8 Questions with……….actor/director Brian Elder

Its 9:50 pm
night

Welcome to “8 Questions with……”

I had posted my review of the last season of “Lawman” recently and as I was doing my promo in the very groups I’m in,I got a call from PR guru Steve Joiner in California. He had a couple of actors he felt I should talk to in Jeff Davis and Brian Elder. I interviewed Jeff first and inbetween that interview and meeting Brian,I started following the chatter in the Western groups several people were lamenting the lack of good Westerns.
While I can agree with the lack of good TV series with “Deadwood” being the only series done in the past 8-10 years,the Western film has stayed very active and very popular. Every momth there are several low budget Westerns being released with one or two “name” actors headlining but because they are low budget,they don’t get promoted at all and aren’t seen very often. The cheetah and I have reviewed a few on here….
When I got a chance to talk with Brian Elder and heard his passion for both the Western of itself and making a TV series as well,I knew I wanted to go indepth and ask him a bunch of questions about the genre.
I have to say I’m very impressed with the clips I have seen of “Death & Compromise”,Elder and his co-star John Hall remind me of the great pairing of Terrence Hill and Bud Spencer in the “My Name is Nobody” films and I can’t give higher praise because I loved those films.  So in my longest interview yet,I asked Brian to talk about his take on Westerns,his co-star John Hall and his love of music. It’s my longest “8 Questions” yet but I think its also one of the best as well and I hope you agree…..

 

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Please introduce yourself and tell use about your latest project. 

My name is Brian Elder. I’m an actor, director, screenwriter and producer currently based in Austin, TX. I’m the owner of Elder Films and co-owner of the film festival, ElderHall Texas Independent Film Festival. 

As far as latest projects…I currently have a few films in different phases. “Lasting Moments” is a faith-based drama that I wrote and will be acting in. I just got hired to direct a feature film that’s in development right now and the projected time frame to start pre-production is later this year. I have a couple other projects that I’m writing…between a thriller feature and a mystery/sci-fi series. Those are the latest projects that I have going on outside of auditioning and playing roles in other films that I get cast on. 

But the current project that is being promoted right now is a western TV series called, “Death & Compromise”. I created the series with one of my film partners and good friend, John Hall. Although it’s a western series, it has something for everyone; like action, drama, comedy and even a little bit of suspense.
The series is based in the 1850’s and is about two fictional characters, Luke Young (played by me), and Lemuel Sinclaire (John Hall) who keep getting themselves into trouble everywhere they go. Luke is a con artist and he usually gets the two into trouble but will be the first to try to talk their way out. Lem is a gunslinger that won’t waste the time trying to explain anything, he feels that’s what his guns are for. The duo is being tracked by a crooked deputy, Boyd McCallister (Chad Thackston) and his men with the claims of a murder charge and by orders from Sherrif Morales (Mike J Rodriguez).
 

Meanwhile, Clara (Andrea Flowers) and Bethany (Jennifer Kendall), two saloon women who are just looking for a little freedom of their own, see an opportunity when Luke and Lem come into town so they force the duo to take them along. And that’s when everything begins. The show takes you on an adventure full of laughs as well as action. We are in post production on season 1 which will be complete at the end of August of this year (2019). 

Death and Compromise is the current project that I’m working on and we’re looking forward to sharing it with the world. 

I love acting and filmmaking so I’m always looking for opportunities to be on set and be involved in various films as an actor, director, producer, writer or any other capacity in the film business. It’s a process I thoroughly enjoy. I especially love character acting. 

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What was growing up in Virginia like? What are your three favorite memories growing up there?

Growing up in Virginia was great. It’s a beautiful state that has a lot to offer in the sense of nature and history. My family is still there as well as a bunch of friends I grew up with so I go back 1-2 times a year to visit. 

My three favorite memories growing up there would be having cookouts and things like that with my family and friends. I love being outside and doing things like that. Camping and riding 4- wheelers and all of that type of stuff, so those are great memories for me. Going to Busch Gardens as a kid and young adult would be another great memory for me. My brother and sister and I used to have season passes every year cause at one point my mom worked there. I just remember going a lot with friends or ex-girlfriends and having a great time every single time I went. It was always a fun time. I still love going back to Busch Gardens cause it’s such a great memory for me growing up …and I love amusement parks. I’m a big kid at heart. 

