Month: December 2014

An Interview With Actor Joshua Lander

 

Copyright 2014 © Paola Carleo. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Joshua Lander is an aspiring actor who stars in the short film Panic; here is a link to his website:

 

http://www.joshualander.com/

 

Q: What made you interested in acting?

 
A:  I became interested in acting when I was in college. I was originally a student pursuing medicine and had to take a theater course as a requirement for my degree. After only a couple days in the course, I soon fell in love with acting and how to tell stories. I decided it was something I should give a shot at. After about a year of going between acting classes and pre-med, I left college and moved to LA to make my passion of acting, a career.

 

Q: What is Panic about?

 

 

A:  Panic is a short thriller about a student at a local college who every day has been stalked by the same person on campus. Finally the stalker makes his move and things take a turn for the worst.

 

Q:  What role do you play in it?

 

 

A:  I played the role of the stalker himself. He doesn’t have a name and no one on campus knows who he is or where he is from. He only comes out at night. Think of him as a combination of a Ted Bundy type killer who deceives his victims and a snake. He has a stillness in his eyes and waits until the right moment to strike.

 

Q: How did you prepare for the role?

 

A: My preparation for the role began a couple weeks before day one of production. I spent every day during those two weeks writing about who I was and why I became a killer of the night. Writing has always been a huge part of my preparation process for any character and it helps me to open up my creative mind and generate ideas for the character I’m playing.

Q:  What kind of training have you had?

 

A:  When I initially moved to Los Angeles, I enrolled in an Intensive Conservatory program, taking six classes a week for three months. This gave me the opportunity to figure out who I was as an actor and what my strongest roles were. It also helped me develop preparation techniques for characters ranging from vocal technique to advanced Improvisation and more. After completing the program, I moved on to taking classes at a smaller, more one on one acting studio where I could challenge myself with unique roles and get feedback on how to enhance the choices made for the character. I continue to take these classes on a bi-weekly/weekly basis to keep my acting instrument as sharp as I can.

 

Q:  What sort of day job or income source do you have and how does it affect your pursuit of acting?

 

A:  I currently work at a bakery cafe to make ends meet. I work the minimum amount of hours I can to get by with bills and those sorts of things. I make sure I make as much time for my acting as I can. However sometimes due to certain situations, I may find myself having to work an extra shift or two. This can make things somewhat difficult and it can be hard to balance both acting and my day job at the same time. At the end of the day though, I always make time for something towards my acting career, whether it be writing a short story or watching an inspirational interview with a favorite actor. Those little things give me a boost to get through the next day.

 

Q:  Who are some of your acting influences and why?

 

A:  I admire many people in the movie industry and find all of them to have something unique to their work that inspires me in some way. However, my favorite actor and inspirational person that I admire the most, is Heath Ledger. I’ve always enjoyed his work as an actor. I admire how he was the type of actor to take his characters to great lengths and how with each character, he could portray an honest and truthful performance. He had such amazing talent and was truly a great person. I also admire Jared Leto for who he is as an actor. Like heath ledger, Jared Leto also immerses himself into the character and does amazing things on screen.

 

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

 

A:  I would say my biggest challenge as an actor so far has been letting go of the fear that sometimes comes along with me during an audition. Early on in my first auditions I found it extremely difficult to let go of that fear and just be free on the stage or in front of the camera and let the character come to life. It can be an extremely nerve wrecking and intimidating time during an audition. You have several unknown people gathered in a room watching your performance, and it can be very difficult to take the unique character you created while you were at home preparing for the audition to the audition itself. It almost feels like as soon as you enter that room, you realize that character is missing and the nervousness takes over. As each audition went by I felt it getting a little better each time. I always make the most I can out of each audition and I never think about it once it’s done. I just move on to see what’s next.

 

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

 

A:  If I could change one thing about Hollywood, it would be to make more truthful and honest films. By truthful and honest, I mean films about family, friends, love, etc…We have so many films that revolve around action and destruction. Don’t get me wrong, I myself do love action and adventure films, I could watch the avengers over and over again but I think Hollywood could work on creating more stories about family, friends, love and those sorts of things. An example of this could be the recently released film “The Judge”, starring Robert Duvall and Robert Downey Jr. This was my favorite movie of 2014. I haven’t seen a film like this in quite a long time and I think Hollywood needs more of this. This was a fantastic movie that made me laugh, cry and get angry. I felt connected to the characters and their story. Something I hadn’t experienced in a movie in quite a while.

