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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

MOVERS and SHAKERS: Tim Carr, Screenwriter, Director, Production Company Owner, Actor and Native New Yorker Our Coverage Sponsored by Hallak Cleaners the Couture Cleaner

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Originally from Queens, New York and having lived in the states of New York, Delaware and Pennsylvania, Tim Carr is a writer, director and actor and also has his own production company “Parking Lot Films”. Carr's career has spanned from smaller films such as "Killer Instinct" with Dee Wallace Stone and Corben Bernsen, to the small screen on ABC's "All My Children" and Fox's "The $treet" to larger films such as "Rocky Balboa" and "Safe" starring Jason Statham.

With a diverse educational background spanning from Smyrna, Delaware all the way to York College in Pennsylvania studying radio, television and theater, Tim first started working in television on NBC’S “Homicide: Life On The Street” which filmed in Baltimore, Maryland. Carr’s roles were small, but the education of watching talented actors in the cast on set frequently, guest directors use different approaches of story telling mixed with the unique style of editing of the show, was something he’d taken with him to every project since.

Smaller roles led to a larger presence in television, where Carr had shifted his focus towards New York, and begun filming commercials nationally for such brands as Wendy’s, Sprite, Nike, and an award winning commercial for a mortgage company. Internationally, Carr had been featured in commercials for soft drinks and telecommunications brands. In addition, Tim had done print ads for restaurants, hair products as well as clothing companies.

Over time, Carr had not only found a focus in front of the camera, but also behind the camera. Carr’s first writing and directing effort in 2002 “The Wrong Fortune Cookie” which was a small yet well received film that played in such major markets as New York, Los Angeles and screened internationally in India. His next film “Deeper Shade of Soul” was nominated for a “best screenplay” award at Hypefest in Hollywood, and subsequent efforts “Leaf” and a television pilot “Watching The Detectives” were met with award nominations and various degrees of critical acclaim.

In the past twelve to fifteen months, you would be hard pressed to find an independent film that Tim Carr wasn't somehow involved with. Carr has been involved with projects that have screened at the Sundance Film Festival, Cinequest and festivals far and wide and all over the world, even reaching as far as Bali, Indonesia. Currently, Tim is touring with his award-winning festival hit "The Other Ripken" (for his own production company “Parking Lot Films”), which is a comedy that has received national coverage.

When not touring with a film or on a set, Tim can be found roaming Manhattan and the West Village doing live comedy and shows on the stages of Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. The opportunity to go work completely live and unscripted in New York is something that Carr finds fulfilling and a complete departure from the often times long and methodical approach of a film set.

Outside of his film, production company, and stage commitments, Tim works with the Steve Nash Foundation which provides healthcare and support for children in countries who need it and volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, The March of Dimes, Ronald McDonald House, Easter Seals and Special Olympics. Each and every winter since 2013 Carr does the "Polar Bear Plunge" in which participants jump into the icy Atlantic Ocean to raise awareness and funds for Special Olympics. 

Carr currently lives in the tri-state area with his wife and two children and is currently hard at work writing 2 screenplays, editing a documentary, in pre production on his next film and in the early stages of writing his first book.  We are so pleased to present Tim Carr as our latest Mover and Shaker!  Peachy Deegan interviewed Tim for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: What motivated you to enter the entertainment business? 
Tim Carr: I grew up in a small diverse little town in Pennsylvania called Avondale. Avondale didn’t have much of anything, a lot of people who were there had been there for 30-50 years and beyond, so there weren't many exciting things to see or do. However, Avondale was not far from Philadelphia, and Philadelphia had so much of everything: it had great unique areas to go hang around and from there, you would witness great music, great people, and great art. That creativity inspired me, and that, mixed with my imagination and always trying to crack a joke to make my friends at school laugh (this resulted in many detentions, so these jokes weren’t always successful ones) led towards me trying different things as a creative outlet, writing little sketches, volunteering as a clown for community days (sorry to all clown-phobics, I had no idea how many people were terrified of clowns until that day) and eventually trying my hand at radio. Each of these steps got me towards my ultimate goal, which is just to tell some stories that hopefully people would like to hear.

What do you like best about it as a business and what do you find the most challenging aspect? The best thing about the business is when it connects with an audience. When people would say something like “your film inspired me, so I tried to find a few books to learn more about it”, that’s everything to me. The challenging aspect is because there is so much content out there, what makes what I’m doing so special? Even as an actor, there are a million six feet tall gangly white guys, what makes me different from any of them? So as a result of that, what I’m trying to do is something different, and maybe try something maybe folks hadn’t thought about before, so sometimes trying to stay ahead of that can be quite a frustrating, occasionally self-loathing experience.

What is your first acting memory? 
Professionally? I’ll never forget it. My first day of filming on the TV series “Homicide: Life On The Street”. It was in the beautiful city of Baltimore, Maryland. I got there about 7am for my 8am call time, and I was so excited and at the same time had no idea what I was doing. I sat there in a metal folding chair just ready for anything, and thinking such thoughts as “Is this job going to be forever?” “Is Spielberg going to walk in and see me?” “Is this easy street”? Turns out none of those things happened, though Steven Spielberg is welcome to Baltimore anytime he’d like and I’ll buy him lunch, but that first moment was just pure bliss, there was no showbiz politics for me, no agents, nothing to worry about, just a guy thrilled to be there, just absolute joy. Funny ending to that story, my scenes was cut and never made the show for that episode.

What should everyone know about being an actor that most do not know? 
Actors don’t work every day, and have tons of downtime. So it’s not a “regular” job like so many have, teachers, firemen, police: these are amazingly hard and so much more important jobs than the one I have; those jobs have a schedule and times that need to be met. Actors don’t have that; there have been times where I’d had night shoots in Tampa, Florida, and tried to sleep throughout the day, but being a new city and staying in a hotel, you just don’t sleep well and you’re going to be up all night, so I’d roam around Tampa, just trying to see some things and kill some time. No set schedule, just the hope to get a little rest that day so I can do a nice job filming that night.

What defines a great actor and why? 
A great actor takes chances. These chances may not always work, but a great actor will take them. Look at some of what we consider our “greats”. We have Jack Nicholson, Marlon Brando, Daniel Day Lewis. Look at Jack Nicholson in “As Good as It Gets”, he had to be quirky and a little mean for that role to be effective, and he went all in. Marlon Brando in “The Godfather”? That way of speaking his dialogue was his idea, and word is, when he originally met with Francis Ford Coppola in that role, he had an orange slice in his bottom lip. The chance Brando took, that turned out to be downright iconic. Daniel Day Lewis in everything, have you seen “My Left Foot”? Lewis barely spoke for half of the movie and could only move his left foot. A great actor will take big chances, and if it works? That performance has an opportunity to be relevant forever.

How should an actor’s success be measured? 
Success should not always measured in dollars and cents; success should measured on the work and chance to move and inspire. With that said, I love what Kevin Bacon has done with his career: he is someone that would go be a movie star with “Footloose”, but then take a big chance doing something different like the very underrated “Murder In The First” and then also be incredible in supporting roles in “A Few Good Men” and “Mystic River” and then go do smaller pictures like “Cop Car”. I would look at this as a very successful career, because Kevin shined brightly in all of this: no role was too big, no role was too small, he just plugged himself in and was really effective and has really been wonderful to watch over the years. 

What is the difference between a successful actor and one who is not? 
A successful actor, is someone who doesn’t get caught up in ego, who’s always trying to do something different and is never afraid to take chances as they aim for greatness: to be able to do that on a consistent basis, that’s true success. When things get off track and can fall under the “unsuccessful” banner, that could be a variety of reasons: maybe it’s ego running rampant, maybe it’s disagreements with cast members or a director, I think (hope) the way to stay on the more “successful” side of things is to just work hard and not get caught up in any distractions that can derail a performance or a project.

