June 1, 2022

Movie Script in the Flesh W/Jayce Bartok

Movie Script in the Flesh W/Jayce Bartok

Movie scripts have to come from somewhere right? How about real life! Jayce story is greater than most scripts. The best part is...It is still being written.  Light your lantern and take a listen.

How to find Jayce:

https://instagram.com/jaycebartok

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEQM-hkG8_o5xHomzmsYufA

https://www.jaycebartok.com/

https://imdb.com/jaycebartok

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Transcript

Good day villagers. You ever wonder about those movie scripts? Are they real? Sometimes. Fat. Is better than fiction. I had a great conversation with Jace Bartok actor, director. Talked about his life journey and becoming an actor and director. Please lights and lanterns and join us in the village square.

jayce:

Pittsburgh seventies, 1970s. Suburban family, my dad was a doctor and my mom was an artist. And my dad, I don't know how, a lot of us grew up without great dad role models. He was not a good guy. But for kids, suburban family, seemingly middle-class. Couple years into my life. Cause I'm the youngest of four. By I was like way late. Okay. You. And so my parents divorced in the early eighties. So my mom decided to pack up the children. And moved to New York city. Okay. No money, no job. Yeah. This sounds like a movie. Going to go up there. I'm going to make it as an artist because she was an amazing artist. She made these films. She got grants from the NEA. She had really big ideas. Okay. But no money, no job. So we come up and my brothers and sister are at NYU. But the situation with my dad is just, it's done. So I grew up watching. Being the youngest, watching all of these scenarios, like the divorce, the fights, all the craziness, yeah. Yeah. And, The my older brothers and sister we're doing their thing, especially my brothers and my sister became like a defacto, other parent, to help raise me. But I think just watching all of those things, I would just show up dressed, in a military uniform, like doing a character. You know what I mean? Really obsessed with bugs bunny. Richard Pryor. Wow. Two role models. Yes. So I think like I was always like trying to like, come into the room and break the tension. And nobody would notice, because I was like the youngest. So then when we moved up here my brothers and sister went to HB studio to acting class. And I just tagged along and it classic story. Then I got cast in a play. So then, then I started doing, like regular class. And then I think around eighth grade, I did like an apple computers, commercial. I feel like the first apple computers. And I was like in the classroom. I think like the camera just passed me and I was a principal. So I got into the screen actors Guild. And then, got an agent, right? Same thing. Like my brother got an agent, but I got an agent, but then I started getting jobs. He didn't get the jobs. He's fine. He's fine. He's fine. So I started with my foot in the door as like a teen. You. Like teen. And then in high school, Did a pretty big off-Broadway play. And I went to Catholic high school. So you want to get embarrassed? Have, like somebody hold up the review and the all boys Catholic high school and read the review. You know what I mean? Yeah. Talk about embarrassed, but then I was in the Fisher king. That was like a big. Robin Williams, that whole thing. And me and this actor, Dan, Futterman got to, we got to beat up Robin Williams and set Jeff Bridges on fire. So Fisher king, God things got rolling. Started doing movies. Got a really big agent, right? And was like Christopher walk in and all these big clients. So it did a lot of like swing kids, a lot of there's a couple of school ties, those movies where I would be like the third guy. You know what I mean like the Matt Damon part, but then I would be like, the guy that's like this isn't right. What's going on here is not right. a lot of those. And then a little bit of the pattern of my career that agency got eaten by William Morris. And then they dropped me. And that was the beginning of the comeback. And it was like, wait, what? Dropped me. I'm like I've been working all the time. So that kind of branded me is Heck man. So then got a pretty good agent. And then I got this movie suburbia, which was like a big deal at the time. Richard Linklater movie. I played this guy pony, who's the school nerd. And then becomes like a rock star. So he comes back to his hometown and plays, but all his homeys are in front of the seven 11. Complaining miserable. And then like I show up in it, I'm like the king of the humblebrag. I'm like you guys have great. You know what I mean? And the limo is there. And play. And it was like an incredible experience. So I think after that, it was like everyone in that movie is going to be a movie star. So there was that kind of weird pressure and are you going to go to LA? What's going to happen? You know what I mean? And my career has taken like a lot of funny. It was marked by that like big agent dropping you then rebuilding and fighting your way back. So that's been like this strange kind of metaphor for my career. Oh, Perseverance. Yeah,

cameron:

I hear nothing but perseverance in your family. I had nothing but perseverance. So you got a story. Yeah. Coming up, you think you find the way and then all of a sudden something happens and it just stops. Exactly. You have to find a way to reinvent yourself but then you find your way back. Cause. Got it. The grit, passionate grip right here. That's

jayce:

great. That's an aggression and grit because some people they walk in it's like that Hollywood cliche and the agent's no. That guy. I know that girl, and I was never that person. I was always like, I gotta prove myself. You know what I mean, impress a director do this thing. So that's been like, like the passion, the perseverance, the grit. It's and then at a certain time when I met Tiffany, my wife, I was like, I want to write something because, I had been auditioning for all these TV pilots during TV, pilot season, where every year it's like a lottery ticket. You're like, all right, you're a blind fighter pilot. Go. All right. If you're an emergency room doctor. That's it has a drug habit go. You know what I mean? We don't serious. Can you try to get all these big Hollywood shit. Big network shows. There's all this pressure. So I wrote a screenplay that became this film called the cake eaters. Kristen Stewart, Bruce Dern. Great cast myself. And then again, remember that the whole grit and perseverance, right? That went to Tribeca. Sold. I thought I'm going to become a big screenwriter. Again, Boom. You know what I mean? So it's kinda that's been the way that my career is going. But I'm. I'm loving it. Yeah. Yeah. I Yeah. Yeah. And you know how it is you, if you have to have that. If you don't have that for this profession. Then you should get out of this, the performing arts. You know what I mean? If you think you can do something else. You should do that. But if this is all you can do 10. You're ready.

cameron:

During your downtimes, who was important to you during your downtime, when you was taking those tips, who was important to you?

jayce:

My mom was really important, like so many of us, when you let your lost my mom and it relatively young age, you. My, my twenties. So my mom was really important to me cause I think her as. As an artist, she instilled in me. Like a work ethic. And like a real deal quality. You know what I mean? If you create something for real. That's important in itself. You know what I mean? And people will come. You know what I mean? So get good at your craft and like really aspire to connect with people. For the betterment of humanity. You know what I mean? Three of them work through your work. Yeah. That your goal. Not money, not all those things, all those things. Sure. They're important. But having a goal, whether you're in the arts or whatever, you're in. Is to try to better. Humanity, Bring people together, unity, creating an energy, a feeling of love, peace, unity, all these things, through what you're doing. And just be, get good at your craft. And the rest of it will work itself out. And that's easy to say, because as an actor, I know so many actors, including myself, that okay, this person's really great. They should be working all the time. But for whatever reason, maybe they're not, so you have to find something to sustain you, but what else sustained me is something that you said before. Is diversifying. So I started writing. With the goal to once I got my first film mate, I said I want to write and direct. A film. And then my wife and I formed a production company where we tried to assemble. A group of people, cinematographer, sound people, other people that you bring into your village. Cause. You can't climb that mountain without that village, right? Absolutely. You. Yeah. So you got to assemble your team, your people. Whatever you're doing. So that's been a journey since about 2000. I guess the movie was made like 2006, 2007. So that has sustained me through times where okay, some years, you get some big TV jobs and big film job, and then other years you just find yourself like auditioning. It's just oh my God. But because we try to make things that is something that I can just switch my brain onto. And I really liked that part because you can create your own universe, you can create your own team, you can create your own message. You know what

cameron:

I mean? You have to build there. You feel like you're

jayce:

building. Exactly. Yeah. So that has really that's sustained. For sure. And something we talked about before voiceovers. Voiceovers have sustained me, man. I can't say enough. Good things about voiceovers. And when you dig deep down the voiceover. William H Macy, you find all these people that were like doing, like William H Macy was like narrate a curious George so that's something I fell into as an actor, as an extension of being an actor. So that has really sustained us just in terms of like livelihood. And you do commercials. You can keep your lights on, pay your bills. You know what I mean? And maybe like right now, your. You can work for sell a pharmaceutical or sell dishwashing detergent or something. And that allows you to say, all right, let me try to develop this film. I'm working on. As a writer, or. We make documentaries, so that's helped sustain me. And in the dark moments,

cameron:

Yeah that's amazing. Holy. But no, listen. If you think about it, right? You talk to people through all walks of life, and immediately when you started talking, I said, oh, he's a builder, because what you're doing, you assembled your team to get a project done similar to when I built the athletic program, I assembled my team and my village to build the athletic program. And it's about the greater good, right? It's about. Making the world a better place. Making your community in your area better? Yes. And then once you learn how to sustain that everything else will come right. As for you, like you just said, right? You weren't expecting to do voice acting right. Through your work. Through your dedication. You said it fell to you, right? Because you put the work in, may not look like how you want it to necessarily all the time. But yeah. You're fortunate enough and you're humble enough about it, that these things are going to keep happening and is flowing. Yeah, I just love when people are telling their stories, I'm like, oh look, every, everybody has a similar thing. No matter, You're an actor singer. No songwriter, it doesn't matter. Everybody has whatever found. If you have a strong foundation. And you love what you're doing. Yeah. You're going to have a impact on people. That's amazing to hear that.

jayce:

Yeah. Cause I know we connect on that about the coaching. I have not had to have another job in 35 years. So there's times where I get dark and I go oh, because at this point, We've talked there's people. The friends of mine, people I know did a wildly famous. Oscar winners. When you go to yourself at night, you go. Why am I not? You know what I mean? But then you go. You might impact on my community in my village, my block. Maybe. Maybe that's what's important to me. You know what I mean? Maybe that's my journey. It's I can't complain. I'm making a living right. But I'm also bringing this group together. And we're going on this journey together. So what, I would be foolish to complain. We all complain. We're all like we do. We have those moments. But I'm starting to see that what my journey is, yeah. Cause when you were approaching the big Bible and you start to go. He reflected what's it all about? Yeah. You know what I mean? Because it's hard. There's a letting go that happens. You know what I mean? You know how it is. And when you let go. That's when

cameron:

you can

jayce:

things. Yeah. Cause like when you're talking about obstacles, we all been going through the pandemic, so my business. Has changed dramatically. You would go in the room, not unlike this, and you're auditioning for the guests lead or a recurring part on a great show that we all know you walk in the room and then, they're only seeing 10 or 12 people And then you come in and it's The director, you're like, oh, that's Eric Stoltz is directing this episode and you do your thing and you walk out and you're like, I can get that job. But in the pandemic, everything went to self-tape. So you got to get, you got to convince your wife. To go on tape with you. You. You got to set up your whole deal. Yeah, you gotta, And then you cast it off into the universe without any feedback, interaction, face to face is so important for me seeing. For me, it's important. Yeah. So that was hard for so many of my friends, and then there's a bit of a our business is all about the velvet rope, right? So when you would see 12 people and now you're getting 300, self-tapes, that's different from everywhere. And you're like, you watch a couple and you're like, let's just offer it to. Because we know and no one's going to say no to a guest star lead with a good paycheck. You know what I mean? So you're coming up against this. Oh, no. Did the door that I could get in, it's closing. And so our business hasn't gone back to in-person auditions. So I was like, we, we, voiceover had been sustaining me. I think we were talking to put a voiceover booth in our closet. You know what I. And I was like, great. I just do my sessions in the hair. You know what I mean? Kick it around the house. You know what I mean? There's a spot eight or eight. You're on a refrigerator. Make a sandwich go back in the closet,

and

cameron:

Going back into the

jayce:

staircase. Literally, I think our closet is under a staircase. And then we went, we went on a little trip, we got away finally. And I was just, I just let it go. I was just like, you know what? Just let it go. Then when we're down there, my phone's ringing.

