Can you tell me how you got into filmmaking?
I think I got into filmmaking, because I ended up getting a lot of experience in the acting side in front of the camera, so I guess, I ended up gaining credit for helping out on numerous film productions, kinda multi tasking type of way, I think it’s also cause I’m easy to get along with on set.
Who were your acting inspirations?
Michael Keaton, Robert DiNero, Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, Joaquin Phoenix.
You mention on your website about acting classes. How did these classes enhance your acting abilities?
I think some of those classes enhanced me in learning how to channel, get creative in the whole character development process, I think most importantly, how to portray, creating a believable character, how to make a character that is your own.
You have many indie films under your belt, what excites you about independent productions?
I think, for me, I have more creative freedom in new media / independent film productions, something you may or may not have on a SAG affiliated film production, I like the notoriety that comes with my hard work, craft as an actor. It’s a plus when my work receives an award or even receives a nomination, it’s a great feeling when your work gets recognition.
From your career so far what has been your favourite role and why?
I think it has to be “The Confined” as Landry (the lead character) of right now, even though it’s a short film I think it’s my favorite role due to being able to showcase a lot of elements from going from boring to being a really intense, terrified character in a very short length of time.
How did you adapt to the challenges of 2020 as an actor?
I think I did the best, like the majority of everyone else in 2020 due to the pandemic, numerous productions I was supposed to work on, we’re delayed, postponed unfortunately. I was able to work on an upcoming dramedy independent feature film entitled “King Lahiri”, directed edited byChristopher Picone (Leo The Shark, The Confined, Redemption On Gun Hill Road) & screenwriter Saima Huq , Which I had a nice supporting role in. The production was very professional, well handled and went by every proper recommended guidelines implemented by the CDC. So everyone on set was safe, secure. It just felt weird coming down, commuting to Manhattan, NYC, literally 7 months later and it felt like a ghost town, as if half the city evacuated. It definitely didn’t feel like the same Manhattan I had previously been to 7 months earlier or any other time before that. It felt very eerie.
These are some of the awards, notably Thomas J. O’Brien has won for his performance as the lead actor in the indie horror/thriller short film entitled “The Confined”
Best Actor Award – New York
“Best Actor In A Thriller” 2020 Award Winner
Los Angeles Motion Picture Festival/ International Film Awards 2020
“Short Film: Best Actor” Bronze Award” & “Best Actor Grand Jury Silver” Winnerfor my performance in the horror/thriller independent short film entitled “The Confined”
If could you be a character in a tv series (Past or present) what would it be and why?
Honestly, I haven’t really thought too much of that.
Do web series offer more opportunities to actors?
I think they do, cause web series can gain an audience, with social media, Youtube, there are various routes, options web series can go, now, they can land distribution, marketing through Amazon, Apple, Youtube, Hulu & numerous others. It’s not like the late 2000s or the early 2010s where web series would be considered very limited or drift in Youtube limbo and not go anywhere. So yeah, I think web series if anything have more of a reach, beneficial, advantage just like the majority of the independent film industry.
Is there a genre you’d like to work in which you haven’t so far?
I’m not so sure on that, I think it’s more on making the best film as can be. Though I did get to work on a comical role last this past year in “King Lahiri”, which I can’t say I’ve worked on too many comical roles, so it was nice for a change and along with it being fun.
What are your plans for 2021?
I think it’s to get back into being on a set, resume working on various film productions that unfortunately we’re delayed in 2020 due to the pandemic. Find some balance of normalcy. I got a couple projects, one being a psychological thriller feature film entitled “Mixxer” which I co-wrote with filmmaker/screenwriter Caster Fagan (Subject A Male), starring Tara Reid ( The Big Lebowski, American Pie), Paul Mormando (Bound by Debt), myself Thomas J. O’Brien (Vicious Thunder), Sarah Teed (Letters from Sam), Vincent Edgehill (The PC), Lauren Mccan (Girl Boxer), Dan Gregory (Cabin Of Errors) and numerous others
An upcoming horror feature film entitled “The Deadass Files” by filmmakers Sayef Zaman & Phil Katz , which I’m cast in, hopefully this production can get on way in 2021, filming is suppose to begin in New York city somewhere or New Jersey.
Aside from these projects, I also got a few other projects in the works, some pitched scripts, hopefully looking forward to getting those projects rolling as well. I don’t wanna go on a rant or anything, I’m staying optimistic, hopefully to get back on to some form of normalcy, balance again. If there is one thing this pandemic teaches any actor, talent, filmmaker, screenwriter aside from numerous other things and that is, is “to stay hungry, motivated, creative, inspired, productive”.
Big thanks to Thomas for this interview, may I wish you all the best for 2021.
Thomas J. O’Brien – IMDb
Thomas J. O’Brien – website
Thomas J’OBrien – Instagram