It didn’t take long for Brian Levin to get his creative juices flowing through his passion for writing and producing and his penchant for entertaining audiences.
When Levin, now 36, was a kid, he would put on comedy sketches with his cousins and friends in his Westminster, Md., neighborhood.
For his family and friends, those performances were just a way to pass the time, but for Levin, it laid the foundation to follow his dreams into show business.
“Gradually, I kept coming back to creating programs in that form,” Levin said. “I was always interested in writing and how I could run with the creativity in anything I put together.”
Levin, now a Los Angeles resident, recently made the jump to the big screen. This past September, he made his feature film debut as a writer and producer with the worldwide theatrical release of “Flock of Dudes.”
The film, available on iTunes and Starz Digital, is a comedy about a 30-something party guy who decides to “break up” with his buddies so he can mature into adulthood. From the initial idea to the release of the film, Levin said, it was a strenuous but rewarding process that took more than nine years to complete.
“Being able to execute this film and have it come out the way I wanted was a very gratifying experience, because I delivered the movie I intended,” Levin said. “That’s not always the case for someone’s first feature film.”
Levin, who became a bar mitzvah at Beth El Congregation, has come a long way from when he attended Beth Shalom Congregation of Carroll County.
A Carroll County native, Levin attended Liberty High School in Eldersburg for ninth and 10th grades and graduated from McDonogh School in 1998 after transferring prior to his junior year. It was at Towson University where Levin said he honed his screenwriting skills, taking several classes on the subject and eventually graduating with a communications degree in 2002.
After earning his master’s degree in visual media from American University in 2004, Levin hit the ground running, writing and producing for household TV networks such as Comedy Central and Spike, among others. Along the way, he has built working relationships with fellow writers and producers.
When he moved to New York in 2005, Levin joined Bob Castrone, also a Towson University graduate, and Jason Zumwalt to start “The Post Show,” a series of online comedy videos and shorts. Little did they know at the time, Castrone said, that “The Post Show” would evolve into a collaboration on “Flock of Dudes.”
“We’ve all been really fortunate to be able to work together and develop such a strong rapport,” said Castrone, who made his feature film directorial debut with “Flock of Dudes.” “It’s been very rewarding to see how much we’ve grown from producing sketches to [producing] a feature in such a short time.”
Levin has also branched out beyond the glitz and glamour of New York and Los Angeles.
On a visit to Austin, Texas, right before “Flock of Dudes” went into production, Levin was personally tapped by Aaron Kaufman to add some comedic elements to “Spy Kids: All the Time in the World.” Kaufman, who served as a producer for the film, meshed so well with Levin that he was eventually tapped to work on “Flock of Dudes.”
“He helped write about 1,000 jokes in two days,” said Kaufman, who also has produced high-budgeted movies such as “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” and “Machete Kills.” “Robert liked them so much that he gave [Levin] a cameo in the movie. … [Levin is] tenacious, and he’s really good at pulling a team together. A lot of writers come from out of town to Los Angeles hoping to make it big, and Brian has been able to do that in a really interesting way.”
Levin considers himself a throwback to an earlier time, citing iconic Baltimorean film directors John Waters and Barry Levinson as two of his biggest influences.
Eventually, Levin would like to return to Maryland to film a project centering on Baltimore in a similar mold to Levinson’s “Diner” or Waters’ “Cry Baby.” Though he did not provide any specifics regarding the plot, Levin did admit that the script was already completed.
While Levin says he makes the cross-country trek to visit family and friends as often as possible, he has also taken advantage of those trips to scout locations for his next venture.
At any given time, Levin said, he is working on anywhere from 15 to 20 projects to keep as many options open as possible.
“There are a couple of scripts that I have written and feel very excited about,” Levin said. “Right now, I’m just waiting on the strategy to see what the next move is for my next project.”