Producer/Director/Actor for Theatre/Film/TV
Today’s date: July 19, 2009
Contact info: David.Guilmette@gmail.com
Film and television roles include: Galileo in “Galileo and the Sinful Spyglass"- History Channel’s critically acclaimed series “Man, Moment, Machine;” Warden Durston in "Edison and the Electric Chair" – History Channel “Man, Moment, Machine;” A Berkeley Professor in feature film “Double Spaced;” Homeless Man in feature film “Pursuit Of Happyness;” Dr. Hansel In “Double Spaced,” independent feature film; and along with Tim Sullivan, Jeremy Sisto and Thomas Dekker was in Lycuem Films, “The War Prayer.”
Film clip: David Guilmette as Galileo http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1416734862659279008
Voice over work includes: Recently released feature animation “Killer Bean Forever,” a Jeff Lew production;” “The Berlin Wall,” National Geographic's Mega-Structures Series; “The Haunt,” movie trailer; and “L'Chiam-The Life of Seelig Freund”, TOEFL®, Jay Koo Productions.
Theater roles include: The Ghost of Christmas Present, Old Joe and the Butcher in “Scrooge and Marley;” Egeus in “Midsummer Night’s Dream;” Orin Scrivello, DDS in “Little Shop of Horrors,” Perchik in “Fiddler on the Roof;” Quinton the Evil in “The Innocents;” and Meeker in “Inherent the Wind.”
Worked as producer, director and tech for stage productions which include: James Duff’s “Home Front;” James Goldman’s “Lion in Winter;” Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible;” Douglas Post’s “Earth and Sky;” and Tennessee Williams’ “Vieux Carre.”
Theater review for David Guilmette and his Barefoot Play Readers Repertory Theatre Company production of “Theatre Americana”: In keeping with his tradition of bringing his audience provocative theater with sterling performances, director, producer and actor Guilmette was able to capture an underbelly of American life completely dusted of preen. This was right on theater. ~ Pacifica Tribune, March 2004.
Not one for lounging, David has also worked specifically in the technical direction side of stage and film, which includes such jobs as: Master Carpenter for Renegade Theatre Experiment, San Jose, multiple productions; Technical Director, Multi-Media Design, Lighting and Sound Design for Pacifica Spindrift Players, multiple productions; Sound Design and Programming for Impact Theatre, Berkeley and Casting Director for Anay Tarnekar's 35-mm thesis project, “The Book.”
Unbelievably after all the aforementioned, let me just ask, why would a theater want to hire you?
I also design and program lights and lighting effects. I design and program sound and can create SFX. I'm using a program called Sound Cue System to control and cue sound in a fashion similar to lighting programs. It is a software application created by Mike Daniels in Australia. I connected with Mike about 9 years ago when Mike was selling a little audio player application that I saw a lot of potential for in regards to use for community theatre. I contacted Mike and started laying out how the application might be expanded and Mike took off with that. Now it is the finest audio cuing control program available.
I'm also a set designer and off-site construction capable, because of the tools I own and the monster garage I have to build in. This is great for small companies that rent their spaces and have to load-in their shows.
Do you have a favorite film role to date?
I play a Berkeley Professor in a feature film called “Double Spaced.” I co-star as a professor that blackmails one of his graduate students into testing the fidelity of his mail-order bride by attempting to seduce her. Parabolic microphones, night vision goggles, and falling into bushes and out of trees ensue, as well as some pretty good comedy. I like this character. I got to use an American standard accent, act logically hair-brained, and express a very different view of the world.
What kind of role would you really like to sink your teeth into?
I would like to play a richly textured character in a powerful drama. I would also like to be the romantic lead in a make-out scene, sharing the screen with a super starlet!
What about, favorite roles of the stage?
