By Julienne Graebner │ September 4, 2020
Tommy Kramer’s acting career began as an unlikely one.
“I took an acting class, mostly because I thought it would be an easy grade,” he laughs, saying that despite the fact that he wasn’t crazy about the rigorous rehearsal schedule live theater required, he found himself falling in love with acting. Despite this, a career in acting wasn’t meant to be — not yet, anyway.
“Since my father had impressed the need to be able to earn a living, I drifted toward more practical work after a couple of years in junior college,” Kramer says that acting fell to the wayside in favor of an honest, blue collar job. It wasn’t until after he retired from a long railroad career that his daughter, Kari J. Kramer, an actress herself, encouraged him to explore his love for performance.
“I started looking for extra work on network television shows and feature films in an effort to "learn the ropes" of set etiquette and procedures,” he says, “Soon I was taking roles on independent short films and college projects. I am simply trying to improve with each role at this point.”
“Playing Grandpa Eddie James in “Lost Treasure of Jesse James” was definitely a step up from college project work,” Kramer jokes. He goes on to say that the role of Grandpa Eddie resonated with him, “Eddie James loves his grandkids and wants to pass the torch to them while keeping a certain level of protection that they aren't aware of until the mystery is solved.”
Kramer raves about his time on the set of “Lost Treasure of Jesse James”, saying, “I got the opportunity to work with an awesome director, Adam Boster, and watch him squeeze that special something out of our entire film family.”
He remembers the premiere of the film, saying, “the entire project left us all feeling like stars on the red carpet as we watched Adam's vision come to life.”
Tommy has also worked on Adam Boster’s next feature, an upcoming film called “Shakespeare’s Mummy”. He speaks highly of Boster, saying working with him is an “adventure” and that “Adam Boster is not afraid to challenge every actor and situation. I often wonder how great it would be if he had the resources to make what he envisions in his head, come to life. On both films, we all left the set as family. An exhausted family, but family nonetheless,” a sentiment echoed by Jessica Ambuehl and Sage Buchanan, who both worked on set with Boster and Kramer.
Tommy urges audiences to see “Shakespeare’s Mummy”, a family film, upon its release, saying, “There are obvious nods to the slapstick nature of a Scooby Doo classic, yet the film is laced with underlying messages about family and overcoming chaos. Something that we all need to see these days.”
One fun fact about Tommy Kramer is that he is consistently typecast as a homeless man, including a role on the hit show “What Would You Do?”
He is a good sport about it, though, saying, “Each one is different. As with the public in general, there are many things going on in every life. Usually I get to create my own backstory and build on it. I get to ask myself, why is this guy homeless? Is this guy a drunk? Does he really mean 'God Bless'? Did he ever suffer great loss? Would he better himself if he could? Most importantly — is he happy? Playing the same role, in different flavors, helps me grow as an actor.”
This idea of delving into a character’s back story is something Kramer does with all of his characters. He explains his approach to acting with a unique comparison: “To me — and this will sound odd to some — it is a bit like riding a motorcycle. If you find that sweet spot in the character, you can climb inside and "Ride the Role". You can take corners so fast that sparks fly as your pegs slide on the pavement. You can relax and become fearless and feel the character. THAT is when the magic happens!”
Kramer feels that in this day and age, too many film production companies are looking to make a quick buck, rather than a lasting impact, saying, “This leaves too much garbage floating out there. If the producers break even they end up feeling like the project was a success no matter what the quality of the product is. It makes it hard for good independent films to rise above the noise. It also makes getting funding difficult which leaves would-be actors either broke or working full time doing something else.”
Despite this, Kramer feels that there are still good people in the industry, and says, “Once again, I just thank Adam Boster for all the work he does trying to set up distribution for independent filmmakers.” He explains, “A larger family is being built every day through his work on GreenLitGo and his desire to seek out quality films and help them rise above the noise.”