An Interview With Motivational Speaker Jimmylee Velez





Jimmylee Velez is a motivational speaker; here is a link to his website:
Q:  What made you interested in motivational speaking?


A: Back in 2006 I was introduced to the personal development industry. I studied the arena, applied what I was learning and within weeks, my life completely changed. From there, I wanted to share my knowledge and experience with my new found passion. I truly believe this is my calling in life and am currently living out my destiny.


Q:  What set you apart from other motivational speakers?


A: We ALL have our individual stories and mine is as unique as they come. I did not go to school for motivation, entrepreneurship or even business. I have a bachelor’s of science in the concentration of health information management. I truly believe the personal development industry chose me. It simply resonated with me and truly pulled out my true ability to communicate with people. My message is the raw truth wrapped in encouragement and sprinkled with love to give my audience a POWERFUL message.


Q:  What qualifications do you possess for your job?


A: I posses the unique ability to tap into the hearts of others and inject a message of hope. These messages can transform your life into a more refined better version of yourself. I truly want to help and possess an undying passion to assist people overcome life’s obstacles. My intentions are derived from my heart and the love naturally guides me.


Q:  I’m a customer service representative, what kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your motivational speaking?


A: I work for a local hospital. That being said, EVERYTHING influences my motivational speaking.  I do believe life is what we make of it regardless of our surroundings. I am inspired by all kinds of things which allows my message to be so versatile. I am around a ton of CARING people and it definitely rubs off on my message.


Q:  What is your core philosophy?


A: I believe we have a duty to live out our life calling. We all possess different skills and abilities that are needed in the world. We must recognize these strengths, sharpen them and utilize them DAILY. We all play an important role in the world and it is critical the world receives our best. To live a life of excellence and become the BEST version of ourselves is a DAILY mission.


Q:  What is the difference between thinking positively and being delusional?


A: This depends on who you ask as we ALL have our very own definition of each. It’s an individual kind of thing. What I think is “positive”, you may think is “delusional”. Neither of which are correct as each come from different frequency levels of thinking. Your misunderstanding of my “positive thinking” does not make it “delusional”, it’s simply on another level. People thought Roger Bannister was “delusional” in thinking he could run a mile in under four minutes, but in 1954 he proved them wrong. Non-believer’s thought it was “delusional” to put a man on the moon, but the Apollo 11 astronauts proved them wrong. The examples of “positive” thinking and “delusional” are endless and are simply separated by perspective.


Q:  What have you done to promote your book?


A: Currently, I am in the process of wrapping up my book which is to be released in December. The book is a follow-up project to the album, The Motivation Files, “Motivation To Master Your Day”. It truly is the ULTIMATE combination of motivation and music. The Motivation Files  (Album) charted 5 days in a row on iTunes ( and has been played on several radio shows. On my site, you will see a section where myself and The Motivation Files have been featured in various forms of media; all of which have promoted my projects. I have guest blogged and also been featured on several podcasts promoting The Motivation Files. My passion for The Motivation Files shines through in my daily social media posts and weekly blogs at


Q:  What is the key to giving a good motivational speech?


A: The key is preparation. Knowing who your audience is, what problems you are solving for them and what point you are trying to drive while maintaining a controlled excitement level packed with enthusiasm and wisdom.


Q:  What are some specific examples of how your philosophy has helped people?


A: The philosophy I use and promote is not my own as it has been derived from the years of research and experience in the field. That being said, one of my favorite examples come from two guys in the music industry. One guy listened to The Motivation Files and my movement, and instantly regained faith in his music career. He was motivated to go after his dreams and is now in the process of recording a second album. The second fellow had a direct conversation with me about my projects and listened to The Motivation Files. He was so motivated and compelled to take action on his dreams that within 24 hours he had a new track recorded and dreams reignited.


Q:  I think if you are a pessimist you can’t be disappointed, only pleasantly surprised, what do you think?