Favorite roles? Hmmm. I’ve loved them all, well almost all. Most of my on-stage acting has been in musicals – contrary to my general dislike for them. I loved playing Perchik in “Fiddler on the Roof” because well, who wouldn't? Romantic lead, rebel, dashing and all that? For fun, I think being the cast member who plays all seven of the extra characters in “Little Shop of Horrors” including Orin Scrivello, DDS, is about as much fun as you can have on stage. As Orin, you're slowly dying, laughing hysterically and singing with your head in a water fountain bottle – and all at once! It just don't get any better.
I was challenged by the role of Egeus, father of Hermia, in Shakespeare's “A Midsummer Night's Dream.” Egeus is the man at the top of the play that brings his daughter to the Duke because she won't marry his choice, Demetrius. Instead Hermia wants to date Lysander. Egeus is often played as a buffoon, but if you actually read it, he specifically demands that the Duke make Hermia marry Demetrius, or have her executed on the spot. This man is not a buffoon, not a cute or silly man. He is a monster. So when I found that character, that dialogue jumped up a notch or two. I use it as an audition piece now and then.
I played another character in a 3-scene, 1-act play who also comes to mind. He is shown in the first scene to be clearly delusional, yet in the second scene he has convinced another character and the audience as well, of a story which is proven wholly false in the third scene. This is done with a complete breakdown of the character's reality. It was a great challenge.
Then there was this other character named Steve, in a play written by a certain playwright named Jean Bartlett (Mending the Bitternut Hickory), and I recall that to be a fun one as well!
What do you look for in a role for both film and theater?
Depth of character and good dialogue. I guess I look for the moments where the character can be so much more than the words that are written. You may have to say, “I am going to the store.” But you may have to mean, “I am never coming back.”
Another consideration is if it is an old saw. I've found that Community Theater is often so box office driven that most of them have no courage to do anything but drag out the same old plays over and over. I think many who attend theatre are no different than children, and will watch the same play (or video) again and again, only because they know it and they don't have to stretch to enjoy it. Nothing against Neil Simon, but I think I've seen 'em all and seen 'em enough!
Personally, I believe dragging these things out year after year shows no imagination, and does great harm to theatre overall. New theatre is not all avant-garde and over the top artsy. In fact, most new plays are as much about real and ordinary people as ever. People will come to new theatre if new theatre is all there is.
Didn’t you use to have a ‘regular’ job? What pushed you over the edge into theater and film?
Got a minute? Let me step back in time a bit. When I was in 6th grade, we were herded into an auditorium and presented with a short-form Shakespeare by a traveling company. I was totally amazed and started reading all things Shakespeare. I've loved his works ever since and thus became interested in theatre as well. In high school, Watervliet, NY, 1965-69, I did theatre and really liked it. My school did not do musicals, so I've never had a penchant for them.
Upon graduating, Vietnam was still on and so too, the Draft. I was given the opportunity to join the New York Army National Guard and a little over a year later, I was a Staff Sergeant and a fully trained member of Company B, 3rd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group. The primary focus of the training was to be a trainer's trainer, to design, develop, and implement training of any kind. This led right into my work in civilian life, where I began working on management and business skills and eventually, added computers and data processing to my skill set.
In 1980 I saw a Radio Shack Tandy micro-computer and thought this was going to be incredibly useful in training and could lead to self-paced training programs. My first job out of my AAS degree in data processing landed me with the task of writing one of the first Computer Based Training Authoring Systems software, which I called CBT Thoughtware. After a series of trademark battles and mergers, I wound up working for a consulting firm traveling nationwide almost daily, identifying business process and work flow issues, and designing, developing and implementing solutions and the training. It was an incredible experience.
In my travels I came to California on several projects and decided to stay. I lived about 25 wonderful years in the Bay Area, working in the Silicon Valley during the growth of personal computing, developing work and system process and training for companies like ROLM Telecommunication, IBM, Siemens, and several others.
By 1994 I was working on small business consulting projects, helping small companies restructure their business process and work flow to make the next big leap in growing their business.
When an entire company, big or small, relies wholly on you for their sustained growth and income, the stress can build. I am not one to present any emotional wear and tear in my personal or business interactions – so, this stress accumulated in a physical form, and eventually became disabling.
