Quest Podcast: Catching Up with Bill Crossland
By MDA Staff | Thursday, February 23, 2023
For our February Valentine’s Day Quest Podcast, we catch up with Bill Crossland, a writer, director, producer, and actor who lives with muscular dystrophy. Bill shares his insights and experiences with our live audience as we chat about dating with a disability, love, relationships, and his feature-length-film “Catching Up”.
His movie is available to stream on for free on Tubi and Amazon Prime. You can watch the official trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QrNnmlVqaI. (Note: “Catching Up” is for mature audiences and contains language and some sexual content.)
Read the interview below or check out the podcast here.
Mindy Henderson: Welcome to the Quest Podcast, proudly presented by the Muscular Dystrophy Association as part of the Quest family of content. I’m your host, Mindy Henderson. Together we are here to bring thoughtful conversation to the neuromuscular disease community and beyond about issues affecting those with neuromuscular disease and other disabilities and those who love them. We are here for you to educate and inform, to demystify, to inspire and to entertain. We are here shining a light on all that makes you, you. Whether you are one of us, love someone who is or are on another journey altogether. Thanks for joining now. Let’s get started.
All right, well, thank you so much everyone for joining us. We are here today with Bill Crossland, who is a writer, a director, a producer, and an actor who lives with muscular dystrophy. And for our February Valentine’s Day podcast, we’re catching up with Bill and our live audience here to talk a little bit about his feature length film, Catching Up, and a little bit about dating with a disability, love and relationships. Bill, thank you so much for joining us.
Bill Crossland: Thanks for having me.
Mindy Henderson: Absolutely. There’s so much to talk about. I was putting together our list of questions for today, and I had to start editing myself, because there was so much that I wanted to talk to you about. And I will say that I watched your movie Catching Up last weekend on Amazon, and it was so good. I was so impressed, and there was so much about it and the storyline and everything that I just loved, and I’m very excited to talk to you about it.
Bill Crossland: Thank you, I appreciate that.
Mindy Henderson: Yeah. So before we jump into the film, would you tell us just a little bit more about yourself and your journey to get into the entertainment business? I don’t know if you went to school for this or had formal education. How did this journey go for you?
Bill Crossland: Sure. Well, I’ve always loved movies. My family’s a big movie family, especially my mom. Yeah, she loves movies too, so we watch a lot. And I think I was about five years old when I saw Jurassic Park for the first time, and that kind of lit the fire, and I was fascinated by that movie. And I mean, obviously I was a kid, so I liked dinosaurs to begin with, but how they did it and all the mystery of the filmmaking process. So my parents got me like a little camcorder, and I started making movies with my siblings. So it was, as long as I can remember, it’s just been what I felt like I wanted to do. And then I did a lot of, in high school, I ran the student news program for a while and then went to Temple University in Philly to study film. And my degree, I don’t know how useful it is, but I did have good experience-
Mindy Henderson: Well, if you want to make films, it’s useful.
Bill Crossland: Yeah, I mean, the experience is the best part of it. Sure. I’m meeting other people that want to do what you’re doing and forming those relationships. And I still work with some of the people that I met in film school, the actual piece of paper itself, of questionable value, but the experiences and learning how to work with certain equipment and get on a film set and just experience it firsthand. It’s good practice. So after I graduated, I started writing a lot more screenplays, and the first one I really committed to was this script for catching up. And developed it over the course of several years, actually, while I was doing other things as well. And then we turned it into a short film, which managed to get into Sundance in 2016, and we got a good response from it. So we were motivated to make the full feature length film, which turned into this. And so the short version of the journey from then to now.
Mindy Henderson: Very cool. And I’m not going to comment on how old you were when Jurassic Park first came out and how old I was when Jurassic Park first came out, but I’m a little bit bitter about what you had to say about your age when Jurassic Park came out. So as a kid, though, is this what you always wanted to do? You mentioned being a movie lover from a movie-loving family. Did you have other career ambitions or did you really want to act or make movies or be in this industry in some way?
