Film Courage: Where did you grow up?
Dylan Wayne Lawrence: I grew up in a small Alaskan town called, Kenai. I have very found memories growing up there, but also very bad ones. The amazing thing about living in a small town is that everyone knows everyone. There’s a greater sense of pride in the community. On the flip side, that also means everyone knows everyone’s business and you can easily get shunned as a black sheep. Being completely honest, my childhood was a constant battle ground for physical and verbal abuse. I wasn’t “out” at the time, but a lot of kids knew I was gay and made sure to torture me for being different. It’s a shame how cruel people can be, but I’m much stronger for it.
Film Courage: How do you see yourself in the world?
Dylan: To start, I like to see myself as simply a good person…someone who is nonjudgemental, loving and accepting of all things. Ideally I’d like to be seen as a Great Influencer for positive societal movements throughout the world…equality being the key goal to everything. I can’t say this enough, but there is only one race and that’s the human race. I’m confused why so many people blatantly choose to ignore that fact.
“No matter how lonely you are or how hard things get, you have to keep pushing forward. I can’t remember who said this, but you only really fail when you stop trying. Never give up. Believe in yourself and trust that you can do anything you set your mind to.”
Dylan Wayne Lawrence, HELLo tHERE Movie
Film Courage: How do you want others to see you as an artist?
Dylan: I’d like to someday be viewed as a true artist, not just another Hollywood name people love to “ooh” and “awe” at, but seen as a performer who does great work, allowing themselves to truly be vulnerable and tell beautiful stories. My goal as an artist, first and foremost, is to always tell stories that I believe in and feel can have a positive impact on the world. As actors, we’ve all done those projects for the paycheck (a guy’s gotta eat, ya’ know), but I try to audition for roles that expand my mind to greater ways of thinking.
Film Courage: We understand you spent your childhood performing in community theater? How many plays did you perform in, what size audience, any supportive/gratifying or even embarrassing experiences you can share?
Dylan: I surprisingly didn’t perform in too many productions growing up…no more than a dozen shows. I really didn’t get into theater until high school. I was always that kid with a film camera at his side making movies with his friends. I’ve always been more drawn to the medium of film, but theater gave me the opportunity to exert my creativity in another outlet.
Film Courage: How old were you upon moving from Alaska?
Dylan: I moved from home when I was about sixteen. One day I woke up and decided it was time to get serious about my film career. I told my mom I was moving out and in the next couple of months, I did just that. I didn’t make the big leap to LA right off the bat though. I finished high school in Oregon where my dad lives and pursued the industry there. It was a great experience with more creative opportunities then I would’ve had if I stayed in Alaska. Plus, I got to get my toes wet in the industry, study the art, get an agent and build up my credentials before making my way to the City of Dreams.
Film Courage: Did you go to film school?
Dylan: I have very mixed feelings when it comes to higher education, mainly because I don’t feel it’s a necessary advancement for everyone. I went to college for communications and psychology as an online student for two years, but when it came down to studying for finals or studying for an audition, film always won. In this industry, I feel people care more about the work you’ve done than your actual schooling. Your work always speaks for itself, but it never hurts to have both. I just found for myself it wasn’t the right path for me.
Dylan: I’ve been in LA for almost three years. I actually drove from Oregon down to LA. It was about a twenty-one hour drive and two-day trip with my 80 lb German Shepherd. I remember exactly the very first place I visited when I got to town. I pulled up to the Santa Monica Pier and walked the beach. I looked out at the beautiful ocean then back at the city behind me. I knew right then that I was home. I had this insensible feeling that this was where I was destined to be and I was overwhelmed with happiness for it.
Film Courage: Do you miss Oregon or Alaska?
Dylan: I definitely miss home for my family and friends. I also miss the snow and actual seasons. Not that I’m complaining, because constant sunshine is great, but change in weather is nice every now and again.
Film Courage: For people who “miss home” and want to go back, are there acting opportunities outside Los Angeles, New York, London, etc.?
Dylan: For sure, there are acting opportunities everywhere, just some more than others. New York, London, Canada…all great places to pursue the business. I almost moved to New York, but wanted to try sunnier weather for a bit. I think no matter where you go, a small part of you will always miss home…home is safe haven…a place filled with good memories, but the difference between actors who succeed and the ones who don’t, is persistence. No matter how lonely you are or how hard things get, you have to keep pushing forward. I can’t remember who said this, but you only really fail when you stop trying. Never give up. Believe in yourself and trust that you can do anything you set your mind to.
Dylan: I submit to acting roles everyday through various professional casting sites (Actors Access, LA Casting, Casting Frontier, etc). I also take Casting Director Workshops through various companies. It’s worth the time and cash to get in front of the right people who can have a major impact on your career. Oh and lets not forget, I network like crazy. Networking is huge for this business. Go to plays, events, premieres and any kind of social gathering to get yourself out there. I struggle with this at times, but it’s an essential part to being successful in this town. What’s the point of having this amazing idea if you never share it with the world? As actors, we are our own brand. Share your beautifully, unique self with anyone and everyone. You never know who you’ll meet!
Film Courage: Who came up with the story for HELLo tHERE?
Dylan: I came up with the HELLo tHERE concept. I always thought it would be an intriguing film to showcase the “horrors of reality” and how those truths can affect someone on a psychological level. It’s truly horrifying (no pun intended) how much hatred and misunderstandings consume our daily lives and what better way to showcase this monstrosity, than through the medium produced to capitalize on fear itself, the horror genre. Seems pretty fitting doesn’t it?
Film Courage: What is the story about?
Dylan: The film is about a repressed laundromat worker who is tormented by a dark and sinister presence. The film showcases the psychological trauma that can be caused by inequality, racism and homophobia. Our main character, Tyler, is literally confronted by a monster born from his own hate. How he overcomes his fears, well, you’ll just have to watch and find out!
Film Courage: Who wrote the script?
Dylan: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I wrote the script in one sitting on the toilet. I don’t know why, but I always do my best work on the crapper. The script is exactly eight pages. They don’t call it a “short” film for no reason.
Film Courage: Have you already shot the film or are you waiting to make it?
Dylan: Right now, everything is ready to go but one key essential element…money. It always seems to come down to that, doesn’t it? My team and I are utilizing a really phenomenal platform called, IndieGoGo, to raise $30,000 in two months. It’s an ambitious goal, but one I know we can accomplish. When I want something, there’s no stopping me until I get it.
Dylan: I actually met Ashley my first year in LA. I shot with her for new headshots and our energies just vibed. She’s such a talented and beautiful person, inside and out. It’s hard not to be drawn to her as an artist and just an awesome human being.
Film Courage: Why are you crowdfunding? For how much?
Dylan: Yes, Ma’am. We are crowdfunding through IndieGoGo to raise 30K. It’s a lot of money to ask for, but I’m confident people will be willing to help our cause and film’s message for equality / self-love.
Film Courage: Why do you want to make this movie?
Dylan: The film was inspired by my need to further expose the hate and toxicity that has plagued our world with fear. I’m talking about the fear created through racism, homophobia, senseless killings and the basic misunderstanding for one another as human beings. Because isn’t that what we are all…human?
“[My team for this film have all faced…]Adversity. We’ve all been told “no,” have had doors slammed in our faces and been made to believe we’re crazy for trying to achieve the impossible. This industry is rough and you really have to have thick skin in order to keep fighting for what you believe in. I’m very fortunate in the team I’ve gathered to be a part of HELLo tHERE. I honestly feel nobody is more deserving of success than these people.”
Dylan Wayne Lawrence, HELLo tHERE Movie
Film Courage: How long do you anticipate the film being?
Dylan: The film will be no more than ten minutes long. “They say” each script page is about a minute long. Our film is very stylized so give or take a few pages.
Film Courage: Aside from creating this film, what common experiences has your production team faced?
Dylan: Adversity. We’ve all been told no, have had doors slammed in our faces and been made to believe we’re crazy for trying to achieve the impossible. This industry is rough and you really have to have thick skin in order to keep fighting for what you believe in. I’m very fortunate in the team I’ve gathered to be a part of HELLo tHERE. I honestly feel nobody is more deserving of success than these people.
