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/2017/03/jake-gyllenhaal-sunday-in-the-park.jpg
Jake Gyllenhaal Talks ‘Life’, Preparation and Singing Sondheim
"My favorite actors are like artists" - Jake Gyllenhaal
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/luke-evans-gaston.jpg
‘Beauty and the Beast’ Star Luke Evans: “If there’s one thing I’m comfortable doing in this life it’s singing”
What fans might not be aware of, is that Evans started out in theater, and didn't land his first film role until he hit 30.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/ewan-mcgregor-trainspotting.jpg
Ewan McGregor on Playing Renton Again in ‘T2 Trainspotting’: “It all felt right”
"I feel being Renton again, he was just waiting inside me to come out." - Ewan McGregor
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Kal-Penn.jpg
Kal Penn’s Old Scripts Reveal Early Career Discrimination
Penn posted, "Found a bunch of my old scripts from some of my first years trying to be an actor." Here are some scripts included projects that called for:
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Mark-Ruffalo.jpg
Mark Ruffalo on his Return to Broadway: “All I wanted to do was get on a stage with a group of people I trust and love and do a great play”
In the current Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's The Price, Mark Ruffalo returns to Broadway for the first time in over a decade (he last appeared in 2006's Awake and Sing!)