Month: March 2013

An Interview With Actor Robert Hatfield

robertnewbanner

Robert Hatfield is an actor who is a member of The Table Improv; here is a link to his website:

 

http://www.roberthatfieldshow.com

 

Q: What made you want to become an actor?
A: I was a class clown and my high school English teacher recommended that I get into acting. My classmates would duct tape me to the side of a portable classroom and we would put thumb tacks in each others seats. I kinda had these different characters I would do back then so people would tell me I would try acting or comedy.
Q: What makes The Table Improv different from other improv groups?
A: We are more video based than live performance. We meet every Friday in Sherman Oaks and brainstorm and sketch and improvise it. It was been so much fun and we get to meet new and talented people each week.
We have recently decided to take a break from The Table Improv and the new group I have formed with Gabriel Land is called “The Improv Illuminati” . We wanna do sketches and short films on The New World Order Conspiracies but add improv comedy into it.
Q: You’re Korean/Irish/British; how has your unique ethnicity helped your career?

 A: Well it has only helped recently with PSY from Korea. I got casted in a Gangnam Style Parody and it was all thanks to PSY. Finally there is a Korean celebrity that I can parody. But now Gangnam Style is getting old and everywhere I go people look at me and start doing the Gangnam Dance.

Q:  How has it hindered your career?

A: It has stopped me from auditioning or being considered for a lot of roles. There isn’t a lot of work available for Asians for acting so I got into hosting as well. That allows me to keep working and keep busy until a good role comes along.

Q: You have several reels; what the key to making a successful reel?
A: The key is get a lot of different material. It’s better to have something than nothing so I would recommending filming your own scenes and cut together something. There was a commercial that I landed that I didn’t even go to the audition but the director still casted me just from my reel. But I have to say that I have booked more stuff since I started my website.  http://www.roberthatfieldshow.com


Q:
What has been your greatest professional triumph?
A: Just finding myself and trying to be positive in my life. Just be happy to be alive and grateful for everything around me.

Q: What has been your greatest disappointment?
A: Realizing that I have spent a long time out in Los Angeles and wishing i could be with family back on the East Coast.

Q:  What kind of day jobs have you had and how have they influenced you as an artist?

A: I used to work in an office but that taught me more about the behind the scenes of entertainment. I think i just get influenced mainly by the other people that I meet and work with.

Q:  What is the worst advice any one ever gave you about acting?
A: To do every job that comes your way. I almost took this part in a National Lampoon Movie where i would of been seen fully nude. After watching the dvd I was glad that I didn’t do it.

Q:  What is your funniest show biz story?

A: Working as an extra on the Show ER and George Lopez drove by and splashed water all over me.

 

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

Advertisements

An Interview With Filmmaker Steven Hindes

Glasses_2

Steven Hindes is the producer of the short film Love on the Airwaves which stars Max Cullen; here is a link to his website:

http://thelandingstrip.tv/

Q: What is Love on the Airwaves about?

A: I wanted to explore man’s growing relationship with machinery; how we are increasingly interacting with gadgets that talk to us. Is it possible for that line, of machines being man’s slaves, to be crossed? Does the increasing dependence on machines lead people into being deluded into thinking they have a deep and meaningful relationship with their mechanical devices? Also it looks at how easily we discard once beloved gadgets for the brand new ones. If you go back only a few years BlackBerries were all the rage. Then it was iPhones. Now the iPhone is being challenged by a whole new generation of android devices. Yet if you happen to come across that old BlackBerry languishing in the back of your drawer, you would never regard it with the reverence you gave it years ago when it was your constant companion. Instead you would look upon it incredulously, as if “How could I have ever used such a clunky device?”

Q: How did you get the idea for the film?

A: It was on a trip to Los Angeles a few years ago that I noticed how many machines talk to you, usually in the context of your car – parking garages relentlessly repeating a message about how to validate your ticket, parking machines barking instructions on how to use them, warnings at the airport about not stopping. I recorded some of these and later incorporated them in an audio/slideshow piece called The Inner Turmoil of a GPS http://thelandingstrip.tv/portfolio/turmoil-gps/. From there I thought of other uses for the character of a GPS and developed Love on the Airwaves.

Q: How did you get Max Cullen to be in your film?

A: I had known Max for about 10 years and had worked with him on a play that he had written called looking up lower. I sent him the script and he immediately agreed to become involved.

Q: Is there a mechanical object that you have a special relationship with?

A: Probably my iPhone.

Q: What is your own personal background in the film industry?

A: I actually started in the music industry in the 80s as a musician and songwriter. I then set up a radio syndication company. More recently I started writing screenplays and thought that making a short film would help my writing.

Q: What sort of day job do you have and how has it influenced your work?

A: I work as an in-house lawyer for a financial services company and I find that I quite often come across characters and situations that are larger than life. Quite often you see people’s character flaws and need to peel away the layers that mask their inner motivations.

Q: What is your strangest works story?

A: I managed the liquidation of industrial block, which was dotted with disused portable buildings and shipping containers. The owner was a strange and somewhat paranoid individual, who lived nearby in some interconnecting containers on a property that he called Dog Shit Palace. Needless to say he vehemently disagreed with forced sale of the block and each day I would be copied in on 50 page faxes that were handwritten in caps from him addressed to everybody from the Queen to the global head of the real estate agency that we had engaged to sell the block complaining about the punishment that was meted out to him.

Q: What was the riskiest investment anyone has ever presented to your company?

A: As we just work in the mortgage space the deals presented to us are fairly straightforward.

