Greg - we appreciate you taking some time to answer some questions for us.
Prior to being involved with the film industry, you had a storied career in law enforcement. How do you (if you do) think this prepared you for this world of acting and storytelling?
Acting and being a police officer were two careers I was interested in while growing up and choose to first pursue a career in Law Enforcement. I had the honor of serving my community as a police detective which was a very rewarding and exciting career. By the time I retired I had already been in several independent movies, plays and commercials.
When I retired I studied at Michael Howard Studio and HB Studio in New York. I certainly feel my time as a police officer strengthened my acting skills. In order to have a successful outcome while dealing with a wide variety of situations and people; some of them dangerous, you must adapt to and create a character that will work with each scenario. Although you are creating a character, it is equally important to be honest and sincere. Just like a good cop can see through BS so can criminals and the mentally unstable.
As far as storytelling, I certainly had many experiences, some of which I wrote about and turned into short films.
What is your approach when it comes to acting and engaging the script and preparing for a shoot?
Although I’ve studied at several acting schools and privately with different coaches, I find that I'll use a little from each technique I’ve learned. Over the years I stress a lot less about the script and remembering lines and just being truthful and in the moment. I try to understand who I am and why I’m saying the lines and really listen to the other actors so you can give a truthful reaction.
You’ve worked on dozens and dozens of projects, some by friends, others of your own making, and still others with elite Hollywood directors, what has been the highlight so far?
I’ve worked with some really great people here in Connecticut who have given me some tremendous opportunities and have learned so much from them. However, my most exciting experience was when I met and worked with Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks on Bridge of Spies. I had a scene with Hanks as The Police Lieutenant investigating the shooting that took place at Hanks’ characters house.
Is there a role you’ve always wanted to play?
I’ve played a lot of police officer and bad guy roles which I love, however I would really love the opportunity to sink my teeth into a character like Edward, played by Richard Gere in Unfaithful.
You have taken on Locations Manager duties with Synthetic Cinema, a production company based in Rocky Hill, talk to us about your approach to that role?
I’ve actually done some locations scouting for Synthetic Cinema back in 2004-2006 for a couple of their earlier movies. The company has grown tremendously since then and so has the responsibilities of locations. I usually have several conversations with the director and producer to get an idea of their vision, budget etc. Then I will break down the script and compile a list of location needs and head out on the road where I’ll knock on many doors before things start to fall in place. Once the director likes a particular location, I also need to make sure there are secondary locations fairly close by to house cast, crew and background actors for catering, make up, wardrobe etc. Then the fun part of negotiating with the owners begins. Most property owners have Hollywood budgets on their mind until they are deflated with my counter offer.
You’ve been a big proponent of Connecticut’s film industry, what is your favorite part about the industry and opportunities here and what’s one thing you would want people to know about it?
If you’re not from Connecticut or ever participated in shooting here you typically wouldn’t associate CT with the film business, however we have a very talented community of filmmakers and almost every possible type of landscape, and architecture. I think the greatest part of filming here is the cost is much lower than other states, particularly California.
What are you currently working / what’s the next project on your horizon?
I’m currently doing locations for another Synthetic Cinema film and was just cast in Sno Babies being filmed next month in Philadelphia.
And finally, if you could give a piece of advice to someone starting out in this industry, what would you tell them?
The entertainment business particularly acting is a very challenging pursuit. However there are many opportunities to get your foot in the door. In the beginning you’ll be doing a lot of work for no pay but you’ll be learning valuable skills and getting noticed by the people who will offer you that first paying job. For actors, take classes, go to as many open calls as possible, do theater and student films. Success does not happen over night or many years for that matter. But if you work really hard and be nice to people things will fall into place.