Its 9:41 pm
Welcome to another edition of 8 Questions with……
I lived in San Jose for 15 years in another life. While the Bay Area is very large and very diverse,its not the first place you think of when discussing a thriving film community. If you talked live theater,well…you would be more on target.
San Jose and San Francisco both had very vibrant and active theater groups performing when I lived there. Of all the towns in the Bay Area,Redwood City would have been among the last places where you expect to a film community starting to rise.
But this is what our next guest,Tony Gapastione has managed to do. Transplanted from Chicago to the small town of Redwood City,Tony planted a multitude of creative energy and has grown first a group called the Creative Crew which drew upon the many artists in the area and then after a great run,Tony used the positive energy to launch his newest and boldest adventure yet in creating the non-profit BraveMaker which also has taken off. Tony has written and produced two original short films and while he loves making films,live theater,especially Shakespeare,still holds a place in his heart.
Let’s go see what else this hard working artist and family man has on his mind as we ask Tony Gapastione 8 Questions!!!
Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about yourself.
Hello! I am Tony Gapastione. I’m a husband, father, filmmaker…and pastor-yep– Kinda weird..but I love my story. I went to Seminary and I served as an ordained pastor for twenty+ years and now serve at large partnering with congregations Bay Area. It seems odd to be both a filmmaker and pastor but it’s the perfect mash-up of my life. I believe stories have power to change the world more than a one hour Sunday morning experience. Creativity is spiritual. Life is about trying to make sense of it right? Who are we? Why are we here? That’s why I love being a filmmaker. It’s very theological…So I work with churches and I make movies. Occasionally I am acting on other’s projects but mostly I love being behind the camera writing, directing and producing. I have short films on Amazon Prime and I’m currently producing, writing and directing feature films. I host community dialogues with my non-profit BraveMaker and do monthly film screenings and a summer film fest to facilitates brave/safe spaces on our culture’s most pressing issues. My wife, Wendy, and I have three daughters and live in Redwood City, California.
What was growing up in Chicago like?
I mainly spent my college years in the city and I LOVED It. Chicago has so much culture, arts, comedy, music, live theater and amazing food. I loved taking the EL train around that place to all the art museums, clubs, theatres and parks. My younger years were spend in almost every suburb of Illinois. We moved around a lot which is why I think being in the theater helped keep me grounded. It was like my family. I felt at home and accepted there while everything else in my life and family seemed to be changing rapidly. My family is still there and love when I get to visit and eat the pizza.
How did you get involved in live theater? What was your first role onstage?
I did school plays starting in elementary school. I was the nutcracker in 4th grade and was sold on it ever since.
What are your three fondest memories about doing live theater?
I was able to play Romeo in R&J and it was a dream come true. I found out I got the role from a friend who came out running from the theatre yelling it when they posted the cast list in Rockford Illinois. Studio Theatre. Very fond memories from there. I also had to appear naked on stage (after the bedroom scene) and get dressed in the scene which was challenging and hilarious when I invited my church youth group to visit. OOPS! Another memory is being in the musical JOSEPH and the AMAZING TECNICOLOR DEAM COAT and wearing skin tigh GO-GO pants that seems to rip in the crotch ever performance. Another fond memory is my dad sneaking in his HUGE video camera and full on boot-legging any performance he attended.
What led you to move to the Bay Area? What was the biggest adjustment for you to make?
I thought living in California meant I was basically going to be in Hollywood. So…. I was a bit disappointed when I arrived in Redwood City Ca and was SIX hours away. But I took a job with a church right out of college. Still I was glad to be in California and was thinking there would be more opportunities for me to act. It’s not quite LA by any means but it’s nice and small and a lot of us know each other. I met some great friends here and we collaborate a lot. That’s why I started making my own projects here for lack of booking acting gigs. There’s a lot of commercial work here but not so much film and I’m hoping to be a part of changing that.
What is the Creative Crew and is it still active today?
I did Creative Crew as a way to gather artists of all kinds for seven years. I just closed it so i could focus on BraveMaker and supporting filmmakers and our monthly community conversation work. But Creative Crew existed to help creative people meet monthly and connect with one another and collaobrate. We’d have people share their work and then I would faciliated an affirmation session for them. No critique of any sort aloud (because we get it everywhere else so why not offer at least two hours a month where we can feel good about our work). And I would lead goal setting sessions to help us make stuff. So many of us creative types talk too much and then complain when we don’t reach our dreams. I started Creative Crew to help ignite my own goals and hopefully support those like me who needed the support. The coolest thing was seeing all the people who met at crew and then somehow started to create together.
Tell us about your BraveMaster podcast…
Stories, scripts and conversations with creators! We interview Brave makers of all kinds. My co-host, Rebekah Amosah, and I get people (from all over the world) talking with people who are conquering fears and getting stuff made. We want to inspire others to bravely go after their goals and stop waiting for permission or for the money or for someone else to make their dreams come true. It’s really fun to talk to musicians, authors, dancers, Youtubers, actors and filmmakers.
What is your writing process?
Chaotic but fun. I have to carve out writing time and just plunk away at my computer. I try not to be precious about it..just get it down and then go back later and fix typos, or add interesting character subtext. I have a writing partner in LA, Jeremy Ray Valdez (we met on the set of my first film 1440 and Counting). We’ve done a feature together and written some TV pilots. I also write a lot on my own, (usually after my kids are in bed) or an hour here and there. I love deadlines and I really enjoy taking a treatment and doing adaptations. I just wrote a feature film with another couple co-writers after another write adapted the story from a book. So I don’t feel as if I have “one process” it’s a bunch of elements pieced together.
What goes into starting a production company?
Finding the right people that you love to work with. That’s what it’s all about in this business. Working with great people, setting goals and doing good work. The same people that helped launch BraveMaker our nonprofit film organization are some of the same people who I’m making movies with.
What was the role that gained you your SAG-AFTRA card?
I think it was a Pepsi commercial with Britney Spears and Mike Myers!
What were your emotions when you knew you had it because they’re not easy to get.
Felt great, like in some way that I had arrived but soon realized it was not a magic want and didn’t really make anything easier for me. It’s nice to have but I still had to work hard and make my own opportunities.
How do you balance your professional goals with having a rich personal life?
My family is super important. My wife and three kids need me and I think that drives a lot of sacrifice. I can’t do it all. So I have to be choosy on what I say yes to and who I collaborate with. I am still learning this but I can’t just do it all. So I think having a family helps me get MORE done. I also don’t have a lot of free time. Most of my friends are the same ones I make stuff with because of that.
The cheetah and I are flying out to sit in on a podcast but we are a day early and now you are our tour guide,what are we doing?
I love Redwood City for it’s cafes. My favorite that also acts as my second office is Cyclismo Cafe. Family run, good food and my favorite coffee ever. Just order Tony’s usual. We also have two great performing arts spaces: Dragon Theatre and Broadway by the Bay that both put on great shows, Get your tickets and enjoy.
As always I like to thank Tony for taking the time to sit down and answer a few questions. Tony has a whole slew of ways in which you can follow him at and I listed these below.
You can find Tony on Twitter
He is also on InstaGram
BraveMaker is also on Twitter
BraveMaker is on InstaGram
Tony’s personal website
BraveMaker’s Filmfest on Facebook
BraveMaker on Facebook
Tony has a IMDb page
Thank you for dropping by and supporting Tony by reading this interview. Please feel free to drop a comment below for Tony. If you have a story you feel is worth sharing,please drop us a email which you can find on the blog.