Q:  Would you say independent film is an overall good or bad investment?

A: They are a different type of investment and it is difficult to generalize. You can do everything right in a project: the right stars, the right director, the right story, the right promotion and yet the film could bomb. Alternatively you can do everything in what seems the wrong way: no name actors and director, clichéd story and no promotion and come out with a hit. Which one is the better investment and how could you have predicted this from the outset? From a strictly financial perspective investing in films and for that matter all creative endeavours is more like gambling – and we have all gambled from time to time.

Q: What is The Landing Strip?

A: It’s my website that ties all of my creative endeavors – film, videos, music & photography together under one roof.

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 Bodyguard Lee Sherratt

body

Lee Sherratt is the CEO of Elite Bodyguard Ltd which is located in Holland Court, Norwich;  here is a link to its website:

www.elitebodyguard.co.uk

Q: How did you get into the security business?

A: Many years ago when competing on the British Judo team I was encouraged to earn some extra money by working in security. I carried out my first role at the ripe old age of 17 as a Doorman (back then we were unfortunately known as bouncers!) at the cock Tavern in Edmonton London. This was way before licensing reform and certainly before formal training and qualifications. The Cock Tavern was known to be a bit of a spit and sawdust place then and fights and ejections were quite frequent. I’m happy to say I survived and over the years I gained valuable life experiences in interpersonal and people skills along with an understanding of situation management and threat assessments. I decided to learn whatever I could from as many people as possible, extracting the best practice and further developing my skills. I worked with the MOD and was a contractor for the Home Office for a while and the carried out various Private contractor roles, homing my skills to be an effective Close Protection Operator.

Q:  What is you role in Elite Bodyguard LTD?

A: I am the Chief Executive Officer and lead Director for Elite Bodyguard Ltd along with partaking in an active role as a company Director for the Elite Academy of Security Training Ltd (our International training arm)

Q: What was you most dangerous job?

A: Danger can be defined in many way’s, I have worked both armed and unarmed over the years in various locations and countries throughout the world. Every job has an element of danger or there wouldn’t be a need for protective security? Its about waying up the risk and appying the appropriate action in order to minimize the perceived threat.

Q:  What personality characteristics make someone a good bodyguard?

A: Communication, vigilance, interpersonal skills and being able to adapt quickly to situtions you find yourself in whilst remaining synonymous with your environment. A professional Bodyguard or Close Protection Operative is required to be assertive committed and a quick learner in order to overcome any difficult or dangerous situations.

Q:  What is the biggest change you have seen in the personal protection industry in your career?

A: Without a doubt the formal qualifications and standards that are now in place, in the UK we are known Globally as the pioneers and leaders for training and qualifications. I am very humbled to not only carry the required license and qualifications but to also deliver training via our Academy, I get to teach those I look to employ – ideal!

Q: What was you most challenging job?

A: Enuring the safety of millions of visitors, VIP’s and service personnel throughout the London 2012 Olympic Games. The enormous size of the task along with the increased perceived threats made my role extremely challenging but also very rewarding. It was an honor to be involved in such a crucial element of Pre-games training and assessment and operating at the biggest Global media event of 2012.

Q:  What is the most common misconception about your industry?

A: I think the perception and pre-judgment of those who have little or no understanding of the levels of expertise and commitment provided by protective personnel. They often believe the Bodyguard / Close Protection Operative lacks intelligence and is a huge monster like figure when realitiy shows us they are not. They plan, check, assess, cover and deliver a thorough and complete security blanket for their principal, putting their life on the line to keep the principal safe. Mindless and thug are two words that should never be associated with the modern day Bodyguard.

Q:  What do you think the best form of personal security is for a person who cannot afford a bodyguard? (handguns, mace, ect….)

 

A: Vigilance and common sense – stay switched on and don’t compromise yourself. In short don’t let yourself become a victim! And if in doubt seek help or advice form a professional protective provider.

Q:  Without mentioning any names; who was the biggest diva you have ever had to deal with and how did you accommodate him/her?

A: I have worked for many devas over the years and fnd that e best way to accomodate them is to bend to their wimms only putting your foot down if their request is likely to compromise their or your safety. Diplomacy is key and keeps you employed!. It’s all about rapport and trust, if your principal trusts you then often they will listen to your view and advice, if its minor and not an issue then let them have their way.

Q:  When do you know you need a bodyguard?

A: If you believe you are being followed or stalked, if you are travelling somewhere where there is an element of risk or if you are a person of high net worth, have a high media profile or work as an executive within a targetted organisation. Consider your options, Good companies will help you, they can provide a security survey and threat assessment and advise you of their findings. Our primary objective is your safety!

 

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 Actress Destiny Brimmage

des1(1) 

Destiny Brimmage is an aspiring actor who recently worked on America’s Court; here is a link to her Twitter page:

https://twitter.com/destinybrimmage

 

Q:  What made you want to become an actor?

 

A: When I was younger I wanted to be everything under the sun from A lawyer to A pediatrician to A rapper but never did I once mention actor it wasn’t until high school when i found a new love for acting one of my classes was media/production where would do everything from editing to acting, to creating music videos, movies etc it was that moment when I realized I wanted to be A actress. I’m very dramatic, animated and love tapping into different voices and emotions so it only made sense to give this acting thing a chance after graduating high school in 2008 i started to take it more serious i was looking for classes to attend and so forth i knew that i could spend the rest of my life being A great actress and not working having to be miserable working  a 9 to 5 so I moved to Los Angeles to just do that.

Q: What kind of training have you had?

A:  Well to be honest Eliza I’m just starting out so I have not had any real training yet I have attended workshops and improve classes but that doesn’t ,mean I’m not looking to brush up on my skills because if anyone knows to be in this industry you have to stay current and you have to stay ahead of the game ( your competition) by always having the right training at the moment im looking to enroll in Actress Tasha smith acting classes.

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

 
A: I think people want to be famous because of the attention they get. Sometimes the attention is good, concerned, bad- but mostly good. They want to be recognized. Are there people out there that have other goals besides fame? Definitely, YES. People are always looking for some form of validation of character, and nothing confirms that as much as a large group of people hanging on your every word. Also there is a lot of things that are associated with fame – being rich, being powerful. These are other desires people have which are incorporated in the fame ideal. Another thing to consider is that people always strive to be better. To be successful in their chosen field of study/developed skills. And for a lot of people the more success you get, the more fame you get.

Q: What do you like about Hollywood?
A:  I like that that in Hollywood you will never be bored its always entertainment whether it in the wee hours of the morning or late hours of the night. The people are so free and everyone is their own individual. You might bump into a celebrity you get to see the stars it’s something you imagine when you are A little kid and you’re looking at it on TV like wow I want to visit there.

Q: What don’t you like about it?
5. I don’t like that everyone wants to make connections with you because of who you know, the tourists just takes over Hollywood they will stop in front of you and take pictures of every sign in Hollywood and will not get out your way unless you shove them, I don’t like the local rappers they will shove there cds in your hand chase you down the street trying to get you to buy every demo they have but hey welcome to Hollywood.

Q: What role could you have nailed?
A:  I would have to say Tyler Perry movie I Can Do Bad All By Myself because I can relate a lot with the characters in that movie. It would have been nothing for me to pull out those emotions in certain scenes because I’ve either endeared some of that pain or seen some of those same things that those characters did in that movie I don’t think I could have been as brutal as Taraji p Henson when it came to dealing with the kids in particular scenes but I believe that’s why she is one of the best actresses in Hollywood she absolutely nailed that role. (call me Taraji).

Q: What is the most challenging role you have ever had?
A:  I’m still in the early stages of my career so I have not yet have to encounter any difficult roles however my first TV role was America’s Court with judge Ross I was very nervous it would be my first time appearing on TV, it was my first time putting my improve skills to test but once I started I felt right at home and it was a breeze.

Q: What is your most scandalous show biz story?
A: knock on wood luckily for me I have yet to encounter any scandalous show biz stories and I pray I never have too but I can say I’ve ran into a lot of fake agents and managers and because I’m new they assume I’m gullible and they can just say or do anything and I will settle for, instance with the agents they would require me to sign a contract stating I would have to pay them 15% you never pay A agent or manger until your  get paid (tip) for new comers to show biz.

Q: What makes you fameworthy?
A:  Humility is my greatest trait, I’m not afraid to think outside of the box I also embrace challenges, I’m comfortable in my own skin I would be A great role model. I live to empower woman.

Q: What inspires you?
A:  my mother definitely my mom is the epitome of a strong black woman she motivates me and inspires me to me the best and greatest woman I can be. She teaches me self-love, independence. She’s been through so much she had me at a young age (single mom) but she never once complain and didn’t let that stop her from accomplishing her dreams if I can be just a proportion of my mom then I know I’ve won. She inspires people all over.

 

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 Susan Rubin

DSC_0165

 

 

Susan Rubin is a playwright and blogger for MS. Magazine as well as the producer of the web-series The Vagina Dialogues; here is a link to her website:

www.susanrubinwriter.com

 

 

Q:  What is The Vagina Dialogues about?

A: Vagina Dialogues takes place in the TV newsroom of Women to Women News. Anchorwoman Christina Rivera de Jesus Gonzales Rajmanpour Kolontov Yng-Wong Schwartz, is a young journalist climbing up the ladder as a feminist news anchor. While Christina is brilliant, young and beautiful, she is a bit stiff, and the network feels she would get better ratings if they partnered her with a floozy, puff-piece of an actress named MeMe May. Without Christina’s okay, or even her knowledge, MeMe is brought on to the pilot episode of Vagina Dialogues to co-anchor the news with Christina.  The producer of Women to Women News, Dick, has the difficult job of convincing Christina that MeMe’s participation on the show will not have a diminishing effect. The six-episode arc of the web series, give Christina and MeMe (with Dick’s frantic intervention) a chance to do some hilarious arguing about Big Feminist Issues!

Q:  How did you come up with the idea?

A: I am a regular contributor to Ms Magazine’s popular online blog: http://msmagazine.com/blog/

When I had written a dozen blogs which all proved to be provocative and well received, and because I am primarily a playwright, I thought it would be fun to take some of the more challenging blogs and put them into a TV news format where the issues could be argued out by characters in a funny way. A friend with FILM/TV directing chops offered to direct, I got offered a TV studio for taping the shows, and I asked 3 talented actors to come along. I took six of my 12 posts and turned them into arguments. (I used some of the “COMMENTS” from the blogs to develop differing points of view). Then I worked with actors who took the script and improvised with it. When I felt I had captured their contribution, I revised the script. By the time we had six of these ready to go, we did a blitz of shooting the episodes in two days. There are so far only four up on line, we will post the last two in the very near future.

Q:  What do you think has caused the backlash against the feminist movement?