Another favorite memory would probably be playing music in the band room that we had out back behind our house. I used to go out there and play and sing for hours at a time by myself, whether I was practicing or writing or rehearsing with a band. That was always good memories for me. It was a good release as well. Those are a couple of my favorite memories from growing up in Virginia, but I have so many other great memories too. I remember taking a last minute trip to NYC to pass out CD’s of the band and all my band members came with me. I remember going to VA Beach a lot with friends and one time putting on tanning lotion, that an ex girlfriend had brought with her, instead of sunscreen by accident. Whoa, what a mistake. I think my skin was definitely redder than a lobster. But it was funny afterwards. There are a lot of great memories that I have growing up in VA and on trips outside of VA. 

And I love all the history we have there as well. I want to write and film a movie in VA based on colonial times. An action/adventure film. I think that would be awesome but I hope it would give back to the community somehow from where I’m from as well. But I also love the idea of making a film like that cause I used to love to go to Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown growing up and seeing all the history there when I was a kid. 

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What triggered your love for music? How did you get started playing?What singers/bands influenced you when you were starting out? 

I’ve always loved music. My mom has photos of me at a very young age, maybe 4 years old or something like that, with a Dukes of Hazard guitar in my hand at Christmas. And I remember having my first real guitar at 9 years old. It’s just always been a part of me and I’m not sure where it came from exactly…other than being a gift for God. 

I remember my mom having a bunch of old records and she would play them and I would listen. It was mostly oldies like Paul Anka, Elvis Presley, Dion, Little Ritchie and people like that. I think that was a big influence in my life as far as music. And I also remember watching the movie Labamba when I was around 9 or 10 and after I watched that movie, I told my mom that I wanted to be a Rock Star. Haha. So that was the moment in my life that it triggered what I wanted to be when I grew up. 

My mom was always 110% supportive of everything that my brother, sister or myself wanted to do in life. So that definitely helped me to pursue those goals. It was very nice having a parent that was supportive of a crazy idea of a 9 or 10 year old wanting to grow up to be a rock star. So I’m very grateful to her for that. She’s an amazing woman. She even signed me up for an audition for Star Search when I was young cause I wanted to do it. But when I got in the audition room, I froze. I had such bad stage fright when I was young. In 4th grade, my fellow classmates heard that I sang and asked me to sing for the class so I did, but I had to do it with my head down on my desk and my arms covering my head. Oh man, it was funny. But somewhere along the way, I lost the stage fright and gained more confidence to perform and it became a rush for me to get on that stage. I would rather perform in front of 1,000 people versus 3 people. I don’t know what made that happen but I love performing. 

When I was in elementary school, my influences with music were the records that my mom played which were the ones I mentioned above, Elvis, Ritchie Valens and a bunch of others. When I got older, my influence changed and I liked more modern rock type stuff at the time like Poison, Motley Crue, Metallica and things like that. Then it was Nickelback, Creed, 3 Doors Down and bands like that. But I’ve always listened to everything from classical to rock to hip hop, to country, oldies and just basically everything. As a kid, Poison was one of my favorite bands and one of my goals was to open for Poison or Bret Michaels one day. I actually got to open for Bret Michaels twice so that was a good feeling of accomplishment with music. 

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What goes into writing a GOOD song? Was this a natural gift or did you have to work hard at it? 

Writing a good song depends on the listener really. One person may like the song and another may not. But I always think of a good song as one that has a hook to it. You have to have that great chorus that hooks the listener. But it doesn’t always have to be the chorus that is the hook either. Having that and a great melody line with lyrics that people can relate to is what goes into a great song to me. There has to be something about that song that makes you want to hear it over and over again. 

Both. It was definitely a gift that I thank God for giving me cause again, I was really young when I started doing music. It was before I knew anything about careers or life really. I just wanted to play or sing. So that part of it was definitely a gift and talent from God. But with that being said, I didn’t just pick up the guitar and play like I’ve been playing for years and the same thing goes for singing or writing music. I had to practice and practice all the time and learn about it as much as I could and just keep doing it till I got better. It was a lot of work but I loved it so much that I played everyday whether it was with bands, on my own in my room or open mic nights, shows, talent shows, etc. Any chance I got, I played. I didn’t care if I got payed for it or not. But yea, I definitely had to work hard at it. Trust me, I have recordings of when I first started playing and it’s cringe worthy. Haha. But I eventually got better the more I did it and the more I worked hard at it. 

