How We Got Away With It
A Film By Jon Lindstrom
By Nathan Edmondson
Jon Lindstrom has been a working actor in the entertainment industry for the last 25 years. With a long list of TV and film credits to his name and an Emmy nomination to boot, his most recognizable role was playing Dr’s. Ryan Chamberlain and Kevin Collins for an 11 year run on ABC’s "General Hospital" and "Port Charles." Several years ago, Lindstrom decided to try his hand on the other side of the camera. His directorial debut, "How We Got Away With It," is available now on VOD.
When a group of 30-something friends reunite for their annual, summer reunion, "How We Got Away With It" follows what transpires as a result of an unexpected tragedy. The crime thriller was a festival favorite throughout 2013, garnering numerous awards and accolades. A few hours before a special SAG Foundation Screening of the film for the LifeRaft Independent Feature Screening Series, Lindstrom took a few minutes to talk about his career, this film and his advice for individuals aspiring entertainment professionals.
The acting bug grabbed Jon at an early age when he saw "From Russia with Love" starring Sean Connery as the legendary James Bond. The dramatic fight scene between Connery and Robert Shaw captured his imagination and fueled his desire to be a part of creating such dramatic and complete imagined worlds. Trips to the local cinema in his hometown of Medford, Oregon and summer excursions to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival solidified his aspirations, and eventually he relocated to Los Angeles. While making ends meet bartending and waiting tables, a few auditions paid off here and there with bit TV parts. After a few years toiling away, he landed a part on the short-lived TV show "Rituals." From there, his career took off.
With his acting career in full bloom, Lindstrom’s interests expanded beyond what was happening in front of the camera. While sitting in his dressing room, he started writing his first screenplay which turned into the 2006 film "The Hard Easy" starring Bruce Dern and Vera Farmiga. With his growing writing experience and some short films under his belt, Lindstrom was introduced to McCaleb Burnett and Jeff Barry, co-screenwriters and soon to be stars of "How We Got Away With It." He read their first draft of the film, saw potential in the concept and agreed to help develop the film on the condition that he would be the director. Burnett and Barry agreed and the project was off and running.
Eventually, Lindstrom took on co-screenwriter and producer roles as well, but it took a few years for production to commence. At first, they worked on re-writes of the script to further develop the characters and the plot. Then scheduling conflicts put Lindstrom’s participation on hold. At one point, Burnett and Barry even considered shooting the film DIY style with handheld cameras and virtually no budget. Lindstrom believed the project deserved more of an investment; and once his schedule opened up, they found a window of time to shoot near Rochester, New York.
Fully embracing his role as director, Lindstrom conceived a specific visual template for the film that would help give the production a common goal. He researched films that shared the sensibility he hoped to create and would aid him in exploring his primary theme of how lies blind people in all the wrong ways. With a limited budget, his cast and crew were motivated by their passion and belief in the film they were producing together and Lindstrom didn’t want to let anyone down. From the first reading of the script, Jon had a visceral reaction to the piece and knew he could rely and trust his preparation and instincts in leading his team to success.
With "How We Got Away With It" nearing it’s official release, Lindstrom is free to move forward to his next project, directing another film in the horror/thriller genre. He can’t give too much away as they’re in the midst of establishing their cast, but Jon’s excited to be wearing the director’s hat once again.
Before wrapping up our interview, Jon shared some advice that he’s picked up over his successful and evolving career. If acting is your passion and you find yourself on set, when the time is right, go around and ask people what they do. You’ll have a better understanding of how the whole process works and also of the challenges faced by your co-workers. With the wisdom of a true professional, he offered his last piece of advice: "Whatever you decide to pursue, in the entertainment industry or elsewhere, take it seriously. It’s not a joke and it deserves your full attention."
"How We Got Away With It" has definitely benefited from Jon Lindstrom’s and his cast and crew’s dedication. Watch the trailer here, and then rent it on VOD.
To find out what else Nathan Edmondson is about, check out reel9productions.com and follow him on twitter @edmondsonnathan.