Brian Silverman (Haiti & Guatemala 1991-94) is a Los Angeles actor, writer, director, and former Peace Corps Volunteer. He produced and starred in the independent feature, After We Leave, which premiered at Sci-Fi-London in May 2019 and took home the festival’s prize for Best Feature Film. It went on to win Best Ensemble Cast and Best Cinematography at OtherWorlds in Austin and is currently streaming on Amazon.
Currently, he is in post-production on his directorial debut through Three Rivers Films LLC on his original feature script, Two Lives in Pittsburgh, which was filmed as a SAG ULB feature during the summer of 2021 in Pittsburgh, PA.
He was a writer, director, and lead actor on West Rosencrantz, a web series comedy. Some of his television credits include guest starring roles on NCIS: Los Angeles, Grimm, Leverage, Cold Case, S.W.A.T., and Ray Donovan. On the LA stage, he has played numerous roles including Septimus Hodge in Arcadia, Reverend Hale in The Crucible, and Oswald in King Lear.
He completed the two-year conservatory program at the Laura Henry Acting Studio, studying Meisner, Linklater, and Alexander techniques as well as movement and accent work. Brian was a member of ImprovBoston and studied improv at The Players Workshop of the Second City and iO West, performing with various house teams. Most recently, Brian trained with Michael Petrone at Actor’s Ave and continues as a member of The Collaborative: A Multimedia Repertory Company.
He holds degrees from Clark University and Harvard. He served for three years as a PCV in Haiti & Guatemala working in agroforestry and hillside agriculture. He is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
More about Silverman
There are plenty of actors who waited tables before they got their big break, including Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm and Jennifer Aniston. The problem for Mt. Lebanon native Brian Silverman is that he wasn’t good at it.
“I was a bad waiter,” Silverman remarked, recalling his days when he worked at a long-gone Chi-Chi’s restaurant on Route 19.
Instead, the 55-year-old Silverman worked as a special education teacher at a Los Angeles school, and built his acting career through appearances on television series like “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “Cold Case,” and “S.W.A.T.,” as well as West Coast stage work in productions of classics like “The Crucible” and “King Lear,” not to mention in independent films.
He made his first attempt at directing a feature film in 2021, when he returned to Pittsburgh. Over a three-week span, he produced “Two Lives in Pittsburgh” with several local crew members and actors from the region.
“From the start of working on it, I knew it was a Pittsburgh story,” Silverman said. “It’s such a fantastic opportunity to be able to make a film that I wanted to make. … To me, there was no doubt that it had to be in Pittsburgh.”
Two Lives in Pittsburgh is the story of a blue collar dad who is confronting an ill parent and a child with gender-identity issues. He points to movies like “Kramer vs. Kramer” and “Little Miss Sunshine” as inspirations. “I knew there was a role I wanted to do and a story I wanted to tell,” Silverman said. “And this is what came out of it.”
In a director’s statement, Silverman puts it this way: “This film doesn’t try to answer the societal questions and culture war issues regarding gender identity. Rather, this film offers an exploration of a more intimate question: How do imperfect people stumble through it when it’s part of their own lives?”
Silverman came to acting and directing in a roundabout way.
A 1986 graduate of Mt. Lebanon High School, he studied education at Clark University in Massachusetts. He traveled to Haiti and Guatemala as a member of the Peace Corps then received a degree in public policy from Harvard.
Silverman has a couple of additional ideas up his sleeve for movies, including a movie like “Boyhood.” the 2014 drama that follows a boy as he grows, though this movie would center on the end of life. According to Silverman, “There’s something about older actors working, because often they don’t get to work.”
In the meantime, Silverman is enjoying the prospect of Two Lives in Pittsburgh being shown in the community where it was made. “It’s so fulfilling to be able to come back to Pittsburgh and be able to show it,” he said. “It’s the kind of homecoming I want to be able to experience.”
Of his tour as a PCV, this is what Brian has to say —
“Some actors have to be actors. No other interest that can fulfill them. That’s not me. If I didn’t pursue acting, I’d always live with a sense of loss, but I wouldn’t live without a sense of meaning. In fact, other than my family and friends, the most meaningful work that I have ever done was my service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Haiti and Guatemala. Peace Corps Volunteers are by nature and necessity, resilient and resourceful generalists. You creatively navigate obstacles to make something of worth, and it’s usually not what you were planning.”
Of course it’s a beer bottle, he’s a PCV!
Additional information on the Three Rivers Film Festival can be found at filmpittsburgh.org.