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Robin Mountjoy On His Career in Stage, Screen, and Music

By Casandra Armour

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Accomplished entertainer Robin Mountjoy is an award-winning writer, director, actor, playwright, musician, and songwriter, but don’t let his dizzying array of devotions fool you into thinking he’s without direction. The multi-talented artist has follows his heart, which has led him on a coast-to-coast to conquest to captivate audiences both on stage and on screen.

But finding his place in the world didn’t come so easily, at first. After a lot of struggle, the Kansas City native was lucky to find work on a low budget film and suddenly the pieces of the puzzle seemed to finally fit.  “You have to be a little off, I think, to work in this business. Normal stuff wasn't working for me; I couldn't make normal things work. I’d been working hard for years when in 1995, I got involved in doing some soundtrack work for a low budget film. I realized I had the ability to get people together and make things happen, and shot a film with Tiny Tim in it. I going through some tough times and didn't know what my direction in life was, but I knew right then in there that I'd found my calling.”

He did what came to him naturally and found that creative endeavors were indeed the niche he’d long been seeking. “As a kind of natural performer, I just started performing,” he explained. “I picked up a guitar and six months later, I was playing shows, opening up for bands, making things happen. I was going through a lot so I was playing the blues. I was really good at getting people together and telling my stories. I was opening up for national acts in Kansas City, and I started producing shows. I went to New York and did a residency at CBGB's, only taking on the best and most original talent I could find, with real soul that came from the right place.”

“In New York City, I met a music producer who came to two of my shows. We really were packing it in, he'd never seen anything like it, and he kept coming to my shows, encouraged me. I worked with him a little bit and he said, ‘You're really theatrical when you perform, ever thought about acting?’ He got me a part as an extra in “American Gangster”, I stood around in an Army uniform and watched Denzel Washington, which inspired me to start taking acting classes,” Robin said. One thing led to another, and the musician come aspiring actor’s attention was caught by the creative forces behind the scenes.  “Acting class is where I learned that the director is very intense,” he laughed, “but also made the scenes better. I thought if I could direct and not make people cry, I could make scenes better too. I lead with my heart, and I knew I could get things accomplished without screaming at someone. I wrote a monologue from a story from one of my songs because it was easier for me ro remember and I used it in acting class. People liked it and that encouraged me to continue to write.”

“I didn't have a clue on the structure of script writing, but people always complimented my stories and lyrics. I took it to a producer, but he wouldn't read it because it was practically written in crayon and stuck together with gum. I got a book on how to make it professional, and got it submitted to a performing arts center. Then I won a grant to have my play put on. That was my first break. I made more money than I ever made in my whole life in one night. I wrote six plays and taught myself how to be a playwright.” Robin went on to produce an astounding twenty-six sold out off-Broadway productions of original plays. 

Again, the logical progression took hold, and Robin the playwright now found himself in the throes of the film industry. When financing faltered or things weren’t done up to his standards, he just put on another hat and taught himself another valuable new skill. “Shower Frown” was my first feature, a dark comedy. If anyone tells you it’s easy, they're not making a good film. Since I was learning how to do it all while it was going, it was very hard. They'd leave after eight hours and I’d still be there. I didn’t have anyone edit, so I taught myself Avid, for example. “Quick to Duck” was also hard, but less hard, fun.” Robin recently signed with Cinema Epoch for distribution of the two movies.


But returning to his roots in raucous rhythm and blues, he just finished up “You Gotta Go”, a studio album of original music featuring Dave “Roe” Rorick, classic country legend Johnny Cash's former bass player. Now a celebrated musician, Robin has also earned a residency at the iconic House of Blues on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles.  “Music was my salvation. It saved me; it got me out of a rut. I had trouble finding a job that satisfied me and had been doing whatever I could for years to get by then found the arts and be we looked back.”

Despite Robin’s climb into a cozy, successful multimedia career; don’t expect the relentless Renaissance man to rest. “I'm a constant creator,” he promised, “I'm always creating something.”

Learn more about Robin Mountjoy at www.robinmountjoy.com/

 

Published on Jun 14, 2013

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