Adam Simon is an actor/writer who was homeless and living in his car; writing Man Down (2015) which stars no less than Shia LaBeouf, Kate Mara and Gary Oldman for starters. I had this conversation with Adam recently in which, in addition to Man Down, he told me about Synapse, which he also wrote and stars in. Adam also gave me his latest project news and you’re hearing it here first at Film Takeout.

Jeremy: How did you become a 3D technical assistant at Cameron/Pace Group?
Adam: Well it didn’t start that way. I was desperately seeking work. A good friend of mine and actor, Jeff Miller, was working as a sales producer for the company already. He got me a job doing manual labor at Cameron/Pace. Sweeping floors, delivering camera packages, doing inventory, construction, anything that was labor intensive. From there, I became a 3D technical assistant. Building camera rigs. I got to learn everything from the ground up. After a year, they moved me into the sales producer position.
J: Your thoughts on James Cameron and Vince Pace?
A: He dove to the deepest of the ocean and made Titantic. It kind of ends there. He’s an innovator and an eccentric engineer. Wanna hear a funny story? It was a desperate actor rookie move, but at a company party, I slipped James my acting reel. Nothing came of it. In fact, the following week I ended up holding experimental camera equipment in a water tank for him. I’m freezing my balls off, neck deep in frigid water, and in a brief moment, when we were alone, I say through chattering teeth, “Did you get a chance to watch my reel?” He continued looking at the monitor and said, “What reel?” Haha! Vince always looked out for me. He tried to make sure I was taken care of.
J: What inspired you to become an actor and did you study Stanislavsky, Meisner, and other premier teaching methods?
A: I’ve been acting since I was a kid. My childhood was punctuated by some really dark moments. As a child you pretend, you imagine, having a place where I could be someone else, live a different life, it made things easier. If things were wrong in life, I could go somewhere and be someone with a different set of problems. That’s where it started. Now, I use the past. Studying, yes. I rotated between my four pillars. Stanislavsky, Stella Adler, Lee Strasberg and Sanford Meisner. Understanding different approaches and methods. I’m not married to one approach. It’s like fighting, different techniques, different opponents.
J: What was your first independent film and what was the experience?
A: My first Indie in the truest sense was Synapse. I still can’t believe we pulled it off. When the film is out, let’s touch base again. Seriously, Synapse makes El Mariachi look like a studio tent pole. We bled for that movie and made it for a bag of nickels. Blood, sweat, tears, meltdowns. Loved every minute.
J: How did Adam G. Simon find himself homeless and how did it affect your kids?
A: A string of really poor choices. But that’s life, falling down, getting back up. For five years I reaped the whirlwind man. Just kept protecting my chin, hoping I didn’t get knocked out. I had the car for a bit, an old Cadillac, but had to give it up. I haven’t had a car since. It’s been almost six years? Maybe five? I rock public transportation wherever I go. Get out, get to know people. Also keeps the carbon footprint down. Me and my kids are stronger, closer. I live for them. I work for them. We are a tight night special forces unit. Every parent says this, but I really do have the greatest kids on earth. That experience, the good and bad and everything that came with it led to Man Down. It created the world of Man Down.
J: How were you treated by people that were homeless and people who weren’t?
A: People in the same set of circumstances treated me a hell of a lot better than those who weren’t. Or, people who were just struggling. I surfed a lot of couches. Spent time with many a struggling artist. But at rock bottom, I had some really scary nights. Many times, people look at you as less of a human being. In my experience, it was the man or woman in the suit that I really needed to worry about. The person who looks at you as being worthless. That was their mistake though. I wasn’t worthless, I had nothing to lose, there is a difference. I get some of the same attitude from bloggers on Man Down that I got from people on the street. I have read some reviews where people take offense to the context of Man Down, but I have sat in screenings with advocacy groups for veterans and hundreds of veterans themselves. They get it and get the accuracy. My brothers and sisters who served, fought, lost friends and family and suffer for their service. That is who I wrote Man Down for. It’s also calling attention to something that no one wants to talk about. So yeah, fuck the opportunists on the street and the bloggers who take offense. They’re cut from the same cloth.
J: What’s the synopsis of Man Down?
A: In a savage post-apocalyptic America, former U.S. Marine Gabriel Drummer, searches desperately for the whereabouts of his son, Jonathan, and wife, Natalie, accompanied by his best friend and a mysterious survivor.


