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The following is taken from a feature article in
Hollywood Success Magazine
 
        FEATURE  FILM  PRODUCER / DIRECTOR
        Bryan Michael Stoller
 
Maximize Your Potential!
by Kelly Hill
 
Bryan Michael Stoller started in the film business at the tender age of six
in Ottawa, Canada.  Fascinated by the Gumby shows, he made his first film at
age 10.  At 12, he was the star of his own television show in Toronto called F
ilm Fun, co-hosted by his sister Nancy.  The show covered all the
behind-the-scenes makings of a film - everything from interviewing the
director to production of the soundtrack.
 
Bryan went on to do several commercials in Canada and filmed his first TV
movie, Just Like Magic, at age 17.  His eleven years of experience inspired
him to set his sights on Los Angeles.  He applied and was accepted to attend
AFI as student director.  He moved to California with comedian friend Howie
Mandel.  Howie ended up starring in Bryan's first student film along with a
cameo by George Carlin and some help from Robin Williams.
 
Since then, Bryan has gone to work with such well-known stars as Barbra
Streisand, Dan Aykroyd, and Rock Hudson.  He has also helped discover unknown
talent such as Paula Devica (who is now starring on Party of Five) and
Brandon Adams (who then starred in Michael Jackson's video Moonwalker and has
gone on to star in The Mighty Ducks I & II.
 
Bryan has produced and directed several independent and studio projects.  He
directed an episode of Tales from the Darkside, which is currently running on
the Science Fiction Network.  The episode is The Bitterest Pill.  He also
directed a film for Paramount entitled Undershorts - a Brief Movie.  It is a
series of comedy shorts with cameo appearances by Linda Blair and comedian
Gallagher.  The film is awaiting release.
 
Recently, his company produced three independent feature films.  Turn of the
Blade is the story of a female helicopter pilot caught in a fatal attraction.
 The film co-stars Julie Horvath, an APS member whom Bryan met through an APS
networking function.  The film has done very well overseas and will be
released here very soon.  His film Dragon Fury II also co-stars an APS
member, Cole Andersen.  Bryan's feature film  The Random Factor (with Dan
Aykroyd) stars Andrew Divoff (who co-stars with Harrison Ford in Air Force
One), and has just been released to the home video market.  Bryan's
reputation for being "easy to work with and totally professional" has kept
him very busy in the industry . . . and he's getting busier!
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You are a producer and a director - which do you prefer most?
 
Director, because it is more creative.  You are working with emotions and
psychology.  The producer is more technical.  In cooking, he is the person
who assembles the ingredients to prepare the food and the director is
actually the chef.  He brings the film to life.
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When you are casting, what is the most important thing you look for?
 
Personality.  I encourage actors to develop your personality first.  I cast
on personality first, acting second.  Also when preparing for an audition,
study the character as opposed to just studying the lines.  If you know the
character, the lines will come.
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Any suggestions for the actor during an audition?
 
If you are unclear about anything, take the time and ask.  It is your
audition.  Also, be natural. Don't overexaggerate your movements in an
audition unless it is for theatre.
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What if you have not achieved the level of success you desire as an actor?
 
Network, Network, Network.  I can't stress this enough.  Develop the skill of
networking.   APS is a good example of an organization that can expose you to
some of the people to network with.
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What are some of the mistakes that actors make?
 
Not following up on leads or waiting 4 weeks to reply when someone gives you
their business card.  Be diligent about this business.  Be professional.
 Don't lie on your resume.  Use a professional photographer and always send a
note with a headshot.
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I understand that you also teach.
 
Yes, I've taught a class called The A to Z's of Film Making.  It covers how
to write, produce and direct a feature film.  I also teach a class about the
metaphysics of acting which is simple and easy to understand.  It is about
developing their personality and injecting it into their characters.  Many of
the great actors inject their personality - Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino.  You
see their personalities in every character.  That's what I teach.  I like to
teach because I did not have a mentor, so it is a way of giving back, and
it's a great outlet.
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What is the film you are most proud of?
 
I have several projects that I am very proud of.  There is a screenplay that
hasn't been produced yet called Light Years Away that I wrote.  It has been
optioned several times, but it hasn't gone any further yet.  It is an
uplifting story about making your dreams come true.  Along the lines of Ghost,
 or Splash.  It is very near and dear to me.
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What is your ultimate goal in the business?
 
I've been doing pretty much what I want to do.  I would like to direct and
produce larger budget films, maybe do a few studio films, but you don't
always have the control I have as an independent.
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        What are your thoughts about the Oscars going to more independent filmmakers
this year?
 
Well, the meaning of independent is changing quite a bit.  I am sort of a
rebel about that word.  Most of the Oscar winners were not solely
independent.  To me, an independent is more of a struggling filmmaker who has
to raise financing from several sources - private investors, etc.  He is
usually not as well-connected as Miramax, who is owned by Disney.  Also their
budgets are usually not as high.
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Do you have a personal motto you live by?
 
Actually, I have several.  If you want to get something done, do it yourself!
 Also, the motto I've had since I was twelve - the problems we worry about
are the ones that never happen and the ones that do, we deal with right away,
so why worry!  Don't be obsessed with worrying.  As a producer, I have one -
If it's man-made, it's negotiable!  My dad always says: You can't go wrong
doing right and you can't go right doing wrong.
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The term producer seems to be used a lot in Hollywood.  Any comments about
that?
 
Yes, make sure the producer is legitimate.  You can always ask for
references.  If they are still securing financing on a project, don't start
anything with them until they do secure financing.
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Do you accept head shots, resumes, and demo tapes?
 
Yes.  Please send them to APS.  If I am interested usually I will request a
demo.  Be prepared - most actors don't have a demo so be a step ahead of
them.  Even if you have done a student film, get it on tape if you have a
good role in it.
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Any final suggestions to actors?
 
Don't get co-dependent on acting classes.  I see a lot of actors who aren't
working get too dependent on their classes.  Make sure your personality is
coming through.  Watch Michael Caine's tape on acting.  Watch movies with the
volume down.  Network!  Remember, this is a business.   Be professional and
follow-up on every lead!
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Bryan Michael Stoller is expected to be one of six featured speakers at an
upcoming BUSINESS OF ACTING seminar at the Hollywood Holiday Inn.  Recorded
information is available by calling (213) 980-3375.  Seating will be limited
to the first 75 actors who make reservations.  We hope to see you there!
 
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Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite 
http://www.sa.ua.edu/screensite