A: I think if being a pessimist works for you, than stick with it. We all have our own unique way of navigating our way through life. The Motivation Files is simply a tool and you can use it as you see necessary in your life. My overall goal is to motivate you to become the best version of yourself regardless if you are a pessimist or optimist.

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


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An Interview With Writer Jean Davis




Jean Davis is the author of A Broken Race  and a participant in this year’s NaNoWriMo; here is a link to her blog:


Q: What is A Broken Race about?


A: The fortress is home to the last of civilized humanity. The few remaining women live in a vault far below the gardens,  the men who protect, manage, and labor, and the walls that protect them all.  A virus generations past and inbreeding since, has left average men severely outnumbered by Simples. Humanity, as it once was, is broken.


Outside those walls live the Wildmen, starving, poor, and desperate for the treasures of the fortress. Seeking women to once again fill their ranks with healthy children, and something other than rats to fill their stomachs, the Wildmen launch one last raid. One of their number makes it inside alive.


One-fifty-two is a Simple man. The raid fills his calm and orderly world with smoke and fear, the need for the comfort of his mother, and the promises of a Wildman captive.  With his eyes open to the secrets behind the order his always known, One-fifty-two must find the courage to stop being a cog and take hold of the wheel, or the fortress may be the end of them all.


Q:  What inspired you to write it?


A: I wanted to write a story where any of the four main characters could be seen as the protagonist or antagonist. All of them are doing what they feel is best for their people, but at a cost to everyone else.

William works to keep the fortress organized so  that everyone is fed and taken care of while they try to breed a healthier population, but in doing so, is essentially enslaving Simples and the women. Phillip is one of the Wildmen who needs the resources kept inside the fortress for his own people before they waste away, but doing so means those currently safe behind the walls may be left to starve or be killed. Jack keeps the fortress safe and fathers many children, but he never gets to know anything about them. They grow up to join the living machine that is the fortress, and he does nothing to prevent it. One-fifty-two has an innocent heart and just wants everyone to be treated fairly, but the path he travels to make that happen could bring death to them all. Who is right and who is wrong?


Q:  What kinds of themes do you like to write about?


A: My writing tends to deal with people finding themselves, growing and becoming who they were meant to be. I also often explore selective breeding and birth, who has a right to live and why.


Q:  What life experiences do you draw from in your writing?

A: Much of my life has been working beside people, getting to know them and understand their motivations and how they think. Not that I use anyone specifically when I create characters, but I do draw on that knowledge quite a lot. It’s the moments in my own life, usually the worst ones, full of loss and hurt that I can really sink into when I need to write dark or emotional scenes.


Q:  What kind of day job do you have and how do you work writing into your schedule?

A: I own a sign and graphics business. Thankfully, I work from home so my schedule is flexible when the urge to write hits. Not that I don’t have to put in my hours every day, and at night, and on the weekend sometimes, but I can take half an hour in the morning to get do the thoughts that I had from the night before or write a scene or two at lunch in the quiet of my writing office. I get to brainstorm as I do production and if an idea hits me, I can go write it quickly and get back to work. Most of my writing is done in the evening or early in the morning. I wish working from home meant I could blow off work and write all day when I wanted to, but it doesn’t . There are bills to pay and that means keeping my customers happy.


Q: What is your NaNoWriMo book about?

A: A Broken Race was written during National Novel Writing Month in 2009. The next year I went rebel and wrote 50,000 words of short stories instead of a novel. One of those stories was called Interface and in the course of trying to write it, I realized the idea was too big to cram into 3000 words. I set it aside and wrote several other stories to fill up my word count. This year for NaNoWriMo, I’m attempting to create a novel from that short story.


Q:  Are you keeping up with the word count?


A: This is my tenth year participating in NaNo, and for the first time that I can recall, I’m ahead on my word count, only by a day, but I’m usually a day or two behind, so I’m enjoying this. It helps that I’m at a point in life – I have help at work now, one of my kids is driving himself to everywhere he needs to go, and I now have my own writing office – where there’s a little less stress than there has been in a long time and that gives me more energy for creative pursuits.


Q:  How is your novel different than other post apocalyptic stories?

A: One-fifty-two isn’t the typical good looking hero sort. He isn’t gifted in anything. In fact, he’s got some genetic issues, as do most of the inhabitants of the fortress.  A Broken race explores the idea that perhaps abnormality is the new normal.


Q:  What have you done to promote your book?

A: Because A Broken Race released just days before NaNoWriMo began, and I’ve been busy with writing this month, promotion has been in the form of guest posts and interviews on various blogs. The employees of publisher I’m working with are also avid NaNo writers so we had planned for a fairly quiet release and will dive into promotion once November is over.

Q:  If a virus were to wipe out most of humanity and only one author could survive and keep writing who would you pick and why?

A: Oh my! Good question. *peers at bookshelf* There are so many I would save.  I’m going to have to go with George RR Martin. Not only because I have to read how this whole Game of Thrones series ends,  but I’m hoping he’s good at bringing people back that we think are dead, like, oh, I don’t know…Jon Snow. And hey, maybe he could write a few of us back from the dead too.


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

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An Interview With Writer Robert Colton


Robert Colton is the author of a mystery series set in Pompeii; here is a link to his website:

Q: What made you interested in doing a mystery series set in Pompeii?


A:  I had studied Pompeii and was amazed by the vast amount of information that was known about the last few generations who lived there. Thanks to a strong box that survived the destruction caused by Mt. Vesuvius, decades of important documents were found that provided a wealth of knowledge on who lived in the city and how they conducted their business.  What remains of Pompeii is much like a time machine offering a glimpse of the past. The setting seemed ripe for mystery.


Q:  What makes the characters in the book series worth reading about?


A: They are varied and unique. Some are fragile on the surface with surprising depths of personal strength, others suffer from their own lack of understanding themselves. My characters are colorful and complex, I start with an obvious cliché and then break them down into people who seem very real.


Q:  What is the most challenging thing about writing a mystery story?


A: The most challenging thing is also the most fun, placing the answer to the mystery in plain sight and then misdirecting the reader for a few hundred pages. When the murder is announced, I want my reader to nod their head and think, I should have seen that coming.


Q:  Who are some of your writing influences?


A: Robert Graves, his novel I, Claudius started me on a lifelong love of Ancient Rome. Steven Saylor, his mysteries set in Rome are well thought out and highly entertaining. Daphne du Maurier, her novel Rebecca is my favorite book. She tells the slow, winding and suspenseful tale from the point of view of a character who matures and grows right before your eyes.


Q:  What kind of day job do you have and what does it entail?


A: I am the Director of Operation for a non-profit organization. I am a bit of a General Factotum seeing that the day to day operations seamlessly happens with an almost invisible touch. I plan events, schedule staff and oversee venders. The job lacks glamor, but I am good with making things happen on time and just the way people envision it.


Q:  How does it affect your ability to write?


A: Sometimes I can’t switch gears from work to writing if I have a project or a big event going on, other times I need to leave work at the office and jump straight into my latest manuscript to get away. I can’t quite determine the trigger.


Q:  What kind of research did you do for your book?


A: Lots of reading. I have just about every book published on the subject of Pompeii. The most important thing was to make my own map of the city. Most historical fictions are about famous people, and readers already know things about them that they expect to be mentioned. The subject of Pompeii is different, it is about the houses, temples and civic buildings. I have had countless people contact me and tell me that reading the book reminded them of their trip to the city and that my descriptions were like being there again. That has made me really happy.


Q:  What have you done to promote your book?


A: I put my first eBook out for free early on, just to get it out there. I tried a few different services that advertised books and then found some pages on Facebook where people gathered to talk about historical fiction. Recently I have done some Facebook ads and started working with a publicist. I am still waiting to dunce onto the magic marketing tool to make me a household name –but I’m not holding my breath.


