Henry Pao Answers Eleven Questions With Lisa

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Henry is a delightful young man who’s positivity and humor is contagious. I really had such an enjoyable time speaking on the phone with him. You can see Henry in the upcoming film Sacrament.

1.How long have you been acting?

I started acting when I moved to Dallas to study acting at the K.D. Conservatory of Film and Dramatic Arts. This is my first role. Period. I got it within two weeks of moving here.

2.How did you get into acting, then?

I never really talked about it, so no one was encouraging it. I had always wanted to perform and I said to myself, “why not?”.

3.Awesome! How did this role come to you?

I saw a posting for it on the bulletin board at school. At school, they encourage us to try out for roles because auditioning is a process that you need to experience and get used to. I went to the audition and left just knowing I didn’t get the role, but someone came running after me and asked me to come back in and read again. After that second reading, they requested that I do a video audition. I felt like I had something to prove if they kept giving me chances. I got the part I wanted!

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4.Tell me about your character, Alex Corbin.

Alex is the friend that almost everyone has and no one wants to deal with. He’s full of himself, cocky and thinks he can get away with anything. His friends are just thinking, “when will you shut up?” Because I have a bit of a feminine flair to me, I had to try to mask it and be more masculine.

 

5.What is your favorite moment from filming Sacrament?

The crew,in general, was just great. We did everything together and interacting with Sandra and her boyfriend…they were very encouraging. There was an overall feeling of, this is fun and games, but this is your job, too.

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6.What did you think was the hardest day on set?

It was hard because everyone else had more experience than me. I loved it and I dedicated myself to it, but I would get nervous and I couldn’t help taking some things personally. Troy(Ford) has a certain energy; he is a very strong presence. So, Troy is channeling Shawn and we have intense moments and I would be worrying  that I would forget my lines.

7.Would you like to branch out into other areas of filmmaking?

I currently want to focus on acting. When I feel more like I have done enough and know enough, I would like to help other actors. I like helping people find more within their characters.

8.Any other projects that you’re working on?

I have been working on short films and I’m trying to work more on stage. Working on stage helps me grow because you have to think quick on your feet; you can’t shoot again.

9.What do you hope people take away from Sacrament?

Regardless of religion, you have the right to love everyone you want. This isn’t a joke; the gay character is usually the comic relief or they get killed off first. A gay couple being portrayed as more than just being flamboyant is different and it’s important. You are free too love whoever you want.

10. What other genres would you like to explore?

I would love to do something Sci-Fi related, more on the mystic side. I’ve always been a Charmed fan and I would love to play a witch. An elemental witch, who’s powers consist of elements of the earth. I would love to explore everything but, I don’t always like going to a dark place; I feel like I’m rotting inside.

11. Anything else you would like to add?

I want to thank Shawn so much for giving me the opportunity to learn. Everyone gave me hope that I can do this and I’m doing it for the right reason. Everyone was there for each other.  Working with Shawn was great; he was very flexible with all of us and told us to “go ahead, do your thing.”

You can follow Henry on Twitter @BigHaiLoBoy

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Brittany Badali Answers 11 Questions With Lisa

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1.What attracted you to acting?

Acting has always been an interest of mine, but for some reason I never thought to do it until a few years ago. I was always involved with all my middle and high school productions, but usually in a crew or musician capacity. I hurt my shoulder in 2011 and while recovering from that I wasn’t able to do much in terms of activity other than watch TV and movies. Even walking for too long created an immense pain. It was crazy! One day at work, when I looked around at all the people and I thought to myself “this cubicle is what I have to look forward to the rest of my life?” and that’s when it all changed for me. I started looking for new hobbies I could start and while watching TV one day I thought “why the heck can’t I do that?” So, I got an acting coach and the rest is history. Thankfully, it was about that time that my shoulder began to show progress as well.

