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When I was first “introduced” to Mr. Hungerford’s work, it was by way of Fewdio. I saw him once, then again, and again. Then about a year later, I learned that Drew Daywalt and David Schneider, David of Fewdio and Drew, formerly of Fewdio and now Daywalt Fear Factory, both co-directed a feature film known as Stark Raving Mad (2002). Want to take a stab as to whom I saw in this movie? If you guessed Paul Hungerford, then you’re right on the money!
Watching Paul in the Fewdio shorts, I slightly mistook him as a horror aficionado and mentally typecast him as a horror actor. Then, I saw the Fewdio short titled Vargel Geroth: Monster From Hell co-directed, again, by David Schneider and Drew Daywalt, where things turn out a little differently than one might expect. It was here that I noticed a different side to Paul’s acting, namely, that there was range and skill in his craft. From delirious obsession in Viral and a remorseful father marked for death in Marie to curious Chinese delivery man in Stark Raving Mad, Paul has done his fair share in proving that he has what it takes to step up to any challenge set forth in his path.
Recently Paul allowed Reely Bored (RB) the honor of conducting an interview with him where we get a little more insight as to who the man is as well as future plans for Fewdio.
Reely Bored: Why acting?
Paul: Why acting…Great question. My whole life, since I was a little kid, I have been a performer. Either playing in the backyard with imaginary friends or performing in the local talent show, school plays, whatever, I have always been attracted to the challenge of performance. On top of that I have always loved being someone else. Character study is fascinating to me. To the actor ‘why’ is important. Why you’re saying what you’re saying, makes the choices truthful. You may not know WHY something is happening TO you but you always know WHY your doing what you’re doing…or saying.
RB: What did you do before you became an actor?
Paul: I’ve worked in production and casting for my day jobs. But acting has always been my career. In all of it’s inconsistencies, it’s still what I do. Other jobs I’ve held: Waiter (duh), pool repair, Deli counter, construction, catering. The list goes on!
RB: Favorite role?
Paul: Oh boy! Great question! I would say in the Rob Roy Thomas show “Significant Others”. I played a perverted guy trying to make suggestions on what porn, Brian Palermo should watch with his ex-wife who he starts dating again. Loved saying these outrageous things to Andrea Savage and Brian Palermo, two super funny people, who had to deal with my funny titles. Later on, my character meets up with Brian in another episode and this time with Gillian Vigman, a girl he stood up on a date and things just get tense as I’m rude to him while he’s trying to avoid a confrontation with her. Just super fun to shoot, a great character and a day spent laughing!
RB: Any influences?
Paul: Two of my biggest influences have been Robin Williams and Patrick Stewart. I have watched just about everything either of them have ever done. Both are mesmerizing to me. Robin’s comedy is sharp and legendary, of course, but his work as an actor is so underplayed. Even his bigger or broader characters have so much truth in whatever he’s working on. Patrick Stewart I have been following since I was first introduced to Shakespeare. I watched ‘Playing Shakespeare’ as a young person and since have been following all his work. I just watched ‘Hamlet’ with him and David Tennant. His work is very inspiring to me!
RB: Funny how Robin Williams and Patrick Stewart are known for their different roles as well as genres for the most part, almost on opposite ends of the spectrum. However, Robin Williams, as you stated is underplayed as an actor, showing his range from his comedic roles to the more serious roles such as in Good Will Hunting, The Night Listener and The Final Cut, whereas Stewart is traditionally known as a more serious actor overall. Would you say that you strive to be more like Robin Williams and show range or Patrick Stewart who, although a great actor, is usually relegated to playing the same type of characters?
Paul: I think, for me, Robin Williams’ range is the most influential to me. Though I think both actors shed parts of themselves, Robin Williams’ range is what I admire most. I love that he plays characters who are real people who have lots going on internally, some deeply disturbed like One Hour Photo and Insomnia. But in Worlds Greatest Dad, his character is so completely damaged that you feel for him. A failure on multiple fronts, who takes advantage of a horrible situation, you can’t help but be a bit sympathetic to his character even though he’s heading for an inevitable downfall. So yes, his diverse characters are what I strive for. I like Robin Williams’ path of success and I think it shows in a lot of my work today. Most of the week I perform comedy. Then on weekends I shoot horror films!
Paul: [Laughs] Well what happens on location, stays on location, but, working on Stark Raving Mad was a lot of fun! It was a talented and funny cast and everyone got along really, really well. Both David Schneider and Drew Daywalt made the experience fun and memorable. A great moment in my life when I can honestly say, “I love what I do!”