Bill Crossland: Yeah, I can’t really remember a time when I wanted to do anything else. It did start out a little bit differently. I was always kind of a goofball doing impressions of the movies I watched and stuff. So I originally wanted to be an actor. Because when you’re a kid, you think, oh, acting is kind of the whole thing. You don’t really think about everything that goes on behind the scenes. So that was my first idea to, oh, I want to be an actor. I want to be like those people doing that in the movies. So it wasn’t till a little bit later that I started thinking I can make these myself and then enslave my brother and sister to be my actors.
Mindy Henderson: Nice. Great. So who have been your biggest influences or even your mentors as you have progressed over the years to be in this line of work?
Bill Crossland: In terms of influences, like I said, I mean, Jurassic Park and other Steven Spielberg movies, he’s been a big influence. I really like his movies. And James Cameron, I like all those really heightened big, exciting movies that they make. But also smaller filmmakers, like John Hughes, had a big influence on some of the writing of this movie with his sort of smaller scale movies about friendship and relationships. I mean, Edward Burns, another independent filmmaker that I kind of modeled some of my career, or tried to model some of my movies after, with him making smaller movies just about people and relationships.
In terms of mentors, I mean, I had teachers that encouraged me along the way, in high school and college, that encouraged me and made me feel more confident in pursuing this. And also I got my family, my parents, I mean, they’re not filmmakers, but they’ve always supported me and encouraged my dream of doing this. So yeah, it takes a village.
Mindy Henderson: It does.
Bill Crossland: To make a movie. And then also just to have that, the support system people cheering you on is great too. It was never contentious about, oh, you can do something else because this is crazy, which it is. So yeah, a lot of people in my corner over the years.
Mindy Henderson: That’s awesome. So some of those bigger names that you mentioned, have you had the opportunity to meet any of your influences or role models?
Bill Crossland: Unfortunately, no. Not that much of a big shot yet. One day, hopefully. But I did, when I went to Sundance, I did get to meet Robert Redford for a solid 20 seconds.
Mindy Henderson: Wow. Okay, Robert Redford is not a small deal. So that rates where I’m concerned. So the next question, it’s kind of a two-parter, I’m curious to know, apart from this film, the Catching Up film, I’m curious what other projects and things you’ve worked on along the way, and then in that same vein, I’m wondering what came first for you? Was it acting? Was it directing, screenwriting? I think you said you thought first that you wanted to be an actor, which is maybe kind of the obvious choice for kids. But yeah, what have you worked on and what was that progression like in terms of the different roles?
Bill Crossland: Well, Catching Up was definitely my biggest acting role to date. I’ll try to answer your question in order, but in terms of other things, this is definitely the biggest milestone, I would say, in my career so far, the release of this movie. The filmmaking in general is just really unpredictable. Sometimes you’re working on something big, something you’re passionate about. Sometimes you’re editing wedding videos for a while or music videos or other stuff like that. So there’s been a lot of that. There’s been of just working on writing, creating screenplays in hopes that they’ll get made someday. So when I was in… Right after college, in college or right after college, I edited a few pieces for NBC Sports Network. They were doing a pub crawl type web series. I did a little bit of that and then did some promotional work for other independent… I worked on this Neil Patrick Harris movie that came out in 2010 that was called Best and the Brightest.
It was filmed in Philadelphia. And I did some work on editing special features for the DVD and things like that. So little things here and there. And then the short film was really my first big project that was long in terms of, I created it, wrote It. Obviously, I had a writing partner and a lot of people that helped me make that movie, but it wasn’t like a paid gig. I wasn’t a hiring gun. It was our project. And then getting to turn it into this feature length film, never expected it to finally happen. But that was definitely the biggest milestones off our end. And after that, you’re just trying to chase the next thing, trying to get the next thing made. So as far as acting, when I was the kid, I wanted to be an actor. I live in the Philadelphia area, so I actually have a memory of my mom submitting my photo and bio when M. Night Shyamalan was shooting Signs.
