American Golden Picture

International Film Festival


AN INTERVIEW WITH Lawton Vokahl, ACTOR


As an actor, please introduce yourself and let us know why you became a filmmaker?

My name is Lawton Vokahl. I am a self taught actor, vfx arranger, and writer.  Having helped a handful of friends over the years

with their videos or personal projects,  I've always enjoyed the passion and creativity that was put into even the smallest of productions.

It wasn't until recently that I had the opportunity, at the request of Luke J. Watson, producer and director of “Project Primal”,

to work and perform in that short film.


Your film “Project Primal” is a professional. It doesn’t look like it was your first real experience.

Tell us if you were involved in filming before.

This is the first one to be working on exclusively. In talks with a few other filmmakers to one day collaborate if the winds blow right,

so we'll just have to feel it out to see how it goes according to our schedules.


What are the films or people that had impacts on you and deeply inspired you to become an actor?

To go way back, it has to be Metropolis (1927).  Did not fully appreciate it AT ALL when I first saw it at the tender age of 5,

but it subconsciously influenced me from the starting line. I never looked at film the same way since.

Having seen it now a number of times, it always calls forth a smile to notice the parallels that a lot of movies and tv shows,

since then, have branched from that one film. It really is astounding and inspiring. 



Your film “Project Primal” has been officially selected in the short film category of the American Golden Picture International Film Festival. What were some of the challenges you faced making that film?

Luke, would no doubt have his own list of challenges being director, editor, and co-star as well. For me on the acting side, the initial challenge was to pretend how one character was going to respond to someone who was a line ahead of them that wasn't there. Specifically, how the next character was going to reply before the first character uttered their line. Not in an exact response of course, but have a ballpark idea, y'know? I still wanted to shut my brain down from ideas enough so that we could get an initial original reaction. Doing this early on I felt very stiff, but the more it progressed, especially once we got the end of the night shots and into the field scenes, it became like second nature. Luke was kind enough to read the other characters lines back for replies when he was able to set up the camera on those tripod moments. Ultimately though it was like tennis practice serving against the wall and it was interesting fun to be sure. Post-production-wise, later on we started to get a feeling that this particular production was a bit too much for only 2 first-timers to be doing. First-timers of something this size anyway. Don't believe either of us would be too keen to do another meant to be this long with just the 2 of us. We would both surely welcome working with a fuller and more capable crew on future projects.


Being involved in making a film what was the  lesson you had to learn?

Letting the inspiration of post-production flow a little more organically. I am very regimented when it comes to the way I approach things outside of acting. Make a list, do everything on the list, check it all, corrections, do pick-ups, check those pick-ups, see if the director wants anything else along with some changes, check it all one more time, and then finalize. Boom. Done. But that's not always the case, I'm sure. This was one of those instances, since this initially started as a masking/rotoscoping exercise clip, then the next thing you know, we have a 30 minute short film with an actual story in it.


Who do you like to work with if you have a choice?

As an actor, everybody. Ready to fall in LOVE with how different people approach different characters and then getting real with it as we bounced off each other. It puts me in a happy fever just thinking about it. And behind the camera, anyone that connects; simple as that. We don't have to have everything in common or even become besties, but if we're both passionate about the story (even in completely different ways) oh we are going 'film steady'. Have no problem wearing your pin.


To you, what part of the filmmaking is the hardest part?

Don't find any of it particularly hard at the moment. Pose this question again in 5 years and I might change my tune. But even the most grinding moments, which was the masking without blue or green screen, really wasn't that trying. I never consider anything I do as 'work' its always looked at as an experience. It's a blessing to be able to do anything. I'm thankful for all of it.


What keeps you inspired to continue acting?

Finding that story, that character, that you truly feel, and that moves you on a personal level. Life changing art. A moment that lives on beyond the work put in alongside all the wonderful people involved.


What are your acting goals?

The opportunities are endless. Besides what keeps me motivated in the previous question (number 10), there's no set goal to achieve other than being able to work with as many beautiful minds as I can and try every aspect of the industry at least once (maybe twice) regardless of reach or scale.


What are your favorite genres to work on? Why is it your favorite?

When I was younger it would be fantasy related as an escapism, but over the years I became interested in all of them as long as I can catch a texture in its story that moves me or gives me pause. There are so many creative people with beautiful radiating talent that put in the work for every type of genre I couldn't bring myself to choose just one nowadays. They are all special and get this person excited in their own ways.


For your next project, what sorts of movies would you like to get involved if you had your choice?

Leaning towards mystery thriller or existential slice of life. But again regardless of the genre, throw it this way and we'll see how we connect.


Finally, do you have any more important information about yourself to add in this interview?

That is more than enough self proclaiming. To the other people who are fans, those who also work in the industry or any creative outlet that inspires the heart, I want to thank you for everything that you do. You're an inspiration of joy for the future; makers of art and dreams. How lucky are we all for you?


GOOD LUCK Lawton