Travis Burns on DJ ‘Dreamcatcher’

Photo credit: Samuel Goldwyn Films

Travis Burns stars as DJ Dreamcatcher in Jacob Johnston’s thriller Dreamcatcher. His character is truly dynamic and Travis can’t wait for people to watch the film because “no one’s gonna expect it.”

Film synopsis: Dylan, known to his fans as DJ Dreamcatcher, is on the brink of global stardom. Everything changes the night of Cataclysm, an underground music festival, where two estranged sisters and their friends meet Dylan. After a drug fueled gruesome event, things begin to spiral into a 48-hour whirlwind of violence and mayhem.

The film also stars Zachary Gordon, Niki Koss, Blaine Kern III, Olivia Sui, Emrhys Cooper, Elizabeth Posey, Nazanin Mandi, Adrienne Wilkinson, and Lou Ferrigno Jr.

Spoilers ahead!
Photo credit: Samuel Goldwyn Films
What drew you to Dreamcatcher?

Travis: I loved the script. I actually auditioned for a different role, which, now that I’ve seen how the film plays out, I’m like, ‘Oh, I wasn’t the right fit for that.’ The producers actually gave me a script for Dylan, and I’m like, ‘I love this character!’ I can connect with him on so many different levels and it was exciting to jump into it and create backstories and where he came from and this and that and I was super excited to dig into that.

How would you describe Dylan? 

Travis: He’s very charismatic. He is very spiritual, given the name DJ Dreamcatcher. But, on the flip side of that, he’s a very troubled young man and he’s fighting his demons. And going into the movie, he puts his best foot forward to change his beliefs and views on many, many things that I don’t want to say because I might give it away. 

Did you give Dylan some sort of a catalyst that sets him on this path?

Travis: When I got offered the roll, I went straight to my acting coach and basically the first question was how did Dylan get here, to the beginning of the film. So what we had to do was, we had to create a life before the film and figure out when he started DJing. He has an obsessive passion for making music. For him, it’s stay up all night, make music, even if it was no good. He would still make it. And then getting launched into the world where everyone knows you and being famous and everything, he’s got the team- the manager, the publicist, and then it became all about business rather than making music. I think there’s also another line with the movie, ‘just go up there and press play… They don’t really care about the music anymore, they just want to see you.’ So, while doing all that backstory, I actually watched a documentary at a time on Netflix. I don’t think it’s on there anymore, but this backstory that I created, it’s very similar to Avicii and his life. I watched the documentary and he’s screaming out to his friends and his managers and everything like, ‘I don’t want to do these shows anymore’ and they’re like, ‘okay, we’ll cancel, two, but you still got to do 50.’ He’s like ‘no I don’t want to do any of them, I’ll end up killing myself.’ I saw it and I’m like, oh my god, like, I was shocked. So, seeing that and then creating the backstory, these are the people that are making it more about the business. I just want to make the music so I need to do something about that.

What was the biggest challenge you faced when taking on this role?

Travis: I think the biggest challenge was just acting as Dylan and bringing his story to life in a way that I wrote down on this paper. Hopefully the audience will see it the same way that it might be cool to be in the spotlight, but it’s also very challenging and very tough. There are a lot more elements to what just appears on the front page, so to speak. So I mean, bringing him to life was a challenge for me in a way that I wanted to do it justice.

What was your absolute favorite part of playing Dylan? 

Travis: So, we know that I’m the killer, I guess everyone finds it out at the end. But what people don’t know is I never did the killing. We had a stunt double. So there were some scenes in there that, when we were shooting, I wasn’t even involved in. So, I was at home while this other person was pretending to be me. But there was a particular day where the stunt double couldn’t make it or something so I had to jump in his shoes. And I remember doing this whole scene where I was being the killer and it was really exciting and something I haven’t really done before. So it was actually kind of exciting that they let me be behind the mask.

Are you a fan of slasher films?

Travis: I mean, everyone’s a fan of slasher films. I remember growing up and watching Scream, which was amazing, and my particular favorite was I Know What You Did Last Summer. I find horror films to be a little bit amusing. I think, because I enjoy it, I don’t get scared anymore. But then, changing the element to actually shooting it, there were three moments throughout the whole shooting process that I actually did get scared, which I was super surprised about. But, yeah, I’m a fan.

Photo credit: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Would you be willing to share those moments when you were scared during filming?

Travis: Let me think. I know there was one, I wasn’t even in the scene, I was just watching it from behind the monitors. And I think I was shooting in a toilet or a bathroom stall and there was that moment that I got scared, something jumped out and I just wasn’t ready for it. So there was this particular one where I was doing the killing with Blaine [Kern]. And we’re in the basement. And we had two pots- one pot was small, one was large, and then through the sequence, he gets me, I fall over and I get back up. He grabs- by the way, it’s just like a rubber pot, so it’s a fake set prop- and he picks it up, hits me over the head with it. We do that three, four, five times and then all of a sudden, on the sixth time, he didn’t put the small pot back to where it was. He must have left it somewhere else. So, during the scene, I’ve got the mask on, I can only see through these really small eye holes, and he hits me on the ground, I turn around and, as I get up, obviously he couldn’t grab the small pot, so he grabs the big one. I mean it’s big and he hits me over the head. I remember I kind of went full into it and whacked my elbow into the ground. I bruised my whole elbow. I proper scared myself, got scared in that moment.

In one word, how would you describe this movie?

Travis: Oh God, you’ve got me on this one. I don’t even know, I’m trying to bring everything down to one word. Let’s go with eventful!

Dreamcatcher will be coming to On-Demand and Digital on March 5.