Mindy Henderson: Oh, wow.
Bill Crossland: Yeah.
Mindy Henderson: I love that movie.
Bill Crossland: Yeah, I wasn’t in it, obviously. But, after that, like I said, it sort of started to dawn on me that, oh, I’m not… Maybe you won’t get acting roles, but you can come up with your own short movies. You can pick up a camera and do it yourself and direct and write and make your own material. So that’s when I, around a little bit later in high school, started to get into that, the directing side of things and recruiting my friends and making these little goofy short films and sort of snowballed from there.
Mindy Henderson: Nice. So it sounds like… I’m curious to know with Catching Up, it doesn’t sound like it was a straight line to get there. It sounds like it kind of ebbed and flowed and went in a couple of different directions at different times with the writing and then the short and then the feature film and all of that. How long from the time you wrote the screenplay until it was finished, what was that timeframe like?
Bill Crossland: Well, let’s see. My memory is not what it used to be. I’m getting old. But I would say the inception of it was probably around 2010, 2011, the original version. I mean, there’s been so many versions of the script. At one point, it had a science fiction angle to it, if you can believe that. So that just shows you how things develop over time, but I would say what it looked like now, maybe around 2012, we kind of got the story figured out and then did rewrites and, obviously, wife takes down the directions and you come back to it. But I would say yeah, around 2011, 2012, and then we actually shot it in 2018, the feature. So yeah, long kind of windy road at times.
Mindy Henderson: Yeah. Okay. How long did just the shooting of the feature take?
Bill Crossland: We shot it in a blazing hot summer of 2018 from, I think it was early June to early July.
Mindy Henderson: Okay.
Bill Crossland: About 19, 20 days of shooting on weekdays.
Mindy Henderson: Okay. And I’ve got to ask, I mean, the storyline was so good and there’s so much that I want to say to you about it and ask you about, but curious, were the characters based on real people? Were they based on friends or relatives or anyone that’s in your life? The relationships and the dynamics between all of the characters was so well done and it was so well-developed. And one of our first questions as we were putting together the list of questions for you was, were these real people?
Bill Crossland: I do get with that one a lot. The answer is yes and no. Yeah, I had people, had friends calling me up after they saw it or read the script going, that actually happened. And I said, no, no, it didn’t. So it’s one of those things where you pull inspiration from your own life to fill in the details of certain things. But the plot and the general story itself, I would say is mostly fictionalized.
Mindy Henderson: Is it? Okay.
Bill Crossland: It’s just that certain people are inspired by… Or certain characters are inspired by parts of people that I know, or certain lines of dialogue or certain situations. You pick and choose and infuse them with your own experiences. But I’d say most of the major dramatic stuff, specifically in the movie, is fictional. But not to say that certain aspects aren’t inspired by my own experiences, knowing certain people or being in a certain romantic situation. I took things that actually did happen or experiences that I’d had and tweaked them and inserted them into the story, if I thought they were interesting enough.
Mindy Henderson: For sure. And for the most part, I will say that all of the characters were very likable. In fact, your attendant character, your personal care attendant, I wanted his phone number so that I could call him and ask him to come be my caretaker, because he was so amazing. The coworker character was the guy, not the girl, the love interest, but-
Bill Crossland: Correct.
Mindy Henderson: Your kind of best friend at work. And I should say, for anyone who hasn’t seen the movie, basically in the movie, you are a high school teacher at the school where I guess you went to school, right?
Bill Crossland: Right.
Mindy Henderson: And the girl who back in the day, in the high school, you had a crush on and were still kind of holding a torch for, came back to also teach at the school. But I will say, you have a particular friend, another teacher, who I felt my mom voice coming up a few times, and I wanted to tell him to behave just a little bit, so.
Bill Crossland: Yeah, I have a friend who’s actually a teacher, and I showed him the script and he was like, you can’t have him do that. You can’t have saying that stuff.