Film Courage: If you make your crowdfunding goal, when do you plan on shooting it? Have you found the locations?
Dylan: First off, there is no “if.” We will meet our funding goals. There’s no if’s, ands or buts about it. I don’t like to even have that potential kind of self-doubt in my mind. Our campaign ends mid-January of next year and our goal is to shoot the following month in February. We’ll be shooting in the greater Los Angeles area, most likely Palmdale for aesthetic reasons. Our entire movie takes place in a vintage laundromat. We’re still narrowing down our options.
Film Courage: Are you or Ashley based any of the characters?
Dylan: I based the character Tyler off myself, mainly in regards to his struggle with his sexuality. I was tortured to believe, by my peers, that my sexuality made me a monster. This notion horrified me, so much that I built a room in my head with no walls or windows. I shut everyone out and practically suffocated, letting my fear control my existence. This movie is really going to show people the damage that stems from repressing who you really are and how important it is to not let the opinions of others control your life, which is something I wish I had realized much sooner in life.
Dylan: I think audiences will really relate to the film’s message to not let fear control you. I feel a lot of people run for the hills when things get too tough or uncomfortable. Our film is all about facing your problems head on and doing what’s right, no matter the risks.
Film Courage: Why do you a person is afraid to be their true self?
Dylan: As a society, we’re taught to be a certain way. We’re categorized to fit inside this small box and if you do anything outside of that, you’re considered a troublemaker or even a freak. It’s scary to be different in this world. Even with all our major steps toward equality, our nation is still crumbling. I mean, come on, our President is a reality star. Donald Trump, the man who is supposed to represent ALL people, only speaks for the privileged white man. I think for most people, including myself, the hardest thing to do in this life is look in the mirror and fully be okay with the person who stands before you (flaws and all). Fear is a nasty thing and it unfortunately controls the best of us, leaving most people silent.
Film Courage: How many years did it take to piece together your acting reel?
Dylan: Several years, which is extremely sad when I think about it. A big problem I’ve faced with this industry is everyone’s all talk and no action. I’ve been involved with a lot of amazing projects that never fully get made (lack of drive, investors pull out, drama onset, etc). It’s amazing anything gets made in this town and because of it, it’s been a constant battle to get footage for my reel that’s even usable.
Dylan: I’ve worked with animals for almost five years through various dog daycares, rescues and training centers. It’s a great way to supplement my income between acting gigs and even better, I don’t have to deal with people. Dogs teach you a great deal about compassion and companionship. Dogs are the only creatures that will ever love someone more than they love themselves, simply because they have no concept of “self.” My dog has literally become the my best friend and I’m not ashamed to admit that. We’re bro’s for life.
Film Courage: Do you have any crazy or serendipitous audition story?
Dylan: I once walked into the wrong audition room while they were in the middle of a casting session. I apologized for the inconvenience and got out of there as fast as possible. To my surprise, the CD’s assistant tracked me down and asked me to audition for their film. The Director apparently liked my look and it was a fortunate mistake for me to have made. I learned my lines on the spot and booked the role the next day. It was for a really intriguing SciFi film that never went anywhere, but it was an incredible opportunity nonetheless. Again, filmmaker’s can be so flaky!
Film Courage: Ever have an acting role offered to you after thinking you would not get the part?
Dylan: Almost every role I’ve ever gotten. I’m only half kidding. There’s so many factors that go into whether you get the role or not. I’ve booked both my best and my worst auditions. I feel like every call I get saying “you got the job” is a surprised blessing. There’s just no way to tell honestly. Whether I nailed the part or not, I never let the Casting Director know I think I messed up. I always smile, act like I killed it and thank them for their time.
Film Courage: We understand you are 6’ 2”. Can you finish the sentence….”Being tall means….”
Dylan: Being the go-to guy for anything on the top shelf. I’m constantly helping people reach tucked away items in grocery stores.
Film Courage: What song do you sing the loudest while driving?
Dylan: That’s a tough question because I’ll sing to anything in the car, even if I don’t know the lyrics. Just ask my friends, they love it (wink, wink*). Most currently I’ve been jamming to Golden by Ruth B. The song’s all about overcoming adversity and achieving your dreams. It’s a very inspirational piece of music and seems to be a fitting theme song for my life.
