Today on the show actor Tim Russ, Lt. Tuvok from Star Trek Voyager, stops by the Spoiler Country Cave to have a chat with Jeff about his career!
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Theme music by Ardus and Damn The Cow
Tim Russ Interview
[00:00:00] Jeff: Hello. There’s a spoiler country today in the show. We have a fantastic special guest. Mr. Timothy Ross. How’s it going, sir?
Tim Russ: I’m doing fine.
Jeff: Excellent. I’m a big fan of yours for quite some
Tim Russ: time. Thank you. Thank you very
Jeff: So, one question I always like to ask my guests as we get started, and as I was looking through some of your history, I must admit you’re very much a Renaissance man. You’ve done so many things acting music, directing, writing. So which of your creative interests came
Tim Russ: first? The very first one was music.
I was around 15 or 16 when I picked up the guitar and I’ve been playing ever since. So that’s the longest running interest of mine. Secondarily was acting I got started in that when I was just as I graduated high school and then went to college to study it and then pursued it as a career when I moved to Los Angeles in 1981.
And then from that point forward eventually on working on the show boy and juror, I got interested in directing, got the [00:01:00] opportunity to do so. To intern on the show and then be able to shoot an episode plus a dozen and a half short films later on, and then a few features and a pilot presentation since that time.
And, and then, and then subsequently almost done that overlapping that time was voiceover work that began. While I was on the show and then I’ve been doing that ever since as well. And some of the writing and the writing has just been, you know, peripheral. I haven’t really done anything that was other than a short formats that I, I wrote you know, about 12 of those, but mostly just some revisions on a couple of features here and there that I was working on and not anything that I did for anyone else.
I just did those for the projects that I was involved in. So. You know, I don’t right. I can’t say that I write full-time and that I write original scripts. Feature-length scripts at this point on my own. I don’t have any desire to do that. I usually just work with a writer to have that done. So as
Jeff: someone who has so many creative outlets, [00:02:00] is there like a through-line across them, does creativity in one area help either.
Massage or launch into your creativity and other areas. Do they connect in any way for you?
Tim Russ: Well, you know, the the only ones that, that will typically overlap. Sometimes would, might be the music and the acting because I’ve, I’ve worked on some shows where I’ve had to play an instrument.
I’ve had to play guitar and, and sing in a and one that I’ve worked on recently. So those we’ll we’ll cross paths on occasion which is why I’d like to keep the music aspect of my, my career. You know, running smoothly and tuned in case that opportunity opens the door opens up and I can jump in.
I said, they’d happened a couple of years ago. So, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s beneficial to have that aspect of what I do I’m up and ready and running smoothly. So it, in case the, you know, the door opens again, I can jump in and do it. It was, you never know what, you know, what role may open up that might be really spectacular.
Can involve guitar playing [00:03:00] and real playing, you know, so, I keep that tuned up and, and as far as the, you know, the directing and acting, I mean that sometimes will. Intermingled because I might have to be in the piece for some of it. And then after also be shooting it at the same time, although that’s not my preference.
So yeah, in that respect, some of those things do do crossover, just particularly the music and the acting as have crossed over the most between them. So you said,
Jeff: You learned to play music around 15 when you’re a little bit older. In high school, you moved towards acting. So you decided to move over to go to St.
Edward’s university and also eventually Illinois state university. Why did you choose acting over music at that time?
Tim Russ: Because the acting actually was, I was more interested in pursuing that as a career, rather than music as a full-time career. As far as going to school, I was going to go to school and to to get a bachelor’s degree.
I would, I was, I was much more interested in going for the theater and acting than I was music and music [00:04:00] theory. At the time for music, I was primarily. You know, just playing in bands and playing by ear and things like that. Self-taught a lot of stuff. So, if I was going to go to school for music, I would have to, to to focus on theory.
And I wasn’t interested in doing that. I was much more interested in doing pursuing theater and in terms of acting and things like that at that time. And when I moved to Los Angeles, I did pursue both music. Acting in terms of original songwriting and, you know, trying to get EPS of demos done, to record it, to show people or see if I could get a break for potentially get a break for, to get a single recorded or backed up by somebody’s studio at that time.
But I think that was a very much, a long time. In terms of, of, of, of opening up a career path, because I, I’m not as prolific a songwriter as I would need to be, and also not just proliferate, but also, you know, you’ve gotta establish a style. That’s that’s very different and stands out and you’ve [00:05:00] also got to have a vocal quality that stands out as well.
So in terms of original music and arrangements and things like that, it would have to have really been. Different and unique in order to get that break. And a lot of it, I would have needed, you know, 25, 35, 40 songs easily just to get started. And I didn’t have that many tracks. So the acting was much more accessible and in certain sure enough, over a period of a few years or so we finally got that rolling and and that took off and that was enough to sustain me as it were.
Jeff: I was doing a research on you for preparing for the interview and I delve into deep into your musical career. You’re you’re, I mean, the music was amazing. I mean, you have I got, I really liked the albums. I was listening to like lifeline and it sounded like you also kind of drifted across different genres throughout your time from sounds like rock and pop to eventually you ended up doing [00:06:00] something more blues.
Would that be.
Tim Russ: That’s accurate. If if one listens to my live sets and shows that I do I really appreciate a variety of sounds. They will kind of fall under the same umbrella of, I want to say roots music or classic rock or. Something like that. They’re definitely not. I would not consider them alternative rock necessarily.
I wouldn’t consider them edgy and eccentric. They are very much I think basic sort of straightforward roots music, but in that variety of roots music, it might be, it might slew a little bit towards blues here and there a little bit. Door’s classic rock here and there. You know, things like that.
So it’s gonna, it’s going to be in that vein. In terms of styles, but, but within that range, yeah. There’s going to be some songs that are very different from each other, and I prefer that because of your audience is going to be varied. And so I like to vary the tracks. And the styles, you know, because there may be [00:07:00] songs, that’s one, you know, some people like here and some people like there and if we can get everybody, you know, on board, then it’s good.
You know, so
Jeff: overtime as, as, as you got an older and had more experience with music has your approach to making music.
Tim Russ: Not really. I mean, in terms of in terms of recording, you know, I usually try to select the tracks that I’ve been playing with the band for some time, so that we’ve got this, this song, we’ve got the song sort of oiled and massaged and and, and, and, and simmered over time.
To get it to the field and the group that we really like and the accents and the punches and things like that. So that, that it, when the song has been played for awhile, then I’d go in and record it. If I, if I’m going to make another CD or, or songs for uploading, then I’ll go in and do them. And I, I really am very picky about, you know, which songs I ended up recording and, or even playing live there’s songs that I sometimes choose to play.
And I’ll play them once or twice. Just, you know, don’t, [00:08:00] I’m not happy with how they work out or how they sound or the audience’s reaction to them. They just don’t feel like they have a great fit and sometimes I don’t give them a chance to, to, to to cook a little bit and I’ll just throw them away, you know, and go to the next one.
And I tend to gravitate to the songs that are, that just, you know, just crackle right off the bat and, or the audience really, really liked. And I’ll tend to go, you know, keep them in the set and move on to the next one. I’m very choosy. People will send me tracks all the time about why you should try this song or that song was Anna.
And I listened to him. I was like, nah, that’s not me. That’s not gonna work. It’s not gonna fit for the band. You know, configuration that I have because a lot of songs, some songs won’t, but, but generally it’s just not only myself. I have to like the song. It just has to, it has to work when I play it with the band that has to really.
Jail. It has to come together. And and sometimes I only do these songs once or twice, and then I won’t do them again. So what
[00:09:00] Jeff: kind of song is a Timothy Russ solid? What qualities must it have for it to be something that you want to voice?
Tim Russ: Well, it’s going to have a certain I prefer a certain type of harmonics.
My band is a lyric driven band. I’m a lyric driven guitarist mostly rhythm, some lead, but mostly rhythm. So the lyrics are very important. The hook is very important. And I like more, I prefer more harmonic books whenever I can get them. And, and and change. And as opposed to say, for example, jazz don’t play jazz because it doesn’t appeal to me because the harmonics aren’t there for me.
So I prefer more of a pop. Or rock style. I don’t do hardly any I would say R and B. Certainly not anything that’s current or new in that style. I used to play it back in the day, but right now I don’t, most of it, most of this is going to be blues, right. And pop that’s, that’s basically the category.
So if the lyrics are really interesting and the hook is strong that’s where I’m going to gravitate [00:10:00] to. And preferably with sort of hormone harmonic changes that that are, that are, that my ear, you know, likes to hear. That’s where I’m going to go. And typically these songs are not. Super super well-known.
Some of the songs are just be sidetracks and and obscure songs that I’ve heard, maybe even walking through a store and I’ve gotten a couple of songs that I play on my set that I just, I heard them on some Muzak track, you know, in the store. And it’s like, wow, I’ve never heard that song before. What is that?
Yeah, when I, you know, I remembered the, the lyric and found the song and. And then recorded it and, and started playing it alive. And it worked out really well. It’s happened two or three times, so it doesn’t happen all the time, but at least a couple, three times. And I might see a band, you know, somewhere on a music video or somewhere, I might hear a track by accident.
And I said, oh, that’s really cool. And I’ll do it. And maybe one. Somebody has sent me a song and I really liked it one time out of the house that happened. [00:11:00] So it’s very, I’m very, very particular about which songs I played, because that’s really important. It’s not, it’s not a question of whether you can sing them, whether or not they’re in your key, whether or not the band can perform or whatever.
It’s not, it’s not that so much as it is. Yeah. Is it is, you know, does it work for me? Do I really feel it when I sing it? Does it work for me? Does it work for the band? Is it the right song for the venue and the setting? Things like that. I, you have to consider when you, when you pick and choose these songs, you know, is it something that, you know, for example, I’m not going to pick a classic from, you know, Steppenwolf or, or led Zeppelin to go play right.
Cause you just don’t mess with those songs. You don’t do that. You don’t for certain tracks, you just don’t do, you know, and other people will, you know, they’ll try to do them and they’re just, just hack them to pieces. You can’t do that. You know, it’s just, you stay away from the stuff that is going to embarrass you.
Roll along with the stuff that [00:12:00] you can actually, you know, do what the configuration you have and the, the vocal quality that you have. And you know, th th that, that it’s really smart. You just gotta be smart and about how you do it. So
Jeff: I think that’s a great tip too. Do not play anything that’s gonna embarrass you is, is a great tip for new band.
So you just recently performed at the kibitz room, is that right? That
Tim Russ: is correct? Yes. A couple of nights ago. Yes. It went very well. It was a very it was a year and a half since we’ve been in there. Cause we used to play regularly before the pandemic. So, to be on stage again was at the very beginning of the set when we first started, I, I was, I was not as comfortable in my skin as I normally am doing that because I hadn’t been there in so long.
And so it was. It was a little strange for me for about the first two or three numbers. And then I was able to start to feel the groove and the pocket [00:13:00] again, that I was used to at the very beginning, it was just the slightest air of, you know, sort of just not feeling as comfortable or used to what it was like before.
Even though it’s the same club and a lot of the same people were there that I used to play in, in front of the before. And in fact, many of them showed up and I was really happy to see that, but it just, it was just a feeling of just trying to get my feet back on the ground because I haven’t performed like that sense during the pandemic.
I did perform with my band, right. Like just at my house. And, you know, I was sitting down the whole time and it was much more casual and sort of laid back and it just wasn’t the same as getting up and doing it. You know, a club performance. And so was, I, I wanna say not quite, I wasn’t, I didn’t feel tuned, you know, up like I normally would when I was doing it before, which was on a regular basis.
And and so, but it was, it was good to be there. It was good to be back in that environment. And then in that [00:14:00] venue, you know, doing it and I
Tim Russ: a different configuration with the band because we wanted to I don’t want it to control the noise level and the volume of the, of the, of the group a little bit more.
So I’ve modified the percussion element of the band. My drummer doesn’t play a full drum kit. He plays what’s called a pancake kit, which is a sort of scaled down drum set. It’s much more portable. It’s much lighter. The heads are, it’s just basically heads and of the drums. And even though you’ve got a kick and you’ve got a symbol and a ride it’s, it’s less.
Noisy than a full on chip.
Jeff: I think our listeners are fastened to know that. Even though you’ve had such a long career in both music and acting that you still do get nervous from time to time.
Tim Russ: Yeah, it’s a, it, you know, it’s it, you know, I would say that, you know, I’ve performed at a festival not long ago, a blues festival down in long beach.
And again, we were performing on a regular basis live, you know, so getting on stage in front of a pretty good size [00:15:00] crowd that you know of people that are not normally the audience that I play in. I was not as nervous for that gig you know, because we had been playing often before that and the run-up to it was we rehearsed and everything else.
It was fine. It was just a case of, it was not, it was not so much feeling nervous. It was just a case of being. Not feeling I can’t find the word really feeling completely just settled, just not without there was just an odd feeling because it was strange because I hadn’t been there in such a long time.
You know, we were doing this for, I’ve been playing at the kibitz from off and on for almost 20 years. With myself, my different bands, this band, that band I used to sit in with all the time. I mean, constantly I was playing, you know, with my, my band and one other band for almost a decade, you know, before COVID and all of a sudden it’s a whole year and a half of not even being in the club.
Or any club and then all of a sudden [00:16:00] we’re in a club now that feels that’s a different feeling. You know, first of all, there’s strangers, you know, in there who you haven’t been playing it for, for quite a while. For the whole year and a half, if I did a performance in my front yard, it was basically for my neighbors and some of my friends.
And that was it. It was not that many people. So. No to go into the club arena again, it just was not it just felt odd because I hadn’t been there such a long time.
Jeff: So, so that was your first performance since COVID.
Tim Russ: Since COVID. Yes. Yeah. Since the beginning of COVID it’s a year and a half that I, since I performed at, you know, in a live venue like that with the band as opposed to, you know, at my house, And just got the band together and we would, you know, practice stuff and go over stuff.