Q:  What made you want to be a write?


A: It was never a choice. I wrote stories as a kid, they weren’t very good, but I have always been writing something. I have an overactive imagination, plot lines are always running through my head. I have to get some of them out on paper just to make room for more thoughts!


Q:  If you could visit ancient Pompeii, what would you do first?


A: The same thing I did when I visited modern day Pompeii. I went straight to the home where I placed my main characters. I had looked at a number of photos of the crumbling house, but walking up to it and placing my hand against the 2000 year old brick wall was an incredible feeling. I would love to be able to see what it was really like before Vesuvius transformed Pompeii from a living breathing city into a place of legend and mystery.


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

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An Interview With Writer Leonie Gant

JPG Profile Image 350x350 Leonie gant

Leonie Gant is the author of the Not in Hollywood series; here is a link to her website:



Q:  What is the Not in Hollywood series about?

A: The Not in Hollywood series are cozy mysteries which follow the assignments of Trudie Eyre. Trudie works in Hollywood as a personal assistant/disaster prevention specialist. She is hired for celebrities, by their management, to not only be their assistant, but to also try to head off any public relation disasters that these people may get involved in. During the course of some of these assignments, Trudie has discovered that she has a tendency to find dead bodies, much to the dismay of her boss and her friends.

Q:  What inspired you to write the series?

A: I have written stories since I was a child, but have always put them aside. I started reading ebooks several years ago and I found myself gravitating to self-published authors. It was during this time that I read about Liliana Hart and Jana Deleon, two authors whose books I read, and their stories about self-publishing. It inspired me to go back to writing. The story about Trudie came to me when I read an article about personal assistants for celebrities. The stories just flowed and before I knew it I had written three books. It took me a while to gather the courage to self-publish but when I did it was an amazing feeling of accomplishment. I had always wanted to be an author and when people actually started reading and enjoying my books it fulfilled a childhood dream.

Q:  What makes Trudie Eyre worth reading about?

A: Trudie Eyre is a small town girl from Australia who had her life mapped out for her until one incident turned it upside down. She had to look inside herself to find the strength to start again. She needed to find new dreams and follow them. I think that’s important. It is great to have dreams and goals but life rarely works out as planned. Trudie is adaptable to new situations. She works in an industry where there are many temptations but she never allows that to distract from her strong sense of self. She has a firm belief in who she is and how she was brought up and doesn’t let the world she is working in change that. She has a job that is perceived as glamourous, but rarely is. She has to deal with people who do not treat her pleasantly, as so many of us do, but she manages it with patience and tolerance. She is fiercely loyal to those she cares about and in return she inspires the same kind of loyalty in the people around her. She has a sharp sense of humor and can see the ridiculousness in so many of the situations she gets into.

Q:  What personal experiences did you draw from when writing the books?

A: In my younger years I took any job I could find. One of the major ones was working for an agency that helped families when they needed assistance. I found that my willingness to take on any job meant that I was being assigned the more challenging ones. It seemed the more difficult the job I was willing to take on, the harder the next one would be. When I started writing about Trudie, the feeling I remember most from those days was wondering how on Earth I was going to tackle the job I was presented with but, as with most things, you just get through it.

Q:  Why do you think people are so fascinated by Hollywood?

A: Who doesn’t love the idea of Hollywood? The glamour and excitement appeals to everyone. Hollywood has always been concerned with its image and it has created a version of a reality show that a good proportion of the world follows avidly. It doesn’t matter how much of it is real or not, it’s entertaining.

Q:  Who are some of your writing influences?

A: When I was a child I loved Agatha Christie. She turned me towards mysteries and although I have wandered into other genres I always felt most at home with a good mystery. James Herriot managed to take anecdotes of a relatively simple life and transform them into true storytelling that kept my interest and made me want to read the stories again. For me as a writer, that is key. It is relatively easy to entertain with action and gore but to take a simple situation and still keep a reader enthralled is true talent. Robert McCammon led me into thrillers and I enjoyed the way he terrified me and drew me into the world he was describing. I am also inspired by science fiction and fantasy writers like Anne McCaffrey and J.R.R. Tolkein with their ability to create a whole new world and describe it so it feels real to the reader.

