

Brock Burnett was born on October 14, 1966 in Louisville, Kentucky, USA as Roye Brockland Burnett. He is an actor and director, known for Agent of Deceit (2019), Dangerous Matrimony (2018) and A Killer Walks Amongst Us (2016). He has been married to Melissa Burnett since July 29, 2000. They have one child.

We had the chance of interviewing him for the September Edition 2020

[MIS] What inspired you to be an actor? 

[Brock] I have to say that the inspiration to become an actor didn’t actually happen until I was well into it.  I was actually thrust into it.  It started when I was in 8th grade when my pastor at my Church asked me to participate in a short skit. After Church he asked me if I wouldn’t mind taking the skit a bit further and extending the story to a short play and put the entire project together and then put the play up for the Church.  Even though it was something I had no interest in, I had full respect for my Pastor and didn’t want to say no and thought it would be fun. I ended up Co-writing, starring in, working on all of the stage props and stage design.  After the performance one of my friend’s sisters talked to me about joining theatre in High School.  My immediate answer to her was “No Way. This was fun, but that is not my cup of tea.”  When I got to High School that Fall she stopped me in the hall after school and dragged me into the Theatre and said there is someone I need you to meet.  It ended up being the Drama teacher.  At that point she shoved a script for the Fall play in my hand and said “Read”.  I was bitten by “the bug” right after being cast in the lead.  After Four plays, three musicals, stage managing, lighting design and President of The International Thespian Society I knew it was something I wanted to continue to pursue.

[MIS] Which of your roles was the most challenging for you to capture?

[Brock] I think I have had roles that have allowed me to dive into some challenges, but I don’t think I’ve had the opportunity yet to fully embrace a challenging role.  I look forward to any opportunity to do that though.   

[MIS]  In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of an Actor who goes for directing?

[Brock] I don’t think there are any Cons except if you are acting and directing in the same project.  That is an intense ride and I have full respect for those who do it especially on large projects.  One of these days I’ll jump on that roller coaster.  The biggest pro of being an actor who happens to be behind the camera is being able to think and talk with your actors because you are one yourself. You understand that headspace more than someone who “just” directs.  The good directors who aren’t actors understand that headspace and I believe it allows for more comfortability and experimenting on set.

[MIS]  What films do you consider to be your inspiration and why? 

[Brock] That is a really hard question being a film lover.  It varies by decade because styles are always changing and we are always finding ways to reinvent “story telling”.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, A River Runs Through It, Braveheart, Powder, Shawshank Redemption (All for the story telling and Cinematography)  Anything by Lawrence Kasdan, Quentin and Spielberg or Ron Howard (No “Why” here.  Just full respect in the way they tell their stories) I could go on and on.  I hate limiting the choices.

[MIS]  LIT is written by Melissa Doranne, how would you describe your experience with her?

[Brock] It was phenomenal ……………you see, she’s my wife and we respect each other’s opinions through the creative process. She trusted me to bring it to life. That is what made it work.  She is one of the most incredible undiscovered writers in the industry.  I don’t say that because she is my wife, I say it because it’s true.   She is able to convey her vision so the rest of the team can get it off the page.  Good writers are able to do that.  A project would never get started if it weren’t for the writer.  It all starts with them.

[MIS]  A shot list full of flashbacks and intercuts all cramped in one location actions, how hard was that?

[Brock] It was really tough because we only had two days to shoot the project.  We had a limited time frame with my crew’s schedule and the actor’s schedule.   We shot everything in flexibility of two locations and chose those locations based on the needs of the project to minimize time constraints.  We spent two weeks with the actors in table reads and rehearsals to make sure we could get to the locations and make the most of our time.  It allowed me the time to make sure I could get all of my shots and have time to play around.  Once you have the shots on your list any others you can get are icing on the cake.

[MIS]  How would you describe the Combination of Actors in LIT? And how did you go about the casting?

[Brock] We went through the auditioning process and cast who we felt fit those roles the best.  Cassandra (Lexi Jayde) and Mia (Eden McCoy) were easy to cast because we knew they already had the relationship and they had the talent to take on the challenging roles.  With the role of Cameron we had to find an actor that could really take on layers of emotion and we knew right off that Mitchell Kummen was right for the role.  With our limited time frame Brandon (Ashton Arbab) was a referral and given the role.

[MIS] How important is the lighting in telling the story of LIT? 

[Brock] Lighting is everything in conveying feeling and mood. 

[MIS]  The ending was a success, a well-done twist! Was there a different ending? 

[Brock] Thank you!!   Anytime there is a twist you have to work hard to protect it within the project. There was never a different ending.

[MIS]  Due to the current COVID19 pandemic, cinema and movie theatres are no longer accessible thus streaming platforms are becoming more and more popular and the “new normal”, do you think that Virtual and Online film festivals can become the alternative?

[Brock] We will all go back to the actual Normal when an Anti-Virus is created.  Until then we will adapt.  Virtual is a means to the end but not the end all.  There’s an energy and camaraderie to festivals and going to the movies.  You don’t get that energy Virtually.  The Human experience is missing.

[MIS]  What advice would you give to an actor who wants to be a Filmmaker?

[Brock] Get on set every opportunity you can and ask questions.  Learn all of the parts to the puzzle.   I was and still am that actor on set that is never in his trailer.  I’m always on set.  I talk to the director and crew and ask questions and watch as much as they will let me.  It’s the best learning and training ground there is. 

[MIS]  What are your upcoming projects?

[Brock] We currently have a series that is bouncing around Netflix and we have three feature films we are working on that are currently in the Development phase.  

[MIS]  Any final thoughts at the end of this interview?

[Brock] No matter what capacity I’m in on a project this is the philosophy I carry.

“A FILM IS NOT A PROJECT, IT’S A PUZZLE AND EVERYONE IS A PIECE!”  Brock Burnett

 

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