ATM caught up with Ray Bouderau, Executive Producer and Actor with supporting role in the film The Public by Emilio Estevez, which premieres April 1st, 2019. Ray is the Founder and CEO of Living The Dream Films, his movie project production company, among business endeavors. He will also appear in the upcoming film Mob Town by Danny A. Abeckaser, hitting theaters this summer.
ATM: How do you use the personality traits of ‘strategy’ and ‘risk management’ in your construction company?
RB: Success is not a secret. You must work harder than the person standing next to you. All of life is a risk. Risk management comes from experience. If you build one building, then you build a mall. When looking at a project, assessing the risk and the exposure cost I am submitting for project – it comes down to what I believe logistically can get done ‘in this day.’ You have to take into account that you are going to have bad days. It is going to rain and snow. Unfortunately, you can get shut down and there can be accidents. Things are going to be out of your control. My strategy is surrounding myself with good people. I have never built or done anything by myself in my life.
ATM: So, the people who you metaphorically build yourself around are ‘buildings?’
RB: Yes, I am only as good as the person standing next to me. I could run a construction company and a film production company because I have good people around me. I can have about 50-100 working with me on any given day. My top guys are the ones on the field that I trust. They know my expectations. It is keeping open-minded communication. I treat them well. I show them the proper respect and pay them well. Everything gets done based on the expectations I have.
ATM: What goes through your head when looking at the blueprints of the buildings?
RB: It is all about logistics and schedule. I do ‘big construction’ in New York City. It is different than anything else in the world. The projects we build are massive, for example, I built the World Trade Center memorial. I am currently building structures on Vanderbilt and on 42nd Street. The coordination and scheduling are difficult in New York City. You are dealing with crazy city traffic and restrictions. The space constraints are logistically challenging.
ATM: With the hierarchy that is in the restaurant business, which position did you learn from that helped you to this day in the film industry?
RB: Busboy and dishwasher. I learned how to show up to work. I was standing in the sizzler at 14 watching dishes. I was getting wet every night and was not afraid to get my hands dirty. It taught me how to work hard. No matter what you just have to show up and do it.
ATM: In the culinary art business, what did you reflect on the people who quit and did not show up to keep going?
RB: Everyone has their paths. I see it all the time. I wanted it and worked hard to get it. A lot of people get comfortable. They think ‘This is good enough.’ And this is all they want. They are satisfied at that point. I have seen this a lot in my life in the various careers on different jobs. I am grateful that I was never satisfied. I love the hustle. I always want the next thing. Film has always been a passion for me. I had a career in the restaurant business in my 20s. Then I started construction work in my 30s. Now, I have a film production in my 40s. My world keeps expanding and growing. It is the thirst I have for the next big thing that keeps me excited.
ATM: Sometimes people change their minds because they get content with life. They lose their passion and the fire they once had in their eyes.
RB: Yes. A lot of people overextend. They think it will always be how it currently is. They are not prepared for the bad times. They become so stuck in their mortgage payments, cars, the house, and their family needs. They get overwhelmed and in fear of the financial security. A lot of people position themselves to fail unfortunately.
ATM: What characteristics did you move from the restaurant business to the entertainment business that became influential?
RB: I always equated that restaurant and construction and film are like 10 different trades working together to build one product at on time. Then to sell it for more than what it cost to make it. In the restaurant business it is the servers, cooks, busboys, and waiters. We are all working to put out this certain product. This also goes for construction, it is the iron workers, carpenters, who are all working together to build this product on time and on budget. In film, it is the editors, line producers, directors, cinematographers, and actors are working together to create the product. The common threat is the team work.
ATM: So, you were so invested in the process more than the results?
RB: I love the hustle. I never thought I would get where I am. I always knew I wanted to, but I did not have a real plan. I just showed up every day and worked. I got lucky. I worked hard, and the harder I worked, the luckier I became. I do not and did not have a master plan. I have ideas and a direction. I go in the direction that is in front of me. Everything seems to work out when you make an effort. So, in the end, I am okay.
ATM: How can weather and different temperatures dictate someone’s personality or the ways that act toward one another? How does this show relevance in “The Public?”
