In the new film If You’re Gone, Jackson Kilburn plays Chris, a boy who befriends Lillian and supports her in her endeavor to find her missing boyfriend Brad. Aside from being an actor, Kilburn is also a musician, more specifically, a guitarist and lyricist. In this Q&A, he speaks about his artistic pursuits, both in acting and music.
How did you prepare for the role of Chris in If You’re Gone?
For myself, it was my first time acting in a film of this size and taking on a role such as Chris. So, a lot of it was learning as I went along and figuring out what works best for me. I read the novel after I got the role and used that as my way of figuring out what type of character Chris was, and what he would look like in action. Chris is a mysterious character and keeps to himself for the most part, so I tried to exaggerate that through my mannerisms.
What was the most exciting or challenging part of playing Chris?
I think the most exciting part of playing Chris was being able to feed off the other cast members’ acting. I grew close with most of the cast as well as the crew, which made the process even more enjoyable. The most challenging part of the role of Chris was nailing down his lines. Not only memorizing them well, but also understanding his wordage and trying to communicate how I thought Chris would.
Do you have a favorite memory or story from the set of If You’re Gone?
One memory that I remember vividly is when Masey and I were filming the diner scene. During part of the scene the camera cuts to outside the window looking in and Masey and I had to pretend like we were laughing so we had very strange and hilarious conversations that helped make us die of laughter.
The philosophy of Every New Day Pictures is to spread positive, inspiring, faith-based messages to people of all ages. Is sending positive messages through your work something that’s important to you as well?
I believe that sending positive messages through my work is something that comes naturally rather than me trying to make a point of it. I think that a lot of artists these days whether it is music, acting, or any other art form lose their sense of positivity. Lots of one’s self image can become egotistical, but I try to make sure that my work impacts someone else rather than thinking how it can benefit myself.
Since music is primarily your passion, how did you first come across your talent/interest in acting?
My interest in acting came as a surprise. I have always enjoyed the idea of acting but it wasn’t until the spring before we filmed for the movie until I got my feet wet. My first role was playing an extra in a murder/mystery TV show called Murder by Numbers. There on set is where I met If You’re Gone director Brittany Goodwin, and from there I took a larger interest in acting. I’m not sure what the future has in store for me in terms of acting, but I’m hoping to keep an open mind and see what happens naturally.
In addition to acting, you write lyrics for your band, Juke of June. Where does your inspiration to write lyrics come from?
For myself, I try to create lyrics that people can relate to, but also must read deeper in order to figure out the meaning. I like to use a lot of imagery and different types of literary language. Finding different words can be challenging to see what lines work with the melody. In terms of other artists, I look up to the Avett Brothers, Okey Dokey, James Mercer, and The Eagles for help on writing as well as instrumentals.
What does writing/creating music mean to you personally?
Writing music for me is a way to express my inner thoughts and feelings in a way that other people can have guidance or just something to distract themselves when times are hard, or even when its going well in life. I’ve always connected with music more than anything else in my life, so I hope that I can make music that connects with people like it did for me. Overall, I think for myself, music is something that makes me want to wake up every day (as cliché as that sounds).
What artists does your band take inspiration from when it comes to your musical style?
The band is mainly driven by me and the lead singer (Jackson Hahn). Considering both of our music tastes, we draw from artists such as: Okey Dokey, Milky Chance, The Shins, Sublime, The Eagles, Hippocampus, and many other bands. Our style is Alternative/Rock/Pop. We have other genres mixed in and we are releasing an EP in a Month.
Big thanks to Jackson for giving us an inside look into his acting and musical inspirations and talking about his experience on the set of If You’re Gone.
Jackson will be on-hand to take pictures and sign autographs at our exclusive screening of the movie at the Capitol Theatre in Lebanon, TN, on Saturday, March 2nd, 2019. We hope you will join us if you are in the middle Tennessee. You can purchase tickets on: