As the Titanic sinks to an icy grave, Rose Dewitt Bukater holds on to Jack Dawson for dear life. Jack is making the noblest of sacrifices, helping Rose to stay afloat while he dies of hypothermia. And it’s all happening in a bathtub.
This is the emotional climax of Titanic by Blind Faith Films, which won the Done in 60 Seconds competition organized by Empire movie magazine in 2008. It crams all the best elements of the film into one minute — with an old lady storyteller, a nude sketch, the “king of the world” line, and a wrecked ocean liner included.
The two men behind Blind Faith, Craig Trow and Nick Jesper, were amazed and annoyed by their sudden success. After spending years trying to get recognition as actors and filmmakers, this silly project garnered more than everything else combined. They also found that their next hit wasn’t as easy to pull off.
While they try to sell a number of TV pilots and short comedy scripts, the duo has a new problem to deal with: they’re 4,000 miles apart. But Trow sees his recent move from England to Charleston as an opportunity, not a hitch. At 29, the quick-witted Brit looks like a surfer dude but sounds like Hugh Grant. His wife April, who has family in the area, is an ophthalmic technician.
Since arriving six months ago, Trow has already gained employment as a model and actor. It’s no wonder he found work so quickly — he’s a drama school graduate and was a working actor in London for two years; Sean Connery’s agent even represented him for a time. He performed at the Globe Theatre and appeared on British TV. But the grinding, dehumanizing audition process left him feeling disillusioned with the industry. He’s more comfortable with his first love, comedy. He continues to develop scripts and projects with his Blind Faith friend.
“I spent two hours on the phone with him today,” says Trow. “You can do a lot more stuff over the internet these days.” He is able to watch rough cuts of his film projects as Jesper hones them. Otherwise he’s writing more scripts, including a 30-minute pilot called World Savers for the U.K. TV market. It’s another example of the goofy humor he displayed in his Titanic quickie.
“I love silly humor,” he says, citing Police Squad starring Leslie Nielson as an example of TV comedy that has survived the test of time. “It’s very visual, with silly gags rooted in some sort of reality.” That visual element is particularly important to a foreigner like Trow. “Soccer has been described as a universal language,” he says. “Laughter is of the same essence. In a Charlie Chaplin film there’s no language, but it works any place in the world.”
In Charleston, the center of the comedy world is Theatre 99. Trow has been taking improv classes with Greg Tavares, a founding member of The Have Nots! It’s the accepted way for comedians to introduce themselves to local audiences.
Trow is always hasty to express his gratitude for the opportunity to work in the States, thanks to his wife April. Everything changed for Trow when he met her. “I’d always been a Lone Ranger,” he says, “focused heavily on acting and performance. I went at life headstrong. Then I met somebody I was willing to share my life with, and I realized there was something else out there.” He sees his move as an opportunity, not a sacrifice, a chance to “adapt and do things I’m proud to do.”
Unfortunately, opportunities are few and far between for professional actors in Charleston. Trow knows that he may have to move to New York or Chicago to get more work. “America is a big country,” he says. “April’s willing to go wherever I need to go.”
So catch this promising young performer while you can — he’s acting in the Footlight Players’ Is He Dead?, which opens Aug. 27. He’ll tickle your funny bone, whatever language you speak. Love Best of Charleston? Help the Charleston City Paper keep Best of Charleston going every year with a donation. Or sign up to become a member of the Charleston City Paper club.
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