By Frankie Kujawa
New York City-based actor, Brian Hutchison (“The Boys in the Band,” “FBI: Most Wanted”) recently launched a noir audio drama entitled “I Still Think About You” to the delight of listeners everywhere. Hutchison, who created, produced, directed and recorded the fictional mystery podcast, recently chatted about the inspiration for his drama, what audiences will be excited to learn, and why a scripted series is needed in society today.
Based on a harrowing true story centered around a past romantic relationship, “I Still Think About You” tells the story of Adam McClure, a successful New York actor, who revisits a haunting incident from his past. Unsettling and ominous, with twists and turns until the very end, “I Still Think About You” is part memoir, part psychological thriller, and part love letter to Broadway.
Frankie Kujawa: In your own words, can you tell our readers a little bit about your podcast, “I Still Think About You?”
Brian Hutchison: In a nutshell, the podcast addresses what happens in a relationship when outside forces are conspiring against it. Within the story there are basically two parallel stories. It’s about an actor who is coming-of- age after moving to New York. The first two episodes start off by talking about the first couple of survival jobs that this actor has while in New York. It’s during those jobs in which he happens to meet two people he works with, and they end up shifting the ground underneath his feet years later. These lives will continue to brush up against his in very different ways. So, it’s about the people we meet early on who influence our lives, and who affect our lives, in very different ways. That’s basically the gist of it.
FK: What was your inspiration for this project?
BH: The inspiration for me was last year, during the beginning of the pandemic. I was just spending a lot of time alone. I was feeling kind of isolated and there was a lot of fear out there. My mind would kind of wander at times. The thing that kept coming to my mind the most when I would imagine things, whether I was home alone or at the bay walking my dog, was always this person from my past. It was like my personal ‘specter’ or ‘Boogeyman’ from my past; something that I had never really discussed or fully come to terms with. I realized I had this story from my past that I never really told many people about, but it wasn’t because it was so lurid or so dark that I was unable to speak about it. I just realized that I put it somewhere else. I sort of stuffed it down and continued living my life. Then, I realized that it’s very interesting what we as people do with stories and memories. It all came to me over a couple of days. I was like, ‘I want to start recording the beginning story that I’m remembering from my past.’ So, a lot of it has to do with the nature of memory and coincidence and how often what we remember is often a memory of a memory. You know, a convenient story that we tell ourselves. So, I was curious about that, too. Curious about how I would tell this story from my own memory since it’s based on true events. So, it was really those things that came together. This great confluence of things that allowed me to tell this story in this way. The podcast/audio version made sense to me because it was a pandemic, and I was recording a lot of it on my own and having actor friends send me audio of the stuff that I was asking them to record.
"So, a lot of it has to do with the nature of memory and coincidence and how often what we remember is often a memory of a memory. You know, a convenient story that we tell ourselves." - Brian Hutchison
FK: What is important for you, as a storyteller, to make sure you are conveying to your listeners?
BH: You know, I deal a lot with stories. What’s really interesting for me personally is, as an actor from mostly theater and television, I realized that over this year that I am a storyteller by profession. That’s kind of what I’m used to doing. However, the stories I tell are often just a small part of someone else’s story. You know I’m a character in play - whether a lead or a co-star. I’m a character in a TV show, but that may just be a few scenes, or a few episodes of something. So, I play these small parts that help tell a greater story that someone else has created. And, I love doing that! That is, kind of, my life’s work and I always enjoy that. But, this is the first time that I was telling my own story. So, there is a responsibility. I wanted to tell it truthfully. I wanted to tell it honestly. I didn’t want to embellish too much to the point of trying to write something outside myself - like to attempt to write a thriller. That wasn’t it at all. It was more kind of the flashes of memory - the ambiguity. The idea that our memories are stories that we tell ourselves long enough over time that our revised version of that story become true. So, I’m hoping that the listener will take away some universal truths about an ordinary person – an ‘every man’ or ‘every woman’ – caught up in extraordinary circumstances. And how do we get past that? How are we resilient in life? How do we move forward and allow these things to shape us but not be debilitating?
FK: Why do you think a scripted series, even in a podcast format, is something audiences need in this day and age?
BH: From my point of view, whether I was aware of it or not, I subconsciously would escape into different scripted series. After four years of watching news that was making my head spin and feeling terrible about the reality of what we were all dealing with, I would find comfort in a scripted series. You do find there is that water cooler element in a scripted series, even though many of us aren’t physically at work these days. There is that sense of going to a dinner party and talking about something you are listening to or something you’re watching on TV. I’m a big fan of these streaming hubs, and I’ve been in some of those shows. I like consuming content that way. I also think that there’s something comforting about watching something that isn’t just about current events or politics. Something that allows you to think about some deeper questions – maybe relate some experience in your own life to what these characters are going through. I think there’s a reason why these fiction podcasts have become more popular. By combining amazing content, a story, great actors, music and soundscape; there’s just so much there for someone to listen to. So much that it does harken back to those radio dramas of the past, which I think is comforting.
For more information on "I Still Think About You," please visit: www.istillthinkaboutyou.com