2. What do you find to be the best, most educational thing about acting?

The best part of acting, is that despite 12-14 hour filming days, I feel like I accomplished something of value. Something real. The educational part is opening your eyes to the world around you. As an actor, you’re taught to observe everything. Things you never really noticed before, are now screaming loudly at you to witness them. I also very much enjoy trying to find out what’s behind a character’s personality. What was the writer thinking of when they created this person? How did I perceive it differently?

3.Is Sacrament your first feature?

Sacrament is my first major role. I’ve done a few other films either as background parts or small parts with a few lines. I feel blessed to have been a part of such a class act of people on my first major role.

4. Can you tell us about your character/role in Sacrament?

Jennifer is such a butt. Haha! She has this serious sounding sarcastic attitude. Lee and Jennifer share similar traits in that respect, but Jennifer still knows how to have fun, unlike Lee! She finds herself surrounded by a group of friends that both challenge her patience and put up with her at the same time. It makes her feel accepted. She has a wall up and her defense mechanisms are sarcastic and crude comments. What you see is what you get, for sure.

5.How did this role come to you?

I happened to be poking around the ShortFilmTexas website when I saw the casting call for Sacrament. When I read Jennifer’s description, I knew I had to go for it. So, I drove up to Dallas from Houston and auditioned with one of my friends from my acting class. She auditioned for Sacrament as well as the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts (she ended up being accepted to there!). Not long after the audition I received an e-mail from Shawn saying I was selected! I must have left quite an impression by bringing a tampon and toilet paper to the audition.

6.Please share a memorable moment or favorite experience from your time on Sacrament.

Wow, the entire thing was pretty memorable for me. Between all the times we bunked at Shawn’s place, baring the incredible heat inside a warehouse during some of our shoots, and having some down time to hang out with each other, I would say it was a very awesome experience. The weekend where we were all in Waco for about 4 days straight was amazingly productive and awesome at the same time. However, if you’re going to make me pick one moment….I’d have to say it was when we had to re-shoot the morning scene when we all came out to the cars in the morning and saw the lovely decorating we did to Lee’s (Troy Ford) car. After that scene, Troy wanted to immediately wash it off but we could not find a place anywhere. Even the window washers at the gas stations were empty. Amanda and I had to go to the bathroom, Avery wanted something to drink and Troy was on a serious mission to wash the stinking car. Once Avery figured out what he wanted, and the guy before us in the 1-person bathroom blew it up…we each held our breath for as long as we could to get in and get out. Indie film making at its finest, and it is great! Eventually, we passed by a guy who was hosing down his work truck so we pulled up and asked if he could help us wash off our car as well. Pretty sure he didn’t speak English, and yes I took a video of the entire thing. Also, talking about homemade chips and bean dip with Cassandra. Also, Henry making fun of me in the car about my Chicago accent. Ok, stop making me pick one….

7.So, let’s be real and talk about a particularly difficult moment that you had on Sacrament.

The pressure was on in one of my last scenes in the film. I knew I only had one, maybe two chances to get it right. So, I had to throw caution to the wind and forget the rest.

8.What do you hope that people take away from watching this film?

Honestly, I hope people don’t walk away from the film thinking it’s a bash on religion. Most of the time, people only see what’s on the surface and don’t give it much thought. However, I hope that people know it’s much deeper than that. It’s about a form of extremism. I really think the topics this film addresses and the timing of it all is absolutely perfect for what’s happening in this country today. Equal marriage, freedom to practice your religion, freedom from having to follow someone else’s religious beliefs. All of these things are so prevalent today.

9. Are you currently working on any other projects that you would like to talk about?

Right now I have a couple little things here and there. I did get to tutor some other actors in speaking Russian and speaking English with a Russian accent recently for a film down here in Houston. That was fun!

10. Do you plan on continue acting?

Would you like to branch out into any other areas of filmmaking? Oh yes. Most definitely. I love CIA and Action flicks. My goal is to break into those genres someday. I also would love to try comedy.

11. What is one thing that you would like to accomplish this year? It can be absolutely anything.

\One thing to accomplish….get an agent! In all seriousness, I don’t know why I’ve been waiting to get out there and find one. I think part of me is just waiting to add a little more to my resume. I just need to get out there and do it.

 

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Short Bio:

I’m originally from the Chicago area and moved to Houston, TX after I graduated college to work for as an engineer for our nation’s Human Spaceflight Program. I’ve been down here for 6 years, nerding it up. My husband and I have 2 dogs. Dogs are awesome.

Joshua Simmons

Joshua Simmons Answers 11 Questions with Lisa  image

Joshua Simmons, one of the young actors starring in the upcoming film Sacrament, took some time to chat on the phone with me recently and we had the best time. A wonderfully charismatic, intelligent and forward thinking man who loves wrestling and horror. What more can you ask for?

1.How long have you been acting?

I started acting in middle school. After winning a Best Actor accolade in a competition, I really got into it and I continued acting through high school and into college as a theatre major.

2.How did you get into acting?

I’m just naturally very charismatic and I’m not afraid to embarrass myself. I like to embarrass myself a lot…so, it’s just a really good fit for me.

3.Tell me about your character in Sacrament.

Brahm Renneker is a jerky, little kid. Brahm comes through many different areas of my own life. I come from a small town with a church, called the Cowboy Church, and the characters in the movie are just like people that I know. The passion, belief and care that they have is real. When I was 18, I had been wanting to be a youth minister because I wanted to teach; I used this as an area to grasp from for my character of Brahm. Brahm is a true Christian; he believes every word that comes out of his mouth. He has a way with people and can get what he wants. He’s a charmer and he knows how to use the Bible in and out to his advantage. He believes what he says is right and that’s what makes him powerful and dangerous

4.Do you love horror or would you prefer another genre?

Yes, I love horror. Blood, guts and darkness is no stranger to me and I love it. Shawn found me while I was working at a haunted house. I worked there for five seasons and I met him in my third year. I played Skinner, a twitchy, scary character; I would never break character when I was at work.

5.Are you interested in branching out into any other areas of film?

Well, this is my first feature film and I love horror. Shawn gave us this amazing opportunity. He’s given us a chance to be working with seasoned actors from the area and I have met so many cool people.

6. Was it difficult to get into your character?

I had so much going on at the time, that I would detach myself from everybody and get into character. I would stay away from everyone until I found Brahm. Amanda (Rebholz) was awesome at bringing Brahm out.

7. Where did you draw the inspiration from?

I’m a huge pro wrestling fan and Jake the Snake Roberts was a lot of my inspiration. He is smooth with his words. The way he talked, moved, acted, just everything about him; I grabbed from that. A lot of the other actors helped the most with feedback. We would go back and forth with each other until you get to the scene. The chemistry between me and Richard (Houghton) made the scenes so awesome.
8. Any favorite moment from filming?

My favorite part is the climax. All of us in that room were on it and I was on fire. Richard, myself and (sic) two other actors all really clicked with our characters and each other.

9. What other projects are you working on?

Currently, I am in limbo. I am planning on moving to Seattle in June. I just want to see what happens when I get there. I may get back into theatre. Stage acting is my high school sweetheart, it has helped create who I am.

10. What do you hope people will take away from Sacrament?

That we are coming into a new era and our stupidity and staying ignorant isn’t O.K. We have to grow, we have to understand and know we are in changing times. Life isn’t about hate or redemption or destruction….not wanting to change or open your eyes and care. Those times are fading and we have to let go of them. Hopefully, it helps other people’s eyes open.

11. What is one thing that you would like to accomplish this year?

I used to do professional wrestling, which I had to give up for health reasons. Wrestling is my true love, but I have the last three matches of my wrestling career and I get to do them on my terms and end my career on my terms. I’m closing a chapter of my life and doing it the way I want to.

