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An Interview with Christopher Showerman, Director of Radio America

by Mike Haberfelner

December 2015

Films directed by Christopher Showerman on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie Radio America - in a few words, what is it about?


A couple of farm boy musicians get a taste of commercial success when one of their songs becomes a hit on the radio, and how their fame changes how they feel about each other and the music.


What were your inspirations when writing Radio America, and was any of it based on personal experiences?


Though Radio America is completely fictional, all of the stories in the movie happened to me or someone I know. One of the reasons that I was able to write this script so fast (18 hours) was that it was just like typing the narrative from my time playing in rock bands in the rural Mid-West United States.


To what extent does the music in the movie reflect your personal musical tastes, and to what extent were you involved in creating the songs for your movie? And what meaning does music as such have to you, personally?


I love the music in this movie and still listen to it, however, I have pretty broad musical tastes. I studied music in college and for a time was considering pursuing a career as an opera singer. I grew up listening to country/western music and fell in love with the clever lyrics there. I studied jazz, classical, modern, and contemporary music throughout the years and have developed a love and respect for all of it! I believe our taste in music, just like food and art, is hugely influenced by our environment and what we have been exposed to. I love trying out new things, things I might just hate at first, just so Iíll have a broader, fuller life experience.


What can you tell us about your directorial approach to your story at hand?


Well being as this is the first movie I directed, a lot of my approach was trial and error. The actual telling of the story was no problem. Having written the script, I had already played the movie through in my mind several times and felt pretty secure with what I wanted to see on screen. However, it was all of the other things Ė the myriad of technical and logistical decisions - where I was very grateful to be surrounded by seasoned experts. I could not have done this without the small but awesome team I had around me, and Iíll be forever grateful to all of them for trusting me enough to follow me into this fold.


As far as I know, Radio America is your first film as a director - so what made you pick up directorial duties for that one?


We had a script we were pretty excited about early on. We even tapped a popular industry veteran to direct it, but as often happens to popular industry veterans, he was drawn away to another project (that paid much better Iím sure). So there was no one left to direct this thing. In my mind the train had already left the station and this movie was now a cause set in motion. So rather than stop the presses, I said screw it... Iíll do it!


You also play a supporting character in Radio America - so have you written the character with yourself in mind, what did you draw upon to bring him to life, and how much fun was it to play a big time producer, actually?


When I write, I guess I put myself in every character, though itís always important to make sure that each character has his own unique voice. That said, I never dreamed that I would be playing Simon. Originally I had thought of him as a brutish thug, possibly with tattoos, stuffed into a suit and tie. Shaving my head was a choice to differentiate him from the proverbial ďLong Haired ArtistĒ. Simon sold his soul to the corporate world years ago and has a great need to control every detail in his life. He is someone who doesnít have to raise his voice to sound threatening. And when I go into movie-making mode, I get very direct like that naturally. Itís not out of meanness, but efficiency. It ended up working out pretty good! I didnít really have to act at all!!


What can you tell us about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?


We were so lucky finding the people that were involved with this. We sifted through literally THOUSANDS of submissions for this project. Iím so pleased with the cast that we ended up with! They really embodied the roles as individuals and they all fit the palate together as a larger composition. They say that 90% of directing is good casting Ė I would say that is closer to 99%!


Do talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere!


The actors were fun and lively and spontaneous and creative! They are a joy to be around. Everyone was helpful and supportive. They really got behind the project and took ownership of it!! Meanwhile, I was stressed out of my mind dealing with one catastrophe after another Ė nothing out of the ordinary, that is just what to expect when you make a movie. At the end of the day, it is the most fun you can have while working harder than you thought you could!


Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Radio America yet?


We have gotten overwhelmingly warm response to Radio America. Of course, as with any movie, not everyone will love what you have made, and that is OK! I always welcome criticism and differing opinions because it gives me better perspective for the next one.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


Iím signed on to a project done by my pal Asif Akbar that is supposed to start filming in February. It is a cool story Ė think Area 51.


You initially entered the filmworld as an actor - so what made you go into acting, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?


I got my first taste of acting at age 5 in a kindergarten production of The Three Billygoatís Gruff. Good material to start out with! I have always loved performing both as an actor and a musician. Most of my formal training for acting came from acting school after college and then my studies out here in Los Angeles. One of my favourite schools of thought around acting comes from my pal Jack Plotnick Ė who shares all of his thoughts on the subject here Ė for FREE!!!!


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Radio America?


I love the variety I have gotten to experience in my career! I have gotten to play heroes and villains and victims. I have gotten to find empathy for some of the most heinous characters you can imagine and gotten to delve into some really dark depths to understand some of these people. If nothing else, it has made me a less judgemental and more compassionate person. I have had so many great onset experiences in front of as well as behind the camera that have prepared me to make my own movie. I meet new actors here all the time that say they would never consider doing extra work because that is not really acting. I say HOGWASH!!! Itís the best way to get on set right away and it can be an invaluable experience for someone who is willing to learn from everything!!


How would you describe yourself as an actor, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?


My approach to acting is through empathy. As an audience, we connect to the humanity of the characters we watch. So no matter what character Iím playing, the first thing I try to do is figure out where my humanity meets my characterís humanity. Even if Iím playing a serial killer or a cartoon character, I have to start with the honest humanity that we share. Because that is what an audience recognizes wether they realize it consciously or not.


Actors, filmmakers, writers, whoever else who inspire you?


I am inspired by stories of courage and integrity. There are so many versions of integrity, but anyone who has made their mark on the world by staying true to who they are and sticking to their own personal code of ethics. My grandfather was that way. He was an amazing man, generous, patient, kind, strong, gentle, courageous, and infinite integrity.


Your favourite movies?


Life is Beautiful! I love this movie because anyone who has the huevos to make a COMEDY about the holocaust is a badass! Not to mention the movie is very funny and heartbreakingly moving. It says something deeper about our shared humanity that transcends man made borders and alliances.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


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If you had asked me this question 5 years ago, I probably would have had a really fun list of movies that I would have revelled in how horrible they are. However, after having made a movie myself now and having more of an inkling of the unbelievable work that goes into making one Ė even a bad one Ė I look at movies completely differently now, and with a lot more respect!! I heard a great line at a recent film market that went something like this:

ďDonít bother trying to get producing secrets from the producer of a really successful movie. If you have an amazing script and unlimited funds, almost anyone can produce that movie! The guy you want to talk to is the guy that produced a horrible almost unwatchable movie! Because if he can take something that bad and actually get it made, he can probably do anything!Ē


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?


Come talk to me on Facebook at:

And visit my website at:

Check out my resume at:

And Radio America:


Thanks for the interview!


Thank you!!! I loved your questions!!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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and shall not be held responsible for
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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD