Brian Michael An Actor's Journey: 2016 Year in Review

Big Year In Network TV

"2016. What a wild year. For me it was one full of growth and discovery and new heights. After breaking into network TV last year with roles on Law & Order: SVU and Girls last year, I kept the momentum going, booking three new network projects and earning bigger opportunities for recurring roles on shows like Falling Water, Shameless and Transparent."

Person Of Interest 508- Reassortment

Brian appeared in as a patrolman in the action packed episode, “Reassortment” in which Reese and Finch become trapped in a hospital that becomes ground zero for a deadly viral outbreak.

Blue Bloods 709 - Confessions

"Officer Smizzy” returned in this episode of CBS drama, Blue Bloods, attempting to help Danny (Donny Wahlberg) and Baez (Marisa Ramirez) solve a socialite's murder.

The Detour- The City

I was able to trade my cop uniform for turnout gear and live out another childhood fantasy, playing a fireman in TBS comedy The Detour. -Brian

The show, starring Jason Jones and Natalie Zea, follows about the Parker family’s disastrous road trip that brings takes them across the country and eventually brings them right into this squad's path in Season 2.

Leaning into his studies with Terry Knickerbocker and beginning to work with audition coach Anthony Abeson Brian's commitment to deepening his audition practice and improving his craft proved to be one of the main contributors to this year's success. He lean into his studies with Terry Knickerbocker on set and his work with audition coach Anthony Abeson elevated his work "in the room."

"Duck Hunter Shoots Angel"

Duck Hunter Shoots Angel - Penobscot theatre

In April 2016, Brian ventured to Maine for Penobscot Theatre Company's Production of Mitch Albom Comedy

Traveling to Bangor, Maine to join this project was one of my biggest acting adventures to date. I signed on as Lenny in the Penobscot Theatre’s production of Mitch Albom’s “Duck Hunter Shoots Angel.” A comedy about jaded tabloid journalist, Sandy (Andrew Ross Crowe) and photographer Lenny who travel to the swamps of Alabama to cover the story of two bumbling duck hunters (Doug Meswarb, Arthur Morison) who believe they shot an angel. Hilarity and paradigm shifts ensue. - Brian

The show was directed by Bari Newport and featured Ben Layman, Amelia Forman-Stiles Morgan Wiercinski, Greg Littlefield & Neil E Graham. Production design by Jonathan Spencer.

Reviews for Duck Hunter

Audiences loved the production, returning for extra viewings throughout the run. Brian's performance as Lenny was well-received by audience members and critics alike.

"[Brian] Michael’s Lenny provides a charming (and occasionally coarse) counterpoint; it’s a thoughtful take on a part that could easily become more joke than three-dimensional character...
"...He’s very funny, yet settles into poignant moments perfectly when the situation calls for them. The chemistry between these two is a delight." -Maine Edge
Arthur Morison, Doug Meswarb, Andrew Crowe & Brian michael in Duck hunter
"Once the brothers are joined by the tabloid’s photographer, Lenny, played by stand-up comic Brian Michael, the antics ratchet up a notch or two. The trio’s comedic timing is perfect..." Bangor Daily News

Working on Duck Hunter was a great precursor for Brian's following project. Having a lead role, full rehearsal process and practice of developing a character over time, set the strong artistic foundation needed to take on his first series lead role in the new media series, After.

'AFTER'

Takes first series lead role in "After"

At the close of 2015, Brian was offered a role in the sharp and deeply funny series, "After," created by Josh Schubart and produced by Tegan Curtiz and Olivia Baptista.

It follows a young widower after he moves back to his hometown and tries to get back on his feet with the support of his family and childhood best friend. Brian was cast as Other Jeremy, the childhood best friend who leads the charge of righting his wounded compadre's ship.

Eight days-80 scenes and it's a wrap on After. I'm tired yet inspired, excited and really proud of what everyone was able to bring to this project and how much I was able to learn. There is such a difference between working on something as a lead as opposed to a a day player in terms of how I have to prepare and manage my energy and concentration. -Brian
Brian Michael (Other Jer) & Anna Suzuki (Jen)
"Doing a sustained performance like this also allowed me to practice and explore different ways to get into a scene and I feel like I was able to give a very consistently strong performance. I can’t believe it’s over. I want to rest but I also discovered that this is how I want to spend my days. I loved this kind of work and I’m excited to see where we go from here." -Brian

Take a Look at the trailer

The series will debut in mid-2017

Taking Direction On

In the fall of 2016, I created more time for the artistic side of my career and work. I turned my attention inward and focused on discovering exactly which issues and experiences I wanted to speak to, and which stories were important for me to tell in my projects and performances. -Brian
Brian steps behind the camera to direct Jas Anderson and Jason Lyke in his original series, "Compliance." Sarah Newton (DP), Ren Humphrey (Audio)

Compliance

"The deaths of Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin had a deep impact on me. In the two years since Mike Brown’s death about 2,300 people have been killed by the police and the country has stalled in the conversation, embroiled in a zero sum game argument about the racial component to this issue. Belying empathy for the the loss of life."

"After the killing of Terrance Crutcher in September, I decided that I had to use my power as an artist to speak to this, to try to bring the attention back to what I believe is the heart of the issue: that we as a society have become compliant with brutality and that we need question the license we are willing to give police to use force on us."

"I wanted to challenge the people, who after viewing a video of someone clearly being brutalized by police, suggest that if people just comply regardless of whether or not they are being violated, they wouldn't be killed or hurt."

"I wondered if they would have the same response if other professionals treated us that way. So I wrote and developed a series of shorts that show just that. In Compliance, I draw from real instances of brutality and flipped the script, replacing police with other service professionals."

