By Jen Bakken
DELANO, MN “Quiet on the set,” “Action,” and “Cut” are all things Jeff Litfin has always dreamed of hearing, and recently his dream came true.
Litfin, a 1983 Delano High School graduate, has had a love for acting since his high school drama days in Delano.
Though he didn’t try theater until his junior year, after his first audition, Litfin ended up with the lead male role in a one-act play. The play won in district and region competition, and starred at state.
“During my senior year, our one-act play was an original piece written by our director, Ross Alford, a Delano teacher,” said Jeff Litfin. “It was based on the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan. We took that one-act play all the way to state for the second year in a row.”
In addition to these competitive plays, he was involved in every other stage opportunity that was offered in Delano, as well as the speech team.
After two years at the University of Minnesota, where he attended various theater and acting classes, he enrolled in a two-year trade program at Dunwoody Industrial Institute.
Upon graduating from Dunwoody in 1985, Litfin returned to the University of Minnesota, before enrolling at North Central University, where he discovered his writing and communications skills.
In 1992, he graduated from North Central University with a major in mass communications and an emphasis in journalism. Though he didn’t do any acting during this time, the desire to take the stage never left him.
Utilizing his education, he has worked in corporate communications and web site content development for several companies, including United Parcel Service and Digital River.
Currently, he serves as operations manager for cfaith, an online ministry outreach of his church, Living Word Christian Center (LWCC).
Through LWCC, he was able to return to his love of the theater as an actor, script writer, and director.
Litfin’s acting resume to date, includes industrial commercials, training videos, narrating LWCC visitor videos, performing in Kids’ Studio, a faith-based entertainment show; and serving as emcee for LWCC’s annual Christmas production, a performance witnessed by up to 10,000 people each year.
Upon hearing about “The Prodigal”, a film being produced by Lost Coin Productions, a new film company, Litfin liked the story line immediately.
“I thought I’d give it a shot,” he said. “I submitted a headshot and updated resume.”
After auditioning for two different characters, he was called back for a second audition. He felt the auditions went well, even though he was surprised when he had to kiss a stranger who was also auditioning for a role in the film.
“Auditions are always nerve -racking because you never really know what the director is looking for,” he admitted. “Several weeks passed and I hadn’t heard anything so I began to think I didn’t get the part.”
About four weeks later, Litfin received an e-mail offering him the role of Steve Layton, one of the lead roles. Obviously, this actor was thrilled.
“My dream of acting in a feature film had just come to pass,” he said. “And to get such a substantial role for my first film was just incredible to me. I was extremely humbled and thankful for the opportunity.”
Moving from the stage to film created some challenges for him, since these types of acting are very different.
While everything needs to be loud and large on stage, it’s just the opposite for film and TV.
The number of scenes he was scheduled to be in also presented a challenge. For each scene, he needed to study, plan, prepare, and memorize lines.
Arriving home from a full day of shooting, he would then open the script and begin to prepare for the next day.
Other difficulties included the film not being shot in chronological order, and the time required away from home.
Due to a limited budget, the director and producers had to shoot the entire movie in one month.
“Therefore, everyone was on a pretty intense schedule,” he said. “Many of those involved in the film, including me, have a day job or other employment, so we had to find a way to accomplish both.”
Principal photography has been completed on “The Prodigal” and a rough version is hoped to be submitted to the Sundance Film Festival in September. The final version is expected to be completed in early 2010.
To find out more about “The Prodigal” and view a trailer of the film visit www.lostcoin.tv.
Litfin, the son of Joan Litfin and the late Sonny Litfin of Delano, has been married to Tracey (Tengwall) Litfin for 19 years.
The couple lives in Brooklyn Park with their three children, Hannah, Ellis, and Aidan.