An Interview With Comedian And Actor Brett Klein

brett

 

 

Brett Klein is a comedian and actor who was a member of the Second City Teen Troupe; here is a link to his website:

 

http://www.brettkline.com/Brett_Kline/Home.html

 

 

 

 

 

Q: What made you want to be a comedian?

 

A: I was in a school play when I was 8 and got the biggest laugh of the show. The crowd’s roar felt better than anything I had experienced. I was okay at sports, but never a star… So, this was the first place I got real praise. I began making kids laugh in class, and then eventually my teacher recommended I take improv camps at The Second City in Detroit. As soon as I turned 12, I made my parents sign me up for the teen camp and knew from that moment on I wanted to make people laugh for a living. I was eventually selected for The Second City’s Teen Troupe, but then it disbanded when the theater closed down. I was 16 and hungry to get on stage, so I started doing stand up.

 

Q: How were you selected to be in Second City’s teen troupe?

 

A: I probably took more summer programs than anyone else in The Second City’s youth training center. I remember they let me take an extra camp for free once, because they needed more people. I placed into their advanced summer class and then was invited to audition for the teen troupe. The troupe had a short run, with practices every week and a show once a month.

 

Q: To what method of acting do you ascribe?

 

A: I received my BFA in Acting from Michigan State University, which teaches a number of methods. I’ve been trained in classical, contemporary, musical theatre, film and commercial. We learned various tools and exercises in vulnerability, listening, scoring, voice, movement, etc… Just the workload from that degree and performing in shows makes you a more disciplined actor. We learn about Stanislavski and “method acting”, but I (as well as my professors) have mixed feelings about the concept. It is useful to live offstage as your character for exercises and to learn more about how your character would respond in different situations. However, it is also important to be able to turn it off and not lose yourself. Don’t be a jerk to your cast and crew. Also, the most interesting part of acting to watch is an honest reaction between two scene partners. If you are so obsessed with just your own character, you will lose the objective and connection with your scene partner – this will create a very two-dimensional performance.

 

 

Q: What makes your stand up routine unique?

 

A: I incorporate music and spoken bits, which are inspired from my life and other random thoughts. My act has been described as “comedy with ADD”. I often will bring up a guitar and play original songs and raps, with jokes scattered in between. Just out of college, a fair amount of material has been inspired from college life. I try to bring a lot of energy to the stage and make it a performance with some physical comedy rather than just a guy reciting jokes. This is particularly the case in my rap song, “Kosher Sausage”.

 

Q: Who are some of your comedic influences?

 

A: Stand Up:

Stephen Lynch, Flight of the Conchords, Steve Martin, Mitch Hedberg, Patton Oswalt, Eddie Murphy, Louis CK, Dave Chappelle, Robin Williams, Jim Jefferies and Bill Cosby.

 

Sketch:

Chris Farley, John Belushi, Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, Chevy Chase, Will Ferrell and Dan Aykroyd.

 

Also, a number of national headliners who aren’t as famous, but I’ve worked with and/or seen a lot:

J Chris Newberg, Dave Landau, Bill Bushart, Chris D’Elia, Buddy Bolton.

 

Q: How do you deal with a heckler?

 

A: I’ve only had a malicious heckler a few times. People usually just think they’re helping the show or are just drunk and talking a lot. There are stock lines, like, “I don’t slap the dick out of your mouth while you’re trying to make a living,” or, “How about we switch places, where you come on stage and I’ll go in the parking lot and blow four dudes!” …While lines like these can be helpful if you’re stuck, sometimes it’s better to ask the heckler questions and figure out why they’re being such a dingus. It’s not a normal thing to heckle and usually they will make themselves vulnerable and sound like an idiot on their own. Also, the crowd typically hates hecklers unless the comic is ignorant and racist. So they are usually on your side no matter what you say. Even if a comic is bombing, crowds typically feel bad for him/her as a human being and don’t want to see a heckler win. Sometimes though, people just suck and you might have a bad night. Just get up and do it again.

 

Q: What is The King about?

 

A: The King is a comedy/thriller shot in Detroit and written by Dave Landau (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Sebastian Oberst (Bones, Weeds) and director Ken Kuykendall. It’s a coming of age tale about a kid who gets his first car. Him and his three other friends go on an adventure in the projects of Detroit and all hell breaks loose. You can read about it and watch the trailer at the link below:

 

http://www.absrdcomedy.com/2014/08/05/first-glimpse-king/

 

Q: What role do you play?

 

A: I play the nerdy Matt Kegler, who is the best friend of Jesse (the protagonist). Matt is one of the four leads and is essentially the embodiment of high school insecurity. Friends and popularity are a battle for him, which is why he is so loyal to Jesse. Him and Klaw (Jesse’s other friend) hate each other and there is constant tension. While in many ways Matt is a weak character with bad luck, he also has a sense of bravery and strength in that he will stand up for what he believes is right. Much of the comedic relief comes at his expense. When I read the script, I knew this was exactly the type of movie I wanted to work on. Matt really reminded me of myself in high school. I was very excited when Dave gave me the role.

 

 

Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your comedy?

 

A: My day job is working as a freelance comedy writer for United Stations Radio Networks. I write parody songs and audio sketches for radio stations around the country. The company has a phenomenal writing team with award winning comics from around the city. I interned there last summer and began submitting scripts. They started accepting some and helped me workshop sketches. Once I left, they kept taking my material and I began making decent money. I moved back to NYC after graduation, so I could pursue stand up, acting and come into the studio to write. I’m the rookie on the team and it’s given me sort of a home base in the city. It’s really beneficial, because I get paid to work on my craft for a different format. Also, it’s a great place for me to network with other comics and performers in NYC.

 

 

Q: What’s funny about NYC?

