An Interview With Business Development Manager and Comedian John Scimeca




John Scimeca is a business development manager at Air France who is also a stand-up comedian; here is a link to his Twitter page:





Q: How did you first come to work for Air France?

A:.I spent many years in my youth trying to find the right career path. I tried everything: While attending night school, I drove a truck. I also worked as a bartender, as a head hunter, in apparel manufacturing, retail, and even tried my hand as a circus acrobat. I kept searching for the right situation. One day noticed a position with Air France posted in the Sunday New York Times. (That was back when you could actually speak with someone in person about a job.)  I sent in my resume. Pretty soon I was called back and asked to come in for to be interviewed. As it turned out, I got stuck working a 14 hour shift the night before the interview and was exhausted, But I went home, showered, changed and drove into New York. From there I was sent to JFK airport for more interviews. In total, I had 6 interviews that day. It was an exhausting experience but I got the job and have been here ever since. Never give up trying.

Q: What were the reasons for the Air France and KLM cargo merger?

A: There are no secrets here. All of this information is available on the Internet. I just read on Goggle the following: The Air France – KLM merge made it the World’s largest Airline in terms of revenue.


Q: What were some of the challenges you faced with the merger?

A: Both Air France and KLM had good reputations prior to the merge, so it was not difficult getting the word out.
Q: What changes did you see in your career with Air France?

A: I started off as an Operations Manager. After the merge, I was promoted to Sales Manager. I am now responsible for USA Business Development of our Express Products Division called Equation.

Q: What is you funniest work story?

A: There is a funny story from when I was working for a trucking company. It is about a shipment of Ostriches which were being sent to California for a breeding farm. It seems that the wooden stalls that held the Ostriches were built out of low quality lumber and several of them broke apart when they were being loaded into the trucks. Soon we had dozens of really big birds running in the warehouse and several escaped onto the roadway. We spent the entire evening rounding up these birds. I remember hanging out of the side door of a cargo van that was speeding down a road in Brooklyn trying to lasso Ostriches running alongside.

Q: What made you interested in stand up comedy?

A: I have always felt comfortable speaking with small groups of people, but I didn’t think I could work a crowd. I thought of taking public speaking classes but never got around to it. One evening, I just happened into a comedy shop in Manhattan during open mic night. I had a few drinks in me and walked up on the stage. It was terrible and I bombed. (If anyone reading this was at that show, please allow me to buy you a drink). But like anything worth doing, I persevered, practiced and tried again. Things got better and I found my timing and style. It’s great to feel the vibe of the room, to catch people off guard and make them laugh. There is an electricity flowing when a performer and the audience connects. To me, Laughter is the World’s Greatest Cure.

Q: Who are some of your comedic influences?

A: I have to mention Robin Williams first and probably would have even if he was still alive. The man was a comedic genius and his loss really strikes home. I am influenced by Richard Pryor, John Belushi, Sarah Silverman, Bill Cosby, Bill Maher and George Carlin. I enjoy standup as well as Improv. I enjoy starting my set by introducing an absurd concept and then going off in a separate unrelated direction before reintroducing the first thought and piecing them together. Thankfully, I find my work in comedy has opened up new avenues for expression. I recently completed 2 original screenplays including one I am pitching for Gina (Gershon) as a tough New York Investigative Reporter.

Q: What trends in stand up comedy annoy you?

A: I do not like abusive comedy. Don’t get me wrong, anyone going to the bathroom during my set gets picked on. And hecklers deserve everything they get. But for me, it isn’t about picking on someone else. My job is to make everyone feel good. For the most part, messing with people isn’t funny, it’s cruel.

Q: Tell me an NSA joke.



A: I have strong suspicions that my wife is having an affair.

But I can’t afford a private investigator.

So I called the NSA and tried to get them to send me proof.

They weren’t very helpful.

Now I am starting to suspect them of being in on it…


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




An Interview With Go Berg or Go Home Owner Christopher Berg


Christopher Berg is the owner of Go Berg or Go Home, which is a career coaching company; here is a link to his website:


Q: What kind of professional background do you have?


A: My background is based in sales, teaching, and human resources. I have continually advanced in the last 10 years with two Fortune 100 companies. My expertise is in training, coaching, recruitment, hiring, and resume writing. I currently hold a B.A. in English, M.A in Organizational Leadership, and pursing an ED.D in Educational/Organizational Leadership.


Q: What made you interested in becoming a consultant?


