greg travis

Greg Travis is an actor who has appeared in the films Starship Troopers and Showgirls. He is the writer, director and producer of the film Midlife; here is a link to his website:

http://www.gregtravis.com/

 

Q: What is Midlife about?

A: Midlife is about a salesman who is at the crossroads of his life. He has a drinking problem, two ex-wives and a daughter that he’s not sure what to do with. He’s burned out on his work and his life, and is trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life.

Q:  What inspired you to make it?

A: I sort of went through something similar to my main character, which was the germ of the idea. I developed it into a script and then filmed from there.

 

Q:  What experiences did you draw from in creating the character of David?

 A: David is a salesman and I’m an actor, so the two are completely different. The only similar experiences were that I quit drinking and smoking in order to find my real self again. The movie is also about the downward spiral that addictive behavior leads to.

 

Q:  How did you go about getting it produced?

A: I decided to produce it myself along with a friend of mine. Once I committed to making the film, it was just a matter of organizing the various elements and setting the shooting dates, and putting together the cast and crew and doing it.

 

 

 

 

Q: You played Phil in Showgirls, did you and the other cast members have any idea what a camp classic it would be when you were making it?

 

A: Yes and no. I knew the script had problems and was over the top in some places. I knew some of the dialogue and various elements would be changed for the better. Lesson learned – never assume anything.

Q: What is your weirdest on set story?

A: On Starship Troopers when I almost got killed. They had me bolted into the jaws of a giant bug. I was being tossed back and forth, and they almost slammed my head into a rock formation. The funny part is that I didn’t find out about this until the wrap party, when one of the crew guys said, “We almost killed you man! Hahaha!”

 

Q:  How did you get your first audition?

 A: I auditioned for a Roger Corman film called Humanoids From the Deep. I didn’t hear anything back, so I didn’t think I got the part. Then a day before the shoot, they called me and said I got it. In that one, I had to lie on the concrete and have my chest ripped off and bleed to death. Welcome to Hollywood.

Q:  If you could change one thing about Hollywood what would it be?

A: I would change the agency-casting director system. It’s so difficult to navigate in and figure out.

Q:  What has been your biggest profession triumph?

A: When I was a stand-up comedian, it was opening for Cher. As an actor-director, making my film MIDLIFE is a huge accomplishment. Even having been in 45 feature films, rarely do you get to play a character to its fullest degree, and MIDLIFE gave me the opportunity to do that.

Q: If you were able to take a road trip with any character you have ever played, who would you pick and why?

A: The coke-dealing rodeo clown I played in Shakes The Clown might be fun to travel with. I’ve played some pretty shady characters so I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to be stuck in a car with any of them.

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

 aida

Aida King is an aspiring actress who will appear in the upcoming HBO pilot King Kamehameha; here is a link to her IMDB page:

www.imdb.com/name/nm6601628

 

 

Q: What made you interested in acting?

 

A: I find acting is very similar to playing music. Some of the most gifted musicians actually can’t even read music but their ability to create from a place of love, emotion while keeping the integrity of the beats & scores which really is the mind of music is a craft in itself. Acting combines the skills of heart and mind because it challenges you to understand & channel the emotions of the character you are playing, their feelings, their thoughts while at the same time memorizing lines, and knowing the lines of everyone in the script. I became interested in Acting because the wonderful combination of skills required to bring out those emotions of a character or role and assimilating that with the roles of others. I also know that I was interested in acting because it allows you to reach emotions that you did not know existed. You have an empathy for people in ways that sometimes most people in the public may not have, because you constantly have to wear somebody else’s shoes and become them.

Q: What is King Kamehameha about?

A: King Kamehameha is about a specific individual, a King, in Hawaiian Folklore who transformed Hawaii in the 1800’s while keeping it independent amidst colonial interest in the islands. What I did not know before, about him was that King  Kamehameha is remembered for the Kānāwai Māmalahoe, the “Law of the Splintered Paddle”, which protects human rights of non-combatants in times of battle. That was very interesting. The Pilot is more of a story line very similar to the show VIKINGS, in it’s format, which is on the History Channel. That’s about all I can say …until we start shooting.

Q: What role do you play?
A: I am set to play the Queen of King Kamehameha, which should be a very challenging role, and a wonderful opportunity.

 

Q: What did you do to prepare for the part?
A: to prepare for the part, I have spent a great deal of time trying to understand who she was, from the historical records. I think it’s important to learn more about the customs that were prevalent in Hawaiian history back then and from that framework, I can start to get a feel for the kind of person she was as the Queen. There is a lot more that I will be researching naturally as I get the script but for now, it’s extremely important to know the role of noble women in Hawaiian history, because she came from that. So that’s basically what I am doing and I am sure there is more that I will need to know as I learn the character.

Q: How did you get your audition for the part?
A: well interestingly enough, my management team was aware that the script was being written, and felt that they wanted someone who was new to play this role. I never auditioned per say, it was simply given to me because my management knew the people behind it very well, and they lobbied to get me the role. I did do a screen test that went very well, and they felt there was no need to hold open auditions for this part. Of course I am grateful for the opportunity.

 

Q: What kinds of day jobs have you had and what makes acting better?
A: I am a Business, University graduate from Ryerson University in Toronto and for the most part I have been most fortunate to work for myself. I sell items on eBay and I teach others how to use eBay and I have managed to make a good living out of it, while pursuing my other interests. Acting and music are my other interests but acting has become foremost because as I said before, I honestly believe that putting yourself in other people’s shoes on a consistent basis allows you to empathize with people in ways that maybe a lot of people can’t. And when you think about how many actors are humanitarians, or environmentalists, or activists, I really believe it’s because they have an understanding of humanity.  That’s not discounting individuals that are not actors, but I believe that we all need to put ourselves in other people’s shoes, and isn’t that what acting is really about?

Q: How did being a violinist prepare you for acting?
A: being violinist is very interesting becomes it’s a very discipline instrument. I mentioned earlier that a lot of accomplished musicians don’t read music, because as I have often heard, it gets in the way…lol. But  I read music because the violin as I played itinerary was part of an orchestra. There was a conductor naturally and you learn the power of cooperation, and  collaboration. Acting requires cooperation and collaboration. No divas allowed. It’s pure in the sense that we are all part of a team and acting is all about that, even when you are shooting scenes by yourself, you constantly have to remember that’s it’s not about you but it’s about the final product, and the role we play to create that product.

Q: What famous film role could you have nailed?
A: well that’s a tough question…lol…my career has just begun, and time will tell what I accomplish and what roles will be offered to me or what roles I will have to compete a lot for….right now I expect to audition for a lot of parts, because there is a push in Hollywood for more Asian actors. A lot of that however is just a start because it will really come down to the scripts I get positioned for…..we will see

Q:  If you could change one thing about the film industry, what would it be?
A: again, the film industry is changing to reflect the great diversity that exists in North America, but I think more people of color and more women need to think about writing screen plays, or producing their own content and if there was one thing I wish was more accessible is opening up more distribution channels for this kind of content to reach the masses. And it’s happening…it’s just that’s it’s a little slow…but that’s ok…

 

Q: King Kamehameha was the king of Hawaii, If California had a king, who would it be and why?

A: I don’t think anyone person in today’s society can play that role. In my mind the kings in California, are people dedicated to SERVICE…..veterans, first responders, teachers, nurses, doctors, people who make a real difference. And those are the stories that are being told in the movies today… I have a particular interest in the stories of Veterans of WW II, the greatest generation. And it’s great to see artists like Angelina Jolie telling us the Story of a living legend, in UNBROKEN,  who was a POW on the Pacific. Also to see the emotion she brought to directing that movie and the love you could see she had for the gentleman whose story the movie was based on, was really touching. Same could be said for the code breaker in The Imitation Game…..that’s what I love about Acting And Movies…telling stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things…lol
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

kingdom

Oksana Angel is a singer, spiritual guide and the creator of Kingdom of Angels and the film Unconditional Love; here is a link to her website:

http://www.oksanaangel.com/

 

Q:  What is the theme of Kingdom of Angels?

A: The Kingdom of Angels is a Musical “user-friendly” guide to my interpretation of the spiritual world through my personal experiences as a spiritual guide. I’ve decided to use music (the universal language) to convey how the average person can “tap into” the realms of pure spiritual joy, celestial beauty, compassion, kindness and unconditional love to bring them to a place of understanding.
Q:  What inspired you to create it?

A: After years of research and experience in these topics, my inspiration was the first song “Unconditional Love” I recorded with my producer Anthony Meyer (songwriter/producer for Mitchel Musso, Kaya Jones, Jeff Timmons)
Q:  When will we be able to see your reality show?

A: We are currently in post-production with the reality TV show “The Kingdom of Angels”. The first episode is dedicated to my creative work on the song “Unconditional Love”. My producer and I show our viewers the making of the record from an idea to the final product. In our discussions we touch upon various spiritual subjects as the creation of the song provoked us to contemplate on deep philosophical matters of meaning of life, value of human life and the role of the spiritual realm in our evolution. It will be posted online in the next few weeks followed by a worldwide release of the song on iTunes.
Q:  What makes your family worth watching?

 

A: The family is an imaginary one! A “fictional take” (if you will) In the subsequent episodes I’d like to introduce a magical element to “The Kingdom of Angels” TV show. It will illustrate the life of a medieval (fictional) family, celestial beings and divine creatures of the Kingdom.
Q:  What is the most common misconception we American’s have about Russia?

 

A: Perhaps, the myth that Russians are a bunch of “strict communists” living in a “strict, black and white” country. When, in fact they are just like Americans in many ways… Creative, loving and hopeful to see about a better, united world free to personal expression.


Q:  What kind of training do you have?

A: I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music (Voice/Piano). I also had operatic vocal training by renowned singers of Russia – Anatoly Postnov (opera coach) and Alevtina Korshunova (Pop vocal coach)
Q:  Who are some of your musical influences?

 

A: I love listening to Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton, Enya, Madonna, Enigma, Evanescence, Sarah Brightman, Sade.
Q:  What is the film Unconditional Love about?

 

A: Unconditional Love, a Medieval Story is a movie about extraordinary love between two souls that reincarnate on Earth lifetime after lifetime to be together. Only after a series of such returns to Earth in a human form, the two spirits finally attain the bliss of oneness. The movie revolves around these two characters and their timeless unconditional love for each other that keeps being tested until they enter the Kingdom of Eternity together.
Q:  What role do you play?

A: I have not picked a role yet… Most likely, I will play the Angel of Love who sings love songs in this movie-musical.
Q:  What is the difference between traditional religion and spirituality?

A: Spirituality goes beyond the traditional boundaries and rituals of the traditional religion, I think. I was raised in an Orthodox Christian society where religious rules and laws were confining and depressing. I do not favor or promote any particular religious views in this film. I believe that ALL personal interpretations of “God” are true and valuable as long as the individual accepts him/her as their “higher being”. This movie is about Unconditional Love towards all living beings, the entire God-created Universe.

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

jodiButterfly

Jodi LaBossiere is a former model and beauty expert who is the author of In Your Face; here is a link to her website:

http://jodilabossiere.com/

 

Q:  What made you interested in the beauty industry?
A: I have always had an interest in the beauty industry.  My Mother and Father were both models and I was around it from a very young age (like newborn – LOL)

Q:  How did you come to sell Avon when you were only fourteen?
A: I started selling Avon at 14 because it paid better than babysitting and there wasn’t a friend’s mother around who could resist buying a few things from me every month.  It was actually a great introduction into sales and taught me a lot early on (many things I still use today in sales and business)

Q:  You were in beauty contests, what did you do for the talent portion?
A: If the contest had a talent portion (not all of them do in fact most of them don’t) I would play Alto Sax (Yep girlfriend actually has a talent woohoo)!

Q:  What is the most realistic film or TV show you have ever seen about the pageant circuit?
A: I have yet to see a film or TV show that is really realistic.  You have to remember when they do these shows they are doing them to get people to watch, a typical pageant isn’t compelling TV, so they tend to throw a cat fight or two in there.  However, Miss Congeniality is pretty funny and Drop Dead Gorgeous is outrageous!  Pageants are actually great for teaching young women how to interview well (who won’t find themselves in a job  interview one day), confidence, etiquettte, social and verbal communication skills  and community service (many systems require their queens to be involved  and volunteer in the community).  Frankly these skills are lacking in many people today so don’t poo poo the pageant girls!!

Q:  What are some common mistakes women make when it comes to makeup?
A: They buy cheap products and wonder why they don’t look that great!  Come on people!!  You’ll buy 2-3 Starbucks a day but won’t spend $40.00 on a foundation that will last a few months and make you look flawless get your priorities right!  Drugstore brands simply aren’t as good as professional no matter what the magazines (who are selling Millions of dollars of ads to those brands) tell you.  Also, you need to have the right tools! Invest in good brushes and take care of them (clean them!!) it will make a huge difference in how your makeup looks and feels.

Q:  What are some of the things you discuss in In Your Face?


A: WEll, you really need to read the book, but I touch on many health and beauty questions as well as relationship issues.  I have been told that I say what everyone is thinking with chapters like: Do These Jeans Make Me Look Fat, Another Alcohol Related incident, and The Real Reason You Ain’t Married yet ;)

Q:  Do you think a plain looking woman, wearing no makeup can come across as confident?
A: A beautiful woman wearing no makeup won’t come across as confident!!  Sorry  peeps!  you have exactly 3 seconds to make a first impression and it is time you start showing up and being present(able)!  Makeup is not vanity.  Being well groomed doesn’t mean you are girlie girl or an airhead, it means you care about yourself and take pride in your appearance.  Others take notice as well!  I own my own business and I coach other women entrepreneurs in confidence.  If you show up to a client meeting looking like you haven’t combed your hair or took 5 minutes to put on some mascara you probably won’t get the client.  Why?  Why would anyone hire someone to work for them when they don’t look like they give a crap about themselves?!  What does that say about the work you will do for others?  I know it scares some people, but get out there and learn how to do it!

Q:  Do you think good looking women are perceived as more trustworthy than unattractive women?
A: I think well put together women are perceived as more trustworthy period!  You don’t have to look like Cindy Crawford for people to trust you, but you do have to appear well put together, organized, and confident.  Also, showing up on time or a few minutes early goes a long way in people trusting you.  Being habitually late sends the message you are a flake and can’t be trusted and in most business situations is considered a BIG FU. I never trust anyone who is habitually late  (actually I just won’t work with them).

Q:  How do you feel about cosmetics being tested on animals?


A:
I try and choose my products carefully and work with cruelty free brands ( There are enough of them out there).  In all honesty I would rather use a product with parabens in it than a product tested on animals.  However, you really have to be savvy!  a product that says something like “this product is NOT tested on animals” may simply mean the finished product isn’t, but that doesn’t mean some  of the ingredients haven’t been tested in raw form by another lab or company before it was used in said product.

Q:  What celebrity would you most like to makeover?
A: OMG!! Cameron Diaz!!! Every time I see her skin I want to hug her and make it better!  She is pretty and she could be even prettier! Cameron, call me…

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

dex

Dexter Poin is the author of many E-books; here is a link to his website:

http://www.amazon.com/Dexter-Poin/e/B00HMRLU3A/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1423387018&sr=1-2-ent

 

Q:  What compels you to write?

A: Well that all depends on what I am writing about. I am basically a song writer by natures decree. And I have been writing lyrics, and short stories ever since I was a child. When I write anything it is always on a whim. Just like what I am writing here. Nothing is ever planned out or mapped out, I just get a wild hair in my nose and go with it. I don’t ever try and force anything out.

I am kind of all over the map with my thoughts and moods, and like to keep myself bombarded with too many things to do and not enough time in the day to do them (there is a Willie Wonka reference in there somewhere I am sure).

This kind of works for me even though during the process I am always thinking why don’t I just be one of those structured type of people and map out what I am trying to accomplish? Then once I have time to look back and dwell on the situation I realize that it is not in me to be a structured individual. If I tried to be one I would never accomplish anything!

I always tell people that if I were to write an outline for anything whether it be  non fiction, or especially a song lyric I would still be sitting there scratching my head trying to come up with my first word. As far as lyrics go, I just do not write them at this moment. This is because I am a happy dude and life is great! I wrote my best stuff way back in the days, mostly the 90s and early 2000s when I was not so much of a happy go lucky kid. Although recently I have been thinking of music and have been trying to figure out if it is possible for me to write lyrics if I am happy and life is good? I now think it is possible but still will not force any of it out. I am perfectly fine never writing another lyric again, especially if I cannot do it unless I am miserable.

I respect the art of writing no matter what style it is. I believe that everyone has the right to write whatever they choose and as long as it is precious to them, then who GAF what anyone else thinks about it. So to answer the question specifically what compels me to write?

I actually have no clue!

I just know that it is something that I cannot NOT do. If I were to be stuck on an island somewhere all by my lonesome, after I would secure my food and shelter of course one of the first things I would do for enjoyment would be to try and figure out some way that I could express the thoughts of the two little drunk hamsters playing hopscotch in my head. I would seriously be out on the beach with a stick drawing stick figures and writing lyrics or poetry of some kind in the sand. Purely for my own enjoyment.

