It all started with a man in a festive shirt, yelling onstage about topics ranging from Ronald Reagan to cocaine to “men’s parts.”
“The first time I watched Robin Williams’ A Night At The Met, I was maybe, like, 10 years old, and I was enamored with the structure of a stand-up special but also a one-man play,” said local filmmaker Craig Trow. “I had never seen anything like that before and that performance changed my life. I ran that VHS down to the point where I had to buy a new copy.”
Williams and another popular comedian, John Candy, were Trow’s biggest influences. “I enjoy watching performances that destroy you one second with comedy and another second with drama,” he said. “It’s a very difficult balance beam to tackle, and Candy was one of the best.”
Now, Trow is in the middle of bringing his short film, The Manager Position, to life. The South Carolina Film Commission, Trident Technical College and Indie Grants recently announced the three short film projects selected for their annual Indie Grants production this year. Trow’s The Manager Position was among the three.
In the film, a man loses his job when the company he works for is forced to shut down during the recession. He’s unable to tell his wife, fearing she’ll be disappointed in him.
“It’s a universal story about pressure we put on ourselves to achieve a level of success that is only really measured by the imaginary concept of society’s expectation for you,” Trow said.
The Manager Position was inspired by the intersection of two stories. When Trow lived in the U.K., he knew someone who was fired but still pretended to go to work each day until he could figure out the situation. The second story was an urban myth of a parking attendant in Trow’s hometown who created his own job and continued to live the lie for twenty years.
To be chosen for the Indie Grant has been gratifying for Trow. “I’m incredibly honored that they saw promise in the project,” Trow said. “That’s all you can ever ask … Vouching for people is always tough because you are laying your reputation on the line and saying you stand by your choice. I’ve had a few situations like this happen in my professional career but this really is a huge achievement and opportunity.”
Bringing The Manager Position to life has been a long and tangled road. The film started as a music video before becoming a silent short that was set nearly entirely outside. It took several other forms before Trow finally decided on the correct framing just in time to submit it for Indie Grants.
“Since starting this process last April, I would say being the through line of writer-director-editor has been a blessing and curse,” Trow said. “There have been multiple times I’ve needed sounding boards because I’m just too close to it. Once in post production as writer/editor it can be tricky to balance making the script you initially wrote into the movie it needs to become.”
Trow’s acting journey has been a long road as well. At age 12, he saw a local community pantomime in his English hometown that left him captivated.
“I was blown away by how much fun it was and how these people could be so talented but yet have normal jobs,” he said. “So as soon as we left I told my mum I wanted to do that and then, sure enough, I was in the very next year’s pantomime as a rat. Even running around with a pair of black tights over my head, I felt like a rock star.”
Ten years later, Trow was diagnosed with dyslexia while at drama school at The Bristol Old Vic.
“I had known for a while that something was off, but it took someone seeing me, listening to me to finally look into it,” he said. “The dyslexia makes me see things differently and build stories, ideas and concepts in abnormal structure. So it can be troublesome for me sometimes to relay my ideas in a coherent fashion and to know if the dyslexia is helping me create something interesting and different or hindering an idea that is actually quite simple.”
Though The Manager Position has occupied a lot of time, Trow also devotes a lot of his energy toward filming and editing projects for clients along with helping fellow actors achieve their goals via his website.
“Over the years of being involved with acting and production I’ve been able to create my very own little niche,” Trow said. “I love performing but I also love being able to help performers look and feel their best. In this profession you need a lot of moral support as the rejection can be brutal. I like to think that whatever I’m doing it’s creating inspiration for people to keep going … I love hearing that actors that I coach book work. Truly makes me smile from ear to ear.”
For more information about Craig Trow, visit craigtrow.com.
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