 

A: NYC is ridiculous. The amount of insanity you witness every day is entertaining and often disturbing. Just a few days ago, I saw a guy masturbating in public right outside of the office. In addition to the crazies of NYC, the comedy scene there is probably the best in the world. You can get on stage multiple times in a night and there are tons of clubs and venues. Someone who’d be a headliner in the Midwest will pop in for an open mic. I’ve had to follow established comics from Comedy Central, The Tonight Show, MTV, HBO etc. It really makes you step up your game to keep up. Crowds are also tougher in NY than in Michigan. You need much harder hitting and tight material to get booked in NYC. The best of the best are there, and clubs can book them easily. I was getting booked to feature and MC regularly in the Midwest. Now, I feel like I’m starting back at square one. There is a lot of bad comedy in NYC, but also a hell of a lot more great comedy. It’s everything x1000, which makes it more difficult to stand out. It’s making me realize how far I’ve come, but also how far I still have to go.

 

 

 

 

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An interview with Documentary Producer Herbie J Pilato

 

 

 

 

HerbieJPilato

Herbie J Pilato is the producer of many documentaries about classic television shows. Herbie is also the founder of The Classic TV Preservation Society; here is a link to his website:

http://www.herbiejpilato.com/

 

Q: What made you interested in producing documentaries about classic television?

 

 

A: I became a producer, not only of classic TV documentaries, but of other television show genres, by way of writing books about classic TV shows.   As the author of the original Bewitched Book…which was first published in 1992, and revised with several editions as Bewitched Forever, the E! network approached me to be as a consultant and on-screen cultural commentator for Bewitched: The E! True Hollywood Story.  That show aired in August 1999, and became the seventh highest-rated True Hollywood Story in E!’s history.  As a result, A&E contacting me for their Biography segment on Bewitched star Elizabeth Montgomery, and then TLC then hired me as a producer and cultural commentator for their Behind the Fame specials on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Hill Street Blues, and L.A. Law. In the meantime, I was writing more books, such as The Bionic Book: The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman Reconstructed, which lead to my hiring as a producer for Syfy’s Sciography series, which ultimately was a sci-fi-geared edition of A&E’s Biography. But instead of profiling performers, Sciography chronicled the history of classic sci-fi/fantasy TV series, like the Bionic shows, Dark Shadows, and The Twilight Zone.   After that, I began working regularly on shows for Bravo, and the TV Guide Network, as well as for Warner Bros., Universal and Sony in their production of documentaries about classic TV shows released on DVD.

 

Q: What elements make a TV show a classic?

A: That’s a loaded question – and the short answer is “several.”   Certainly, like any creative property of quality, for any TV show to be good all the components have to be in place…and it all begins with the script. If you don’t have a good script, you don’t have a good show. The basic premise has to be well thought-out…the dialogue has to be in place…and “sound” right. The characters have to be clearly defined, and in effect, not “sound” like each other. The overall vision and life of the series has to be properly fleshed-out from the get-go, whether the show lasts five years or five days. At the same time, too, the “essence” of a show must remain timeless to be considered a classic. There should not be any reference to contemporary pop-culture which, in fact, was a main objective with series creator Carl Reiner on The Dick Van Dyke Show, which kept time-period references at a minimum – beyond its organic structure. Yes, there are many contemporary pop-culture references on classic shows like The Golden Girls, but in that case, the likability factor of the cast outweighs any dated feel that series…or any series…might present…beyond dated-clothing, wardrobe or set styles.  I would say the likable performances of the actors on any show are the most important, even if the characters they are playing are unlikable…which was the case for example with Larry Hagman as J.R. Ewing on Dallas. Hagman’s performance as J.R. was so likable that it didn’t that the character he was playing was so unlikable. Either way, when this likability factor combined with the proper planning and quality writing is missing from a TV show, then there is little chance that it will be deemed respectable or well-made, let alone a classic.

Q: Why do you think people are still interested in learning about the stars of these shows so many years after they were on the air?

A: Many classic TV stars and their shows like The Dick Van Dyke Show, or Father Knows Best, or That Girl, or Bewitched have been on the air and been welcomed in living rooms for decades. The stars, the characters and the shows themselves have been “friends” to the viewers at home. Many in the audience watch these shows as “comfort food,” thus the increasing platforms on which they are presented like the appropriately-named new “COZI-TV” network – which caters to classic programming.

Q: You’ve written a lot about Elizabeth Montgomery. What is it that makes her such a unique subject?

A: Elizabeth is in a class all her own, even nearly twenty years after her demise (from colon cancer in May 1995). She was a charming combination of talent, charisma, beauty, wit, intelligence…and extreme likability. As the daughter of film and television star Robert Montgomery and Broadway actress Elizabeth Allen, she was born into wealth and prestige – and yet she remained down-to-earth and unaffected by her Hollywood bloodline and upbringing. And she magically transferred that essence into her role as Samantha – the witch-with-a-twitch – Stephens on Bewitched.   The show originally aired on ABC from 1964 to 1972 – and has remained popular in syndication (and on DVD, the release of which I served as consultant) mainly because of her unique allure. The timing of its debut was certainly important to its success as well. The 1960s was littered with tragedies, traumas, assassinations, wars and race rioting, domestically and abroad. And there was Elizabeth’s Samantha – offering a magical escape with the wriggle of her nose. But the show also bespoke about true love…and advocating against prejudice. Meaning that Samantha and her mortal husband Darrin…a role shared by Dick York and Dick Sargent…loved each other despite their cultural heritage. And Samantha loved Darrin for who he was – and not for what he could do for her or buy her. Whatever he could buy her, she could twitch up something better. So, she wasn’t after his money…she loved him for him. And when many people sometimes don’t see is that it was Samantha’s choice to live the “every-day, mortal way” of a housewife. She could have left at any time…and she respected Darrin’s strong work-ethic…of having to work for something…and that having things without working for them makes them worthless. So, it was a combination of factors as to why Bewitched worked….but Elizabeth Montgomery was the main factor.