Hey, that is the answer!

I write purely for my own enjoyment on whatever topic that I choose to do so. Our own thoughts are something that no one but God (or whatever you believe in) can ever take away from us. I really treasure that and respect the art of writing in all forms.

Q:  Your author’s bio page says that you use many different pen names. Why do you use so many different pen names?

The reason that I have written in several pen names was to keep certain sides of me separated from each other. This was my initial thought process as I enjoy writing on so many different topics that are miles and miles apart from each other. I can write  recipe cookbooks because I seriously love to cook, then next write a kids book based on my two dogs because I am just a big kid, then next  write a stupid little parody or a slap in the face type of how to make money with XYZ that can get offensive to people, because I like to throw mud at shyster marketers for enjoyment. I also am interested in more serious topics as well. Then of course I have my heavy metal lyrics that are out in left field.  And so on and so on.

I write based on my moods and interests. I have a wide variety of interests as do most people and I do not set boundaries for myself nor do I fear ridicule for writing on a variety of subjects. I did not want to offend people and also I did not want to bring over the haters to other sides of me initially. Now I sort of no longer care. In a nutshell that is sort of the reason for using different pen names to write in. I just did not want to confuse people, and also did not think people would believe that the same person was writing all of these things anyways.

People tend to assume that everyone is a 1 trick pony in this world. And generally they would be correct.

I still believe that a female pen name would be best for recipe books as far as generating the most sales goes. And hot young college girls totally can kill it on YouTube in the recipe department whether they can cook or not.

More than likely not.

This is just the way it is. So I used to write them and use female pen names in order to get them sold. I now use my own name as I have my own little niche within a niche that I have created for myself and have a big enough group of buyers now that I can sell my own recipe books with my own little style and 2 cents added to them.

I also have started publishing female recipe writers as well in 2014 and can focus my own writings to further myself in niches that I want to be in as my own self. I have no fear of putting my two cents in on a topic that I am interested in. I have many other topics that I would probably be considered an “expert” in that I would never even write about. Why? This is because I have no interest in doing so. Nor would the subject matter be lucrative which in the end is what keeps the electricity on in order to do anything at all in the first place.

At some point in 2014 I really stepped way back for a bit and wanted to reevaluate this “venture” and decide if this all was going to be a path that I can take in order to get me to where I want to be in life? See, I sort of backed into self publishing. I was not one of those kids who troll YouTube at 3 am searching for get rich quick schemes. And make no mistake about it, this business has turned into a get rich quick business filled with lying hucksters luring wide eyed kids into believing they can become millionaires while lying back in their hammocks being fed grapes from a vine and ordering around slaves to do their dirty work for them.

Or something similar to that!

I will not go off on a rant about that here as it would take up too much space. But initially all that I really wanted was to find an affordable way that I can format two copies of some of my more poetic lyrics into paperback so that my brother and I could each have one. That is all that I wanted to do. At that time I had given up on my musical aspirations and had note pads on top of note pads of decades worth of chicken scratch that I was beginning to forget not just my own lyrics but also the riffs that go along with them. I had hundreds and hundreds of songs and riffs all in my feeble little mind and they were beginning to fall out of my ears.

So basically I did not start thinking of this as a business until sometime in 2014 to be honest, even after I had already written dozens of titles in non fiction and fiction. I was basically writing for my own enjoyment and to get certain things off of my chest. I had no concept of the importance of all of the marketing tactics that I absolutely hate. I just wrote about what I wanted to write about. And still do by the way I am just a smarter-er marketer… er.

Self publishing is BRUTAL!

It is not the cake walk that those vultures are telling these kids it is. You work on your business 24/7! And that goes for those who have never even written one of their own words. If you write then you work 25/8! I tell these kids this SHTUFF all day long. Often it is as if I am talking to a door knob though.

Live Poor Get Rich is a mantra that I live by and will live by until the day that I die. And I will be dying filthy freaking rich too! This is part of my own little niche within a niche that I have settled into and something that separates me from the herd of marketers.

I am just a normal dude and am only capable of marketing myself as myself.  In 2014 I realized that in order for me to live my dream one day which is sharing my music with the world on my own terms. That I needed to figure out the proper path(s) to take that would get me to where I needed to be.

My dream is not to sit in front of a computer for 18 hours a day even if I love what I am doing. And coming from a dude who was a Mason for 15 years I absolutely do love doing what I am doing compared to that crap! I will gladly do it with bells on even as it will get me to where I need to be in order to one day live my personal dream.

And it will happen.

Then I can also write on topics that I really want to write about which I know that will possibly sell like 1 or 2 copies (unless I am really famous) but I will not care. So I am now more focused than ever on creating my own little brand that is basically myself as that is all that I really know how to be. I have only begun to scratch the surface and love every single minute of what I am fortunate enough to be doing. I am very blessed and keep my eye on the prize 24/7.

Q:  What kind of education do you have in health and fitness?

A: Edjumacation you say?

Well my knowledge in health and fitness is basically based on the trials and errors that I have gone through myself. To me that is more important than any kind of certificate anyone can have. I personally do not pose as any kind of guru or coach of any type. I do not carry around my own little soap box to stand on. I just give real world advice based on what I do and how I see things.

My books in the health niches are conversations, they are not lectures or copy and pasted jargon that I pulled off of a Google search in order to have filler that is different looking than my other filler. I just talk off of the top of my head and use my own self as a walking billboard.

I feel this is what everyone should do. I am friends with actual real life “Doctors” who are far more smarterer than me is who listen to me and treat me as an equal (at least to my mug) and will converse with me about nutritional subjects.

They do so because they know that I just live what I say I do and walk my talk. If I started smoking crack tomorrow I would start telling everyone hey I smoke crack now and it has helped me get down under 10% body fat!

Ok ok, one of the “Doctors” I know is a ChiroQuaktor. And the other one is a Dentist. And the other one is a Plastic Surgeon. Hahaha! Whats funny is that the ones that went to Med school actually know less about nutrition than the one that didn’t.

I am the proud self proclaimed leader of the ANTI GURU, ANTI FAD, AND ANTI INTERNET SPAM COMMUNITY. I also believe that more real world advice and less memorized jargon gets actual results. I am not a preacher, or a teacher. I am just a reacher. I reach out to those who are wanting to join me not those fighting over who gets to wash my stinky feet. I can wash my own feet. There are plenty of guru’s out there who just love feet attention so they can have the sheep looking for miracles. I am sure that all makes perfect sense right???????

NOT!

Q:  What separates your books from other books about diet and fitness?

A: What separate my books in those niches are this: 1 – I write my own books. 2 – I not only use myself as a guinea pig, but also live what I say I live and use myself as a walking billboard. 3 – I do not push fads, or the latest greatest piece of machinery that will add years to our lives guaranteed for only 3 easy installments of $29.99. 4 – I do not place affiliate links inside of my eBooks or newsletters hocking every single dumb clickbank type of course that push fads that contradict other fads that I am also pushing on the other side of my pie hole. 5 – I gear them towards average everyday people who have jobs and live a non pampered life. I can keep going but I think those are the main things that separate me from others. The business is about pushing fads and lies. It does not matter if any of them are useful or if any of them are even safe for people to use. As long as they are sellable they will be forced onto the masses by the companies at the top of the ant hills. And the little worker ants will be there always trying to mimic them in order to gather the scraps left behind. I just like to do my thing and steer clear of all that nonsense.

Q:  What are some misconceptions about veganism?

The biggest misconception that I personally had about veganism is that all vegans are nice people! Haha! That is a little jab at those who dismiss me in the vegan cult… I mean community.

I am personally not a vegan. I call myself a vEGGan. I do eat eggs solely based on the b12 aspect. I have my own reasoning for that. I promote veganism if done correctly purely based on the animal cruelty aspects. I want to do my small part to promote animal cruelty awareness.

I know how to be a healthy meat eater as do so many other people. We can all be an unhealthy eater of any type of “diet” vegan included. I surprisingly have had more vegans dismiss me than meat eaters and even paleo zealots which is hilarious considering how much I make fun of paleo. All in good taste though. I just poke fun at things sometimes.

But the vegan bandwagon these days is filled with wannabe pied pipers who all are fighting to be the Mr. Miyagi of the movement. I just like to sit back in my lawn chair and observe. I wonder how many of them will still be vegan in 5 years once they realize it is a lot harder to make money off of it than they once thought it was?

I will continue to push the animal cruelty awareness and hope that more people will do so as well.

Watch Earthlings and then come back to me and tell me that humans in general are not evil in nature. I am not against consuming flesh to utilize as fuel. If we are forced to kill and eat something in order to not die then we must do what we must do right? But we do not need to consume flesh in order to live. If we have a computer to read this then we have access to an abundance of actual foods that are real fuel for our body. Dead rotting animal flesh is not fuel. The body will turn it into fuel if it needs to (jargon free zone here). But like I said, I know how to be a healthy meat eater as do so many people. It is not so much about the health aspects to me.

People in general do not want to be scolded on health topics. I deal with this all the time and have basically proven this to myself. In fact just 2 days ago a young girl like 19 or so at my gym dismissed me pretty quickly after I just opened my pie hole for like 2 minutes on health topics that she was the one who initially asked me a question on. She has no clue who I am and to her I am just some dumb dude at the gym (which I am). She did not want to hear what I was saying. I honestly could not care any less and will never try and give her any advice ever again even if she begged me too. But this is kind of human nature especially in this know it all world we live in.

People want fads pushed onto them. Fads and over the top hype and lies. This is just a fact. It is not anyones fault either, this is just what we have had imbedded into our brains over time. We even acknowledge this and still will lean towards the hype and fads. Once the blood suckers figure out that money can be made from something it will be turned into a fad and destroyed.

I started a little Facebook group called The 90/90 Way Of Life that no one cares about. It is just based on my beliefs that a 90% vegan diet if done correctly for each individual will help a person hopefully live to the ripe old age of 90. I just tell people to eat 90% vegan for the animal cruelty aspects only. The health aspect of it will be like icing on the tofu cake!

I have noticed that many people hear the word veganism, or even vegetarianism and view it as a cult or some kind of fru fru club. It comes off as a bad word to many people and some vegans make it worse with their elitist attitudes. Or on the other side of the coin you have got the trust fund tree hugging children with nothing better to do than to rattle empty cages and rabble rouse.

It is what it is and I just keep my mind focused on the animal cruelty aspects and push that in as entertaining of a way as I possibly can.

Q:  What kind of a day job do you have and how does it affect your writing?

A:  At this very moment this is my day job. Well at least it is where the bulk of my bill money comes from. I like to separate writers, from authors, from publishers. This is purely my own thinking and I am sure that many people will totally disagree with me. But these are just my own views and experiences that I am basing this thinking on.

Don’t hate me writers as I am one of you!

I did not make any money until I started viewing this venture as a business. Out of those three the publisher is the one that makes the most money in my eyes. Now as a writer/author/self publisher/nit whit I needed to start thinking of myself as more of a PUBLISHER if I wanted to make this one of the paths to take that will lead me to where I want to ultimately end up.

So that is what I did.

I have put my several hundred thousand (and possibly over a million to date and counting) words out from my pea brain to my finger tips to the judgmental world for all to see. Whether people think my words are worth a hill of beans or not does not matter to me. I suffered and put in the hard work. I can call myself an author and do so with my chin up over the bar.

So to keep this thing short and sweet, when I decided to TEACH MYSELF the marketing and publishing side of things I was able to see that I could make a really good living with this and have invested most of my time and of course $$$$$ into this source of income.

I want to have many sources of income and am always looking for more that are legitimate, lucrative, and doable. I know all of the BS online and don’t fall for any of it. This business that I am in here is a get rich quick business that will not pan out for most of the wide eyes kids diving in. Hopefully they don’t destroy it for people like myself who do it correctly. This is why I swear by the Live Poor Get Rich mantra. It is because we never know when we can lose it all.

I want to generate income 24 hours a day on and off line and create multiple sources of income for myself that do not interfere with the main sources of income. One of my sources of income is my Real World Nutritional Consulting that I do. Emphasis on the “Real World”. This is mainly a local thing that I can do 1 on 1 with someone. I show people how to cross their I’s and dot their T’s (wait a minute! Strike that. Reverse it. There is my Willie Wonka reference! I can’t leave without doing at least one.) as far as getting their own nutrition on point for how they want to live.

I can show them how to shop for groceries correctly and thrive on healthy foods for under $50 and yes even $30 a week. I am currently working on both the $50 a week and $30 a week plans to either have as a full on course or either present them in eBook and paper back formats for people to utilize as they see fit within their schedule and life. I still have not figured out how I want to get those out there, but I am always putting up recipes that will go with both of those plans for free on my YouTube channel. People will just have to put up with my low quality, non edited, non infomercially, candid, childish behavior. Oh ya, and my turtle Morla The Ancient One. He makes special guest appearances from time to time.

One day I want write a kids book on the story of his life as it is a pretty cool one. I wrote a kids book based on two dogs that passed away for my nephews and niece. I intended on making it a series and hope to continue it someday. My family keeps telling me to do it but the kids books are just not very sellable for me even though The Hilarious Adventures of Jass & Marble made the Amazon best sellers list both in the USA and Canada in eBook format. It basically has died off and sells very little now days. I wish that it would rise from the dead so that I can get a little motivation to get into the kids book writing as I am just a big kid myself and totally would love to write kids stuff regularly.

To get back to your question, the day “job” that I had when I first started writing was one that I wrote a little guide book for. It was on how to do simple watch repairs for profit. I still do simple watch repairs locally currently. Although I do very little and only for the clientele that have been regulars for the years that I have been doing it. I backed into watch repairs as well. I am not a watch maker or even aspire to become one. I can only do simple watch repairs like batteries, links, gaskets, stems, and a few other minor repairs that don’t involve getting into the mechanisms of the watches. Nothing that a dip stick like me cannot do! And if I can do it anyone can do it.

So I wrote that little guide book in 2013 sometime in my spare time as I was in the middle of doing watch repairs. I wrote dozens of books as I was doing watch repairs. I am one of those people that gets ideas as I am doing things and even more so if I am taking multitasking and putting it on steroids. If I stop and relax my brain does as well for some reason? It gets annoying at times but when I look back later I have fond memories to hold onto of how things transformed and came about. These are memories that I cherish. Hopefully others have memories such as these and will cherish them also.

So to answer your question better, my day job currently is my publishing business which I am focused on the most. My Live Poor Get Rich Mentality allows me to do this.

I live well below my means in order to one day live out my dreams (hey that rhymes! I am a poet and didn’t even know it! That rhymes too! Why am I screaming?!).

And I have a handful of other sources of income both on and offline and searching for more. On my white board right now is a list of 10 sources of extra income that I want to generate 10 thousand dollars PROFIT from each one of those by the end of 2015. This is extra income that I do not want to count. Will they all hit the 10 thousand PROFIT mark by 2016? A little birdy on one shoulder says yes, and the other little birdy on the other shoulder has been put into a headlock by the other birdy so he is silent for the time being.

Q: You have been on the Amazon Best Sellers List, how did you promote your books to get it there?

A: It is actually pretty easy to get books on an Amazon best sellers list legitimately or not. And trust me, so many of these gerbils and weasels out there are just gaming the system. To me getting on a best sellers list is not important. Now if the book were to stay on it forever then that would be important to me.

But the more money you can throw at promotions the better chances you have of hitting a best sellers list of course. And of course the more money you have, the better connections you have. And the better connections you have, the better promotions you have access to, and the “who you know” snow ball keeps on rolling from there. And where I come from its not even necessarily who you know its who you… well I will leave that one up to the imagination.

I have had several of my books hit a best sellers list and I know people that have all of them hit it. They are more than likely paying for email list promotions and/or have a big one of their own to send the books to as they launch. Some people have huge lists that they can basically just let them know a new book is launching and the list will go and support the author by purchasing their eBook usually but sometimes a paper back.

Most of these things are geared towards eBooks. They can launch them for just $0.99 and generate a large amount of downloads in a short period of time and voila, you have got your best seller. Pretty simple really. Like I said it is not really important at least to me to get on a best sellers list unless 1 –  I make a decent profit while it is there, or 2 –  it stays there for a long period of time which will obviously make me a large profit hopefully. That is the most important thing to me from the business side of things.

I have had a handful though that made a best sellers list completely without any promotional work at all which is cool! In fact 1 I am thinking of in particular which has since tapered off and is now back down to earth went nuts one day with sales completely out of nowhere. I am not making this up. I have no clue how it sold so many in less than 2 hours to be honest. I don’t ever tell people what I make, or have made, or throw out numbers like these weasels do (they are flat out lying by the way) so I will never say what it made in sales. But it was a crazy amount and enough to really make a difference in my authors profile and generate sales for some of my other titles in the same niche.

It was very cool and I am blessed to have had it happen to me. Some of that stuff is pure luck in my opinion. But for people that are just wanting to see one of their books on a best sellers list in order to just say they were there I would say this. First, be in a niche that is not so crazy competitive. It has to be competitive enough to generate interest but not a genre with a zillion books in it. Second, work on building your list while looking for others with a similar list already built. They may or may not sell advertising to their list. The reputable advertisers will only sell you ad space if your book fits into their specific list’s wants.

Most of my types of books wont even be accepted by these people selling advertising to their lists. Now if I were a famous author or I just constantly kissed their butts, then I am sure they would accept everything from me but then again if I were a famous author I would not need their list right? See, we as small time self pubs are somewhat stuck in between a rock and a boulder. That is why I say create your own brand, your own style, and put the pedal to the metal and go all in with it.

I know one thing is for sure. And that is that the difference between fiction and non fiction is like night and day. I would love to write more fiction as my non fiction is often described as fiction, mainly because I get bored with jargon and have a wild imagination. But if I were to dedicate myself to writing fiction on a regular basis I would need to go back and get one of them J.O.B. things that I have had since I was 14 and have finally gripped and clawed my way out of knock on wood (my head).

I would be a mentally broken dude probably making good hourly wage earner money still as a Mason breaking my back and getting older by the second writing short stories in the middle of the night in a drunken stupor. I love fiction writers and have their mentality. They are the ones who suffer for their art. I have got a weird thing where I love people who suffer for things. I identify with the fiction writers of the world.

I am a song writer forever and that is what I will be known for. I do what I have to do in order to reach my destination. But I also do it as myself and encourage others to do the same. If you are trying to get your fiction book that you slaved away on for 15 years on a best sellers list then surround yourself with fiction writers who are best sellers or at least hiking up the same treacherous path that you are. It is tough to break into those inner circles. And it is even tougher as a small timer to find the ones that aren’t complete bull crap get rich yesterday nonsense. So let’s all get on our knees and wish upon a star!

Q:  What is the Brown Bagin Blues about?

A: The Brown Bagin (with one G misspelled on purpose) Blues is loosely and not loosely based on a real person, with real characters, and real stories that actually did happen in some sort of way. Some of the stories were embellished of course while others were watered down. And the ones that you may think were embellished were actually the ones watered down and vice versa.

People are crazy in this world and for some reason I have had the opportunity to be around so many of the crazy ones in my lifetime that I have got books that could be written until the end of days. Or at least the end of my days. I was working downtown in my city where it is flooded with crazy people of all kinds like the downtowns of most bigger cities. The main character was a homeless old man that hung around the area where I was working and I had befriended him. I observed him for several years and just took notes on conversations we had and also things that he would do through

out the day. I originally had planned on the book being at least 3 times longer as I have got stories on top of stories that are all true that to me would have made the read redundant. So I made it a short story somewhere in between 10 and 15 thousand words. I forget the word count. It is basically a day in the life of a very talented old schizophrenic drunk with a good heart and desire to not be alive anymore.

I tried to portray him as he was while not putting him down or demeaning him in any way. I am like a broken record when I say “it is what it is”. And this one is an “it is what it is” type of story. I like to be my own man and went waaaaaay out on a limb and wrote the story as I wanted to read it. Many people told me I was crazy as I am not an established fiction writer and should stick to the usual template of what I call “he said she said” writing.

Well so far the overwhelming majority of people really like how I wrote it as somewhat of a movie script or a play (wheeew). Even I had to wipe the sweat off my brow every single time I would go and check the reviews (which was like 10 times a day).

Q: What inspired you to write it?

A: I am an observer (not a voyeur) by nature. I have always observed the world from a distance and am drawn to the odd and unusual things in it. Basically my inspiration for writing The BBB was the simple fact that we were both in the same place at the same time. I carry around little note pads with me 24/7 so if it were not him then I would have found something else to doodle about. He just made it so stinking easy for me!

I seriously had enough stories to write a long winded over redundant novel that would have really annoyed everyone senseless if they could sit through the entire thing. The guy was basically a chapter a day. And I would only have short conversations with him at best. I basically just observed him from a distance.

Q:  Who are some of your writing influences?

A: Like I said I am a song writer. So my biggest writing influences are going to be song lyrics writers who I looked up to in my youth as a dumb punk kid. And I really don’t have too many to be honest. Although I absolutely respect the art of writing.

I respect all writers of any genre whether it is technical structured writing, or creative writing styles. I do not worship humans or even have idols really. But if there was one guy that I wanted to be when I was a youngster it was James Hetfield. He is THE MAN in my eyes as far as being the best at what he does. The lyrics to Fade To Black off of Metallica’s Ride The Lightning record are in my eyes the greatest collection of words that I personally have ever soaked in. Mamma Said is a close second but for me it was Fade To Black that inspired me to start doodling on note pads and eventually fall in love with guitar playing as well.

It’s kind of funny as I am currently guinea pigging a YouTube strategy for myself to see if it actually works and that is that I am putting up 1001 videos (the lower quality the better) before 2015 is over. So I need lots of filler! And I started a bucket list playlist which will hopefully fill up space so I can actually reach my goal of 1001 videos. And the number 1 thing on my bucket list would be to meet James Hetfield. Not to worship him or idolize him as I don’t do that kind of stuff. But just to pick his brain a little and get some advice and his opinions on a few things.

I think Dave Mustaine would be cool to meet as well. He is another one of my writing influences as a kid. There are other musicians as well but those two are the main ones that I would even mimic their antics and facial expressions as I butchered their music. It’s funny that my entire life and even to this day when it comes to those two bands Metallica and Megadeth fans will love one band and hate the other with a passion. I have always liked both bands equally and learned so much from both of them.

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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Louis Stylez is a rapper who recently released the EP The Rise of Louis Stylez; here is a link to his website:

http://www.louisstylez.com/

Q: When did you know you wanted to be a musician?

A: Funny, I just recorded a song where I answered this exact question. I was in the eighth grade and riding in the back seat of a friend’s car. We were listening to Jay-Z on the radio. I can’t recall the song, but I remember hearing punchlines and metaphors (which is what drew me to the genre) and thinking to myself “Hey, I can do that.” The rest is history.

Q: What is the overall theme of The Rise of Louis Stylez?

A: The overall theme is progression and consistency. If you’re a Louis Stylez fan and have been following my musical journey, then you’ll definitely hear the growth and progression from me as an artist. The only way to achieve such objectives is by being consistent. For those who have never heard of me, they will be experiencing my rise into the music industry.

Q: Does having a formal education help or hurt you as a rapper?

A: It definitely helps, especially when it comes to rapping. My degree is in theatre. Theatre teaches you how to be expressive and how to speak with your body. That’s very important if you’re a rapper because when performing, your body has to be expressive so your music can thoroughly translate to your audience. Theatre also teaches you how to use and project your voice properly. College also teaches you how to network. When in college, you meet different people from various backgrounds. Sometimes you connect with certain individuals and are able to help each other. Anyone knows (or at least they should know) that in order to be successful, it’s very important to network.

Q: Who are some of your musical influences?

A: My musical influences growing up were Jay-Z, Nas, Biggie and other east coast rappers. I was always drawn to the lyricism, style, punchlines, metaphors, relatability, and similes which derived from many east coast rappers. My influences today include Royce da 5’9, Big Sean, B.O.B and Don Tripp just to name a few. They all have the attributes that I mentioned.

Q: How did acting help you come up with your rap persona?

A: I wouldn’t say acting helped me come up with my rap persona. My rap persona was created from my life experiences and personality, but acting has definitely taught me how to connect with my rap persona.

Q: What sets you apart from other rappers?

A: I would have to say I’m business savvy. A lot of rappers come into the industry not knowing the ins and outs so it is easy for them to be taken advantage of. You know, anyone can write a song and record it. It takes a lot more focus and passion to research the business, draw up contracts, learn how to use spreadsheets become a publisher of your own music, everything. Some artists that aren’t knowledgeable, they could be making a lot more if they knew how to market themselves or have that business instinct behind them. There’s a reason why most successful rappers are great businessmen.

Also, what separates me from the competition is that I’m persistent. I’ve been doing music and honing my craft since I was 14 and I didn’t give up when there were haters or roadblocks. I kept at it and am always seeking perfection. I have that long term vision and I make sure it happens. I make plans and stick to them. Even if they don’t go smoothly, then I tweak them until they become feasible.

Q:  What role did you play in The Producers?

A: I played Scott the choreographer, a Black Irish cop, and I was also a member of the ensemble.

Q:  What’s the secret to making a good rap mixtape?