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Tell us about your first band? You opened for some very well know artists, what did you pick the most by watching these bands? 

My first band was in 4th grade. We called ourselves Brian Elder and the noise boyz. I’m laughing now, but I was serious about this at the time. We had a band name, band members and a couple of us had our instruments, but we never practiced together, not once. We just called ourselves a band for whatever reason. My first real band that we actually practiced was in 7th grade and the band was Steel Vengeance. We used to practice at my place. I don’t remember if we ever played any shows except having people over for practices. But then I was in a band called Euphoria in high school and we played shows. And another band in high school called Zephyr and we played a lot of shows and released a demo tape and practiced a lot so I would consider that band one of my first real bands that accomplished things. I’m sure I was in other bands between all of those as well. Later, I was in a band called Splint. We played a lot. We opened for a few nationals and had our CD’s and posters and shirts and things. We did radio interviews and had a manager and it was a really good time. Standing Ground was another band I was in that did really well and played a lot also, released CD’s and opened for nationals, headlined our own bigger shows and things like that. When I signed to the label in 2006, I was signed under my name. 

I think about this stuff and it makes me really miss playing like I did. I loved getting up on the stage and putting a show together to perform. I do really miss it. I may at some point, find a band to play with again just for fun and to play some shows. 

The things that I learned the most from playing with these big bands were to have fun with it and that it’s all about entertaining the crowd. You’re a different person when you step on that stage. You are basically an actor. You’re energy level needs to be there and you have a job to perform for that audience and give them the best show that they came to see…no matter how many people are there or aren’t there. Otherwise they can listen to the CD and get the same effect if you aren’t performing. Another thing that I took away from it was to always be humble. Most of the people I’ve met have all been really nice but you have a few that weren’t so nice and when you see that, it makes you not want to be like that. So that’s something that I was grateful to learn. Nobody is different from anybody else. We just all have different talents and different jobs and that’s all. Those are probably the biggest things that I took away from that time in my life. 

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While music was your full time passion, you always kept a finger in the acting pool…when did you decide to switch gears and do acting full time? Was there a singular moment when you knew you wanted to act? 

Music really was all I did. It was all I ever wanted to do as a career during that time in my life. I never really gave acting much thought really or much of a chance actually. I did a few things in middle school like a couple plays for theater class and same for high school theater class but that was mostly because I had to take a class and I wanted the easy class in school so I could spend more time with music. Haha. But little did I know that years later, I would be in the film side of things. I liked acting, but music was just such a big focus for me, that I couldn’t see past that. 

When I started acting and doing film stuff, I remember my mom telling me that she knew I would eventually get into film. I asked how she knew that and she said because when I was younger and we all were watching TV as a family, I would get up during the commercial breaks and act out what just happened on the TV. Everything happens in the right timing, but I was like, why didn’t you tell me that? I could have been pursuing that a lot earlier. But I’m glad that I had the experiences with music as well, so I wouldn’t have changed anything with starting earlier. It’s all in the right time and in God’s time and His timing is much better than ours. I’m big on that. 

Yes, I remember the moment when I knew acting was it. I had gotten a phone call one day asking me to come in for a wardrobe fitting to be background for a feature film that was being shot around Jamestown, VA. So I went in and got fitted to be a Jamestown settler. I did that for about a week and on that film set, I met a lot of people that were telling me that Spielberg was about to film something in town (Lincoln) and that I should go try to get on that one as well. So I did. And I worked on that set for about 2-3 weeks I think. I got to be a confederate soldier. We had, I think a week of training on how to fight with muskets as well as fist to fist combat on camera and things like that. It was a great experience and I had so much fun working on that film set. I had so much fun with everything about that set. It was VA in November which is freezing cold weather and we had a scene where they wanted some of us to get into knee deep water. They asked us who wanted to get in the water. I raised my hand so quick. I got picked to go in there that day. But we all eventually had to get in the water. It was cold but I didn’t care how cold it was. Here I am, a grown up and I am getting to play in the mud like I was a kid basically and I got paid for it. It was an amazing time in my life. I still miss that set. That was what got me hooked on acting. And that’s probably where I get my love for character acting from. I just wanted to do more of it. So I got an agent and kept going and tried getting speaking roles and eventually got some lead roles and supporting characters and playing Under 5 characters and stuff like that. And I didn’t and don’t want to stop acting. I love it. I act every chance I get. Sometimes I just act like a fool for fun. Haha.

