The Brad Weisman Show

Lights, Camera, Action (and Songwriting) with Owen Asztalos

January 04, 2024 Brad Weisman, Realtor
The Brad Weisman Show
Lights, Camera, Action (and Songwriting) with Owen Asztalos
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever wonder what it's like to step behind a camera and capture a world that tells a story frame by frame?  Our latest episode with Owen Asztalos, gives you a front-row seat to the cinematic journey of a Savannah College of Art and Design student, whose lens on life has shifted from the written word to the visual narrative of film.  He's making waves as a film major with a keen eye for cinematography, and he's here to share his transition from high school to the hallowed halls of a college dedicated to the arts.

Owen details the profound impact of working with the acclaimed director, Ron Howard on the movie set of Hillbilly Elegy and how it has reframed his aspirations towards directing.  Owen helps us peel back the curtain on the realities of independent filmmaking with insights into the hurdles and triumphs of bringing  short films to life.  His films, soon to be on YouTube, exemplify the hustle and heart of a young creator in today's film industry.

We wrap things up with a nod to the past and a glance towards the future.  Delighting in the transformation from a high school outcast to a collegiate creator, our guest's path is a testament to the power of finding your community. 

Join us as we bid him adieu, but not goodbye, anticipating the tales of artistic growth yet to come. Tune in to our weekly gatherings every Thursday at 7 pm and take part in celebrating the myriad of paths that forge our collective narrative.

#owenasztalos #bradweisman #thebradweismanshow #hillbillyelegy #scad #filmmaking #actorslife #hollywood

---
Welcome to The Brad Weisman Show (formerly known as Real Estate and YOU), where we dive into the world of real estate, real life, and everything in between with your host, Brad Weisman! 🎙️ Join us for candid conversations, laughter, and a fresh take on the real world. Get ready to explore the ups and downs of life with a side of humor. From property to personality, we've got it all covered. Tune in, laugh along, and let's get real! 🏡🌟 #TheBradWeismanShow #RealEstateRealLife #realestateandyou

Credits - The music for my podcast was written and performed by Jeff Miller.

Speaker 1:

From real estate to real life and everything in between, the Brad Wiseman show and now your host, brad Wiseman. There we have it, we are back in the studio and I am so, so excited about this guest. We have a repeat guest, which is that doesn't happen too often, but I like when it does happen because then we can catch up on their life, see what's going on, and I am just going to introduce this guy because he's just a good guy, he's a cool guy, oh, and a stylist.

Speaker 2:

How you doing buddy, brad, it's so good to see you. Thank you for having me back.

Speaker 1:

You're welcome to come back anytime you want. Absolutely. Next time, though, if you could tell your girlfriend not to bring the food into the studio, because now all I want to do is eat.

Speaker 2:

I'm sorry man, I'm sorry. We went to the farmhouse kitchen over in West Reading Delicious, I love it, one of my favorite spots in West Reading.

Speaker 1:

I've never been and you're loving it. I've never been. Maeve is loving it. She's doctor chomping down and just having a good time. She's chowing down. Are you bright and eat yet? I haven't eaten yet. You look hungry, do I? You look hungry Like Mount Nourish A little bit, I'm thinking white, like a greenish look almost Like drawn in. It's bad, it's not good. We'll fix that when the show is done, though We'll get Hugo to fix that up for you. You look great. I love your hair, dude.

Speaker 2:

Thank you. It looks really cool Going like mad scientist. I love it. Do it while you can.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, because after a while it just turns into this and you can't do much.

Speaker 2:

That's what my dad tells me. He's like duty. He's like why would you get a haircut when you can grow?

Speaker 1:

your hair. Absolutely. I agree with that, 100%, absolutely, all right. So let's catch up here, man, last time you were here was November 2022 and you were just. You were getting out of high school. You were just about done, yeah, right. Or you were getting out, yeah, you were going to start college. You're in college now.

Speaker 2:

I'm in college and where are you at? I'm going to the Savannah College of Art and Design, which I believe I teased in the last podcast you did. That's right, it was a teaser. Yeah, the leaders came up to you and got accepted too. Yes, and it was looking really promising at the time and evidently promising enough.

Speaker 1:

Obviously, now it looks real promising. Yeah, because you've been there, yeah, and I love it. You're changing things up, man. You're doing different things. I mean, when you reached out to me, I was just kind of thinking okay, what's different? Is he doing a movies now? Is he doing anything different? I know you do music, but let's go into the first topic. You said you're now really going like headstrong, like really into directing.

Speaker 2:

Yes, sir, so tell me about that. So, basically, being at school now, I am a decided film major and a minor in cinematography. I was going to do a minor in dramatic writing but I decided to bail out of that just because my writing process is very specific to me and I don't necessarily think that I'll be able to fit myself into a formulaic style. So I decided to do a minor in cinematography, which is cool because they have like 16 millimeter and 35 millimeter film.

Speaker 1:

They still have that stuff, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Isn't that something? Yeah, and then I was in that curriculum. I'm sorry, skadza tuition is like insanely expensive, right, and a lot of that goes towards like really, really fun, like you know toys, that the that's cool, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Very cool. And why do they do that? Why not go right into 4k or go right into you know everything else.

Speaker 2:

Well, I mean, they do have the right, I mean, but, like you know, there's like there's the Ari and there's the, uh, the red Komodo, which you know camera nerds will know.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no idea. That sounded like some kind of train. Is it a train Like the end of a caboose?

Speaker 2:

Is that a?

Speaker 1:

dragon? Yeah, thank you, hugo, it's a dragon that they actually used, the red Komodo, yeah. Or like a coat. Yeah, I'm wearing my red Komodo today, or whatever. You're looking sushi restaurant.

Speaker 2:

That sounds perfect for sushi restaurant, right Right.

Speaker 1:

So tell me about this. Now You're the, they have different cameras and things.

Speaker 2:

Yes, so so you have like obviously like newer cameras that they use on like a lot of Netflix shows, like the red Komodo uses, like they use it on Hibliology.

Speaker 1:

Okay, you know something about that movie I heard I know a little bit about it. Yeah, that's what I've heard.

Speaker 2:

I've heard that, yes sir, yes, sir, but but no, but I mean, film has kind of had like a renaissance recently, like in terms of like film cameras and shooting proper film. Just because the difference between film and digital right is that on a film camera you're getting a series of stills just played in sequence. And then, obviously, a digital camera, you're getting an actual, like proper video. And so there's something about the film camera that like has this sort of dream like sequence to it, because you're not actually getting the full moment, you're just getting stills from the moment your brain puts it together Exactly. So it's got this sort of like hallucinatory effect that digital doesn't have.

Speaker 1:

And you know what's funny, that's happening in music too. There's if you go to buy a techniques receiver today, like an actual receiver from back in 1970s, okay, you will pay at least $5,000 for something that has tubes in it. That's the old stuff. And the reason being is that there's something we don't know how it is or how to define it. They still don't understand it, but the human ear loves hearing the warmth of more analog than digital, and it's the same thing with film. That's it's. You know, we've gone so digital that everything's gotten. It's just not as warm. It's sterile yeah, that's a good word for sterile. And look at, look at records. Records have made a comeback. There's a reason Vinyl vinyl has made a comeback, and the reason being if you listen to the same song on a CD or on Spotify or whatever, and you listen to it on a record player, the difference is amazing. It's incredible. So it's the same kind of thing. I can't believe they're going back that way.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I love it. It's having a bit of a renaissance right now. You know like there's guys like Tarantino who have been like, faithful to it, like their whole careers, obviously. But even like newcomers, like Damien Chazelle. He made a movie called Babylon. He made La La Land on Netflix. All that was shot on film. Yeah, and it's more expensive.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely it's more expensive.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, cause you gotta develop all that right, yeah, yeah, but we're gonna get to use it at Scad, that is awesome.

Speaker 1:

So what took you towards the director situation? I mean cause, that wasn't. I don't think that was a conversation last time we talked.

Speaker 2:

I don't think it was either. I was more focused on acting them and, as I still am now, you know, like the way that I see it is that acting is plan A for me. Gotcha, I wanna be an actor as long as I can be while I'm young, so I can just like maximize the kind of roles that I'm able to play and all that sort of stuff. But I think directing sort of came into the forefront for me, more so whenever I was on Hillbilly Elegy and working with Ron extensively yeah, one of the best directors in the world, exactly, exactly.

Speaker 1:

But that's the thing right.

Speaker 2:

Is that like being on sets my whole life, like the directors were always secondary to like the other, like A-listers that I was like working with like. Jennifer Lopez and Ray Liotta where it's like they're the center of attention. Then on Hillbilly Elegy, the most important person in the room all the time was Ron. Isn't that credible? That's incredible yeah and I saw him and I saw how everybody circled around him all the time. I mean, the whole vision is centered around what he sees for it. Right, right, Everybody is a player and a tool in living out his vision.

Speaker 1:

Wow that's a different way to describe that. It really is because you're right, because you know, when you look at some movies I think the actors probably have more freedom or they have more. It's not as much of the director's vision, but with Ron you're saying it was definitely like. This is his thing.

Speaker 2:

Well, yeah, I mean, he's one of those guys who's like a true auteur filmmaker. And there's not many of those guys out there and I just realized that I'm like what's the difference between a Ron Howard film versus a Martin Scorsese film, versus an MCU film, and why does one work and another one doesn't Interesting? And that just like provoked my own thought to be like well, what's the difference between you know around Howard film, martin Scorsese film and MCU film versus, you know, an Aestalus film?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, exactly you know what I mean. So you're dissecting that, you're kind of tearing, you're kind of digging in and dissecting what the differences are, and you know, and you know, and also you're going to have your own take on things. And Well, exactly, I'm, I'm, because you're doing a short film, I'm doing, I'm doing that was a good segue right Right into the short film. That's right there. We go Right there. Short film.

Speaker 2:

We're here, yes, short film. So I have a short film coming out that I made at school with classmates of mine called a brother's keeper. Cool, that's going to be on my YouTube channel.

Speaker 1:

So we'll be all see this.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely Awesome it's going to be accessible to everybody.

Speaker 1:

That's great Always.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's a short film. It's going to be about 10 minutes long and it's it's. It's a really neat story. It's something very personal to me, sort of about the fall out between two brothers.

Speaker 1:

Oh, wow.

Speaker 2:

And then I'm in production on another short film right now that we just shot at Dave's diner in Adams town, and delicious food also. Yeah, a great breakfast spot, but a little plug, little plug for Dave's.

Speaker 1:

I will do Dave's just. That's good man, it's awesome. Plug as many as you want I don't care.

Speaker 2:

No, sorry, yeah, but no, so. So this new one is called a sincerely Joel and it's a script that I wrote over the summer and I knew I wanted to direct it at some point, but just like scheduling and stuff like that with some of the different cast members and crew members didn't pan up until November. Yeah, so we went into main production, which is us like shooting and being on location at Dave's, and we shot it and now I'm in the editing process with it Cool. So, it sounds so fun. Written by me, directed by me. I start in it. I played a character.

Speaker 1:

Cool.

Speaker 2:

I'm going to edit it.

Speaker 1:

Very cool, so that's going to be on YouTube also. Yes, sir. Okay, so now does that run through the school? Is that how you get the equipment for that and everything, or is that? Is this separate from the school, your college, or is it? How does that work?

Speaker 2:

So Brother's Keeper is is connected to SCAD. Okay, that's technically like a SCAD project. And then, sincerely, joel is is all my own, completely self-funded. I use some of the money that I've made like from acting over the years that I finally got access to to invest. Oh, you don't have that's, I was did you have access to that? Not like forever. Forever, I didn't, until I turned 18. And then you had access to it and then I showed up to the bank and I was like I'm here to collect.

Speaker 1:

Did you really? I'm here to collect, give me my money. I was always wondering how that works. So, like child actors, they they can't touch it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, wow, yeah, no, I walked out of the bank like with all cash too, with like all of my earnings that I made.

Speaker 1:

Wow, that's pretty good. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So you had enough money to start working on this film and whatever that you're doing by yourself and plus maybe a little bit leftover for lunch today.

Speaker 2:

For lunch today. Yeah, yeah, that was very nice. It's very nice to do that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's amazing. So the director thing is cool. You're going to have to keep tabs on that with us. I'd like to to be up to date on what's going on and send us the stuff so we can share it on our social medias and all that. Absolutely, that'd be awesome. So the other thing you're seeing the differences between high school and college. What's your biggest? What are the?

Speaker 2:

biggest differences. I mean there's like I don't even know where to begin. I mean you know you could talk about sort of like the social clicks that exist in high school.

Speaker 1:

Let's back up Just real quick. I remember in the last podcast we had discussed the treatment that you got in the public school system at one point and we had talked about that because you were doing something different than any of the kids were doing. Right, they probably and at that time in kids' lives or teenagers and things, they have a hard time dealing with that. They don't know how, they don't know what you know what it is, they don't know what click to put you in, because there was no, there was no child actor clicked Absolutely. That's not there's nothing there, and if there is, you're the only one in it. Yeah, you're by yourself. So what's interesting now you're about? Now you're with your people. Exactly, right, exactly.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no, I mean artists. I always existed in my own hemisphere, in high school, yep. I get it and it was just because, you know, like, when I was a kid, like I was, you know, I was unathletic and I didn't play sports, and that was the thing. Yeah, yeah, you know what I'm talking about.

Speaker 1:

I know exactly what you're talking about.

Speaker 2:

Yes, yes, yeah. So I was unathletic and I didn't play sports and so, like I never like, made friends on like the football team.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

You know, I never made friends on the basketball team. And then I did theater camp and I made friends there and I was like good at it and it was like as if I was like you know some sort of like you know star quarterback, but in theater camp kind of thing. And then it eventually got to the point where I wasn't doing theater camp anymore and I was instead like acting on sets and like working with professionals. And then they sort of like became my tribe Mm-hmm. And then things sort of went downhill in high school because I wasn't acting professionally as much anymore, because I was in sort of the awkward phase and COVID was going on. So then I was just kind of like sad all the way around, obviously because I'm in high school, you know my tribe is on set, yep, and I'm surrounded by a bunch of people who I never really bothered with before.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's a weird.

Speaker 2:

It's a weird situation, right, yeah, and you know I was, I was the weird art kid, yeah, and so I Kind of, for a while, thought that, like you know, people just didn't like, wouldn't really like me, and I was gonna just kind of like be in my own. I think you just didn't understand, you? No, I mean because they they understand life as being very like one-dimensional, yes, and one way, which is fine. I mean like that's like the world that they exist in, you know, and that's and that's cool, but it's not at all the world that I was no, exactly, you were seeing things that they never saw, probably will never see, yeah, and and it made you grow up real quick. Yeah, yeah, and I mean I just like I lived, like you know, most of my my high school life, besides that LCDS and during my senior year, yeah, that we kind of talked about. Well, I lived like most of my high school life. It's just like very Like, I'm gonna say, self-absorbed, not necessarily in like, in like a bad way.

Speaker 1:

No I got.

Speaker 2:

You know, I just I had a lot of my own stuff going on, yeah, and then now going to college, I'm meeting all of these other kids who, like myself, were also the weird art kid in high school. Yeah, I got it sort of, like you know, bonded together and like form this little commune, yeah, well, they always say misery loves company.

Speaker 1:

But it's not misery, it's just now found company.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I found company. Yeah, it's, it's absolutely.

Speaker 1:

It's really a beautiful thing. That's the cool thing about college, I think, when, especially if you're going into an art school or something like that, you know there's not many people in high school, that are not many people all doing things at the level you were doing them. Yeah, so it's just. And also we're in an area that's not as accepting about doing something that different. Yeah, so it's. It's an interesting thing, but I'm glad it you turn that. You turn the tide there. You're now in college and it seems like you're going well, you met somebody and she's in the studio here, which is cool. Yes. And now let's talk about your music phase. Yeah, because last time you're here you were, you were hardcore into to playing live and you were at the railroad house and doing different things, and so where's that going? I played at the railroad house the other night. Actually, I did too. Did you know that? Did you actually? Yeah, I know kidding. I think I played the week before you did. Really. I'm there back there Third Thursday of every month. I play 5, 30 to 8 o'clock. It's a happy hour game. Dude, I'm there.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, come on come January 18th.

Speaker 1:

Actually a little plug for myself there, Just done yeah absolutely there, you should come.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, definitely. Yeah. No, I played there. I saw it on Facebook.

Speaker 1:

You were there this last month, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, this last Monday. Tonight I have a gig at Bixler's Lodge. Oh, yeah, yeah eight to ten down in Antietam yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, oh my god, yeah, yeah. So I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be hanging there now you doing the acoustic acoustic by yourself, I type gig. Or are you doing with other people?

Speaker 2:

tonight it's gonna be a two-hour all acoustic set awesome. Very cool which is sort of the new era of like music and songwriting that I've kind of moved into. Yeah, I've just like really been exploring my folk influence, yes, and like the folk discography that I've been listening to very cool. And I've I've taken my songwriting in a different place, where before it was like a bit poppier and a bit more like yeah, you know, just a bit more mainstream, I guess. And I've sort of decided that, that I want to kind of Do something a bit more honest to me and like where I'm at now, and so I've taken more of like a folk approach to start playing harmonica.

Speaker 1:

Nice, yeah. So I like very cool, you can come into our gig and you can play. You can do the piano man from Billy Joel. You can do the harmonic part for us.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no absolutely, let's do it. That's a cool instrument. It's very cool, especially pair with the acoustic guitar. You know, can you?

