Shadowland - Actor: Jason Contini

Good Guy... Vampires beware... he doesn't want to kill you, he just has too.

[2vs8]: How did you find yourself wanting to act? Do you have any personal influences?

Jason Contini: My dad, John Contini, is a professional actor so I’ve grown up with acting.  I actually started when I was 3 doing a production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s THE KING AND I.  Ironically though, from what I’m told, I didn’t really enjoy it all that much.  In fact, my Mom likes to tell stories about how I would get so bored during the show that I would pretend to be asleep and make Three Stooges sounds.  On stage.  In the middle of a production.  I don’t think I was really “bitten by the acting bug” as they say, till a few years later.  When I was 5 I did a production of A Christmas Carol with my Dad where I played Tiny Tim.  I remember really enjoying being a part of “Dad’s world” and getting to wear fun costumes and play pretend.  From that point on I was hooked.  So, naturally, my Dad is probably my biggest influence.  But I’m also a big classic film buff so I’m very influenced by people like Gregory Peck, Jimmy Stewart, Peter O’Toole, Henry Fonda….the classic stars.

[2vs8]: Before acting what was your first and worst job, and did you ever want to return to those places... not to work, but to see it?

Jason Contini: My first job was at McDonald's.  I was sixteen years old and, of course, took it for granted.  I don’t know that I could pick a “worst” job.  I’ve had jobs I didn’t enjoy but they weren’t bad enough to call “worst”.  Although, I guess SOMETHING has to be worst.  I just don’t know that I could pick one.

[2vs8]: Is this your first full length film "Shadowland" and how does this compare to your other film experiences?

Jason Contini: I had actually done about 10 micro budget features before shooting Shadowland.  So it isn’t really fair to compare them.  I had never done a film that had a budget of more than 50 thousand.  So things were very different.  Not necessarily better, just different.  I will say, though, that I had more fun on Shadowland than I had before.  It was like working with your closest friends and family everyday.  We had such a great time.

[2vs8]: Can you tell something funny on the set of "Shadowland" that happened to you or your cast members?

Jason Contini: I think for me one of the funnier things was everybody watching me try to drive the Mini Cooper.  About a week before filming, Gayle Gallagher, our Producer, showed me the car that I would be driving and asked “By the way, you can drive stick, right?”  And of course, that was something that I had never even tried to do before.  So Gayle actually had to take me out to an empty parking lot and tried to teach me herself.  I felt like I was 16 again and learning how to drive.  I say she “tried” because I had a real hard time getting into first gear.  Once there, I was fine.  But usually when I tried to get into first, I just succeeded in killing the car.  I believe there are outtakes of me trying, and usually failing, to drive the mini on the DVD special features.  And there are some scenes where it’s not even me driving.  Anytime the car had to go in reverse, that’s not me.

[2vs8]: If you could portray any actor's life in a historical aspect film [living or dead] who might you be?

Jason Contini: Gregory Peck.  He is my all time favorite actor.  I don’t think I look anything like him so the prospect of that ever actually happening is slim to none, I would think.  But that would be a fascinating story to get into and I would love to honor him in that way.


[2vs8]: What are you working on and how does it differ from past film projects, including "Shawdowland"?

Jason Contini: I have two films currently in post production right now.  One is a romantic comedy called THE ANNIVERSARY.  In it I play a thirty-something guy trying to deal with being single in today’s dating world.  The other film is a war film called KHYBER dealing with the Russian/Afghan War in the 1980’s.  I play one of five Russian soldiers stationed at a dilapidated outpost near the Khyber Pass.  Trailers for both can be seen on You Tube.  The other project I have in the works is a creator-owned indie comic book called LEGACIES END of which I am the Co-Plotter and one of the Artists for.  Our first preview issue is available now at either www.indyplanet.com or through our website www.legaciesend.yolasite.com

[2vs8]: Biggest misconception on making a film, from start to finish?

Jason Contini: I’m not sure how much people know about the amount of work that goes into making ANY film or the amount of people that put in that work.  Film buffs would, but general audiences may not.  And not just during the filming process.  For instance, Rachel Reickenberg, our make-up artist, spent months designing and building the look of the vampire teeth and other make-up effects not to mention doing most of the makeup for many of the actors in the film.  Meghan Brown, the Art Director, spent most of her personal free time gathering random props and set dressing items and then spent many long exhausting hours dressing the sets and making the locations look like what Wyatt wanted them to look like.  And there are hundreds of thousands of cases just like these on every film you ever see.

[2vs8]: What scares you?

Jason Contini: Fear.  When fear takes control of you and prevents you from achieving what you would otherwise achieve or prevents you from experiencing what you would otherwise experience.

[2vs8]: Advice that was given to you, that you would pass along to a complete stranger who just stole your seat on a bus?

Jason Contini: I was in college and one day was sitting on a bench somewhere on campus.  A random woman, that I had never met, came up to me and sat down next to me.  She didn’t say hello or how are you or anything.  She sat quietly for a minute and then turned to me and said, “People always get the A word wrong.  Remember that.  They tend to confuse ‘ambition’ with ‘aggressiveness’.  Not the same thing.  Ambition is a good thing.”  And then the woman said goodbye and walked away.  It was a very surreal moment.  I never even got a chance to say anything to her.  But I liked what she said and I’ll never forget it.

[2vs8]: One word that describes you best.

Jason Contini: Dedicated.

[2vs8]: Word association [first thought that come to mind]

Jason Contini:
   -Carlos - Giving
   -Vampire - Lonely
   -Caitlin - Professional
   -Pirate - Booty
   -Wyatt - Family
   -Julian – Broken


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