Brian michael & jeff riberdy in dentists
julian ableskamp & Jeff auer in doctors

"I tapped actress-producer Latresa Baker, to help coordinate the production and teamed back up with Sarah Newton (Copernicus & Starr), Ren Humphrey, and Shakur Trammel to round out the production team. We developed four 2-minute films for social media and I was able to assemble an incredible cast for each film pulling from the Esper Studio, Actors Green Room, Anthony Abeson's class and Kim Hardin's acting workshop and we filmed each film within a week."

Top right: Martina Barksdale, Jas Anderson, Sarah Newton, Paul Mauriello, Jason Lyke and Connie Saltzman on set of Doctors; Top Right: Jeff Riberdy, Brian Michael, Timo Harrison & Tory Flack in Dentists. Center: C Hope Belmont, Brian Michael, Sarah Newton, Ren Humphrey setting up for the first scene of Doctors. Bottom right: Paul Mauriello, Gustavo Briceno in Doctors; Bottom left: Timo Harrison Jon Bermudez and Latresa Baker in Librarians

"We released the series through our Facebook page to engage in conversation with our audience and released each one throughout December and January. The project generate nearly 800k views. Each film: Dentists, Librarians, Doctors and Firefighters are available to view on our page: www.facebook.com/whydoucomply "

Below are some of the responses and reactions to the films:

It was deep inspiring for all of us involved to see how the films impacted our viewers and the conversation it sparked on our page. I am heading into 2017 more committed to creating work that has true resonance for me and that will create change. -Brian

Petty Therapy

A few weeks later Brian participated in his first Actor's Green Room 72-Hour film festival to direct, Elana Safar's short comedy, Petty Therapy. The film explores the day in the life of a therapist and the zany clients who crowd her couch.

Brian Michael directs Petty Therapy with Elana Safar (Writer-producer), Chase Kuertz, (DP) Allen Gander (AD) Veronique Ory, Melvin Lima, Emmy Kuperschmid, Gayatri Patel Bahl, Lindsay Brice, Monica Afesi, Max Cosmo

In only three days, Brian and the production team, developed, filmed and edited the short and released it at the November AGR 72-Hour Film Festival in Manhattan.

Comedy

Although there were many forays into deeper, more dramatic work throughout the year, comedy remained a steady through line of Brian's work in 2016.

Brian's Comedy projects: Improv All-Star Cabaret, Penobscot Theatre, ME; Copernicus & Starr Season 2; Too Many Q-Tips, Comedic short Mommy Heist was released and White Privilege Frankenstein won Audience Choice at Katra Film series.

Duck Hunter and After allowed for sustained comedic character work and appearing in a handful of web based comedies including Season 2 of Copernicus & Starr and taking to the stage for Improv and stand up throughout the year.

Brian Michael performing in "Brittany-Palooza" in December 2016

Film

Rufus

Brian Michael in Stéphane Dumonceau's dark comedy, "Rufus."

Earlier in the spring, Brian t the comedic short film, "Rufus" directed by Stephane Dumonceau, opposite Heather Lind of AMC's Turn. The film is slated for release in early 2017.

Paula, Why?

Over the summer Brian took a swim in the romantic side of the pool as Randy, the love interest in the experimental feature, Paula, Why? The story of a young woman torn between her rough past and creative future.

Ingrid Vollset, Brian Michael, Ashley-Kate Gieger, Director CG. Reeves, actress & coach Andrea Mejia on set of Paula, Why?

Fitness & Adventure

DailyBurn

DailyBurn 365

This innovative workout program combines Brian's love of fitness and TV. As a participant in the DailyBurn 365 program, Brian joins a class and a rotating roster of trainers in 30 minute workouts broadcast live every morning at 9am on dailyburn.com/365

Fox Kits Survival School and Tactical

Fox kits survival school

One of Brian's most rewarding and challenging projects of 2015 was, What Went Unsaid, in which Brian was cast as a Transgender man having a triggering experience during a gynecologist visit. The project's content called for an incredible level of vulnerability and expansion of comfort zones.

Continuing with this theme of pushing himself and facing discomforts and fears, Brian headed down to Selmer, TN in the summer to participate in a promotional video for Fox Kits Survival & Training School to challenge himself in another way.

As an actor it gave me the opportunity to practice running towards my fears head on. Practice being afraid, being uncomfortable but doing it anyway. I’m learning in my audition class how to channel the fear and nervous energy that can arise into the situation of the scenes, to use it in the work. It paralleled what we were being taught and experiencing in wild. You have to learn how to channel that fear and energy into actions that will keep you alive. -Brian

Adding to The Team

Looking forward to 2017, Brian's management sought to expand representation by adding an agent to the team. So in October 2016, Brian signed with Eddie Rabon of bi-coastal talent agency, Take 3 Talent. Soon afterwards Brian booked his first project for the new year!

With Take 3 and my management at Jago/Ciro Entertainment working together, I'm looking forward to filling out the rest of the year with more opportunities to work and grow. -Brian

Up Next

New Netflix Series

Brian started his new partnership with Take 3 and the new year off on a great a note, booking a role in a Netflix pilot. The project is already in production and is slated for release in Summer of 2017.

Tell By Date

Brian will be diving back into drama, in one of his most affecting roles to date in Tell By Date. The story of a transgender father struggling with the decision to disclose his history with his 8-year-old son. Directed by BAFTA winning director, Sarah Ball and Heather Osterman-Davis,

It’s a wonderful exploration of self-acceptance and love and I'm looking forward to helping bring this beautiful story to life. -Brian

Stay up to date on Brian's projects via his blog

Thebrianmichael.com 

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