A: Honestly, working within a “system” has its limitations and I have never been known for staying within the system parameters. I wanted to do more for young professionals and the only way that was going to happen is if I went out on my own and began making my own rules. Consulting is just a glorified word for helping, well…it should be (laughing). I look at what I do as helping others.



Q: What qualities make someone employable?


A: Great question! A potential candidate has to understand the mindset of a hiring manager when viewing resumes. There are specific “power” words that we look for. Specifically, I look for two distinctive qualities and some distinctive “power” words. First, what are the leadership qualities? For example, the last 7 resumes that Go Berg has edited did not have the word leadership recorded anywhere, but management was mentioned over 17 times. That tells me the candidate is strong, but not necessarily a proactive, self-starter that embodies initiative and authority. Second, is coaching and development. When reviewing manager’s resumes, the biggest responsibilities a manager has are to coach and develop others. If the language and descriptors are missing around these two vital management competencies, I can only assume that they were a one-dimensional manager.




Q: What are some common mistakes you see on people’s resumes?


A: The three common mistakes I see in people’s resumes would be formatting, grammar, and elongated. Formatting is huge!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot express this point enough. Think about it, the hiring manager can only judge the candidate based on the presentation on paper. The exact quote I was told by a leading HR recruiter in New York City was “If you don’t pass the eye test, I don’t care what you write.” Second, would be grammar and confusion! Quick tip! Take your current resume and read it aloud or record yourself reading it. It sounds crazy, but I use this technique with my clients all the time. If you are stumbling over your words, have a lost facial expression, or confusing descriptions, you could imagine what the hiring manager is going to think. Lastly, Keep your resume to 2 pages maximum! Here is the golden rule professional resume writer’s follow. For every 10 years of work experience, allow yourself one page. Therefore, college students should not have 3 pages (laughing)





Q: What are some of the ways you help people select a career?


A: I have programs I can screen a resume through to sort out the keywords and phrases to match to a potential path. However, the real strength of Go Berg or Go Home is meeting in person. When consulting and coaching, we strive to do out best to align passion with realistic expectations. We have countless stories of clients applying for jobs that were way out of their qualifications realm, but it was stated that this job was their passion. Our job is to do the best we can with our clients strengths and passions in aligning them with a realistic chance of landing a job. Next, exposure!!! You can be the best at what you do, but if no one knows you, it is irrelevant. Go Berg is apart of over a dozen networking events in career services a month throughout the Northeast region. One of the best services we offer to clients is the ability to come along with the Go Berg team to these events. Enjoy the buffet, get your Sunday best on, and come meet some people. I have attended these events regularly for the last year. I guarantee you will meet strong connections and many of my staffing and HR recruiters are at these events and I can assure you they are always willing to review what career opportunities they have open! At Go Berg, if you know us, people will know you!







Q: How do you prepare someone for a job interview?


A: I have connections with over 2-dozen leading recruiters, directors, and staffing agencies around the Northeast. For the most part, if you name an industry, I can reach out and obtain recent interviewing guides that are being used for interviews being conducted today. I can take these questions and set-up a mock interview session where I ask some of these questions and throw in a curveball here and there! After we conduct the mock session, I assign a score based on delivery, body language, and strength of answers, power words, and confidence. Then we revisit the interview after coaching through some of the responses. Lastly, there are specific guidelines for answering questions that interviewers use. I have access to these entire answering techniques. If you would like to know what they are, just give us a call today!




Q: What are some common mistakes people make during interviews?


A: Honestly, the biggest mistake I see is not asking questions! I have conducted over 2000 interviews in my career and I still can’t believe how many candidates do not ask questions during the interview. There is no “magic” number to how many questions to ask, but I can safely bet that ZERO is not a great number. Prepare beforehand! Interviewers love being asked questions, I know I do because it allows a chance for them to talk about the work they do and the passion to why they do it. Go Berg has a list of “Golden Questions” to ask during an interview. One example of a “Golden Question” would be…”How does so-so company focus on development of their workforce on a daily, monthly, and annual basis?”



Q: Why just young professionals?