You can see Joshua in Sacrament, premiering June 7th, 2014 and you can follow him on Instagram @joshuacity91

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Amanda Rebholz Answers 11 Questions With Lisa

imageAmanda Rebholz took some time out of her crazy busy schedule to answer some questions and let us know a little bit about her. Just to give you an idea of the amount of responsibility she carried on Sacrament, she is billed under Actress, Miscellaneous Crew, Camera & Electrical Department, Costume Department, Producer and Writer. What can’t Amanda do?

1.You were a published author at the age of fourteen; what kind of writing do you prefer to do? Short stories, articles, screenplays….

When I was a little kid I would churn out stories at a ridiculous pace… I filled notebooks with stories and poems and little one-page things. My grandma eventually bought me an electric typewriter and taught me how to type so that I could be more productive. It kind of progressed from short stories to articles for my middle-school newspaper, and by the time I was fourteen I was doing reviews of CDs and movies. The local newspaper had a contest to bring in young writers and I was chosen; what started as a few articles for them became a regular column. I wound up being the youngest writer on the syndicated New York Times news wire when I was a teenager, and I started writing for a few magazines and doing live concert reviews. Because of this, I met with a lot of musicians and celebrities who were coming through Dallas and Austin. My mom and grandma were so supportive and would drive me to these events out of town so that I could interview the people and write these pieces. In college I started writing slam poetry and spoken word pieces and performing them at open mic nights on campus… I won a few contests that way and had a couple of pieces published. These days I am writing screenplays, but I still keep a regular blog, write freelance articles for different newspapers and magazines, and write short stories and poetry whenever the mood strikes me. My biggest regret is that I’m not as prolific now as I was when I was a kid. Back then I’d write so much and never stop to go “Wait, there’s a plot hole there” or “this has been done before”, I was just focused on getting the word out on the page. Now I’m in my own head a lot and it inhibits my writing. If I’m doing a screenplay I have to think “What kind of budget would we need to pull that off?”, things like that, and it really changes the final product.

2.You have quite a few job titles on Sacrament; how did all of this responsibility land on you?


Shawn Ewert’s been one of my absolute best friends for years now, and he’s always been a writer and an artist. We’d talked about collaborating before and I actually shot stills and helped him on an unreleased short film he did called “The Sleepover”. Even when he was doing that project, he had the idea for “Sacrament” but he’d gotten stuck on the script. He showed me what he had and we started brainstorming. I was able to help him get through some of the roadblocks, but most of the leg work was his. After the script was written and polished up a little, I volunteered to put up some of the funding to make it happen. Shawn’s got a great work ethic and he’s someone I really believe in. He’s a very stubborn, driven guy and he’s very intelligent. I think because he’s quiet and he doesn’t go around shouting from the rooftops about his ambitions, people underestimate him, but Shawn knows what he wants when he’s working on something and he tries to put people around himself who will help him realize that goal. I’ve done a little bit of everything for different productions, so I was happy to lend my experience to him in any way that helped. I didn’t really mean to get the part of Lorri (which is named after my late mother, who Shawn was very close to as well), by the way. Another girl auditioned and I thought she was actually very good, and I knew how much behind-the-scenes responsibility I’d taken on with this project. It was going to take up the entire summer. Being in front of the camera and behind the camera at the same time was bizarre and stressful and crazy, and sometimes I think it made me a little too close to the project. At the end of the day everyone else got to go home and work on other things and I was still knee-deep in this movie. But that was also really awesome because I got to see it develop from embryo to toddler, so to speak, and I was a part of every side of it. Shawn was really great about listening to my input and so it was really fun for me to take on so many parts. I think that’s the whole spirit of indie film like this anyway. If you’re making a movie on this kind of budget everyone HAS to chip in and roll up their sleeves. No one’s entitled to anything, most of us haven’t even come close to paying our dues to have any sense of being ‘better’ than anyone else. If something needs done, people just have to pitch in and get it done at the end of the day. It was a huge communal effort to make “Sacrament” and I was honored to be a part of it in so many ways.