 

Q:  What’s next for you?

 

A:  I am currently preparing for my upcoming short film ” I love you Jessica”, which is a film that I have written and will be directing, as well as acting in. It’s a story that I’ve been wanting to tell for sometime. It is a tragic love story between a younger man and woman and how the choices one of them makes, affects the other and how that choice and the consequence of that choice is something they have to live with for the rest of their life. Although it is a short film, I think the story told within that short period of time is very powerful and that the moral of the story is something that we can all understand and relate to.

 

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 Vinicius Machado

 

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is an actor who plays Nomar Arcielo who is a pedophile on the Starz show Power. Mr. Machado has appeared on many network shows including Cold Case and CSI Miami; here is a link to his IMDB page:

 

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1759256/

 

Q: When did you know you were an actor?

 

A: In my sophomore year in High School. I had to pick an elective to complete my classes for that year. I hated drawing and painting. So, I chose drama. I didn’t have a natural inclination for the stage or anything like that. I just wanted an easy grade. Well, one of the requirements for the class that year, was that I had to audition, for one of the school plays. So I auditioned for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I don’t remember specifically, what my monologue was entirely for my audition, but I do remember, that it had nothing to do with nothing. I took a sentence off a billboard sign and I wrote something about it. I just made it my own, I was actually trying not to get it. Well, I got it. I played one of the Athenian workers, Robin Starveling. Don’t know why I actually accepted the role. Didn’t fight it, didn’t put much effort behind it either. Leading up to performance night, I was oblivious to what was happening to me. I fell in love with the stage. The applauses came like gasoline, fueling my heart towards that world more and more with each clap. It was then, that I decided to move to that world permanently…I ended up being in almost every other play for the rest of my high school years.

 

Q:  How did you get your first big break?

 

A: Within the first month of being out here in Los Angeles. I got my manager and agent the first two weeks. One of my first few auditions was for Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide on Nickelodeon. It was a guest starring, possibly recurring role initially. I played Faymen Forchin, the exchange student from Brazil that becomes Jennifer Mozely’ love interest (played by Lindsey Shaw). The role recurred and became a regular on the show. I got a lot of recognition for it. Doors opened up for me immediately because of that, and I began working consistently for the next few years.

 

Q:  How did you prepare for the role of Nomar Arcielo on Power?

 

A: So I knew that Nomar was a pedophile. I initially wanted to stretch that, as far as I could in my head as I was thinking about preparation. I remember, watching all these pedophile confessions and documentaries and all. One of the things that intrigued me so much about these people, was the fact that they all had normal and in most cases, decent lives. They were family members, with children, good jobs, etc. Of course you have your extreme cases, but generally speaking, pedophiles are not on the surface, the monsters we know them to be. On the contrary. Most, are even sweet people to talk to. So I decided to dress Nomar that way. Externally pure and well suited for life. But, internally, he’s a frustrated man. A man with unsatisfied addictions, and desires. I also used the influence of specific music to help me grasp his mindset.

 

Q:  What makes the show controversial?

 

A: I think the title of the show, “POWER”, alone, is controversial. There’s a lot of things that make the show controversial. But, I think the two most important, which I must mention, are. One, the racial element of the main character’s story. This is a man of color, rising in a difficult world. A world filled with prejudice towards his person, culture, etc. Two, is the social class injustices every character in this series is experiencing, in one way or another. “He who has the gold, makes the rules” right? If that’s the case, then POWER, by definition, is reserved for the Elites alone. What implication does that have to a seemingly “free world”?

 

Q:  You’ve been on some major shows, what’s was your weirdest celebrity encounter?

 

A: I think meeting Lucy Liu on Southland. She was my favorite Angel, so meeting her was supposed to be love at first sight for me. Which it was. But, when I met her, she was sitting next to me for the table read. I turned to look at her and introduce myself and in between us, was her dog, the cutest chocolate lab I have ever seen. I’m a huge dog lover. I grew up with six (6) dogs. So meeting her was like being reconnected with my dogs. It was so weird. Indeed, it was love at first sight, for me and the dog.

 

Q:  What qualities do you think you have, that made you successful in Hollywood?

