Nazo Bravo is a multi-talented performer. He is a musical artist, a Movie producer, and an actor who appeared in films such as “Vigilante Diaries” and “Southland.” As a musician and rapper, he has created soundtracks for several film projects.

Recently, Nazo landed the role of Detective Naroyan in the new movie titled “Dead On Arrival,” for which he also served as co-producer and crafted an original song called “The Money.” Hailing from Los Angeles, Nazo grew up around the movie scene and has enjoyed performing his rap live at venues such as The Troubadour and House of Blues.

Nazo is presently working on a number of movie and music projects, but he took the time to discuss his role in “Dead on Arrival” and more via an exclusive interview.

Filmmaking, acting, and music

Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you initially get interested in filmmaking and how did that lead to a career as an actor and movie producer?

Nazo Bravo (NB): I actually started out as a rap artist and songwriter and always knew I wanted to get into film as well eventually. Artists like 2pac, Ice Cube, and T.I. took that path, and I looked up to them growing up so I always felt in my heart that I would step into that world too.

MM: Did you love of acting or producing come first and how do these two different skills complement each another?

NB: My love for acting came first. I really didn't even know what producing was in the beginning because in music, producing means you compose the music, whereas in the film it means you contribute to the filmmaking process in any number of ways. When it comes to film producing, all the skills you've ever learned in your life come into play, from problem-solving to negotiating, all with the goal of making the best possible movie for the production.

When you're just an actor on a project, your view is limited to your role, but when you're an actor in a film you're producing, you see the bigger picture, and that may even help your performance because you know the entire story front to back. An actor may spend two weeks on a film, but a producer may spend two or three years on a project depending on their level of involvement.

MM: How did you get involved with “Dead on Arrival” and what was the process of producing such a film like?

NB: I had worked with my producing partner Stephen C. Sepher on a few other projects prior, and when he brought “Dead on Arrival” to the table it was just an idea, yet he had the entire story in his head already.

I worked with him from the inception point of his script and was there at every step of the way to where we are today; from scouting on location in Louisiana to casting, to being on set as a producer the days I wasn't shooting, to post-production and later with marketing and getting the film out to the world.

MM: What was it about this movie’s plot and characters that most appealed to you?

NB: The group of characters that Stephen created formed a very colorful palette for the audience. I found that appealing, as well as the fact that the plot keeps you guessing "who did it" in true noir form. And lastly, the setting was what drove it home for me. I haven't seen a film like this that takes place in the swamps of Louisiana, especially in the way it's represented visually with the colors. It's a relatively untapped environment for most people even within the United States, so the mystique of the swamp and what's in those waters only added to the mystery of the story.

Characters, scenes, and advice

MM: You also act in this film, so which character do you portray and what was it like to get inside their heads?

NB: I play Detective Naroyan, a no-nonsense individual whose only focus is to catch the bad guys. No matter how much my partner Detective Spiro, played by D.B. Sweeney, tries to get under my skin, I just stay focused on solving the case. As far as getting in the character's head, I've never had the desire to be part of any type of law enforcement, so it was different for me. I stopped listening to rap music completely for about two months. I started listening to Metallica. Also living in the environment for about a month doing pre-production helped me envision what it would be like to just live in the bayou. Everyday normal life stuff like getting lunch or a beer in town and interacting with the people who live there help with that.

And I have to say, the people there are very polite. Everyone waves to each other even if they don't know you. It was strange at first being from Los Angeles where someone might actually take that as an insult or think you have a problem with them, but it was a nice change. All of these small things help you create this new reality for your character.

MM: Do you have any cool stories from “behind the scenes”?

NB: Well the entire production almost didn't happen. We were supposed to shoot in the September/October timeframe but there was a catastrophic and historic flood in the part of Louisiana where we were supposed to shoot. Houses and cars under water. People evacuated. Our producer Rory Fradella who lived in the area was impacted.

So, at one point, whether the entire production was going to happen or not was a big question mark, but thankfully we were able to get back on track within a matter of months and shoot in December. It actually worked out better since the story takes place around New Years’ Day and the town was already decorated for Christmas, so it was truer to the time.

MM: As an actor, what types of roles do you most enjoy playing, and as a producer what genre do you most enjoy producing?

NB: Starting out I would mostly audition for the bad guys because of my facial features, so it's only more recently that I've started playing good characters. I enjoy both. It all depends on the story and what purpose my character serves in the story, so as long as it's well written and the character is a real person and not so much a caricature, it's fun bringing that role to life.

The same goes for producing. It all starts with a script. If the script is strong, it will help attract talent and set you up for making a good picture. I do enjoy the thriller/action/drama genre at this point in my career, but we are developing an action comedy as part of our slate so that may change over time.

MM: What projects are coming up next and can you offer any advice to aspiring film producers?

NB: I'm currently working on another feature film with the same team, my producing partner Stephen C. Sepher, who will be directing that as well, and Rory Fradella as part of Kingfisher Media. It's an action thriller called “The Operator,” and we're looking to shoot in Europe later this year.

We just got back from our pre-scout overseas, and it's very exciting to see the locations that you've envisioned in the script. We have several projects on our slate in various stages of development so more news will come out as we lock in talent and firm updates.

As far as advice to other producers, I would say find a group of people who have the same goals as you in this business and build with them. It may take years to get to where you want to, but if you're truly passionate about telling stories, you will find a way to persevere.

I also have an original song in “Dead on Arrival,” in the club scene. It's called “The Money,” and I'll be releasing it as part of the overall promotional campaign of the film's rollout, so be on the lookout for that!

“Dead on Arrival” is opening theatrically in NYC at the “Cinema Village” and at Lammle Music Hall in Los Angeles. The VOD and DVD will be released on April 3, 2018.