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Clowns Like Me

In this film of the one-man show “Clowns Like Me,” Sarasota actor and storyteller Scott Ehrenpreis presents a humorous, poignant, and profound examination of the stigmas attached to developmental disorders and mental illnesses. “Clowns Like Me” offers hope to anyone on a journey to achieve mental wellness.

  • Jason Cannon
    100+ Theater credits
  • Jason Cannon
    9 Plays Produced
  • Lifeline Productions Inc.
  • Scott Ehrenpreis
    Key Cast
    I am a White Blood Cell, The Actor, Mr. Smiller, One Love, Breathe
  • Project Type:
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  • Runtime:
    1 hour 10 minutes 20 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 1, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    12,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Jason Cannon

Jason Cannon is a best-selling author and publisher, as well as an award- winning director, actor, playwright, improviser, and teacher. He has an MFA in Directing, a Masters in Drama, and a quarter-century in the professional theatre.
Jason has 100+ credits as an actor, 120+ as a director, and as a playwright he has had ten plays produced. Most recently he wrote, directed, and published CLOWNS LIKE ME for Lifeline Productions. This critically acclaimed one-man show based on true stories of living with mental illness had its world premiere in May of 2023 and is currently touring.

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Director Statement

When I first met Scott Ehrenpreis—star and subject of CLOWNS LIKE ME—and his tireless, first-time producer father, Joel, at a sit-down meeting to discuss Scott potentially telling his story as a one-man show, I went in thinking it was a straight-forward script doctoring gig. Provide a little punch-up, call it a day.

But, as it turned out, Scott and Joel didn’t have a script at all. Just a story to tell, and the will to tell it.

What happened then was a whirlwind I’m still riding. Scott has lived his entire life with a potent cocktail of mental illnesses, and his courage in wanting to tell his story—publicly, from the stage (theatre being his only safe port since childhood)—inspired me deeply. We jammed together for months. I explored every nook and cranny of his condo, his psyche, and his history. He opened up with complete vulnerability, stepping forward even when it hurt.

And together we created an amazing, powerful play.

More importantly, we forged a true friendship. Seriously, we even bowl together in a league now. Team name? Split Happens.

Simultaneously with the creation of the play, Joel went to work raising money. None of us wanted this to be a vanity project or a one-and-done. So, what the heck, let’s start a non-profit. Check. Let’s raise a quarter million dollars, y’know, just out of the blue. Check. Let’s mount a world premiere, publish the script, capture the performance on film, build a tour. Check, check, check, check.

So here we are, getting Scott’s transformational story out in as many ways as possible, to as many people as possible, and getting to work on next year’s new story, too.

The reviews and audience reactions at talkbacks speak for themselves, I won’t rehash them here. But this mission—using art to punch mental health stigmas in the face—has galvanized me in a profound way. I’ll be working with Joel, Scott, and Lifeline for years to come.

I must also give a huge shout-out to Brad Bryan, filmmaker extraordinaire. I may have directed the stage version, but this film—and its translation of Scott’s story from theatre to screen—owes everything to Brad.

Storytelling, whatever its format, is how we make sense of the senselessness of the world. It’s how we forge meaning, how we give shape to experiences that so often seem so unfair. It’s how the voiceless can find their voice and the unseen become seen. Scott’s story is vital in its universality, its humor, its humanity. Helping him tell it has been one of the highest honors of my career.