LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE
That's what it was.
The whole experience of working on SKID truly was lightning in a bottle, and I know I'm not the only person who feels that way. For me, this crazy business of acting has had many ups and downs over the years, and when I was cast in SKID, it had been many years since I had landed a film role. And playing “James” - this is the largest film role I've had to date. I've worked on a few SAG low budget films in years past, but usually in a small supporting part......a “character actor” role that shoots in a day or two. For SKID, it's the first time I've gotten to play such a central character and be on set roughly 70% of the entire shoot. It was a memorable ride for sure and one I know I'll never forget or take for granted.
I knew of Ryan as a director and had always wanted to work with him. When I saw the breakdown, I thought it sounded like such a fun premise and a daunting task shooting on a plane. I read the description of “James” and it sounded like such a fun character and one I could really sink my teeth into. I loved the script and hoped I could bring to it what they were looking for. That's all any actor wants. They want to be the right combination of whatever the author, director, and producer are looking for. And if not, then they want to be memorable enough that the next time a production rolls around and they can audition for the same creative team, maybe there's a character they'd be right for down the road.
The day of my audition, everything leading up to it that could possibly go wrong had........well........gone wrong. I had no earthly idea how I was going to be able to make it to the audition with all the technical issues I was trying to solve in the office that day that were going to take hours upon hours upon hours to fix. I was so frustrated with the idea that I might have to skip the audition altogether, but I'm so glad I was able to work it out. I made it there by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin.
I can safely say that it's the most fun audition I've ever been to. I left there knowing that even if I didn't get cast, it was exactly what I needed that day. It was just plain fun and a really nice creative environment. When I got the part, the screenplay was going through another draft, and I just couldn't wait to read it. So I bought Rene's book and poured through it wanting to get to know “James.” I absolutely love this character. I think everyone knows a “James.” Or everyone has some aspect of “James” in themselves. :)
I love that there was so much time in between the cast being assembled and before principal photography actually began because it really gave time to explore the script and the character. I was there for a couple different days of table reads, and I'll never forget the first thing director Ryan said: (in a joking manner) “If any of you memorize this......I'll kill you.” That's when I knew 100% that this was going to be the most fun shoot I've ever gotten to be a part of. Not all directors are like Ryan. He's a consummate professional. He knows each shot he wants. He knows exactly what he wants out of actors. But he also loves having an improvisational atmosphere and really giving actors the freedom to create. I've never had anything like that before. I had always approached “James” in an off-the-cuff style already, but now I knew that this would be a set where if you had an ad-lib, funny take, or just completely random tangent to add and explore........go for it because it just might end up being perfect. (or if not, then add it to the blooper reel, he he)
I loved every single day I got to be on set. It was such a fun cast and crew. There truly were no egos. No matter the long days, everyone poured their hearts into this production. It was a joy to watch this crew work together and support each other. It was filmmaking at its finest. You got to watch people do what they love doing, and each person left their mark on the film in a unique way. I've worn a lot of hats over the years, but this one would be hard to top.
So, from First Officer “James Lawrence,” I say it was an honor to be a part of our experience bringing this flight to life.
It truly was lightning in a bottle.
Heartfelt thanks to all,
BRETT'S FILM REEL:
BRETT'S COMMERCIAL REEL: