Randy J. Goodwin is an actor, writer, and producer who is best known for his role playing Dr. Jonas Martin in the show, “The Vampire Diaries.” After years of working on the productions of others, Mr. Goodwin has now begun working on his own projects. He currently has several projects that he is working on, including producing a film called “The Job” of which his wife kindly provided some behind the scenes photos.
John Collins (JC): Thanks for agreeing to do the interview with me Mr. Goodwin.
Randy J. Goodwin (RJG): No, thank you. It’s my pleasure, man.
(JC): You are best known for your work on The Vampire Diaries but can you share a bit about yourself prior to your coming into fame?
(RJG): Well… I’m originally from Omaha, Nebraska, a state where many well known celebs grew up. Marlon Brando, Johnny Beasley, Nick Nolte, Chris Klein, Johnny Carson, Marg Helgenberger, Fred Astaire to name a few, but they only came into play as inspiration after I got into the biz. As a kid, I did my first play at age 8, playing Jesus. I remember my mustache was flipping halfway off and I had to keep trying to smooth it down while remembering to hold out my arms to raise Lazarus from the dead. Lol. After that, I remember the standing ovation. I wasn’t exactly sure what just happened, but I knew that I liked it. Whatever I just did…they believed it! And that was the first bite.
(JC): Who/what inspires your creativity?
(RJG): Creation and the Creator. I heard this stat the other day: Did you know that there are more than 12,000 species of fern… that we know about? The earth, the moon, stars, galaxies, the way knowledge has increased? Really, over the last 50 years, look how fast we’ve moved into this technological age, as opposed to the first 50 years of this century. Inspiration is all around us at all times. Now, if you want to bring it down to earth, if you will, Sidney Poitier, Mel Gibson, Ben Affleck, Bishop Turner, Will Smith. The journey these men had to take, better yet, chose to take, is inspiring.
(JC): What do you do to keep the creative flow going?
(RJG): Wake up everyday and thank God for blessing me with the gift of creativity, then I continue to use it for his glory. I didn’t get any success without Him. I’m surely not going to ditch Him now.
(JC): From what I have heard, you have a movie in the works that is a major divergence from “Vampire Diaries.” What can you tell us about “The Job?”
(RJG): The Job is the type of film I’ve wanted to direct for quite a while. I’ve never taken an acting class… that’s not to say I don’t study. I found what works for me, and I urge anyone who wants to act, to seek out and audit classes. Find what works for you. Anyway, I prayed one day and asked, “Lord what do you want me to do in this business? You gave me this talent.” I didn’t get an answer right away, but when I did, it was clear.
People started stopping me at the gym, at the coffee shop, on Facebook, were introduced to me by mutual friends, and these people had written Christian or inspirational scripts for me to star in. I just laughed but it kept happening. Then one day, my buddy Nicholas called me up about a script that his friend Steve wrote. I read it, I liked it, but it wasn’t ready. It was only 61 pages. Not nearly enough for a feature film.
I gave him detailed notes on how to make it at least 88 pages. He came back with a rewrite of 86 pages. I read it, my manager read it, but it still wasn’t ready. My manager, Gina Rugolo, believed there was something there, but that I’d have to rewrite it myself and get it to a place where other actors would kill to be a part of it. I also wanted to make sure God gets His due in a film like this. Many, so called, “Christian movies” are extremely watered down. You mention Jesus once, God twice, then do whatever the heck you wanna do for the remaining 92 minutes. I wanted it to be more real.
So I jumped into it for several months and voilà, we have a script ready to shoot. It’s still Steve’s story, Steve’s idea, I just did what I had to do so we could get it made. Steve and Nick had $30K and asked is that enough to make a movie. I said no, but with my favor in the business, people are willing to work with me for little to nothing. And we stretched that $30K like it was a 400 lb. man on a bungee cord.
(JC): I suspect you have many projects going on that you can’t discuss, but what else do you have in the works that you can share?
(RJG): I write with a couple of people at times, and we have 4 pilots we’re shopping. Pilots, for those who don’t know, are the very first episode of every series you’ve seen or will see on television. Unfortunately, most pilots will never be seen because they don’t get picked up to air. We’re also in development on a crime drama procedural to be shot in Omaha, NE that I’m excited about. If you see it on next season’s lineup, you’ll know we made it. I’m also gearing up to direct 2 features. One set in the 1920’s, and another set in the world of college football, while finishing The Job.
(JC): In addition to other sites I write for, my website is “The Weird Review” and I like to ask what I call my weird question when I do an interview. Do you have any weird and wonderful anecdotes about yourself or your projects you would be willing to share?
(RJG): As a boy in Omaha, when I played Jesus as my first stage role, I never imagined I’d end up playing Jesus again as an adult, on a Los Angeles stage. It’s my most fulfilling role to date.
(JC): Do you have anything you would like to say in closing.
(RJG): I just joined Twitter! My wife is shaking her head as she posts, “My husband is FINALLY on Twitter.” Lol. I’m tech savvy and love apple products, iMac, Macbook pro, iPad mini, iPhone, but I’ve shied away from social media, even though every actor I know tells me I’m a goofball for not doing it. Laz Alonso urged me years ago. “Well Laz, I’m on Twitter AND Facebook now!” Lol.
(JC): Thanks again for the interview Mr. Goodwin and I will look forward to seeing you at movies!
(RJG): Absolutely. And it will be one of mine. I’ll make sure to invite you to the premier. Thanks John, and God bless.
(JC): If I can make it, that would be awesome and definitely keep me up to date on The Job!
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