Columbia Heights Actor stars in film at Film Fest

In this day in age, even movie actors can work remotely. Afar from Los Angeles, Columbia Heights-based actor Paul Cram stars in a dark drama that is part of the Twin Cities Film Fest. The film, Imperfect Sky, is a story about brotherly love alongside a dark twist of heroin addiction.
Imperfect Sky stars two estranged brothers who are torn apart during adolescence. Abel, the 16-year-old brother, is a strong-willed and smart student on the fast track to college, while his older brother Skyler has found himself in the grasps of drugs and addiction in South Central LA. Abel leaves home to reunite with his older brother, only to find that he’s hit rock bottom. Abel is determined to get Skyler back on his feet, although the battle with addiction proves to be a dark and gripping ride.

Cram plays Russ, a drug dealer who finds himself infatuated with Sky, and desperately wants to be loved. Cram said that this role wasn’t originally written for his build and body type.
Director Graham Streeter said in a statement, “Russ was originally written for a very muscular and tall man, covered in tattoos and piercings; but once Ann, the casting director, showed me Paul’s audition tape, I couldn’t get it out of my head whenever I thought about the role. So we rewrote a few things to make it all fit together with Paul in the role.”

Cram’s interest in acting sparked at a young age. He first began acting in church and community theater and high school plays. He said he remembers going to his mother and insisting that he was going to be an actor.
“All she said was, ‘okay… and how are you going to do that?” Cram said.

A real milestone in his career path was landing an internship at a Minneapolis casting office while he was still in high school. He said this internship was meant to “kind of get his feet wet” and to really see “how the heck this all fits together.”

This experience was irreplaceable, allowing Cram to learn how the business really works. He said film work is completely different than theater, almost incomparable.

“About eight hours a day, you’re watching actors. And you’re also working with directors, and seeing how it all works. It’s a really good learning ground,” Cram said.

Cram insisted to note that at this time, casting was a whole different world in the sans-Internet era. He said he remembers everything was on paper, which is sort of a headache to think about.

Cram then met casting director Mali Finn who was coming through Minnesota casting for a film.
Finn had an incredible career as a casting director and operated her own firm in California. She is known for being the casting director of notable films Titanic, The Matrix, The Green Mile, as well as winning numerous awards and nominations for her work.

Cram said that after their meeting, Finn kept calling him and requesting him to audition for more roles. He said this really opened his eyes to the opportunities out there.

“I don’t necessarily need to live there. If Mali Finn, who’s casting the Titanic, is looking at me? It was a huge confidence boost and pushed me to look at it different and I started to approach people out in California.” he said.

Since then, Cram has been earning a numerous amount of roles in films, making the trek to film on location across the nation, from Maine to LA. He said working on set is dependent of his role in the film, and he can be away from home anywhere from a couple days to six months.

Along with freelance acting, Cram also works as a freelance in web design and photography, and even spent a summer working at a Minneapolis farmers market flower shop with a ‘crotchety old man who’s also a former boxer.’ His work allows him to be as flexible as he pleases, constantly auditioning and taking the opportunities that come to him. Cram said that he’s also done a lot of commercial work as well as narrate audio books.
Contact Sarah Burghardt at sarah.burghardt@ecm-inc.comOriginal article