Sunday, September 30, 2007

Interview With Bup

So, a while ago I went to Austin, and then a few days later interviewed my old improv friend Arthur. A few weeks after that I went to Minneapolis to hang with my old same-improv-troupe friend Clarence, but inexplicably it took me half a year to interview him. I'd chalk that up to laziness if I felt like getting out of bed to go buy a chalkboard. So let us stride grandly and directly right to the interview, which uses a psuedonym that Clarence and I strangely share. Welcome to Interview... With Bup.

PHIL: You live in Minneapolis, which is a city of some renown. Didn't you live in New Orleans before that, and what's the deal with Alaska? Don't you ever stop living in places? Explain yourself.

BUP: I did indeed live in New Orleans before Minneapolis, with Alaska in between. I was born in New Orleans (well, Metairie, technically) and lived in New Orleans (not Metairie) until 1990, when my family moved to the wilds of Bush, Louisiana. I lived in the woods, learning how to communicate with trees, animals, and eventually other humans (but never girls) until I graduated high school in 1998. From 1998 to 2005, I lived in a series of places inside and outside of the Greater New Orleans area. In the Spring of 2005, my girlfriend Kat and I were offered a summer-long acting gig in Alaska. We left Louisiana on May 3rd, never thinking that we wouldn't be able to return, and we arrived in the tourism-fueled town of Skagway, Alaska, on 5/5/05. Just in time for Cinco de Mayo festivities at the Red Onion Saloon. Katrina happened while we were in Alaska, rendering us unable to return home to the New Orleans area. Due to an odd series of coincidences involving Alaska coworkers, my best friend from high school, and Minnesota's happenin' arts scene, my girlfriend and I ended up traveling from Alaska to Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the end of September, 2005. I'll elucidate (I'm sure he knows what that means.): see, right when we were going to Alaska, my friend Ed was moving to Minnesota with his Minnesotan fianceé (now wife) Kaylea, who had traveled to N.O. after college but was ready to return to her home state. I figured I'd never see Ed again, except for the wedding and probably rare visit. Nick, another high school friend who moved to Minneapolis after we did, was staying in Louisiana. Our group of friends was pretty much disbanding for good, it seemed. Now, the guy who hired us to go to Alaska had just spent a couple years doing theatre in Minneapolis, and even before the storm, he suggested that we check it out as a potential place to live and work (Kat and I were thinking about eventually going to Chicago or NY). While in Alaska, we met other people who were from or had worked in Minneapolis who also suggested we check it out. "Funny," I thought, "One of my best friends just moved there. Maybe we will check it out, because we'd be able to visit Ed & Kaylea, and we'd have a free place to crash." Until this time, it had never occurred to me to go to Minneapolis for acting work. 8-29-05, the storm happened. Kat and I thought, "Well, we have to find a new city to crash in RIGHT NOW." Chicago? NY? Or the latest addition to our list, Minneapolis? Ed, my coincidentally newly-Minneapolized friend, offered us a place to stay. I had our flight changed, and at the end of September, 2005, we landed on Ed & Kaylea's futon. I started auditioning not long after we arrived, and I've been working ever since. Kat has a job that she loves. We have no reason to leave so far. We have since left Ed & Kaylea's futon for lodgings of our own.

P: You're an actor of some renown. What's been your favorite recent stage role? Favorite backstage tryst? And tell us about a show that turned out so bad that it really made you want to cut someone.

B: My favorite all time stage role was probably John Merrick in "The Elephant Man," but that's not terribly recent -- Spring 2003 (I saw that one... it wasn't all that terrible.). I'll take "recent" to mean "since moving to Minneapolis two years ago." I guess it could be Edgar in "King Lear" (That's the one about the king with his own jet.) or Donald in "The Boys in the Band." Those are two of the shows I'm proud of, but I don't know if I can say I have a favorite. I think the most pleasant, fun, and stress-free play I've done here was "The Boys in the Band." I thought one of the best plays I've done here, if not THE best, was "King Lear," but I'm very conflicted about my own performance in it. My touring gigs with GTC Dramatic Dialogues and National Theatre for Children have been tons of fun. As for backstage trysts, I have zero experience with such things. And bad shows, we've all been in them. I'll refrain from specificity (Think I've had a layover there.) so I don't hurt any feelings or make any enemies, but I've definitely had infuriating theatre experiences, both in Louisiana and here in Minnesota. Sometimes you're working with wonderful people, but the show itself is just bad. Other times, you're working with rude, unpleasant people, but the show is good. Also, you can have a great team wasted on a mediocre script, or a complex and wonderful script wasted on an unqualified team. The most common situation, in my experience, is that you do a pretty good show with mostly good people, but there are one or two divas whose unprofessionalism will make you want to hit them. But you just have to make sure you don't let stuff like that keep you from doing the best job you can do. Their behavior isn't your problem. Your responsibility is to the show. So it's just like any job, really. I've only done one show in Minnesota that I'm embarassed to claim. I'll let you speculate as to which one it was.*

P:You're also branching out into film, which is a career move of some renown. What high profile film projects can we expect to see you in soon? Which ones did we miss? Which ones can we grab for a dollar on the direct-to-DVD rack?

B: Nothing high profile as an actor. I was a stand-in and extra for the 2005 CBS "Elvis" miniseries and an extra for "Ray," but neither job could be considered an acting gig. The films I've done have all been independent or student films, mostly shorts (He, like Arthur, seems to gravitate towards scenes without clothes.). Two films I was in just had screenings at movie theatres in Minneapolis, actually. In August, a short film I did called "Fading Moment" premiered with other local short films, and just last week, a feature length dark comedy called "Group Home" premiered as well. Sadly, I was on tour and missed both premieres. I still haven't seen either movie. I was in "Safe House," an award-winning short for the 48 Hour Film Project this year, and that'll end up available on a 48HFP DVD at some point. After that success, Urban Mountain Media, the guys who made "Safe House," brought me aboard to play the bad guy in a film noir piece they're shooting now, tentatively called "Sealed with a Bullet." Earlier this year, I played the lead in a short film called "The Cell Phone," which will hopefully get shown some time later this year (a trailer's up on my MySpace page now). Looking way in the future, I've agreed to be the leading man -- not usually my type -- in a horror film next Summer called "The Spooner Sisters" for a guy I worked with last winter. Film can be an iffy prospect, because there's even less quality control than in theatre. Anyone can rent or buy equipment and shoot something they wrote, if they have the will and the cash -- ability doesn't need to play into it one bit. It'll be a terrible script, it'll look awful, and it'll sit on a shelf and do nothing for anyone's career, and you'll have wasted your time and energy. When you make a film, you have to write a good movie, shoot a good movie, and finally edit a good movie, which is a major challenge. What a lot of people do, however, is type up a script without knowing anything about writing, put an audition notice on craigslist without knowing anything about acting, and shoot something awful over a few weekends without knowing anything about running a set or directing. Indie and student film is a real crapshoot (That sounds like it might make a real mess.), but I think I've been a part of some good projects. Whenever there are opportunities to see films I've been in, I'll post info about it on my MySpace page, which is here.

P: Thanks for taking the time to be interviewed here. It won't make you any more famous, but it makes me feel important to be asking the questions.

C: Thank you. Now I'll have to interview you for my blog. Eventually. It might be a while. Anyway, keep on bloggin' in the free world. I'm off to buy some pants.

*In this whole section here, Bup seems to take the high road. But if you scan the papers, you'll find a swath of unsolved murders around every show he's been in. Draw your own conclusions.