I would like to thank the villages for sticking around this long. There were some technical difficulties during the latter parts of this interview because we did film it live. So stick around, just listen to the words, listen to the great insight. I appreciate you. Like there's lanterns backup.

jayce:

I'm like, oh, that's that guy, those people that are trying to get me to renew my automobile. Right insurance. Your vehicle to extend. She never bought to you offer will be denied if you don't push one. You know what I mean? And this calling and then like my wife's that's your agent that's calling you. And I was like, Why we might agent. And I pick up and my agent's Hey you booked this recurring part on this HBO show. And I was like, What. It's like when you let go it's tough to really let go. Yeah, cause you want to you want to try to work the system and say I'm going to pretend to let go. I don't really care or I'm not going to get this job. I'm going to act like my expectations are low, but there's moments where if you can really let go. The universe goes, whoa, we're not done with you yet. You know what I mean? Come on back. So that is something recently. That was my first time back on set since the pandemic. Wow. So a lot of my friends still haven't gone back. So we went back really early. But to go back was, it was a cool thing. It's the show that's coming on. HBO max called pretty little liars. It's a reboot. Yeah. Yeah. So they're doing a reboot, the Riverdale creator. Okay. Rebooted. Okay. So everyone, of course, it's all teenagers and they're all, Classically beautiful young people. I'm a parent, obviously. My son apparently was like a terrible jock dude. He gets murdered. You remember the storyline? There's a killer. He gets more to, till I come on to the end of the season and I'm like angry and freaking out and demanding answers. And bust into the lead family's house to lead girl in the lead mom. And it's also awkward because, I they know that my son's dead. She does the daughter. But she's too scared. Just sorta tell me. So hopefully when my son is discovered. No more. No, yes, no. Yes, no.

cameron:

This is exclusive now. Hold on. I've just got some exclusive. We don't tell each box. Watch HBO, max. He's going to be on there. That's it. Yes, because some

jayce:

of your viewers may watch this shit.

cameron:

Don't tell him. That's it. It's for the young people. What episode is it? It doesn't matter. Watch the whole thing and

jayce:

watch. It's the whole thing. That's the whole thing. End of season one, I think it's like episode 1 0 7. Oh, okay. But I think it's going to be really good.

cameron:

Amazing. Oh good for you. But yeah, that was a good,

jayce:

that was nice to go. The idea of you

cameron:

saying no, he's just let it go, right? Yeah.

jayce:

Done for a second. And you've known me for awhile, awhile. Yeah. When they see us. I have done some work I'm really proud of, but there's times where you just go. I'm gonna start dishing and you just casting it out there. You're like, okay, this is what this is. And I'm okay. And that's right. Of course, when the universe is like

cameron:

way right. So I'm going to say yes to the universe because I do believe in the universe, but that's also when you start to really trust your

jayce:

work. Yeah, you do. Yeah. If you trust your word, you've

cameron:

got nothing to lose and you've been at it for so long and that you believe and what you're doing, what you've been doing this. If it's going to be seen, it will be seen. The right. People will see it, no matter what. And a lot of the kids. I try to tell them now. It is what we're doing for you. It's not about now. Instead of saying it's about preparing you for high school, prepare you for college, preparing for if you get the foundation now where you can trust your work alone and journey the right people. Or find you. Yeah. The universe will

jayce:

take care of itself. Through university will. Yeah. If you do the way it is true. Cause like that particular job I was talking about, I, it was the first, one of the first live auditions, live over eco cast or it's like a zoom. Okay. It's the Castro she had maybe Caspian on blue bloods or something. Really great passenger in here. And, It's just always the jobs that you don't expect that you're going to get. Whatever that foundation is, you just do it and you don't think about it and you walk away. I remember literally like the dog was running by Tiffany was coming in. We had to call. All this is all going on in the back of my audition. You know what I mean? And I'm there, like in front of a laptop being like, My son, you. And then. Two weeks later. We're. We're on a little vacation and you get that call and you're like, huh? It's always is. Of course it's never the ones where you're like that went really well. I think I'm going to get that.

cameron:

And it's never that one, never the one. That was terrible. Did that,

jayce:

whatever, and that's it. That's all. It's always the one, but it's, it goes back to what you're saying, because that foundation was in there and you didn't think about it and you just put it out there for the right reasons. The universe just pulls you in. Crazy. Awesome. I don't know, man.

cameron:

I do want to ask you how you balance. Dane after director. And being a family. Amanda, the family cause you, cause there are those actors and actresses that are not like. Away from their family, but you, yeah. You managed to do both.

jayce:

Yeah. I love that. Yeah. You love it. Yeah. No, I love it. It's really the thing that gives me the most Jackson asked me, my son, he said, what makes you the happiest besides me and mom? And I was like, oh geez. You know what I mean? I guess my work, but being, part of a family. It makes me really happy. So I'm fortunate in that There's times where I think I guess if I got this job and I went away for three months, that'd be great. Is that the right time? Is that, is it right to do that right now? You know what I mean? Cause I want to be. I want to be a part of this family, so I think for us, because my wife's a makeup artist and a filmmaker as well. Our schedules. They rarely, it does happen. Like we're making a documentary right now on. A famous burlesque performer, Dita Von Teese. We're going to go to Paris for a week. And it's. I know it sounds funny, but it's the first time we're going to leave jacks. Because we don't have family in New York and stuff. The first time we're going to leave him with his cousin. You know what I mean? And go over there and film because he's got school, he's got baseball. And it's also like burlesque. Yeah. So there's that and stuff, but it is, juggling is tricky, but he he's come with us a lot. When we've gone, like we did a documentary on Kevin Ocwen. Who's a famous makeup artist. So we had to go interview a lot of supermodels, Kate Moss, all these people, and he came along. So he, he had these experiences where you get to meet. These amazing women and, have these experiences and stuff. So I think like that's been good, but it, it's like he's also at an age where he's 13 and he can, maybe stay home, It's teenage teenager Jewish. You know what I mean? It's like teenager. Yeah, it is like I'm going to have to miss coaching to baseball games. It's one of that sounds funny, but you know how it is. That it's always a bit of a, kind of a juggling balancing act, but, It's really I couldn't see it. I couldn't see doing it any other way. I see these guys like Ben. Benedict Cumberbatch. And they had three kids. And he seems like a great dude. I love doctor strange doctor. Strange. You're on set those Marvel movies, Three to six months. Plus, pickups and whatever. I'm like. That's that. I there. Obviously when there's a will, there's a way. You know what I mean, to find a way. Yeah. The kid did the kids come there? his wife is also a performer and a writer and a director. Like how do they make it work somehow? But it would be tough to like really not be able to be present as much as you want it because of work. I don't know if I can. I don't know if that'd be tough. So we've been lucky that we there's these fits and starts and spurt, you can are you going away? And then you come back and, you can figure it out. But the coaching thing, I know we share that in common, right? It's like that is truly win or lose. One of the best things, because you're bringing this group of people together. Whose skills are maybe all over the place. But there's this moment where they all connect. And they're like, it's not about that. It's about us all being connected and working together as a team. And that's like the grit. It's what, really? One of the greatest feelings. Yeah. This is really fun. It's really good talking to you. Thank you. This

cameron:

is great. I'm learning so much about you. What projects do you have coming up?

jayce:

We touched a little bit on pretty little liars. Yeah. It's coming on. HBO, max. I only watch with my wife. Only with his wife. And we are working on a documentary on D Devonte's. Who might maybe your viewers. She might be a little more sophisticated than some of your viewers. She's a famous performer. So we're working on a documentary on her. I also wrote a screenplay. I'm trying to get made. About Vivian Lee. It's a true story. Thinly, you probably would know that she played Scarlet in gone with the wind. Okay. And she was blanched you bond street, car named desire. One, two Oscars, incredible English actress, troubled. Not right mental health. So a friend of mine. Told me a story years ago. Literally like a family. When our kids were really little about a relative of his who ran a flower shop in Philadelphia. And he got a call from Lawrence Olivier. Who's a very famous English actor. To deliver flowers to Juul woman. It brings flowers. It's Vivian Lee. And she would go to Philadelphia for out of town, tryouts for Broadway. And she also would get electroshock. ECT thera when they were

cameron:

doing that. Yeah,

jayce:

goodness. That was really the only thing that would help her at the time. This is obviously before a lot of medications. Remedies for mental health issues. So the story, it revolves around her in the last year of her life and this friendship that she forms with this like really blue collar, Philadelphia florist guy. That's very pretty inarticulate. So they formed this kind of friendship. It's not romantic, right? It, but it's. So I'm trying to get this movie made and I'm going to get it made like on a big level. Which has been interesting. You're talking about grit and perseverance, the last couple of things. I've always tried to direct. And we have a great ability to attach like movie stars and famous people. And then raising the money so hard. Yeah. So

cameron:

hard. I can understand. Trying to do a project.

jayce:

