Brandy Kopp & Jon Paul Burkhart

posted Feb 9, 2012, 3:56 PM by Terrence Moss   [ updated Feb 10, 2012, 6:06 AM ]

For the first time, the So-and-So Profiles shines spotlights on two actors -- Brandy Kopp and Jon Paul Burkhart -- who are starring with David Gunning in the upcoming web series “Bitter Bartender”, launching Thursday, February 16 at 8:30pm PST on YouTube.

Brandy Kopp

1. When, where and how did you decide to become an actress?

Growing up I was just always a little attention whore. Always goofing off and trying to make people laugh. And I really liked how entertained I was by films that I enjoyed and I wanted to be a part of that.

I lived in a small town four hours outside of Vancouver. I got an agent and started driving into town for auditions. I did a little bit of work. At first it was more the paycheck that excited me and then I did a few things for no paycheck.

I was on set one day for 18 hours and they were apologizing and apologizing and I was going, “No, no, no, are you kidding? Keep me here. I don’t care. I’m not even getting paid and I love it.”

If you can do something and not get paid and still love it, you should do it.

I moved to Vancouver and worked on some projects there. Then I moved to LA and I work on it here.

2. What was your first role -- professional or otherwise?

The first professional role was a movie called Cheats. It was a teen comedy. I got to film for a couple months. It was just amazing. I [made] friends my age and a bunch of people just took me on and taught me.

They’d be on set and yell, “Check the gate!”

I literally looked around for a gate. Like an idiot, I was like, “Are we shooting a gate in the next scene?”

They taught me set lingo because I really needed to learn. It was a great experience.

3. What is your dream role or type of role?

An Erin Brockovich-type. That would be very cool. I would love to play someone who’s still alive – hang out with them and take on their energy to try and play them in a movie. I would love that.

I also just love the roles that Rachel McAdams gets to take on. She just gets to play with all the facets of emotion. She’s likeable and fearless….I love her.

And she’s Canadian.

She completely inspires me and seems like a really good person who is doing well in this industry. That’s what I want.

4. How do you approach a role?

I have learned different tricks. For me, I try and figure out what I think what music they would listen to, what movies I think they would watch. While I’m reading the sides, what would they be doing? Would they drink coffee or tea? Just down to little details just so that I can start to feel like that person.

I used to just memorize the lines, dress pretty and go into the audition. Now, what to wear and how to do my makeup is a background thought.

I need to make these people believe that I am her. If there’s something in the script that she is well-versed in, I’ll research it on the internet.

That’s just what works for me. It might not work for someone else. Some people’s ways of doing it doesn’t work for me. The point is to find what will help you find that character in yourself the easiest.

5. What has been your greatest acting experience?

Bitter Bartender has so far actually been my favorite time on set because I was so proud of everyone putting in 100%. These extras would come at two in the morning and shoot until we stopped. Not once did they complain. Not once did they not have a smile on their face.

David [Gunning, the creator/writer/producer] was so great to work with. He would give advice on what he wanted in a scene and then for a few of them would go, “Do what you want.”

As an actor, you don’t realize how great that opportunity is until you get to do it and trust that you can do what you really, really want to do. It’s a good way to get genuine creativity out of somebody.

I had the greatest time working on this of anything I’ve worked on so far.

6. What has been your worst acting experience?

I’ve never had a bad acting experience on set but I have had some really bad acting auditions. One was actually around the time I auditioned for Bitter Bartender. I went in for a movie and the guy had his laptop up.

As he’s reading the lines with me, he’s looking over at another computer and typing and typing. At no point looking at me, not paying attention, just completely engulfed in his computers and his emails.

When I was done, he was like, “Thanks, good day.”

I can only imagine what that set would be like.

7. You mentioned Rachel McAdams. Who are some of your other professional inspirations?

Certainly the obvious ones – Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet.

You can take classes, you can learn, you can work very hard. Some people just have this something in them. It’s not that they’re more interesting than anyone else or work harder than anyone else, it’s that they can truly morph into other human beings so well that the next movie you watch them in it’s almost like [you] don’t believe it’s them because they were so good in the last one. [You] believed they were that person. Then you see them in an interview and you actually get to know who they are.

When you watch me in Bitter Bartender, or even other roles, you’re actually getting me. [With] them, it doesn’t seem like you’re getting any of who they really are in those roles. It’s so fascinating. The obvious ones are really the best for a reason. I’m completely inspired by them.

Plus, they haven’t made their way to the top through shitty ways that you can make your way to the top in this town. If that makes people happy, good but they made it because of how good they are and I love that.

8. If a production was casting for a "Brandy Kopp" type, what would they be looking for?

The girl next door goof. A girl who’s not afraid to embarrass herself. Playful and sarcastic.

9. What’s next for Brandy Kopp?

Pilot season. Just auditioning and doing my best to try to get on a show.

I would love to be on a show like Shameless. I love how real it is. You feel like a fly on the wall. I feel like I’m watching these people actually live this life. They do such a damn good job. These actors are just so damn good.

10. How do you respond when you tell people you’re an actress and they respond by asking what restaurant you work at?

I say, “'Wood and Vine' on Hollywood and Vine. Come visit! First drink’s on me!”

Working at a restaurant in this town is a reminder of not [being] a constant working actor or even just making it my living enough that I could quit here. It feels like shit. It really does.

But we all know going into this career that there is the chance that you’ll be also doing a job that you don’t’ love in order to pursue one that you do. You can’t cry the blues about it.

I don’t apologize for it and I’m not embarrassed by it.

Jon Paul Burkhart

1. When, where and how did you decide to become an actor? 

I was raised in a suburb of Dallas. I sang with my Dad in church as a little kid. I started doing musicals in high school because I could sing. While I did them, I didn’t care about the acting.