Film Courage: Any advice to people living in an non-supportive situation, town, etc.?
Dylan: Find validation in yourself, not others. This is your life. Your happiness always has to come first and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Film Courage: After HELLo tHERE is finished, what projects or role would you like to tackle next?
Dylan: I’d like to see myself doing something I’m just as passionate about, whether that’s a project I produce or a film I’m fortunate enough to be a part of. This world is filled with endless possibilities. You just have to know where to look!
ABOUT DYLAN WAYNE LAWRENCE:
Raised in Alaska, Dylan spent his childhood performing in community theater. He is an award-winning artist for his role in the book adaption of New York Times Best-Seller The Box. His latest film, Bed Buddies has been screened (thus far) by 20+ film festivals in 10 different countries. Aside from acting, Dylan focuses his creative energy on writing and producing his own projects.
ABOUT HELLO THERE MOVIE:
The film was inspired by my need to further expose the hate and toxicity that has plagued our world with fear. I’m talking about the fear created through racism, homophobia, senseless killings and the basic misunderstanding for one another as human beings. Because isn’t that what we are all…human? It’s the most basic thread that connects us together and yet somehow, a vast majority of society has forgotten it.
It is truly horrifying (no pun intended) how much hatred consumes our daily lives and what better way to showcase this monstrosity, than through the medium produced to capitalize on fear itself, the horror genre. Seems pretty fitting doesn’t it?
HELLo tHERE isn’t your regular run-of-the-mill horror movies. The film is thought-provoking, emotive and geared towards creating such a visceral reaction when viewed, it not only broadens your horizons but incites change…change for a better world, change for a society where love is the answer and hate is a distant memory, because quite frankly, the truth doesn’t always mean rainbows and sunshine. The truth can be a painful experience, but that shouldn’t stop us from doing what’s right.
Meet the entire team here on Indiegogo….
Watch the trailer and support the campaign here on Indiegogo!
ORIGIN: Three science students are on the verge of making a breakthrough in their research into biohacking and cell aging. When one of them is diagnosed with a terminal illness, they break moral boundaries and use their untested research on him, in an attempt to save his life.
HELLo tHERE takes a dark, but realistic look at the psychological trauma caused by inequality, racism, and homophobia. Our goal is not just to scare the bejesus out of you, but to create a film that is equally terrifying as it is thought provoking. This world is, and has always been, plagued by senseless fear and hatred for one another as human beings. My team and I are fully dedicated to telling stories that showcase the “horrors of reality” in an effort to inspire change.
COLD NIGHTS HOT SALSA takes you inside the international dance world of Victor and Katia, aspiring young salsa dancers from Montreal, who seek to win a World Salsa Championship.
During their three-year quest Victor and Katia draw upon the talents of Eddie Torres, Tito & Tamara, Billy Fajardo, and Katie Marlow. Central figures in the salsa dance world, these mentors put their passion and professional dance skills before you and reveal what it takes to perform and compete at the highest level.
Victor and Katia’s story is a love story. It’s the story of their love to dance and of how being a couple enhances and also complicates their life together and dance ambitions. After winning the Canadian Salsa Championship, we watch as they first compete in the 3rd World Salsa Championship. They return home to Montreal to work on taking their dance skills to a higher level. After months of preparation, including working with a number of key mentors, they put their dreams on the line and travel to Florida to compete in the 4th World Salsa Championship.
Along with Victor and Katia’s story, the film explores some of the social and historical roots of salsa, as told through Eddie Torres, Billy Fajardo, Tito Ortos, and Edson Vallon.
Experience the beauty and excitement of competitive dance, the compelling force of world leaders in salsa, and the romantic charm of two young dancers who want to make their mark on the Latin dance world.
CRUSHED Movie Now on iTunes! – Ellia returns to her family vineyard after her father dies in a winery accident. When his death is ruled a murder and her mother becomes the prime suspect, she’s determined to find the truth. As Ellia uncovers secrets about her family and the winery, she becomes the murderer’s next target.