Tommy Villafranca

The Richard Lawson Experience

by on Feb.22, 2012, under News & Announcements

Tonight I got to chill back at a screening with friend, teacher, mentor and all around great guy Richard Lawson. The movie was Black Fist, aka Bogard (1974) and it was playing at the New Beverly in Los Angeles. If you are not familiar with his work, please visit his IMDB page at Usually on a Tuesday evening, Richard is teaching actors at his studio. But earlier in the day he caught wind that “Black Fist” one of his earliest films, was being screened tonight only. So with his good will and generosity, he bought 15 tickets for his students and took us all on a field trip. It is not unlike Richard to treat his students and friends. This is an artist who understands and values the importance of the ritual of celebration. He is one of the most generous human beings I have ever had the joy of experiencing. “Black Fist” was amazing. It was a pivotal film during the wave of black exploitation films during the 1970’s. This film in particular was an inspiration for filmmakers like Sam Pekinpah and Quentin Tarantino. It was full of action, sensuality, violence, passion & love told with spectacular performances by Richard, Dabney Coleman and Phillip Michael Thomas, all who have gone on to great careers. After the screening we got to enjoy a Q&A session. Ticket buyers along with the theatre staff had no idea such a treat was awaiting them. Afterward there were hugs, kisses, handshakes and pictures taken on cellphones. No doubt those pictures are already uploaded onto Facebook. What a splendid evening to see so many smiles on people who have been entertained for 40 years by such a great guy.

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by on Aug.28, 2011, under News & Announcements

This weekend I got to kick it with music legend Brian Holland while recording with Charlie Played Cello.  Brian, his brother Edward & writing partner Lamont Dozier where the powerhouse trio writing team who created that classic Motown Sound in the 1960’s. With over 200 songs in their catalog, 130 were on the charts, 70 in the top 10 hit list, and 20 of them were number 1 hits.  What an experience to be part of his creative process.  He was effortlessly masterful and all the while having fun!  Laughing and singing he would craft and shape the song together.  He was giving, always praising the artist and guiding with a reassured comfort.  Brian was honest with a witty sense of humor and willing to point to a positive character trait both in the music and the people around him.  He is 70 years of age and without a doubt, I could see the happiness and joy that music still brings him.

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Summer 2011 Update!

by on Jul.18, 2011, under News & Announcements

Wow, we are coming into the second half of 2011! I trust your year has been full of opportunity and positive change.

2011 is building momentum with the release of SMOKED: the web series. 4 Episodes along with the trailer are currently up on and now a part of the Strike.TV network.

On the music & drumming front, we’ve finished production and final mixing of the 1st full length album by CHARLIE PLAYED CELLO soon to be released on the NEW DEAL ENTERTAINMENT Label and distributed through Universal Music Group at Fontana Distribution. Look for the release on iTunes this year.

Now being Represented theatrically by Ross Grossman at Affinity Artists.

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2011 is In Motion

by on Feb.02, 2011, under News & Announcements

It’s a Brand New Year! 2010 was productive with the completion of SMOKED the New Comedy WebSeries created with John Anthony Bruno and Josh Newell.

Already 2011 is bringing new opportunity. I’ve recently been playing drums for PIKADONS ( and will be recording March 27 through April 9, 2011 in the California Bay Area. The band is being produced and signed to a label with a June 2011 release.

Look for the Launch of SMOKED in February!

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Watch the SMOKED trailer!

by on Jan.14, 2011, under News & Announcements

Watch the trailer to my new comedy series coming soon!  Go to the Media page of my website and see it now!

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“Smoked” web series Sparks Up

by on Sep.22, 2010, under News & Announcements

TOMMY VILLAFRANCA wrapped the pilot for “SMOKED” an original comedy web series he co-created.  Pilot episodes were written by co-creators John Anthony Bruno and Josh Newell.  The three met while working at Amblin Entertainment in the late nineties.

“I reconnected with John and Josh during the run of A HATFUL OF RAIN and we discussed doing a project together.  Starting with an existing concept from one of John and Josh’s previously shot pilots we re-invented the concept to fit the political climate of today’s discourse on medicinal marijuana and the movement to decriminalize and legalize its use.  Its comedy works more in the vein of CHEERS.   Instead of it taking place at a bar in Boston, it’s a dispensary in Venice Beach and shot in a contemporary style similar to CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM and IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA.”

Also stars Matt Lowe as ANDY,  Michelle Lawrence plays series regular MEGAN, Aviva gives a cameo appearance, Brynn Thayer plays the recurring COUNCIL WOMAN SABIO, and Joe Cardinale plays OL’ MR. BROWNE.

I have to thank Richard Lawson, Allen Barton, Art Cohan and Gary Grossman for continuously challenging us to produce our own projects. There is no excuse for not making your own material.  THE BANNAN WAY is recent evidence of the success of that philosophy.

For SMOKED we will utilize our connections with Amblin/DreamWorks and shop it to networks and their web sites known for developing new material for TV and the internet.  It really is the way of the future.   I’m excited to be leading that future with the next generation of actors who are filmmakers and who dare to pick up a camera and create their own career.

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“SMOKED” Pilot is a Wrap!

by on May.01, 2010, under News & Announcements

“Smoked” wrapped principal photography for its Pilot Episodes Friday April 30, 2010. Scott Pellet, Scott Hatcher, Andy Cohen and Kathryn Croy will be editing the series and a late-summer launch is scheduled.  Capitalizing on the Medicinal Marijuana discourse this election year, “Smoked” has made a fun parody of the life surrounding “Five Points Farmacy” a dispensary for the highly controversial medicinal alternative. Directed by John Anthony Bruno, and written by Josh Newell and Bruno, stars Tommy Villafranca, Matt Lowe and Michelle Lawrence,  friends and partners of the Venice Beach cannabis club.

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“SMOKED” Day 1 & 2 in the Can!

by on Apr.27, 2010, under News & Announcements

We’ve completed shooting the first two days of “SMOKED” with an all-Star cast including Tommy Villafranca, Matt Lowe, Michelle Lawrence, Sheldon Anderson, Raffi Di Blasio, Deanna Smith, Nick Jaine, Joe Cardinale, Phillip “Fish” Fisher, and Brynn Thayer. Stay tuned for launch date and Trailer.

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by on Feb.23, 2010, under News & Announcements

“SMOKED” the original comedy web series will begin principal photography on April 23, 2010.  Pilot episodes were written by John Bruno and Josh Newell, creators of the film “DAYDREAM BELIEVER“.   Tommy Villafranca plays BEN, a straight laced business man with a secret crush on MEGAN, ANDY’s tree hugging little sister who’s always pushing a social cause.  ANDY is a slacker with good intentions who usually “screws and smokes” things up.  Together they are the proprietors of Five Points Farmacy, a California medical marijuana dispensary.

The Venice Beach cannabis club is the center point to a variety of outrageous patients and vendors and a forum for social commentary on small business, government regulation, corporate profiteering, and legalizing the schedule 1 controlled substance for medicinal use.  Casting will be directed by Jenn Gaw.

Come back and visit for more upcoming news on Casting and Release Dates.



by on Jan.19, 2010, under News & Announcements

Hello Friends & Fans!

I’ll be playing the drums at a free event coming up this February 5th & 6th

1816 Vermont Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027

(in the Los Feliz Village Next to the Cinema)

Starts at 8pm

Call for your Free Tickets today!  (323) 969-4774


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