 

A: Definitely my versatility with the languages i speak. I speak fluently Portuguese, Spanish and a little bit of English. lol. Also, my Brazilian complexity, which gives me universal appeal, which has afforded me the look to be diverse in casting.

 

Q:  If acting didn’t work out what was your back up plan?

 

A: A Sales Entrepreneur. I love selling, I’m good at it. I used to sell things on Ebay for a living at one point of my life. I’ve sold everything you can imagine, literally. I’ve sold things on the streets too. I used to load up my car with things to sell, I would find a hot spot, park, open the car doors and begin making money. That was obviously before I was introduced to Ebay.

 

Q:  What do you miss about Brazil?

 

A: I miss my family. I come from a big family.  I’ve lost a lot of family members within the past few years, some way before their time. Which has made me realize how important it is to enjoy the people you love while you have them because we never know. I miss them all. There’s nothing more important to me today, then spending time with my family.

 

Q:  What character from literature would you most like to play?

 

A: The Infamous, young, Emperor Nero! For many different reasons.

 

Q:  What would you change about Hollywood?

 

A: I plan on finding ways to open up more doors for Actors and Artists of color like myself. My goal is to change the way we are perceived for casting. To no longer be a minority, or a stereotype, but an Actor, known and accepted for our talent, not our skin color. That’s my goal at least.

 

 
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 GreenSurance Founder Kari Gray

kari

 

Kari Gray is the founder of GreenSurance; here is a link to the website:

 

http://www.mygreensurance.com/

 

 

 

Q:  What is GreenSurance?

 

A: The People’s Voice for Insured Alternative Medicine

 

Q:  Would pharmaceutical medications be covered as well?

 

A: They will not be covered by the policies once in force, This is 100% alternative medicine which is not covered by conventional insurance. We are not duplicating what is instead we’re pioneering a voice for coverage for what has never been covered before.

 

Q: What kind of providers are you looking for?

 

A: Integrative, Complimentary, Holistic & Alternative

 

Q:  Will marijuana be covered?

 

A: Hemp or CDB nothing illegal unless prescribed

 

Q:  Will it count as insurance in terms of Obama Care?

 

A: No this is not Obamacare

 

Q:  What is your personal background in alternative medicine?

 

A: At 27, as a young wife and mother I faced the unthinkable; terminal liver cancer and two ‘no hope of survival’ medical diagnosis. Faced with certain death and left with no medical options, I chose to ‘fight like a girl”. It was that choice and the determination to never give in, that put me on the path to a changed life. As a terminally ill person, I had a small window of opportunity to seize before the clock ran out. Making the alternative choice meant I was to carry the financial load of paying insurance premiums for my family while self-funding  my alternative cancer care that cost thousands in a time sensitive window.

 

Working with an alternative practitioner, I followed a battery of treatments prescribed which included changes in diet, work, thinking, emotions, living, and more. Nothing remained the same as she now spent thousands on organic foods, multiple cleanses, detoxes, and myriads of food supplements, plus the equipment needed to manage the life crisis

 

It was life altering to say the least” because what frustrated me most was no matter the premiums I paid, I had no medical options and no say in insured treatment choice. Left without medical options, my life looking back was a ‘death sentence’ that saved me because it pushed me to chose alternative. And while my insurance company called what I chose “out of coverage” and “unproven”, the results eight months later proved all the money spent was the best money I could have ever spent when new blood work verified my enzyme count was normal. New test results verified I was diagnosed a cancer free miracle! That was 25 years ago.

 

Q:  Your website says that you had a business that gave you access to confidential court document records; what kind of business was it?

 

A: Litigation funding

 

Q: In her book Gulp Mary Roach says her  research indicated that neither pharmaceuticals or natural alternatives are the best thing to cure intestinal aliments and that fecal transplant is the best alternative. What are your feelings about this procedure?

 

A: I can’t speak because I have no idea what this is

 

Q:  Why do you think people are hesitant to try alternative medicine?

 

A: People are uneducated and kept intimidated by the medical cartel who controls people out of fear and ignorance of the beautiful healing power each of our bodies posses.

 

Q: Why do you think so many pharmaceutical drugs are approved and later taken off the market?

