News Column

Living passionately

November 15, 2013

YellowBrix

Nov. 15--For a former Superior teacher and principal turned actor, it's been a busy year -- seven movies, television and the release of his first novel.

"It's the busiest of 29" years, said Ashland native Don Scribner.

Scribner was born and raised in Ashland before a 14-year career in education in Superior dropped into his lap.

However, despite his good fortune, Scribner decided in 1984 to pack his bags and head to California in pursuit of his dreams.

The decision led to Scribner taking on a variety of starring and supporting roles including a starring role in the 1987 film "Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity" and a supporting role as Lou, Alec Baldwin's "muscle" in the 2003 film "The Cooler" also starting William H. Macy and Maria Bello.

Now, 29 years after leaving Superior, Scribner said he is making a living pursuing his passions -- acting, music and writing.

And last week he was back in the area for a showing of one of his recent films, "The Guide," at StageNorth Theatre in Washburn. The film earned an honorable mention during the Big Water Film Festival last weekend.

Scribner plays Joe, a distraught woodsman who reluctantly agrees to guide two New Yorkers on a deer hunt in northwestern Maine in December. His sanity begins to slip away as the wreckage that his buck hunting set in motion a year before catches up with him. The thriller is expected released no later than December.

A screening of another film -- "Newark Ave" -- is expected Saturday in Los Angeles.

"That was fun," Scribner said of "Newark Ave." "I think I had more fun shooting that than anything I've ever done. 'The Guide' was the most grueling. It was shot outdoors in Maine in December in 30 inches of snow."

Scribner doesn't plan to attend the LA screening as he reconnects with friends, families, former students and colleagues in the Northland.

During the Big Water Film Festival, Scribner said he had the opportunity to reconnect with longtime friend Herb Bergson, a former Superior police officer and mayor of both Twin Port cities. He's also planning to reconnect with one of the kindest friends he knows, Jim "Bobber" Johnson.

Other films he's shot this year include yet-to-be-released "Appleton," shot in Wisconsin, and a supporting role in "All I Want for Christmas," expected to be released in time for the holiday season.

Scribner also made an appearance on Nathan for You, which airs on the Comedy Channel.

"It turns out I'm a funny guy," Scribner said. "I just got a call one morning and it turns out I was perfect for it."

Then there is his first novel -- six years in the writing. Scribner said he is now working on the sequel, which will be set in this area, as well as working on videos for his first CD and recording songs for his second.

He's also in the process of changing agents -- one of the best opportunities he's had in the 29 years since he left Superior and a career in education.

"Everything seems to be coming together," Scribner said. "It's my life. It took me a long time to say I make a living at this." He said he held 40 jobs to pay the bills over 20 years to pay the bills, but the priority has always remained chasing his passion for the entertainment industry and it's paying the bills now.

And while he is an actor in Hollywood today, he still remains a teacher, willing to share what he's learned over the last 29 years.

"Learn a special skill that will separate you -- a foreign language, a musical instrument," Scribner said. "Instead of walking in with 100 people, you're walking in with eight."

And he encourages anyone who feels the need to pursue their passion to contact him.

"My mother was my biggest fan ... I had it made in education. One of my songs says 'you left security for obscurity, but it was a step up.' For me, I needed it. My mother told me 'you're wasting your life'" by not pursuing your passion, Scribner said.

To reach Scribner, visit his website at www.donscribner.com.

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(c)2013 the Superior Telegram (Superior, Wis.)

Visit the Superior Telegram (Superior, Wis.) at www.superiortelegram.com

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