Q: You say you have not been to Los Angeles. What made you choose LA as a setting for your series?

A: The city of Los Angeles has been used as a backdrop for so many movies and television series over the years that it has become familiar to people all over the world. When people are asked to picture LA they immediately talk about the Hollywood sign, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills and Venice Beach. These locations are iconic throughout the world. I chose to set my Not in Hollywood series in Los Angeles for that very reason. Just by saying the name of the city, people will get a picture in their mind and it is almost as familiar to them as their own home towns.

Q:  What is your favorite book in the series ?

A: As would be expected of any author, asking me to pick my favorite of the books I’ve written is like asking me to choose between my children. But, as my grandmother would say to each of her grandchildren, ‘I don’t have a favorite but if I did…’ The answer would change depending on which grandchild she was speaking to. So, for this interview, I think my favorite would be Not Talented in Hollywood, just because I had fun with writing some of the characters. I was trying to make someone, who was essentially supposed to be a bad guy, a likeable character. The anti-hero has always appealed to me.

Q: Who plays Trudie in the movie?

A: It’s really difficult to pick an actor to play a character that you’ve written. When I write, it is like a video playing in my head and I just write down what I see, so I have a definite picture of who Trudie Eyre is. Finding an actor that matches that picture is a challenge. If I had to choose, I think I would look towards Emilia Clarke. When you see her being interviewed she seems to have a wicked sense of humor and an irrepressible optimism which I’ve always felt that Trudie had. Of course, she would need to work on a subtle Australian accent.


Q:  If you could be personal assistant to anyone in Hollywood, who would you pick and why?

A: I would want to be Betty White’s personal assistant. I think if anyone had the really good stories about Hollywood, it would be her.

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

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An Interview with Writer and Former Showrunner Bob McCullough


Bob McCullough wrote the book, Where Hollywood Hides: Santa Barbara along with his wife Suzanne Herrera McCullough. Bob and Suzanne also host the podcast, Where Hollywood Hides; here is a link to the website:


Q:  What is Where Hollywood Hides about?

A: Where Hollywood Hides: Santa Barbara – Celebrities in Paradise is about how Santa Barbara has always attracted internationally famous Hollywood personalities who have somehow responded to its allure as the ideal place to live, work, and play.  The book presents classic images of Santa Barbara’s movie-making past set against  engaging contemporary portraits and career highlights of many of the area’s renowned celebrities who have discovered Santa Barbara and made it their home.  It’s truly a hard-cover collectible and an informative, engaging read!  (And you can buy it directly at or from

Q:  What inspired you to write the book?

A: When we moved to Santa Barbara in the Eighties, we were intrigued to find so many celebrity neighbors just going about their daily lives: dropping kids off at school, standing in line at the market, walking the beach…all without fawning fans or hoards of paparazzi nipping at their heels.  They were “hiding” in plain sight…and we wanted to celebrate that aspect of Santa Barbara, that it’s a place where everyone is allowed to simply be themselves.  We were also interested in how these celebrities built their careers, which we learned was simple: through hard work.

Q:  Why do you think Santa Barbara is so popular with celebrities?

A: As above, simply because they can live a “normal” life without always worrying about being “on” for fans and media. Santa Barbara also happens to be unique in that it’s just an hour’s drive from L.A., the weather is 24/7/365 unbeatable, the city has great schools, a major university, innumerable cultural opportunities, pristine beaches, a vibrant arts-technology-business environment, and everywhere you go…free parking!

Q: You were the showrunner for Falcon Crest, what did your duties entail?