A: I think the men who are used to women being What They Expect Women To Be are not enjoying their own new, less omnipotent place in the world. If we’re talking about the feminist movement that began in the 1970’s and continues today, then I think there has been a lot of time for the powers that be to figure out ways to diminish, ridicule, and otherwise hold back the onslaught of women demanding equality. But then there are also women themselves. Women are 54% of the population. We are a BIG group and we see life very differently in our different demographics: there are white women, women of color, gay and straight, rich and poor Women. Women don’t share the kind of affinity for each other that some groups share: the LGBTQ movement seems more unified to me, students have lots of issues in common, workers generally agree on wanting a better work situation with higher pay, better benefits etc. But women as a group differ on the Big Ticket Issues: abortion, reproductive accessibility, gay v straight, children, women and the workplace. The backlash against feminism that is fomented by the Good Ol’ Boys is easier to see and understand than the anti-feminist backlash that exists in the minds of many women. Even feminists often agree on very little.

Q:  A lot of reality shows these days pit women against one another. Why do you think people are so fascinated by completion between women?

I’ll pick up where I left off in the last question: women are not a united front. Even on the subject of stiletto heels you can get a pretty maniacal argument going on line if you make a bold statement like: “there are women who cut off their pinky toes to fit better in their Jimmy Choos”. That is a true statement by the way. Yet the response I got when I quoted it in my blog was pretty violent. So it’s not just that people are fascinated by competition between women, and it’s not just that reality shows by nature do best when there is a lot of emotional hysteria going on, it’s also that women really don’t agree on how to reach equality. And some women don’t want equality. Or so they say. And a reality show that dealt with the differences between women on a more rational note, would pretty much be the old Oprah show. It seems like in the “old days” of talk shows, there was more emphasis on understanding the reasons that women disagree and often can’t stand each other. And of course, there’s the truly true reality that women do a lot of the socialization in families. Single mother families are a large chunk of our country, and this isn’t a generally wealthy population group. When you add in the struggle for money, the newness of the role of Mother as head of household, the new sexual mores that everybody has to adjust to, you can easily get a bunch of women on TV screaming at each other. Finally, shows like the Real Housewives of Wherever, are made to serve that particular taste; the love of seeing women hate each other. We don’t really know what would happen if more shows like “Girls” gain popularity. Maybe the taste will change as artists develop ways of putting women on screen in new ways.

Q:   Do you think Hollywood is liberal or conservative?

I think Hollywood is both. There are more shows now that have women as central characters, which might seem “liberal” but these women pretty much tow a similar physical line in terms of their body weight (skinny) and their faces (beautiful). There are more ethnic people in movies and TV as well, this also seems liberal right?  But I think Latinos and Blacks probably feel they are still largely cast in subsidiary or criminal roles. I don’t know. It’s changing pretty fast in terms of who we see on screen. I’d call that progressive, not liberal or conservative. There is still only a small fraction of directors or writers who are women or from minority communities. But once you get through a listing of which parts of Hollywood are more diverse than they used to be, you are left with the fact that networks and cable channels are still owned by huge corporations. To me that means that no matter how diverse the casting gets, and even when more women and minorities are show runners, directors, etc., until a venue exists that is not beholden to the Bottom Line and to the corporate message, Hollywood will still ultimately skew conservative. The web world seems different. Anybody who can put their material together and get it on line has a much better chance of making a radical piece of work.

Q:   Why do you think someone would be for overturning Roe Versus Wade?

A: There are people who believe that Roe v Wade has been misused by women as a casual excuse for having casual abortions. (I have NEVER seen a woman make a casual decision to end a pregnancy, but this is a part of the anti Roe v Wade argument).

There are people who believe that if you “play” you have to “pay”, meaning if you have sex, and get pregnant, then having a baby is the price you have to pay. This is a harsh stand to take since it is vengeful not only towards people having sex that results in an unwanted pregnancy, but also vengeful towards the child born to parents who do not want a child.

There are also those who believe that life begins when the sperm fertilizes an egg. I do not agree with that belief – not scientifically, not emotionally, not spiritually. But for those people who think a zygote is a living being, the termination of a pregnancy even at two weeks is unacceptable.

And in keeping with everything else I’ve written, there is also anger at women for taking control of their own bodies. As I’ve alluded to already, there are many people who wish that our culture could return to the 1950’s when women douched with Lysol (yes, that’s true) and when smacking your wife around was an acceptable way for a man to let off some steam. For those who are distraught that time has moved on, that women are seeking a freedom and equality never dreamed of before the mid 20th century, being against abortion is a natural, although slightly desperate way to regain power over women.

And yes, as discussed in the question about women and competition, there are a stunning number of women themselves who rail against another woman’s choice to terminate a pregnancy. There are women in state government who were adamant that pregnant women must submit to an invasive ultra-sound (an instrument stuck up their vaginas to take a picture of the fetus that the woman would be forced to look at!!!) before being allowed to have an abortion. Once again, women hating women shows itself in the nastiest way!

Q:  You were a Bourbon st.  stripper for eight hours and you say that the experience is still with you. What is it about working I the sex industry that has such a lasting effect on people?