What have you enjoyed the most about each of your acting ventures and why? 
Everything. The whole process is something I love and never try to forget. There are people I have worked with over the years that I never forget, I have a current project that is out which stars a terrific actor named Adam Way. I’d acted with Adam in a commercial years and years ago, I never forgot what a talented funny human being he was, and when the opportunity came when I was directing something, I knew I wanted Adam to be in the cast, I’d made a few phone calls trying to track him down, spoke to his wonderful manager Cathy Parker, and not only cast Adam, but he was also nominated for an award for his work in that film. Since then I’d tried to cast him in roles as much as humanly possible. The fact that I enjoy the work so much, I enjoy the people I get to work with so much on every level, this makes a pretty good mental data base of actors and people that I hope to employ in anything and everything that I’m lucky enough to work on a consistent basis.

What do you think of the historic pay discrepancy between men and women in acting?
 It is, and has always been completely unfair. An example that has been in the press lately is that Jennifer Lawrence was unfortunately being paid less than her male costars. Jennifer Lawrence has what, 4 Academy Award nominations in her career so far? She’s clearly a very talented, very wonderful actress. If an athlete wins 4 championships, that athlete going to be paid among the best in their field, regardless of gender, and I hope in show business it evolves to that same standard.

What directors would you like to work with and what do you think you would learn from them? 
So many, I’d love to work with Ang Lee, what I’d like to learn is how Ang Lee never has a “typical” type of film, he can do a “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” then go do a “Hulk” film, then do film like “Brokeback Mountain” and I really love that versatility. I see the same versatility with Kathryn Bigelow who will do a film like the original “Point Break” and then have us bite my nails while watching “Hurt Locker”. I’m inspired how those two directors get out of their comfort zones and just try different things. And seriously though, who wouldn’t love to go do a funny talky flick with Judd Apatow or shoot something with lots of New York flavor with Eddie Burns? I’d welcome it all; I’d learn from it all. Even while I’d be working on the film, I’d probably be six feet behind those directors, taking notes.

When you're not working, how can people tell when you're acting and when you're being real? I’m pretty loud and will, at times babble on and on and on; it’s pretty easy to tell when I’m acting because I eventually shut up, and if I don’t shut up, someone somewhere will yell “cut”!

How did you start a production company? 
The production company came from me not working a whole lot at times. When I’m in between film projects, I like to go do live stuff, whether it’s theater or live sketch comedy or maybe even a little standup comedy when there’s time and energy. “Parking Lot Films” started one night when I’d written a one act stage play called “The Wrong Fortune Cookie”, I was going to try and get it set up at a “one act play festival”. Little by little I started thinking “well what if we did this one act, but filmed this one act like a little movie?” That was it, and I never looked back.

What are the measurable goals of your production company? 
Ultimately, to continue to tell stories that maybe an audience hasn’t seen yet. There was a film we did where over the span of a bad day the character was having, he felt so out of place that everyone except for him spoke in rhyme. Trying to get something like that made would have been a tough task. Having our own company to do it, made sure a little film about feeling really out of place on a bad day found its film screens and had its chance to connect with people that maybe had felt that way at one point or another. My goal with Parking Lot Films is just that, to just connect with people, if for even a moment, so the world is a little smaller and maybe not feel as overwhelming sometimes.

What would surprise most people about being an actor, a screenwriter, and the owner of a production company? 
How many projects don’t get made. There have been scripts that were 100% ready to go, ready to be funded, that had been cast and ready to film that have fallen apart at the very last minute, as an actor sometimes even the morning of the first scheduled day of filming, there have been films that had been made and still haven’t been released yet, there have been scripts that have taken a year to work on but fell apart, we had talked to a network about a TV pilot we had filmed where the request was to turn it from a thirty minute long sitcom to a sixty minute long “dramedy”, and as we started to work on a re-format, the network pulled the plug. So it’s great when something can get made, but it’s a staggering number of things that don’t.

