Staying Real with Ron Robinson for ‘Gemma’

Ron Robinson is making his mark in Hollywood as an actor, producer, and director. He’s respected by his peers for his craft and especially for the person he is. Robinson is an actor but a skilled creative collaborator as well. Ron has a strong work ethic but also gives generously to who he’s working on set.

Robinson grew up in Ypsilanti, Michigan, about 30 miles outside of Detroit and even lived many of his early childhood years in Memphis, TN. Ron always performed in front of his family with different impressions, as early as he can remember. Did he know from an early age that he wanted to become an actor? Actually, no. He did not know that he would commit himself to this craft until he was around 17 or so. When asked if his parents were supportive, Ron expressed, “It’s a risky business, so there was some worry maybe from my family when I talked about acting. However, they became very supportive after seeing me perform in my first theatre productions,” says Ron Robinson.

Recently, Ron took the time to chat with Gemma Magazine as we are thrilled to feature such a multi-talented actor and diversified creative.

Would you that you got your start in the Monica video for the song “Why I Love You So Much?” You have such a strong presence — Did it lead to additional acting work?

Yes, I would have to say that the Monica video was my first on-screen professional appearance. I booked that gig about two months after arriving in LA. You know, Monica was so special to work with. She made it easy, and the chemistry was natural. That video played in constant rotation all day every day for a while. It brought me recognition, as well as more opportunities. A few months after the video, I booked my first speaking role on ‘Saved by the Bell” (The New Class) along with many more other shows including “90210,” “Malcolm in the Middle,” and “Star Trek.” I booked many shows that I grew up watching during my first two years in LA, which was exciting.

The cast of Undateable John (Robinson plays Larry) is so super talented. Also, is it true Joan Jett produced it?

Undateable John was produced by Joan Jett, from her production company Blackheart. It also stars Daryl Hannah and Tom Arnold. Joan has a significant part in the movie; she has a lot of range and substance to her acting. Her presence on set took the experience to another level for me. She was so real and down to earth and she would play her guitar during some of our downtimes when she wasn’t filming. We made the whole movie in one house in the Hollywood Hills, so we all got to know each other a bit.

Tell us a bit about your animated series SuperF…ckers
SuperF…ckers is an animated series that revolves around a group of superheroes that never really do any superhero work. I play Radical Randy – My character uses drugs to gain superpowers. Pretty trippy! David Faustino and Jaleel White also star on the show, in which the premise centers upon an adult-rated comic book series.

You are involved with acting, directing, and producing. Have all three elements been a consistent part of your creative process?

I directed my first short film, Lost, over ten years ago. But at the time, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a filmmaker. I always tried to get other people to do the work for me. I was encouraged by my close friend to dive into this other art form, and it took me years to abandon self-doubt to become a filmmaker. Now I feel that I have no other choice. It’s another form of expression that I can’t run away from, and I enjoy it!

Who are some of your favorite actors in terms of talent, authenticity, and overall longevity?

Morgan Freeman, Toshiro Mifune, Joaquin Phoenix, Viola Davis, to name a few. I can go on for days. There are so many actors that I admire.

Yes, I enjoyed putting that piece together, and we recently won a few awards at Film Fest LA! Edge of Incursion takes place on Halloween, and it’s a mystery short. It follows my character as he travels through the night on the way to his girlfriend’s costume party, in hopes of giving her a trick or treat. The audience will have to decide. Edge also stars one of my best friends and fellow actor, Kash Hovey, who also appears in Undateable John. We shot Edge of Incursion in Santa Monica and Downtown LA, in the middle of Skid Row.

Kash Hovey and Ron Robinson have a friendship and a mutual respect for each other when it comes to the entertainment industry. Kash expanded,

“Yes, proud to say Ron is a dear friend, and I’ve had the honor of collaborating with him on multiple projects. We met on a film set we were both acting in years ago and bonded over our love of movies and filmmakers. He is so talented and passionate about his work.” “As an actor, he brings everything he has to his performances and takes you into his character. As a producer/director, he has his vision of what he wants and is very collaborative with his cast. He brings the best out of of his actors, and it’s always a creative and inspirational environment of artists.”
(Kash Hovey on Ron Robinson)

Would you say your mind is always creating? Also, how do stay grounded in a very competitive industry?
I would have to say Yes. When I’m not creating, I’m thinking about creating.
Family of course, keeps me grounded but I’ve also had some very humbling experiences over the past few years that made me put life into perspective. I don’t take anything for granted anymore.

I want to thank Ron Robinson for taking the time to chat with Gemma. We will be watching for the latest industry news on Ron.

You can follow him on the following social media platforms:

Featuring “I’m F%$#ing Fine” from Jamie Anderson Film: For Gemma

Jamie Anderson is a writer, director, and filmmaker, living in Los Angeles, who is on the rise. Before diving into directing, she was an actress, so Jamie understands being in front of and behind the camera. She makes a “picture perfect cameo in her recent short; I’m F%$#ing Fine, a dark comedy about suburbia. In person, Jamie is kind, funny, and super inspiring. We connected on our southern roots, and she’s incredibly creative. In many ways, having grown up in Mississippi and Florida, Jamie’s work is inspired by the paradox of the south, as well as her life in Hollywood, both of which are a wealth of material that guarantees she’ll never run out of something to write about. Using her sharp humor, she has a talent for turning the painful into the absurd, always with depth and heart and leaving the audience for wanting more.

Jamie Anderson

After winning Best Director and official selections at eight prestigious film festivals across the globe for her short film Punching Bag, Jamie Anderson is hot on the festival circuit with her new film; I’m F%$#ing Fine. A darker comedy/satire pulling back the curtain on suburbia, I’m F%$#ing Fine stars Bree Turner (“Grimm,” “The Ugly Truth”) as a single mom on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Jamie Anderson has already won Best Dark Comedy at the Hollywood Comedy Film Festival for her dark comedy film I’m F%$#ing Fine and will be awarded the prestigious Vitruvian Award from the DaVinci International Film Fest June 22, 2019!

With several features in development, she was announced as one of the “Top 25 Writers to Watch in 2018” by The International Screenwriters’ Association. Most recently, Jamie directed the film; I Won’t Say I Love You, in the U.K.

So, who is Jamie Anderson and what inspired her to make this film? Anderson is passionate about directing, a great storyteller, and a brilliant woman. She also knows how to embed various topical themes (yet timeless) into her films in a very subtle manner to spark conversation and make you think. Jamie has several movies in development and what makes her stand out from the rest of the female filmmakers is that she is touching on subjects that are within the current climate.

Her latest film, I’m F%$#ing Fine, consists of taking a serious subject of suburban moms overusing prescription drugs to “numb” themselves in life, and giving it a comedic twist. The film stars talented actress Bree Turner (from “Grimm”), who starts to question the idea of “numbing out.” Bree also has a fantastic dance scene in the film. When Jamie was not directing, writing or editing, she took a moment to speak with Gemma Magazine.

Short film by Jamie Anderson

What inspires you to make the films that you do?
I would say it the real-life pain and everyday grit that people go through and then I make art out of it with comedy thrown in as well. It is always good to have comic relief. Ultimately though, I want to create thought-provoking films and have the audience feel an emotional connection to the film.

Tell me a bit about I’m F%$#ing Fine
I’m F%$#ing Fine is about a newly divorced, single mom named Maddie living in a town called Paradise (made up name). She’s basically on the verge of a nervous breakdown because everyone is so “perfectly fine.” However, everyone in town wants her to just “fit the mold” and, be alright. They drink and take “magic pills” to deal and numb out. Through comedy, Maddie starts to question this way of life for herself.

How was it working with your lead actress, Bree Turner?
Bree is fantastic, so talented, and very dedicated. She’s an incredibly gifted dancer, and her character dances in the film. Bree is also my best friend (20 years). We have been through so much together that making this film with her was heartwarming.

Do you genuinely love everything about the directing process?
I do. I get to tell stories that hopefully, the audience will resonate with. Also, and most importantly, I genuinely love to make others feel seen. Watching actors who receive recognition for their quality of work is truly satisfying. I also see the learning process as a gift. If I make mistakes, I always ask myself how I can improve. I love the editing process as well, even though it can be more tedious.

What is your intrinsic motivation when it comes to directing?

“I love directing in part because of the talented people I meet that become my team like producers Caroline Calvin, Cat Tyson, DP John Connor, my entire crew. And the actors, I love helping them shine.” In fact, her lead from her film
“Punching Bag,” Jamie Wollrab, was hired in the film “I Won’t Say I Love You,” that Anderson directed.”There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing an actor get the recognition they deserve — Jamie Wollrab went from being the punching bag to getting the girl in this latest film.”

What can we look for next?
I will begin shooting my next short, “Me Too Nice,” a comedic satire on the pendulum of the #metoo movement in Los Angeles. I feel we are putting all men into this one box. How is this going to affect our young men now or in the future? Has the pendulum swung too far,? We must honor both The Divine Masculine and The Divine Feminine. I love directing, and I’m a filmmaker— I’ll keep finding ways to make films that have something to say.

Gemma also got a chance to speak with Bree Turner, who plays Maddie in the film. I know that you were a successful dancer previously. At what age did you become interested in dance? Also, please describe your training process.

I started dancing when I was eight years old and never stopped. I took tap, ballet, and jazz, and I’m grateful to have found my passion at such a young age. My dance studio was my home away from home. The other dancers in the company were my closest friends. I trained and rehearsed three times a week until I was 18 years old. It was all I ever knew.

At what point did you decide to transition to acting solely and did it feel natural on set?

I auditioned for an L.A. dance agent at 18, once I finished High School. They took me on as a client, and I immediately started booking commercials as a background dancer. I had never been on a film set before, and I fell hard for her. Every detail of production — lights, camera, costumes, casting — was all an extension of what I had been doing my whole life. I was telling a story through dance. Now, for the first time, I could see a future where I could say the same story but in a new way. At 21, I joined The Acting Conservatory and committed to my acting training the same way I had committed to my dance training. It was the most organic next step.

You play Maddie in the film; I’m F%$#ing Fine from Jamie Anderson. Can you tell me a bit about your character?
Maddie is a woman in transition. She is looking over the edge of the metaphorical cliff and daring herself to jump. She made choices to put herself in prison, and she is finally ready and brave enough to break free.

Bree Turner, Jamie Anderson

What did you learn about yourself from Maddie?
Don’t Wait!

What was it like to be directed by Jamie Anderson?

Jamie is a natural director. She lives the story from beginning to end and comes to the party prepared and ready to work hard. Jamie collaborates with compassion and integrity with everyone she works with on set. She’s fearless in her vision but listens and adjusts with grace and ease. Being that she began her career as an actor, her willingness to go on the emotional journey of the character makes the process so very fun.

Did you always know that you wanted to be in the arts? Did you have a mentor?

I have been a creative soul since the day I was born. I see it in my daughter as well. I was fortunate to have parents that nurtured and supported these instincts in me. I hope and try to do the same for my children.

On behalf of Gemma, I would like to personally Jamie Anderson and Bree Turner for the interview. Anderson has so much to look forward to, as does Turner. To follow Jamie and Bree on their social platforms:

Fabulous “Fish Head” from Emerging Director Marcos Durian

Marcos Durian has a lot to be proud of. Marcos Durian is the Director of the short film Fish Head, which just debuted at Dances with Films at the TLC Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. The film was well received and considered a celebration on many levels. It’s personal and more importantly, it’s Marcos Durian’s own story.

It’s a beautifully shot film with an important message. Fish Head can be described as a visual poem, an ode to growing up as seen through the eyes of Milo (played by talented actor Madison Rojas) as he navigates the growing pains of his youth. This coming of age story is based on actual events and portrays defining moments in the life of Milo, struggling with adversity in childhood, both with his identity and being bullied at school (for being Half Filipino). What keeps him on track? He’s guided by the strength, love, and support of Lorena, his immigrant single mother, who keeps her past private in order to protect her son.

Durian is a director on the rise. His background is in Cinematography and he served as his own Cinematographer on Fish Head, although he did have a camera/Steadicam operator for four out of the five days. “It was effortless for me to balance on this scale. I feel more in tune with the actors if I’m shooting. I absorb and feel their performance more when I’m looking through the eyepiece of the camera.” “I also spent a lot of time storyboarding, working on my shot list and blocking things out in the locations before we shot, so everything had a very natural and expedited flow to it,” said Durian.

The film is addictive to watch because the transitions are so smooth. “Fish Head” aims to be lyrical yet is deeply grounded in its characters while also dealing with universal themes. The results blend realism with a dream-like mood, where one moment flows into the next, weaving into a profoundly personal experience of the childhood events that shape us as we grow. Overall, Milo draws the audience in with his maturity and sense of individuality.