 

A: Because the FDA is in bed with big pharma. Do the research and you will see the executives of Big Pharma as directors and inspectors of the FDA. http://www.goodhealthinfo.net/cancer/fda_cozy_relationship.htm They’re the fox guarding the hen house.

 

In my experience through litigation funding, court documents tell the story. FDA approved patent drugs empowers big pharma to promote ‘off brand use’ to capture all the market in the 20 year patent protection window. With that they know so many people will be injured and die and they call it the ‘ cost of doing business’ the human suffering that happens when profits are put over people. Tens of billions in profits settled by pennies on the dollar settlements to the injured is the game, and its a profitable ‘game’ at that. It’s a numbers game that comes in the way of lives ruined, healths destroyed.

 

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 John S. McFarland

John m

John S. McFarland is the author of Annette: A Big, Hairy Mom. Mr. McFarland’s work has appeared in National Lampoon and Twilight Zone Magazine; here is a link to the website:

http://annettethemom.com/

Q: What is Annette: A Big Hairy Mom, about?

A: Annette: A Big, Hairy Mom is the allegedly true story of a spoiled eight year old who gets lost in the woods and is saved by a lonely Sasquatch mom suffering from empty nest syndrome. Annette protects the boy from a hungry mountain lion and other dangers as she hatches her plan to return him to his family. On the way she teaches him about empathy, sharing and how to have fun, while she herself avoids a sweets-loving cryptozoologist bent on capturing her.

Q: What inspired you to write it?

A: I have always had an interest in Bigfoot, ever since I saw a story on the subject in one of my grandmother’s magazines when I was about ten. It would have never occurred to me to write a book for young readers, though, if I hadnt met my illustrator, Brenna Vaughan. I wanted to think of something I could write that she could illustrate. Annette is the result.

Q: How did you get it into schools?

A: Word of mouth gets me into schools. Moms tell their kids’ teachers about the book and how their child loved it and often an invitation follows.

Q: What do people not understand about Bigfoot?

A: Evan Nestor Bettancourt, in the novel doesnt understand that Bigfoot are not monsters, just creatures. They are moms, dads and kids. Current research suggests, if it can be peer-duplicated, that they are actually a type of human, most likely a hybrid and our closest living relative.

Q: Your work has appeared in some very prestigious magazines, what is the key to writing publishable fiction?

A: Study the publication in which you want to appear and try to write something appropriate for their readership. It has to be well-written obviously, but also has to fulfill their guidelines for submissions and be in proper format, as they require.

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

A: I am a color chemist. I do lab work on chemical compounds like urethanes and epoxies. Mostly what my writing takes away from the day job are insights into human nature. And lots of humor.

Q: Who are some of your literary influences?

A: I grew up loving 19th century classic horror like Frankenstein and Dracula, Jules Verne and H. G. Wells and many others. As an adult I love Shakespeare, James Joyce, Flannery O’Connor, F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Q: What trends in children’s literature annoy you?

A: Trend that annoys me in children’s literature is the notion that anyone can write it, that it’s the simplest was to get into print. I go to seminars and most of the writers there have self-published a kids book, and as Homer Simpson says, every celebrity writes one!

Q: What do you think makes a children’s book stand the test of time?

A: A Compelling story, well drawn characters, a timeless theme all make a kid book, or any book stand the test of time.

Q: What life experiences do you draw from when your write?

A: I try to put my humor and understanding of universal human conditions into my writing. Observation, empathy and irony are key elements, I think.

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 Public Speaker And Author Rich James

Rich_James

Rich James is a professional public speaker and the author of the novel  Fearbreeders; here is a link to his website:

thefantasynovelist.wordpress.com

 

Q: What is Fearbreaders about?

A: Fearbreeders is crossover YA fantasy that tells the story of three streetwise east London kids who also happen to be powerful psychics with near-superhero abilities. But being psychic has its downside if you can’t control it!

The kids soon discover that the shape-shifting monsters that have been pursuing them their whole lives are actually the manifestations of their own darkest doubts and fears, made real by their fledgling powers.

Knowing this, will they be able to – quite literally – face up to and recognise their fears in order to have a chance at defeating them and bettering themselves?

The idea strikes a chord, I think, because, if we are all honest, this is the same question we should be asking ourselves in our own everyday lives – but we are too afraid to confront it: what are we really afraid of in life that is holding us back? My book encourages readers to ask themselves this question, and face their own fears as well in a fun and non-threatening way.

