Bryan’s a nice guy. And he makes nice films. A spoof he made of Michael Jackson was so well liked that Jackson called Bryan to ask for a copy, sparking a friendship that lasted 20 years.
Bryan, 52, hails from eastern Canada, but moved to Los Angeles to attend the American Film Institute. He worked as a temp for a few months, but in his own polite way schmoozed into a job working for Johnny Carson. His career really took off when “TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes” hired him to produce, write and direct a series of short films called “Undershorts.”
“I’ve been an independent filmmaker the last 28 years or so. I’ve been self-sufficient. I work out of my three-level home. I write produce, edit and direct my movies. Even though I’m connected to the industry, I’m an outsider. I don’t go to Hollywood parties. I’m not the see-and-be-seen [type]. I make films, but I’m not being governed by someone else. Someone asked me what’s the definition of success, and I said, ‘The freedom to do what you want when you want.’ So, I guess I’m successful.”
Bryan loves to read and he loves the outdoors. “I especially like to go for walks. I like to go to coffee shops, even though I’m not a big coffee drinker. It’s just nice to get out of the house and talk to people. I like to people watch. I’m a huge dog lover.” His dog actually stars in his latest film — a family friendly movie called “First Dog,” about a foster child who finds a lost dog belonging to the president of the United States. Bryan got the idea after a friend gave him a dog that used to belong to President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy. After Bryan got a call from Nancy Reagan inviting him to their Bel Air home, he got the idea for the movie.
“The movie’s done close to half-a-million rentals on Redbox; it’s had over 50,000 ratings on Netflix, and it’s at all the outlets. Overseas, it sold out 80 percent of the market and so a lot of the buyers are interested in the sequel. I’ve never done a sequel before, but this was so popular … and my dog’s been bothering me to get another job. You know how actors are.” He says it so dryly that it takes me a second to laugh.
When it comes to dating, Bryan is much less confident than with filmmaking. “If I get the date, I’m good at the date, I think. It’s just getting the date. Because I don’t get out much, I don’t meet people. I’ve dated many attractive women, but you can only look at a beautiful painting for so long — there needs to be substance to that painting. Beauty’s in the eye of the beholder, so maybe someone doesn’t see them as a 10, but they may be my 10. I like strong women; I like intelligent women; I like successful women. I’m kind of a homebody, which is why I’m still single. I’m kind of shy, too. I’m more the Canadian polite. I saw [Canadian] Martin Short a few weeks ago, and the first thing we said to each other was, ‘Sorry.’
“I think what I miss the most is I’ve had a lot of great adventures in my life, but I have no one to enjoy them with. I believe that you grow from each other so there are things they can teach me and I can teach them. I’ve had a saying for many years — and this goes for relationships and writing partners and business partnerships: If the two of you always agree, one of you is unnecessary.”
Seth Menachem is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles with his wife and two children. You can see more of his work on his Web site, sethmenachem.com, and meet even more single peeps at mysinglepeeps.com.