And, you know, I would invite you know, the neighbors would come over and they could hear it. Cause we were playing in the front yard of the house, you know, just basically in front of the house I set up and we play and people wouldn’t stand by and listen and we could do what we [00:17:00] wanted. It was very relaxed and very chill and it was different than, you know, going there.
Obviously being booked back in the band in the club again. And then doing the show that I would typically do in the club. And it’s a different energy, you know, it’s a different situations, different setting, different. Environment then, you know, obviously during the pandemic, just sitting out in front of my house, it’s very different.
And, and, but again, it took about, you know, about two songs or so under the set to, or three, it started to feel like it did before, you know, like,
Jeff: I wouldn’t say, cause I mean, COVID, it feels like a lifetime ago since COVID has been around since before COVID
Tim Russ: yeah, yeah. It is a lifetime. And, and, and, you know, we’re still wrestling with it as we speak, but it’s still, it’s like, It was definitely a long time.
You know, it was a long time and I would, if I hadn’t done the outdoor sort of front yard sort of tune up game, During that break, man, [00:18:00] I’d, I’d be beside myself. I mean, it would have been so much more difficult to, to, to jump right back into it without having kept, at least kept up, you know, performing with the bands.
You know, you can practice all day long on your own, but you know, it’s a different thing when you’re playing with an ensemble with other people where there’s a, you know, there’s a pocket, there’s a groove, there’s an issue of timing and a feel that you have for, for, for players. Cause every player is different and how they perform and, and their sense of timing is different.
There are a sense of of probably ensemble comes together. It’s all different. So if I didn’t get a chance to play with these guys during the pandemic, it would have been, you know, very clunky to say the least getting back on stage, trying to play some of this stuff. So, yeah. Yeah. Well,
Jeff: like, I, I really like the music.
I think my favorite song that you perform is leave me home, which is such a good song.
Tim Russ: It’s a great track. It’s a really a good track. Yeah, I, and I think the the music video that was shot for that was done it was actually done for [00:19:00] free because the DP director of photography wanted to test a camera and they wanted until they asked me if I, if they could shoot a music video for me.
So they could test this camera that they were going to use for a feature. That’s all good. Yeah, man, I’ll do that. Cause I hadn’t really done a music video up to that point, really for any of my songs. And so I did and I thought, well, this is cool. Be able to do this for, for not having to spend a dime on it and then they’d do all their shooting and the editing and everything else.
And I went great on it and it’s a good track. They wanted something that was slow. They wanted a ballot. And it was great. And then after that, not long after that, I went and did my own, you know, a music video for another song that was an original of mine, which is called a week. And I did that one as out of my pocket just to produce it.
And I was very happy with how that turned out. So I don’t know if you had a chance to watch it or not.
Jeff: Yeah, like, like, so I went through a lot of your discography to stop graphy. However you pronounce it. Sorry. [00:20:00] Yeah. And like I said, and like I said, I was just amazed at how good it, it, all, it all was like I said the, the one with leave me home.
Why did you select that one?
Tim Russ: That song for the music video, they wanted a ballot and I gave them a couple of options for ballads and they liked that one. You know, I gave him, you know, Louisiana, 1927, I gave them a couple others, but they liked that one in particular. So I said, okay, you know, we’ll do that one.
So that was their choice for that song since they were doing it, they were the ones who were shooting this. And they wanted to demo the camera. They liked that song. So I said, fine. We’ll we’ll do that song. It works for me. Yeah.
Jeff: And they said your, your, the way you, you sung that song, it was so, you know, so strong.
You could, you could feel it as the listener.
Tim Russ: Yeah. Yeah. Because it, because it you know, I said earlier, it’s a. You know, I th th the songs, the way the song is arranged, the way the lyrics are, what they say and how the melody is laid out to me, or, you know, all [00:21:00] that good stuff comes together. If I hear it.
And I like it. Then I’m unlike it. It’s likely going to be something that I track, you know, if I get a chance to I’ll track it and I’ll do it. And I just liked the song. The song works, it works like what you’re expressing right now is the song works. You know, some songs. Bloody don’t work. You know, they just don’t you know, you could, you could play the hell out of them and they just don’t work.
I don’t know why that is. There’s some songs that I’ve played that I’m not that crazy about, but every time I play them, they work the audience all. Always responds to them. Other songs that I like I play and they just fall flat. That’s a polite response. And then that’s it. They’re just not as excited about it.
I don’t, I don’t know what it is, but you know, I do gauge the response and reaction to the songs that I play. And I sometimes will toss them, you know, if they don’t work well,
Jeff: when you’re trying. Get [00:22:00] yourself there to do some, some of these deeper songs, like, do, like what is it that you’re recalling or getting to, to make yourself get to that point where it becomes real
Tim Russ: for you?
It’s it basically, is it based on the lyric content and what the message is and the song what’s the, what’s the message, you know, in that song. For example, looking for Jack is really animated. And I love not only the arrangement of it, but the story and what the man is singing about is very cool.