Q:  What gave you the idea for the series?

A: It was actually a process I had developed as part of a research assignment back in college whereby the goal was to visualise your fears, write them down in a comedy/dramedy format to reveal to yourself how silly the root cause of these fears were. I followed that through to its natural conclusion and wrote a whole novel (or three).

Oh, and on that subject: the second edition of the novel, out in January, will contain a companion self-help preface: my aim is interactivity: I faced my fears and wrote a book, got up on stage to speak publically, etc., and it worked out great for me. Now it’s my readers’ turn – and I’ll show them how.

Q:  What are some of the ways in which it is interactive?

A: Basically, the fact is – and please, please publishers, hear me out on this – an eReader is a specialised browser, which means an e-novel should be seen as a specialised website. Plain and simple. I followed this through to its natural conclusion and included multimedia links in my text to take readers “down the digital rabbit hole” and into the web to explore my ideas further through video sharing, web site and game links. The weirdest thing in all this is how my “fantasy” world works so seamlessly when juxtaposed with the (“real”?) online world. Kind of makes you rethink the internet, doesn’t it?

Q:How did you get your first speaking gig?

A: I developed a system of performance based teaching for learners of English as a foreign language. This system was developed from the various “direct” teaching methods available. From there, I started to get invited into private language schools to teach/demonstrate this, and from there companies asked if I could teach not only their employees English but their managers how to deliver a speech in the manner I taught; i.e., dynamically.

Q:  What can your public speaking book offer that other books of its kind cannot?

A: I am busy rebranding my public speaking manual to go with the second edition of my novel, actually (which is part of the answer to that question). The self-help preface the novel will come with provides an introduction to the principles I practice and preach of “dissociating” in your everyday life through the techniques of creative dissociation. In the same way, my public speaking manual develops the idea of dissociation in your everyday life (as well as public speaking) through the techniques that I also practice and preach of breathing and audience interaction.

Thus, my public speaking materials give you the in-depth psychology behind the activity that is equally applicable in your own life, breaking down the “mystery” behind public speaking the same way my preface breaks down the “mystery” behind the creative fiction process. In other words, all my “self-help” stuff is about not only talking the talk but walking the walk.

My motto is: the proof is definitely in the pudding – so try a piece of my cake first and then I’ll show you how to bake your own!  Most other books, CD’s, etc. on the subject just want to sell their own cake. Period. That is the real difference with my materials.

Q:  You say you write dissertations for some of the top universities in the world. What are some of the subjects that you have written about?

A: Just to clarify that: I do write for Oxford and Cambridge grads, and these universities are world-class, however I don’t write for all top universities everywhere. I think this is a distinction worth noting as it is important a writer is familiar with the structure and needs of any given institution or course: the job of essay writing is not a one-size-fits all cop-out (online “essay companies”, I’m coming for you on that one – and you know who you are!)

As regards the subjects I tackle, my last three dissertations were an eclectic bunch: they included one on sectarianism and the Shia dominated government in Iraq, exploring a way to peace in the wake of the Shia upsurge in political power; another on the effectiveness of special education needs (SEN/D) legislature in mainstream UK schools; and finally one on the fiscal implications on global oil companies in the wake of government backed “green” initiatives.

Q:  Are you writing them on behalf of students or do you just edit what they have?

A: In reality, somewhere in between. Quick market comparison: 99% of all those essay companies that “write it for you” are scammers of the very worst kind, turning out pieces of work a trained rhesus monkey could’ve improved upon, and are insulting to my profession. (Trust me, kids: avoid.) Moreover, the best writer in the world can’t “write it for you” as it has to be specific to you and your course needs.

On the other hand, I have never, not even once, ever seen an essay or dissertation that “just needed editing”: generally speaking, if a writer is good enough to structure, argue and expound on his or her core thesis then he or she would by default need a very high level of English to do so in the first place. For this reason, essays generally need a lot of structural work as well.

So I’ve carved out a particular niche: I work with students, helping them shape their ideas and I will then write/edit as much as they need to express these ideas, structuring it for them and showing them how (which the universities aren’t set up to do) to write academically as they go. So students learn while we write together! It’s a unique but rewarding process.

Q:   What kind of educational background do you have?