A: The secret to making a good mixtape is being honest and having fun. A good mixtape is a collection of musical art that people can relate to and appreciate. In order to achieve that, the

artist has to be honest, thought-provoking, and entertaining. My mixtapes embody all of these. You have to be honest because if you aren’t honest, you won’t have the believability and longevity to sustain a successful music career. Yeah, you can make up stories and not be honest because rap is entertainment, but your audience will eventually see that and you will become dull and boring. You have to be thought-provoking. I like to touch on things and subjects that I don’t commonly hear in music and that I think should be addressed. I talk about brotherly love, you don’t hear that much in hip hop or rap. My “Ready” song discusses the importance of education and perseverance. It should be interesting because the audience wants something different yet entertaining.

Q:  Why Missouri and not New York or Hollywood?

A: Missouri is where I was born and raised. It’s stiff competition everywhere, but I think if you can make it in a place not as well known for entertainment like Missouri then you can make it anywhere. I’m not trying to go to the land of opportunity but create opportunity on the land that I’m in.

Q:  You get to meet a famous Missourian do you pick George Washington Carver or Harry Truman?

A: I would want to meet George Washington Carver. He contributed a lot to the world through innovation, using technology and intuition. He improved the world we live in by making products that we still use to this day.

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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Amira Lyn is an actress, filmmaker and belly dancer who produced the film Bad Illusions; here is a link to her Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amira-Lyn/204950903002228?ref=hl

Q:  What made you interested in filmmaking?

A: I’ve always loved movies and how they were made so when my good friend and fellow actor Bob Moyer asked me to be the back up for one of the actresses on the short film Another Drop Of Blood, I agreed despite never really having any aspirations to act. The actress didn’t show so I got to play the non-speaking role of a vampire that gets beheaded. I had the best time of my life despite it being extremely hot and at one point due to the fake blood made of caro syrup I was covered in flies that got stuck in it. I enjoyed seeing the process involved in making the film and after that day I was hooked.

I acted in a few projects and wrote some stuff. Then one day I had the story for what became my first directing stint on the feature film Wet Kiss. Turned out I loved directing more than acting. Since then I began my production company BellyUp Productions and between my projects and other peoples projects I’ve begun to get involved in all aspects from creating a press kit to editing. I love everything about it.

 

Q:  What is Bad Illusions about?

A: Joan’s life is shattered when her drug-addicted brother tom dies in her arms. With the help of her loving husband Caleb and her best friend Lacey she struggles to pull the pieces of her life back together again. But the more she tries to make the pieces fit the more she begins to wonder….what is really reality and what is all a bad illusion

Q:  What role do you play?

A: I wear a number of hats for this project.Luc Bernier is an actor and wonderful friend. We had been dying for the chance to work together. Luc contacted me and asked me to read a script and if I liked it would I be interested in directing and producing it as well. He had come up with the story and the script was by Joe Sherlock. I liked the script and thought it would be a fun project to do. Luc asked me to play the part of Joan. He wanted to do the role of Tom and asked that a couple roles be filled by certain actors if possible and then I could cast the rest. I am lucky that Luc trusts my abilities and is giving me free reign creatively .

Q: What kind of day job do you have?

A:  a few days a week I work as a Barber Manager and through BellyUp Productions with my friend Lee Simms we offer hair and make-up services on site for weddings, film and modeling shoots, themed events, you name it we do it. I do the Hair and Lee does glamour, day-to-day or spfx make-up and effects.

Q:  If you had a student who was hopeless at belly dancing would you tell them?

A: I don’t think any one is really hopeless. That being said…..I prefer to do private lessons so I can focus on their individual needs. Sometimes I’m helping a dancer hone their skills and preparing them for dancing professionally (ettique costuming etc). When I get some one wanting to learn belly dancing I ask them their goals for learning. Some just want to do it for fun and exercise. Others are looking to be the occasional amateur dancer and others want to dance professionally. Probably the most difficult thing for new dancers to overcome is learning to trust their bodies and not feel self conscious about them. They have to learn its okay to have hips and thighs. Belly dancing helps women to embrace their womanly curves if the let it. Sometimes they can’t over come that and so they are unable to progress.

Q:  What do you like about the horror genre?

A:  horror has many sides to it. Slow brooding atmospheric, slasher, supernatural, Kaiju, torture(not my cup of tea), Dark comedy/horror. sci-fi blends great with horror. There are so many ways you can go with it. More than I could name here. Its also more forgiving than other genres. Its fun to make, fun to act in. Sometimes its just fun to be scared.

Q:  Who are some of your filmmaking influences?

A:  Edgar Allen Poe has influenced me a lot. He has influenced my writing in so many ways. Dario Argento , Mario Bava, Roger Corman to name a few. I am inspired by the old European horror movies. There are so many talented film makers out there and they all have a style unique and they make me want to try harder and better myself.

Q: What famous film role could you have nailed?

A:  I don’t know that my acting skills are good enough to have nailed any famous roles but if I could sing I would have loved doing Nicole Kidman’s role in Moulin Rouge. I adore that film.

Q:  What do you like about the film industry?

A:  I get bored easily and film-making is anything but. Its not the thing to get involved with if your just looking to make money because most of us don’t make much. We do it because we love it. I also like getting to know and work with so many talented people.

Q:  What would you change about it?

A: The egos!. To be in the entertainment business you have to be a bit of a ham and you must also have a very thick skin because no matter what you do there will be some one trying to tear you and your work apart. I’ve seen so many actors and film makers tear one another down, trashing one another and back-biting, snubbing one another over perceived offenses. Worst of all instead of trying to privately solve their issues they carry out these fights or negative campaigns in a public forum and they try to drag other into the fight. I wish people would learn to be nicer to others and not allow their egos to get in the way. It would be nice to see more film makers and such put their egos to the side. If they did more time could be spent learning and helping one another and making movies.

One other thing I’d like to see change in the industry….this is mostly Hollywood but stop with the remakes already. The seldom are any good and there are a lot of talented people out there with original ideas and they are being passed over.

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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Mike Dreyden is an adult entertainer and the creator of the upcoming web-series LAST CALL; here is a link to the Indiegogo campaign:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/last-call-web-series

Q:  What is Last Call about?

A:  LAST CALL is a story finds my character, Leo Ocean on the edge of life change. He finds himself in a state of flux between employment and life goals. After leaving his career as a real estate agent, he finds he is in financial straights and delves in gay porn and NYC nightlife. His dream is to one day have his own bar.

Q:  What life experiences did you draw from when writing the script?

A:  I drew a lot from my own personal experiences. This script came about when I sat down to write my memoir. I took portions of my life from working in corporate America, real estate, NYC nightlife and gay porn and developed a story I think people will connect with.
Q:  There have been several films about men leaving corporate life to go work in what would appear to be less lucrative jobs; what makes Last Call different?

A:  I’m not sure what makes it different. But, what if we all stopped doing what we ‘had’ to do and followed our dreams and did what we ‘love’ to do. Lucrative or not, if we are doing what we love, we’re never really ‘working’. This series tells that story and we hope it creatively inspires views.
Q:  Do you think being an adult film star has helped or hindered your ability to get mainstream projects completed?
A: Do you mean getting mainstream work? No, not at all. In fact, it’s because of my adult work that I was called in to read for a number of the roles I’ve done in the last couple of years.

Q:  What do you think is the most common misconception about the adult film industry?
A:  I think the biggest misconception is that people in porn are having sex and partying all the time. It’s not the case. Many of the people I’ve met over the years in porn come from a myriad of back grounds. Real estate, fashion, theater, film, all walks of like.

Q:  In 2012 there was a ballot proposition that passed in Los Angeles county requiring adult film stars to wear condoms when they worked. The law was upheld by the court. What is your professional opinion of the law?
A:  I can’t give you a ‘professional’ opinion of the law because I’m not a lawyer nor do I know what the law says. My opinion on condom use is this. We are all responsible for our own actions. Condom use is important. If someone doesn’t want to use them, that’s their choice, and vice-versa.

Q: What other kinds of jobs have you had and what makes film making better?
A:  I’ve done all sorts of work. From cashier at a fast food joint when I was a kid to bagging groceries, to receptionist at a law firm to real estate. Through it all I pursued theater. It’s always been a part of my life. I think the definite change and decision to leave porn behind and pursue more mainstream work happened one day on set with Lucas Entertainment while working as production manager on a project. I loved the process of creating project. Performance has always been in my bones. It’s who I am.

Q: What separates a good adult film from a bad one?
A: MD: A competent and professional cast and crew. The same can be said for non porn productions too.