A: It all started with the writing. I was given the rare opportunity to create full-season storylines and then to craft each and every script that went before the cameras.  Once the (very impressive and talented) cast came to trust my writing, my job was really to allow everyone to contribute to the finished product.  From a personal “task” perspective, I was involved in casting, working with the directors and editors to develop a consistent “look and feel” of the show, and then to work with outside writers to bring as many fresh ideas into the mix as possible.  In all respects, my three seasons on the show were creatively among the most rewarding I’ve ever enjoyed.

What are some common mistakes aspiring screenwriters make when trying to break into the business?
A: Well…it can be a long list, but I’d say the top three are: 1) not writing enough and just “talking” about writing all the time. 2) thinking everything they write is perfect; nothing is perfect and everything can always be improved (usually by removing the boring stuff!). 3) ignoring the most important part of the whole process: REWRITING.

Q: What is your strangest on set story?

A: On Falcon Crest, Lana Turner was guest starring in her first episode.  Remember, she was a MAJOR movie star at one time.  But then, so was Jane Wyman (an Oscar winner, for goodness’ sakes).  They had their first scene to do together on this particular day, and Lana would NOT come out of her dressing room and go onto the set until she knew that Jane was already there and waiting for her.  I went to Jane and—first of all, she was never what we could call “fond” of Ms. Turner from personal stuff years before—she she refused to come onto the set until she knew that Lana was there waiting for her.  What to do?  The rest of the cast and the entire crew are assembled, waiting to shoot the scene, and neither of the principal actresses will come out until the other one is out there.  There was only one thing I could do: I lied to both of them, told Jane that Lana was waiting patiently for her on the set…and then rushed over to Lana’s dressing room and told her that Jane was waiting patiently for her.  They both walked onto the set at exactly the same time…and they both thought the other had been waiting for her!  Only the other actors and the crew knew about my little “fib”, and when they applauded at the sight of both of them, both of these great ladies beamed and eventually pulled off some great stuff together on film.  Whew.
Q: Who are some of the celebrity guest you have featured on podcast?

A: We’ve been blessed with some wonderful guests including David Selby (Dark Shadows, Falcon Crest), Tab Hunter, Paul Peterson (The Donna Reed Show), Jimmy Hawkins (It’s a Wonderful Life, Evil Knievel), Hawk Koch (Academy President), Greg Evigan (Broadway & TV), Barry Katz (talent manager), Diane McBain, Ana Alicia, Shelley Fabares, Director Jerry London (Shogun), Producer Lloyd Schwartz (The Brady Bunch), Ron Friedman (writer of Transformer movies)…and a host of other writers, producers, actors, and some very enlightening “behind-the-scenes” Hollywood professionals.

Q:  How did you and your wife meet?

A: I was a Location Manager at Universal Studios (struggling to write scripts).  She was a production secretary who walked through my office hallway.  One look. I was done.  It took me five years to reel her in, but when I finally did, I knew she was a “keeper”.

Q:  You are really well connected and have interviewed some very successful folks on your podcast. Do you have to agree to ask or not ask them about certain subjects in order to get them on your show?

A: Never. Perhaps because Suzanne and I are fairly private people (outside of our writing and podcasting), guests realize that we respect their private lives as well.  But there are absolutely no “pre-conditions” or “guarantees” of any kind when guests agree to chat with us.  Nothing is off-limits, so our conversations can become quite revealing and highly illuminating…particularly for listeners who have their own Hollywood career ambitions. If someone wants to know the reality of working in the business, there’s no better place to hear about it that on the Where Hollywood Hides iTunes podcast series.

Q:  What are some of the defining characteristics of 1970’s television?

Everybody watched it, and there were only 3-4 major broadcasting networks.  ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS were all vying for the same viewers, but each network programmed distinctly.  You knew that an ABC show was going to be action-packed and “high concept” entertainment (remember “Charlie’s Angels”?).  NBC played more to sitcoms and star-driven personalities (“Laugh-In” was a huge hit at the time).  CBS tended toward some serious police procedurals and “deeper” dramatic stuff, along with being the premier news network (Walter Cronkite).  The audiences in the 1970s knew when their favorite shows were on during the week, and they made it a point to be in front of the tube at that time.  Then, with the advent of the VCR, “time-shifting” became possible, and network schedules were often shuffled around to combat the competition without regard to where the audience might be.  And today, the world is tilting on its axis.  The networks are faced with competition from multiple directions and from an expanding media universe.  The future belongs to those who can capture the attention amid all of today’s myriad viewing choices.  It’s exciting…and it’s challenging.