RB: It is cold in the winter and hot during the summer. The library is kind of like the safe haven for the homeless. It is a place where they can tap back into society and receive a touch of home for a few hours. They can get a drink of water, read a book, go online, and reconnect with the world. It affects them greatly. It gives them a sense of security.
ATM: Why was the main location picked as a place surrounded by literature vs. an average location around food?
RB: The story was written by Emilio Estevez and it is written based on his experience. He went to the library continuously to research and saw the homeless population in the library. I believe this was his inspiration for the movie. They hang out at the library. He wanted to share the story with everyone. It is hard to make a movie about homelessness. We (as a society) do not want to acknowledge or look at it. It is a great thing to portray this in an entertainment way and start a conversation. It is very important to bring to the forefront. This is a story that needs to be told. It is not preachy or dark. People do not normally think of homeless people and their plight and situation. How they got there and what they do. They are not all crazy drug addicts. They are just real people. It gives you a sense of gratitude that you are fortunate to be these people.
ATM: How does this film give us a modern sense of the impact of civil disobedience?
RB: The idea of civil disobedience is at the forefront of our society, which is Freedom of Speech. We have a right as citizens to say, ‘This is not okay.’ The context that it is placed in the library speaks to who we are as Americans.
ATM: If freedom of speech was taken away from us, how would this influence communication in this society?
RB: Oh my God! Freedom of Speech is our own God given right as Americans. Without it, this country is nothing. For us, we can start the dial up and start the conversation because everyone’s voice matters. We do not all have to agree. There is very little right or wrong. There is very little yes and no. It is relative to one’s perception. If I believe something to be true, then it does not mean you will. It is the freedom to express and talk about this in an open and healthy way. This is what this country was built on.
ATM: Express your experience at the library and with your library card.
RB: I was the poor kid from Rockaway, Queens. I went to the library on 116th St. I would accumulate late fees and paid them. As a kid, I could not afford to purchase a book. So, I went to the library to get the book. I cannot say I was a huge reader, but when necessary, the library was always available to me. I was grateful for it and still am.
ATM: What can you define as your talent and as your skill?
RB: I am a problem solver. I am good at management, problem solving, and I am quick on my feet. I am good at being solution oriented. I thrive when things are at their worst. It is not about what the problem is or complaining, but it is about ‘how can we fix it? How do we move forward? How do we work together to solve?’ This is my strong suit.
ATM: So, you like the adrenaline rush aspect that is derived from solving problems, which is the feeling that comes when things are chaotic?
RB: Yes. I love going into a situation and coming out with a solution. I have always been very driven. Work has been a large part of my life. It is how I define myself, especially during my younger years, I was always a super hard worker.
ATM: When did the slogan “Living the Dream” stop being something just in your head to a slogan than to reality to become a name for your company?
RB: I got sober over 15 years ago. I was an active alcohol and drug addict during my 20s. I got caught up in the whole bartending lifestyle and the party life. I got sober 17 years ago. I met a girl and had a child. It was time to grow up. My daughter was such a gift. When people would ask, ‘How is it going? I would say, Living the Dream. We do not have problems. We have situations. Positive thinking leads to positive actions which leads to positive results. Even if I am having a bad day, then I always reference the motto ‘fake it to you make it.’ Every day is a gift. If I can dream it, I can become it.
ATM: Why do people get confused with having situations and having problems?
RB: It is hard when you are in it. When the phone is turned off. The eviction notice is on the door. You are stuck in the negative. You cannot see a solution or a way out. People have real problems in this world. I volunteer a lot. I was down in North Carolina after the hurricane that happened a few months ago. I was dropping off construction equipment to people who lost their homes because of the rising water. They had tons of damage to their homes. They are displaced and they have real problems. I am not one of them. It is important to live in perspective.
ATM: You helped with the relief efforts?
Yes, A year and a half ago, in Florida, I set up relief tents for people who lost their homes during the hurricane. They had trailers and their trailers got thrown around like matchbox cars. They lost everything they had. They have real problems. Whereas, I have situations. I lost my wife to cancer two years ago. This is a problem. Her being sick and passing away so young was horrible. Leaving my daughter without a mom was devastating. We move forward and move on because we have to. Today, thankfully I do not have problems, but situations. It is about a mindset. ‘Free your mind and the rest should follow.’
Follow him @Raybouderau on Instagram and @livingthedreamfilms for updates on their latest projects.