A: I wish I had a nickel for every time I was asked this! (Laughing) Let me just go on the record that Go Berg or Go Home will absolutely help any and everyone in career services! The reasoning behind focusing on young professionals is because…I am a young professional. My research for my doctorate focuses heavily on coaching generations in the workforce, specifically Gen Y and Z. Being apart of Gen Y, while researching coaching patterns for Gen Y and Z, gives me absolute credibility and validity in front of fellow young professionals. Coaching a recent graduate or a mid career young professional is completely different then coaching a Gen X or Baby Boomer. I cannot call myself an expert in this field and honestly would not be as effective with these generations. I know it and research supports this claim.




Q: What kind of research did you do when building your business?


A: Wow, this will surprise many people, tons of funny stories around the beginning stages but I will keep it high-level! First, the great Jack Welch taught me in order to succeed in business, you need to know who you are in business with. I decided to edit my current resume and submit it to the online resume writing companies. I paid for 4 services total. I purposely edited the resume and included grammatical, punctuation, and formatting issues. Needless to say, I was not impressed and actually quite surprised to what was missed and brushed over by these “experts.” Next, I needed a way to see why college graduates were coming into interviews slightly unprepared and misinformed. I decided to take the same resume and become a “student.” I visited with over a dozen college career centers and pretended I was a student. Some caught me, some didn’t, but I got what I needed from the quest. I was shocked what I was told and how some college career representatives were disconnected from the workforce. Not all were bad, but there was little consistency and a lot of miscommunication and misinformed reps in those offices. Lastly, I just studied the numbers. 52.9% of 2014 graduates will not have a job by the end of 2014. That number is staggering and I pay very close attention to the numbers because I know I struggled immensely with student loans and come November, student loans are due and many will not have an avenue to pay these loans.


Q: If everyone had their dream job, who would wash dishes or answer the phone?


A: I love the question! If everyone had their dream job, they can wash their own dishes and answer their own phones (laughing). Honestly, everyone has to start somewhere, and dream jobs don’t happen over night. I like to think the person washing the dishes is an aspiring entrepreneur looking to open a bakery and just wanted to get in the kitchen to learn from someone running their dream business. The person answering the phone is an aspiring politician that wants experience working in an office to learn the process and gain experience. We all need to start somewhere…each journey starts one step at a time and I like to think these jobs are the first of many steps for finding ones passion to contribute to this beautiful world.


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




An Interview With Writer Brick Wahl





Brick Wahl is a jazz blogger who wrote the column “Brick’s Picks” for LA Weekly, here is a link to his website:





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



A: Written since I was a little kid. Never really wanted to be a writer, it’s just something I know how to do. I don’t particularly enjoy it. I would much rather have been a linguist. I love language, am obsessed with language. Writing is just another way of using it.


Q: What made you interested in writing about jazz music?



A: Money. And perks. The LA Weekly asked me if I would write about jazz. I’d never done it before. My wife talked me into accepting. I was scared shitless, talk about a learning curve. But I never did get to like being a jazz critic and was very relieved when I finally walked–seven years later–though it proved a very unpopular decision with my readers and local jazz fans. I still get yelled at about that.



Q: . What distinguishes a really good jazz musician from a mediocre one?



A: Same as with writers, chops. Though you don’t have that many mediocre jazz musicians because the skill set required is so advanced that you can’t play jazz if you are a mediocre musician. Not real jazz. Unfortunately the same can’t be said of writing. Most writers never go beyond mediocre.

Q: Who is the most overrated jazz musician in history?



A: I have no idea. I’m not big on smooth jazz or fusion, though.

  Q:. You used to play the drums, what was your oddest one stage experience?



A: A naked bass player throwing himself into the kit as I played, maybe. Actually he was wearing a condom so he wasn’t completely naked. And shoes, which he had to because there was broken glass all over the stage. But those were his only articles of apparel. That was one. I remember that one because I wrote about it. But there were so many. I played in punk bands in the old days and it was anarchy and weirdness every night. Once things got sane and orderly I lost interest. Drumming itself was a blast. Loved the drums. Beat the hell out of them.

Q: Why do you think your column was more successful than other jazz columns?



A: Because I had no idea how to be a jazz critic so just wrote about music from a fan’s point of view, I suppose. Technically, I wrote in an implied second person, and I work mainly in verbs and avoid adjectives and a lot of metaphors, all of which connects with the reader more directly.



Q: What kind of day jobs have you had and how do they influence your writing?



A: All kinds of office jobs mostly. Kept me in contact with people which is a great way to study language, as well as pick up material. I always preferred my day jobs to writing, tho’. Writing is generally kind of a drag tho’ I force myself to do it daily. I try to write an essay a day.