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

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An Interview With Actress Carlotta Montanari


Carlotta Montanari is an actress who appears in the film Being American; here is a link to her IMDB page:

Q: What made you interested in acting?

A: It started as a game for me. It was my favorite game as a child, I would record me and my best friend with a VHS camera while doing recitals, poetry, and creating acting contests to show our families. However in the city where I’m from, Riccione, there are not that many theaters or acting schools. But it just so happened that a local friend who was acting in Rome at that time, saw me while I was filming a commercial by the beach and told me that a great teacher from Rome was having a acting seminar in Tuscany and everything started there. It was an incredible connection and I took to it immediately.  My journey started there, with her, Beatrice Bracco who will always have my gratitude for giving me my first wings.

Q: What kind of training have you had?

A:  I see actors like athletes. Training is important to keep your your skill set sharp. I’ve trained with many teachers both in Italy and here in Los Angeles. They all gave me so much, not just in acting, but real life lessons that I will take with me forever. Stanislavsky, Meisner, Strasberg are my base and inspiration as actor and an “aware” human being.

Q: What is the main difference between the film industry in America and the film industry in Italy?

A:  I think in Italy we have so much history in the art of making movies and I am deeply in love and have huge admiration for the art and craft of the old Italian movies and the filmmakers. I think today the difference is on two levels, production process and the quality of the performances. My work ethic is closer to the American way and I see Italy as America’s closest competition in making quality TV shows. Besides TV was my first home as TV host and writer.

Q: What is Being American about?

A:  Being American is about an American family that has to do an emergency airplane landing and by mistake lands in Iraq, the enemy territory during the war. The find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time and they are facing the cruelty and the sad reality of the real human conflict.  It’s a story written and directed by Fatmir Doga that speaks about humanity.

Q: What role do you play?


A:  I play the role of Karen, Tom’s girlfriend who was played by Lorenzo Lamas.

Q: What makes Karen an interesting character?

A:  Karen was a simple character with not much pretense and she is very understanding. I guess her simplicity and honest love for Tom is the best way to describe her.
Q: What was the most challenging audition you ever went on?

A: The most challenging audition? Believe it or not the more challenging ones are the ones where the character is extremely similar to myself.  I am not sure why.  Maybe because I can be very shy at times and those are the moments where I feel more vulnerable. And when I have a complex character to work on I find myself better able to relate and get into the head of that character.

Q:  What kinds of day jobs have you had and how have they influenced your acting?

A: I have been working since I was in high school. I’m from a tourist area by the sea so that’s what most students do during the summer break: they go to work! So I did different odd jobs growing up such as bartender, waiter, lifeguard, swim and fitness instructor and horseback riding teacher for kids. On the side I was modeling, graduated and worked as graphic designer too.

I loved every job and each gave me something and a real sense of being practical and the reality of life. How did this influence acting? I believe acting is richer when you have experienced many different things including adversity as it brings a great complexity to the performance.

Q: What do you miss most about Italy?


A: I miss my Family, my friends, and I would say I also miss also the change of seasons. I love the California sunshine but I love winters too..they make me feel cozy and inspire me. I miss the Italian gelato, food also, I cook a lot and I cook principally Italian..but still I do miss it!!


Q: What famous film role could you have nailed and why?


A: The films that inspire me are written very well and are masterpieces! And when a film is so great, any artist will wish they could have played a role in that film!-

So, yes, in my heart I was an Erin Brockovich, and Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction, and Alice Harford in Eyes Wide Shut. Strong roles, complex personalities and the characters are very driven. Plus I am a dreamer and that’s what movies are about!

