Since making his filmmaking debut with ‘All Bookies Wear Speedos’, actor-director Jack Bank has been racking up his entertainment portfolio. Under his production company Jacked Productions, the multi-talented Jack Bank chatted to Mark Meets about creating opportunities in the entertainment business.
Can you tell us what drove you to the entertainment business?
I grew up loving and playing music. So, I was performing early on. When someone actually suggested I act, that interested me. Checked out a class and have been at it since.
As a stand-up comic and actor, do you have approach either differently, if so how?
Yes, for me they are entirely different. I don’t know how others approach it; but for me, it’s two different worlds. Acting, you’re playing a character. No matter how much of yourself you’ve brought to it, you’re a character, living in the life of the script, observing a fourth wall and so forth. Stand-up, you’re engaging the audience, no wall. As for character, it is you, relating life events, having fun with it. Stand up, there’s no take 6. You get one shot to deliver and connect.
You write and direct a lot of your own material. Do you have a certain method when you approach a project?
The shorts I first did, those were written fairly simply, a comical idea leading to a story. Features, it’s a much more painstaking task. So much time is spent developing characters, scenes, laying everything out before you even sit down to “write”, as it were. Method, no different than what is put forth in a number of great books on the subject. Seems you’re never done writing, always can re-write, and often you do.
Your debut film, ‘All Bookies Wear Speedos’, did extremely well on the film festival circuit. Can you tell us a bit about the film and what inspired it for you?
I was exposed to that life, gambling, as a kid; and when a friend had an audition for the part of a bookie, and jokingly asked if he should just wear the swimsuit he had on to the audition, someone made the joke that all bookies wear swimsuits. Then someone said Speedos. That was enough. I said I’m going to go home and write a movie. An inveterate gambler gets himself in trouble with several bookies (who of course wear Speedos), when his crony places bets for him incorrectly, and instead of making a killing, owes more than he has. Highlight of that film was having the late, great talk show host, Joe Franklin, play himself.
A favorite of ours is the movie ‘Gangsters Crib’, which you wrote, directed and starred in. Can you tell us what inspired the story and also your dynamic character?
I just had an idea for a crime boss who was very immature when alone. The things he did got pretty silly, really slapstick. It seems once you’re on a track, you just keep pushing it. I met a DP, who became a good friend I later shot with, at a festival showing Gangster’s Crib. I remember him really liking it, because it just didn’t stop, the character’s insane behavior.
We understand you are in pre-production for the horror feature film ‘Yin Gateway’. Can you tell us about that project?
The project is a change, first Horror. I did grow up a horror fan; and when I had an idea for something when back in NYC, I got to it. Yin Gateway, people have gone missing, and it’s for horrible reasons.
It seems more and more actors are creating their own filming opportunities. Why do you think that is?
If you have an idea you like, no reason not to do it yourself, rather than wait for someone else to make it happen. The story goes that once movie making became digital, and thus much less expensive, many more people could do it. More, I think people now wear many different hats in the industry, do many things. Way back, I don’t think that was so.
Thank you, Jack for taking the time to talk with us today!
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