Q: Are there any documentaries you wanted to get produced, but couldn’t? If so, which ones?

A: I’ve been very fortunate and blessed to work on projects that have been very special to me and remain close to my heart…some of which now included new scripted TV shows and TV-movies that I am, creating, writing and developing.

Q: What inspired you to start The Classic TV Preservation Society?

A: When I wrote my first book, The Bewitched Book, I began visiting local schools to chat about the positive social influence of Bewitched…and the wonderful life lessons it provided and showcased, specifically with regard to prejudice, which is a core theme of the series. There was one episode, titled, “Sisters at Heart,” which addressed this issue in particular. It had to do with Samantha’s little daughter, Tabitha, befriending a young African-American girl. The episode was co-written by a multi-cultural graduating class of Jefferson High School in Los Angeles, which made it all the more inspiring. So, once I started presenting the initial school seminars, the message and intention of those seminars merely grew into The Classic TV Preservation Society, which is now a formal 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that brings TV & Self-Esteem Seminars not only to schools and colleges, but to community, senior and business centers around the country.

Q: What are some of the functions of the Classic TV Preservation Society?

A: The TV & Self-Esteem Seminars are the core function of the CTVPS…they seek out to prove that there are physicians in the world who were inspired to become doctors because of classic TV shows like Marcus Welby, M.D.…how certain attorneys were inspired by Perry Mason…how some families learned to better communicate because of The Brady Bunch and The Waltons…and how Bewitched teaches all people to ignore their differences and to concentrate on what makes them the same….which is our humanity.

Q: What is Glamour Gidgets and the Girl Next Door about?

A: This book takes the message introduced in my previous books and expands upon it, celebrating the lives, careers and influence of legendary female TV icons from the 50s, 60s and 70s in the process. Those profiled, include Lynda Carter, who played Wonder Woman, Lindsay Wagner, who is best known not only for portraying The Bionic Woman, but for astounding performances in several historic TV-movies. The one and only Farrah Fawcett is also profiled in the book, along with the Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson, all of whom were the three original stars of Charlie’s Angels. Overall, the book addresses the empowerment of women – and, in a sense, men, as well…and the importance of mutual respect between the sexes, while celebrating the most iconic female personalities in TV history.

Q: What is the most surprising thing you have learned about a show in the course of your research?

A: Any TV show that has been on the air for any significant time, from one year to twenty, has the power of influence…for the highest and lowest regard for all those concerned…the actors…the producers…the writers…and certainly the audience. That is why it is so very important, I think at least, to present the most positive characters and stories as possible when doing a TV show. Television’s influence on society, whether people admit it or not, is tremendous. So, why not take the high road?

Q: Which shows that are currently on the air do you think will go down in history as classics?

A: I think some recent new classics are shows like Reba, and Frasier, both of which I think are brilliant, address positive core family issues and just plain-out hilarious. I think Downton Abbey, with elegance and grace alone, has had a tremendous affect on the viewers and proves just how great a television show has the potential to be…even if the classic PBS show Upstairs, Downstairs did it first, over 30 years ago. And TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland was an instant classic when it debuted just a few years ago…but certainly, that had a lot to do with Betty White, the beloved actress from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls, as well as other classic TV female icons like Jane Leeves from Frasier, and Valerie Bertinelli…from One Day At A Time, and who just also happens to be one of the iconic females that I’m profiling in Glamour, Gidgets and the Girl Next Door.

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

 

An Interview With Writer Felicia M. Hazzard

 

 

herpective

Felicia M. Hazzard runs Fragrance Belles-Lettres Magazine and is the author of the play HERspectives; here is a link to her website:

 

 

http://fragrancebelleslettres.blogspot.com/

 

Q:  What is HERspectives

about?

 

A: HERspectives is a play on the word “perspectives”. Its sort of a tool to use to describe a women’s approach to situations…family, work, recreational. Its a term to use for the voice of women approaching life situations.

 

Q:  What made you want to share your story?

 

A: I knew that I was not the only woman going through treatment for breast cancer. However, I did want to express how I was coping with the issue. I wanted people to realize that having this type of cancer or any other type of cancer does not mean a “death sentence”. This is still light at the end of the tunnel and that is why I wanted to share my story.

 

Q:  What was the hardest thing about telling your story?

 

A:  It was hard to publically tell the world that I had breast cancer. Many people did not know because they saw me doing the same things as before. I did not want to have pity because in most cases like this, people begin to feel sorry for you. I did not want that to be the focus of my journey with breast cancer. I am grateful for the support but I do not want the pity.

 

Q:  What inspired you to start  Fragrance Belles-Lettres Magazine?

 

A: Thank you for asking this question. I used to be a contributing writer for several online magazines and I got tired of the editors telling me to write about a perfume a certain way. I write the truth with passion. I cannot glorify a fragrance if it isn’t so. Therefore I said if they can create a fragrance magazine with those rules and regulations, then I most certainly can create a fragrance magazine, too.

 

Q:  What do you look for in a perfume?

 

A: It is always the scent. Does the scent truly match the vision for the fragrance. What is the story behind the fragrance and I look for how long the scent lasts on the skin. When it does what is the scent of the “dry down”. Does it stay true to that scent after 4 hours or does the scent become an artificial or plastic type scent after the dry down.

.

Q:  What do people misunderstand about breast cancer?

 

A: I think it is the way that chemotherapy is approached. During treatment there are “premeds” given to prevent sickness, vomiting and nausea. When the Benadryl is given it makes you sleepy and moments later you fall asleep. So most of the time during chemotherapy treatment I slept and I ate lunch. So during that time, I wasn’t uncomfortable at all. Science and the treatment of cancer (breast cancer) have come a long ways.

