An Interview With Aspiring Actor and Director Izzy Pollak

Izzy Pollak is an aspiring actor and director who recently made a film about Trayvon Martin. Here is a link to his website:

www.IzzyPollak.com

Q: What made you interested in acting?

A: At the end of my junior year in High School I saw the acting programs Senior Thesis. This consisted of all of the theater conservatory members putting on a collaborative piece that they thought represented who they were. I attended the last night of performances where emotions were running high. By the time they took their bows, every person in the small 50 person black box theater was crying. Maybe it was the performance, or perhaps it was the environment, but as the lights faded to black and the audience shuffled out of the theater, I remained in my seat awestruck and mesmerized. From that moment on I knew I wanted to pursue act as a career. Throughout my life I had occasionally been in musicals since they were fun to do, but never thought about it as a possible profession. (I was considering business or political science before I changed my mind) What a trip those pursuits would’ve been.

Q: To which method of acting do you ascribe?

A: Listening is the proven method to successful acting in my opinion. Reacting to whoever or whatever you are opposite, and being in that moment is the only way to keep it alive. Sure there are methods of getting emotional, and pulling rabbits out of hats, but all of that crap needs to be thrown out in the moment otherwise you will overthink it and be in your head, not in the character. Acting isn’t, being is.

Q: Who are your acting idols?

A: Definitely Johnny Depp because he becomes an entire person. A
star, absolutely, but he doesn’t use that as a crutch to be the same person on camera every time. Another person I look up to is Kevin Spacey. Beyond his incredible presence on camera, he also pursues his craft on the stage (he recently starred in King Richard III). Furthermore, he often releases short films that he produces and acts in which are created for the love of art. If you haven’t seen his most recent short, check out “The Ventriloquist.”

Q: What director would you most like to work with?

A: The Wish List: Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, JJ Abrams, Wes Anderson, and Michael Bay. The yin and yang of a greater director is one who has a strong vision of a piece, and will work with you to meet that vision, but trusts the actor enough to know when it is time to back off and let him or her play the way he or she sees fit.

Q: What do you like about Hollywood films?

A: Hollywood is beautiful because of its scale. Everything can be executed on screen these days with the combination of video effects and creative grit. Furthermore, Hollywood creates full cinematic experiences, all-encompassing and impeccably produced. I love this aspect of the industry.

Q: What don’t you like about them?

A: I would say a major downfall of Hollywood is the illusion that one must spend so much money on a movie. One benefit to the economy is the tightening of budgets. And although some may see these cuts as restrictions, a true artist will not only navigate around the issue, but create a better product because of it. This is reinforced by technology getting better and cheaper as productions can be executed with less people, less equipment, and in less time.

Q: What film role could you have nailed?

A: There really isn’t a single role I can type cast myself in, but perhaps a hybrid will do. Perhaps Ryan Gosling’s role in Blue Valentine and Mr. Blonde from Reservoir Dogs makes sense, I’ve been told I have a healthy mix of vulnerability and volatility.

Q: What makes you fame worthy?

A: Hmmm… What makes anyone fame worthy? How much they want it? How much they worked for it? Who their dad is? What they will do with it? I have a deep desire to be famous, and although many would laugh and criticize me at the prospect of my initial statement, let me earn back some respect. Notoriety offers exposure to an audience. Charlie Sheen uses it to promote Tigers Blood and Winning, Bono uses it to support Africa. Both men famous, apparently worthy of it since they have achieved it, but in my personal opinion I think one is using the gift better than other. I have much I wish to change about this country and this world. The backward-isms that are prevalent in modern society, specifically Western society irritate me, and I believe fame would give me a sturdy platform to found social change on.

Q: What inspired you to make a film about Trayvon Martin?

A: Fear is one aspect of modern society that is extremely detrimental to social welfare. Never a healthy emotion, fear, in my opinion, was the driving force behind the killing of Trayvon Martin. Wanting to make a film that exemplified the negative effects of fear, I took the case and explored the prospect that everyone might’ve told the truth. What I shot was the scenario where both parties were innocent (or guilty) independently of each other, a situation that inevitably escalated given the fact that there was a gun involved. There has been a wide range of reactions to the piece but it has consistently sparked conversation amongst those who have viewed it about what right and wrong means comparatively in moral and legal contexts.

Q: Give us your Oscar speech?

A: Kids, young men and women. Life is about happiness. Responsibility is necessary of course, but responsibility to who? Use your time in school to cultivate your expression through what you love. Consider the fact that your parents care a lot about you, and probably have your best interests in mind, but financial stability is not paramount in the pursuit of happiness, although to many it does help. If you want to be a scientist, do it, and give yourself to it completely, if you wish to be an artist, do so with love and empathy for the human condition, the same goes for business, sports, and the other professions. Remember that everyone is human, we all bleed, we all cry when it hurts, and laugh when it’s funny, every person around you is bonded by this time we are in, since we are all limited by mortality. Love unconditionally, give yourself completely to what you spend your precious time doing, and live with passion.

 

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

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An Interview With R & B Artist Woodson Michel

Woodson Michel is an R&B artist whose music has been featured on CSI. Here is a link to his website:

http://www.woodsonmusic.com/about.html

Q: What do you hope to express though your music?

 A: My feelings, my emotions, what I was going at the time I heard the music.

Q: What life experience do you draw from when writing music?

Break up to make up, Being single, having fun, and life itself….

Q:  What do you like about Hollywood?

A: I think Hollywood is where I am supposed to be, it’s a great place, where magic is made and stars are born.  Competitiveness and everyone whom is somebody is right around, you never know whom the next person you meet might be..

Q: What don’t you like about it?

A: For every good there an equal bad, soI would say just the bad stuff that happen, The way people go about getting their way and losing the moral to get it, Hollywood sometime brings the best and the worst out of someone.

Q:  Who are some of your musical influences?

 A: I have a lot of influential people musically from the like of Musiq soul-child ,Maxwell, Sisqo, Micheal Jackson, Dornell Jones, R. Kelly among many other, they all brings something different in their own way..

Q:  What trends in music bother you?

A: I don’t have any trend I don’t like, I am open to them all cause honestly music is supposed to be your expression, your take on how it’s supposed to sound and feel.

Q:  What makes you fame worthy?

A: I am confident in what I do. I can entertain, I can act, sing, direct, produce and write. I feel I am a total package. I can connect with most people thru what I have to say or show. That’s why I’d say I am fame worthy.

Q:  What are some of the advantages of setting up your own studio?

A: Never having to pay someone, recording whenever you like. It’s all accessible to you!

Q:  What are the disadvantages?

 A: It’s accessible! A lot of times we don’t sleep!! It’s what we do and we want to capture that moment in that session so we stay all night to get it right..

Q: You studied psychology in school. How has that helped you as an artist?

A: I think it helps me read people a lot more than most, to look at situations from more than one perspective. Writing about a situation that has a couple of sides to it. Most song are about one side.

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 Yoga Instructor/Blogger Jessica Tyner

Jessica Tyner is a blogger and yoga instructor. She currently resides in Costa Rica. Here is a link to her blog:

http://getitohm.blogspot.com/

Q: What inspired you to start a yoga blog?

 A: Get it Ohm! is in its early stages, but what better way to get the word out? Let’s face it, I offer karma (free) yoga classes which means I have no paid advertising. Word of mouth has always been one of the best (if not the best) ways to spread messages. Blogging is the virtual equivalent with the added bonus of getting information straight from the horse’s (ahem, yogi’s) mouth – perhaps while in horse pose.

   Q: How did you first get into blogging?

 A: As a freelance writer, many of my clients/projects are blog-based. Currently I blog for everything from a Boston flower shop to a London arts organization. Get it Ohm! is the first blog I’ve created for my own project.

 Q: Do you think it’s possible to make a living from blogging?

A: Absolutely, I do make a living from blogging. I regularly juggle about eight projects at a time including blogging, SEO writing, web content creation, grant proposals, and advertising. I enjoy having a variety of different types of writing for different kinds of organizations. However, had I decided to focus solely on blogging as my income, it would be very doable.

 Q: Who are some of your favorite bloggers?

A: I regularly check out Cake Wrecks and Diary of a White Indian Housewife – obviously for very different reasons. Cake Wrecks is a way to feed my inner 20-something that wanted to go to Paris to study patisserie while I was living in London during my graduate program. I like the ridiculous wrecks set off by some of the most incredible pieces of cake art imaginable. Diary of a White Indian Housewife is one of my regularly checked out blogs because it’s difficult to find someone who has already gone through what I’m facing. Talking with friends about relationships is great, but it really takes someone who’s been on a similar path to relate.

Q: What sort of blogs don’t you like?

I wouldn’t know because I don’t read them. I don’t seek out blogs for blogs sake. I’m usually perusing for something in particular and stumble upon them.

A: What is the biggest misconception about yoga?

There are a lot. That it’s expensive (it can be). That it’s too hard. That it’s all uber-crunchy and spiritual. That you have to “look” a certain way, live a certain lifestyle, or have certain interests to enjoy it. I created Get it Ohm! as a means to allow communities access to yoga that might otherwise not have it, or might not be comfortable in the yoga studios that are available.

Q: What will you miss most about Costa Rica?

A: Immediate access to a (warm) beach. The Oregon coast simply can’t compare when you feel like swimming.

Q: What won’t you miss about it?

A: The sheer loudness of the city, the dirt, the inconvenience (it often takes a full day just to take care of business at the bank), the traffic, and the bars and razor wire around every house.

Q: What type of yoga do you like best and why?

A: My personal practice is Vinyasa with a peppering of Hatha and Hot Yoga. I began practicing with Vinyasa, which is a flow movement connected to breath. It had very little spirituality woven through it and is guaranteed to work up a sweat. To decompress I like taking a hot yoga class – plus going outside after being in a hot room always feel amazing.

Q: If someone doing yoga in their jammies fell on the floor while attempting downward dog, and no one heard them, would they be embarrassed?

A: It depends on the person. But not nearly as embarrassing as if they were attempting savasana.

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

 

Who do you want to see interviewed?

An Interview with Former Home Builder and Aspiring Actor Bruce Kade

Bruce Kade is a former home builder who has come to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting. Here is a link to his Facebook page:

Q:  How did you get into the home building business?

 

A: My Uncle built beautiful expensive custom homes. I remember going to his model homes and just being in awe of them and I would tell my parents I wanted to build homes like my Uncles when I grew up. Sure enough when I finished college I went to my father for help and we started building custom spec homes. We started out with just building two homes in the first year, by year four we were building 25 homes a year.

Q: What is the biggest difference between running a business in Canada and running a business in the United States?

A: It’s pretty much the same. There are a few differences between the tax system and the way you set up companies, but for the most part it’s very similar.

Q:  Do you think working conditions are better for American laborers or Canadian Labors?

A: H’mmm, great question. I would have to say I give the edge to Canada for a few reasons. The first being free health care. A lot of employers in USA can’t afford to offer health care or if you’re a small business owner you may not be able to afford a health care plan for your family. I think it’s a huge advantage to not have worry about paying $500-$1000/month to insure your family for health care. Another nice thing in the Canadian labor laws is women get close to a year off paid maternity leave, here in the States I think its 12 weeks. Pretty crazy that Moms are expected to put there 3 month old baby in daycare and head back to work so fast!

Q: What is your weirdest work story?

A: Well, I have a few, but of my HVAC tradesman was actually a high-ranking member of a powerful criminal motorbike gang in Canada. He actually did great work and I could not believe it when I found out! We found out he used the HVAC company to clean his gang money.

Q: What makes someone a good boss?

A: I think a good boss is open-minded and listens to his employees. Employees are doing their tasks every day and they usually come up with better or more innovative ways to do them.

 Q: What makes someone a good employee?

A: A good employee needs to be reliable and trust worthy. Shows up every day ready to work hard and ready to contribute to whatever the task is at hand. Obviously a positive attitude and outlook on life goes a long way too.

Q: What was the most challenging home building job you ever had?

A: One job we were hired to do, the house ended up being on a lot with a very high water table. When we excavated the basement water kept coming in from everywhere. We ended up having to dig down deeper, do lots of pilings and add tons of crushed rock, and several sump pumps to pump out the water whenever it rose to much. It was a very painful, expensive and stressful build.

Q: What made you get out of the business?

