Craig Rainey's Film Career
Craig Rainey's Latest Reel
The Beginning Story
I get this question frequently: How did you get into the movie biz? I kind of fell into it. My ex-wife was a talented country western singer.
A director out of Houston asked her to record a song in his studio so the lead actress in his movie could lip-synch to it. My ex, of course agreed. While we were recording the vocal tracks, the director asked if we wanted to go on location and appear in the movie as extras.
We agreed and soon we were patrons in a bar. My ex-wife was even allowed to perform one of her songs off her album as part of the movie. The director gave me a couple lines. At the end of the shoot he thanked us and told me that the camera liked me; I should consider doing some acting if I was so disposed. I guess I was.
Film as a Passion: It is not the Movie, it is the Process.
One of the very best learning tools for the new actor is the book "Acting for the Camera" by Tony Barr. Hitting a mark can be challenging, but it is not covered in this book. Marketing yourself as an actor/product is a skill set in itself, but it is not covered in this book. What is in this tremendous book is an easy to understand initiation into the process of film making. Mr. Barr explains the language of crew. Establishing shot, OTS, 3/4 shot, reverse shot, coverage, key light, on set etiquette. He quotes many celebrities with whom he has worked. My favorite is from Sir Lawrence Olivier who said. "Acting is a wonderful thing. Just never get caught doing it." The book is also a great resource for acting in general.
I don't memorize lines. I have a horrible time memorizing anything. I learned that if you bottom-line a scene, the dialogue makes sense and you merely talk through what you know about the scene. John Lansch, my acting coach of many years, taught me to bottom-line the scene. The first time I saw John bottom line a scene was when I realized how far I had to go. I was fascinated at the clues he retrieved from even the most common grouping of lines or words. Bottom-lining a scene will give you a clear understanding of the progression of the scene.
Movement and dynamic growth is key for any scene to be interesting for the audience. Joe Edna Boldin told me once that when you audition, you need to make important choices and to be creative and bold with those choices. Her advice was to make the scene humorous. If you are doing a scene where your wife has died, make it funny. It can be done. I know. I did it. Did I get the role? I'll never tell.
Actor to Writer to Producer
I promised myself that I would only work on the lens side of the camera. I was fullfilled and those guys on the business side of the camera never really seemed happy. After writing my very first screen play, "Masacre at Agua Caliente", I was hooked on screen writing. To be clear, I have written since I was in grade school. Short stories, novels, opinion pieces, articles: I have been quite prolific over the years. I never would have imagined that those high school short stories that I entertained Ms. Payne in Creative Writing would have led me here. I am currently working on a new screenplay. I can't say much about it, but it has the interest of film makers at this point.
Mario Sanchez, Executive Producer and co-owner of Mutt Productions has taught me more about the business mechanics of the Biz than anyone. I have started, ended and run many companies. The application of those principles applies to the film business but there is an ego maniacal politics that defies my understanding. Funding and building a film project is fascinating and rewarding. I learned that the process I love so much in film is even more irresistable in the production process. My friend, John Lansch has produced films for years and acted in them also. I thought it was so he could make a paycheck in the business with greater odds of success. This, in part is true, I'd wager, but the process itself is a lot of fun and quite rewarding.