 

Q:  What kind of day job (or life sustaining income source) do you have and how was your work impacted by cancer?

 

A: I am fortunate to be able to stay home with my children. My husband is a Doctor of Pharmacy, so he is blessed with a great career. As Founder and Editor-in-Chief, I created my magazine for the pure enjoyable of writing about fragrances. So, I do not get funding whatsoever! However, the impact of having cancer made working on my magazine become a lot less due to being very tired and weak sometimes. I still had to focus on my children who are young and I could only do half of my household duties. So things were at a slower pace than normally.

 

Q:  Do you think breast cancer gets more or less attention then other forms of cancer?

 

A: Actually, I think it gets more attention. Especially recently because there are women getting breast cancer in their early twenties! It is also the fact that women were not getting mammograms on a yearly basis due to financial situations. So this caused deaths to occur that otherwise could have been treated in time. So I think breast cancer gets a little more attention because it is now a disease that can be cured with treatment as long as it is caught in time.

 

Q:  How did you come to collaborate with The International Women’s Leadership Association in New York?

 

A: As I recall, I saw an advertisement from The International Women’s Leadership Association on the internet indicating they were seeking professional women to join their membership. Time went pass and I got an email from them indicating they are publishing a book and were seeking any women interesting in sharing how they succeeded by creating a Work Life Balance. I told them of my interest and I decided to write my story, LIVING BEYOND THE WIG. Its about how I had to create a Work Life Balance with breast cancer.

 

 

Q:  What is  the most realistic film or movie you have seen about cancer?

 

A: I really haven’t seen a realistic film about cancer. I know of film(s) created about a person battling cancer but these were  documentaries. But not many. As I recall it was the physicians talking about how they take care of cancer patients but I haven’t seen a film on the cancer patient’s perspective.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

 

 

 

 

An Interview With YouTube Star PogieJoe

 

 

 

 

joe k

Joe Kowalski is a YouTube star who goes by the name PogieJoe. He directed the short film One Day; here is a link to his YouTube channel:

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/user/PogieJoe

Q: What is One Day about?

 

 

A: One Day: A Musical, released on the fourth anniversary of my YouTube channel, revolves around a fictionalized version of that day and myself. In the story, I am preparing for a party celebrating my YouTube accomplishments when everything goes awry. I end up going through a journey in which I confront who I am, what I believe in and what’s important to me…in (why not?) song and dance. I think it’s a very fun and relatable little film and anyone can watch it for free on YouTube.

 

Q: How did you come up with your PogieJoe character?

 

 

A: I didn’t really consciously do much to create my character. I primarily took who I already am and cranked it up to 11.

 

Q: What inspired you to start making YouTube videos in the first place?

 

 

A: I had been making elaborate little videos utilizing myself and my siblings ever since I was ten and had fantasies of doing so even before that, so it seems like a really natural progression looking back. I wanted a YouTube channel even earlier than 2010 but my family was still oddly suspicious of it at the time so I had to show them it was alright. “No one’s going to hunt us down and try to murder us because I put a comedy video online, dad…”

 

It’s such a freeing medium. I always try to create something that I myself would want to see instead of following most trends or what others tell me I should make. I never want to make the same video twice. With every new work I want to dabble–trying new genres, editing styles, music, camera angles…it’s a great, constantly evolving experiment for me.

 

Q: Who are some of your favorite YouTubers?

 

 

A: Oh man, I could go on for millennia. I’m in constant awe of Neil Cicierega, the creator of Potter Puppet Pals and The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny, which are the two things he’s most known for by teens and 20-somethings. He’s a lot more than that though…he’s consistently brought some of the most wonderfully surrealist and brilliantly oblique-humored creations the Internet has ever seen. They just swing under the radar for most. Another favorite is ZeFrank, who is rightfully considered the Father of the Video Blog. His work is always fresh and fantastic!

 

The person that got me most interested in creating YouTube videos though is Craig Benzine, AKA Wheezywaiter. He once quite accurately his show as “a combination of The Colbert Report, Letterman, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, and Mr. Rogers.” I’ve been following him for about five or six years now and he’s still having a blast.

 

Other huge inspirations include Jeremiah McDonald, Vsauce, FilmCow, Mickeleh, charlieissocoollike, Glove and Boots, Vlogbrothers, 5secondfilms, CGPGrey, sWooZie, Tales of Mere Existence, cyriak, and TomSka. That’s a pretty long list but they all deserve major kudos for what they do.

 

Q: What is the secret to getting a lot of hits?

 

A: If you find out, please let me know!

 

Nah, there’s easy, very deceiving ways to gain lots of views but I’d rather have a bit of class and integrity. My channel is very small in comparison to any of the “popular” ones but the audience I do have is very engaging and fun. It definitely helps to work with bigger YouTubers or celebrities though. The videos where I’ve managed that typically have a much higher view count.

 

Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it effect your video making?

 

 

A: Actually I work for a small video production company so they’re pretty good about it! It’s not where I want to be for the rest of my life but it’s a nice stepping stone to bigger and better things for right now. The best part is that they are usually very flexible. When I made my musical movie this summer they actually let me take a whole week off to film it.

 

Q: How long does it take for you to make and edit an average video?

 

 

A: It truly depends on a number of factors. If I’ve got the massive two-ton weight of a deadline looming over my head on a slowly burning rope, I’ll rush one out in a day. That’s not ideal in the least though. Typically I like to take a week or so…a day or two to write it out, another to shoot, a couple more to edit/add special effects, and then uploading, social media, and several other platforms I use that require a bit more time and planning like e-mailing it out in a newsletter and putting it on my Roku app. (Roku is a streaming service for TVs.) There’s many videos though that I’ve worked on slowly over a period of weeks or even months.

 

Q: What is the strangest comment anyone has ever made about your videos?

 

 

A: A couple of years ago there was this bill called SOPA that was designed to specifically restrict the Internet in an awful number of ways. However, awesomely, it seemed like the whole Internet globbed together to fight it and stop it once and for all. As a joke I made a video called “Why I Support SOPA” in which I ranted for 45 seconds about how we needed SOPA to wash our hands and stay clean, the joke being, of course, that I was confusing SOPA with soap. It was a super obvious joke. I even put links in the description showing petitions people could sign to help fight SOPA and ended the video by pretending that it was cut off due to being censored by the villainous bill.

 

What I found quite funny is the swarm of thousands of people who arrived and left long elaborate comments about how I was an idiot to believe in supporting SOPA. Their insults were often uproariously dimwitted. It was baffling that so many people either didn’t watch a mere 45 second video before leaving a comment or had such a blindingly terrible radar for sarcasm.

 

Q: Why Oberlin, OH and not Hollywood?

 

 

A: I would love to move to Hollywood someday! As of right now though, I’m still building my repertoire. I’ve only been working on film and TV projects professionally for about a year now so I’d like some more experience here in the Cleveland area before I take the dive over there. I currently have a good job, a fantastic family and girlfriend, am working to get an Associate of Arts, and another movie idea in the works. California’s definitely in sights sometime in the next five to ten years though. Definitely.

 

Q: What was your most popular video and why do you think it was popular?

 

 

A: My most popular has changed several times over the years but right now it’s a video called “‘The Why Are You So Ugly?’ Song” that I made years ago. It’s literally just me in my room playing five chords on the guitar singing about how strikingly ugly the viewer is. It’s a very silly song and while I think the lyrics still have some wit to them I’m not too attached to it because it feels a little more cruel now than it once did. I think its popularity is mostly due to people sending it to friends and the like. “This ‘uns about you!” I’ve had much much better videos over the years that I feel deserve more popularity but creators don’t get to decide things like that. People themselves never create their own legacy…that’s entirely left up to the world at large. And perhaps it’s better that way.

 

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With One One 7 Owner Jason Davis

Jason_Davis_Press_Shot_For_Book_Cover

 

 

Jason Davis is an entertainment manager and the founder of One One 7 which represents some major talent; here is a link to his website:

http://oneone7.com/

 

 

Q:  What kind of services do you provide there at One One 7?

 

A: One One 7 is an international entertainment company with offices in the US, UK, Canada, and South Korea. We are also a full service artist development company specializing in the creation and execution of a product. We represent over 150 of the industry’s top hit songwriters, producers, actors, photographers, and video directors. One One 7 also has a licensing division where music is shopped to television and film.

 

 

Q:  What is your professional background?

 

A: I have over fifteen years of experience in the entertainment industry. I started out as an award winning songwriter, and eventually pursued the business as a manager, A&R executive, TV producer, and an entertainment consultant. In the early stages of my career, I secured record deals with some of the largest music companies in the world, including Capitol Records, Sony, Interscope, Island / Def Jam, Epic, Atlantic, RCA, and J Records. Between 2007 and 2011 I also served as the Senior Vice President of CTK Management, who represents Dolly Parton.

 

Q:  What inspired you to start you own company?

 

A: To start, I was inspired to start One One 7 because of my love for music and my passion for developing talent. Unfortunately in this industry there are people and companies that are really only concerned with making money; they couldn’t care less about the artist and the product. I was inspired to start One One 7 because I believe in passionately fighting for quality. Our team is dedicated to serving our clients and fighting for them every single day to create opportunities for them to succeed.

Q:  How did you go about convincing your old clients to come along with you to the new company?
 

A: We work very hard to maintain close working relationships with all of our clients. The artists I have been working with for years are loyal and they followed my career transitions. It didn’t take much convincing.

 

 

 

Q:  What are some common mistakes actors make when first publicizing themselves?

 

 

A: Good question. I find most aspiring talent in general whether it be recording artists or actors tend to get caught up working with the wrong people and following the wrong advice. Your team and their track record is vital to your success in this business. Also, over the years I’ve seen talent not put enough focus and work into the quality of what they’re presenting to the public or to executives. There needs to be a high level of dedication and effort put into their craft and product.

 

 

Q:  How do you go about getting a song placed in a film or on a show?
 

A: The key to getting a song placed in TV or film is to promote the song as much as you can independently and gain as much exposure as possible. Submitting your song to various non-exclusive synch companies is a great way to increase the chances of getting placed. One One 7 also has a licensing division and we shop our client’s music to TV and film for placement opportunities.

 

Q:  What do you look for in a client?

 

A: Passion, hardworking, likability, persistence, loyal, and talent.

 

 

Q:  What is the most original thing you have seen someone do to break into show business?

 

A: That’s a tough one! I’d say as of recent the most original thing I’ve seen is PSY’s “Gangnam Style.” The dance was original and it caused a worldwide firestorm. You can’t argue with 2 billion YouTube views!
 

Q:  What would you change about the entertainment industry?

 

A: Top 40 radio playlists used to be localized. Now when you turn on the radio, the networks are completely nationalized. You hear the same programming no matter where you are in the country. Radio is no longer a tool that can break a local artist because of this. I’d also like to see young artists focusing on the craft of songwriting and performance rather than trying to manufacture popularity online. The internet is an incredible tool for promotion. However, at the end of the day if you can’t emulate the sounds on your record when you perform live and you can’t draw an audience to a show, that popularity and amount of “likes” on Facebook really doesn’t mean anything. There is not enough emphasis on the craft.

 

Q:  You have some major actors on your roster. What’s the difference between promoting a famous person and promoting an obscure person; Amber Riley vs. me for example.
 