Mindy Henderson: It’s true. He was a little inappropriate in a very amusing way. It was super fun to watch. But yes, he didn’t always make good decisions.
Bill Crossland: I would agree with that.
Mindy Henderson: Yeah, yeah. Okay. So let’s see here. So we know that the story was not necessarily based on a ton of truth. It had influences from your life and your experiences. So I want to ask you a very specific question, but I don’t want to give any spoilers to the audience if they haven’t seen the movie. But the way that things turned out in the end, I’ll just say, without giving away which way the story ended, how did you make decisions about how the story was going to go? Is that a fair question?
Bill Crossland: Yeah. I like a lot of stories that have bittersweet endings when I write scripts or stories where the victories are minimal, or in the form of baby steps in somebody’s life, and I think that can feel more natural. So I won’t say whether the character gets everything he wants at the end or not, but I would say, all right, pretty early on it was more about there’s this thing that he wants, there’s this relationship he’s searching for. And that’s one element, but the other element is who he is, how he feels about himself, how he allows that to make him act out in the world and what sort of gains he can make, personally.
Not just in terms of his relationships with the girl he is in love with or other people, but how can he grow as a person through struggling to try to achieve that. So not that sound too pretentious or anything, but I think a lot of what I take away from the ending and how the movie progresses is more about whether or not you get everything you want out of the situation. Maybe developing the courage to at least strive for it, and to give yourself permission, as somebody with a disability, as this character has, to give himself permission to feel what everybody else feels, want what they want, and have the courage to express that.
Mindy Henderson: Right.
Bill Crossland: Whether or not it works out in the end.
Mindy Henderson: Absolutely. Yeah, I mean, all along the way there were definitely victories for this character. And again, just going back to all of the different characters in this story, there was a little mini-story in each of the characters that were in this movie. There was the story of you and your sister and you and your parents, and you and your best friend and this bit of a character at work and even one of your students. And so I’m curious, did you set out, when you wrote this screenplay, did you have specific things that you wanted people to take away from it or maybe learn from it, or were there statements that you wanted to make in particular? How intentional were those storylines and those characters in terms of things you wanted people to carry away from this?
Bill Crossland: I would say that with pretty much all the projects I work on or that I create myself, my main intention with any story is to entertain people. That’s like my number one thing. That’s at the top of the list. Don’t be boring. That’s the biggest sin a movie can commit, in my opinion. So entertainment, and that doesn’t have to mean mindless entertainment, it’s just to engage people, pull them into a story. So I would say I never quite aim to the political or message-driven exactly, but there are definitely ideas that I wanted to explore. That’s how I try to approach it, is instead of just making a statement or telling people what they think or how to feel, you try to show… Attempt, at least, to show some of the intricacies from a situation or an idea and explore it through the characters, what they go through, different points of view expressed by different characters.
You could show both sides of an issue and then let people interpret it how they want to. So I would say exploring ideas like the character, his self-acceptance or his ability to accept himself, exploring relationships, whether it be romantic or these familial relationships that he has going, all sorts of stuff. The thing with a student, how people present themselves to the world or how they try to individually overcome the disadvantages they think they have based on their disability or flaws or whatever. Him and that student obviously clash on the way to relate to other people, both of them having a physical disability, but approaching it from very different angles.
Mindy Henderson: Well, and with the student, I loved the way that your character handled it in the movie, because I don’t think this is too much of a spoiler, but he was a high school kid who also was in a wheelchair, and his choice in terms of making friends and things like that, or to be accepted, he acted like a bit of a clown and called a lot of attention to himself. And when you finally pulled him aside, I was kind of preparing myself to hear the speech that you were about to give him, about how maybe that’s not the way that you want to portray yourself and that sort of thing. And that’s not what you did at all. It was you pulled him aside, but more as a means of telling him, stop disrupting my class. And you do you, do what you want to do on your own time, but on my time, this is not appropriate. And I thought that was a really interesting sort of counterintuitive choice that you made there.
