A Very Important Film
In addition to my career as a professional mentalist, magician, and variety entertainer, for many years I've also performed professionally as a non-union actor in television commercials, industrial videos, commercial printwork, feature films, and more. I've been in TV commercials for casinos, local banks and businesses, magazine and newspaper ads, and bit roles in feature films. I do it whenever I have time to fit it into my schedule; mostly because I enjoy the break from the norm, get to meet some great people, celebrities, and get paid to do it. The pay is usually minimal at best, but the experience is usually rewarding.
A few years ago I had the privilege of being a part of a film that I believe is very important.
Oddly enough, I've never believed that there's any such thing as an "important film." Why? Because so much of what is done these days is propaganda, in my opinion; films and shows that are highly-driven by an agenda because the medium of TV, video, etc., is so effective in shaping peoples thoughts and opinions. Usually the more "important" such films and shows assert themselves to be, the less likely I am to take them seriously at all. Why? Because of the hard sell. It smacks to me of carnies in the fairway, aggressively trying to appeal to me to win that little teddy bear for my girl. I mean, if I really loved her, I would want to maker her happy...right?
The problem with this is that when there are people or organizations out there really endeavoring to tell the unadulterated truth about something, such efforts become camouflaged among the posers and fakers. It becomes more and more difficult to distinguish between what is painfully true and what is being pushed upon us by those who don't really have our best interests at heart. Consequently, many people become like blind people in the market, simply buying what they're sold without realizing that they have other--and 0ften way better--options.
The film is called "Gosnell: The Trial of America's Biggest Serial Killer," and stars Dean Cain, Sarah Jane Morris, and Earl Billings. It is directly by Nick Searcy, who also stars as the defense attorney for the film's main character Dr. Gosnell.
The film is the shocking true story of the investigation and trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell - his 30 year killing spree and the political and media establishment that tried to cover it up. Originally investigated for illegal prescription drug sales, a raid by DEA, FBI & local law enforcement revealed crimes they could not have expected within the clinic.
My part in the film was very minor; I played a tactical officer who is part of the raid on Dr. Gosnell's home as well as in a scene when he is finally arrested at his home and taken to jail. I spent three days on the film set, but it is an experience I'll never forget.
The cast and crew were wonderful to work with. On many film sets that I've been on with "A-list" actors, often the "extras" ( "background talent" or "BG" as we are called these days) are strictly forbidden to approach or even speak to them unless directly involved with them in a scene, and only during the process of the shoot. On a professional level this is completely understandable. Filming a movie is a major undertaking, with a ton of moving parts and people who all have jobs to do. These "big-time" actors have an important job to do and it requires concentration with little to no distractions, and they can't be messing with the literally hundreds of people trying to get a piece of them each day over the course of the months it takes to shoot most films. Rules are in place to prevent, or at least minimize, these distractions.
The filmmakers, cast and crew of this film were a rare, and very welcome, exception. Each morning of the shoot, filmmakers Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer gathered all cast and crew together to talk about the importance of why they are shooting this film, and the facts of the case and the investigations behind it all. They've even interviewed Dr. Gosnell in the prison where he's currently serving three life sentences, and much of the dialogue that is used in the film are quotes from the doctor himself, as well as direct conversations from the court transcripts.
Everyone involved with the film all seemed to clearly support the message and were working very hard to see that the truth of an important--and true--story was told. The film isn't political, though the subject of abortion in general is a hot topic in politics. It simply endeavors to point out the essential facts of how the government and media deliberately ignored the crimes that this man was committing--and had been committing--for over 30 years. Regardless of one's take on the issue of abortion, the film blatantly reveals through the trial and acts of this one doctor, how that the industry behind this act eventually comes to it's natural conclusion--that the depravity that results in the de-valuing of human life, and the extreme lack of accountability and responsibility surrounding it--is a highly disturbing, disgusting and de-humanizing blot on our current society. If you don't believe that, check out this photograph of "Baby Boy A," perhaps the largest child ever aborted by Dr. Gosnell. I will warn you now, this photo is very graphic, so click here to view the pic at your own risk.
So why am I writing this, you may ask? Because in the normal course of my career, entertaining people in a general sense can at times be very unfulfilling. Although, as an entertainer I do take great pleasure in knowing that I bring special moments to people at their special events--I work to uplift them, challenge their thinking and pre-conceptions, help them to relax, enjoy life, and forget their problems for a while. However, I would never take myself so seriously as to say that what I do ever creates a life-changing event for anyone involved, with few possible exceptions.
But being a part of a film like this has been a fantastic experience, even though my role in it is very minimal. It's wonderful to be a part of something that seems to be pissing off all of the right people, and is actually changing hearts and lives in a way that may actually be saving countless lives. I make no apology as a father, husband, and human being for being a part of such a production.
Regardless of your political leanings, your stance on abortion, etc., I encourage--nay, DARE you--to go and see this film while it is still showing. If it doesn't cause you to re-examine yourself as an individual and a human being and what is truly important in life, then I truly believe you are part of the problem.
Forget all of the superhero films and the rom-coms that are the same nonsense over and over again. Go and spend an hour-and-a-half and witness something that should help make you a better person.