Q: What do you like about Los Angeles?



A: I am completely in love with the big crazy city. My favorite thing to do is drive aimlessly on the freeways on a warm summer’s night with the windows open and music blaring. Freeways at nite are empty and perfect.



Q: What would you change about it?



A: Make it more affordable.



Q: if Jon Mayer fought John Mayer who do you think would win and why?



A: No idea, though Jon Mayer is one mean little Irishman.






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






An Interview With Rapper Arsenal E’ Vega

 arsenale vega

Arsenal E’ Vega is a rapper who wrote the song Rose Gold , here is a link to his YouTube page:






Q: What made you want to be a rapper?


A: I wanted to be a rapper because I felt like I don’t really have the voice to sing and my love for music is too strong not to pursue it so I decide the next best thing would be to rap.


Q: Who are some of your influences?


A:Well artists that really made me want to rap has to be Eminem and Fabolous; now a days drake, Lil Wayne and of course Kanye west keep me inspired to give it my all and to not give up.


Q: What makes your music unique?


A:he same thing that makes a snowflake unique from another no matter how similar we all are we all still different my story is always and only going to be mys so in turn my music reflects that I stand by that so I put it all on the table as such I’m not going to sell them a dream I’m going to keep it real express my self hope the people see that hear that and like that.


Q: What is Rose Gold about?


A:Rose Gold was a song writen by me the video was produced by me and directed by Vcom it’s about hope and understand that you will always be your own worst enemy till this day I still doubt my self even with all that I already been through so it was a way of me to express that understand that and practice to over come that inner demon.


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


A:I was a mail man for seven years I recently left the post office and I am now a super of a building; the post office left me little time to pursue my dreams even less time with a family but all in all it taught me life and business and never mixing the two

Up which again reflects on my music; now as a super I have more to work on the little things that I can do that will help me building a strong foundation on my career in music.


Q: What do you like about the music industry?


A:The sane reason I think most will like about industries it allows you to do something you love and make a living off it in some cases better then most while others fairly well.


Q: What would you change about it?


A:I don’t think at this point you can really change anything about i think you can improve it are add more to it but I wouldn’t and don’t believe you change anything really about it.


Q: How did you go about getting your music videos produced?


A:I believe in my self more then anyone and I’ve found that most directors don’t do music videos for a living they do it to make some quick cash so in turn when I pick and instrumental to even when I’m writing and record the actual song I’m thinking of ways on how to express what I’m putting together visually so since I had that much passion for myself and my product I decided that I will produce all my videos but still hire directors to shoot and edit the actual footage that we will collect.


Q: What is your strangest show biz story?


A:Man I think you got me on that one I can’t think of anytime where I would have called it strange; mostly I’ve learn in this business that everything is business very little personal if you look at the game there’s really only I would say ten spots a year that artists have to try to fill each year to make good that year; but for the most part I’ve been I guess luckily to not have run into much strange events yet.


Q: Can you write a rap about blogging?


I think you can write a rap about anything; look there’s thousands of blog sites and possibly millions of bloggers so someone will understand and know where your coming from if that’s what you decided you want to rap about; the hard part about music not just rap is getting people to listen to you that’s the hard part I’ve been nice for years my videos reflect a genius of a artist and my music is up there but it’s getting people to see behind what the media tells them is hot and giving you a real chance that’s the hard part rapping about blogging is easy is getting people to press play with the intentions of not judging but enjoying what you worked hard to make.


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


An Interview With All My Boyfriends, Girlfriends Producer Gary Kohn



Gary Kohn is an actor and a writer who is currently working as a producer on the upcoming film All My Boyfriends, Girlfriends, which was written by its star Megahn Perry; here is a link to the Kickstarter campaign page:





Q: What is All My Boyfriends, Girlfriends about?


A: It’s about a woman who has to go to her engagement party only to find out that all her fiance’s ex-girlfriends have been invited to the party.  So one by one she gets to meet them and things just go from bad to worse.


Q: What made you interested in producing it?


A: It was originally done as a one woman show and was up on the Comedy Central Stage for 2 years.  So when Megahn had the script done I wanted to see it right away.  It was one of the funniest scripts I have ever read.  Naturally it went straight into the studio system where it was optioned by pretty much all of them over the next few years.  I think it was Fox that let go of the last option because they said there was no audience for “female driven comedies”.  Well, we all know how that one ends!  Can you say “Bridesmaids”.  When Megahn came to me with it to make it independently I was thrilled!


