Interview: Erin Butusov

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FDTC writer James Orrell got the opportunity to speak with upcoming actress/musician/writer/all around cool chick Erin Butusov about her career.
 
 
 
 Written by James Orrell
 
 
 
 
You are pretty new to the indie scene and yet you are gaining acclaim already. How did you first get started in independent film?
 
Being in my first independent film was actually an accident.  Stephanie Hensley wanted to use my toddler in her short film, Mommy Mommy, and wanted to use me so that he would be comfortable since he had never acted before.  It was such a short, easy role, that I wanted to see if I could really actually act in something bigger.  I auditioned for another Stephanie Hensley film, The Trunk, and was honestly relieved to see that said film had a casting director other than Stephanie - a fresh face and an unbiased opinion.  I got the part and it felt damn good.  
Honestly, I had never acted before except for being in the closet for sixteen years.  That shit deserves an Oscar. 
 
 
 
What was your first role?
 
Mommy Mommy, although I don't really like to count that since I was reacting to my own child in a short.  So The Trunk was my first real film that actually required acting.  
 
 
 
What was your favorite role so far and why?
 
That's a toss up between The Trunk and A Mother's Choice.  Both roles were challenging and really pushed my ability as a actress, only making me more versatile today. 
 
 
 
With A Mother's Choice, you dived into the world of screenwriting for the first time. How did that come about?
 
Chances Are Productions is coming out with a creepy anthology that revolves around moms and is to be released on Mother's Day.  Two individuals (Stephanie Hensley and Chris Prather) had already submitted stories.  Usually I act or compose music for the company but I figured, Hell, I'm a mom with a dark side, maybe I can come up with something!  
Thus A Mother's Choice was born...
 
 
 
Chances Are Productions has quickly become a favorite of mine. How did you all form the company?
 
Once upon a time I was on a date with a girl at a gay bar in which we spent the entire time talking about our hopes and dreams that dealt with film.  The restroom at said gay bar had a giant chalkboard and chalk in which we used to write cute notes to each other during pee pee breaks.  One of the notes started with the term Chances are...  
Boom! 
 
 
 
You're known for performing the musical scores for your short films. How did that originate?
 
Stephanie Hensley held a knife to my throat and screamed, "COMPOSE SOMETHING, DAMN IT!"
Kidding (sorta).
I was messing around on a ukulele and played a really happy version of Hurt by Nine Inch Nails.  Stephanie popped up and said, "Can you do that to Mother by Danzig?"  I did it and it turned out pretty well and can be heard on Mommy Mommy.  
From there we bought a Korg digital piano (my forte) for the studio.
Most of the time I can watch a scene and compose music without a hitch.  Sometimes I may need another musician to bounce ideas off of.  No matter what, we take pride in using local talent.   
 
 
 
Your scores are fantastic at helping sell the tone of film. How important is that to you with each film?
 
I look at it like looking at a host/hostess at a nice restaurant.  The host sets the tone.  If you have a nasty, bored host, then your entire dining experience, despite some tasty food, may be a bit tainted because of that one initial experience.  Like a host, music in film sets the tone of the entire experience.  
It's important to know which scene needs an actual song, and which scene may just need a little auditory wallpaper.  What is the scene trying to tell the viewer and how can I convey that through music?   
 
 
What film composers and musicians have been most influential in your work and in your life?
 
I love Angelo Badalamenti (worked with David Lynch).  I also enjoy everyone from Tori Amos to Radiohead, Chaos Chaos to Jenn Champion...  Hell, the list goes on and on...
I've been known to compose music just based on a sound.  There's a piano piece at the beginning of The Trunk that was influenced by the sound of wind chimes.  Everything that tickles the ear drums is my muse.  
 
 
 
Lastly, do you have any upcoming work you'd like to promote?
 
Absolutely!  
Look for me in She Was So Pretty 2, Be Good for Goodness Sake, directed by Brooklyn Ewing, with Dirt Candy Productions.
 
I'll also be in Cinematic Reality, directed by Brandon Prewitt, with Studio 605.
 
And remember that creepy mother-based anthology by Chances Are Productions I was talking about?  Be sure to check that out!  It's called A Mother Knows Best and again, will be released for Mother's Day.  The stories range from creepy to down-right disturbing.  New musicians, new actors, new writers, same bone-chilling creepy vibes.
We also have other things in the works and are excited to announce them in the future. 
 
Like the following two links on Facebook for more information.  
 

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