3.Would you be interested in having this many hats to wear on another project?


I think I would, but hindsight is 20/20. Of course when you put a film to bed you’re able to look back and see the things you might’ve done differently, the oversights you made, things like that. I’m very critical of myself and my mistakes and I always strive to be the best I can, so I always go “Ah! I should’ve known that would happen!” after something goes wrong. But you can’t play the ‘could’ve would’ve should’ve’ game, you just have to focus on making your next project even more awesome. I’m working on a film right now in LA and I started out as the director’s assistant but I wound up polishing script pages, rewriting some pretty crucial scenes, taking on-set stills, collaborating with the special effects artists, going to production meetings, getting to be involved with editing decisions and reshoots, and working on the publicity and marketing for the final product. If I’m really passionate about something, it’s really hard for me not to dive in with both feet and really devote myself to the project.

4.Do you have a favorite area of the horror genre?


The ones that really disturb me aren’t the gory ones, although they’re certainly cringe-worthy. The thing I absolutely cannot handle in a movie is when someone has a really messed-up leg injury, like if there’s bone showing or they get their tendon or hamstring cut or something else horrific like that. I will squeal and cover my face or leave the room or something if that happens, it literally nauseates me. But that’s not a ‘scare’ moment. My favorite horror movie ever is ‘Jaws’ and people always argue that that isn’t a horror film. It’s not traditionally horror, it’s more drama than anything I guess, but it always freaked me out and I think it was never about the shark for me, it was about the relationship between the three main men and the sea and the unknown and this primeval beast that they’re up against. I love psychological horror like ‘The Strangers’ and ‘You’re Next’, too. Home invasion stuff really bugs me when it’s done well because your home is supposed to be the safest place in the world, it’s the first place you want to go when shit hits the fan. So if your home becomes the danger zone then where do you go? Plus I live alone in a studio apartment and I’m usually coming home very late at night to an empty, dark place… so I’m always pretty convinced that someone in a scary mask is probably hiding behind my shower curtain. I usually search my apartment right after I go in to make sure that isn’t the case.

5.How did you get into acting and working on films?


I just happened to make a lot of friends who do this for a living. I’ve been a horror fan since I was a very little kid; I remember watching horror movies on my grandpa’s lap when I was a toddler. There are pictures of me dressed like witches and goblins and demons from the time I was like two years old. My mom was a big horror fan and we’d rent all of the classic slasher movies on VHS on Saturday nights and watch them in our apartment. We weren’t too far apart in age, she was only 21 when she had me, so we had an insanely tight relationship and she would expose me to a lot of things I probably shouldn’t have known about. Like buying me a Chucky toy when I was four. But because of that, when I was older I heard about this convention in Dallas called Texas Frightmare Weekend, which is absolutely huge now but back then it was really small and intimate and homey. My first year going was in 2008 and I met a lot of amazing people who were not only into horror films but were actually making them. I fell in with those heathens— Shawn and his husband Jeff were among the first people I met. Two of my closest friends, Brandy and Burt, were producing a horror movie called “Possum Walk” and they needed someone to do some ADR and line dubbing for one of the actresses. I don’t even know how they thought of me but they did, and surprise surprise, I was actually pretty good at voice acting. I came in and did the ADR for that part and after that, I stayed involved. I wrote a short film called “Closure” which we shot, but it’s never come out because it’s kind of been stuck in post-production limbo for more than three years now. Still, it was my first exercise in writing and producing something myself, and I made a lot of great contacts. At Texas Frightmare Weekend I had met this amazing director and FX artist out of LA named Robert Hall, he’d done this great indie film called ‘Lightning Bug’ and had just finished this badass horror film, ‘Laid to Rest’. We became friends and stayed in touch, and I visited him when I was out in California, stuff like that. In October 2013 he called me to ask if I wanted to come work for him on this upcoming feature film, ‘Fear Clinic’, which is starring Robert Englund and Fiona Dourif and all of these other amazing talents. Of course I did, I dropped everything and moved out here. I got to participate in all of the pre-production stuff and went to set in Ohio for a month while we shot the movie, and I’ve been working closely with Rob every step of post-production. I also became very close friends with one of the actors, Thomas, who is also a director and writer. I’ve been really lucky in that all of my friends are creative and they encourage me to pursue my own aspirations. I’m friends with a terrific pack of artistic weirdos and it’s the best possible scenario because they don’t know the meaning of the word ‘impossible’.

