Interview with Victor Greywolf – Director, actor, producer and writer
Interview with Victor Greywolf, director, writer, actor and producer of festival award winner film The Victor Greywolf One Man Show, also of A Day in the Life and Victor Greywolf We Hardly Knew Yee. His never ending creativity includes being a Cartoonist, Stand Up Comic, guest blog writer for amusednow.com and has hopes to do voice-over.
Your very first film, The Victor Greywolf One Man Show, which has won awards in Nevada and Michigan, was inspired from your experience as a Stand Up Comic and talks about your life from 1993 to 2008. It’s not everyone who has the guts to do a movie about themselves, especially not the first one! Where did the idea came from and did you ever think it would have this much success?
Well, the idea for the movie came from two different movies, Bill Cosby himself, and Save it for the stage, the Life of Reilly, which starred Charles Nelson Reilly, a terrific actor, RIP. No, I didn’t think it would be winning awards, especially since the first time nobody really expects anything. They do have high hopes for their film, I know I sure did, but when it happens, you’re literally speechless. It premiered in 2012 in Texas. I was very surprised when I heard it was premiering there, since my films got rejected from a lot of festivals, and still do.
As of today you played in three movies, where you not only were an actor, but you also directed, wrote and produced them. What was your biggest challenge in managing all these four different jobs of the industry?
Well, the biggest challenge was working with actors who thought that because they are in a city like Chicago, that they were going to charge me an arm and a leg, because of where we were, and not wanting to work, because there was no pay. The sad fact is that half the time, actors won’t be paid, because when you are starting out, you’re lucky if you can afford to finance any film. The biggest challenge was also locations, since everything always comes down to money. A common stereotype is that people who make films have a lot of money, which isn’t true. Many times, the challenges also lie upon how many times you have to shoot the movie, until you are satisfied, since when you look at it, or reminisce, there will be something in your mind that tells you there will be a need for improvement, and many times, it takes a long time to get something to come to fruition, but when it does, you feel great. Too bad a lot of actors won’t feel the same way. Many times, they are the biggest challenge, since they have this mindset, where they are going to be rich and famous overnight, not realizing that often more than not, not many are assured a career in acting.
You have been an extra for successful TV Shows and movies, such as Never Been Kissed with Drew Barrymore and ER. It’s a great way to make a name for yourself, what advice would you give to an actor who wants to try for extra parts to get known?
I agree, it is a way to get yourself out there, but it won’t make a name for you. The best advice that I would give is, don’t talk about it to people, especially with people you know who aren’t in the same boat as you and this is the reason why: Since 9 times out of 10, they will feel very vindictive towards you, and jealous. Often, when they claim they are happy for you, it is a facade, and they secretly resent you, and then turn against you. Only talk about it with people who are in the same field, since this way, there won’t be anger, or feelings of resentment that can come out in other ways. Some people may be happy for you, but the majority won’t. I learned this lesson the hard way. Many times, you aren’t in the final cut before premiering, so keep it to yourself. Also, don’t tell people on social media, since again, it will open you up to ridicule, and people pretending to like you, when to them, you are just a great source of entertainment. Nobody roots for you in this business, except yourself. I would also tell people that you have to do things in order to get yourself out there, depending on the field you are in. See, with artists that are able to do one thing, it is easier for them, since they know they have their following. I don’t have that personal convenience. That is why I have to do what I can, and people have told me to stick with one thing. How can a person stick with one thing, when there is no way for them to get themselves out there, since they can’t find anything to come to fruition with what they can do, right? I would say, try a couple of things, and see what works.
You do a lot of voice-over, can you explain the process of getting into that part of the business and how you prepare yourself for that kind of job? Do you train your voice regularly to do different sounds and accents or is it something that comes to you naturally?
I don’t do voice-over, believe it or not. I have tried. The only voice-over I ever did in my life, was for a public, or cable access show (whichever you choose to call it) and it was for my own show. I would love to do voice-over, I think it would be fun. I train my voice regularly by reading aloud, and when I write, try to read it in different voices and accents to see what works for it.
You parents came from South America, did any of their culture that was passed on to you inspired you in your work?
No. Where my parents are from, it didn’t rub off on me, as far as influence, except for one character I wrote about as a character for a movie script I wrote in 1988. Outside of that, nothing really. I only try to find inspiration in what it is that is out there, such as a past good memory, or maybe something that I can visualize myself in, such as a place, or a time, or what I was doing at a particular moment, or movie I was watching at a certain time of my life.
You are currently writing Comic Books, do you plan one day to adapt one of your books into a movie? If yes would you want to direct it and/or be an actor in it, or would you prefer being behind the scene and only work on the adaptation from the book to the screenplay of the film?
Believe it or not, I had two things I wrote that I wanted to make into a movie franchise. One was a sci-fi movie that was inspired by my time in the mall in 1988, and video games, along with my first year in high school. One is another character that was inspired by the street fighter look of the 80’s-present in New York. (Blue jean vest, bandana, t-shirt, blue jeans, etc.) That one I made into a comic book. I was hoping to make it into a franchise, but I couldn’t. Would I want to direct it, or be an actor, or would I prefer the behind the scenes or to work on the adaption of book to the screenplay of film? I don’t know. I guess I could go either, but if it is mine, I would prefer to do it myself, since I’ve seen a lot of the acting of today, and I have to say, the “A” list is at best, deplorable. Actors couldn’t act today even if you paid them. That’s being polite.
