Paul Booth chats to Filmmaker Mark Ridley…

Mark Ridley has experience as a film actor in theater, television and film. He is a very genuine person with a lot of good energy when you talk to him. I appreciate his time with us today.



Paul Booth: You recently directed a short film, tell us about it.

Mark Ridley: Paul, the short film is titled Dog Training; it’s approximately 18 minutes in length. It depicts Kim from a woman’s point-of-view and talks about men being trained and the two trainers go to the house but they’re really training a dog. Look at the picture of a dog that is shown and you think that’s it, until the dogs round up the various men from various homes and take them to the park and then all hell breaks loose as do the men becoming themselves. Run around and play it can’t be brought back home to the owners, you have to use various means to get them back home and then you see that it means they choose to get the dogs (men) home. The oldest dog trainer is hard and bitter while the younger one is more open and likely to give the dogs a chance.

PB: What inspired you to make Dog Training?

MR: It was supposed to be a quick skit, but as I got into it and thought about how lots of women see men as dogs. Or so they say. I started just writing more and posed the questions of who really needs training. The Dog’s being (Men) or the women, and did it in a fun way.

PB: Do you act or just write and direct?

MR: I started as an actor and slowly started to write. I’ve always written, even as a child. I just never saw myself as a writer. I alway thought that I would direct at some point.

PB: What is your experience as an actor? What brought you into this business.

MR: I started as a extra in a film , then drove a car in a crash scene, in those days, you could do more unrelated things. I liked hanging around the film sets. Having a chance to do fight scenes and martial arts was cool. Even Jim Kelly put me in a little fight scene but you will never see me (haha).

PB: Do you have a favorite aspect of acting?

MR: I love a great dramatic scene as well as a comic scene. I like both as a writer and director. I love to take you down a path, then snatch you a hard left that you never saw coming.

PB: Do you feel being an actor made directing actors easier?

MR: Yes I do. Some call me an actors director. I think I am, because I’m sensitive to what an actor goes though. I want a good performance.

PB: What did you learn doing the short film that made “you say wow, cool”?

MR: Well the fact that I looked up the first day on set and said “this all came from my mind and now I see it in front of my face. 22 actors, 10 crew and it was paid for” cool.

PB: Where has the film played?

MR: Well lets not forget, [Dog Training] was my first film and I held it a year before sending it out. It just screened at The Englewood International Film Festival (Oct 26.) in Chicago and my other film, Stolen Breath has won viewers choice at Valjean Friday Night Film Festival.

PB: How long have you been acting?

MR: About 30 years .

PB: Final thoughts for the readers?

MR: Follow your dreams. Never give up, if you really want it and see yourself doing it. Please keep an eye out for me and other films like Stolen Breath and The Truth Revealed coming soon. A feature, another Mark E. Ridley film and I’m always looking to direct your film too.

Interview by Paul Booth, Lead Entertainment Writer

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