Sleepwalk With Me’s Mike Birbiglia on being a first time director: “It’s like going to medical school”

mike-birbiglia-sleepwalk-with-meComedian Mike Birbiglia has taken his own strange experiences with a sleep disorder and transformed them into a new movie, Sleepwalk with Me.

However, he is quick to admit that he struggled to figure out how to make the film “every second of every day.”  In an interview with Time, Birbiglia said, “It’s like showing up to the field trip in seventh grade and jumping on the bus and saying, ‘Hey, everybody, I’m gonna drive the bus.’  Everyone’s like, ‘What?  You don’t know how to drive a bus.’  And you’re like, ‘I know, but I’ve been watching the bus driver.  I feel like I have the hang of it.  I’ve been watching other bus rides and I have my favorites and my least favorites, and I feel like I have a bus-driving aesthetic and I feel like that’s going to carry us through.’  Fortunately we arrived at the field trip.  We didn’t drive off the road.”

Birbiglia enjoyed the process of working as a collaborative team on the film.  “I’ve always had collaborators,” he said.  “That’s how I started in college; I was in the improv group at Georgetown.  And I hired a director, Seth Barrish [who co-directed the movie] to direct my one-man shows.  But I’m on stage alone quite a bit and I have to manage an audience.  Managing an audience in a lot of ways is like directing a film.”

Birbiglia is certain he’ll be behind the camera in the future as well.  “I just feel it’s like going to medical school,” he said.  “You can’t go to medical school and come out and be like, ‘I’m going to be a dog catcher.’  That would be so pointless.  Once you know how to make a movie, you can’t not make a movie.  It’s the hardest damn thing you could ever imagine and the skill-set is so specific.  Also it’s a passion.  I love movies and I loved making a movie, as hard as it was.  I’m working on the film adaptation of My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, which is the show I’m touring the world with right now.”

2 Comments

  1. Ken Murray via Facebook

    August 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    I’m a big fan of his and totally dug this movie when I saw it months ago. I might see it again this week

  2. Daily Actor via Facebook

    August 27, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Yeah, really liked it too. Wish there were more films like this out there.

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/danny-mcbride-vice-principles.jpg
Danny McBride on His Early Career Struggles: “Looking back on it, I liked how dirty and grimy and dangerous it got”
After his first role in Green's All the Real Girls, McBride thought he'd go back to writing
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/annette-bening-film-starts-dont-die-in-liverpool.jpg
Annette Bening on Starting Her Career Relatively Late and How It Influenced Her Acting Process
"It took me a long time to feel comfortable working in movies. I felt kind of like I was a stage actress pretending I was a movie actress" - Annette Bening
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/jon-bernthal-punisher.jpg
Jon Bernthal on His Approach to Acting and How Investing Himself into a Role Makes for Better Performances
"One of the drawbacks of playing the Punisher would be the high exposure. There’s a real downside to that as an actor" - Jon Bernthal
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/daniel-day-lewis-phantom-thread.jpg
Daniel Day-Lewis on His “Final” Role in ‘Phantom Thread’: “The impulse to quit took root in me, and that became a compulsion”
"All my life, I’ve mouthed off about how I should stop acting, and I don’t know why it was different this time" - Daniel Day-Lewis
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/adam-driver-last-jedi.jpg
Adam Driver: “Basically, the only thing I try to do is know my lines”
"I never figure anything out. I do my job. That’s my goal, to be as economical as possible." - Adam Driver