Archive for October, 2008

Meet Helen Ingebritsen Who Plays Brad Cohen’s Mentor in Front of the Class

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

Let me introduce to you Helen Ingebritsen. Helen plays the role of Susan Scott in Front of the Class. Susan was my mentor when I first started teaching at Mountain View Elementary. Susan and I had a similar philosophy of education. We partnered up on a lot of projects to help make our lessons better for the kids. We took her experience and expertise with curriculum and my creativity and youth and put them together for a winning combination. She was a great mentor for me and we continue to keep in touch today.

Helen plays this role well. She was a delight to meet and I had a chance to see her act in just a few scenes. She had the look of a teacher and was very energetic about playing this role. I’m excited to see how things turn out. You’ll see in the movie that her support helps push me through my first year of teaching. Every first year teacher needs someone like Susan. I think you will enjoy her role in the film. Cheers

Meet Ric Reitz Playing the Father of a Student in Front of the Class

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

In every good movie you must have a bad guy. Ric plays the father of a student who is in my class. Ric’s character decides he wants to take his daughter, Amanda, out of my classroom because he wanted his daughter to have a “normal” teacher. Amanda is very upset by this but must listen to her father when he confronts Hilarie the Assistant Principal about it.

In real life, the father didn’t want to give his daughter a chance at being in my class. The one thing that the film doesn’t show is that 3 weeks later, the father came back up to school and told the administration that he had made a mistake. But by that time, it was too late, administration was not putting her back in my classroom.

This was just one of the many stories I had in how some parents had issues with the fact that I was a teacher with Tourette Syndrome. But many of the parents nerves turned into support as they quickly realized if their child didn’t have an issue with my tics then why should they. I think a lot of us grew that year……..including the adults! Ric does a great job in the scene where he think he knows what’s best for his daughter. But does he really?


Meet Charlie Finn Who Plays Brad Cohen’s Roommate Jordan Hirschfield and Also See Our Apartment

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

Charlie Finn plays the role of my roommate Jordan Hirschfield in the movie Front of the Class. When you start watching the movie, don’t get confused when you see Charlie’s character named “Ron.” At first the screen writer, Tom Rickman,” changed Jordan’s name to Ron because Ron was really a composite of a bunch of my friends. But as they edited the script, I noticed that almost all of the content about Jordan really was what happened with me and Jordan. By that time it was too late, and Ron was here to stay.
Jordan was my roommate for 4 years when we first moved to Atlanta. I imagine a number of my friends characters could have made it to the big screen, but they chose “Ron” because they really focus on 1996 when I first moved to Atlanta, struggled to find a job because I had Tourette Syndrome, and of course Jordan was my roommate at the time.
Charlie was a very nice guy. I didn’t have a chance to see him shoot any scenes, but we did get to meet after lunch one day. As you could imagine, the first thing I noticed about him was the Cubs hat, so I wasn’t very excited about that. I allowed him to keep the hat on for the picture because I’m a nice guy.
The other two pictures show our apartment. I will guarantee you that this is not what our apartment looked like. Our place was much messier. Just kidding. They built this apartment from scratch in a warehouse studio they were using in Shreveport, LA. I also took a picture of what you will see across the street from our apartment. It is a nice house with trees in the front yard, but in reality, it is a huge background shot which will hang from the studio so it looks like we actually had neighbors. Cheers

Meet Joe Chrest playing Brad Cohen’s principal how hired him, Jim Ovbey, in Front of the Class

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

This is Joe Chrest, playing the role of Jim Ovbey in Front of the Class. I had a chance to chat with Joe for a while and he was a very nice guy. He’s been in a lot of films, most recently in “The Secret Life of Bees” which is about the be released. And of course how appropriate that the real Jim is a bee lover and makes his own honey right outside his home.

I only had a chance to see a few scenes filmed with Joe but with what I saw, I was impressed.

The one picture you see was when Jim and Hilarie and the state observer come visit my classroom and see a spelling lesson I was teaching.
Jim and Hilarie gave me a chance to teach in their school as a 2nd grade teacher despite having Tourette Syndrome. 24 other administrators didn’t give me the chance to be a teacher. You’ll see some of my experiences with the interview process as well as the magic question Jim asked me during the interview! You won’t believe what he asked me. But you’ll have to watch the movie! No spoilers! Cheers

Front of the Class introduces Dianne Butler playing Brad Cohen’s assistant principal, Hilarie

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Meet Dianne Butler, playing the role of assistant principal to Brad Cohen in Front of the Class. Hilaie Straka is the AP who finally hired me on my 25th interview. Dianne was a very nice lady and did a good job acting as Hilarie. Of course, more make-up, more jewelry, a better wardrobe and a younger actress would have pleased Hilarie more, but life goes on.

Hilarie is now my current assistant principal again. It has been great to work for her in two different situations. Hilarie deserves a lot of credit, along with Jim Ovbey, my first principal, for giving me the opportunity to begin my teaching career. 13 years later I’m still teaching and I’m not sure where I would be if they didn’t give me a chance and believe in me. Thanks!

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"Brad Cohen is a walking billboard for the idea of living positively. He is like a cold drink on a hot day--refreshing, energizing, and likely to put a smile on your face."
Tim Shriver - Chairman of Special Olympics

"I have observed the magic of Brad Cohen in the classroom. He has turned Tourette Syndrome into an asset, and his life into inspiration."
Senator Johnny Isakson, Georgia

"Brad Cohen's story is a triumph of hope, determination, will and relentless good humor."
Peter J. Hollenbeck, Ph.D., Professor and
Associate Head of Biological Sciences,
Purdue University

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