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You moved to Austin Texas, why there, instead of California? While Austin is world famous for its music scene, what is the acting community like? 

I had thought about moving to LA but I ended up moving to Austin cause one of my good friends that I went to school with had moved out here after high school and he talked me into coming out here. I had never been to Austin before and the only time I had been through Texas at all was on my way to CA but I only saw the pan handle of Texas at that time. So I wasn’t really interested in moving out here at first. But I tried moving to New Orleans and every time I got ready to move out there, I kept getting booked in VA or MD on film stuff and so I had obligations that kept me from moving. Once I accepted my buddies offer to come out to Austin with the possibility of moving out there, the doors opened up. So, I took that as a sign and I came out here. I loved the scenery here and the weather. At the time, our film incentives or rebates were pretty high and we had a lot of filming going on so I just never looked back and I stayed. It’s been a great move and I’ve done a lot of film stuff out here and I’ve met a lot of great people here in Austin, Dallas, San Antonio and all the surrounding areas. It’s home now. But I visit VA 1-2 times a year cause my family and some of my friends growing up are still there. 

Austin is great for music. It’s the live music capital of the world. But the acting community here is great as well. We have a lot of filming happening on an independent level and it’s such an artsy community with tons of talent all around. You also have schools like UT, TXST and ACC which all have film degrees or at least film classes. So students at these colleges are always putting up casting calls and filming around here. We also have a lot of commercials that are shot between Austin and Dallas. And there are films and TV shows that come through as well. So there’s always gonna be some filming going on here whether it’s on an independent level or a studio level. 

When I first moved here, there were about 5 TV shows or something like that being filmed here and a few different movies as well. All of those were on the bigger scale. And you can always create your own films too. Texas has a lot to offer as far as landscapes. We have hills in Hill Country, we have cliffs, rivers, huge lakes, desert, flat land, the cities, the country and everything in between. And the acting community here is all about helping your fellow filmmakers which is always nice. 

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How did you meet John Hall?

John and I met at a SAG awards viewing party through some mutual friends that introduced us. John was looking for someone to film his music videos and I was creating short films and commercials with some other friends, so we got introduced. We immediately hit it off and became really good friends and it just kept moving forward from there. We eventually became a team and now we also have a film festival together called ElderHall Texas Independent Film Festival. It’s our first year as a film festival. We are excited to be able to host some Texas based films as well as films all across the globe. The festival is September 6th & 7th with the award ceremony being the evening of the 7th. We are on film freeway and tickets are available for the award show which also includes a Texas BBQ meal. The festival will be held at the Buggy Barn Museum / Pine Moore Old West Studios in Blanco, TX. Our friend Dennis Moore and his family owns the place and they have had open arms to us ever since we met them and started filming there. Great people to know and call friends and a great venue for for filming and visiting. 

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You two are filming a potential Western TV series called “Death and Compromise”, how did this come about? Are you worried that Western TV series are rarely made in today’s market and how will ‘Death and Compromise” stand out? 

It started when we were working on one of John’s music videos for his band, StickHorse Rodeo. The music video was called, “Fence Jumpin’ Woman”. We were filming at a place called the 1850’s settlement near Bulverde, TX. I’ve always wanted to shoot a western and so has John. I was in awe working at this place because of it’s history and structures that were still standing. I was running around like a kid in a candy store talking about how I loved this place and wanted to shoot a western and things like that. The owner eventually showed us the old hideout cellar from back in that time frame and while we were down there, I started thinking of scenes and mentioned again that I wanted to write a western and that I was going to do that. John just looked at me and said, write it. He said write a western with the two of us as the main characters and I’ll fund it. So him and I talked about it a little bit. He was telling me about how the 1850’s hadn’t been touched much with film. I was so excited that I went home that evening and started writing and had almost finished the entire script for the short film that same night. That’s how everything got moving. 

It started off as a short film that I wanted to put in festivals and then eventually write a feature from it. I had written about 15 pages. Eventually John and I talked about it and decided that a series would be better so I went back to the script and made it into a series pilot that was about 22-23 pages. Then we brought on Jeremiah Olzman who had read the script through a mutual friend and loved it and the idea of it. So Jeremiah called me and said he felt that he could come in and punch up some of the dialogue with me and would love to help with this. So he came on and we fleshed out the script a little more and it definitely improved. He’s a great writer. 