My last project looked very much like I had arrived at what would turn into an excellent small business seminar series, and a very profitable retirement plan. However, the American business greed that most people in this country mistake for capitalism seeped in and sucked the life out of all the working people that actually built the company, and in a totally dishonest merger, the parent company of our inferior competitor bought us, lied to us, and eventually saddled me with 3 full time jobs of people they had fired without the promised considerations. In the end my health was compromised and I knew the corporate world would literally kill me if I stayed in it.
By then, and fortunately, I had become involved in theatre again. I began acting with This Side of the Hill Players in Half Moon Bay. I took on acting roles and directing projects with the Pacifica Spindrift Players. I started my own theatrical corporation called San Mateo Arts or SMArts which moved along rapidly until I realized to raise the half million necessary to launch the facility, I would need to return to my old work habits. Didn’t want to do that!
So I continued to find work in many theatre companies and continued to develop my directing, lighting and sound design and programming skills. Four years ago, I decided to learn about acting for camera and within three months, I was cast as the lead role in the History Channel’s “Galileo and the Sinful Spy Glass.” And I’m grateful to say, the work has continued to flow.
Unlike in the business world, I tell the actors I work with: “Relax. At the end of the night, we all go home and nobody gets shot if a scene goes wrong. It's only entertainment!”
So what are you currently working on in 2009?
I've been cast as a voice over character in an online “e-Soap audio book.” I'm building a web page to distribute Movie Posters and Character Design art posters for “Killer Bean Forever.” KBF is a feature length animation that was just released for distribution. I play a half dozen supporting roles, or should I say, principle voice characters. Jeff Lew is a leading Hollywood animator. He hired me and three other V/O actors to do all the characters in the film. Jeff produced the entire film, that is all the animation, by himself, and I believe it is going to be an underground hit. You can see the trailer and order the DVD at www.killerbeanforever.com.
I'll be teaching a program I created for the Whidbey Children's Theatre (WCT) in the beautiful state of Washington. The program is titled “Stage Struck at High Velocity – A Three Day Acting Intensive for Teens.” This will be presented on the last weekend in August. The program's mission is to expose teen aged persons to the skills and techniques of stage acting in order to instill a respect and appreciation for theatre and performance through participation in a fast-paced theatrical production.
This will be accomplished using a course outcome, a show, performed in a single evening, as a live performance of as many as 6 or 7, 10 minute scripts performed in a fully staged reader's theatre format (blocking, minimal set elements, lights and sound.) This production will help the student to understand the individual development of performance. This format allows the student to concentrate on the choices and delivery an actor must make by minimizing time and effort usually devoted to memorization. They will learn notation techniques to take blocking and director notes.
I can see by the glint in your eye that there is more!
Yes! By the end of fall, I will build my very own windmill and generate enough electrical power to nearly or completely eliminate our electric bill.
I'll finish that after Cheryl and I return from our 600 mile walk in Spain beginning at the end of August. We'll be in Spain about 8 to 10 weeks. We may be doing a multimedia publication about our journey, including video and written interviews with travelers, locals, and chefs - and their favorite recipes, along the way.
Sometime in November, I'll prepare a second class for WCT. It will be a 6 week program called “From Within to the Moon We Call.” It’s similar to the 'Stage Struck' program but longer and more complex. That will be presented in late March of 2010.
Besides the WCT program, I'll be producing a Barefoot Play Readers Repertory Theatre Company production for WCT, as a fundraiser, and I also hope to interest the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts (WICA). Recently I came across some old theatre compadres from my Tech Director days at the Altarena Playhouse in Alameda, CA. I imagine some theatre goodness will result when we hook up and start conspiring.
What do you want to give people with your art?
I love working with stage or screen plays that examine the real lives of people and families so to reach into the minds and hearts of those who witness the production.
Do you have a main mission?
In the end, my main mission is to travel the world, mostly on foot, taking extended stays here and there until Cheryl and I find the place matched by no other.
interviewed by Jean Bartlett for