It’s a very, I mean, I know the backstory for the song and that makes a big difference. But even without the backstory, you, you can interpret the song several different ways. And there’s such a, a poignancy to it that that just resonates with me in particular. Especially nowadays I, I get, I, you know, that song in particular, you know, Interpreted as being something about looking back at your youth, you know, remembering what it was like when you were younger and [00:23:00] reflecting on that.
And that’s, you know, that’s, it’s very pointed and it, and it, and it resonates with me because I’m not young anymore. So, and so I, it feels, I feel that and the same thing with leave me home. You know, that’s, you know, the whole thing about, you know, coming out of darkness, the whole, the thing about the light at the end of the tunnel, the whole thing about being saved about being held to being, you know, finding your way.
I mean, that’s what, that’s what that is, you know? You know, and a lot of people are going through that all the time. And it’s it’s, it’s very powerful. That that message is powerful. So.
Jeff: So leave me, leave me home is from the album lifeline, which was released in 2015, or is there going to be, is there any other albums you’re planning to come out since then, or
Tim Russ: I right now there are some songs I could record for another CD, but I don’t know if I’m going to do those.
I don’t know if I’m going to do them as a CD or if I’m going to do them and just keep them [00:24:00] digital as uploads. I haven’t decided yet because I I’d have to figure out whether I can get some of these printed up and made on demand rather than having to order a whole pile of them to be to be manufactured and then stored, you know, because I don’t typically sell those CDs.
At my gigs, I don’t always sell them there. I only sell them if I go to a large gathering, like a convention or public appearance, something like that, where I get a chance to perform, then that’s when I usually sell the CDs otherwise. I sell them on CD baby, but they’re, they’re just a trickle coming off of there.
So, the digital uploads, you know, a little bit more consistent. And obviously most people are just uploading songs. They don’t really buy CDs that much. So, and that’s the, that’s just the way things are now. So, so I I’m, you know, right now debating whether to go back in the studio and do some [00:25:00] more.
Or not, I haven’t decided that, you know, definitely that I want to do that just yet.
Jeff: Well, I definitely definitely helped when the new ones are released. Please let me know. I definitely want to listen to it. Like I said, I I’m very impressed with what I’ve heard.
Tim Russ: Thank you. I’ll definitely, I’ll definitely do that, you know, and he had, at some point in time, I’ll do that in it, you know, and some of the stuff that I’ve already recorded.
Some of it. I wish I could just pull off the air because it’s just, you know, it’s old and I’m not that crazy about it. Like, I mean, I’m thinking, oh my God, that song is still out there floating around in it. I’d rather it not be. But the very first CD I did was with crescendo records and they really produced the hell out of that thing.
And they did a great job costing me that costumer shit, a bunch of money. You know, some of the tracks. I like some of them, I don’t really like anymore, but they’re out there and now I’m stuck with them being out there. But the newer stuff, all the newer stuff since then, and I did myself I produced it myself, just [00:26:00] recorded the band, live in the studio and, and I prefer to do it that way as hell.
It’s a hell of a lot cheaper. Number one, number two. What I wanted to do was, was when I record the songs in the studio. I mean, occasionally I’ll have night bringing a sax player or, or some other instrument just on the outside, but most of the stuff I want to be able to reproduce on stage, live on a record, you know, the songs that can be you know, played, perform live as they were recorded.
So that it’s, you know, there’s a similarity and so I can actually pull them off in a live performance. So they’re not so multi-track, and so overproduced that I can’t, you know, make that sound happened. So a lot of the instrumentation that you hear on the more recent the last three or four CDs, most of those songs, almost all of them are just myself and my band recording and not, you know, multi-multi tracks.
You know, overdub, overdub, overdub, you know, stuff that can be played live and still [00:27:00] sound kinda like the song on the CD, you know, for as close as I can get to what it sounds like on the CD with the basic instrumentation that I’m using. You know, and that, and that’s something that I’m, I’m kind of a stickler about.
Now, if I go back and studio, I just want to keep it simple. Don’t over do it.
Jeff: Well, like I said, please keep me informed of those. And do you have time to stick and talk about some of your films upcoming films, if you don’t mind?
Tim Russ: Yeah. I mean, depends on what they, you know, in terms of what they are what I can talk about is,
Jeff: or yeah, I did have one question.
There was a film that I saw on your webpage. I’m gonna probably pronounce it wrong. It might night. Myth myth, not the Gar. Sorry. I saw the ESPN. I, and I changed it. Now. It is, I looked at an under ID ID ID, M B pro. And it’s listed as pre-production. What part of what level production is it at so far?