After we finished filming Episode 1, I had made a few teaser clips to put out there. And during that time, John had met with someone who was interested in putting it on their network that they were trying to build as a channel on Roku. Then we all eventually met for dinner one night and had a meeting about it. They needed at least 4 episodes to run the series, so we went back to the scripts to make 3 more episodes. 

John and I started writing Episode 2. Then Jeremiah and I got back to working on finishing up Episode 2 and the other two scripts. We needed to make it happen quick, so we decided to bring on another writer to help us that Jeremiah knew, Josh Hatfield. And we pretty much knocked it out as quickly as we could. It took a couple months or writing. But then we went back into pre- production and then started filming again and here we are now with 4 episodes completed and ready to start the pitching process. 

It’s been a great experience and I’ve loved every moment of it…the good times, bad times and hard times. More good times than anything else but it’s been work of course and I wouldn’t change any of it. 

No, we’re not worried about western films not being made in todays market cause they definitely are being made. And westerns are making more of a come back, even though they’ve never really died out. But there’s actually a huge market for western films and always has been. 

I think that Death & Compromise will definitely stand out. One of the things about the show is that it’s based in the 1850’s which a lot of people don’t mess with that time frame as much as they do the earlier and the later era’s, which John had pointed out to me at one point. As well as the show itself is a different kind of western. It’s not your typical western feel. I wanted to create something that was different than just a standard western genre show or film. Most westerns have drama and action already in them, but I also wanted to incorporate some comedy and adventure in the show as well. The music that we had made for the show was composed by Christian Tristan, a young Austin based composer who is amazing at what he does. And when I talked to him about the score and told him what I was looking for, my first words to him were, “I don’t want cliche western music in this show. I don’t mind a couple things here and there, but I want to purposely stay away from that. I want more of an adventure type feel of music. I want to create something a little different that just the standard western vibe.” And he nailed it! Exactly what I wanted for a score, Christian nailed it completely. I wanted to create something different and possibly new if that’s where it went. I wanted to step outside of the box a little bit too. So I think our show stands out because of reasons like that. It has a multiple genre approach as well as not having the usual western feel and the story is different and stands out. But the show will make you laugh, gasp, sit on the edge of seat at moments and over all….Take you on an adventure through time. be13

Is the Western genre handicapped by too many writers/directors not showing cowboys and Indians conflicts? It’s seems that all of today’s Westerns are just about a corrupt sheriff or land owner, no one wants to show conflict between Indians and cowboys/US Calvary.

No, not necessarily. There are still western stories that show that conflict as well. We plan on incorporating the Native Americans in our show at some point. We’ve already thought about that. 

But I also think that there are parts of history that are not only about those conflicts. There is history in the old west that include cowboys and Native Americans and there is history that include each separately. So I don’t think it’s a must in every western film. I think it depends on if that’s what works with the story you’re telling. And I think everyone has a different approach to their own story they want to tell and that’s what makes us all different storytellers. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to do it. Just be creative. 

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What has been the three biggest differences between being an actor and a performing musician? 

Even though they are different parts of the entertainment industry, I feel like they have more similarities than differences. But I think some of the differences for me are that, with acting, I do a lot more film and TV work then I do theater work. And one of the differences between that kind of acting and being a performing musician is that with TV and film acting, you do a lot more takes of the same scene for different angles and to just get the right take and things like that. But with performing as a musician, you perform that song one time and that’s what you get. It’s more relatable to theater than to film and TV acting. But still at the same time, there are differences between the two of them as well. As a musician, you are more free to move about on the stage as you feel in that moment …unless you have certain spots to make it to or there’s pyrotechnics being used that night on stage etc. But as a performing actor in theater, most of your moves are all carefully planned out and you have to hit all those marks during the performance. You also want to place your back to the audience as little as possible, if at all during theater performances but with music shows, you can turn your back to the audience and run around if you wanted to. 

Another thing is with rehearsing shows. With theater, you may rehearse one show sometimes weeks and even months before the shows start. With music, you rehearse in the band room or a different space for most of it and then you get maybe one rehearsal or even just a sound check depending on what’s involved that night and whether you’re an opener or closer. 