A: I have a BA in Creative writing and English lit. – so I am basically unemployable in the real world: I had to make my own opportunities! Oh, the fact I can write dissertations on all those other subjects above (if you were wondering) is, I like to think, a triumph of research, structure and communication, as well as being CMoS and MLA conversant, over intrinsic technical knowledge.

Q:  What is the oddest thing you have done to promote your writing?

A: “Odd” as in “odd-innovative-unique” would have to be the idea to slap a self-help preface onto a fiction novel and tap into a whole new market on US radio and, hopefully, TV. (“Self-help”-style tomes don’t fly so well in the UK!) The fact that the idea works so seamlessly across all the areas I work in was actually very gratifying to me: it showed me I must be doing something write! (And yes, that last misspelling was a deliberate juxtapositional pun – I am a writer, I get to do those things!)

Q:  What famous fictional character’s blog would you most like to read?

 

A: Great question: the links in my novel actually take you to a guest blog site (apparently) set up by a murdered teenager, her/its idea being that the dead can use it to leave posts for (and hence communicate with) the living. How many of these posts are “fiction” or “real” is, again, anybody’s guess – especially the YouTube sites and blogs you can go and explore through my book that are set up by my (allegedly) fictional characters. Life imitating art imitating …

So if I were to pick a fictional character whose blog I’d like to read it would have to be Sherlock Holmes: I mean, which other character would have the intuition to figure out how to use WordPress plugins? – lord knows I struggle!

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 Stream Now TV Founder Ron Valderrama

ron v

Ron Valderrama is the founder of Stream Now TV, which is a new video platform; here is a link to the website:

www.streamnowtv.com

Q:  What inspired you to start Stream Now TV?

A: I was starting to meet with some filmmakers who kept asking me to get involved with projects they were working on.  I decided to start working with an amazing filmmaker named Michael Campo and we actually landed a meeting with two of the most powerful film executives in Hollywood.  We planned on turning one of Michael’s films, which these executives already had licensing rights to, into a series. I thought a series based off of a successful film they already engaged with was a no brainer.  Turns out I was wrong, and the project was not picked up.  It was at that point that I decided to create a platform for indie filmmakers to gain exposure and truly make a living off of their work.

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

A: I actually have no experience in film or technology.  Most of my career has been in healthcare finance and revenue cycle.  Along the way, I have helped people put deals together which I believe is why some of these filmmakers wanted to work with me.  It’s actually pretty amazing when you don’t know the rules of an industry you are trying to work in because you will try anything.  You will wind up breaking some rules that others won’t even attempt because “that is not how the industry works”.  In the end, I think that is what is leading to success.  The game is changing.

Q:  How does one go about getting a show on Stream Now?

A: When the platform launched in June, I was basically scouring the internet for content and begging content makers to take a chance on me.  Now that we are almost five months into it and it has taken off, we can’t keep up with the submissions.  Content makers can email us at submissions@streamnowtv.com for consideration.  If we are on the fence about it, we actually rely on fan votes to help us decide.

Q:  What kinds of things do you look for when procuring videos?

A: There are some really talented people that just need exposure and that is what we look for.  People that can hit on all three phases (production value, acting, writing).  If one of those phases is lacking but it make up for it in the others, we may still give it a go.

Q:  Are there any kinds of videos that you would not have on your site?

A: There aren’t really limitations from a censorship perspective with the exception of porn.  It is not my job to decide what is right or wrong, but rather to give a platform for good content.  For instance, we have a show about tacos called Taco Talk.  I almost did not know what genre it would go under but I knew it was really good, so I went with it.

Q:  What is the biggest hit on your site right now?

A: There is an episode of FIRSTS called “First STD scare” that really took off from a total views perspective.  We also have a show called Teacher’s Lounge that has some big name comedians guest star in each episode.  The one with Lewis Black was pretty big for us.

Q:  What do you think made it a hit?

A: All of these shows and films are good.  We try and put all of them out there from an exposure standpoint, but those two really took off from after a campaign on some bookmarking sites.

Q:  Why should someone have their web-series on your site instead of YouTube or Funny or Die?

A: The real question here is “why would someone put it only on one platform?”  We have shows that are currently on YouTube and Funny or Die.  The reality is content makers need to be everywhere unless someone has offered an equitable exclusive licensing deal.  In fact, I just introduced all of our content makers to another site (http://www.teamprocreate.com) that would also feature their content and several are going to be on that site too.  This is still a new medium to a degree.  The way I view it is, if the water rises then all the boats rise with it.  We all need to support the medium not just ourselves to win.

