Neal Hemphill

Neal Hemphill is an actor, filmmaker, and photographer.

As an actor, Neal has worked in 31 states and 3 foreign countries, performing everything from off-off-Broadway solo shows to feature films to major touring productions.  He's always had a camera with him, and has taken photos everywhere he's gone.  This lifelong interest in performing and looking through a lens has led to third passion - filmmaking.  

Neal's passion for storytelling is now being expressed through screenwriting, directing, producing, and acting, as well as photography.  The common threads are heart, humanism, and love of life. 

 

"Dressed" at Queens World Film Festival

My short film, "Dressed," will play at the Queens World Film Festival on March 20th.

I wrote and directed this piece, and I'm very proud of it. What I'm most proud of is how much the finished film fulfilled the vision I had as I wrote it.

I've worked with the actor Nabil Vinas. In fact, Nabil played this character is in my first film, "Top of the World." Nabil is fantastic, and I was thrilled to write another piece for him to be in.

I had no one in mind for the other role, and I had auditions. I couldn't be happier than I am with the performance that Pat Nesbit delivered.

There was another wonderful actress at the audition, and I strongly considered casting her. I'm sure she would've been terrific, but it would have made a different film. I'm so glad we made this one.

 

Reading of "The Great Despair"

I had the distinct pleasure of participating in a reading of Ela Thier's new feature-length screenplay, "The Great Despair," today.

Ela has written another beautiful script, which is both funny and moving, and so expressive of her unique voice. 

AND - she's written an amazing part for herself to play.

I was moved by the piece, and it was terrific to read the script with a number of friends, including Nabil Vinas, who was in my short film, "Top of the World," and whose acting class I'm currently taking, Matthew Murumba, who was in my short film "The Muse," and Memo, with whom I've worked in the Lab for a couple years.  Also Ela's sister Daphna Thier, who is a new Lab actor, was in it.  We had a great scene together.

The plans are to shoot this film in the next couple of months.  Very exciting!

Rehearsals

Today I'll be rehearsing both as an actor, and as a director, in two separate rehearsals.  First up is rehearsal for a scene I've written that I'm directing for the Writing/Directing Lab tonight.  I'm excited to work with Ruben Flores and Aba Woodruff for the first time.  They're playing a divorced couple that run into each other 15 years later - in the lobby of the building that she's just moved into with her lawyer fiance.  He's delivering the mail.

Between that rehearsal and the Lab this evening, I'll be rehearsing for a short film titled "Papangul."  It's being produced by my Lab classmate A R Mavera, and is written and directed by Prabal Chakraborty.  I play the head of an architecture firm who pushes the troops to extremes for a hugely important commission.  This is going to be fun!

Short Film

Well...it looks like I'm producing another short!  This is one I wrote, and I'll be directing it - AND acting in it.  Wow!

It came together at today's Producing Workshop.  This one is pretty simple, as far as producing goes, but I believe in it, and I believe it's another powerful little piece.

Moving ever forward as a filmmaker...

Producing Workshop

This weekend I'll be attending the Producing Workshop at The Independent Film School, taught by Ela Thier.

I took it in 2001, and have produced 4 short films since then.  But I still have a ton to learn as a producer, so I'm taking it again.  Also, as the industry changes, and as Ela learns more about producing as a result of her own producing work, the Workshop is updated.  I'm looking forward to hearing a lot of new things this time around.

Of course, some things never change.  Producing well is a lot of hard work, and being guided by the vision of an excellent film is the best driver behind being a good producer.

I have at least three short films that I'm anxious to produce, and I'm writing a feature film.  One fine day I'll be producing that!