Q: How do you go about creating characters when you write?
A:  I guess I based many of the characters in LAST CALL on people I actually know. You have to be an observer of the human condition and humanity it self.

Q:  If you could go out on blind date with either Vito Spatafore (pre-whacking, no pun intended) or Kurt Hummel, which one do you pick and why?

A: ​Well, if its a blind date I wouldn’t know who they are or what they look like so I have no answer. If I can just say here that another misconception of people in porn is that we’re stupid. We’re not. I’m not. ​

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

 

kamla

Kamla K. Kapur is the author of The Singing Guru: legends and adventures of Guru Nanak, the first Sikh; here is a link to her website:

http://kamlakkapur.com/

Q:  What is The Singing Guru about?

A: It is about an unhappy man’s journey from conflict to joy and peace. Mardana, who was historically the rababi, or rabab player (a medieval stringed instrument also called a rebec) of Guru Nanak, (1469-1539) the founding father of Sikhism, traveled with the master on his extensive journeys from India to other countries. Mardana’s odyssey, full of many dangerous adventures, parallels his spiritual and psychic journey from the animal end of the human spectrum to a man in the process of transformation and liberation.

Mardana, in the Punjabi folk tradition, is utterly human, like us. His ego and his many appetites, for wealth, fame, sexual satisfaction, which he follows despite Guru Nanak’s advice and his own better judgment, lead him into bondage. His lust turns him into a goat in which incarnation he stays for much of the book. Tied to a stake and awaiting death as a sacrifice to the sorceress Nur Shah, he recounts to the other goats the many dangerous straits his five demons (that Guru Nanak calls kaam, krodh, lobh, moh, hankaar – lust, anger, greed, attachment and pride) led him into.

Mardana is a contrast to Guru Nanak. He begins at the point where almost all of us begin – in an ignorance that is so arrogant it leaves no room for learning and growth unless we recognize and acknowledge it honestly and fearlessly, as Mardana does throughout and especially at the end of the book.

Guru Nanak’s wealth is the crystalline lens of the awakened consciousness that is attained when we surrender ourselves to the Limitless One. This lens, Guru Nanak sings repeatedly, is richer than all the treasures of the world put together. When attained, all matter, all the richness of the sensual world, all forms in nature, become luminous and undying.

Mardana’s greatness lies in having glimpses of some other way of living, the way of surrender and faith, of trust in the power that has made and that sustains him, the way of staying in the still point of the turning world, above the down and up of existence; in his realization that in his darkest hours he is guided by Guru Nanak’s words and superior wisdom; that the name of the Beloved, insubstantial, invisible word made of air, is the ship that rescues him when he is floundering and crashing on the hard, jagged rocks of the fiery ocean of suffering that he casts himself into from time to time.

This realization invites Guru Nanak’s intervention which plucks him out of the clutches of Nur Shah, turns him back into a blessed man again, a man given the rare gift of life in which he has the choice of placing himself on the path that Guru Nanak has advocated throughout the book, of becoming a man whose face is turned towards God instead of his own ego. As he learns the values of humility, patience, gratitude, praise, and surrender to the Cosmic Will, Mardana begins to grow into his full potential as a true, conscious, humble human being, a Sikh.

Q:  What inspired you to write it?

A: My father always wanted me to write this book. I grew up in a fairly traditional Sikh family. My mother is one of the many sixteenth generation descendants of Guru Nanak and I heard a lot of the stories that are embedded in the larger narrative arc of the book.

I am eclectic about spiritual wisdom, and glean it from all sources. I have written two books from the Hindu and Muslim traditions: Ganesha Goes to Lunch (now reprinted in India asClassics from Mystic India) and Rumi’s Tales from the Silk Road  (published in India asPilgrimage to Paradise: Sufi Tales from Rumi). This eclecticism and egalitarianism is an integral part of Sikhism. The Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book, contains the songs of seven Sikh gurus, including Guru Nanak, who composed and sang, and the songs of fifteen Hindu and Sufi saints.

Guru Nanak’s definition of a religious person is “one who looks on all as equal.” Brotherhood and sisterhood of all on this planet is Sikhism’s basic tenet; music is at its heart. What better subject to write about than one I resonate with?

Q:      You have written several plays, what is the primary difference between writing for the stage and writing a novel?

A: I write in all genres – plays, poetry, essays, fiction. The subjects, ideas, feelings, characters that interest me, come with their own forms. The subjects with the most psychic or social conflict come to me as plays. Conflict lends itself well to dialogue because there are two or many more opposing points of view. This is not to say that plays are only about disembodied opposing points of view. Characters, embodying the conflict, are central to what happens on the stage. Since plays progress through dialogue and action, and since their performance has a communal interface, they are pared down to something that can take place in a few hours. Plays are much more time-bound, dense, and compact.

Fiction, on the other hand, can ramble, something I like to do. They can include description, thoughts (which can also be expressed as soliloquies in plays), meditations, cogitations, philosophizing in addition to dialogue and character. Fiction is the most capacious of the genres and I love it for these reasons. But of course, you have to be careful not to abuse its freedom to the point of boring your readers. Art, above all, is the imposition of limits on nature, and you have to be aware of this if a project is to succeed – by which I mean, find its audience.

Matters of the heart and soul are best suited for Poetry, which goes deeper into the human spirit than the other genres. It is a soliloquy of the soul with itself.

Having said this, though I have never had to debate about whether a particular subject should be expressed in a play or fiction or poetry – like I said, they come clothed in their forms – I use the strengths of each genre in the others as well. Dialogue is an integral part of my fiction because dialogue, more than any other technique, propels the story into the present, makes it come alive in the Now. My last book of poems, As a Fountain in a Garden, is one long monologue, comprised of smaller ones, and is in the form of a dialogue between a woman and the ghost of her husband who committed suicide.

Q:  What kind of educational background do you have?

A: My early education was mainly in what we in India call convent schools, run by nuns. My father was in the army and we traveled all over India, and convent schools were available in every station he was transferred to. For the last four years of my high schooling I was in a private boarding school with a British headmistress in Dehra Dun. I got my Bachelor’s from a Government College in the town my parents settled in after retirement, Chandigarh, after which I took my dowry money and got myself a Masters’ degree in English and American Literature at Kent State University in Ohio. I was always a reluctant academic and ended up not getting a Ph.D. after two years of course work. Later, in the early nineties, I took some online classes from Iowa and USCD. They were mainly to get a hike in my salary instead of to learn anything. What I submitted for my course work in poetry and fiction were things I was already working on.

Q:  What kind of research did you do for The Singing Guru?

A: My primary source was the electronic version of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy text, specifically Guru Nanak’s 946 songs, called Bani, a holy utterance. Then, about five years ago a cousin mentioned Max Arthur MacCauliffe’s six volumes called The Sikh Religion, Its Guru, Sacred Writing and Authors. Macauliffe’s volumes have been the main source and inspiration for this and the subsequent books I have planned to write, The Sikh Saga series.

Though Macauliffe gives some details about the lives of the Sikh gurus, which are the underpinning of my book, they were not enough to bring alive the narrative. I read other books, but I had to rely mainly on my imagination to create the narrative.

Q:  Who are some of your literary influences?

A: I have to admit I only read dead authors. My ego doesn’t get involved and I don’t find myself getting intimidated by the success of live ones! I read a lot, but since you ask only about my literary influences I have to mention Shakespeare on the top of my list. I think I have learned the most from him. As far as poetry goes, I have many favorites, Sappho, Yeats, Emily Dickenson, Hilda Dolittle (HD), Walt Whitman, Blake. I can’t think of the others now since I haven’t been reading poetry for many years.

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

A: Being an untraditional Indian woman who did not marry for security’s sake, I was always very conscious of making a living on my own. I did not want anything very demanding, and certainly not something that would consume all my time. I have been writing since my teens and it has been my primary passion. A 9 to 5 was out of the question. The only thing I could do without destroying my soul was teach. I taught on a fellowship at Kent State University, at Delhi University, at King Faisal University in Saudi Arabia, and many courses as a part time, adjunct professor at various colleges in San Diego before I was hired full time at Grossmont College in 1991, in which position I taught for 10 years full time and five years half time. I took an early retirement because my soul was crying out for release from grading papers and would not be consoled.

Teaching elicited my passion because I was very interested in the topics I taught:  in addition to composition and grammar, I taught literature, play-writing, creative writing in all genres, women’s literature, mythology. It elicited my passion because I learnt so much from what I taught. I was, in fact, a student of what I taught. Even from my least favorite topics, composition and grammar, I learned enormously. In addition, a sabbatical project for creative writing classes turned into a book of 32 essays on the creative process, called The Writing Warrior, which, when I have some time I will submit for publication. Once again I am getting interested in writing essays and I am aided in this task by techniques I found in text books and discovered for myself in the process of teaching my students how to write essays. So, all in all, I would say my day jobs influenced me enormously.