Between Film Festivals and press appearances, Marcos Durian took the time to chat with Gemma Magazine. Again, Fish Head is a beautiful film (aesthetically) with a strong message — which is a great combination. In person, Marcos is passionate, kind, and authentic with a strong presence.

Good Morning La La Land

What inspired you to make a film on bullying? I did hear the majority of this film is based on your childhood. Can you expand?

Well, I wrote the script in 2006. After showing it to studio heads, I was highly advised to change Milo’s ethnicity to Caucasian or African American. Overall, I did not want to do that. About 14 pages in, I ended up shelving it. I did try to work with that advice, but it just didn’t feel right. The rise of diversity in 2018 plus my dissatisfaction with my work (To date, Marcos has served primarily as a cinematographer on a large body of work, including indie films, commercials, and music videos) ignited a spark to make the film again. However, I decided to make it a short instead of a feature. I felt it would have a better effect. Now, here we are in 2019, and the two themes of this film — cultural diversity and bullying are very relevant topics today. I have wanted to tell my story for a long time. Also, “yes,” the events in this film relate to a lot of what I went through as a child.

You have described yourself as a very emotional filmmaker. What does that mean to you?

It means I’m in with the cast and crew 100 percent, also, not just as a filmmaker, but as a character too. I give everything I have when I’m on a project. “This story is very personal to me, so if tears come to my eyes, they are tears of joy,” said Durian. I also like to create a community feeling on set so that everyone feels comfortable to take risks. Overall, I’m a very collaborative director. They know what I expect, but I am open in terms of what the actors want to bring to their performance, and then there is a myriad of the two.

How does creating a community feeling benefit the filming process?
I highly enjoy speaking with the actors, hearing their backstory on the character, and getting to know them as a person. When directing, I give guidance, but I want them to make their own creative choice ultimately. I also like having an approachability with my cast. All of this creates trust and will result in a better filmmaking process.

Do you feel that various defining moments in one’s childhood define or shape their future?

Absolutely! Everything that Milo experiences are defining moments he carries with him today. “Everything that I went through as a child has shaped the person I am today,” said Durian. I feel these first events shape us, even if we do not know it at the time. (The defining moments are everlasting and open up specific corridors of the mind). Sometimes we do not have the tools yet to express what is happening, but we know it’s everlasting in memory.

What did you want to achieve when shooting? There is a “dreamy” tone to it.

I think it’s a combination of things that inform the dream-like mise-en-scene. First is the image then the sound design followed by the score. All three elements in unison. When I imagine how I want to translate what a dream-like state is I often start with a straightforward, singular idea and find inspiration from old master painters like Caravaggio, Da Vinci and Michelangelo who’s works are immediately striking and dream-like. I think it also helps that I liked many of these images and it’s how I remember them. The whispering sound of the trees that we hear throughout the film also lend a hand to a certain mood, which isn’t that easy, as leaves blowing in the wind can often sound like waves on the shore. Joy Ngiaw, our composer and I, had a few conversations about how to make a score resonate that dream-like state and I think she found a great way to translate that in a very melodic style.

How would you describe Milo?
Milo is the strong, silent type. He has a lot going on internally. Milo is one of those kids who gets it but doesn’t have the tools yet to fully understand or explain what he is going through. Overall, he’s a resilient kid within. It’s a matter of taking a step towards standing up for yourself. Also, since his dad is not around, he’s the “man” of the house in a sense and feels that pressure with his mom. They both want to protect each other.

Dances With Films Film Festival

Personally, do you feel films like Fish Head will raise awareness for bullying to stop?

I feel it will raise awareness. However, will bullying ever stop? I don’t know. Of course, schools do help, but in the end, it still happens. It’s almost like a cycle of life. Bullying is not okay, but I also feel it’s more important to learn and appreciate that it’s alright to be who you are and having the courage to stand up for yourself. If dialogue can be used instead of violence, then it can make a kid stronger and more equipped to deal with additional adversities in life.

Marcos Durian

Durian has a lot to look forward to. He’s already been named one of this year’s recipients of the Emerging Cinematographer’s Award, to be presented by the International Cinematographer’s Guild on Oct. 6 at the Television Academy (the organization behind the Emmys) in Burbank. It’s an impressive accomplishment.

Gemma will be watching and we are excited to see what’s next. It will definitely be beautiful, inspiring and so empowering. To follow Marcos, you can keep up with him on the following social platforms: