Chris Charles runs the website Idol Features; here is a link:
Q: What gave you the idea for Idol Features?
A: After I got out of the Army and had been teaching in Korea for a couple of years, I started a personal blog. (It was on Xanga, which is now as good as dead.) It was on my activities, which included going to many events, films, and stage plays. I included a lot of photos of myself with the many Korean celebs I’d met. After a couple of years, it got the attention of a webmaster of a popular entertainment website, who invited me to contribute to his site. I agreed, but didn’t start contributing to that site until I returned to the US and had more time to blog. After contributing to that and a couple of other sites for a few years, I decided to start my own site. At first, Idol Features was just an unnamed “storage” site for the articles I’d written for other sites, so they could all be found at one place. Later, I decide to develop the site. I contacted ladies who were in the entertainment industry. Models, actresses, singers, you name it, about doing interviews for the site. A good percentage agreed and Idol Features just kept growing. It feels good to be able to give these ladies positive exposure and promote their works to a larger audience. The name “Idol Features” just came to me as a working title at first, but since I thought it had a nice ring to it, and I didn’t come up with anything else I liked better, I stuck with it. Currently, besides myself, I have three other talented people contributing to the site and I’m always looking for more. I’ve also recently expanded to include a podcast channel.
Q: Why just ladies?
A: I just find ladies more enjoyable to write about and interview than I do men. So, my site, my rules, ladies only.
Q: My “Page of Flakes” was inspired by your “Incomplete Interviews.” About what percentage of your interview subjects don’t answer their questions?
A: Yes, I saw that! I see you don’t have any names on that page, so far. I hope you don’t have to add any, but with e-mail interviews, I’m sure you eventually will. Of all the subjects of Idol Features’ Incomplete Interviews, all have been e-mail interviewees who agreed to interviews but never replied to the interview questions I sent them. I don’t count ladies I’ve contacted to request an interview and never replied to my request, because if they don’t reply and agree to an interview, I don’t go to the trouble of doing research on them to come up with questions. Roughly 10-15% of the ladies who’ve agreed to e-mail interviews never followed through. I’ve never had an in-person, telephone, or Skype interviewee stand me up, but if I ever do, I’ll still publish the audio, which will have me asking questions, followed by 10 seconds of silence after each one. You can count on that because I’m not going to let my time and efforts go to waste.
Q: Why do you think people do this?
A: I’ve heard a whole laundry list of excuses, from “very busy” to “didn’t have Internet” (despite being able to somehow post to social media daily, without interruption) to “broke up with my boyfriend of nine years” (no kidding). Bottom line is; aside from being incapacitated and unable to communicate with the free world, there’s no excuse to just blow off an interview after agreeing to it, or change your mind about doing it without contacting the interviewer and letting them know. It’s inconsiderate and lazy.
Q: Who was your most memorable interview subject?
A: I’d have to say actress Debra Lamb. I was a fan of hers from the first time I saw her on the cover of Easyriders magazine back in 1987, when she was doing a lot of modeling. Easyriders didn’t give any info on her, other than giving her name as “Debbie,” and for all I knew, that may not have been her real name. It was the pre-Internet days, so I didn’t have any go-to sources to do any digging to find out who she was, so that was that until I saw her again the following year when she graced the March 1988 cover of Super Cycle magazine. Still, no info on her, but I figured she was a Los Angeles-based model as both those magazines were headquartered in LA. In 1994, when I was living in Nashville, I caught her in a video entitled Stripping Telegram, which was actually a competition shot at an LA nightclub a few years prior. Her name was still only given as “Debbie,” but later that same year, I saw her featured in an issue of Focus magazine by Draculina Publishing. Not only did I finally find out what her name was, it included her bio and all of her film credits up to that point. So, I was able to find some of her movies at video stores, such as Beverly Hills Vamp and The Invisible Maniac. Fast Forward to early 2011. I wondered what Debra was up to then, so I did an Internet search and found her psychic healing website. I sent her a message about an interview, but she didn’t reply. I just figured she had moved on and didn’t want to be reminded of her past, as some ladies don’t. However, I was wrong. I found her on Facebook and saw that we had a mutual friend, Reyna Young aka “Miss Misery” of Last Doorway Productions. So, I asked Reyna if she’d put in a good word for me with Debra, in hopes she’d do an interview with me. Much to my delight, Debra soon thereafter contacted me and told me she’d never received my e-mail, otherwise she would have gladly replied and accepted my offer. We set up a telephone interview and the three-plus hours we first spoke seemed to fly by. We talked about the films she’d done, the places she’d worked, and the people she’d worked with back in the day. It was like talking to an old friend. Actually Debra and I have since become friends and I can’t say enough good things about her.
Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it affect your ability to run your blog?