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

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An Interview With Actor Joshua Bermudez


Joshua Bermudez is an actor and former boxer who appears in the web-series Off Prospect; here is a link to his website:
Q: How did your boxing career prepare you for your acting career?
A:  Getting punched in the face for the first time feels like a life right of some kind. Like once it happens you go: “Ok. I’m alive, that happened, what’s next?” You get back to it, and realize that your fear of getting hit was worse than the hit itself. Most auditions, you’re the one getting knocked out – so you go in, do your best, take the hit, and hopefully learn something. But if you’re too afraid to get in the ring and mix it up, you’ll never have the opportunity to win.


Q:  You studied drama at Yale. What does Yale’s drama department offer that other acting schools do not?

A:  What I took away from Yale was the value of risk.  A lot of contemporary acting feels, I think, stagnant, because even well-trained actors are anxious to do everything “right” – they sort of dutifully say their lines and hit their marks with an unoffensive amount of emotion. That environment taught me to value that moment where you feel unmoored, at risk, and just as importantly, gave me the technique to navigate those moments. One thing Ron Van Lieu told me, early on, was that I wouldn’t graduate from the Yale School of Drama as a “finished” actor. He’s done it long enough to know that even the most talented actor, if he gets comfortable, becomes boring. Yale actors come out hungry and ready to work.

Q:  Who are some of your acting influences?

A:  DeNiro and Pacino. My Dad loved them, so we watched movies like The Godfather and Raging Bull together when I was a kid, stuff that was way before my time. I think everything I did as a younger actor was just a bad DeNiro impression. The actor who made me realize that I should respect what I do, and that a career as an actor could be a reality for me, was Mark Lewis. He was my teacher for years, and encouraged me to go to graduate school when I had all but decided to drop out of school and move to California. He changed my perception of acting: it stopped being a lark, and became work for a grown man, a serious craft that you continue to develop throughout your life.


Q:  What is Off Prospect about?

A:  Off Prospect is a comedy about a group of personal trainers who are trying to run a successful gym, but have absolutely no idea how to do it.

Q: What role do you play?

A:  I co-wrote the series and played Jay, one of the trainers.

Q:  How did you prepare for the role?

A:  Well, we sort of wrote Jay as this human puppy: he means well but he’s big and if you take your eye off of him he’ll chew up your shoes and knock over your flatscreen, so I tried to live in that energy: running around on set, eating everything in sight, just letting my attention span go slack. Our director would take all that and funnel it, have me improv these rants, so we ended up with this silly big-hearted mess of a character. It was fun, but exhausting.

Q:  To what method of acting do you ascribe?

A: Not really; I wouldn’t have a tool kit with only a hammer in it. It’s still strangely in vogue to claim one school of acting, but I think that’s a bit outdated. I’ve learned the most studying with teachers who have wildly diverse methods. Every technique has its limits, and if you’re lucky, the roles you are hungry for will force you to develop different tools to tackle them.

Q:  Do you think looks or talent are more important in Hollywood?

A:  Looks, I guess, but that’s short-term. The actors I admire, and the ones who have given me the best advice, they’re talented, yes – but they respect themselves and the people they work with. I think that long-term, respect is more important than talent and looks. Ideally, you have all three.

Q:  What kind of day jobs have you had in your life and why is acting better?


A: I’ve done the waiting tables thing, customer service-type stuff, passed out samples at farmer’s markets… And its strange, maybe it has to do with money, but I rarely had days in those jobs without a nasty experience. No matter how badly the show goes, or how long the shoot is, working as an actor leaves me coming home like a kid from camp. There’s something very humanizing about it. And you can’t really go on auto-pilot when you do it, you’re either present or you aren’t acting.

Q:  What is your oddest Los Angeles story?

A:  I once signed an autograph for a tourist, and to this day, have no idea who she thinks I was.

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

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