Your upcoming movie Heart of Faith - in a few words, what is
The title sums it up pretty well. At its core Heart of Faith is
a story about Faith. It is a Christian Drama that takes on tough themes
such as bullying, trust, and betrayal. The story is set in a Christian
boarding school, and explores how characters with Christian values face
conflicts that are not as simple as black and white. The question I am
posing is, how do Christian teens and young adults in today's world deal
with the inner conflict between their beliefs and the choices made that do
not always reflect those values.
Faith is one of the key elements of Heart
of Faith - so what can you at all tell us about your personal faith,
and would you call yourself a religious person?
always thought of myself as a spiritual person. Growing up I was raised
Catholic. My sister and I both went to Catholic School when we were
younger. Attending church and praying before bed were a part of my
routine. The way I view religion and my own faith now as a young adult is
something that has evolved with my own life experiences. I find comfort in
religion, and it's through my own exploration of my religious beliefs that
I found the story for Heart of Faith.
sources of inspiration when writing Heart of Faith - and was there
a particular event in your life that made you write this?
I first started developing the ideas behind this story 3 years ago. Heart of Faith
is really the end result of 3 separate stories I've worked on all
combined into one. The first idea for Heart of Faith came to me when I was looking
for an idea for a short film project for a class when I was in College.
I was also inspired by the CW
TV-series 7th Heaven. That was one of my
favorite shows when I was in middle school and early high school. I
liked that the show explored coming of age themes from a Christian
perspective at a time in my life when I felt like I could relate to the
characters and the situations they were in.
I wanted to create a story that could affect viewers in that way, and
that could be taken seriously as a drama.
far as I know, the script of Heart of Faith developed into what it
is today for quite some time. So what can you tell us about the evolution
of your project?
Yes. When I was in college my major was film and my minor was
psychology. My favorite theory in psych was cognitive dissonance, which
is the idea that as people our behavior and our beliefs are not always
in agreement. When we do something that goes against what we believe we
should do we have a need to rationalize or justify why we did it. I
wanted to take that concept and explore it from a Christian perspective
and ask, "How do people with real human imperfections deal with the
challenge of trying to live a life like Jesus, and when they fail how do
they cope with the dissonance". That is the theme that inspired Heart of Faith
in its most basic form that tucked into my back pocket 3 years ago.
Since then I had 2 other completely separate script ideas I was
developing. One of them was also faith based, and the other dealt with bullying and the accountability we feel when we see injustice and fail
I had been writing and rewriting these three separate stories on and off
for the last three years, and it wasn't until this past spring that I
decided to tell them as one. When that happened the script exploded onto
paper, and it felt like the story was telling itself.
As far as I know, Heart of Faith
is going into production as early as come August - so how did that happen,
and anything you can tell us about your key crew (producer, director, ...)
We are still currently in pre-production, with filming set to begin in
the fall. The film will be directed by Jack Skyyler [Jack
Skyyler interview - click here], Joel Brook and Alex
Zinzopoulos. I have worked with all three of them before on other
projects and I love what each of them brings to the production. So I'm
very excited to reunite this team.
The rest of the crew is still being discussed. Nothing else to
officially announce yet in terms of crew, but I look forward to
collaborating with some other talented filmmakers that I have worked
with in the past.
How actively involved will you be in the shoot as
writer/producer when it comes to creative decisions, and considering it's
your story, how hands-off do you think you'll manage to remain?
The directors and I have talked a lot about the vision for this film,
and about who the characters really are. I think we are all working
towards the same goal, and have a clear sense of what the end result
will be so I feel very comfortable leaving the actual directing in the
hands of Jack, Alex an Joel. I will be involved on set, and overseeing the process throughout the
production. However the script I wrote is really just the starting
point. The film itself will be a collaboration.
been so far known more as an actor than a writer, will you join the cast
of Heart of Faith? And anything you can tell us about the (rest of
the) cast yet?
Very true. Acting has always been my first love, and I will be a part of
the cast in some way. It's still to be determined where exactly I will
fit in. Which role I play will mostly depend on the rest of our cast,
and what other actors can bring to the different roles at the auditions.
This is very much an ensemble cast, so I need to see all the other
actors together before I have a clear picture of where to put myself. I have spoken with several talented actors who I think have a lot to
offer this film, but nothing will be finalized until the audition
process is complete. Auditions are scheduled to take place throughout
the month of August.
Any idea when and where the movie will be
released onto the general public (and I realize it might be waaay too
early to ask)?
Still too soon to say for sure. We're
looking at two very different routes we could go with distribution. That
is still to be decided.
Based on your experiences with writing Heart
of Faith so far - could you ever be tempted to write another movie?
And other future projects you'd like to talk about?