Cause I know you’re. Directing it, writing it,
Tim Russ: producing that. Yeah, that one’s, yeah, that one is not right now. That’s only being considered by a production company. It’s been considered by two production companies thus far, but [00:28:00] it’s not in production as of yet. And a lot of stuff is some stuff on INDB.
And the other, another producer may have uploaded it and put it on there. Not all the stuff on there and stuff that I put on there. Other people can put stuff on there just about anybody, really who pays the fees, can upload a project and put it on there there’s projects on my own IMDV page that I don’t even recognize what they are.
So, I have to go through and try to take them off. Because I don’t know what they are. You know, it’s something that somebody asked me about, you know, three years ago that never went anywhere. And I, and I might’ve told them on the phone. Yeah, sure. You know, if you get it off the ground, I’d might be interested in taking a look at it and then they put your name in there attached to it.
And it’s like, wait a minute. I was going to do it. I just said, you know, it might be interesting when you get her up and running, give me a call. That’s, you know, that’s essentially how the conversation goes. On on projects of my own. Yeah, that’s just, it’s not in pre-production, it’s just being considered for production.
It’s being pitched. Those projects often are just in the process of being pitched [00:29:00] and that is an ongoing process. And there’s other ones on there that are, there’s a project called time fighters, which is not on not listed on there, but that one is with a global Genesis group. They’re also being, it’s also being considered being pitched as a series pilot for streaming that’s, you know, in, that’s just sitting on the burner and waiting for the fire to get hot enough to make it boil.
So, it was there something else that was on there?
Jeff: Well, well I know your next project is the star city murder. Is that cool?
Tim Russ: Well, it’s not mine, I’m just in it, you know, play a play one of the roles in it. Police, captain and I just finished shooting that last week. Oh, wow. It’s just finished working on it last week and yeah, it’s it’s an independent feature film.
It’s a cop drama. It’s uh, it’s about a serial killing. And we’re trying to find them the bad guy, you know, and just the police captain trying to wrangle these these cops, the detectives who are investigating the case, you know, trying to keep them from stumbling over themselves or getting in [00:30:00] trouble or, you know, doing what they’re not supposed to do, et cetera.
And and that’s it, you know, I’m just minding the store. The station is what I’m doing in that, in that particular project,
Jeff: why did you choose that role? Why did you want to play captain Aikman?
Tim Russ: Well, if you know that project and the other two that I just finished working on before that one in the last couple of months, we’re supposed to be shot last year, and that was going to be filmed during COVID.
But they could not afford to do it because of the COVID rules at the time. And so they had to get more money in the coffers in order to make it happen. And a lot of projects that I was supposed to shoot last year are now coming to be shot to, you know, this year. That was just one of three. So, I’ve done just now three in a row, just in the last month or two.
And that’s because they were supposed to shoot last year. And at the time they approached me for it. I, you know, said what’s the role? It’s a police captain. All right. That’s pretty straight up stuff. There’s nothing out of the ordinary unusual. And I’ve done it [00:31:00] before. Let me, you know, take a look at it and And you know, we had to wrangle the numbers and the pay, and I said, well, how many days is going to be?
And is it going to shoot in LA? It’s going to shoot in LA. So it’s easier for me to just to go, you know, I can get my car and drive to the set and shoot and go home, you know? And the, and the money is, is not what I normally make, but it was decent enough, you know, to get in and do it. And that’s fine, you know, Oh, you know, sometimes I’ve taken them.
Sometimes I pass on, you know, it depends on, on what the project is.
Jeff: And I think a lot of your fans would be surprised that your, some of your current projects such as the Slayer Chronicles and the star city murders are. Very very much. The diversion from your most famous Rossi of to VOC, do you, are you intentionally trying to psych subvert expectations with these roles or is that just some of that just interests you and you want to try something?
That’s a little darker, a little more I don’t think the better word
Tim Russ: Well, yeah, it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter what the genre is. I don’t know. If I’m behind camera it’s not going to matter what the [00:32:00] genre is. Slayer was a a horror film you know, horror, thriller, and and I was shooting it directing it and my daughter was in it.
So the only reason I took that on is because she was in it. I’d worked with the people, the producers before on another film called junkie, which is on Amazon now, which is a a drama about a young woman who is involved in drugs and she’s and her brother is kidnapped and she goes, After to try to find out, to try to find them, try to rescue them.
I know what happened. And consequently, her character, you know, arc takes her to, as we say, going from heroin to heroin as it were. And and so it’s a good piece that I worked with those producers on that. I shot that film for them up there, and they wanted to do this one here and my daughter was cast in it.
So I just wanted to make sure that I was behind the camera when she was going to be in it. I didn’t want somebody else to be doing that right. You know, not my favorite project, not my favorite script by a long shot, but you know, it also was a genre as a director. I want as many different genres on [00:33:00] my reel as I can get.
That is strategic. That’s a strategic thing. So that if you do have an opportunity for something that somebody says, what have you shot? You know, a romcom before said, yes, I have. Have you shot a a period piece? Yes, I have. Have you shot horror? Yes, I have. Action. Saifai yes, I have. So I, and, and, and straight up drama.
Yes, I have. So I’ve done all those. I’ve done all of those areas. So the more of those I have on my reel, the better the acting roles, you know, it just depends on, usually it depends on the character then I that’s been offered to play, or it depends on the writing and the quality of the writing. Typically if the quality of the writing is really bad, I won’t I’ll pass on it.
If it’s a role that I haven’t played before, something different, that’s usually what I’d like to do and gravitate towards. If the pay is really good, I’ll do it even though it’s a piece of crap, because I’ve done that before too. A couple of times [00:34:00] I’ve done that once knowingly and once not knowingly.
So once. A mistake that I made and probably should have, you know, vetted the project a little bit before I took it. But the other one was, was I definitely did not like it. And eventually they just threw enough money at me and said, okay, well fine. I’ll go do it. And I figured nobody would see it. Well, that almost worked out.
We managed to get some modicum of distribution for it. So now it’s out there and everybody can find it and look at it. So, you know, and, and everybody’s got the same, you know, from that, from the A-listers all the way down. Let’s see listers, everybody’s done that shit. You know, they gotta, they gotta look back and you know, it’s a, it’s a Razzy and, and you’d take the money and you go do what you gotta do.
I mean, we’ve all done. It. We’ve been to the movies. You’ve seen them. The world has been changed doing in that. Well, [00:35:00] why did he take that movie?
Jeff: I think everyone has done in our, what the profession has done something for the money that you. Yeah, that was probably not the best idea, but that was
Tim Russ: a Turkey.
That was not a good idea. Yeah. Yeah. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. And all of the, most of my colleagues have done have been in the same boat. They’ve done it too. And it just comes along, you know, it, you gotta pay the rent and bills. You gotta take the work. In some cases, you know,
Jeff: on the side I do some conflict writing and I came across someone who is gonna pay me to do a combo, but it was, my name was pretty good.
For a calm book writing for a script. And I mean, I heard the concept, he gave me the concept. He was straightforward with what it was about and it was such utter shit, but I fucking wrote it. I wrote the fucking script.
Tim Russ: That’s right. You wrote it. Cause you got, here’s a check in there somewhere.
Jeff: You got it.
You gotta do what you gotta
Tim Russ: do. I mean, if somebody comes to me and asked me to design the next space shuttle the guy I’ve got a [00:36:00] pass on that I don’t, I don’t have experience on that, you know, but you know, you’re going to me about playing a music gig. Yeah. I can do that. You want to, you know, voiceover.
Yeah. I can do that. Acting, you know, directing. Yeah. I can do that. If they came to me to write something, I would say. Hmm, because that’s not what I do. I would rather, you know, you know, refer them to somebody who’s a really good at that. And just, you know, get people who do that for a living. That’s, you know, it makes sense.
So I, I don’t have to write it. Believe me, I’d rather have, and half the time I spend trying to convince people who bring me projects if it’s particularly to, to direct most of the time or many times, it’s just the script, just not written very well. And it needs help. You know, I tell them, you may want to get a writer to do a, a ghost run on it and get it, you know, get it pumped up, get it revised, get it you know, cleaned up so that it works.
You know, they don’t want the time. Ha
Jeff: have you ever said you [00:37:00] could do something and not known like deep down that you actually could until you. Figured trying to figure it out. Do you just say you can and kind of hope to do it later or have you, are you always straightforward that you can, when you say you can do it, you’ve known you can do.
Tim Russ: You mean in terms of what an offer to a
Jeff: particular for like somebody wants you to like say direct something or start late, have you ever said, yeah, I can do that before you, you were certain that you actually
Tim Russ: could. Well, yeah. I mean, if it’s shooting something, if it’s directing something I I’m confident enough to just say that I could actually, I’m sure I could do the project.
I just have to know what the project is, you know, I’d have to know what it involves because you know, the style and the genre and, and the story and all that good stuff is I got to take that into consideration. I mean, You know, if you’re going to hand me something that’s, you know, in terms of logistics and budget and all kinds of stuff like that, you know, it’s impossible to, to get it done because of those [00:38:00] factors.
I’m United. Just have to tell them, look, I can’t do this, you know? The, the style of the script or the, or the the, the budget for the script or the logistics of the script. I don’t know how it’d be able to pull this off. You know, and I’ve done a lot of stuff, some under pressure, somewhat minimum days and very little money and all that good stuff.
We’ve all done that. And that’s, you know, I’ve done those. You know, as far as saying, would I be able to do it now? I would say if someone comes to me and I said, I have the capacity to, to, to, to to shoot it for you. But you know, I’d have to know what the project is to be able to tell you whether, you know, it’s a, it’s a good plan or good idea.