Those are really the big differences to me as far as the performance aspects of the two. But even when you’re on stage as a musician, you’re entertaining and you’re sometimes portraying another persona for the crowd so you’re essentially acting up on that stage with a lot of energy. You feed the energy to the crowd which in return feeds that energy back to you which can make each performance a little different. But you as the musician have to put that energy out first, no matter how small or big the crowd is that night cause you are the entertainer. 

I was usually all over the stage when I was able to be (depending on how big the stage was and how much space I had to work with). I remember one time I was playing this show and I was getting the crowd involved with singing the songs with me and making them a part of the night. I even got down in the crowd and was dancing with this woman. When the show ended, that woman that I was dancing with came up to me and she was hitting on me and I was a little shy I guess because now I’m not performing. But I remember her telling me that I was a completely different person on stage than I was off stage. Because on stage, I was not shy at all, I was just all over that stage but off stage, I was a little more laid back and calm and sometimes even shy. So my point is, I realized that you’re basically acting as a performing musician as well. That’s part of entertaining an audience. And when you’re acting, you’re sometimes playing a different persona than what you are in real life. So there’s a lot of similar things between the two careers as well. But I think being a performing musician helped me in some aspects with transitioning into film. I’m thankful for it. And I definitely thank God for all the gifts and talents that he has given me and the doors that he has opened for me in my life. 

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What 5 actors/actresses/directors would you like to perform/work with the most and why

This one is tough. Because there are so many people in the film industry that I want to work with at some point. So to narrow it down to just a few is really hard. But some of my top 5 actors that I’d like to work with and why, would be Harrison Ford because I grew up admiring his work from Indiana Jones to Han Solo and Blade Runner and more so I’d love to work with him. Johnny Depp because he’s one of my favorite character actors. I think he’s great at bringing the characters to life and that’s one of my favorite things about acting is being a character. Leonardo Dicaprio because I’ve heard such great things about him being on set. I’ve heard he’s just really down to earth and a great person to work with and he’s a phenomenal actor. Will Smith because he’s another great actor that can do so many roles and make them all seem effortless. Ryan Reynolds because of his sarcastic humor. I think he’s extremely funny in his roles and I would love to be on set and be around that humor while working. But I would also love to work with Matthew McConaughey, The Rock, Kevin Hart, Mark Wahlberg, Matt Damon, Dax Shepard, Ryan Gosling, Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves, Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, Robert Redford, Adam Sandler, David Spade and that whole group, Jackie Chan…I could go on cause there are so many actors I’d love to work with. 

Still just as hard of a question. But my top 5 actresses would be Betty White because she’s just amazing and I would be honored to work with her. She’s so funny and seems fun to be around. Viola Davis because she’s another great actress that I would just love the opportunity to work with. Kristin Bell cause she just seems like such a great person to be around and she’s so talented as well. Jennifer Aniston… who doesn’t want to work with her? Melissa McCarthy because she’s so hilarious and quick witted. I just think it would be a blast to work with her. And again, among those would be so many others like Kathy Bates, Salma Hayek, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kiera Knightley, Gal Gadot, Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman, Natalie Portman, Meryl Streep, Margot Robbie, Julianne Hough, Sandra Bullock…this list could go on as well. 

Top 5 directors would be Clint Eastwood. I would love to be directed by him or work together as actors. He’s a legend. Steven Spielberg cause I love his films and the things he creates. Martin Scorsese cause he’s another brilliant director. James Cameron because he has a very creative mind. Ron Howard cause he’s another one that I like the way he directs his films. The list doesn’t stop there on this one either… J.J. Abrams, Francis Ford Coppola, Peter Jackson, The Coen brothers, Robert Zemeckis, Wes Anderson, Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, Angelina Jolie, M. Night Shyamalan and more. 

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What do you do in terms of improving your acting? 

I take acting classes. I like to audition as much as possible because that always keeps you in shape and keeps those muscles moving. I make my own films. I watch videos on things that help me to learn more and keep my acting chops in shape. I try to learn as many skills as I can cause that also helps with being more of a commodity with the more skillsets you know. I try to make myself as vulnerable as I can sometimes in my daily life cause that’s a key component for an actor is to be able to empathize with others and to be vulnerable. I basically just keep honing the craft as much as possible, stay working as much as possible and keep pushing forward with as much as I can learn. Keep moving forward with my career and towards my goals the best I can and keep learning. Don’t stop learning. 

 

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If you were offered to play a Confederate officer in a Civil War film, would you take the role and why? 