Bill Crossland: And I think there’s actually… I mean, at least I think I intended for there to be a little bit of that subtext of what you were saying. On the surface, it’s I’m pissed that you’re being disruptive, but underneath, maybe it’s because it’s making me uncomfortable, because you’re drilling attention to something that I’m personally uncomfortable with, so maybe there’s different… Something going on the surface there. So I do agree with your interpretation.
Mindy Henderson: Yeah, I loved it. I loved that you addressed it but without being preachy.
Bill Crossland: Oh, thank you. I appreciate that.
Mindy Henderson: And you gave him permission to, you go be whoever you want to be, but in my class, this is what’s appropriate.
Bill Crossland: Right.
Mindy Henderson: So how did you find the actors for the movie?
Bill Crossland: Well, the first person we hired to work on this movie, outside of me and my producers, was our casting director, Bess Fifer, who I believe she’s a New York based casting director. And she was great. She helped us set up all the auditions, online auditions, so we could watched hundreds of tapes of people recording themselves doing the scene that we sent them. And I love that process. I think it’s really interesting to watch people’s interpretation of the scene and trying to find the perfect fit. And I’m really happy with the people we got for the movie. I think they all did a great job. It was basically just sitting at a computer watching tons of audition tapes, and then you finally find a person you like, and it’s like you just pray you can get them, and they have an opening on their schedule. But we pretty much got everybody we wanted, so it was pretty lucky.
Mindy Henderson: That’s amazing. And there was not a bad actor in the bunch. They were all so good in their own ways. So when you went through this process of looking at all the audition tapes and things, did you kind of know it when you saw the person that was this character?
Bill Crossland: Yeah, I mean, there’s a few times when you have some debates with your other producers who will be better, but I always find that when you see it, it clicks, and you get a feeling. I mean, you leave yourself open to new directions and things, but most of the time when you find it, it’s really exciting, because you just know that person is a good fit. The hardest person to cast, I think, was actually Woods the aide, the personal aide character. We were kind of panicked because nobody we were seeing really captured what we were thinking for the character. And then at the last minute we found Jonathan, who plays that character and realized that through his… I think it was through his agent or something, we realized that he’s married to my across the street neighbor.
Mindy Henderson: Get Out. Oh my gosh.
Bill Crossland: It was really lucky and fortunate. It all kind of fell into place and he agreed to do it. A lot of people say that’s their favorite character.
Mindy Henderson: I loved Woods. I do have to say I loved… I think I loved them all for different reasons, but he was one of my favorites for sure. Yeah. So anything else that… I could talk to you about this movie and the process forever. I also just want to talk a little bit about, like I said, Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and I just want to talk a little bit, I want to pivot a second, but is there anything else that you want people to know about the movie? I will personally say, anyone listening, you have got to go watch it. It was so beautiful and it was… It’s a dramedy, I guess, is what I would call it. And it was so well done. But anything else you want to add?
Bill Crossland: Well, I really appreciate that. No, I mean, I’ll plug it at the end again, but I’ll say I love for people to check it out if they want to and let me know what they think. I love hearing feedback and we’re actually doing a DVD re-release of it in February, so we’ll have new DVD art and a brand-spanking new DVD release to give the people what they want. So I would say, yeah, if anybody checks it out, definitely hit me up and let me know when you think about it.
Mindy Henderson: Very cool. And so like I said, I saw it on Amazon. Is there is a few places that people can watch it?
Bill Crossland: Yeah, digitally it’s on most of the rental platforms, but also Amazon Prime, if you have that, you can watch it for free. It’s on Tubi, Xbox, I think some of the cable channel… Or on demand. So people can definitely find it. And like I said, the DVD will be dropping in February.
Mindy Henderson: Great, great, great. Well, so let’s switch gears for just a second. I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you a question or two about dating and relationships, and that’s largely what the movie is about, but let’s face it, no matter who you are, dating is painful and relationships can be painful. What has your experience been like and are you single? Are you attached?
Bill Crossland: I’m single so don’t get too excited.
Mindy Henderson: Hey ladies, you heard it here first.
Bill Crossland: Yeah. I mean, recently I’ve been very career-focused, working on the next project. I just shot a short film in November, a horror short film actually, so I’m working on putting that together.
Mindy Henderson: Oh, wow.
Bill Crossland: But yeah, I mean, as far as… I don’t have any questions. I have been on dates with both ladies in wheelchairs and not in wheelchairs, so that has definitely happened. I won’t say how recently, it’s been a while. But yeah, I don’t know about how much wisdom I have to offer. But I will say that one time I went on a date with a girl who was in a wheelchair, and she spent the entire date talking about curb cuts.
Mindy Henderson: That’s a little dry.
Bill Crossland: So that was… There wasn’t a second date.
Mindy Henderson: Oh, no. Oh, boy. Interesting. Well, yeah, and it’s interesting. I had completely forgotten about this aspect of the movie until now, not because it wasn’t memorable, but your mom set you up in the movie with a woman who also had a disability. And it was not a love connection, I think it’s fair to say. But yeah, I think when you have, like I said, no matter how you slice it, dating is complicated and wrought with different challenges and issues and things. I think when you live your life with a disability, there are some specific and sometimes unique challenges that come along with dating and people being open-minded and things like that. What would you say have been your biggest challenges, and have you found good ways to navigate those things?
Bill Crossland: I mean, I think maybe the sort of lesson there and from the curb cuts anecdote is acknowledging the challenges is good, it’s good to live in reality. And I think a lot of the benefit of that is kind of dealing with it yourself, because you can’t control other people. The only people we can control are ourselves. So maybe the curb cuts takeaway is not to allow the disability to completely define you and how you approach other people, approach the dating scene. Obviously, there’s always a chance you’re going to be judged or rejected based on your disability, but unfortunately, they just can’t control that.
So I think the best thing you can try to do is just deal with people on an individual basis, deal with them as individuals and acknowledge it as part of your life. Acknowledge the challenges, say that you can confront them, but not to have it define your entire personality or the way that you interact with the people you’re trying to date or the people you’re just trying to get to know. Because sometimes that can cause you to put up more obstacles, more barriers, because you’re so fixated on it not being an issue or wanting it to not be an issue that it kind of can blow up in your own mind and make it an issue.
Mindy Henderson: It’s true, it’s true. It’s that old adage where attention or energy, what is it? Where attention goes, energy flows. And it’s true. I think the more you think about it or try not to think about it or try not to make it an issue, that intentionality can sometimes backfire and make it the issue that it really shouldn’t be anyway. Because to your point, we’re defined by so much more than our disabilities. And I think you’re exactly right, I don’t know that I have much more to add to what you said other than live your life and try not to try too hard and just be who you are, and I think the right people will be attracted to who you are and what you’re putting out there. Yeah. So for anyone out there who might be listening and looking for love, what advice, apart from maybe what we’ve already said, is there any other advice that you have for someone who might be discouraged around Valentine’s Day, because they maybe haven’t found the wine yet?
Bill Crossland: Oh man, no pressure, right?
Mindy Henderson: I know.
Bill Crossland: I would, well number one, I would say if you’re not with anybody on Valentine’s Day, don’t think about or celebrate Valentine’s Day, just make it a Tuesday or whatever it is. But I would say just that, in general, I know there’s some people that really want to be in a relationship and some people that are cool being kind of on their own and doing their own thing. I’m more in the second category, but I understand people that are in the first category, and I would just say all you can do is put yourself out there. That’s what I’ve said to other friends and things, and it’s just all you can do is put yourself out there and try your best to relate to people or look for people that should have similar values as you, maybe a similar sense of humor.