A: Promoting a famous person is always easier being that people are familiar. Working with someone who is unknown is always a grueling process in the beginning. It’s a fight in the beginning, but we like the fight because it’s a high risk high reward challenge.

 

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Writer Theron Moore

bear_and_salem

Theron Moore is the author of The Kill Sisters and Gangsters, Harlot’s and Thieves; here is a link to his website:

 

http://www.blackcatmafia.com/

 

 

Q: What is The Kill Sisters about?

 

A: Here’s the nuts and bolts: Two girls, one vampire, one human, team up to retrieve an ancient, powerful book called the Necronomicon but there’s a problem, it’s a setup. The Angels of Death and Vengeance confront Jewel warning her to leave the book alone but Vengeance has a more personal message, holding her responsible for the death of her family as well as her own, and the reason she returned as an Angel of Vengeance — to kill Jewel.

 

Our anti-heroes Jewel (vampire) and Helen Bells, aka, “Hell’s Bells” (human) find themselves in situations involving an Elvis impersonator who owns a roller derby team and secretly runs a zombie farm in Austin Texas, Jewel’s ex- partner Black No. 9 who betrayed her and took control of her covert group “The Brood” otherwise known as “The Men in Black,” and a slightly insane New York pathologist who dabbles in ghoulish Frankenstein like activities as well as re-animation experiments much like his father the famed Dr. Herbert West. And if that’s not enough there’s also a stargate involved as well. Locations in the book include New York, Illinois, Wisconsin, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and Mexico.

 

I wanted to showcase strong female leads, play down the often played out vampire angle which I personally think has been done to death, excuse the pun, go character based with storylines that appeal to people who want a thick meaty plot as opposed to the two dimensional nonsense you get with vampire diaries and movies like twilight which just bore me to death. How about a movie that appeals to adults and not the teen set? You get that with this book. And more.

 

I wrote this book with Quentin Tarentino and Robert Rodriguez in mind. I wanted the book to play out like Pulp Fiction. I stacked it full of pop culture references that only a killer fan would recognize ranging from literary to movies to music. If you get what im writing, you’re my reader.

 

 

Q: Why do you think vampire books are so popular?

 

A: They always have been popular going back to Bram Stoker. Why? Interest in the supernatural, romance, the combination of both. Anne Rice nailed it with her “Interview…” books. We love vampires because they’re anti-hero’s, they’re bad boys. Chicks dig that shit, guys wanna be that. In the last ten years there’s been renewed interest in all things occult and beyond because Hollywood re-created that industry and sold it to us and now we can’t get enough of it. God bless because I wanna sell books!

 

Q: What make’s Jewel different from other Vampires?

 

A: Honestly, she’s no different. She’s in it for power, greed and dominance and won’t stop at anything to attain it. The only obstacle in her path is Hell’s Bells. She made a friend and now she cares. That was a big time NO-NO on her part but it happened. Now she has to figure it out, deal with it and get it in line with her original agenda. Question is, does HB fit into her plan or not?

 

 

 

Q: What is a central theme in all of your books?

 

A: Book 1: Sisterhood & friendship amongst characters who have serious trust and anger issues. Books 2 +: Hells Bells / Jewel / Damien West, can they all co – exist with each other in this seemingly out control world dominated by conspiracy theory, UFOlogy and an impending (or is it?) apocalypse or can they remain dedicated to each other and not split and and plot against each other or worse yet….kill?

 

 

Q: Who are some of your literary influences?

 

A: H.P. Lovecraft, #1 influence; Edgar Allen Poe & Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

 

 

Q: What is Gangsters, Harlot’s and Thieves about?

 

A: Biographical account of my father’s upbringing in a skid row joint in the 40’s and 50’s in an obscure Northern Illinois town named Freeport. Hardcore, honest, pulls no punches. Gangsters, harlots and thieves is what the book is about and my dad’s experiences growing up around them. I tell my father’s story through his own voice and essays / poetry. If you dig “Sin City” by Frank Miller you’ll like this book only this is the REAL deal.

 

 

Q: What inspired you to write a story set in the forties?

 

A: My story is NOT set in the 40’s. It’s set in the present day but I have chapters where I go back in time and tell a particular characters story / origin. Everything happens present day and it’s predominantly based in NYC as opposed to Austin TX which I keep hearing which I don’t freakin’ understand…

 

 

Q: What’s the most unusual thing you have done to promote your book?

 

A: Unusual or REGRETFUL? Rather not say. Next question.

 

 

Q: What kind of day job (or income source) do you have and how does it influence your writing?

 

A: I do IT work. The tech aspect does influence me quite a bit because that’s the part I dig and just eat up, I read as much as I can and yeah, that does influence me.

 

 

Q: If you could meet Dracula or Nosferatu who would you pick and why?

 

A: I’d go Drac. I know I’m gonna die so why not party in the castle and hang out with hot vamp chicks before my inevitable happens, right? Plus knowing Dracula I can bargain with him and maybe, just maybe convince him to make me immortal which I want!

 

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Sports Handicapper Greg Smith

 

 SONY DSC

 

Greg Smith is a professional sports handicapper and owner of the company Only Best Bets; here is a link to the website:

 

 

http://onlybestbets.com/

 

Q: What does a sports handicapper do?

 

A: A sports handicapper is someone who gives advice to other bettors on what games to wager on. They do not handle cash or place bets for their clients.

 

Q: What kind of job qualifications do you have?

 

A: I have been a professional sports bettor for over 13 years and have made several appearances (and still do) on ESPN and Fox radio. I’m also an expert and columnist for Vegas Insider.

 

Q: How do you go about making odds on a team or a particular game?

 

A: That’s a loaded question…I have several equations and situational formulas that I have created throughout my career that help me create odds on teams. Before the season begins (especially in football) I will spend close to 2 hours on each team creating spreadsheets, stats and power rankings. This all helps in making final decisions come game day.

 

Q: What do most people misunderstand when they bet on sports?

 

A: How hard it is to make a career out of it. That’s why I created www.onlybestbets.com it’s an opportunity for bettors to have updated information on which games to wager. Unless you are spending 10 hours a day researching games you will always be behind the 8 ball. My site allows the average person to keep their day job and get winning bets for the weekend for as low as $9 a game.

Q: What was your opinion of the film Moneyball?

 

A: Moneyball was great. Any sports film is “almost” always good…right?

 

Q: Do your customers have to live in Vegas?

 

A: Nope! I have customers all over the world. The NFL is huge in Europe.

 

Q: Do people ever let there emotions stand in the way of betting on winning teams?

 

A: All the time! It’s hard for people to forget what they last saw. A team is never as good or bad as their last performance.

 

Q: What is the oddest thing you have ever seen someone chose a team for?

 

A: There was a prop bet for this year’s Super Bowl of “will the announcers say the word marijuana during the broadcast?” It was never said.

 

Q: What kind of packages do you offer your customers?

 

A: I have four types of packages, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum, with prices as low as $9 to $29. Monthly subscriptions are also available. Check my web-site daily for the very best plays at www.onlybestbets.com

 

Q: I am a 48 years old woman, weighing in at 130 pounds who exercises three times a week and works in an office; If I fought Justin Beiber, in a boxing match who do you think would win and why? (assuming neither of us was on the rag)

 

A: Well…I don’t like Justin Beiber, so you’re a leg up already. You would most defiantly win! He would be too busy checking himself out in the mirror.

 

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Actor Paul Williams

paul

 

 

 

Paul Williams is an aspiring actor from Pennsylvania, here is a link to his Twitter page:

 

http://www.twitter.com/PWilliam91

Q: What made you interested in acting?

 

 

 

A: I became interested in acting when I was young and my grandfather showed me the Indiana Jones films. I wantes to be an adventurer then a teacher and an archeologist like Harrison Ford played for these films so growing up I was clueless as to what I wanted to do fulltime or permanently and decided why not do them all.

Q: What kind of acting jobs have you had since you have been in LA?

A: Since I came to LA June 11th have worked background for 4 feature films. Feature films with big budgets and named talent actors involved. I’ve done many auditions for other films to music videos and ended up straying towards auditions to model.

Q: What kind of day job (or income source) do you have and how does it effect your pursuit of acting?

A: Right now I don’t have a set job nor income, I do anything from acting gigs to working contracting and remodeling within a business that a friend owns. Moneys tight and sometimes I just cant make it to an audition but I don’t let it stop me from trying.

Q: What kind of training have you had?

A: To this day I have never had training. I’ve thought about classes but will only push the issue if its absolutely necessary to that project.

Q: To what method of acting to you ascribe?

A: I came here not knowing what I can do and what role I was good for but so far I have found that the gritty bad guy look plays well into my favor. After portraying a prisoner to bar patrons or a jerk at a party I found that when something works, why not go with it.

Q: What famous screen role could you have nailed?

 

 

A: I think many episodes of Breaking Bad with scenes that Aaron Paul or Bryan Cranston have done I can come close to pulling off.  I even shaved my head, wore glasses and had a goatee one year and was told many times I looked like Walter White.

 

 

Q: What makes an actor a movie star?

A: Honestly, I can’t say what makes an actor a movie star. It all comes down to the hype of the movie and what role is played in that movie. It also comes down to the public. Without the public actors are nothing. Just your everyday performers. The public is what makes a celebrity. Otherwise your just another struggling name in the business.

Q: Why do you think so many people want to be actors?

A: Some want to become actors just for the sheer attention, others do it as a hobby and others have a passion so strong that they want to make a career from it which is what I’m striving for.

Q: What do you miss about Pennsylvania?

A: I miss everything about Pa from the rainy days to the snow and forest. The forest was a place to hike and explore and being here in California is a huge life style change for me because all I know is thousands of miles away. Prices are steep, days are very hot and then there’s the desert. I also miss all my friends and family. Everyday is a battle alone to not give up and go home.

Q: What’s your strangest Los Angeles story?

A: My strangest and most horrible experience in LA was when I was short on cash and had know where to rest my head for the night. I fell asleep below a tree along the street and woke up later infested in ants and roaches. It was so unbearable I ended up climbing the tree to get some quick shut eye.

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview with Spirituality Teacher Shahram Shiva

 ShahramShiva

Shahram Shiva is a performance poet a scholar of Rumi and a teacher of spirituality; here is a link to his website:

shahramshiva.com.

 

 

Q:  What is a performance poet?

 

A: It’s poetry in performance and not just in normal recitation. It’s a phrase that I have coined; if you listen to any of my songs from my albums it becomes clear.

 

 

Q:  What kinds of things do you discuss in your talks on the future of spirituality?

 

A: The main theme is The Future of Spirituality.

The topics include:

What Comes after Yoga

The Next Level of Spirituality

Consciousness Expansion

My 4 levels of soul evolution.

The yoga of the mind.

Where you are in your own evolution and what is next for you.

The universe’s unlimited and infinite love for you and how to tap into it.

Vision Manifestation and how to get exactly what you want.

In some of my events I also conduct a guided group meditative whirling workshop, based on a unique method that I devised in 1995.

 

 

Q:  What kind of professional and educational background do you have?

 

A: Professionally I have been sharing Rumi with the world for about 25 years.  I started very young.  I have been conducting concerts, talks, lectures and workshops for a very long time.  My first book was released in ’91.  My educational background is in the visual arts.  I have always been creative and have been pursing my passions since early teens.

 

 

Q:  It says on your blog you’ve been called “a profit of change and spirituality” who said this about you?

 

A: That’s one of the quotes that was shared with me in the early years of Facebook by Alexander Solomon.  To read more quotes about my albums or my work in general please visit: http://www.rumi.net/reviews_main.htm

 

Q:  What sets you apart from other self-help/ spirituality experts?

 

A: I am an artist first and have never been motivated by finances, ever.  I elevate my followers and students out of the basic and same old-same old spirituality 101 teachings to a place beyond right and wrong and good and bad where they discover their own divinity, true independent nature of their souls and greater life purpose beyond the everyday chores.  My followers shed their slave-minds and childhood programming to become empowered, self-guided entities.

 

 

Q: Why do you think Rumi’s poems are still popular?

 

A: Because he speaks about the human condition and our eternal search for universal truth, he will always be popular.  In fact he was extremely famous when he was alive 800 years ago and his style was being copied (while he was still alive) thousands of miles away in India.  He has always in all these centuries been regarded as a giant.  And he has been celebrated without pause for 800 years in the East.

 

 

Q:  What is universal spiritual hierarchy?

 

A: All things evolve, they adapt to their environment, they change, they grow and expand.  Our spirits are not immune to this universal pattern, hence, we evolve spiritually as well.  Our known universe with over 200 billion galaxies, each containing on average 100 billion stars and planets is not being run by a Renaissance-ear old white guy with a beard sitting on a cloud.  As we mature spiritually through reincarnation, our souls elevate to higher levels of consciousness where we eventually graduate from being a homosapian or an Earthling to much higher levels of existence.  The USH is a phrase that I have coined to represent the infinite levels of spiritual growth potential in our universe.  Our soul’s potential for growth is infinite.

 

 

Q:  What is Rumi’s Riddle?

 

A: From the time you are born an escape hatch is placed in front of you so you can be free.

 

 

Q: What do you think the answer is?

 

A: Open Mind.  Your mind projects your reality.  All that you are and all that you are experiencing is a projection of your mind.  When you learn to expand and shift your thinking, your reality will shift with it.  However, for many billions on this planet who exist with their minds closed shut, mostly due to childhood fear-based programming, there is no remedy for release until such time as they have elevated themselves out of fear-based doctrine of reward and punishment to one of love-based, self-guided manifestation.

 

 

Q:  What is the demographic of your audience and what do you thing are the sociological reasons for this?

 

A: My work isn’t based on age groups, but highly progressive beings of all ages from all walks of life.  In my events I have teenagers in my audience as well as people in their late years and everyone else in between.  I am here to elevate humanity out of the bondage of agenda-driven spirituality into a place of the highest truth.  A place where they shed their slaved minds for that of empowered minds.  This can happen to a highly enlightened 14-year old as well someone who is finally ready to hear my message at 80.

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

 

 

An Interview With Fashion blogger Jennifer Brix

fash

 

 

Jennifer Brix is a fashion blogger and the owner of Pink Brix Boutique; here is a link to her blog:

 

http://www.pinkbrix.com/

 

Q:     What made you want to be a writer?

 

A: Writing is the ultimate creative outlet for me! I enjoy telling stories from my point of view and capturing the reader’s interest all at once. I also appreciate the fact that, as a freelance writer, you get to define your own priorities.

 

Q:     How did you get your first paying gig?

 

A: I got my first paying gig with a small, local print publication in Charlotte, North Carolina. When I pitched the editor with my query letter, I discovered she was a fan of my blog and my writing style. It was truly a humbling experience!

 

Q:     Why do you think fashion and beauty are such popular topics for bloggers?

 

A: For the same reasons that the beauty and fashion industries, respectively, are booming: the world spends billions to look beautiful.  As women, we want to feel good about ourselves and are always seeking ways to change or enhance our looks. And though we may aspire to have their bank accounts, looks and (seemingly) effortless style, celebrity lifestyles are just not attainable for most of us. Why not gain insight into fashion and beauty topics from a blogger whom you can relate to?

 

Q:     Who are some of your favorite designers?

 

A: My must-have designer duds are Tory Burch flats and Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dresses. I’m obsessed! I’m also a big fan of Zac Posen’s unique designs. Otherwise, I’m a savvy shopper and enjoy affordable retailers such as Nordstrom, H&M, Express and Forever 21.

 

Q:     What’s the difference between blogging and traditional journalism?

 

A: The ongoing debate! Though both are methods of content distribution, I think it all boils down to the fact that journalism is heavily objective, while us bloggers love to express our opinion/perspective. Also, as blogging is a form of social media, it’s all about engagement, while traditional journalism relays information and is produced solely for consumption.

 

Q:     What trends in fashion annoy you?

 

A: Right now it’s the nipple-baring trend. I don’t need to see your breasts in public. It’s a desperate ploy for attention.

 

Q:     What makes for a successful fashion blog?

 

A: Consistency and great content is key. Captivating images are also important.

 

Q:  What is Pink Brix Boutique?  

 

A: Pink Brix Boutique (www.PinkBrix.com) is a celebrity-inspired fashion jewelry boutique catering to every woman’s style. I wanted to turn my brand into something tangible and Pink Brix was the result! Though I just launched the shop on July 1, I’ve had an outpouring of support and I couldn’t be more grateful!

 

Q:     What other jobs have you had and how do they influence your fashion sense?

 

A: During College, I interned at media companies such as NBC Universal and CBS Radio. After graduating in 2012, I began working as writer and editor. Currently, however, I work full-time as a Social Media Community Manager for health and nutrition brands in Greensboro, North Carolina.

 

My work experience has taken me from New York City to Los Angeles to Charlotte, and various places in between. I’ve definitely studied women’s style all over the country. Because of this, I enjoy exploring emerging trends and taking risks with my style!

 

Q: What fashion advice would you give to a pasty faced, middle aged woman whose ten pounds overweight?

 

A: You’re beautiful. Confidence is your best accessory. Never leave home without it!

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)