My niece. Like two that have fallen apart with really great actors and. And we've had a little better luck with the documentaries because you can make them for less. And there's such a market with all the streaming networks, channels and and they're a little bit safer. They're like, I guess financial, you would compare them to like bonds. You know what I mean? You're not going to make billions, but you can make, if you make a good one, you can sell it. And frankly, I think Tiffany is more talented than me. We. We have a rivalry. She directs the documentaries. I directed the narrative films require like that

cameron:

much money. You know what I mean?

jayce:

So this one, I'm trying to find a big director. And take myself out of that. And just work as a writer. So that's something that I'm really excited about because I feel like going in. Again, back to the 50 what's the next, however many years. Can it look like, sure. I want to get more recurring parts. I'm really going to graduate into the dad that, what did you say before the guidance counselor? Yeah. That's Tiffany's dream role for me. It was like the English teacher, the principal. You know what I mean? It's got a bit of an edge, but. But it's kinda, so like I, yeah, but could I work more in getting bigger films made and try to get You know, inside some kind of studio where our projects can get made in an easier way. Because we live in New York. Yes. You can live anywhere now, but new York is the capital of everything in my book. But there's also like that the Hollywood. Going to go, take the lunches in Hollywood. You know what I mean?

cameron:

So where can we find you?

jayce:

You can find me on Instagram. At J spar talk. Just my name on Instagram. You can find me on Facebook at J spar top. You can find me my website. Jay's talk.com. Yeah. Pretty simple. Our production company is vinyl like record V I N Y L N. Oh, T e.com. So if any of your viewers are looking to Like PA on a shoot in turn. If they're interested in filmmaking, we take on a couple people, for shoots, stuff like that. Us. At vinyl foot. This is a great email. You s@vinylfote.com. That's

cameron:

just it places. All right. Awesome.

I'd like to thank Jay's for joining us in a podcast. Truly remarkable story. He found his passion. He used his grit to get through life. And about the Celebrate that big 50. That's my guy, something special. Be sure to check out our village stories. Join our mailing list so you can get updates on blog information. And when. The pods wouldn't be dropping. Also follow me on instagram@eightcoachcam.com. Gaston insight. On parenting. I hook up with some neurologists. Children, therapist and things like that to give you some insight. So please be on the lookout for that. I will also be attaching some adjacent information in the show notes. Go find them. You can go find them on. I am. DB. I mean, that's a good site as well. Any and everything you do, you do with passionate grit. Find your passion and get to it. That's a coach camps to loop. Thank you for joining us.

Jayce Bartok Profile Photo

Jayce Bartok

Actor/Filmmaker

Jayce began his journey as a filmmaker acting in numerous films and television shows, most notably Richard Linklater’s Suburbia, Sam Rami’s Spiderman, Tom McCarthy’s The Station Agent, and Ava Duvernay’s award-winning When They See Us. Jayce’s first screenplay, The Cake Eaters (Screen Media), became a critically acclaimed film directed by Mary Stuart Masterson, which he starred in alongside Kristen Stewart and Bruce Dern. Following that, Jayce wrote, directed, and produced Fall To Rise (Panorama Entertainment) starring Daphne Rubin-Vega and legendary dancers Desmond Richardson & Katherine Crockett as well as members of The Martha Graham Dance Company. Robert Redford said of the film “Bartok beautifully captured the emotional difficulty of dancers coming to terms with age and identity.” Jayce stepped into the role of producer on the award-winning documentary, Larger Than Life: The Kevyn Aucoin Story (HULU). The LA Times called the film “a rich deeply dimensional documentary.” Other credits include co-director and producer of the award-winning documentary Altered By Elvis, and the short films: Campbell Ritchie – No Compromise, The Prisoner, Bittersweet - Brooklyn, Suddenly…, Sunburn, Cocked and Locked, Jack & Paul, and Stricken, starring Hayley Mills as well as the SXSW winning, Little Pumpkin. He is working on two feature films, The Prince of Soho and The Florist, as well as producing a documentary on Dita Von Teese. In addition, Jayce has been a juror for the Chelsea Film Festival & the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, a frequent moderator & panelist for SAG-AFTRA, a contributor to the book, Now Write!, a columnist for MovieMaker Magazine, and an instructor at the legendary Neighborhood Playhouse. He is the voice of NATURE’s SPY IN THE WILD.