That’s all. And I don’t have any doubt about my abilities to do it. I just need to know what it is, you know, and, and, and what what’s behind it. And what are the logistics and. You know, what’s, what’s the heavy lifting going to be for, to get it, to get it accomplished, but I don’t have any doubt about it. No, no, I don’t.
If someone came to me and said, you know, [00:39:00] we want to cast you in, you know, and. That you have to sing. I might, I might think twice about that because I don’t have, I’m not trained in opera. I’m not, I don’t have an opera voice. I can do stage legit for example, in a musical. But I have to know what the range is if they said, yeah, we’d liked it to play this lead in a, in a, in a musical and the lead character, the character ripping is a tenor.
What I was, I’m not a tenor voice. I don’t have that. So I can tell you right off the bat, wait, I’m not gonna be able to do that unless you transpose the music. I can’t sing it. It’s a baritone. If it’s a baritone, I can cut it, but I can’t cut it as a tenor. And so I would be that’s something I would tell them right upfront.
No, I can’t do that. Because I don’t have that vocal range. It needs somebody who does I’d love to have it, but simply doesn’t exist on a baritone. That’s where I live. And if it’s in that range, we can definitely discuss it. So something like that. Yes. I would be able to say, I’m not able to, to cut that, you know, and, and not [00:40:00] be able to do it.
If it’s if it’s a a role, an acting role, a particular dialect, I would think twice about taking that on because, you know, for me to have to do all the work, to get the dialects. To me. It makes sense just to hire somebody who already speaks the dialect and get on with it. You know what I mean?
I, why do I need to do that? Why don’t I need to break my ass, trying to do something that somebody else can fall out of bed and do you know for their sake is what I’m saying. Yeah. And I, I’ve not been in a position where I have to, where the role was offered to me that I had to learn a dialect. You know, it might be African or Haitian or, you know, I can fake a few things, but I, you know, to really do it right.
You’d have to work with a dialect coach and you’d have to really get it right. And you know, what the hell, like, I don’t necessarily need to do that, you know, as a, as an acting gig when somebody else can do it. Yeah. Naturally, you know? So that’s kind of the way,
Jeff: so what you have coming up next on the docket for you?
Any [00:41:00] projects?
Tim Russ: Well, let’s see, we had I’ve got A project that I’m working on a science fiction project called proximate seven, which is which is a science fiction sort of quasi action slash drama that takes place in a, in a different you know, some is somewhere in the future when a galaxy far, far away as it were And working on that with a producer, I’m working on obviously a series series, project time fighters with another producer and production company and, and a biopic that I’m working on with a third set of producers that is a early 19 hundreds.
Biopic about a, an African-American man who flew fighters for a world war one France. And it’s a fascinating piece. So I’m working on a biopic for that. Right now I’m just coordinating with uh, with a writer who’s based in Germany, but he’s a British guy. And and he has, he’s done some of the things that the character has done in the bloody script.
I was like, wow, that’s amazing. So he’s [00:42:00] got, he knows what he’s talking about when he’s writing that stuff. Yeah. So he’s working with him right? As we, you know, this past, I just had a meeting with them two days ago to try to get, you know, the contract issues out of the way. And and also the story elements that we’re discussing and going over.
So he’s going to write that it’s gonna take about a month or two months to get it done. And and that’s that’s a project very dear to my heart. As far as getting it off the ground and getting it going, it’s a biopic. So it’s not an original. Project in original story, it’s a biopic and it’s just amazing.
So working on those three from a directing standpoint people have approached me about a couple of other scripts, feature scripts. There’s one called tops. Somebody approached me about, which is sort of a feel-good comedy drama that takes place in New York city. And it’s a, it’s a fun little script.
Just needs a couple of structural changes. So the third act and it’s, you know, ready to go. It’s under rewrite right now. Acting rise, nothing right now, I just finished working on three projects in front of cameras. So the projects that I’m [00:43:00] focusing on right now are, would be projects that I’m involved in from the ground up in terms of the stories and the writing.
And, or you know, that somebody has approached me about directing. So, approximate seven, I’m involved in from the storyline, from the ground up on the story. This other one is biopic I’m involved in from the ground up. And the series project on fighters, which is a television series action adventure.
As a matter of fact, it’s a comic book type action adventure series. And that one I’m involved in from the ground up.
Jeff: Well, I hope as they can come release, you will come back. You come back on the show has been a great pleasure talking to you,
Tim Russ: sir. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. OB got what you needed for the audio and good things and.
It was a pleasure as
Jeff: well. Thank you so much. It was definitely my pleasure and everything sounded good. And it was great to talk about the business with you.
Tim Russ: Absolutely, man. All right, sounds good. Good night. All right. Take care. Bye bye.