6.What was your favorite moment or experience working on Sacrament?


I got really tight with some of the cast, and honestly those are the best moments. You really do become a family on a set, you guys are all in the trenches together, sometimes in weird or uncomfortable situations, working long days without a lot of luxuries, things like that. You either fight like cats and dogs or you become really good friends. Luckily I really loved the cast and crew that Shawn put together. We had so many inside jokes and stupid fun adventures. One of my favorite things was with my co-star Brittany, we were in a car with Troy and Avery and we had to drive past the crew for a shot. We decided to go really slow with all of the windows down, blaring rap music and thugging out on them like gangsters. It was hilarious. Or the time that Troy tried to teach me to twerk.. or when we were filming in this huge bed and breakfast and they gave us permission to have a pool party after hours. We wrapped and then everybody went and got in the pool and it turned into such a ridiculous evening. We were a really tight-knit group and it was so much fun.

7.Are you interested in branching out into any other genres (i.e.) comedy or drama?


I am always interested in branching out. I love horror movies to the core of my being, but most of my favorite movies are dramas, character studies, things with a lot of dialogue and development. Most of what I write is only horror on a very basic level, it’s more about unusual situations and how people react to them. I’d love to do some drama. Comedy is hard, much harder than horror. If a horror movie sucks but has good gore, people will still love it and support it, it’ll find an audience. If comedy isn’t funny, there’s no saving it.

8.Did you have any particularly difficult or grueling experiences working on Sacrament?


I’ll tell you who the unsung heroes are on a film set, and it’s the special FX artists. Especially on an indie film with a very low budget, where the artists are working in really grueling conditions under crazy time constraints, trying to make magic happen. There was one night when we were shooting out in the woods and our head makeup artist Matt Ash was using the bed of a pickup truck as a workstation. People were holding up their cell phones for light as he tried to apply a tubing rig and use an air compressor and everything else… the generator was overheating, we hadn’t tested the gag yet in daylight because there hadn’t been time… one of our actors ended up completely naked in the field trying to hose himself off from sticky fake blood using an old t-shirt and bottled water because we were a little unprepared for the way the gag was going to go off. Scenes like that require very precise pre-planning and you don’t have that luxury when you’re working on a tight budget and deadlines. It’s really inspiring watching people just dive in and grit their teeth and figure out how to fix something in a situation like that. You can either stand there and complain or you can solve the problem and make it work, and every single time Matt did the latter. The hardest part for me about that was having to stand by not knowing how to help because I don’t know anything about effects. My own personal hardest moment was probably a tie between a scene I had to film in a barn and a dialogue scene with Brittany. The scene in the barn was incredibly hot, it was the middle of summer in an abandoned barn in Texas, and I was soaked in sweat. Hay and dust were sticking to me, I was in a wig and full makeup, and I had to lay down in the straw. The barn was full of wasps and we were all afraid of snakes and everyone had guns and sticks and were trying to make sure the area was clear. It was a long, harrowing day, not terribly fun but it looks awesome on film. And the dialogue scene was just a particularly long, tricky speech that Lorri is giving to Jennifer [Brittany’s character] and I just couldn’t nail it. I kept flubbing lines, walking out of frame, missing my marks… if I could do something to fuck it up, I seemed determined to do it. I felt so bad for Brittany having to put up with me that day.