RB: What director, that you have not yet worked with, would you like to work with?
Paul: I want to work with Martin Scorsese. He is one of the living auteurs and I would love to hear how he talks to actors on set. He has worked with some of the world’s greatest actors and his work as a film maker is that of a craftsman. I have seen everything he’s ever done and I even use the recipe his mother Catherine Scorsese uses in ‘Italianamerican‘!
RB: What do you prefer, the short or feature format?
Paul: As someone who has lived most of his creative life in comedy, shorts speak to me. I have been writing and performing comedy for 20 years and still do every weekend for the most part. Over that time I have been involved in several feature films and the process to get a feature film made takes an aligning of the stars, plus a few sacrificial lambs, sometimes even an act of god is needed!! So, to get a film done takes many people all putting their best foot forward, to help complete someone else’s goal. A team effort if you will. The director is still leading but a great director gets great work from his team. Shorts don’t need as many people. The short format can be very satisfying as an artist because it’s a bit more intimate. You can tell your story in an economical way that helps you become a better film maker, a better writer and a better producer, because you have to solve a lot of production problems that show up in shorts. Mostly because of budget restraints. For Fewdio we are the one solving the problems that come up and we have to do our best without spending our micro budget.
RB: How did you get involved with Fewdio?
Paul: Hmm…I was brought on board at the very start. When David, John Crye and Drew began making Curse, I was there on set for day one. I ran sound all day. Later, as they started making more and more films, Drew called me and asked me to come on-board full-time. I jumped at the opportunity! Everything that has come out since has been a super supportive team working very hard and selflessly. David, particularly, has always impressed me with the amount of hard work he has put into each of the films. From set to post-production, he is very dedicated to his craft.
RB: Which is your favorite Fewdio role and why?
Paul: Let’s see… ALL OF THEM! Too hard to pick, I love all of them so much it’s really hard to pick just one. I have been lucky enough to have some very talented people write characters just for me! That is a very lucky position to be in. But Viral is a character I very much like because it’s someone I never get the chance to play. Downright crude and insane. Of course you don’t know that going into the film but he comes unglued in the film and that was very cathartic to play.
RB: Where does the word “Fewdio” come from?
Paul: I can’t tell. Only a few know the truth. It’s out there in the nether verse but you need to look for it.
RB: I tried. I know that you starred in as well as produced many Fewdio shorts, do you have a soft spot for horror?
Paul: I grew up in Bridgeport, CT and we had all the TV stations out of NYC and I was a child of WOR 4:30 Movie and Chiller Theatre! (Even the intro was scary !) Plus other shows like New Yorks “Million Dollar Movie” which showed LOTS of Made for TV horror movies and aired lots of classic horror films as well. This was an education for me and set the table for a lifetime of love for the obscure. Horror and comedy have so much in common, though I was drawn to comedy quickly and easily. Horror has always been a part of me. My dad and I would see just about every genre film that ever came out on Saturdays while my Mom worked. My Dad is a huge horror story fan, who shared loads of sci-fi and horror literature with me over the years. He introduced me to Alfred Hitchcock and Ray Bradbury, which led me to Stephen King and Clive Barker. I’m actually reading Dark Forces right now lent to me by my friend, Paul Gaita. But he loved ghost stories. Growing up in CT, there where there are plenty to go around and he knew lots of the local haunts having grown up his whole life in CT.
RB: What’s next for Fewdio?
Paul: Let’s see, David Schneider and I leave for IndieMeet in Las Vegas on Friday. We will have give-a-ways while there, so keep an eye on @Blhaag, our resident beast of burden, for where you can find us and the goods. We are presently in production on our next short “Farmer’s Daughter,” which we just started casting. We are planning on having another behind the scenes broadcast when we do shoot. So watch our Facebook page and Twitter account for that info.
Plus, we’ve decided to post David’s Santa Barbra Minute Film Festival short that we did last month and are finishing up post-production so we can post it on line! Plus, some really cool stuff I can’t talk about. No really. But when I can, I promise to share them with you and Reely Bored Blog!
RB:Any tips or advice for aspiring actors/filmmakers?
Paul: Don’t stop working in front or behind the camera! Do whatever you can to get practical hands-on access, work with your own equipment or do local work. As an actor get in front of the camera whenever you can, from helping friends make shorts or a local school project, college students, ANYTHING! Just keep working. If you keep an open mind and help out you will learn a lot by doing.
RB: Thank you for your time Paul, it was truly a pleasure!
Paul: Thank you for your time and I hope we can do this again!