Bryce Wagoner [Interview]

Hello Folks! We have an absolutely wonderful interview to share with you all. Bryce Wagoner is an actor, writer, filmmaker, just about everything! On screen you may recognize him from roles in projects like Gingerdead Man 2: The Passion of the Crust. Behind the camera he created the captivating documentary, After Porn Ends, which would then spawn two further additions. And, as if that weren’t enough, he was kind enough to let me know about his 2017 documentary, Parrot Heads, which is intriguing as hell! I have an unabashed love for Jimmy Buffett, so a look beyond those proverbial curtains was an absolute delight.

Wagoner answers a few of standard questions below, and gives us some wonderful insight into the world of filmmaking. We are honored to have Bryce with us today, and I think you are going to love what we have for you today. So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the great Bryce Wagoner!

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What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it something you aspired to do since your youth, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

Phil Hartman’s performance in So I Married An Axe Murderer and the DVD extras from Seven were the two biggest things that inspired me to accept the calling of working in entertainment. My fraternity brothers would endlessly quote Phil’s Alcatraz speech and it would bring such joy to us all, that it got the wheels turning to the point where I said to myself, “Hey I would like to create something that would do the same for some other group of idiot friends.” Then, when Seven came out on DVD, I was enthralled with not only Fincher’s approach to story and world building, but the process of how the movie was cast, shot, and the studio script process. The curtain had been pulled, and I was hooked!

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affects your work to date?

In 1999 I made $97 as an extra for two days on Sally Hemmings: An American Scandal, a TV movie that shot in Richmond, VA; starring Sam Neil and Mario Van Peebles.

I learned that the days on set would be long, but worth it, and that positivity is a huge factor in pulling anything off. We were doing this big protest scene and the AD says “Now really get into it and sell your anger so you can make it into the shot.” Sam was right there with us and he says “They ALL deserve to be in the shot.” And gives us this warm look of acceptance as equals. I will NEVER forget that moment and it’s why I am so grateful to anyone that agrees to be in front of a camera that I’m directing.

I thoroughly enjoyed your highly original 2012 documentary, After Porn Ends, which would then spawn two additional films. The subject matter is one that I think a lot of people actually think about a lot, but don’t like to think about it too often, I would imagine. With that, what was it that made you want to bring this story to the world?

It started as a simple question when I was doing some motion capture work for the WWE, where some of the guys on set were aghast at a website one of them did cyber security for that involved sex with vegetables. I was running my lines and suddenly this guy named Alby says “HOLY $h!t, HOW IN THE F&@K DO YOU DO ANYTHING IN YOUR LIFE AFTER DOING…THAT?!?!?”

Something clicked, and I asked myself “what does happen after you leave the XXX business?” Did some research and saw mostly one sided/negative stories that courted sensationalism, and I wanted to give these folks a fair say into their life stories. Not just cautionary tales that took no regard for them as human beings. 

Note to aspiring documentary film makers: It’s NOT hard to humanize people if you let them tell their own story without an agenda. 

Can you tell us a bit about your 2017 documentary Parrot Heads? What made you want to document this insanely loyal fan base? And how was your experience bringing this project to life? Do you have any significant memories that still make you smile when you think about them?

I’m an insanely loyal fan, and I knew there was a deeper story there than what most people see at the tailgates. 

Bringing the project to life started with a rum-induced phone call to my longtime ECU cohort Vance Daniels with the idea, three years of pitching said idea, to me working a door at the Bar Marmont and lamenting to a regular that no one in Hollywood gets Jimmy Buffett, leading him to say “I get Jimmy Buffett, how much do you need?”

Then as a result of doing it in earnest, we were able to get it to Frank Marshall (Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, etc), who loved it and advised Jimmy to be a part of it, to which he agreed to not only take part, but to become our distributor as well. 

That is one of the literal hundreds of memories that make me smile throughout the life of this movie, but the one that means the most to me is when I first showed it to my dad and he leans into me after the first 10 minutes and says “This movie is just too much fu@$ing fun!”

In front of the camera, you appeared in one of the most hilarious comedy horror franchises of all time, and one of the greatest sequel titles of all time, which would be Gingerdead Man 2: The Passion of the Crust, which also happens to feature our dear friend and past guest Junie Hoang. So, I am curious to know what drew you to this project? What made you want to dig into the world of the killer cookie?

When I was an actor I’d actually auditioned for the producer (William Butler) on other projects and we became friends. So Billy emails me one day and says “Wanna come play for a few weeks?” And knowing his sense of humor and my penchant for the absurd, I accepted without hesitation. Junie was lovely, as was the incomparable Michelle Bauer, and the now TV famous Parker Young. But of course I gravitated to hang with the creative/technical guys all doing Billy a favor, like Greg Nicotero, Mike Deak, and the late John Vulich/John Carl Buechler.  Talk about getting some free film school cookies in!

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If you were handed the opportunity to create the biopic of any legendary figure in American history, who would it be?

Legends are created by campfire stories, authors, filmmakers, the media, and the occasional viral video. Which is why my producing partner (Cara Kidwell) and I are trying to make a film about a certain woman who SHOULD be a legend, and most certainly will be when it’s all said and done.  

But in the meantime, if a studio called me and said “Here’s a pile of money, now go make this biopic of Chuck Yeager.” I’d break my wrist from signing that contract so fast! 

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

As a writer, I’ve had three scripts optioned but not made, so hopefully the future allows me to get one (or all) of them on screen. But until that time avails itself; I’m currently producing a nature documentary in the Outer Banks of North Carolina that I can’t say much about, other than it’s been another great experience and opportunity for creative growth that we all feel has a noble purpose and is appealing to just about anyone.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Hugging my big sister a few hours ago for the first time in over a year.

Everyone please get vaccinated so we can can ALL do the same (and have cocktails afterwards). Cheers!

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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