Drawing on a lifetime of experience in the entertainment industry, actor Dylan Kussman recently moved from Hollywood to Chattanooga with the aim of writing, directing and acting in local film and theater projects.
“I’m inspired being here and being involved in a smaller theater environment than the one in L.A.” said Mr. Kussman. “I love the history of Chattanooga, and with its rich scenery, local talent and strong arts community, it has many of the important qualities that film producers look for.”
Mr. Kussman is an L.A. native and has been acting since he was six months old. His parents are both involved in theater and film in the Los Angeles area - his mother works as an actress and theater director; his father works in production at ABC Television. Having played major roles in numerous feature films, Mr. Kussman aid he is looking to flex his creative muscles in his new home town.
After breaking onto the Hollywood scene as Richard Cameron in the American classic Dead Poets Society, Mr. Kussman went to school at U.C. Berkeley, worked in the theater and music business in the Bay area, and then spent nearly a decade back in Hollywood before moving to Chattanooga early last year to be closer to his wife's family.
Since then, he has acted in numerous local theater productions including Macbeth with the Chattanooga State Repertory Theatre, The Laramie Project with the Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga, and Twelve Angry Jurors with the Destiny Theatre Company.
He has also written the script for, and is directing and starring in, a web series called The Steps. Mr. Kussman teamed up with local cinematographer Tim Cofield to produce the web series — a noir thriller shot on location in Chattanooga and slated for release in November of this year. In May, Create Here awarded the two a MakeWork Grant that will help them finish season one.
“I’ve been able to find a high quality of local talent and put people in a position to succeed, “Mr. Kussman said. “Producers in Los Angeles have seen the first three episodes, and they have been blown away with Chattanooga as a shooting location and the product we’ve been able to put together here.”
Mr. Kussman is also very active in public schools where he is a substitute teacher focusing primarily on theater and drama classes. He is currently collaborating with Destiny Theatre Company and Missy Crutchfield to create a curriculum for an intervention program that teaches students to write, direct, act in and produce their own plays.
This summer, however, Mr. Kussman remains focused on producing The Steps. “My hope is that this city continues to recognize and fully embrace its thriving theater and film community,” he said.