Sat down with Brandon Gabaldon shortly after his debut Directing role of a full-on stage production.
The show was “Anything You Hear”, a dark comedy performed at Suze’s Prescott Center for the Arts, as part of the New Works Festival. Over the course of nine days, 6 different productions were presented.
It was an enjoyable afternoon filled with spot on comedic acting, with a cast that portrayed unwilling victims in a tale of who done it and why.
Brandon is not new to telling stories. “When I started out, I wanted to create video games so I could tell a story. But I soon realized that writing code was really difficult, and not being strong at math, I looked at other avenues.” “I still wanted to tell stories, especially comedy, and so I turned to video productions.” He adds, “Every time I watch or read something of a very heavy and serious nature, I always think … “What if this happened instead of the obvious.” “Call it dark comedy, or irreverent. But a heavy drama to me is much better with a little leveity.”
A lifelong Prescottian, Brandon interest in the telling of stories started a young age.
In fact, he and my son Jacob, began producing videos in our family room and backyard. Later in college, created their first company, Apartment 10 productions.
At the time, the characters were played by their friends and costumes would occasionally come from my closet.
While in High School “This is Important” aired on local access television. Another collaboration between youthful personalities.
“You can tell a really good story with puppets and get away with physical comedy that you can’t create otherwise.” Brandon says. “Take for instance Wiley Coyote.” “Through animation, you can drop an anvil and have him squashed nickel thin, and then have him come back to true form.” “It’s the same with puppets. You can physically do things to them and have them interact in ways the people simply can’t do.”
While attending Scottsdale Community College for Film Production, the instructor asked for a raise of hands showing who wanted to be a director. Basically, the entire room raised their hands. With competition evident, Brandon turned his focus towards lighting. “I was really good as creating a mood or a scene through lighting, and that’s the area I worked in for quite some time on local productions, and feature productions.”
Later, the desire to actually run the story line, or direct, won out and as Brandon say’s, “If it feels right, don’t stop, regardless.”
Back in Prescott, Brandon put together a crew to produce pod casts for Senses Magazine. “We did a lot of work telling stories throughout 2020, about the struggles and accomplishments of businesses and individuals.” He says. “But the story line began to get stale. Everyone was doing great stuff, but the story was the same so to speak, and with that, went the challenge.”
With a nod to the classic sketch comedy of Saturday Night Live, and Second City, Brandon and his team moved to create, produce, and direct, the TBD show, presented at appropriately enough, Thumb Butte Distillery. “It started out as sketch comedy and then shifted into a more narrative piece, where there is an ongoing story line that the audience can follow along.” – Brandon says.
Through sponsorships of local businesses, the program, hosted by Robert Zinni is going into its’ third season. The show is a combination of live performance, video, and puppet storytelling, as well as musical performances, and helicopter rentals
As the box office manager and Creative Services Manager at PCA, Brandon approached Robyn Allen, Director of PCA, about participating in their Directors Mentorship Program.
Brandon mentored with Robyn during the production of Mama Mia, and followed that with a successful presentation of “Anything you Hear’, this past week.
“It was really an interesting change, going from video to a live stage production.” Brandon says. “With film, or video, you can do as many shots as you like to get the right one. With stage production, you have to set the scene and roll with it.” “You get one chance to get it right, and hopefully, if everyone is in sync, you get it.” “The other challenge was creating a set in between two major productions.”
“The director’s role is to bring together the right crew and guide things to happen organically as they create your vision as you create a cohesive vision and story.”
“The difference between the first read through months of rehearsal, and two days prior is massive. As the actors become more confident in their roles, and trusting of their castmates, that’s when you just sit back and look for the surprises.”
Up next for Brandon is “The 25th Putnam County Spelling Bee “ an occasionally irreverent musical of adolescence.
“My goal is a major production on the big screen.” To that Brandon adds. “Don’t stop, don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for help. And, you are nothing without your team.” – “But, don’t stop.”
. Past and current shows can be viewed at TheTBDshow.com.