9.What do you hope people’s takeaway will be after seeing the film?


Shawn had such a specific idea when he wrote the film; as a gay male who’s been out his whole adult life and who is very open about his marriage and his feelings on equality in a conservative state like Texas, Shawn has faced a lot of prejudice and hatred in his life. A lot of us who worked on the film, including me, identify as bisexual or gay or some other variation from heterosexuality, and even the straight people on set consider themselves allies for GLBT equality. Living in a pretty straight-laced state the way we do, we see a lot of people who may not be as extreme as the citizens of Middle Spring but that doesn’t mean much. It’s a lot more likely to face discrimination than to be welcomed somewhere with open arms. And I know Shawn has a conflicted history with organized religion and coming to terms with where that stands when it comes to his personal life, as do I. It’s the reason I left the Christian church, I didn’t like the way they made me feel about who I chose to love or get involved with. ‘Sacrament’ is not just a horror film and it’s not exploitive, it isn’t a ‘gay’ film. It’s a movie about people who take an ideal too far, who live on the far extreme end of a conviction. They don’t believe that they’re villains or that they’re doing anything wrong; they actually think they’re doing the characters a favor by saving them from a life of sin. And while most of the religious nutjobs in the world like the Phelps family may not go quite this far, it isn’t that outlandish. You hear stories all over the world about ‘pray the gay away’ camps and organizations that boycott GLBT-friendly establishments and do everything in their power to prevent marriage equality from becoming a reality, and sadly a lot of them ARE affiliated with the churches. It’s a rough place to be if you’re actually an open-minded, loving, modern Christian because your whole group is getting a bad rap because of these people. But the truth is, it is happening all over the place and I think Shawn had a very strong conviction that this was a story he needed to tell and wanted to get out there. I think writing it was liberating for him. And everyone loved the idea of a film where the main couple are a strong, committed gay couple instead of the typical ‘final girl and love interest’ scenario. You don’t see enough strong gay characters in film right now, especially horror or indie films.

10.What other projects do you have lined up?


I’m living in Hollywood right now, working on the post-production of ‘Fear Clinic’. We’re going to be coming to Texas Frightmare Weekend in a few weeks to promote that, show some clips and do a panel. I’m coming out with my boss Rob as well as Thomas Dekker and Corey Taylor, so this is a huge deal for me to be among such talent— but besides that, they’re just sweet guys who I love working with. After TFW, I’m coming back to Texas for the big ‘Sacrament’ premiere and then I will be back to LA to work on another feature with Rob. We have a few things lined up once we put ‘Fear Clinic’ to bed, and I’m writing a new screenplay that I’m insanely excited about. I’ve also been focusing on my other artistic endeavors more. I’ve been a photographer since I was 12 and I’m really starting to get more confident in my skills there. I’ve been very lucky to work with some of my talented friends lately, putting together these really bizarre and beautiful photo shoots, and I want to try to put out a book or something similar.

11.What is one thing that you would like to accomplish this year?
I’m working really hard to better myself in every possible way. I know this sounds really cliché but it’s true. When we started casting ‘Sacrament’ I was about 350 pounds and I was reeling from the death of my mother. I’ve taken care of her since I was nineteen so it’s been very new to me to live on my own and only be responsible for myself, and moving out to LA and making new friends has really opened up my horizons and helped me kind of find myself. I am really exploring who I am and experimenting; I’m having so many great new experiences. I’ve met some incredible people and I can’t wait to keep traveling down all of these wonderfully-weird, windy paths to see where they lead. I think 2014 is going to have some big things in store for me, and if the last year is anything to gauge it by, I can’t even begin to imagine where I’ll end up.

Richard Houghton Answers 11 Questions With Lisa

imageRichard Houghton is a gregarious and funny gentleman who was kind enough to sit down with Lisa Fremont and answer some questions about himself and about his experience filming the movie Sacrament.

I noticed that everything that you have been in is either Comedy or Horror. Do you prefer one over the other?

I like comedy, but I’m a huge fan of horror, too. I grew up with horror and watch it every chance I get. The stuff that I write is comedy, but I go either way. Whenever they need a generic middle age, white dude, that’s me.

Why do you think these two genres overlap so much?

I think there is a similar sensibility between the people that really like horror and that really appreciate comedy. I don’t know exactly what it is, but there are definitely similarities between the people I’ve worked with in comedy and the people I’ve worked with in horror.

What is your role in Sacrament?

I’m the preacher; the whole town follows me and has bought into my teachings. Sinners have to be biblically punished.

*Footnote:Richard does not condone or encourage cannibalism in real life.

How did this role come to you?

I auditioned for Shawn. I did both of the Pot Zombie movies; I believe Shawn and I had mutual friends that worked on those films, so I think I had actually met him prior to auditioning for him.
I go on a lot of auditions and it just so happened that I knew these people. When I read it, it was really good so I got pretty excited. I’ve been in horror films, ya’ know, Ilve played a zombie a couple times, but this was one , where for me, it was a larger role. Almost theatrical, over the top kind of deal, which was fun coming from a background where you do that kind of thing. Usually, people have to reign me in and I was kind of challenging Shawn to do that, but he let me go and be as big as I wanted to be.

Do you have any fond memories or funny stories from your time filming Sacrament?

One day, they were shooting footage, but they weren’t using the sound. So, I had the congregation all around me, but I didn’t need to be saying anything specific, so I started doing my old comedy. I was doing my standup as a preacher, with all of the preacher type gestures, to all of these nice people who had come out to be my congregation. The other stuff I can’t talk about because it would give too much away.

What is it like to work with Shawn Ewert?

Shawn is awesome. He absolutely know what he wants, but he also gives you the freedom to figure it out yourself. He wrote it and he’s lived it and breathed it. I’m hoping to work with Shawn again in some capacity. He’s a pro, he’s got a vision and he knows what he’s trying to do.This was a great team (group of people working on Sacrament). I think we’re going to be really proud of the movie and I think it’s going to do some really cool things just on an awareness perspective and because it’s going to be a really good movie.

What aspects of acting aren’t, necessarily, fun?

It’s the same thing with comedy; you do a lot of sitting around, standing around. You’re at locations all day long to do your 10-15 minutes of filming. That 10-15 minutes is absolutely awesome, but you do spend a lot of time waiting around, so, you fight to keep your focus. With a project like this it becomes kind of a family thing. With any project, where you spend a lot of time with the same people everyday, it becomes more of a family thing, which is kind of cool.

With Sacrament being filmed on the weekends, was it difficult to keep going back into that character?

No, I’ve known a lot of people that are just like him, so, I patterned him after some very specific people. Most of them are no longer living, so, I don’t think I’ll be in trouble, but I did pattern him after some very specific people that I’ve known over the years.

You have a bachelors degree in painting and drawing….

Yeah! The only thing I do now is draw the family Christmas card. I was a cartoonist and the closest thing I could find that would give me a degree as a cartoonist was a painting and drawing degree, so I started painting also. I got really passionate about it and had planned on teaching at the university level. When my first child was born, I changed plans and went into technology.

With all of these things in your background, how did you end up acting?

How is this for an awesome college career; I was a painting and drawing major and a drama minor. You can imagine how great that sounds on job interviews. I’ve, practically, always worked in technology for my “real job” and I’ve been able to do that and keep doing comedy, writing and acting on the side.

What is one thing that you would like to accomplish this year?

I’ve got a web series that I’m really going to try to get going in the next year. It’s called Yoga Garage; it’s about struggling actors who work on scenes in a garage. And do yoga.