Q:  How did you and your publisher find each other?

A: This answer takes off from the previous one. When my soul was crying out against the shackles of time and grading papers, I ignored it for many years. I was very hesitant to quit a tenured position in which my salary was increasing each year. For years I was in agonizing conflict over it. In retrospect it reminds me of the Indian monkey metaphor for how one gets trapped in life. Monkey catchers in India put out narrow mouthed jars with nuts or grains in them in areas that monkeys visit. A monkey puts his empty hand in it, grabs a hand full, but when he tries to pull his hand out, discovers that the mouth of the jar is not large enough for his fist full of grain to come out. He is very reluctant to leave the grain, and sits with his hand in the jar till the catcher comes and ties a leash around his neck. This was my condition with my job.

But I must admit it wasn’t just the money that kept me there. I wanted to quit in order to write full time, but the demon Lack of Confidence had me in chains, too. What makes you think you are good enough, he screamed silently in the depths of my soul. If you quit, you won’t have money or success.

But finally this monkey got away and the demon was routed, but only at the point where I couldn’t take it anymore. The week I turned in my resignation, my publisher, Raoul Goff, came through the door of our house and my husband, Payson Stevens, who has always supported me as a writer, handed him the proposal for Ganesha Goes to Lunch.

 

We met Raoul through our masseuse, Kelly Thompson, who always brought us gifts of beautiful books that his friend, Raoul, owner of Mandala Publishing, was putting into the world. One day he just brought him over when he was in San Diego, and my perceptive husband persuaded me to put together five of the stories on Indian mythology that were previously published in Parabola.

Raoul published my second book on Rumi, and now my third, The Singing Guru, and hopefully, the universe willing the sequels of the book, which are in the making. The Singing Guru is only Book 1 in the Sikh Saga series.

Q:  How do you make Indian spirituality stories accessible to someone who did not grow up in that culture?

A: You will be surprised how much cross-cultural connection humans all over the planet have. This is what amazes and reassures me about the consanguinity of all when it comes to essential truths that we have all discovered, and sometimes, lost. Language itself is an indicator of this. Though there is Babel, there is also coherence. The fact that my books are bought and read in both India and the US is indication that they make sense to these widely (?) separated audience. It is because at the core we are similar. The mystical traditions of all religions – Gnosticism to Christianity, Sufism to Islam, Vedantic tradition to popular Hinduism – are all indications of this. That’s why I wrote the first two books, to show how paths do converge. Differences are superficial, though serious enough to cause wars.

Specifically, I make the stories accessible by writing long introductions, and in the case of Ganesha Goes to Lunch, my editor at Mandala, Mariah Bear, suggested I write one page intros to the dramatis personae of Indian mythology. I am told it is helpful to readers to get a clearer understanding of Indian mythology.

Q:   What do you think people misunderstand about Indian spirituality?

A: What is misunderstood about Indian spirituality is what is misunderstood about nearly all religious practices. The primary misunderstanding that mankind is prone to is to take things too literally. In the case of Hinduism, for example, both Indian and Westerners tend to think it is about ritual, about pilgrimages, about a hundred thousand gods. In all religions there is some sensual representation of the Godhood because people, creatures of the senses, need solid representations of it. They need tangibles, statues, books, symbols and signs. They need prophets to worship. They tend to forget that these are all what Joseph Campbell calls the “masks of God,” not God himself or herself. This forgetting has, and continues to have, very serious consequences in the world. People kill and die for it.

But specifically, a lot of people in the west think that yoga equals Indian spirituality. Though yoga is definitely one of India’s gifts to mankind – I myself swear by it; no matter how I’m feeling, it makes me feel better – it is certainly not all of Indian spirituality. Also, Americans who tend towards Hindu practices and rituals need to understand that any practice can have too narrow a focus. Any practice that excludes or sets itself apart from others is destructive to the emerging global community that the internet has set into motion. It is high time that this world wide community becomes our conscious goal.

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

 MaudeMichaud

Maude Michaud is the director of the feature film DYS-; here is a link to her website:

http://www.quirkfilms.ca

 

Q:  What made you interested in film making?

A: I’ve always been a huge cinephile, thanks to my grandma who would watch all the great American classics whenever she would babysit me. As a kid, I was also an avid reader and I started taking drama classes when I was 9. One day, when reading a magazine about cinema, I realized that filmmaking would be a way for me to merge my passion for film, theatre and storytelling, so I started experimenting with my dad’s camcorder and read everything I could get my hands on that was about the filmmaking process.

Q:  What is DYS- about?

A: Eva, a former model, is fighting off a severe depression after she suffered a miscarriage while her husband Sam, a photographer, is unsuccessfully trying to mend their marriage. A sudden viral pandemic forces the estranged couple to quarantine themselves in their condo, which widens the divide between them.  When James, Sam’s best friend, comes to visit and displays symptoms of the infection, the tension escalates for Eva and Sam as they both start dealing with their fear of the viral threat in very different ways. Sam descends into paranoia and madness, while Eva confronts the dark demons of her past.  It doesn’t take long before they both realize that, despite the chaos outside their apartment, the biggest threat resides inside their apartment and within themselves.

Q:  What inspired you to write it?

A: When I decided to write my first feature film, I was aware that I would have to work within certain budgetary limitations, so I chose to write a story with minimal locations and no more than 2 or 3 main characters. I just had to find the right story that would fit these criteria! At some point, I was talking to a friend about the oversaturation of everything zombie-themed and of how fed up I was about this specific subgenre of horror. As a joke, I said: “I should make a zombie film without any zombie!” The idea stuck with me and three weeks later, I had a first draft.

Q:  How did you go about getting it into the festival circuit?

A: I’ve had my short films play on the festival circuit since I was 16, so I have built a pretty extensive list of festivals over the years. I usually sit down and plan the festival strategy – where do I want the film to premiere, which festival do I need to reserve a premiere status for, what are the submission deadlines, what’s my budget, etc. – and then send it out to those festivals. Usually, once it starts playing, other festivals and events start asking for screeners because they heard of the film, so it just snowballs from there!

Q:  What have you done to publicize your film?

A: Once again, since most of my short films have been reviewed by different websites and publications, I have an ever-growing list of potential reviewers. As soon as the project was ready, I reached out to them to tell them about the film. Then, I researched new websites and reviewers, got the word out by using social media, and printed flyers to promote festival screenings. Just like it happens for festivals, once the film starts playing and generates some buzz, things snowball quickly and promotion gets easier.

Q:  What kind of training have you had?

A: I have 12 years of theatre training, which definitely helped me understand directing and scriptwriting. Because I started making films when I was still a teenager, I taught myself many of the technical aspects of filmmaking through trial and error. Then I went to film school and got my undergraduate degree in Communication and Film Production. I also have a minor and Project Management (which helps with production) and a master’s degree in Media Studies.

Q:  Who are some of your filmmaking influences?

A: I grew up watching the films of Alfred Hitchcock, so he’s still my biggest inspiration to this day. Later on, I discovered the work of David Lynch and David Cronenberg, which helped define the type of films I was interested in making.

Q:  How do horror films directed by women tend to differ from those directed by men?

A: It depends; some films have strong feminist messages while, for other films, you could never guess they were directed by women. I don’t like making generalizations, but that being said, I did notice body horror seems to be a recurring theme in films made by women. I also noticed many of these films tend to be more psychologically brutal (as opposed to physically brutal) and have a more serious approach to the genre (as opposed to horror with a comedic twist). The horror genre is a wonderful medium to tell women’s stories and I feel that the way women filmmakers appropriate certain elements of the genre only helps it evolve and develop its potential for creative storytelling.

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

A: My day job is to coordinate special events and projects for an organization that produces audio-visual content. Even if I don’t directly work in production, I’m still fortunate to work ‘in the business’ and in a creative workplace. Most of my colleagues, like me, live a double life and are musicians, visual artists, writers, etc… which makes for really stimulating lunch time conversations!  Being surrounded by so many driven artistic people keeps the creative juices flowing and keeps me motivated to work on my own projects when I get home.

Q:  What would be more horrifying getting a horrible disease or having to live in isolation with your ex?

A: I’m lucky that I still get along with most of my exes and none of those relationships ended horribly. So, I definitely think getting a horrible disease would be way more horrifying than having to live in isolation with an ex. I’m a total wuss when it comes to being sick!

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