Q:  What is the oddest video anyone has submitted?

A: We had someone submit a game show about picking up women.  Honestly it is a good concept but lacks on the production value, so I am not sure if we are going to pick it up yet.

Q:  What is the biggest mistake you see people make when making a web-series?

A: The biggest mistake people make is thinking that making a film or web series stops after it is produced.  You can’t just make an awesome project, load it on YouTube and expect massive results.  YouTube is an amazing platform but its filled with cat videos and babies biting fingers.  It does nothing to expose this type of content.  These projects are like any other product, it can be the best in class, but it will fail if no one sees 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 DeStress to Success Author Leo Willcocks

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Leo Willcocks is the author of DeStress to Success; here is a link to his website:

http://www.leowillcocks.com/mediapage.html

Q: What is the basic theory behind your book?

 

A: The theory behind DeStress to Success is that everyone experiences stress, but no one has to be a victim to stress. With the right tools, many stresses can be resolved and overcome. However for the most part, stress relief tips (such as go for a walk, count to ten etc.) aren’t enough to really beat stress. They can help reduce stress temporarily, but in many cases, stress returns at a later time, doesn’t it?

 

Stress relief tips are important, but they are just one way of dealing with stress. Relying on stress relief tips alone is like riding a bike with only one pedal, and no handlebars. In DeStress to Success I’ve focused on the stress relief tools you don’t hear about. I include quick stress relief techniques, and then focus heavily on stress resolution- ways of resolving stress so it doesn’t return. I include tools to identify, grow from, and resolve challenges that cause stress. This creates lasting happiness and satisfaction.

 

Q: What qualifications do you have to write it?

 

A: When I first left school I had a career in a stock broking firm, which is a high stress environment. While I enjoyed it and had opportunities for progression, I realised it wasn’t what I wanted to dedicate my life to. One thing I enjoyed in the firm was helping my colleagues relax and de-stress when they had a high workload.

 

So I left the firm and chose tertiary education. I have been working as a therapist for almost ten years helping people, organisations and sports teams to minimise their stress. I get a lot of enjoyment helping people to build confidence to go out and achieve things that they never thought possible.

 

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

 

A: DeStress to Success is not a presentation of a new theory, but rather application of existing psychology and behavioural theories into practical techniques people can use. DeStress to Success draws heavily on client experiences and the results that my clients have had in their lives. I have written DeStress to Success for everyday people, so it is not full of medical jargon, but rather the practical use of that information.

 

Q: What are some of the services you provide?

 

A: I work with clients one on one, as well as speak and do trainings for organisations. In consultations, I help people when stress from a challenging circumstance is impacting their life. Most clients experience a major turnaround within a few appointments, and feel completely empowered to deal with the situation. Stress is minimised very quickly.

 

With organisations, I train staff on stress resolving techniques, and understanding where stress is coming from and how to reduce its power over thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Stress is a physiological process that impacts thoughts, feelings and behaviour, however it doesn’t have to dictate those things. I also discuss common workplace stressors and how to resolve them.

 

Q: What are the most common stressors you see in your clients?

 

A: Common situations include workplace harassment, business setbacks and difficulties, partner separation, abuse, relationship frustrations, childhood trauma impacting adult life and financial stress.

 

Q: What are some of the more unusual things you see that stress people out?

 

A: This is very common but it is really unnecessary- that is the stress from trying to live up to unrealistic goals and expectations. Some people focus so much on ideals and goals (usually a learned behaviour from their childhood) that they feel continually unhappy, despite incredible progress. One client was years in front financially, but still felt unhappy because as a young adult she had not attained her parents’ results as retirees. She compared herself at the beginning of her adult life, to her parents at the end of their successful careers. Her need to achieve now was causing her so much stress that it was destroying her relationship, and making her incredibly unhappy.

 

Q: What are some coping techniques that you recommend?

 

A: There are the usual like doing yoga, going for a walk, and getting a massage. These things are great but they will not particularly help you resolve an issue you are dealing with. When you come back from doing yoga or going for that walk, life is still waiting for you along with all the stressors that you left.

