Writer & Director Paul Shoulberg

paul shoulberg

There are jobs you simply do, that’s what most of us have, and there are creative passions that turn out to make you a few bucks, which very few are lucky enough to succeed at.

One way to gauge the difference is the perception of children.  If, as a child you heard of an occupation and immediately felt you would rather eat raw spinach with no ranch dressing while sitting in the adult church service for 10 hours, this is likely a job you do.  If, as a child, you fantasized about doing that job.  You dreamed about the details, imagined yourself in that daily routine, and presented it emphatically as the answer to the age old question “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, it’s likely a creative passion that might make you a few bucks.
Occasionally, we meet someone who has succeeded at being what they dream of growing up to be.  Our guest today, is one of those people.
Not only has Paul Shoulberg spend time with some of Hollywood’s greatest stars, he’s had the pleasure of watching them act out his words, his story, his screen play.  Even better, as a film director, he’s been able to mold those actors into his idea of the story.  Paul is becoming the vision so many of us had as kids.  A director and storyteller who exorcises his angels and demons right there on the big screen.
On today’s episode, Paul Shoulberg shares his story.

Here’s an Overview:

What childhood memories led to Paul being a writer? (2:12)

Paul’s dad wanted to be a writer and it really never worked out for him.  He always held writing in super high regard and instilled in Paul, even if he didn’t realize it at the time, a love and respect for a good story.  His father’s passion rubbed off on Paul and he eventually started writing.

How would you describe your film The Good Catholic? (10:40)

It’s really a workplace comedy.  The workplace is the church and the workers are three priests.  The film explores love and fear, life and death, spirituality and passion through the eyes of each character.  Along the way, one of the priests makes a connection with a quirky woman who pushes him to better understand himself.

In one scene, Daniel (Zachary Spicer) asks Victor (Danny Glover) if he ever really sees god.  Can you describe that interaction and your ideas behind it? (14:05)

Paul sees a lot of puff being blown about religion and the idea that only certain people have special access to god.  Danny Glover’s character instills the idea that what they do as priests takes work.  It’s getting up every day and doing it.  A deeper connection comes with that but it doesn’t just happen magically.  Paul feel like this concept is true for creative endeavors as well.  Writers block, an empty canvas, every successful creative person has systems for doing the work and being present when inspiration hits.  Maybe spirituality and creativity aren’t really that different.

There’s a great scene where Ollie (John C McGinley) talks about compassion.  Can you describe that scene? (16:50)

Ollie is a very real and present character who truly gets the spirit of religion and serving people.  This scene is one of Paul’s favorite.  Ollie is giving a Homily (sermon) on compassion.  His main point is that the definition of compassion is “to suffer with”.  This 3 minute scene gets at the heart of the story even though it doesn’t exactly fit most of the storyline.

Tell us a little about the inspiration behinds the film?(22:00)

Paul’s mom was a nun and his dad was a priest when they met.  So the backbone of the story is based on them.  It’s a story he’s wanted to tell for a long time.  But then, in 2013, his father passed away.  So the deeper personal elements of each character are a mix of Paul’s feelings about losing his dad, opinions on life, and everything else.

What’s so hard about being a director?(28:04)

Directing a film is like popping up a hypothetical million-dollar business but you have to start before you know if you’ll have the million dollars.  For Paul, it has to be a true project of passion to even consider directing a film.

­ Tell us about your next film? (33:32)

The film is called Ms White Light and it’s about a woman who is able to connect with people who are about to die but are struggling to let go.  Miss White Light (Roberta Colindraz) is able to connect profoundly with someone who’s dying but is incapable of normal day to day interactions.  It deep and dark but also, a comedy.

 

Special thanks to Paul Shoulberg for taking the time to share his story with us.

The show was produced and edited by me Jeremy Goodrich.

The music is by my high school buddy Mark VInten.  Mark and I lived together our second year in college.  I painted my bedroom candy apple red had a water bed and listened to a lot of The Rolling Stones on the radio.  Mark was most well known for looking exactly like Jim Morrison.

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Until the next time, We truly appreciate you listening.

 

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