And don’t settle just because maybe you feel you don’t get a lot of attention in the dating scene or… Not to be arrogant or anything, but just don’t settle for less or someone who’s not compatible because you’re eager to finally have that romantic connection. I see a lot of people, and then they don’t end up happy because it’s not the right fit. So patience is key. I think.
Mindy Henderson: It’s true. And I can’t count how many times, because I think when you’re alone or when you’ve just broken up with somebody or whenever, it can feel like you will never find somebody or you’ll never find somebody again. I can’t count how many times I have had friends say that to me who feel like they’re in this kind of stuck place where they don’t see how they could ever possibly meet anyone again or anyone who they thought was as perfect for them, or those sorts of things. And then two years later they’re engaged and planning their wedding. So I think what I would add to what you said is just to have faith and to know that love hits when it hits, and we can’t necessarily control when someone crosses our path. But yeah, just knowing that it’ll happen and letting the surprise be in how, where and when it happens, so.
Bill Crossland: I agree, all you can do is kind of put yourself out there, but I’m a big proponent of if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen.
Mindy Henderson: Yeah.
Bill Crossland: And you can’t always control when, so I think in the meantime, when you’re not in a relationship, it’s always a good time to just work on yourself.
Mindy Henderson: So very true. And embrace the other people that you have relationships with, even relationships that are not romantic, your good friends and your family and all of that. Maybe spend Valentine’s Day with them.
Bill Crossland: There you go. That’s an option.
Mindy Henderson: Exactly, exactly. So I could talk to you forever, you’re so much fun. But I do want to open it up to the audience and give… We’ve got a live audience with us here.
Bill Crossland: Do we have an audience?
Mindy Henderson: We do have an audience, so I want to open it up and let some people in the audience ask you some questions, if you’re game?
Bill Crossland: Let’s do it.
Mindy Henderson: Awesome. We’ll take as many questions as we can in the order that we receive them. So go ahead and raise your hand if you’ve got a question, and we’ll see what additional nuggets of wisdom Bill has for us. Okay, Laura, looks like she’s got a question. Laura, can you take yourself off mute and what’s your question?
Laura: Hi Bill, this has been really great hearing what you had to say.
Bill Crossland: Thank you.
Laura: And my question is, your film, you mentioned starting in about 2010 and then filming it in 2018. I think for most of us when we’re working on a project, we’re looking at weeks or months to finish something. So how do you stay motivated or overcome setbacks when you’re working on a project that takes years to complete and see through?
Mindy Henderson: That’s a good question.
Bill Crossland: Oh, man. Pure, insane obsession. I mean, you’re right, it’s tough at times when you’re in it. I think what helps is never knowing when it’s going to actually hit. If you told me in 2010 you’re not going to film until 2018, maybe I would’ve been discouraged. I mean, I’m not sure because I’ve always just had this really powerful drive to do this stuff and not give up just, because I really don’t know what else I would do with my life. But yeah, I mean, when you’re immersed in it and just constantly trying to make it happen, work on it, I think that helps to not really know what the future holds because you want to just do your best to make it happen.
So I guess I was just kind of blinded by sheer determination for all those years to develop it and try to constantly get to the next step and get that little tiny victory of like, oh, okay, we did the short film. Oh, okay, somebody read the script and liked it. Oh, okay, we got a casting director. Oh, okay, now we have an actor interested. So just those little baby steps that give you that little jolt of adrenaline to keep it going. I think that was probably a big part of it.
Mindy Henderson: That’s a great point and I think-
Laura: Thank you.
Bill Crossland: Thank you.
Mindy Henderson: And thank you for that question, Laura. I think you make a really good point, Bill, because I think part of what I know I personally am not always good at, and I think there are a lot of people out there who are probably similar, is celebrating those victories along the way. And if you are working on a really big project, it can be so easy to get mired down in the duration and the years of time it might take to do something and the baby progress and all of that. But I think you have to celebrate along the way, the wins that you have and the milestones that you hit.
