Coffee Talk is a monthly informal chat between Washington Filmworks staff and local film industry professionals and arts organizations to better understand what it is they do, how our work and missions intersect, and what we can do to support like-minded projects moving forward.
You may or may not know his name, but you certainly know his face. Tony Doupe is a talented and prolific actor, most recently appearing in Lucky Them, Laggies, and Z-Nation (and can be billed as the SAG-AFTRA actor that has appeared in the most incentive projects). Doupe works behind the scenes as well, currently producing a feature film (Lemondheads) that his son wrote and is planning to direct. He also teaches at Shoreline Community College, Seattle Film Institute (SFI), and privately through Mighty Tripod Productions. As a teacher, Doupe’s advice for young filmmakers is to get involved in the industry as much as possible – whether it’s working with professional companies in mentorship and internship programs or gaining indispensable on-set experience as production assistants.
Doupe is also a big supporter of the film community in Shoreline. He believes that a huge part of attracting industry professionals and productions to the area would be building a soundstage. This project has been both a personal and professional goal for him, to which he continues to lend his support and ideas.
“The more professional productions we attract in Shoreline,” Doupe believes, “the more production opportunities my students have.”
Doupe was born and raised in Seattle before he pursued onstage and on camera acting all over the country – here, in Los Angeles, and even Louisiana. The skills and insight he’s gained from those experiences are imparted onto his students in every one of his classes.
With stage acting, Doupe engages in “an artistic and philosophical quest that, really, you can achieve with film now as well.” The Seattle film community excels at creating films that are grounded and intimate like theater, and Doupe explores the connection between both platforms with his students. At Shoreline’s Performance Arts & Digital Filmmaking department, students have to take both film and theater classes.
“That hybrid really helps with how to communicate and work with actors and crew,” Doupe explains. “Directors should take acting classes, and actors should learn to know how to communicate with directors. The programs at Shoreline help fortify that communication while teaching students the art and skills of both areas.”
Besides the obvious factors (family and love for the city), Doupe stays in Washington because he would like to see the film community grow even further and be a part of it. So far, Doupe has directed short films, webisodic work, and stage, but not feature films.
“I’m very interested in that possibility,” Doupe admits. Also intriguing? “I’d really like to do a series – to have that experience of continuing with a character.” Doupe guest-starred in an episode of Z-Nation, and hopes that character will possibly continue on in the series. Additionally, Doupe advocates for the construction of a Shoreline soundstage to attract productions and create opportunities for employment and students. In the meantime, while he’s not teaching or producing, Doupe continues to enjoy acting.
“The projects up here come from such a pure place,” Doupe reveals. “Filmmakers here get to make their passion pieces, and do it for the artistic expression.”
Considering his enthusiasm and talent in multiple fields, it’s easy to see how and why Tony Doupe is an integral part of that expression.
We thank Doupe for his time, intelligence, and company, and stay tuned for our next Coffee Talk in mid-December!