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Published:August 13th, 2008 15:15 EST
Director/Actor Troy Ryan Zuercher talks about his new film "September 31st"

Director/Actor Troy Ryan Zuercher talks about his new film "September 31st"

By Denise Kaminsky

Troy it is good to finally talk with you. What is the main reason you chose acting/directing for a career?


Opportunity. As an actor I knew I had to create my own opportunity.  Predictable and safe Hollywood conventionalism wouldn`t allow me to audition for certain roles.  I live for artistic challenge.  That`s what drew me into acting.  So, I decided to write something in which I could play two contrasting characters.  That`s where the idea came from.  You could say the idea to write this piece was born out of necessity, and since I knew exactly what I wanted it only made sense for me to direct it as well.


Tell us about your newest project, September 31st and what is the film based on?


September 31st is a 30 minute short film developed from a concept I had when I was nine or ten years old, possibly younger.  My imagination has always been very active, vivid and full of color.  My entire family is like that.  My father would always say, "life is just a dream".


When you think along those terms the boundary between conscious and subconscious is blurry, or in the case of the characters in September 31st, non existent.  Reality is just one individual`s perception.  So I took the above concept and added a dose of chaos, greed and revenge and made it contagious.


Where were your shooting locations? 


We had a limited budget, so we did the exteriors without permits.  Because of that, we had to move around a lot.  It was primarily shot in and around South Pasadena and Santa Fe Springs, CA.  The majority of the interiors were shot at The South Pasadena Convalescent home.  We shot the break room scenes at the very generous Holy Family Catholic Church.


I had been artistically deprived for some time.  I needed to do it.  It`s that simple.  My wife and I had saved up money to go to Kenya, but we decided to do the film first.


What do you enjoy during your spare time, if any?


I`m most at peace when I combine a lifestyle that includes some kind of combative sport (martial arts) with something at the other end of the spectrum i.e. fishing, painting, gardening. The challenge is finding others who share an equal appreciation for both.  The combination of those activities brings me complete harmony.     


Tell us about some of your other projects, including future projects?


My wife, the beautiful and talented actress, Corina Marie wrote a children`s book called Growing Up Claus.


We are finishing the animated teaser for it.  We`re going to turn it into an animated feature film.  We are currently in the final stages of recording all the voices for the characters.  I recently completed work on the short film Eldad, directed by Piran Zarifian, in which I learned some Russian to portray a member of a Russian loan shark operation.  I also have several other films and a web series in development for the fall.


Who is your favorite director and what is one of your favorite films? 


I can`t pick just one; any visionary who`s unique, imaginative, uncompromising and relentless.  Having the ability to blend the above qualities with allowing a certain freedom to express from the actor. 


Some have compared the shooting style of September 31st to a David Lynch film.  That`s a huge compliment, because he certainly fits the above criteria


I have many favorite films.  I will say right now Lonely are the Brave is up there with Cool Hand Luke, All About Eve, The Indian Runner and I would love to do a remake of  One Eyed Jacks.    


When will September 31st be released and will it be screened at any film festivals?


September 31st is now available on DVD at for the ridiculous bargain price of $9000.00 or $9.95 whichever you choose.


What do you look for in an actor/actress?


I come from the theater.  If an actor reads the part better than anyone else they get the job period.  I look at resumes more than headshots.  It`s easier to alter a look, than alter someone`s ability. I want somebody who takes risks while serving the story.  I hate laziness.  Actors that don`t do research, or don`t read the complete script are of no value to me.  I can read that a mile away. 


When we shot September 31st   my wife and I went 26 hours straight.  When we broke for lunch everyone else took a nap while we looked at dailies, and started editing.  When we finished shooting at 3 in the morning, one of our actors, Brad Milne left from our set to what I believe was a call time of 6 am on another set.  I realize that`s extreme, but guys like that are priceless.  I also believe that is some of Brad`s best work.  When I do the full length feature I won`t even consider anyone else.  He earned that part forever.  


To visit the web site: go to:


Troy Ryan Zuercher and his wife actress/author Corina Marie currently reside in Pasadena, CA.