Set against the backdrop of Country Ray's blaring radio show out of Del Rio Texas, on the Mexican border, which broadcasts its 500,000 watt transmission all across the nation, “How’dy!”, follows the interweaving storylines of various fictitious country music singers struggle with happiness in the midst of fame, success, and the ever changing music industry in 1970’s America…
After being released from a five year stint in state prison for armed robbery that left one man dead and a family estranged, Ira and Al Grady pick up the pieces of their shattered past and reunite with their brother Gene, who has long forgotten their shared dream for country music stardom. Only after working together as a family and moving past their singular desires, will they accomplish what they finally set out to attain, the unexpected, and a shot to appear on XBRF’s radio broadcast, featuring it’s infamous host, Country Ray.…
The famous and beloved aging country musician is in the midst of losing everything, his show, his family, and Mrs. Lottie Bressette, America’s new country music sweetheart, who he’s been managing the career of and performing with for the last five years. The network, MRC, who’s been running Eldon’s Variety Show on the air for the last two decades, is threatening to pull the plug if he doesn’t quit drinking, show more enthusiasm on the show, and somehow keep it together while pulling ratings up after Lottie Bressette’s last appearance on the Annual 4th of July Holiday Special. He’s losing money, gaining resentment from his family and those closest to him, and spiraling out of control. He doesn’t know it yet, but with the help of three estranged brothers and a seventeen year old singing prodigy, who will save his career, Eldon Pickard will learn to finally become the man he was destined to be.
America’s new country music sweetheart, and the star of “The Eldon Pickard Show,” is anything but happy. She’s torn between her husband Carl, Eldon Pickard, her boss and manager, and the male driven music industry which is reluctant on pushing a flashy solo female artist. As her fame catapults her into the unprecedented limelight, she finds herself battling through rigid contracts, and the confines of the changing country music industry. Her passion for breaking female stereotypes, and her obsession to meld two genres of music, pop and country, will threaten to compromise her sprouting career, amidst a world that is crumbling all around her.
Country Ray's famous radio show out of Del Rio Texas on the Mexican border, which has become the most popular program in the country over the last five years, is soon to suffer a hostile takeover from, El Patron, the ominous leader of the Mexican bandit organization, “Tithonia Muertos,” ordered by the government to take over the 500,000 watt station, XBRF, by any means necessary if Country Ray refuses to go peacefully.
Adelaide “Addie” Atkins
After her mother sees an advertisement on the television for a national contest to appear alongside six other girls on the new “Eldon Pickard Show,” she persuades her talented, seventeen year old daughter, Addie, who has sworn off any desires to become a singer, to audition for the show and save their family from a life of poverty and misfortune.
Keene McRae (actor, writer, director)
Alexander Keene McRae II was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Keene spent the first eight years of his life in many cities around the States as his father followed career opportunities. His brother, Malcolm Wellman McRae, was born in New York City, New York in 1994 and his sister, Charlotte Rainier McRae, was born in Burlingame, California in 1998. A few months after Charlotte was born, they settled in Birmingham, Alabama.
Keene did not grow up with much exposure to film and was allowed to watch television only two hours every Saturday. He spent most of his free time drawing, building and painting models, folding origami, practicing soccer, playing the guitar, and singing. While he could sing and play the guitar well, he was too shy to perform. In school, he was good at math and terrible at English. His mother, acknowledging her son’s gift for problem solving and constructing with his hands, urged him to be an engineer.
As a senior in high school at The Altamont School in Birmingham, Keene was scouted to model for Abercrombie. This led him to defer his collegiate studies and move to Los Angeles, where he had signed with a modeling agency. His first year in LA, at age 18, he began working for Ted Gagliano, the President of Post Production at 20th Century Fox. Delivering dailies with the lot as his backdrop, Keene began falling in love with the history of Hollywood and the craft of cinema. Shortly thereafter, he quit modeling—modeling for David LaChapelle being his one favorable experience—and went on to pursue being involved with film.
Deciding to rid himself of his shyness, he started studying acting under Craig Archibald. Craig, after learning that Keene had hardly seen any movies, saw something in the teenager and chose to put him through a cinematic crash-course. During a discussion with Craig, Keene remembered his mother had told him that his great-great-great uncle was William “Wild Bill” Wellman. Wellman wrote and directed the first “A Star is Born” (1937) and had directed “Wings” (1927) which won his producers the first ever Oscar for Best Picture. As Keene was delivering dailies the day following his chat with Craig, he realized that one of the large murals on the Fox lot was of “The Oxbow Incident” (1942)—another picture directed by Wellman.
After studying under Craig for a few years, Keene landed his first role as Sting in “CBGB” (2013) alongside Alan Rickman, Malin Akerman, Rupert Grint, Ashley Greene, Stana Katic, and Johnny Galecki. With excitement, he flew home to Alabama directly after filming to discover that his father, Barry, couldn’t recognize him. Barry had been diagnosed with stage IV glioblastoma in 2009 and, after surgery and an experimental treatment at Duke University, a tumor had returned. Keene stayed in Alabama for half a year to support his family as his father passed away in the summer of 2012. In 2013, Keene landed the coveted role of Reese Witherspoon’s younger brother in the Oscar nominated film “Wild” (2014) in which his mother, played by Laura Dern, passes away from cancer. Oddly enough, the toughest emotional scene for Keene to act and—an entire year later—the “Wild” premiere both took place on his father’s birthday: November 19th.
In 2014, merging all of his skills, he jumped feet first into directing the feature film “Shot in the Dark” (2021). Having never directed anything before, he geared up by taking cinematography classes, studying countless films, and continuing his acting studies with Craig. There were numerous mistakes made and lessons learned in spite of his preparation, but Keene and his producers wouldn’t give up—even when they were told to do so. It took years of working late nights before a film they could be proud of was complete. When he needed some distance from the post-production of the feature, Keene persisted to hone his understanding of the craft by directing two short films. “Weather Talk” (2018), a short about a young, gay man coming out and reconnecting with his father as a newly found adult, which has been circulating festivals, and “How'dy!” (2020), a short about three aspiring country musicians who decide to rob the man they blame for the death of their parents.
Keene is a young filmmaker, with a focus on identity and loss, who aspires to indefinitely grow and learn.
Brandon Bernath (actor, writer, and producer)
Born into a family of aristocratic Hungarian artists, Brandon Bernath has been living and working in Los Angeles for over twenty years as a writer, actor, producer, director, artist and musician.
Brandon began his career acting at the age of two, appearing in prints, theatre, commercials, television, and film throughout his childhood and teen years, while studying in various acting schools in LA, and at the renowned Lycée Francais de Los Angeles. Brandon, an only child and a highly imaginative boy, who had difficulty sitting still, would often keep himself preoccupied as a kid, by building sets with his legos and playing out intricate storylines with his action figures, forcing his parents and his parents’ friends to be audience members in elaborate performances he would put on during dinner parties, and family get-togethers.
Brandon also expressed an early interest in music. He was in the school choir for many years, and once he learned to play the guitar and piano, he would often lock himself in his room to play music and sing for hours on end, which usually drove his parents and neighbors crazy, as he would often play into night. In high school, he started several bands and played at many notable venues along the sunset strip, including the Whiskey-A-Go-Go, and the Roxy.
After, graduating from Montclair College Preparatory high school, he decided to put his acting career on hold and continue to pursue his education. He graduated from Pitzer College, with a BA in both Writing and Political Philosophy, and spent a brief period at Western State University College of Law, where he realized that his interests still heavily lay in the creative field.
Once, he dropped out of law school, Brandon was involved in several musical projects, including L.A. indie-rock band, FIM, which he toured the country with for several months, before enrolling back into various acting schools in Los Angeles, including, The Beverly Hills Playhouse, Ivana Chubbuck Acting Studio, and The Craig Archibald Studio. During these formative years in his early to mid-twenties, Brandon started writing for the prominent publication, Flaunt magazine, and simultaneously managed to work for several notable figures in the entertainment industry, including legendary producer, Mike Medavoy, and filmmaker, Bill Duke.
Brandon is also an accomplished artist/painter. As a child, his father, the renowned artist Istvan Bernath, mentored him to become proficient in painting, drawing, and carpentry. Over the years, Brandon has had numerous art shows in galleries across the country, where critics have referred to his work as “impossibly detailed,” and “colorfully abstract.”
Over the last few years, Brandon has not only had a successful career in-front of the camera, appearing in several award winning independent films, including “Little Miss Perfect” and “Hunky Dory,” but has also had a successful career behind the camera, receiving accolades for his work in directing, writing and producing. Brandon’s most recent music video, that he directed, wrote and produced in 2020, for the musician Pokey La Farge, currently has over two million views on YouTube, and was reviewed in Rolling Stone magazine, as “Haunting and Mesmerizing,” by the critic Joseph Hudak.
Brandon’s most recent short film, “How’dy!,” a prequel to the feature, that tells the story of three destitute brothers with dreams of country music stardom, is currently touring the festival circuit for 2020 & 2021. The film has already won “Best Independent Short Film” at the Los Angeles International Film Festival, and has been accepted into the Toronto Shorts International Film Festival.
Malcolm McRae (actor, musician)
Malcolm Wellman McRae was born in New York City, shortly before his family moved to Burlingame, CA. When Malcolm was four, his family settled down in Birmingham, Alabama. Malcolm, who grew up singing in choirs and leading musicals from a young age, was a natural-born star. After three years of architecture studies at Auburn University, he decided to follow his song-writing and acting dreams, and headed to Los Angeles. Shortly after arriving in California, Malcolm formed the band “more” with Kane Ritchotte, formerly of “Portugal. The Man.” They began working with producer Tony Berg, at the famous recording studio, Sound City, that Berg operates with his business partner, Blake Mills. As ‘more’ was finishing their first album, they signed with Warner Records.
While recording his music, Malcolm started acting class with Craig Archibald and began strengthening his acting skills. After a couple months of class, Malcolm went in for his first audition. He was called back multiple times and was up for a role for the show, “Daisy Jones & the Six,” but decided against it, as he would have to be on tour with the fictional show’s band—taking him away from finishing his own album for Warner.
Malcolm is looking forward to playing Gene Grady, a character that drops out of law school in 1971 to follow his dreams of country music stardom, in the feature “How’dy!”. You can check out ‘more’ on every major platform and see Malcolm as Gene Grady in the short film, “How’dy!” (2020).