Speaker 1:

get that the thing right. Right, yeah, yeah, looks like it looks like you have braces on or something. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

I'm gonna be playing a lot of harp tonight, which is cool. I'm kind of doing like the Bob Dylan thing.

Speaker 1:

I love it right now, yeah you know it's with music and with anything else you have to be true to yourself. Yeah, you know, and when I started singing again, you know, just in my, just for the heck of it, because I just wanted to I remember the first thing I said to Jeff, the piano player that I that I play with, I said I don't want to do anything that I don't want to do. It sounds stupid, but for many years when I did other bands and did was in the music Realm, I always you'd play stuff that people, other people want you to play and I just don't want to do that anymore. I want to be real to myself when I sing what I want to sing, because I'm doing it now for the love of doing it. I'm not doing for the money or anything like that. And that's what I think. When you're talking about writing and doing what you're doing now the acoustic and the harmonica You're just being true to yourself.

Speaker 2:

I'm being true to myself and I'm also being honest with myself. Yeah, in a way that I've never really been before cool all writing songs, like everything's been very uh. Are you happy with it? I'm so happy with it.

Speaker 1:

I.

Speaker 2:

The other night I was in New York With my girlfriend and I wrote like one of the best songs probably like the best song I think I've ever. Sweet, just because it was like one of those like kind of like you know perfect chemistry, yeah, moments, um, and I wrote this song and it's, it's just like the most honest I think I've ever been about myself and love that circumstance and sediment where everything else before has been kind of Romanticized, yeah, a bit. Yeah, and I'm not Like I haven't been able to breach the barrier of vulnerability that you kind of have to get past to like make really good art.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. They always say I mean even with with Taylor's what they always say for every breakup she writes a great song. Yeah, you know, and that's so true. I mean it's so true. You have emotions is where it comes from. You know, you gotta have an emotion going on. If you have nothing going on in your life, you're not gonna be writing good songs. You gotta, you gotta really dig into that stuff, absolutely. That's cool, so anything else going on.

Speaker 2:

Is there anything else going on? I mean, you know, not really, I've just been, I've just been, oh, I'm getting ready to move to Savannah. Did I tell you about that? You're moving to Savannah, very cool. Yes, I do know that. I do know that.

Speaker 1:

I saw that also in social media.

Speaker 2:

Yes.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely yeah. We're like property moving, everybody's moving, the family's passing, everybody's moving. So what do you guys? I mean, you're gonna stay there then and be in Savannah, that's it.

Speaker 2:

Yes, so like. So they're like gonna buy a house in Savannah Excellent and then I think I'm gonna live off campus next year, so I'm gonna start like looking for my own apartment as well, very cool. And I think I'm gonna spend like I really really being in the city like a lot recently doing this new show that I have in the works.

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah, can you talk a little bit about the new show you're doing?

Speaker 2:

Is it a show or a movie, it's a TV show. Tv show it's a limited series. There's not a lot I can say about it. It's gonna be on max pretty soon and then, like whenever there's more details released about it, I'll be able to talk about it. But it's been fantastic being able to be a part of it so far. It feels so so, so good to be in the industry Can you at least say comedy drama.

Speaker 1:

What is it? Crime, crime. There you go. There's a good one, yes, sir. So we have to make sure it's not missing when he leaves the studio tonight.

Speaker 2:

He's so into character now.

Speaker 1:

Don't take my red A-ball. I mean, that's very important, dude, it's a nice A-ball. It's a nice A-ball, isn't it? I bet you never saw a red one before, kind of matching my sweatshirt. Oh yeah, exactly, red over there, red there, that's right. So I'll tell you what. Man, that is awesome. We are gonna have you back, hopefully, if you're willing to come back. Love to, yeah, we're gonna get on next time too. We have room for another seat here. You can talk about what you're doing at school. That'd be awesome. Tell your mother and father. I said hello, I will absolutely, and anything else you want to tell anybody.

Speaker 2:

I hope everybody's having a great day yeah exactly.

Speaker 1:

I'm having a great day, especially now that you guys are here, of course. Alrighty, that's it. Thanks a lot, buddy, I appreciate it. Thank you, brad. All right, there you have it. Oh and man, I'll tell you this was great catching up. It's been a while it's been over a year since I've talked to him and there's so much going on and it's just a fun time. That's about it. Come see us every Thursday 7 pm, right here on Facebook, instagram and wherever else you can find us. All right, come see us every Thursday 7 pm.

From Real Estate to Real Life
Film Industry Directing and Differences
High School and Folk Music Navigation
Reunion and Invitation for Future Appearances

Podcasts we love