Artist Profile

Artist Profile: Brian Landis

                 

Richmond actor Brian Landis might not think of himself as a leading man, but he definitely should. Take a look at any of his performances and you'll quickly see what we mean. He has skillfully portrayed a wide range of television and film characters, including Samuel Adams (no big deal, just a Founding Father), a detective, mobster, Union soldier, bank robber, and car salesman, among many others. 

Brian's strong onscreen presence and natural delivery are reminiscent of a seasoned Hollywood actor, and his performances are so spot-on that they can't help but resonate with you. Metro is lucky enough to have worked with him on a variety of projects, including two award-winning 48 Hour films as well as commercial shoots.

Learn about Brian's background, past roles, and future plans below.

Where did you grow up? I’m from a tiny town outside Staunton, Virginia, called Churchville. Actually, to be more accurate, I’m from the sticks outside Churchville. The closest landmark is an old grain mill and the Middle River.

Tell us about your education/early career history. I came to Richmond to attend VCU and ended up a bit unfocused, so I helped put together a noise band called More Fire for Burning People and focused on graphic design and web development to make ends meet.

                                                    

                                                  

How did you get your start in the industry? I did lots of theater growing up and was part of ShenanArts, a theater group in Verona, Virginia. After moving to Richmond, I tried to make my way into film and TV, but didn’t commit to it. After a few small gigs on Legacy [1998-99 TV series] and some local commercials, I took a break until a few years ago. When music started to become frustrating, I decided to return to my acting roots, and I’m really glad I did.

How do you prepare for a role? It’s so amazingly fun to read a script for the first time. It’s like opening a present; you never know what you’ll get. I always try to read over the entire project to get a vibe for the story's tone, then I dig into the character and figure out what kind of person would say the dialogue that’s on the paper. Are they happy-go-lucky, restless, troubled, angry? Next, there’s the basics of simply learning the lines as well as possible so they become almost second nature. Delivering lines while reading off the page kinda kills some of the nuance in a performance. Also, I try to figure out what music the character would listen to, since music says so much about a person and can help me get into the headspace of a total stranger. After that, I just let it go and attempt to prepare for the nerves that could, without fail, stifle a good performance. Rarely can I perform without some level of anxiety, but reducing that stress as much as possible is the best thing I can do to give an authentic performance. Lately I’ve been trying to rehearse each part two ways: first, exactly how I think the character would act based off a straightforward script read, and then from the opposite of what might be expected. Maybe the bad guy’s actually a really nice person.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? I really, really love it when I can affect people. When I convince someone that I truly am the character, not merely performing as them, I feel as if I’ve done something right, and it’s exciting. I guess I’m no different than most performers in that I love having an audience that I can invite into a new world. It’s terrifying knowing that I may, and will, sometimes fail miserably, but it’s exhilarating at the same time.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job? The almost constant rejection. It’s usual to prepare and audition for thirty things and only get one (if I’m lucky). When you walk into an audition, nerves are piqued and your adrenaline is pumping. You’re basically standing there naked; you put everything into your performance and then you walk out drained. Usually that’s it--there’s no call back, there’s no phone call, there’s nothing. It can sometimes make you question if you’re good enough. In actuality, it’s almost always because I was too tall or too old or too young or too gray or not gray enough, etc. It seriously feels like trying to win the lottery sometimes.

Your favorite acting gig thus far? For many reasons, it was my role as Sam Adams on Legends & Lies. I had a bunch of dialogue, there were lots of emotional peaks and valleys I was able to work within, I was in front of the camera constantly, and, simply put, it helped build my confidence.  I was also able to work with some really great people. That said, my favorite roles to play are the ones where the characters live on the fringes and don’t quite fit in with society. I’ve never seen myself as a leading man. I love the weirdo that is socially awkward and sits in the corner or maybe listens to a little too much Joy Division. To that end, a close second favorite would be a couple shorts that I’ve been in.

Who is your dream costar? How about four? Giovanni Ribisi, Patricia Arquette, Christoph Waltz, and Parker Posey.

What inspires you to be creative? I was just thinking about this, actually. If I’m not being creative, I feel listless and bland. Some people use their creativity to make money, while others' creativity lies in scientific formulas or cooking delicious food. My passion lies in performance, and without it my life wouldn’t be nearly as gratifying.

What are your plans for the future? Well, I’ve just finished editing my first short film, “Kill Jar,” that an amazing crew of people helped bring to life, some of whom work at or with Metro. On a side note, Metro has some of the most creative people that I know in the industry. While we’re all out trying to make a living on commercials and industrials, etc., there is an immense talent pool of people right here that are hungry for narrative work. I think many in that crew, by following up the 2016 Richmond 48 Hour Film Project win ("No One") with “Kill Jar,” are building something that has a lot of promise around here. I don’t know where that gets us, but it’s really exciting. So, I’m working on that, continuing to try to get as many acting gigs as I can, and making plans for a follow-up short film as well. It’s baby steps for awhile.

To learn more about Brian, visit his website, brianklandis.com.