What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence? 
Avondale, Pennsylvania. In a previous question we talked about how Avondale was not a very inspiring place, and that lack of direction, ironically gave me the direction that I’d been looking for. By learning not necessarily what to do rather than what not to do is what got me out of Avondale; it got me working hard towards some goals I’d established for myself and those goals gave way to more goals I’d established. To this day, I walk around with a post it note of ideas and ways to continue to push myself towards these goals. This may not have happened if I’d grown up in an exciting, comfortable town.

What are you proudest of and why? 
Family. I have 2 young children, and they know, no matter what, I’ll always be there for them. A recent example, is I’d been flying home from Los Angeles, I hopped on a red eye out of LAX, landed early the next morning, ran through the airport, got the car, got home with just enough time to get the little ones breakfast and to school on time. The best part of that, is neither of them batted an eye, flying across the country to make sure they’re where they needed to be on time was not impressive at all to them, it’s just what they expect out of me. To know that they know I’ll always be there for them, to count on me for little breakfast and a drive to school? That’s something I’m really proud of.

What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do? Some of those “Top Chef” style shows on TV really inspire me. These are cooking competition shows, where these chefs on all these different levels need to work together, under different types of circumstances, to make a really good plate of food. Their process, how quickly they move, how quickly they cook and how their mind works, I’d love to attempt something like that sometime, to be able to look at a pantry full of ingredients and be able to put something fancy together in 20 minutes? It’s at least kicked up my “grilling” game. But it’d be fun to learn those techniques.

What honors and awards have you received in your profession? 
Those have been really nice, the last few months has resulted in quite a few nominations for a film we’ve done called “The Other Ripken” we were nominated a lot and lost a lot, but this is a very silly funny little movie, to even be considered against some of these films, in itself is an honor, but win wise, we won something at Indie Fest, our TV pilot “Watching The Detectives” won an accolade award, and this one is fun, as an actor, I’d won an award for a quirky little commercial directed by a friend of mine named Daps Reinert and my costar was an actual mannequin. To be able to connect with an audience with something like that, was a really nice moment. The awards will always be there, but the great feeling of connecting or getting the desired reaction from the audiences, that’s the big win.

What one word best describes you and why? 
Awake, literally and figuratively. Awake in the ways to always look to improve, to keep your eyes open, pay attention and look for ways to improve your processes or learn from what’s going on, and try not to miss anything. Also, sometimes in this business, there’s so much going on, you have to get by on a few hours of sleep!

What do you take your sense of identity from? 
ratitude. I’m grateful for everything. No one promised anything to us in this life, so to be able to look around, hopefully enjoy your surroundings and loving the ones you’re with, everything for me, flows from that initial sense of gratitude.

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan? 
 The first time I was in Manhattan working in this business, I was in Times Square, it was such a sensory overload, and I mean that in the best way possible, giant movie billboards, the lights, the places, it was surreal. It’s loud, it’s always really crowded and it always feels like someone just missed getting hit by a car, but there’s something really incredible and full of life about it.

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan? 
 Not even close, A-1 Records in the East Village. It’s messy, it’s loud, it’s crowded, but it has that feeling that’s been around forever, it feels like so much music history took place in there. I love and miss record stores anyway, but that one, it feels great, I always think “It’s really possible that some of Run DMC and at least half of the Ramones have been inside this place, in this exact spot”. Historically, it’s a humbling place, and then I go over and feel compelled to immediately buy Run DMC and Ramones records.

If you could hire anybody who would it be and why? 
Paul McCartney. He can do whatever kind of project he wants and it’d be fine by me. Paul could say “Hey Tim, let’s go make a film adaption of an Applebee’s menu” and of course we’ll do it, it’s Paul McCartney! He was a Beatle! “I’m happy to announce preproduction on our film adaptation of an Applebee’s menu….”

What is your favorite drink? 
Who doesn’t like a nice cup of coffee? Nothing fancy, I don’t need a frappuccino. If work is over for the day, though? A nice Guinness is just fine by me. They pour a nice one over at Jack Dempsey’s in midtown.

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at a cocktail party?
 This one is kind of funny and kind of shocking too, I’m going to play the pronoun game to protect identities of the partygoers here. I was at a cocktail party, and there was this set of siblings there. There is a well known history of animosity between the two over a family dispute. What is the dispute, you may ask? One sibling took the other siblings spouse and married them. So the animosity runs deep, but not the first time the siblings have been in a social situation since. After a bit of time, and after a bit of drinks, one sibling started to get a little loud with their great displeasure with the other sibling. So I tried to play down the tension and just enjoy the get together. Then I heard a “ping” sound. Then I heard it again. Then again. I look over and the siblings are now throwing silverware at each other. They threw knives, forks, spoons, whatever that they could get their hands on. This venue was a nice venue, I’m not sure it’d seen anything like this (I’m not sure I’d ever seen anything like this!). Eventually the siblings were separated and both had left the premises. You’d think the story ended there, but a friend later told me the siblings had separately gone to dinner afterwards…at the same restaurant! The forks apparently started getting thrown around again there too. There is a morale to the story, don’t throw silverware, because I won’t forget and will tell that story later for laughs.

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan? 
My wife is a vegetarian, so wherever we go needs to have more than just something where the meat is off the plate and the side dishes remain, so we find ourselves at Totto for ramen on 52nd street. It’s a cozy little place and they get you in, feed you well and get you right out of there. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention my great love for 2 Brothers Pizza right around 38th and 8th, 2 slices and a drink for $2.50? You cannot beat it. Love that place.

What is your favorite Manhattan book or favorite character in Manhattan literature? 
Jack “Legs” Diamond! “Legs” by William Kennedy, and it’s a crime tale told from his lawyer’s point of view. New York, plus good guys and bad guys and gangsters, that’s pretty much a “must read” every single time for me.

Who would you like to be for a day and why? 
John Coltrane, and seriously who wouldn’t? Aside from the fact he looked cool and had a great nickname (Trane), if you’re John Coltrane, you sleep in, wake up, jam a little bit, throw on a great suit and then go on stage and cool out with your buddies for a little bit, just coming up with these brilliant pieces and solos on the spot. That seems like a pretty dynamite day for me.

If you could have anything in Manhattan named after you what would it be and why?
 A sandwich. Preferably something with a little turkey, some bacon, little bit of tomato, throw some cheese on it and then toast it until it’s nice and gooey and serve with a variety of dipping sauces. Can we call it “The Timmy” and can I have one right now?

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience?
 I help out with the Steve Nash Foundation whenever I can, and it’s a charity that benefits children and each year at Roosevelt Park downtown they have a “showdown” which brings everyone together to play soccer. It’s great I was able to help out with my buddies, it was great that it’s such a great charity and it’s great to look around and see such amazing athletes like Steve Nash, Kevin Durant and Asmir Begovic play together for such a great cause. It’s a fantastic time and it’s open to the public! Hope to see you all there next June.

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else? 
The film experience in Manhattan is so fantastic. Sunshine Cinema and film Forum are both on Houston St downtown. This is where you can see new films, but also off kilter films or throwback films like “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” or have wild midnight shows and everyone can enjoy whatever they may be looking for and be able to see it on the big screen. I also love IFC Center on 3rd St, because they’ll sometimes put a few little short films from all over the world before a feature film which is my favorite way to get some of those smaller films out, you have the feature film that’s going to get you the crowds, but maybe throw a few short films in front of it that may apply to a likeminded audience, people will get to see something that they may not usually go out of their way to see. Also, I feel like movie snacks in New York are great too, IFC center does an organic popcorn with real butter and as pretentious as it sounds to order out loud, it reallllly tastes good.

If you could have dinner with any person living or passed, who would it be and why? 
Audrey Hepburn, and I feel like this is an easy answer. What made Audrey great, is she was this movie star who held her own or often times overshadowed other movie stars like Carey Grant and Gregory Peck on film, would not be afraid to take chances and do something like “Wait Until Dark”, but all the while, really do so much good for the world with UNICEF and with children’s charities. I think during dinner I’d probably ask about her work/ life/good deeds balance.

What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience? 
As a Bleecker Street guy, even though CBGB’S s isn’t around anymore, whenever I’m remotely closed to it, I still walk by it, any place that gave us The Ramones, The Police, Blondie, Talking Heads etc deserves that respect and I’ll always be sad it was never made into a landmark of some kind. Was it because of those scary CBGB’s bathrooms? If so, I totally understand why it was never made into a landmark. I still have a CBGB’s tee shirt and I hope I always keep it.

What do you personally do or what have you done to give back to the world? 
When I wake up, if I have air in my lungs, my head is still attached and everyone in my house is the same, I’ve won. Everything after that is gravy. So when you go through your day essentially having already won, all I can do is give back and pay it forward. If someone I see needs a sandwich, I’ll get them one, if someone needs a pair of gloves they’ll get mine, if someone has their hands full, I’ll get the door for them. It takes 1 second of anyone’s day to do a kind deed whether it’s a quick “hello” whether it’s a compliment to someone’s hat or kid, if you only have a dollar and don’t feel like it’s enough to give, it’s ok, give it. Because the majority of us have already won for the day anyway, may as well try and get it as good as we can get it. Good deeds breed more good deeds no matter how big or how small.

What do you think is most underrated and overrated in Manhattan? 
Underrated is the Hudson River, I feel like anytime the Hudson is mention, the easy joke is for people to talk about how dirty it is, but that whole riverfront around 9th is gorgeous to walk around, it’s great to see some huge yacht go by, or a helicopter land on a pier. It’s always busy, but sometime, just grab a book, relax on a bench and just take in the sights and sounds of the Hudson River. Overrated is any breakfast place that wants to charge 16 bucks for a breakfast sandwich just because there’s a little bit of avocado on it. Breakfast is great, but you can go find a deli on any corner, grab a coffee and a nice egg and cheese bagel with lots of butter and lots of ketchup and spend a total of 7 dollars and you’ll have a great meal. If anyone spends 16$ or more for a breakfast sandwich I hope there are gold flakes on it.

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite​ column and what do you like about it? 
“Cuisine and Drinks”! I love getting any inside tip of where a good place may be to go get a bit or something to drink, and it’s always a positive to be able to share a great place. On a personal note my favorite article under “Cuisine and Drinks” is a very well kept secret and that is the beautiful Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, I was glad to see Mover and Shaker Alison Blyth's “Go Fish” get some love, but I hope the readers also give “Nicola” a chance, try a “Nico-boli” and you can all thank me later. Quick aside about “Nicola”, it’s so very good you know who regularly visits it? Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters, I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Let that be a testament to Rehoboth Beach, one of the biggest rock and roll stars on the planet frequents it. So “Go Fish”, “Nicola” and a possible Dave Grohl sighting? Who says no to Rehoboth Beach?

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you? 
When I first broke in to the NYC scene film wise, I was up roaming around going from audition to audition (mostly for commercials) and as I roamed around taking in the city and walking by all of the storefronts, it hit me, a film that works as a love letter to the streets of New York, and I wrote a script called “Another Yesterday” about a bitter dessert critic. We haven’t gotten “Another Yesterday” made yet, but when we finally get that thing made, I’m really excited at making it just feel so much like New York, not just your tourist attractions like the Brooklyn Bridge or whatever, I want this to feel just deep down side streets of NYC style. My only hope is we get to film it exactly that way.

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers? 
I’m on facebook and twitter under @Tim_Carr and @ParkingLotFilms (and I will always follow everyone back, I love seeing what everyone in the world is up to) and I’m over at, stop in! Say hello!

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