Yes, and yes. I don't feel like I'm done telling the story of Heart of Faith. I've
built the world of Heart of Faith and filled it with some very compelling
characters, and I feel that there is a lot more to their story than what
I could fit into one script. I plan to write sequels and keep going
deeper and deeper into the lives of these characters. In many ways this story reminds me of a Christian
Harry Potter. With the
boarding school environment, and the fact that the students are all
going through transitions and experiencing personal and spiritual growth
as they approach adulthood, I see several stories that could very well
turn into future scripts. As a writer I'm not going to force anything by trying to make a sequel
just for the sake of making a sequel, but if the story is there then I'm
going to tell it.
mentioned, you are first and foremost an actor - so what got you into
acting to begin with, and what can you tell us about your training as an
Performance has been my passion since I was very young. As a kid I
thought of acting as playing pretend, and I still like to think of it
like that. I began making my own "movies" with my parent's
video camera with friends in my backyard. At the time I didn't know how
to pursue auditions, so I crated my own opportunity to act in front of a
camera. In high school I was very involved with Theatre, and in College
I began acting in short films and commercials. Acting became a bigger
focus in my life after I graduate college, and since then I have held
leading roles in 2 independent features, several short films, and
supporting roles in other New England based film projects.
I've trained with some of Boston's top casting directors and coaches
including Carolyn Pickman of CP Casting, and several of the coaches who
teach at Boston Casting's acting school.
Can you still remember your first time in front
of a camera and what was that experience like?
That's tough. I'm not sure I really can remember what the actual first
experience was. I can say that I had my first on camera television
experience working on a kid's show at the Catholic Television Network
with Father Reed. Coincidently I started my on camera work with a faith-based
My first time on the set of a feature length film was when I worked on
My Best Friend's Girl starring Dane Cook. I was playing a
high school kid at a prom, and I filmed two very long days back to back.
I can remember being really tired and hot, but at the same time
realizing that acting was in fact what I wanted to do as a living. Once you get a taste of something real, and you know what you really
want in life, you can never really be satisfied with anything else
again. So having those first two experiences reaffirmed a lot for me.
you tell us about your filmwork so far?
Being a Boston-based actor most of the work I have done has taken place
in and around Boston. I have also done some films in Connecticut. Since
my work is project-based, my schedule is constantly changing. Most of the
short films and features I have worked on have been drama, but I have
done some comedies as well. My favorite film experience so far has been
working on Night Aboard The Salem, which shot in Quincy last
fall. It was a unique experience because the entire cast and crew lived
on the set during the shoot,
which was an authentic Battleship.
I have also done some stunt work as well. I have a background in Martial
Arts an I specialize in extreme acrobatic flips and tricks, so I look
for projects where I can utilize that skill.
You have also
done quite a bit of theatre, right? So how does performing on stage
compare to acting in front of a camera, and which do you actually prefer?
love live performance, and it is hard to compare it to film. I have also
done live martial arts performances and demonstrations for audiences over
the years. I've had the opportunity to choreograph fight scenes, and
perform them in front of Chuck Norris. That type of live energy is
amazing. I will always enjoy live performance, but film is still my
favorite. I love the things that film can do in terms of storytelling,
and it is a powerful feeling to be a part if that.
would you describe yourself as an actor? And how as a writer?
If you asked me this question two years ago my answers would be very
different. To me film is life. As I live and grow as a person, I also
evolve as an actor and a storyteller. As both an actor and a writer I
like to draw from my own life experience. I don't need to draw from
events, I draw from feelings. I draw from how an experience made me
feel, and I translate that into something relevant for the character.
I'm not a method actor. I prefer to be relaxed and have fun on set
regardless of the scene I'm shooting. If I can relax and let my guard
down then I can really tap into a wide range of emotions and let the
character feel them, rather than me the actor trying to force an
As a writer I'm very methodical. I have to be in the right kind of
setting in order to write. I need to be able to forget about everything
else, and leave the world behind while I write. Because of this my
favorite time to write is late at night or early in the morning. When
I'm writing I cut myself off from everyone and everything else.
writers, filmmakers, whatever else who inspire you?
In general I am inspired by any actor or actress who can hold an
audiences attention with their physical presence alone. A lot can be
said for simply "being" in front of the camera. A skilled
actor who knows their character through and through is capable of
portraying them in any and all situations, even when the dialogue
doesn't give them much to work with. Two of the actors I admire the most are Johnny Depp and Leonardo
As a kid, my favorite film director was Tim Burton. I still really enjoy
his films, but my new favorite director is Christopher Nolan. I love the
different worlds that he has brought to life on camera.
Inception. Hands down that is my number 1
favorite film to watch. I've always loved the theme of dreams in movies
and TV, and Inception does a great job of exploring that. It also raises
some great questions about how we define reality, and how our belief and
perception can shape what we experience in life. All of these concepts
relate back to topics discussed in some of my favorite psych classes at
... and of course, films you really
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
This is a very tough question. I can think of lots of films that I
wouldn't want to watch a second time, but that I can still appreciate
for what it was.
The only time I'm disappointed by a film is when I feel deceived because
the trailer made me believe it would be one thing, and then the movie
didn't live up to that. mI guess the biggest disappointment I've had at the movies was when I saw
M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening... I don't think anything
was really "happening" in that movie.
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
Heart of Faith can be found on Facebook, Kickstarter,
YouTube, and Twitter!
Anything else you are dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
For more information about auditions and the film itself email:
Thanks for the interview!