Yes, absolutely! Because I love character acting a lot and I also love period piece films too. I mean, I love all acting and there are so many roles I want to play and so many genres I want to be a part of and so many types of roles and characters I would love to play. But I love character acting and playing a role like that is a type of character acting. I just love filming and acting and being a part of a film set in general too. 

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The cheetah and I are flying to Austin to catch you perform a set but we are a day early and now you’re playing tour guide, what are we doing? 

Oh man, there is so much to do in Austin and surrounding areas. You could spend a few years living here and still have things to do and see. I’ve been living in Austin for almost 7 years now and there are still a bunch of things that I’ve not done, experienced or seen. It’s an amazing place. It really is. 

But for starters, there’s historic 6th Street that you can visit. 5th Street is cool too. Then you have South Congress Ave which is full of shops, food trucks, restaurants and more. It’s a tourist area. There are also other areas that are full of food trucks that are a must visit. And speaking of South Congress …underneath the South Congress bridge we have one of the largest bat colonies living under there and every evening, millions of bats fly out from under that bridge. That’s another thing that people do every evening here. It’s pretty amazing to see. The Driskill Hotel is downtown and is a beautiful hotel to see. It was built in the 1800’s and the architect is pretty spectacular on the inside. 

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And there’s so much more to see in the downtown area also like, Zilker Park, Botanical Gardens and you can canoe or paddleboat Lady Bird Lake or hike around it. There’s also a land vehicle that goes in the water that you can ride in. We have this mobile beer bar that you and some friends can get on and pedal down the streets. There’s so much to do just downtown alone. 

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But even getting outside of the city, there’s hill country full of beautiful scenery and hills and is just amazing. You can hike tons of parks and trails. You can hike forever here cause there’s so many parks and hiking trails. There’s the 360 bridge or Pennybacker Bridge that you can climb to the top of these cliffs over looking the bridge and Lake Austin. It’s a beautiful sight. You can hike to the top of Mount Bonnell which has a great view of that area as well. We have Lake Travis which is a huge lake. The Oasis Restaurant sits on the side of this hill overlooking Lake Travis. It’s a great view at sunset. 

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Hamilton pool in Dripping Springs is a pool under a huge rock that overhangs this swimming area and when it has rained, it’s a waterfall flowing over the boulder into this pool. You can float down the many rivers in tubes. In Lago Vista, there’s Jaws on the Water. You sit in these inner- tubes in the water and watch Jaws on the big screen. We still have drive in movie theaters as well. We have museums, sculptures, theaters for musicals and plays, old historic buildings that are still around and so much more. There’s a bunch of breweries and wineries for anyone interested in that as well. 

And even though there’s a bunch more things to see and do in Austin, you also have San Antonio where the Alamo is and the RiverWalk and historic downtown and all kinds of things there too. Then you have Enchanted Rock near Fredericksburg and both of these places aren’t too far away from Austin. Fredericksburg is a German town that is beautiful and touristy. And near San Antonio you also have SeaWorld and Six Flags. There are also other water parks and amusement parks between Austin and all of the surrounding areas. Live music everywhere. I could go on with how much there is to do here. You’ll have to spend a week here just to see a couple things. Austin is amazing and it truly sells itself when you visit and are able to get out and see what all there is to do. That’s why so many people are moving here daily. And I don’t blame them. 

 

I like to thank Brian for taking the time off his very busy schedule to chat with us.
We are looking forward to seeing both “Showdown On the Brazos” and “Death & Compromise” when they hit the screen in the very near future.  The Western isn’t dead,its very much alive thanks to folks like Brian,John and Jeff!

Websites and Links: 

Brian Elder links:
Brian Elder on IMDb
Brian Elder on Facebook
Brian Elder on Instagram
Brian Elder acting page on Facebook 

John Hall Links:
John Hall on IMDb
John Hall on Facebook

Death & Compromise links:
 Death & Compromise on IMDb
Death & Compromise on Facebook 

Elder Films links:
Elder Films on Facebook
Elder Films YouTube page 

Texas Actors for Western Film on Facebook

Fell free to leave a comment below!!

 

4 thoughts on “8 Questions with……….actor/director Brian Elder

  1. Great interview Michael 🙂 Sorry I have not e-mailed you yet – I have been busy these past few days, but I will e-mail you right now in regards to that Round Table discussion 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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