I went to college and was an opera major because I was a singer. Halfway through I thought, “I don’t want to make a career out of this.”

I’d been acting just a little bit more during musicals in college. I was getting more into the acting so I finally decided to switch my major to acting and I ended up changing schools.

After college, I moved back to Dallas and started working and pretty soon was making a living as an actor in Texas. You have to do a lot of different things, but I figured if I could do that there then I could do it somewhere else.

So I moved to LA in 2007.

2. What was your first role -- professional or otherwise? 

My first professional role was at this place called the Pocket Sandwich Theatre in Dallas. All they do is popcorn dramas. They boo and can yell things, [but] the only thing you can throw is popcorn.

I got to play a really funny drunk Irish guy. It played for nine weeks and it paid crap but it was my first professional job.

Around the same time I got hired by the Shakespeare Festival to go to schools during the day and do this 45-minute show [of] famous Shakespeare scenes. We wrapped a cool, hip script around it. It was really fun and the kids really enjoyed it. We liked going to the lower income areas because they really loved us.

And it was like I was making a living. I had a day job as an actor right out of college. That was pretty cool.


3. What is your dream role or type of role? 

I’d really love to play Richard Simmons [in] a biopic.

In my brain, I’ve got everything set – except for the script and the story because I don’t know anything about him. I’ve taken his class. It’s an amazing class. I burned 2000 calories in one hour. It was amazing.

It’s simply going to be called Sweat – The Richard Simmons Story. I don’t know if that’d be a dream role or just something I think that would be a really fun role.


4. What do you draw upon to find a character?  

It’s different for everything. Sometimes I barely even have to look at the lines. For some TV roles, I just read the lines a few times and I’ve got it. I don’t have to do any weird actor things. I’m there.

In theatre, sometimes there’s stuff where I can just be joking and cracking up right offstage and go out on stage and be in character.

It’s different for every character. I played Amadeus once and I literally got there two hours before the show every time. I would basically go through the entire script in my dressing room as a warm-up. Out loud from memory. [It] was a great way to warm up.

I’ve done all sorts of strange stuff to make myself do strange things on stage – hurting myself, pinching myself. They say whatever it takes and sometimes it just doesn’t take that much.

5. How do you describe your style of acting? 

I like to be memorized as soon as possible because you can’t really get any work done on a character until you’ve got the words in your brain. I like to memorize as much as I can without adding any character into it, which is really difficult, but then you can add so much more on top because it’s a part of you already.

Sometimes I would lean more toward the crazy, Method thing. If I’m doing a dialect, I have to stay in that dialect full-time.

I don’t have to prepare as much for roles I’m closer to as a person. I have to prepare a lot more [for] roles that are further away from me because I have to bring more that’s not real and make it believable.


6. “…And the award goes to Jon Paul Burkhart.” What would you say and who would you thank in your acceptance speech? 

I’d probably be surprised.

I’ve practiced this enough. I would definitely thank God – because I’m religious. (I laugh.) Well, sometimes people make fun of that.

I made fun of the qualification.

Okay, that’s cool. I’d thank God. I’d definitely thank my parents. I’d thank my other half Mimi.

I would probably thank as many people as I probably could in the time I had. I would probably keep it short, sweet.


7. You’ve mentioned God and your faith. You’re religious. How does that affect your choice of roles or your approach to roles? 

It doesn’t really. I really don’t have qualms about doing anything. I guess nudity would be something I might shy away from unless they could explain exactly to me why it’s necessary.

And if they say because it would be funny, then I would probably be okay as long as I could get a laugh -- which I think nude I probably would.

My spiritual life is personal with me. It’s my relationship with God, not mine and the rest of the world and what they think. So if I ever do anything that would go against my own personal morals and ethics, it would be between me and God and not between me and what other people think.

I’ve definitely done some things that afterwards I’ve gone, “Crap, I shouldn’t have done that.”


8. Who are your professional inspirations?  

Lately, I really enjoy watching anything that Joseph Gordon-Levitt does.

I just saw 50/50.

It so good! He’s so good in it.

I love Kate Winslet. I think everyone loves Kate Winslet.

Paul Dano. I really like him. I like stuff that he brings to the table. I’ve seen him play a serial killer and I’ve seen him play a brother.

I love Vincent Price.


9. What’s next for Jon Paul Burkhart?

I was on hold for New Girl. I’m going to be on a Hallmark Channel movie in June or July -- Bulletproof Bride. There’s a lot of fighting. There’s a big fight scene in my scene. I don’t get to do any of it but I got to watch the entire scene be shot with the actors and then with their stunt doubles. It was a really, really neat experience. I’m curious to see how much of me is seen because I was just the coffee barista in the scene.

Mimi and I just made one of those Shit Shit Says videos.

And of course “Bitter Bartender”.

10. How do you respond when you tell people you’re an actor and they ask what restaurant you work at?

I actually lie a lot and tell people that I do other things. I’ve told people I was a pediatrician before. I told somebody I owned a marijuana dispensary and they thought that was awesome.

I just don’t like “Oh, what are you in right now?” or “What are you doing?” because a lot of the time we’re not doing anything and then we have to say that and it’s awful. Or you feel like you have to list everything you’ve done and you feel like you’re bragging. It’s annoying.

I’m not a big fan of that question unless people are like, “Oh, you’re an actor! That’s awesome!”

I don’t have a problem saying I’m an actor. I’ve actually never waited tables, so that’s nice. I don’t have another job right now although I definitely need one.

It’s much more fun to say I’m an actor when you’ve just worked on something or just shot something or just booked something. Even if you got a callback you’re just like, “Well, I got a callback for this, so hopefully…”