A: These days, I’m a full-time web content writer, part time musician in a bar band, and very part time ESL (English as Second Language) teacher. I have plenty of time to run and update Idol Features since I’m online when I do my writing. In fact, I’ll often have a window open for whatever article I’m writing for my “day job” and other windows open to write, add content, and do research for Idol Features. I go back and forth between the two tasks.
Q: Why do you think horror is such a popular genre?
A: A lady I interviewed a few months ago, Sarah Nicklin, said something regarding this, that I agree with. Horror films, at least in the indie film industry, seem to get the most attention, they’re the easiest to get distribution for, and they get the widest distribution of any other genre. Also, many of us grew up watching horror. Regardless of one’s age, you recall the fright films of your generation. Whether it was the Universal classics, the campy drive-in flicks of the 50s, the 70’s gore, the 80’s “super villains” or however you’d classify the 90s and beyond breed of horror. Show me someone who says they can’t stand horror films, and I’ll show you a person who’s no fun to hang out with.
Q: What trends in horror films annoy you?
A: Unnecessary remakes for one. It seems like some producers and/or directors feel it’s necessary to remake a film just because it’s so many years old. In some cases, the remake stands on it’s own merits, but in most, viewers just think it pales in comparison to the original and that setting it in the modern day just doesn’t work. Oh, and why was it necessary to remake Carrie not once but twice?? I could go on and on with examples. Don’t get me started on the Psycho or Friday the 13th remakes.
As far a sequels and entries into a franchise or trilogy; it’s annoying when they don’t maintain good continuity throughout the films. The Scream trilogy (I say “trilogy” because I refuse to acknowledge Scream 4) was awesome, but the characters in Scream 2 were watching the fictional “Stab” and then in Scream 3, the characters were shooting the fictional “Stab 3” when it should have been “Stab 2.” I mean, the fictional “Stab” trilogy was based on what we were watching in the Scream trilogy, so how could they have already been shooting “Stab 3” in Scream 3 when Scream 3 hadn’t even played out yet?? Halloween II was an excellent sequel as the story literally picked up right where the first one left off, and with the same actors and actresses reprising their roles. Halloween 3 was a good movie in itself, but it had nothing to do with the rest of the franchise, so it shouldn’t have been released as part of it. Same with Jaws 3, even though that wasn’t a good movie. The storylines should remain feasible, too. Halloween 4 continued on with Michael Myers and company, but it was just 10 years after the first film and here’s Laurie Strode’s 8 year-old daughter? So, good, virginal, straight-A student Laurie got herself pregnant right out of high school? Who was the father?? We know it wasn’t Ben Tramer.
Q: What other kinds of writing do you do?
A: Besides the interviews and articles I write for Idol Features, I write web content for other sites, but that’s like my “day job” and I can’t say I always enjoy what I’m writing. Press releases, product descriptions, informative pieces. Occasionally an article on some subject matter relative to the product the website is for. I once wrote an article about whiskey drinking songs for a distillery’s website and that was fun. Unfortunately, a lot of the stuff I write for pay is boring, but it always hones my writing skills. I’ve also been working on a non-fiction account of my experiences when I lived in South Korea. I’ve never considered myself much of a fiction writer, but I do have a couple of projects I’ve outlined and will start working on this year.
Q: If you could make a movie starring any of your interview subjects, who would you pick and what would be the plot?
A: Hmm ….wasn’t expecting this kind of a question. Since so many of the ladies I’ve interviewed are indie actresses who’ve done mostly horror, I’ll go with a horror film. The setting would be a small town that a group of ladies left after high school, 10 years earlier. They would all be members of the same club. They’d return there for a reunion and they’d all have a common bond. Each also would have a secret from 10 years earlier, that they hadn’t shared. A classmate of theirs died right after graduation. It was ruled an accident but everyone always had their doubts. Arielle Brachfeld, Sarah Nicklin, Jessica Cameron, Heather Dorff, Sarah French, Tara Cardinal, Terissa Kelton, and Tristan Risk, are some of the ladies who come to mind for playing the returning alumnae. Debra Lamb, Liane Langford, Carly Capra, Judy Cerda, and Jessica Felice, who does some amazing voices and can play much older characters, would be great as former teachers or townswomen. The ladies would get snuffed out one by one. There would be speculation as to who the killer is, a red herring or two, and finally, an ending that would catch viewers by surprise when the second part of it was revealed. Sort of like at the end of the first Scream, when Billy revealed himself as the killer, which wasn’t too surprising ….but when Stu was revealed to be his accomplice; surprise! I’d also try to talk Patty Mullen, of Frankenhooker fame, into flying out to do a cameo. I did an interview with her last month and her and I hit it off. Most of the aforementioned ladies are West Coast-based, so that would make shooting the film more feasible. Hmm ….now I’m inspired to write an actual script. It’s been a pleasure, Eliza.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.