Q: Why did you chose Kickstarter?


A: We chose Kickstarter cause it just seemed like the best way to let the audience and fans of these types of movies to speak up about what they want to see.  We also have a good network of people we know that support this film and the team.


Q: Why do you think it has gotten so close to being produced?


A: Because it’s a great script, but back when it was in the studio system, everyone absolutely loved it but didn’t quite know where it fit.  Getting something new and innovative through that system is very hard and only works when someone does it successfully.  This type of film should be made independently.


Q: What made you interested in acting?


A: There’s something that happens when your in the zone of your work as an actor.  The rest of the world disappears and the only thing that exists is right here and right now.  It’s a feeling that you just can’t describe entirely.  I feel that same thing as a writer as well.


Q: What was your most memorable celebrity encounter?

Living with Charlie Sheen!  Enough said!


Q: What makes a film a good investment?


A: Well obviously something that has been proven successful in the past but what makes a film a great investment is to flip that successful model and give it an original spin that’s different.  “Bridesmaid’s” did this.  ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral did this”.  And hopefully we will as well.


Q: How do you think female oriented comedy has changed over the last few years?


A: It’s become commercial.  Woman have been given a voice in these films that empowers them in a completely different way.  Their characters are written better and their arcs and heroes journey are really solid.


Q: How do your experiences as an actor effect the decisions you make as a producer?


A: I approach both the jobs very different.  But my experience as a producer and development executive has helped me to better understand my place at the table as an actor and my experience as an actor when I am producing has given me the ability to get respect from the talent because I understand their job and give them the respect and room to do it successfully.


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


A: I would change the way private investment is spent in Hollywood.  Generally independent films are a bad investment for a number of reasons. Supply and demand is of course a problem but also the carelessness of inflated budgets.  We were working with a producer earlier this year on “All My Boyfriend’s Girlfriends” who was going to be giving us 1.6 million to make the film.  I told him we didn’t need that much to make the film exactly the way we wanted to with the cast we dreamed for.  He couldn’t understand that.  The business model is really simple for me.  I figure out how to make the best film with the best elements for the cheapest price.  If I make the same film for 750k that they want to make for 1.6 million and the movie makes 1 million, the investors loose, if we make it for 750k, they make money and now they want to give me more.  You have to see the big picture and be responsible.  People in Hollywood don’t always see that.  This producer didn’t see that.  We moved on.  800k above the line costs on a 1.6 million film is ridiculous!

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


An Interview With Hip Hop Artist Men†al Epademik,


Men†al Epademik is a New York based hip hop artist; here is a link to his Soundcloud page:

Q:  What made you want to be a hip hop artist?

A:   Besides my passion for the art, I would say freedom of expression. There is so much you can say through hip hop when you have the balls, brains, and heart to execute. The commercial industry is embarrassing, they demoralize the public. So I can understand why it looks ignorant to most people. But for example a few tracks I did “Dead People”, “99%”, and “A Verse About Humanity” I am able to use the power of words and rapping (which has been around before hip hop) to get right up in your face and tell you exactly what I think. If you continue to tune in to the track you’ll be forced too listen to what I have to say. Instead of the song itself taking you away, like rock N roll, r&b, jazz, funk etc.Which does have a whole different level of power, it’s pure emotion rather than pure thought. Hip Hop being pure thought, especially considering a lot of the best producers sampled.

Q:  How did you come up with your name?

A:   My original alias is Nasty Andy, many of my friends, associates, and followers still know me by this.I basically just ended up with the name, people called my old truck Big Nasty, and eventually Nasty Andy came about. My new alias Men†al Epademik, represents the current state of society. I was originally thinking pandemic to be more accurate but Men†al Epademik has a nice ring to it.

Q:  What inspired you to write Capo Di Capi?

To be honest I was smoking a nice spliff while my brother was playing guitar. I plugged him into my pre amp and started recording him strumming.I cut a few loops and played with it a bit. Then i laced a drum pattern on it. then the lyrics just came to me. I’m the type of person that processes a shit load of thoughts all day, so when I write my sometimes my thoughts explode on paper. 

Q:  Who are some of your musical influences?

A:   My personal music influences would be Namaste, L’exorcist aka Fredax, Amsterdamish, Infidel Cashtro, Berkowitz, DZL, Veda, Hammond Dee, Frosty Fin, Alpha, Polli, Grolock, Dougy, RoY and few more i can’t remember right now. But all of these individuals are fun to work with, they inspire me to bring my A game.