 

However they still have an important place and can help with general stress reduction. Meditating can be helpful as well. I teach clients a quick meditation technique that helps them to refocus and separate themselves from stress. When stress is simply from a busy schedule or modern life, zoning out and reenergising can be enough. When stress is actually from a challenging situation, different tools are needed.

 

One very easy technique to reduce general stress levels is a gratitude journal. This is where you think of 5 things you are grateful for, each day. This is a very simple technique that increases your perception of happiness- it helps you to notice the good things in life. As a society, we are conditioned to focus on the negative and stressful situations (think about news headlines), but doing a gratitude journal helps you have a more balanced perspective. Yes, the stressful things are still there, but the good things are there too. Clients report feeling more energised, happy and less stressed by simple day to day upsets, when they use this technique.

 

Q: Isn’t a certain amount of stress necessary for survival?

 

A: Stress is a natural part of life and a very important part of life. Without stress, there is no progression. However too much stress, or stress that is not dealt with properly, can become very detrimental to your life happiness and cause a lot of problems. Recognising the positive side of stress can help you grow during difficult situations.

 

Imagine how Steve Jobs felt when he was fired from Apple- the company he started, risked everything to start and grew into a very well-known brand. Do you think he walked out happy and cheering? Of course not. But through that hard time in his life, he gave birth to PIXAR, the company you see at the beginning of many Disney movies, heavily involved in the creation of the hit movie Toy Story and many since then.

 

While stressful situations can have lasting negative effects if not dealt with properly, they can also have lasting positive effects, when you grow from them as Jobs did. The best Chinese translation of stress is “crisis”- containing two characters- “danger” and “opportunity”. In times of stress there are opportunities to build more future happiness for ourselves. Many of my clients have survived terrible circumstances, where stress was an understatement to how they felt. However with the right help they have grown from their stress, and now feel more happy and empowered than they did before the stressful situation occurred.

 

Some self-help books encourage the idea that life can be easy and even effortless. In reality, life can be a lot easier than it is, however it will never be completely stress free. It can be meaningful and fulfilling, even with periods of challenge. Your response to challenge will impact how stressed or happy you are. But trying to live up to an illusion of an effortless life can create stress in itself, as you feel frustrated at the fact that your life isn’t perfect (as opposed to being frustrated with the difficult circumstance itself).

 

Q: What are some examples of how stress is contagious?

 

A: “Second hand stress” is a term that has been coined fairly recently, as research has shown that stress is in fact contagious. It comes from the ability to empathise with others and mirror other people’s body language and emotions. It is very easy to think of examples in daily life; no doubt you have experienced some of these things yourself!

 

  • If you think of when a boss or colleague is having a bad day, notice how they speak and then notice that others start to speak in a similar way. Even if they don’t “stress out” at you, you will most likely feel stressed or tense just being in their presence
  • Closer to home, actually in the home, have you ever noticed when a parent is grumpy it seems to filter through to the children. Or one child’s bad mood quickly spreads to others, even if they don’t directly “take it out” on them
  • When a friend starts talking about a stressful issue, sometimes friends will reassure and uplift the person feeling stress. Often however, many of the friends start talking about all the “bad” things about the situation and the tone spirals down quickly. If you are in one of these conversations you leave feeling stressed

 

Q: To what theories of psychology do you ascribe?

 

A: I find that several theories of psychology apply in life. There is not one theory that helps with everything and everyone. Another important factor to be aware of is that while an entire theory may not be applicable, the fundamentals learned from the theory contribute significantly to therapy today, and my work specifically.

 

Approaches that I find helpful are classic and operant conditioning, attachment theory, Erikson’s Theory, parenting styles, the fundamentals behind humanistic psychology, Glasser’s control theory, Selye’s General Adaptation Syndrome and stages of stress, the work of Demartini, the list goes on.

 

Another area is neuroplasticity, and how even heavily ingrained behaviours and stresses can be overcome.

 

The biochemical approach is also important to understand, as stress impacts biochemistry, and biochemistry can also impacts stress levels. I think that biochemical intervention is not the first line of approach (research shows that talking therapies are just as effective), however it is important to be aware of, as some hormonal imbalances can cause depressive symptoms, or constant anxiety and stress. Obviously not everyone experiencing these things has a hormonal imbalance, but it is important to be aware of as a possible cause.

 

 

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