ED- The Eerie Digest is proud to introduce John Prudhont to our readers. John you have certainly worked you way up the ladder of success in the movie industry, but we understand that this is not where you originally started. Tell us of your early days in the real estate industry.
JP- Thanks so much for inviting me and “hello” to your readers. The funny thing is that I have been singing and acting since I was around 9 years old. The Real Estate and Mortgage Loan side of thing only entered the picture after I received my Bachelor of Arts degree, in History, from CSU, Sacramento in 1991. I kind of “fell into” the Mortgage side of the Real Estate business because I had done well on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT),had enrolled at Lincoln Law School of Sacramento and was looking for a job where I could work during the day and focus on going to Law School at night. A company that was managing an audit of 1st Nationwide Mortgage’s Adjustable Rate Mortage (ARM) Portfolio was looking for people with my analytical background. A very similar economic environment to right now was happening at that time and the residential mortgage industry was trying to avoid lawsuits by ensuring that their ARMs where being billed and credited correctly. That job lasted around 6 months and, I became more and more immersed in the mortgage loan business, training or loan officer, Real Estate Agents and Escrow Officers in how the mortgage industry could work more effectively to help consumers to qualify to buy more homes. Then, I tested for first my Real Estate Salesperson License and then my R.E. Broker’s license. In 2001 I opened my first Real Estate and Mortgage Loan Corporation, called JMP Financial Group, Inc. and a couple of years later I opened my second corporation of this type called Cash Flow Investments Inc. With the economic turmoil of the past 4 years, the Board of Directors of each Corporation decided to discontinue the operations of each corporation about two years ago.
JP- Well, as I said, I have been acting and singing since I was about nine years old. I continued to work as a professional actor and singer throughout my entrepreneurial ventures and never really stopped acting. Also, since I have never gone a year, since 1984 without receiving money from my work in the entertainment industry it has been a successful career for me as well. With the Real Estate and Mortgage Loan business under such crushing pressure from the effects of negative media, income from that source began to dry up. Conversely, my income from my work as an actor in Commercials, Industrial Videos, Promos, Film, Television, Voiceovers and Theatre, the entertainment industry, steadily increased.
ED- Some of your earliest roles were on television in such popular shows as ‘Bones’ and ‘MacGyver’. How these shape your career?
JP-My first roles were actually in live theatre. I began taking acting classes, when I was in Junior High School, at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale, California. While I was taking classes in the evenings there, I began to fill in for actors when they were ill, in some of the musicals like “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Oklahoma” and the annual production of “A Christmas Carol.” I also auditioned for, and booked, my first supporting role in a live theatre production of the family comedy“A Majority of One.” I learned more about the profession/business of acting from other professional actors there and began to book supporting roles in educational films that were shown in public high schools. My first film was a “Date Rape Prevention” film that was shown in public high schools for many years. Shortly after working on that film, while I was in high school, I performed a supporting role in 3 more educational films that were part of a drug prevention program that was funded by The Rand Corporation in Santa Monica, CA. The next year, when I was 17 years old, I proficiency tested out of Eagle Rock High School and auditioned for and was accepted into to 2 year professional conservatory program for Theatre at The L.A.C.C. Theatre Academy. It was during my first year at the Theatre Academy that I auditioned for and was cast in my first union covered (SAG) Guest-Star role, as Peter, in the “Thief of Budapest” episode of the hit television show “MacGyver.” I had the great fortune to work with Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Constantine and many other seasoned TV actors on the episode. After MacGyver, I focused on live theatre, Industrials, Print Modeling and Commercials for many years and continued to do a film role here and there. I didn’t return to TV and Film as a focus until about two years ago when I worked on the Gus Van Sant directed film “Milk” in San Francisco. Since I have returned to TV and Film roles, I have continued to work steadily and still do commercials, industrials, voiceovers promos and Print modeling in between TV and Film roles.
ED- It seems from there you leapt onto the big screen. What were some of your earliest roles there, and the films that you played in?
JP-Well, I have worked on “Milk,” as the Sergeant at Arms in the Board of Supervisors’ Chamber Scene; as a Reporter in “The Singularity is Near.”; and as an FBI agent in “Duplicity.”
ED- You did not lose your love of Television, and you found parts in many shows such as Hannah Montana, and Gene Simmons: Family Jewels. This proved your acting versatility. Tell us about these experiences.