 

A: I don’t know about other people, but I was a young feminist, figuring out my sexuality and leaving home for the first time. I “forgot” that Bourbon Street in New Orleans was not my college campus, and that the men who come into strip clubs, were probably not interested in my take on the world! I had not shaved my legs in two years (as a protest against women having to look a certain way!!) Ditto my under arms. The first thing the strip club owner said was “Shave everything!” That included shaving my pubic hair which I thought was a bizarre and disgusting request. (I still have a little confusion about women waxing, but I’ve learned to mind my own business and to know that today’s young woman is finding her own sexuality her own way). In my first burst of sexual freedom, Not Shaving was part of the code. So. The club owner sent me off to shave, which I found humiliating and itchy. I had to buy my own pastee and G string. Expensive. I was given high heels to wear that matched the peignoir set I was given. The whole costume he gave me was mildewed and home to A LOT of the previous strippers germs, smells, etc. So yeah, some of my dislike of the sex worker’s life was just plain snobby college girl stuff. (I still wouldn’t want to wear somebody else’s shoes or peignoir set BTW). Then I was told I had three songs on the jukebox in which to get down to pastee and G string. Fine. But I had to put my own money in the jukebox. This seemed unfair to me since I was being paid such crappy money. And finally, when I was not stripping, I had to tend bar which I did not know how to do, and which really amounted to conning already drunk college boys into getting puking drunk while chatting with me. I did this for as long as I could but remember, this is back, back, back in the early days of Feminism. And I was in Louisiana, and words were thrown at me about women, black people, etc that I had never heard spoken out loud. So some of what I felt was a cultural difference between me and the people I was stripping for.

I don’t have anything good or bad to say about women who currently choose to be in the sex industry, I just know I am too opinionated, too much of a big mouth, too Something to allow a sloppy drunk to insult me and not say something back to him. Ultimately, I was fired for screaming at one of the boys at the bar. After that, I was offered a much better strip job at the club next door. In this venue I was going to be the girl in the pastee and G string who swings in and out above the clubs marquee, swinging for the tourists as they walked underneath me on Bourbon Street. I did not take the job.

Q:  Hugh Hefner’s girl friends had several hit reality show. Do you think people would watch a reality show about Gloria Steinem? (why or why not)

A: Yes I think people would watch a reality show about Gloria Steinem! I have spent time around her and she is not only still very beautiful, she is also magnetic. There is a reason why she was influential in the lives of so many women. And men. Gloria Steinem is among the smartest people I have ever heard speak. And she is shrewd about how to make her positions clear in the least argumentative way. Whether people would watch her daily or weekly would – as is true for any TV show – have to do with the people producing the show. Gloria Steinem cooking her favorite recipes might or might not have mass appeal. Gloria Steinem in a setting that was prone to the dramatic and the thought provoking would be unstoppable.

Q:  What are the advantages of doing live theater in Los Angeles instead of film?

A: MONEY! That’s the big differential between producing a play and making a film. The COST. Ironically, the relative low cost of Los Angeles theater compared to theater costs in NYC, make LA theater infinitely more doable. More on this below.

Aside from money, the biggest advantage of doing live theater in Los Angeles is that there are so many incredibly talented actors who are in LA and who are often between gigs, and desperately miss doing theatre. This is getting truer all the time. Theatre in LA has become (a bit) more respectable as more and more TV and film writers, actors and designers have done some theatre here in town.

Also, as with my own web series, Vagina Dialogues, any writer would like to have their work exposed to the maximum number of people possible. This gives film and TV a huge advantage. Even my web series was seen by tens of thousands of people thanks to Funny or Die, YouTube, etc. The average small theater in Los Angeles houses about 99 audience members per show. And it’s VERY hard to fill those seats. Again, this is getting better, but theater is still a hard sell here. But having said that, the talent available is fantastic, and the Los Angeles theater community feels to me, and this is a personal perception, to be less mired in certain provincial ways than let’s say New York. Obviously New York theater is plentiful, it is also prone to Old School thinking: last year, at an open forum at the supposedly cutting edge New York Public Theatre, the artistic director said that he doesn’t produce plays by women because men are better playwrights. And nobody slapped him, let alone torching his feet! This kind of thinking I find prevalent in NY theatre where the percentage of women writers and directors remains pathetically low. Okay, is LA more progressive than that? I work a lot at Bootleg Theatre which has a woman artistic director, and a woman managing director. Does this make them more prone to do more women’s plays? I think so. I think they also take a lot of risks that can be taken in a city like LA, where a production of a play can still be accomplished on a shoe string. That’s another big advantage to LA theatre: if people are making a living in the industry, on TV or in films, they are better able to do theater without a union salary. This goes for the designers, stage managers etc. It is SO MUCH CHEAPER to produce here that more risks can be taken. This is a big deal if you are a new voice, a maturing artist who wants your work to be done, a person who needs to maintain a little control over your plays.

 

Q:  What are some of the disadvantages of it?

 

A: The biggest disadvantage of doing theater in Los Angeles is so simple: if you are lucky enough to attract working actors to your play, you could be in deep trouble if that working actor gets a TV or film job during the rehearsals or even the run of your play. Because they will have to leave you and go do the film or TV gig. And I have had really good actors in lead roles get a Mercedes commercial on what would be my play’s World Premiere Opening Night. And guess what? They took the commercial! This almost unbearable reality makes a lot of theater producers double cast projects so that they are never in the hideous position I was in when my leading lady wasn’t there for our opening show and I had to announce to the press that therefore we could not open. But double casting has its own problems, one of which is you don’t always get equally good actors to play the same role. Some actors don’t want to be double cast since it means they do all the rehearsing but only half the performances. There are egos to deal with if you double cast. There are decisions to make about who goes on the night the critics are coming. And if you pay anything at all (and my company has a proud history of trying to pay all the actors a close to Actors’ Equity salary – yes, the lowest rung of Actor’s Equity salary scale, but still!!) anyway, as I was saying, if you’re paying your actors, then double casting is expensive.

The other big disadvantage of theater in Los Angeles is that in some circles it isn’t very important. While the New York theatre scene is considered Where the Art Form Begins, the Los Angeles theatre scene is not nearly so well regarded.

And finally, with more than 200 small, somewhat unknown shows going up every weekend, and with the geography of this huge metropolis, it is very hard to get audiences in LA. New York theatre tends to be a stopping off place for tourists – who now make up a large per cent of the Broadway audience base. While tourists in NYC are less likely to find their way to the small more experimental shows, the city itself is theatre friendly. It is a part of New York as much as Central Park or sidewalk hot dog vendors.

Los Angeles has not yet generated the enthusiasm for theater that I believe/hope it will in the near future. As more recognizable actors choose to spend time on a stage play, Los Angeles theater will get more attention, bigger houses, etc. Also as more writers with TV and film jobs choose to put up plays, more actors will perform on stage in LA, and more audiences will be drawn in. It is a long slow process.

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 Lay Over CEO Bethany Andrews

PeRSONAL_PIC

Bethany Andrews is the CEO of Lay Over, Inc. a Denver, Colorado company aimed at providing rest and relaxation to air travelers affected by layovers. Here is a link to her website:

www.layoverdia.com

 

 

Q:  What gave you the idea for your business?

A:  When I was 12 my father took our family with him on a mission-trip to Nairobi Kenya. On our way there we had a 10 hour layover in London. This was our first (of many) trips internationally so me and my sister were very excited. I was looking forward to the whole trip but especially the layover we had in London. I thought it would be like visiting America only across the pond-plus my Dad promised we would do a lot of sight seeing. By the time we arrived in London, we had to take our bags through customs, and recheck them in. That took forever- keep in mind I was only 12. By the time we left the airport, we still had our carry-on with us, we were jet-lagged and tired and trying to stay completely excited about London. The first thing we did was take a tour on one of those red buses they have. The next thing I remember thinking was “Oh wow! Big Be(n)…” and right there I fell asleep. The tour guide ended up nudging me and my sister to wake up because the tour was over (completely over!). As me and my sister sauntered down the steps a lovely couple on the first level caught my eye as they were also sleeping and being nudged by the tour guide- it was my parents! We were all too tired for the tourist visit, so we ended up going to TGI Fridays (an American restaurant) and back to the airport so that we could wait for another couple hours for our flight. My sister and I had a lot of time on our hands so that’s when we first started talking about what an airport needs. It was right then in that moment, and in that conversation that I came up with Lay Over and the name. I guess it’s been a seed growing inside me ever since.

Q: . Why DIA?

A:  I was born and raised in Aurora, Colorado and went to college at CU Boulder. Denver and Boulder organically made the decision for me to invest my time as an entrepreneur researching how to do business with the airport. DIA has been an invaluable resource in developing my company so I couldn’t see us opening our first hotel anywhere else except Denver. Our country and my city has been through a lot this past year. My heart was completely broken when tragedy struck the Century 16 movie theater. There’s just so much I want to do in order to give back to my local community by providing jobs, collaborating with local brands like the Broncos Alumni, and just to be doing something positive and revolutionary sends a message to the world that there’s a lot more talent than tragedy in my community here.

Q:  Do you plan to expand to other cities?

A:  Absolutely, all of them. The ones that I personally am excited about are Los Angeles and Atlanta. We have a lot of numerical data about which airports we’ll open in, when, and why so I’m just giving you my personal favorites. Lay Over started off as my baby, but it’s grown a lot faster than my own child! I’m happy with all our operations as long as they’re successful, our staff is happy and our customers remain loyal and trust us as their #1 layover company.

Q:  What is the strangest request you have ever had?

A: As a visionary, I can be pretty strange myself so I’m not good at determining a strange request when I get one. Whether it’s the ordinary or extraordinary- I’ll make sure it gets done and done right.

Q:  What do your rooms look like and what is included in them?

A: It’s more a question of what do our rooms feel like. That’s where me and my architect were coming from with the design. Our rooms feel like you’re boarding a plane, they feel like your room at home, they feel like your office and they feel like heaven.

Q:  Everyone I know thinks it would be a great idea to have a movie theaters in airports; why aren’t there any?

A:  This is a loaded question so I need to start from the beginning and lead up to your answer. The airport’s economy is completely different than the city’s economy yet the airport is central to a city’s economy. According to economics, you have to have the supply and demand, but there’s no real demand for a theater. It may seem like a great idea, and it is, but the airport doesn’t have a demand for one. It takes a lot to get your foot and/or business in the door at any airport because their economy is doing just fine offering retail, food and beverage to customers. With Lay Over, we had to truly educate ourselves, the airport and now the traveling public on a specific demand that was always there: sleep, and privacy inside the airport terminal. So to answer your question more directly, a great idea doesn’t go very far with an airport- they’re not open to new things so someone would really have to care about having a movie theater inside the airport.

Q:  What has been the most challenging thing about starting your business?

A:  Finding an ideal business partner. We have a very small industry- just me and one other company. I love and trust the team I have behind me, but I tend to push myself harder to over compensate for the business partner I don’t have. I demand a lot from myself because I am the only owner, but it has been a challenge.

Q:  What is your professional background?

A: Please see below:

1/09- 12/10 University Physicians Inc. Aurora, Colo.

Executive Secretary/ Student Coordinator

6/08-12/08 University of Colorado Denver Denver, Colo.

Public Relations/News Media Specialist Intern

10/06-05/08 Women’s Resource Center Boulder, Colo.

