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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

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Actor’s keeping calm and carrying on behind the scenes

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Adam Rodness

Adam Rodness knows a career in the acting industry is tough.

“You have huge successes or you have big flops. You have work for six months and then you don’t have work for two years,” he says.

The 29-year-old, who grew up in Thornhill, Ont., last spoke to The CJN in 2006, when he was working on his first movie role in a horror movie called Surviving.

Since then, he’s had roles in several movies and TV shows. But as he approached his 30s, Rodness wanted to find something with more stability.

“I think that [acting is] something where, when you’re young and you don’t have a lot of bills to pay, you don’t have a lot of responsibility, you can really go out and audition and not have to worry about how you’re going to get to that next level,” he says.

But now that he’s getting a bit older, Rodness decided to take matters into his own hands. Instead of auditioning and relying on others for his success, he moved into the realm of production.

His main gig right now is working for comedian Jamie Kennedy, helping him produce his projects. In that role, Rodness describes himself as a deal maker. His job involves finding creative projects and figuring out how to make them happen.

Through this job, he gets to continue working in the entertainment industry, but he has much more control over his success.

When you’re auditioning, you could do your best but find out you have the wrong eye colour for the role, he says. “But this is something I can actually control and have a tangible outlet for myself to be creative and still live the dream.”

Still, he hasn’t given up acting.

“I always had this bug. I want to be creative and [make] people laugh and sing and cry, and affect them emotionally,” he says. So he continues to act as well as produce.

One of his projects currently in the works is a feature-length version of The Seder, a short film starring Rodness as a gay man who meets his boyfriend’s parents for the first time at their seder. The short film played at Jewish and LGBT festivals around the world, and Rodness says it was very well received.

Going from a short film to a feature film is fairly common in the industry, Rodness says, describing it almost like a calling card used to raise enough money for a feature-length film.

He says the film was praised and enjoyed by Jewish community leaders.

“It’s a very funny script that’s light hearted,” he says. “It pays attention to what people go through on a daily basis.”

He says he researched for his role by getting in touch with members of the LGBT community and hearing about their own personal experiences. As a straight man, Rodness finds the film especially interesting, since it has given him the chance to explore a situation completely different from his own.

In the movie, his character’s father is a rabbi who has to learn to accept his son’s sexuality.

“We learned how these families can get through anything,” he says. “They can deal with any feat, big or small, to remain a tight-knitted family and community.”

Rodness hasn’t heard of too many stories that focus on the coming out of gay Jews, so that helps to make it an original story, he says.

“The story of somebody coming out is a hard thing for people to fathom and do in real life,” Rodness says, explaining that it is a difficult story to tell verbally, but showing it on film makes it more realistic, and allows filmmakers to portray the situation in a more lighthearted manner.

“It’s about how you can live your life to the fullest without people judging you,” he says. “It’s the overcoming of what society has to say and knowing … what’s going to make you happy to live your life to the fullest.”

Rodness is also trying his hand at working behind the camera.

Right now in the works is a documentary about a man creating his own version of the Sistine Chapel using Rubik’s Cubes. Rodness will be trying his hand at directing for the first time. Filming for that project will begin in September.

Rodness says he’s happy as long as he can stay in the entertainment industry.

Growing up with two artistic parents – his mother is a theatre performer and voice actor, and his father is a novelist – it seems natural he would find his way into the field.

No matter how difficult the job becomes, Rodness refuses to give up on the film industry.

 “It’s about keeping calm and carrying on,” he says. “Things will work out in the end.”

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