JP-Well, after working on the Feature Films that we just discussed, in 2008, I started to perform co-star roles in episodes of the TV shows “Kath and Kim” with Molly Shannon, Selma Blair and John Michael Higgins as Joe Keinlen the Mall Manager and the hit ABC TV show “Castle,” as City Councilman Jeff Horne, with Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic. Working on the Disney Channel show “Hannah Montana” was an incredible experience because I developed so much respect for the work of younger actors like Miley Cyrus and Emily Osment from watching them work on that show. They have amazing performance skills. Working on “Gene Simmons: Family Jewels,” with Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed was a terrific experience as well. It was the second time I had worked on a project that Gene Simmons was involved with. I “ditched” school in Junior High School to work on the KISS video for their song “I Love It Loud.” Everyone involved with the show was great to work with and it was one of the experiences that I will never forget.
ED- Now we understand that you have taken a position on the other side of the camera, and started to Direct and Produce some of your own films. Tell us about these and how acting has helped you in this direction.
JP-I think that it is a pretty natural progression to move from in front of the camera to behind the camera when you have the business and performing background that I have racked up over the years. If you work on front of the camera, you have to be aware of camera angles, blocking, continuity of actions, where you are in the story at any given time and you are working with the crew to help them get as much useable footage of your performance as possible. Its kind of like in Theatre, you have to get used to ensuring that as much of your performance as possible is visible by the people sitting in the 100th row. Also, as a professional actor, you are expected to use your space and create normal actions for yourself before you work with the other actors and Directors. Then the Director can add or subtract personal business for the actor. You also get used to seeing how different camera movements and angles, during each take, provide the editor and decision makers with options of how to tell the story. Less coverage, less options for telling the story.
ED- Please tell our readers about some of your latest acting projects, as well as your latest film ‘Mr. President’.
JP- Wow, I have a bunch of projects that are expected to air on TV and are scheduled for Theatrical Release and are currently available on the internet: The first one is the currently running comedy webseries “HLATV.” You can look at all six episodes of the show at http://www.facebook.com/l/91108;www.hlatv.com and I can be seen in the Guest Star role of Detective Taggart in a parody of the CSI shows that fills most of the 6th episode (CSI HLATV); I performed the Guest Star role of Robert Sanborn in the “Murder in the Suburbs” episode of the new Discovery ID Channel TV show “Unusual Suspects.” that is tentatively scheduled to begin airing in mid-May 2010; I performed a supporting role in the new Sophia Coppola Directed film “Somewhere,” with Stephen Dorf and the Feature Film is scheduled to premier at The Cannes International Film Festival this year. I also saw that she may me a strong contender for a Best Director Award for “Somewhere.”; I filmed the “Dad” role in a commercial for The Port of San Diego in February and it should begin airing soon; I also have a Supporting Role in the short film from Director Darine Hotait called “Beirut…Hide and Seek!” It is also scheduled to premier at The Cannes International Film Festival this year.
Mr. President was a collaboration with a predominately Chinese Director and film crew. It is the story of a salesman who was elected president of a totalitarian government. Mr. Robinson, the Starring role that I played, is the real Dictator and tries to manipulate the President into being just another puppet. The President and his wife make moves to change the way that the government treats its people and this results in disaster for the couple. It was a brief, fictional, slice of life view into a totalitarian government.
ED- We also recently discovered that you now own your own film company: Radical Redistribution Films. Tell us about this latest venture, and what your company does.
JP- On the Producing side of things, I have the Feature Films “Leader of the Pack,” the story of a Hispanic teenage boy who is moved by his father to a small New Mexico town and runs into trouble with the locals and a biker gang who also happen to be Werewolves. The Trailer is currently being filmed for this Feature Film; “The 6,” a revenge/action film about a hitman who is driven to find out, and take revenge for, what happened to his love who is kidnapped by the hitman who was like a father to him; “Flipside” a family/drama/road trip movie about 3 young Filipino men who have become estranged from each other over the years and who are brought back together through a search for what their father wanted them to find; and “Running out of Red” a martial arts action film that is being developed around the Wu Shu Master Patti Li. Each film is in different stages of development, in collaboration with my Producing Partners under our Production Companies “Radical Redistribution Films,” “Eye on the Mark Productions” and “Attention Soldier Productions.”
ED- John, you certainly have come a long way in the film industry and we certainly wish you continued luck. We thank you for your time with us, and hope that you will keep us informed of your newest projects. It certainly is something that all those who look to join the industry will look forward to hearing about.
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