Program Coordinator/Community Relations

**I was also an event planner and marketing coordinator for the Denver Broncos Alumni this past summer for their annual charity golf tournament, but that was just a marketing strategy for Lay Over.

 

Q:  What do you think is the best airport in the country?

A: Denver International Airport because they gave me my chance and the freedom to establish Lay Over anywhere in the country. I’ll forever love my city, and our airport for who they have created me to be to today.

Q:  What is the worst airport in the country?

A:  Denver International Airport because it’s where my company in a sense “grew-up”. Lay Over and DIA have a personal connection that is very human- they’ve made me cry before, but they knew I had to. You can’t go into a business with a background like mine acting like you’re running things with them. Like the theater example- there is no theater because no one has been willing to go through what I went through in order to educate the airport as to justifying the need for a movie theater. I am literally that person who cares. There have been times I walked out of DIA throwing my hands in the air thinking I’m not getting anywhere with them. There was a lot that I had to learn and DIA taught it to me- and that was to be resilient, consistent, thorough, and most of all humble, patient and faithful.

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

An Interview With Actor Jose Rosete

Jose_Rosete_INTERVIEW

Jose Rosete is an actor who has appeared in many an independent film. Here is a link to his website:

www.joserosete.net

Q:  What made you want to become an actor?

A:  It’s been my dream since I was a kid, sixth grade or so. I feel very fortunate that I always knew what I wanted to do. I just got to a point where every time I watched anything on TV I was more and more curious on what the process was like that went into making the film or television show I was watching, and I could only imagine how much fun the actors were having. I wanted that opportunity to be able to be someone else and get away from my real self for a while.

Q:  What was the best acting class you ever went to and what made it so good?

A:  I’d say the very first class I ever took. It was a basic media course in Arizona where I’m from. Growing up I was as shy and as quiet as they come. I also had a really bad stutter and mumbled a lot when I talked, which led to me not being the most social person. I didn’t have much confidence when it came to talking in front of more then one person, especially in a class room in school. So I knew becoming an actor was such a huge stretch. But it was that important to me so I knew if I was going to have a fighting chance I was going to have to take that first step which was that first acting class. It was rough – but the overall experience was priceless. Everything that comes with being in a beginners class was such a challenge. Going from simple interaction to reading in front of people to performing in front of a class full of people broke me out of my shell. I was about 23 at the time, and at that time I was still VERY bashful. I knew if I could get past the shyness and learn at the same time I’d be in a position to continue taking baby steps toward the goals I set for myself. I think there were about 20 people or so who signed up and were in that first class. Only myself and two others attended every class and made it to the very last class. It gave me the confidence to put myself out there and move on to the next challenge. I’m still very quiet but like I mentioned before – acting allows me to get away from my real self and be able to become someone else, even if it’s just for a little while.

Q:  You have been in a lot of independent movies. How did you get auditions for them in the first place?

A:  Well, when I first started I was living in Arizona. There wasn’t too much going on. I’m showing my age here but I started in a time where I had to call a hotline to get all the latest info on what was going on in a very small acting community. I had to mail my headshot and resume. So the grind back then really put you to the test if you were gonna’ stick around based on the amount of work that you had to put in to just be able to put your name in the hat. We’re talking no cell phones, no texting and no e-mailing. A few years later I got a computer but submitting electronically still wasn’t an option. So as time passed I submitted to everything and went on as many auditions that were available. Over the years the internet changed everything. I got in front of as many cameras as I could. I was on a mission and very relentless. The best class room is on set and I was determined to work my way up and soak up every last bit of experience that I could. Then Networking came into play, which I excelled at. I was on top of my game – you have to be if you’re going to compete and put yourself in a position to work and get those experiences and those opportunities you need very badly when you’re as hungry as I was. I never had much luck with the representation in Arizona. I got to a point where I took a lot of pride in finding my own work. The casting directors there knew I was passionate about what I was doing and that led to a lot of opportunities. I took full advantage of the internet in terms of research and making contact…and following up – very key! I got quite a bit of work outside of Arizona as well which was very key as well. It showed me that my hustle was strong and I wasn’t going to be held back – no chance. There were a couple great websites that I owe a lot to, www.durantcom.com being the main one. Laura Durant has single handily done so much for the acting community in Arizona. So as far as the independent scene out there I was a well oiled machine that took what I did very serious. I don’t forget where I come from and Arizona treated me as well as it’s ever treated anyone. This past December will make it three years living in Los Angeles. Nothing has changed. I plug away every single day and can’t sit still. I Network like crazy and I live for the grind. As we all know there’s several websites that you pretty much have to be a part of if you’re going to stay in the mix. I’m very proud to say that all the hard work and all those years in Arizona paid off and put me in a position to land an amazing manager and commercial agent off the bat when I moved here. Here in LA you’re only as good as your reps – that’s how I’m going to get the opportunities I’m looking for and on to the next challenge.

Q:  What do you think makes someone want to be famous?

A:  I actually have no idea. Fame is something I have pretty much no interest in. I understand with what I do you can find yourself getting some “fame” but I didn’t become an actor to be famous. I’m a pretty private dude so having complete strangers in my business isn’t an option. It isn’t about being rich either. I’m more interested in living a comfortable life, supporting my family once I settle down and working with good people on good projects. I’m not out there chasing red carpets, forcing it. I understand that it’s a part of the gig and I understand the PR part of it – It’s just not my thing. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done it, I’ve made the rounds and when it makes sense it’s great to support something so many people put so much hard work into. I’ll plug and support projects I’m involved in to the fullest and participate in everything that comes with it. It just gets a little silly out there sometimes. I moved here to focus on the work. I’d say about 85% of the people that I’ve crossed paths with since I’ve lived here want to be famous, the rest are actors.