As far as popular artist, groups, and bands I admire Immortal Technique, Tool, KRS One, Rage Against The Machine, Gang Starr, Sublime, Brand Nubian, Led Zeppelin, Tribe Called Quest, Godsmack, Wu-Tang, Metallica, Rick Rubin, Everlast, Non Phixion, Jedi Mind Tricks, La Coka Nostra, Necro, Mf Doom, J Dilla, Madlib, and so many more.

Q:  What sets you apart from other hip hop artist?

A:   Well, when I’m not having fun with insane word play, or trying to offend people. I’m usually trying to spread some what of a constructive message by pointing out the strange things about humanity. Not that i have much of a solution, but I certainly feel the need to mock, or address the human race. I’ll never claim to be a spokesman for revolution, but I will always support it in my own drastic insane way. I don’t have any financial success to show for my work, but I believe I’m bound to piss enough people off before I die in one way or another. Even if not through music, we have our ways.

The media put a disgusting label on this thing of ours. Most think about so called ballers, and gangsters when they think about hip hop, but I think  REVOLUTION OF MIND.

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

A:   My job is a typical obligation, I am part of the population that wealthy citizens refer to as peasants. You could say it fuels the fire of revolution that burns inside of me, because music is the best way for me to vent. The darker life gets the darker music gets, the more drugs I have, the better the music is. In one way or another everything does come together in some sort of way,  but my day job is annoying and my boss is the devil himself. Sometimes i wonder if its possible he may be a reptile, if such a thing could be possible he’s the first person to examine.

Q:  What do you like about NYC?

A:   I love the diverse culture, you can almost see the future here sometimes. If you want to be optimistic, you can see how different people from different backgrounds can come together at times. Also this is the birth place of hip hop’s heart and soul. The art originated as voices of the people, breaking, turntablism, and graffiti art. All of which was born here, thats probably the only thing that makes me proud to be a New Yorker.

Q:  What don’t you like about it?

A:   I don’t like the negative energy that swims in the air. Bad vibrations haunt us all everywhere, but in new york and other highly populated areas that negative energy accumulates. It’s easy to loose your empathy in the moment of tension, and have a starring role in a drama filled comedy with a touch of horror.

Q:  What is your strangest New York Story?

A:   The strangest thing that happened to me in New York would probably be back when I was kid back in like 2001. We used to play “hey mister” quite often. Which is asking of age people to buy you beer or cigarettes. One particular night it took us three hours to get someone to buy us a 12 pack. He was supposed to meet us down the road but instead he took off, and stole our beer. Two days later we ran into the same guy and confronted him. He claimed to completely forget the incident. He was obviously lying, and doing a pretty good job acting like he had no memory of the incident. Guilt was all over his face, he bought us a 24 pack and gave us about a quarter bag of regs . So considering he felt bad its obvious he remembered stealing our beer. It’s strange because, two 13 year old kids intimidated a man in his mid to late 20’s.

Q:   What are some of the things you have done to promote yourself?

A:   As far as promotion goes the most I do is network with people. I support any independent artist, blogger, internet radio stations etc. Instead of paying for promotion and supporting the system, I prefer to support the people. It’s the only way!!!!!


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


An Interview With Comedian And Actor Brett Klein




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






Q: What made you want to be a comedian?


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


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


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


Q: To what method of acting do you ascribe?


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



Q: What makes your stand up routine unique?


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


Q: Who are some of your comedic influences?


A: Stand Up:

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



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


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

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


Q: How do you deal with a heckler?


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


Q: What is The King about?


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


Q: What role do you play?


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



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


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



Q: What’s funny about NYC?


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






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

An interview with Documentary Producer Herbie J Pilato






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


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



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


Q: What elements make a TV show a classic?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


An Interview With Writer Felicia M. Hazzard




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


Q:  What is HERspectives



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


Q:  What made you want to share your story?


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


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


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


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


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


Q:  What do you look for in a perfume?


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


Q:  What do people misunderstand about breast cancer?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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


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

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





An Interview With YouTube Star PogieJoe





joe k

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

Q: What is One Day about?



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


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



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


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



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


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


Q: Who are some of your favorite YouTubers?



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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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


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



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


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



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


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


Q: Why Oberlin, OH and not Hollywood?



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


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



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



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