I first interviewed award winning composer/lyricist Ryan Scott Oliver in 2010 after being introduced to him and his muisc at his concert "Rated: RSO The Music of Ryan Scott Oliver." Since that time he has released the first volume of his work "Music + Lyrics By Ryan Scott Oliver" along with a concert to celebrate this release and now, through Kickstarter, he has raised enough money to move forward with bringing his musical "35MM" to the stage for a full production and record a cast album.
After the interview, enjoy some of the videos below from Ryan's Songbook concert that are featured in "35MM." Stay tuned to "Call Me Adam" to find out when "35MM" will be live on stage!!
Update: "35MM" will be premiering on March 7 and 12 at at the Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn (16 Main Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201). Click here for details!!
1. How did you come up with the idea and concept for 35MM? What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? Like most children, the answer is as old as time: When a man and another man love each other very much, they get together and push their art together, and nine months later, a musical is born. Or, if you’d like the official answer, watch our Kickstarter vid. :) As to what the audiences should come away with, I want them to be immersed in the visual and aural spectacle. It’s a big show for having so few moving parts—and we want you to feel like you’ve attended a gallery showing and a rock concert...moved, entertained, and perhaps a little inspired. The worst thing you could feel is that you saw just another musical theatre song cycle. I have the utmost respect for them (I’ve written a couple!) but just as a full book musical might be thought of as being “more” owing to the added book element, I think 35mm is much more than a song cycle owing to the visual element.
2. How did you and Matthew Murphy come to work together? What has the collaboration been like? Would you want to work together again? The collaboration has been easily the smoothest of my career; we can talk about everything and always believe the other has our best interests at heart. Matthew is (obviously) the official RSO photographer so I imagine we’ll work together again and again...Unless you meant 35mm II: Sara Berry’s Revenge?
3. What made you want to bring 35MM to a full production first over one of your other projects? A musical, like a child, has to be developed, has to grow, and has to learn from its mistakes. If it becomes adapted and well suited for society, it gets to live on its own and have a life; if not, well...Let’s say 35mm is 18 now and it has to leave the house.
4. What excites you most about your Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to have 35MM come to fruition? The outpouring of support, first and foremost. But I am constantly surprised by the people who give, and (not to be gross) how much they give. Seriously, with some of these people, I’m like, “I didn’t know you were rich!”
5. What does it mean to have so many people give to the campaign so far? Everything! Not to go Gaga on you, but an artist is nothing without fans and supporters (which are the people too grown up to call themselves fans)...Every artist would love to say they write only for themselves and couldn’t be bothered if their work never made a cent, but then, that’s the difference between a professional and an amateur, I guess. Sometimes I think I write to make people feel something...Which may be anything from joy to discomfort. As long as it’s not bored!
6. What can you tell us about potential casting for 35MM? We’ve got Lindsay Mendez, Jay Armstrong Johnson and Alex Brightman leading the team...And two more to be announced very soon!
7. What have you learned about yourself from this campaign and from being a composer/lyricist? This campaign, like any marketing project, is two months of shooting at a carnival non-stop. We fire and miss some days, and others you hit a bull's-eye and get $2000. It has some to do with marketing talent but it also has so much to do with just other factors...You can’t take it too personally or get down. You have to believe in yourself while still being practical.
8. Where is your favorite place to write/compose music & lyrics? I wish I had a more eclectic set of places to write, but I don’t really; I work from home, at my desk, but on Freaky Friday I’ve been lately holing up at The New Amsterdam, which is a pretty neat facility to work in. Of course, my dream working environment will always be that cabin in the woods, at 5am, daylight not dawned, with a cup of coffee. Pretty faggy right?
9. What's the best advice you've ever received? It’s not advice per se, and it’s tragically Biblical, but it’s one of my favorites: “This too shall pass.” I use it to refer to all things, from anxiety, to illness, to life, to success, to failure, to feeling just plain “stuck.” Avenue Q says everything is “only for now,” and that works just as well!
10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Come see 35mm and you’ll know!