You seem to prioritise talking to people outside the mainstream media to get publicity instead of making contacts from social networks. Can you explain to the readers why is it that you think it would be best for them to leave social networks on the side and to use a more old-fashion way to get their work known?
Well, as I stated many times, social media is bullshit! Why? Because the fact of the matter is, and this is a cold hard fact, unless you are already known, or famous, social media isn’t going to really help you in getting yourself out there. Unless you are thick skinned, and able to take backlash from haters for things that you do, it isn’t the best thing in the works, and nobody will really pay attention to it. The social media networks will open you up to both ridicule, and joke subscribers, (a very good reason why I left Facebook) and people who aren’t worth anyone’s time since nobody really pays attention to social media anyway. I don’t know what the hell those people who created that garbage were thinking in the first place, but social media doesn’t really help anybody, no matter what people say. No legitimate talent scout is going to look at that, and many times, the efforts people put into it are useless and frivolous at best. It is best to just keep doing what you can, and instead of relying on social media, try to get out there to get the work done. In other words, social media is the lazy way to get something out there, and it is pointless at best. Do the work. Talk to people you can rely on, since this way, you know you are dealing with someone legitimate, rather than a moron who can’t even think for themselves. Social media is brain dead. Pursue alternative means, since this way, at least you are getting the time of day, which is more than can be said for us with mainstream media, unless you know someone. Also, if you have to pay a place to play the album, such as radio or something, it is better to do it that way, since you will be guaranteed something, rather than sitting on your ass all day hoping for that one big break. Yes, I know some people like Justin Bieber, Chris Crocker, and some others made it on the scene via YouTube, or whatever have you. There is no disputing that whatsoever, but the truth is, for every one that makes it, there are millions who don’t for whatever reason. Besides, 10 years from now or so, they will be forgotten. Same as with reality television, not too many people remember the contestants on them. Also, Social media is just a cheap way to get something out, just for the sake of it, and many times, nobody really cares, since it is on there. How many people watch videos on YouTube, or Vimeo right? Answer is, not many, since they do other things, like read blogs, and attack other people on other sites, so it won’t really help you.
Now that you have been in the industry for quite some years, do you have any advice on what you would have done differently?
I don’t know what I would’ve done differently other than what I am doing, since it is a very complicated to figure out what the “magic” solution really is, since it is hard just to do what I could do already. Maybe if I had the knowledge I have now, I might’ve been able to move to L.A., or work with people, but it is hard, especially, and this is also a cold hard fact, the successful people could care less about those who are at the bottom. The truth is that there is no “one way” to succeed, (depending on what you consider succeeding) in this. Are people failures in it? Not if tangible results are there. Sad fact also is many times, artists never get their just desserts for their efforts until after they pass on, since it is hard to find management. I know I tried, and it failed for whatever reason there is out there. Sometimes, we have to do what we are doing, and although not making much money, have to be satisfied with that. Could always be worse, I could be in California, and miserable. Instead, I am not.
Here’s something other people told me about:
To get an editor for movies, never go to people who use YouTube, since they don’t know what they are doing, and video quality on the internet is not as good as on DVD, the video has noticeable changes on it, such as contrast, exposure, audio sometimes sounds louder, or quieter, sometimes you see someone doing something on there, and it is too dark to see, etc. No good editing is done with home editing, you need a professional. Also, if they insist on doing it online for you, run for 3 simple reasons:
1) You don’t know if the person is honest, and they can steal your work, and claim it as their own
2) They might not be reputable
3) You don’t know their intent, and if you deal with a person online, they can do anything, and you won’t have any way to defend yourself, so deal with a person who is established, and has been around a few times. Website means nothing, since nowadays ANYONE can make themselves look professional, and legit, when they really aren’t. Best to deal with people you know.
What was your motivating factor for starting a career in the film industry and to keep on going all these years?
Well, believe it or not, it wasn’t a dream. I got into it, like what I found with others who did similar things, they couldn’t get into one field, and they pursued another. Well, with me, I tried acting, was in three films one student, and three independents, and none of them ever got anywhere. I got so frustrated with it, that I decided that if I wanted to get anywhere creatively, I had to make my own movies. There was another film I was doing, which lasted from 2005-10, and ironically I was also working on the one man show at the time; it was a bio movie. Only one I could do. It won awards also in Nevada and Michigan. What kept me going? It was the only thing I was able to do, since I wasn’t good in a lot of things, and pursuing a career I wasn’t good at would be getting me nowhere, and frustrated at the same time.
What’s next for you?
Well, I am planning to work on a holiday singing album, along with another film. Finished an album, and a book for filmmakers. Currently working on my next issue of my antihero series.
War of the Movies would like to thank Victor Greywolf for his time and cooperation.