He played in Sammy Bates’ The Reaper’s Image as Samuel Claggert.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Sonny Burnette: My name is Sonny Burnette, and I am a profesor of music at Georgetown College in Georgetown, KY, USA, appointed in 1990. I have taught courses in Music Theory, Music Appreciation/World Music, History of Rock Music, Liberal Arts Piano, Woodwinds, and Film Music. I grew up in Orlando, Florida. After college I went on the road for a year with a group called Common Ground. We performed high-energy shows in 40 states and Canada. We also worked with a lot of famous entertainers. Later, I was a performer and arranger/composer for a national religious broadcaster for nine years before coming to Georgetown College.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actor?
Sonny Burnette: The urge didn’t seriously hit me until our Theatre Department shot a feature film, Surviving Guthrie, 10 years ago. I had a small role as a campus security guard busting up a fraternity party. It was done very well with a professional production crew, so there was lots of energy on set. The excitement was overwhelming. I was hooked! Prior to that, a friend in high school shot a short comedy of me robbing a bank in Orlando, but that was simply some fun… 35 years ago. LOL. I never considered acting at that point in my life.
SKSM: How did you become involved in The reaper’s image Dollar Baby film?
Sonny Burnette: I had been involved with the Bates Brothers, Sammy and Kenny, of Rotting Corpse Productions on an earlier commercial shoot for a Scarefest TV spot. They were very organized and efficient, and were fun to work with, so I was thrilled when they asked me to have a role in The Reaper’s Image. I knew it was going to be a quality piece.
SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?
Sonny Burnette: I think most people love a good mystery. Until the story unfolds, one doesn’t quite know the dark magic of the mirror. And let’s face it, an antique mirror in the proper setting can be a rather formidable portal into the dark side. I think people want to know what sort of ill the mirror is going to bring.
SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?
Sonny Burnette: Honestly, I don’t remember. LOL. I just checked IMDb, which gives the date 2013 for The Reaper’s Image, so it was shot about five years ago. I do remember meeting Sammy and Kenny in their home and getting a feel for a character, but it may have been for the Scarefest commercial?
SKSM: You worked with Sammy Bates on this film, how was that?
Sonny Burnette: As mentioned earlier, it was a pleasure to work with both Sammy and Kenny. The shots were well planned. The location was secured and perfect. And I just now remember working with Sammy and Kenny on another film, too, DisKillery. Rotting Corpse has its act together, which makes acting a much more rewarding experience than when a director doesn’t have things well planned. Sammy is a great director, making the actors feel at ease during the shoot. And he keeps things moving, so time is not wasted.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Sonny Burnette: A lot of times what makes a movie so enjoyable is what happens behind the scenes. I had a great time working with David Haney, Matt Mooningham and actress Rae Hunt. The darker the lines, the more fun we had joking around between shots. LOL
SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?
Sonny Burnette: Sure. Thanks to Facebook, it’s easy to stay in touch with many friends in the acting world. In fact, I stay in touch with the three actors mentioned above somewhat regularly. And I’ve work with all of them on other projects. And I do stay in touch with the Bates Brothers, too.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Sonny Burnette: I recently was a doctor in a Humana pharmacy commercial. Last week I had a role in a heavy metal music video. I’ve got two movie roles coming up later this year. One is for a Chase Dudley movie called Between the Living and the Dead. In the other, a Scott Wegener film called The Riddle of the Spider’s Web, I’ll be a modern-day pirate. I’m very much looking forward to both roles.
SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Sonny Burnette: I do love a good mystery, but, oddly enough, I’m not a huge fan of horror or scary movies if you can believe it. LOL. I certainly do respect King’s body of work, however.
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Sonny Burnette: Maybe a couple things… When I graduated from high school I took up sky diving for a year or two. And as a musician (woodwinds) I’ve performed for a large number of well-known entertainers: The Temptations, The Four Tops, Lou Rawls, Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Ed McMahon, Jerry Lewis, Michel Legrand, and many more
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Sonny Burnette: Sure! Thanks so much for taking a few moments out of your busy day to read my interview. It certainly is appreciated considering all the other things you could be doing. Blessings on ya! J And I wish you well if you are an aspiring actor. It’s not all glamour—lots of work and sometimes disappointments—but if you keep at it, things will eventually fall into place.
SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?
Sonny Burnette: I’ve been very fortunate to have been involved in quite a number of projects since getting into movie acting. I hope to do this well into retirement, God willing. While my personal web page is down, thanks to a software change, you can still check out some of the projects with which I’ve been involved on IMDb. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3009275/