The Interview: Robert X. Golphin

Actor/Writer/Director Robert X. Golphin currently has a film screening within the film festival circuit called "Punch Me".  Robert took some time to speak with NCIndieSeen about the film:

NCIndieSeen:  Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today.  Tell us about the film Punch Me.

Robert: Punch Me is a story of a young man who is coming to grips with who he is as far as his sexual identity goes.  He has a very ill father who is dealing with diabetes and a boyfriend who wants him to come out and be happy with who he is, and its really about him deciding if he's going to be true to who he is before its too late. 

NCIndieSeen: Typically writers tend to write what they know, are there any personal experiences that you drew from the film?

Robert: I have alot of family and friends that are gay, and I'm in a business where there are gay folks, so I've seen alot of heartache and pain.  I have some family members, one in particular who is gay, and the family is not really accepting it.  That was one of the determining factors for me coming up with Punch Me.

NCIndieSeen: How long did it take for you to shoot this film and what was the production like with assembling cast and crew?

Robert:  There was some discrepancies as to how long it took to shoot the film, I don't know off hand unless I look at the paperwork, but I think it was about five days.  We shot some footage, if you put that on top of it, maybe a few months.  As far as the production process, I play one of the lead characters, in the film and I am the one who's struggling with who I am.  We cast Brian Anthony Wilson from HBO's The Wire as my father.  I always wanted to work with him and the gentleman who plays my boyfriend is Elwood Idris Simon, this is his first production.  He came in as my stand-in, and things didn't work out with the original actor, so he got bumped up.  I produced it with Blue Angel Entertainment LLC.

NCIndieSeen:  I've always been curious, when you are an actor and a director, what is that like being behind the camera and having to be in front of the camera essentially at the same time?

Robert:  It is a very challenging process.  But I've had some projects, that I have written and produced and starred in and let someone else direct it and I wasn't happy with the outcome.  So it would take a lot for me to give up the directing range on something I create.  If its a project I am really passionate about.  Some projects I write, I can give it off to someone else, but I have to really be able to trust someone for that.  The balancing act--being on camera this second and being behind the camera the next second, is definitely a challenge and you have to make sure you surround yourself with people who are like minded and share your vision.  So I had a really good AD (assistant director) and a great DP who at the time I think he was 17 when we shot it.  He's actually shot three of my films now. 

NCIndieSeen: Wow that's pretty phenomenal.  What would you say, to filmmakers such as yourself that is trying to break out into the independent film industry.  What kind of advice would you give to them?

Robert:  The easiest advice I would give to them is if you wanna be a filmmaker, you have to make films.   Don't let lack of funds or lack of resources stop you from pursuing your dreams.  In November I launched my own production company called Brotherside Entertainment LLC, based out of Wilson, NC with three other young guys.  Our DP is 17, our director of music is 20, and one of our other partners is 18.  I think its important to cultivate talent.  If you're someone who wants to make a film, or want to act in films--make sure to collaborate with each other.  You cannot do this by yourself, so find somebody who has a dream that's similar to yours.  Grab a camera, grab a halogen lamp or china ball or shoot with natural light.  It's all about projects that look good and sound good at the end of the day.  Just go for it. 

NCIndieSeen:  Finally, I understand you were in the Denzel Washington film "The Great Debaters", what is more challenging for you, being an actor or a director? And do you have a preference?

Robert: If I could only do one thing for the rest of my life it would be writing.  Because writing is my first love.  I was reading newspapers when I was 3 years old. I've always had a love for writing.  I'd fall asleep with a pen and pad I'm just a nerd. I carry notebooks and pens wherever I go.  However, I love writing, directing, and acting equally--it's just that writing is my baby.  Acting allows me to become different people, and it gives me visibility to do other projects I'd like to do as a writer. 

NCIndieSeen:  Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.  We appreciate it!
Check out the link here for more information about Punch Me: 

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