Q:  What famous role could you have nailed?

A: Ya’ know, for years I’ve nailed a role in pretty much everything I’ve watched. I’ll find a role in everything I see that I could have played. There’s nothing too specific, all I can say is that I find something in everything! And it’s not always the lead role. Sometimes it’s a nice juicy supporting role, sometimes it’s a very interesting character that’s one of the smaller roles and sometimes it’s a great character that may just have one scene. I’m greedy, have always been that way. I wanna’ be in everything. So even the projects I see that I had nothing to do with – I knew I could have if given the opportunity.

Q:  What makes someone a bad director?

A:  Bad communication and not knowing what they want. Even “thinking” you know what you want can make things a little rough. In my opinion a smart director will surround themselves with talented people who are good at what they do, on both sides of the camera. And let everyone do their thing. I like a director who understands we aren’t saving lives here, we’re just all in a very fortunate position to be able to get paid for what we do – so let’s work as hard as we can and work together and we’ll all be proud of the final product. I can dig’ a very laid back approach or I can appreciate a director who’s very hands on and serious, even intense. I think sometimes directors feel like the need to go out of their way to “direct” because that’s their title and people are standing around looking at them, and they end up getting in their own way. If a director doesn’t understand that when an actor takes a role it’s 50/50 on everything down the line for that character in terms of approach, instincts and ideas..it’s usually gonna’ be a long day.

Q:  What has been your biggest triumph as an actor?

A: One of my proudest moments is definitely the transition I made from Arizona to Los Angeles. I was very curious on what that was going to be like. My outlook and my approach was going to be tested and it was as smooth as I hoped it would be. My footage was the most important thing for me – it was like gold when I got here. Your work has to speak for itself. That’s a big deal when you live anywhere outside of Hollywood and you finally make the move here to live. And I mean, I’ve been doing my thing for a long time. It’s always quality or quantity – that will never change. Over the years credits can pile up on you, but it has nothing to do with the amount of projects – it’s seriously the relationships I’ve made and the amazing people I’ve been able to work with over time. You have to think about kind of person you have to be to want to become an actor – what you’re about to put yourself through – the thick skin, the patience and quite frankly the nerve it takes to just be able to tell someone that you want to be an actor, that you are an actor. It’s a pipe dream in the grand scheme of things. You’re entering the world of constant rejection and everyone is a critic. I could say my biggest triumph is holding my balls and working my ass off, putting myself out there for years, and putting myself in a position to wake up in the morning and say “I get to act today!!!” and that’s exactly what I do. This is the only life I’m ever going to have – why would I spend it not doing what I want to do. I’m seriously living my dream and it’s a better feeling then you think. I’m fully aware and I knew this when I took that first class I talked about earlier that nothing was going to be handed to me – if I wanted this bad enough it was going to be a long road, ups and downs, and every single bit of it is going to be earned. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. As far as I’m concerned I haven’t accomplished anything, nothing near where I want to be and what I want to do. I’m still hungry. I get more and more passionate every day. I’m going to be one of the few people out there who is gonna’ look back on their life without a single regret. I’ve never had a plan b in my life. This is it for me. Now, does that make me any different or any better then the thousands of actors out here? Absolutely not. There are so many damn good actors out here who have been putting in work for a very long time. I feel very proud to be hitting the pavement along with those other actors out there working as hard, sacrificing and chasing that dream…so that’s my biggest triumph as an actor…just to be along side my peers out here trying to make it happen.

Q:  What has been your biggest disappointment?

A: No disappointments. When you know every night laying in bed before you close your eyes and fall asleep that you did everything in your power that day – then you’re left with no regrets…no disappointments. That goes from submitting to classes to rehearsals to auditions and being on set. Everything is an experience. Like anything else in life if you don’t learn from your experiences then you deserve what you get – straight up. There’s a lesson to be learned every day, especially in this business. Every audition I don’t book – I learn from it. Sure, I could look at it as disappointment because I didn’t get the part but I also know that I’m going to come back harder and even more prepared the next time. So I don’t focus on the negative. I keep it moving becuase I know the blood, sweat and tears is the easy part for me. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is you can’t worry about what you can’t control. You never know what’s really going on from audition to audition. The only thing I can worry about is my performance. I audition my ass off pretty much every day. When I do get an opportunity I’ll work hard for you. And I’ll live and die with every single one of my performances. As long as I know I put everything I had into it. I have no interests in disappointments.

Q: What is your strangest Show biz story?

A: I can’t say that I have a strange show biz story. I respect the privacy of actors so I’ll keep all the crazy stories from being on location to myself:) The best answer I can give is it’s interesting to meet people for the first time, especially people who’s work you’re very familiar with. You tend to be stuck with an idea of what they’re like and it’s always so different than what you thought.

Q:  What is your day job and why is acting better?

A: Well, fortunately for me I’ve been a working actor for about six years now. I was a bouncer for years back in Arizona, that was the last job I had. Don’t get me wrong I scratch and claw for every cent I make. I’ve sacrificed my lifestyle for years. I keep things simple and I know how to stretch a dollar. I’m not caught up in the distractions here in LA. I stay focused and I believe 100% that all my hard work will pay off and I can live it up a bit later in life. Right now I’m continuing to learn and I’m very excited about what the future holds.

 

 

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