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/2016/09/Sarah-Paulson.jpg
Sarah Paulson: “I muscled a lot of what I’ve achieved by sheer force of will and relentless determination”
"If my career had turned out like the fantasy I had of what it was going to be, it would never have made me happy" - Sarah Paulson
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Boyd-Holbrook-Narcos.jpg
Boyd Holbrook on Shooting ‘Narcos’ in Colombia: “It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done”
Holbrook talks about working with the real-life Steve Murphy, what movie inspired his narration, and why shooting in Colombia was so challenging.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Joseph-Gordon-Levitt-Snowden.jpg
How Joseph Gordon-Levitt Developed his ‘Snowden’ Voice
"You're playing someone that everybody in the world has seen before. It's a little different than playing a fictitious character." - Joseph Gordon-Levitt
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/renee-zellweger-bridget-jones-baby.jpg
Renée Zellweger on Returning to Film After a Six-Year Absence: “I needed to grow as a person in ways that didn’t revolve around my work”
Zellweger talks about what prompted her six-year absence from Hollywood, what's different about playing Jones again, and ageism in Hollywood.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/dev-patel-lion.jpg
Dev Patel: “I want there to be people that look like me represented on screen”
"There aren’t many roles written for someone that looks like me. It’s slim pickings. It’s difficult, but I try and stay on the optimistic side." - Dev Patel