Artist Profile: Lauren Healy

If you're a Richmond resident or play frequent tourist in the city, you've probably visited Blue Bones Vintage. Nestled on the corner of Broad and Monroe, the shop operates in conjunction with Steady Sounds, a used record store. Offering a wide variety of clothing, accessories, shoes, and charm, it's a city favorite and the best place to find one-of-a-kind pieces.

The mastermind behind the vintage splendor and coolness of Blue Bones is co-owner Lauren Healy. In addition to running the shop, she's a freelance prop and wardrobe stylist. She's lent her services to video production companies, commercials, magazine spreads, fashion shoots, and more. 

I recently had the honor of asking Lauren a litany of questions, which she was kind enough to answer. Find out more about the vintage guru below!

      Blue Bones is owned by Lauren and Jeremy Flora. Steady Sounds is owned by Marty Key.

     Blue Bones is owned by Lauren and Jeremy Flora. Steady Sounds is owned by Marty Key.

Tell us a little bit about your background. I grew up in Alexandria, VA, and went to Catholic school from kindergarten through high school.  In 1998, I moved to Richmond to study fashion design at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). 

 Lauren as a sophomore in high school, rocking       a vintage choker paired with her school                             uniform's burgundy blazer. 

Lauren as a sophomore in high school, rocking       a vintage choker paired with her school                             uniform's burgundy blazer. 

 Be on the lookout for Lauren and other Blue Bones crew showing off back-to-school vintage vibes on CBS6's This Morning's Labor Day show!

Be on the lookout for Lauren and other Blue Bones crew showing off back-to-school vintage vibes on CBS6's This Morning's Labor Day show!

How did you get into this industry? After graduating from VCU, I moved to New York City. I interned and subsequently worked for Anna Sui, my favorite designer at the time. After being there for a couple years and getting the full NYC fashion experience, I moved back to Richmond. I then worked at Saks Fifth Avenue for several years and became the fashion editor for Belle Magazine, a monthly publication through Style Weekly.  This led to other styling, wardrobe, and prop jobs for magazines and commercials. 

                                          Two members of the True Blue Crew, Harper and Mel.

                                         Two members of the True Blue Crew, Harper and Mel.

Tell us about the evolution of Blue Bones and the partnership with Steady Sounds.  Blue Bones Vintage has been a side hustle for a long time.  I provided vintage for Need Supply's website about 6-7 years ago and coordinated pop-up markets for years. Those factors, in addition to constantly collecting vintage pieces, made the store inevitable.  When I met Jeremy Flora, (it was love at first vintage jacket: the two business partners are also husband and wife) it was just the natural progression for us to grow from pop-ups to the Broad Street storefront. I've known Marty, the owner of Steady Sounds, forever.  We became friends when I attended VCU. I would ask him for record recommendations when he worked at Plan 9 (music shop in Carytown). Blue Bones found our way to Steady Sounds a couple of years ago when I dropped off a pop-up market flyer and Marty asked if we could collaborate. We just celebrated our two-year anniversary at the Broad Street location!

                                    Lauren during a Ledbury shoot. Photo by Adam Ewing.

                                   Lauren during a Ledbury shoot. Photo by Adam Ewing.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your work? When it comes to commercial work, it's having a solution for any given issue at hand.  I love thinking on my feet and solving problems. It's important to keep the ball rolling and ensure everything runs in a timely fashion.  Plus, keeping props interesting and stylish makes the work more fun for me. As for Blue Bones, just being part of Broad Street and creating a closet for the community to shop in is beyond rewarding.  It was scary to take the risk of opening, but it has been so rewarding. Now I crave the collaborations, photo shoots, and branding that keep evolving.

       Blue Bones models showcase some of the                                store's offerings.

     Blue Bones models showcase some of the                                store's offerings.

     Lauren styling for Cobra USA. Photo by Adam                                   Ewing.

   Lauren styling for Cobra USA. Photo by Adam                                   Ewing.

What's the most challenging aspect of your job? For freelance and commercial work, it's having different bosses for different projects.  It takes some juggling and finessing to know how to produce what each specific client is looking for. The biggest challenge is that this is a complete lifestyle for me.  It actually is less of a challenge and more of a balancing act in a lot of ways.  Everything I do usually revolves around Blue Bones or a freelance project.  It's hard for me to turn it off.  I do everything from hunt down products and prep items for the floor to bookkeeping, stamping sales tags, and cleaning and organizing the store, so it can feel like my job is never done.

What's the biggest misconception people have about your career? That it just seems fun. It is fun, but there's also a lot of hustle, dedication, and hard work that goes on behind the scenes.  You have to be a real passionate weirdo to love vintage and props this much--it's a lifestyle choice more than anything else!  

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What advice would you give someone pursuing a styling career?  Do what you love.  Research, study, and intern for someone who works in your area of interest. Learn from people in your preferred industry. Show up, shut up, and be nice.

 

What are your future plans? Right now, I'm just excited for the fall/winter season! And, of course, continuing the hunt for the best vintage as well as being part of Broad Street. I would also love to have a shop in each state!   

 

Follow Blue Bones on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook. 

 

 

 

Top photo by Ashly Paraham. All other photos from Lauren Healy/Blue Bones.