J: Describe your worst day homeless?
A: Sorry brother. My worst days are for me and me only. Well…me and a team of therapists.
J: Tell our readers your thoughts on Shia LaBeouf?
A: I love him. I respect him. I know him but I don’t know him. He’s just an incredibly dedicated and gifted artist. He gives everything to what he does.
J: Where is the distribution of Synapse?
A: We are in talks and making the festival rounds as we speak. On that, people just don’t understand how labor intensive it is to get a independent film off the ground. Film has fallen into this crazy domestic and foreign sales projections model. If you are on the ground floor of a truly independent film, even if it is written, acted, shot and edited exceptionally well, everyone is going to tell you to “Cold Stone” that bitch. Jam a bunch of vine stars and youtube personalities in there, reshoot a day and throw in an actor that’s big in China or the United Arab Emirates. Get those projection numbers up. It’s f**king bulls**t. Me and Kenlon Clark (the director) were very fortunate to find someone like Brian and Pete Brosnan of Los Angeles Center Studios and Susan Saldivar of Hollywood locations. They are of this crazy notion, as were we, that story and quality are king and queen in film. We could have cast this film differently, but we stuck to our guns and by so doing, have a fantastic movie.
J: What is the synopsis of Synapse and what inspired you to write Synapse?
A: In the near future, a biotech narcotic has become the drug of choice for addicts and dealers. “Mems” as they are called, allows the user to download memories provided by “Mem Farmers.” The story follows an addicted memory dealer Nathan Stafford. After a drug deal goes tragically wrong, he is chased relentlessly by federal narcotics agents bent on keeping the secrets he has locked in his mind hidden. Synapse is really about addiction and failed relationships. It was a way for me to work out my own demons in those two areas.
J: Who are Frank and Nathan in Synapse?
A: Frank is a street smart drug dealer who is addicted to the drugs he pushes. Nathan is an undercover cop who has come to see the dark underbelly of undercover work. They both suffer from a horrific type of loss and want the same thing, just for different reasons. They are both looking for forgiveness and redemption.
J: What are you working on now?
A: Honestly, I haven’t been this energized creatively in a long while, which means I don’t sleep. I’m working my a**¬†off. I’ve written a screenplay that’s adapted from a book called “Sentinel” for Benaroya pictures. I just finished a script for Insurgent Media that’s going through a polish. The project I am working on now is a beast. I have to be emotionally connected to what I write. So it helped when I got hit over the head with an emotional baseball bat a few months ago in the form of Clifton Collins Junior. He approached me with a project he had been working on for years with his business partner Gustavo Alvarez. All three of us got to talking about the story. I can’t get into yet, but I’m dialed into it man. I believe in this story. It’s incredibly powerful. I feel very blessed to write on it.
J: What are your top five favorite films?
A: Wow. Too many. Let’s see, if I could only save five films from the apocalypse for my own viewing pleasure… (1) Narc. I watch Narc every year on my birthday, it’s a tradition. I have that whole film memorized. (2) There Will be Blood. It’s a damn near perfect film. (3) Babe Pig in the City. Me and my kids love that film. (4) Tree of Life. That film changed my perspective on everything. (5) Anything Scorsese. Just pick any Scorsese film. For me, Scorsese is the greatest film maker alive.

J: Adam,I think it’s an apropos time to pick Martin Scorsese’s Who’s That Knocking at My Door, which was Scorsese’s feature film directorial debut.

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