Bill Crossland: And also the people around me really helped, too. My writing partners on certain things and just my friends and family encouraging me to keep going. So it’s all that gives you kind of a drive to keep pursuing it. But like I said, I don’t know what else I would do with myself, so I just kept going.
Mindy Henderson: Sounds good. Okay, who else has… I think we’ve got time probably for one, maybe two more questions. Rebecca? Rebecca’s got a question.
Rebecca: Hi Bill, hi Mindy. So Bill, I really enjoyed watching your movie, and like Mindy said, there are so many different characters and scenes that it’s hard to choose a favorite, but if you were forced to, what would you say was your favorite scene in your film?
Bill Crossland: Oh, man. I really enjoyed not only watching but shooting the nightclub scene where the main character, Frank, goes to the club with his obnoxious coworker and the girl that he likes, because he is trying to impress her. And it’s kind of like this double date type setup at a nightclub. That was just a really fun day of shooting. And the actors were really good… The other actors were really on point and there was a lot of fun banter and stuff. And the location was cool. We had the disco light type stuff going and music. And it was just most of the time we were shooting, I was just stressed out beyond belief because not only was I trying to direct, but I was directing myself in a lot of scenes.
So a lot of times I was just constantly thinking like, oh man, how bad did I mess that up? Or did that work? But that scene, I don’t know if it was just the nightclub vibe or what, but it was a pretty relaxed day of shooting and everything went pretty smoothly, and I had a lot of fun with that scene. I think it’s a pretty cool scene in the movie too.
Mindy Henderson: Did you film it in a nightclub or was it on a set?
Bill Crossland: We actually found this hookah lounge nearby and kind of modified it and dressed it up a little bit, with the lighting and everything, and made it into a nightclub, so.
Mindy Henderson: Fun. That was fun. And I hate to keep commenting on your crazy friend in that movie, but I sat there watching that scene going, I have seen that guy in so many different clubs I’ve been to. He’s such a character. Awesome. Well-
Bill Crossland: Great dance moves.
Mindy Henderson: Yes, he had some dance moves. Indeed. Well, Bill, I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed talking with you, and I just thank you for putting this movie out in the world and for entertaining me and I can’t wait to see what you’re going to put out there next. Do you have any final thoughts for us?
Bill Crossland: No, I really appreciate you having me on and anybody who listens, thank you for checking it out. And the movie has a website if anybody wants to go there, it shows you all the places you can watch it. The website is catchingupmovie.com, so you can check it out there. There’s a link to where to get the DVD, there’s a link to all the platforms it’s on, there’s a trailer for it. And then if anybody, for some reason, has any interest in following me, they can check me out on Twitter, just search my name, Bill Crossland, and my handle is @Just_Plain_Bill on there. That’s where I announce different things I’m doing or when something’s going to come out in the future.
Mindy Henderson: Fantastic. Well, again, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you to our live audience. You guys have been fantastic. I appreciate your questions and if you enjoyed being here today, please… Or if you are listening and enjoyed our conversation, I hope that you will share on social media, and everyone else can check out the goodness that is Bill Crossland and Catching Up. Thanks everybody.
Bill Crossland: Thank you.
Mindy Henderson: Thank you for listening. For more information about the guests you heard from today, go check them out at mda.org/podcast. And to learn more about the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the services we provide, how you can get involved and to subscribe to Quest magazine or to Quest newsletter, please go to mda.org/quest. If you enjoyed this episode, we’d be grateful if you’d leave a review, go ahead and hit that subscribe button so we can keep bringing you great content and maybe share it with a friend or two. Thanks everyone. Until next time, go be the light we all need in this world.
Next Steps and Useful Resources
- Catching Up is available to stream on for free on Tubi and Amazon Prime.
- Watch the official trailer here.
- (Note: “Catching Up” is for mature audiences and contains language and some sexual content.)
- Check out the film’s website here.
Connect with Bill:
Disclaimer: No content on this site should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.