 

A: I moved to Phoenix AZ in 2008 seeking better weather. I was sick of building homes in -20 degree weather and snow. It’s not very fun building a home during the winter. Some days you’d be shoveling 2 feet of snow off the floor of a house you where framing, or on the roof trying do the roofing in a snowstorm. When I moved to Phoenix I was ready to build homes but that’s when the market took a huge crash. So we shifted our game plan and went into foreclosures and flips. That’s what I’ve been doing in Phoenix for the past four years.

 

Q: What made you want to become an actor?

A: I met an author that approached me to be in her movie, she just liked my look for the role. I thought it sounded cool, but I didn’t know how to act. So I went to take a few acting classes and caught the bug!! Since then I’ve had three small roles in feature films, landed a manager and an agent.

Q: What kind of training have you had (or are you taking) in acting?

A: I’ve taken classes at Margie Haber’s Acting Studio, as well as with Amy Lyndon. Both awesome classes that taught me so much. I still have tons to learn and I think I’ll be taking acting classes for the rest of my life, always developing and growing in the craft.

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 Marketing Specialist John Swanson

John Swanson is the Owner of MANVIL, a creative services firm located in Portland, Oregon. Here is a link to his website:

John Swanson is the Owner of MANVIL, a creative services firm located in Portland, Oregon. Here is a link to his website:

 

http://manvil.com

 

Q:  What is a creative services firm?

A: For lack of a better description, a creative services firm provides marketing, communications and advertising services to businesses that either don’t have the inclination, skill-set or time to create their own.

 

Q: How did you get into the business?

A: It was built off a design brief I put together while studying for my second BA. The graphic I submitted was strong enough for me to realize I had to do something with it. An “M” with the heart of an anvil worked for a variety of reasons, and friends and family liked the concept. I knew I had a company to present, but I wasn’t sure I had a viable product to sell other than my skill-set. Graphics products and services were where the company really began. (More on this later.)

Q: What does client branding entail?

A: Client branding entails providing a mark or image that represents the client’s business, product or public persona. For some of my clients like LinkWall, atomic auto, or Down Force Motoring, branding is a display of their business mindset. LinkWall is broad ranging, stout, simple and accepting, atomic auto is green minded and based on a lot of Saab’s iconography, and Down Force Motoring is motor-journalism minded, opinionated, but illuminating.

Q:  What are “flash cards”?

A: Simply put, flash cards are double sided prints made for educating people about items such as tools. On one side of the card is the image of an item, on the other side of the card is a description of what that image is. The concept behind the MANVIL Flashcards is that they are for folks who either don’t know tools, folks who don’t know the names of tools in English, or for those who needed Traumatic Brain Rehabilitation aids.

The use of cards for TBI Rehabilitation came from the experience of Bob Woodruff in his recovery from TBI after an insurgent IED blew some of his skull open. When he said that his buddies had to draw pictures of simple items in order for him to retrain his brain function, I knew I was onto something that might be helpful.

Curiously, the cards make great coasters as well, which I suppose is nice when you need to keep water-stains from your work shop sounter.

Q:  What do you like about working in Portland?

 A: There are a lot of brilliant, wildly creative people in Portland. The food is great, and the weather is not too unlike my native home of Honolulu. (Wear another layer or two and they’re almost the same!) In 90 minutes I can be skiing, or surfing, depending on my mood. Not that I do those things all that often, but still, it’s a nice option.

Q: What don’t you like about it?

A:  As I mentioned, there are a lot of great creatives here in Portland, and there are not as many positions available as there are creatives. Competition is tight. Thankfully, my clients like what I do, and the word is getting out.

Q:  What was the most challenging job you ever had?

A: I agreed to cover the graphics for an event called The Portland Adult Soapbox Derby. (http://www.soapboxracer.com/) The real challenges came to light as the principles who ran the event found they needed advertising, marketing, swag, tees and posters on a very tight timeline. Eventually the scope expanded as far as signage that had to be reviewed and accepted by the municipality, which only added to the punch. It was a long few weeks, but the event looked great, the theme was cohesive and I think everybody had a great time. I know I did.

Q:  Why should my readers hire your company?

 If your readers are looking for a small, intimate design firm to provide sound, well-developed, vector based graphics and production, then they would be well served to check out MANVIL and its work. I have had the opportunity to work on some great projects, which worked out really well for both my clients and myself. I’d like to continue the progress.

A:  What sort of marketing strategy would you use to promote my blog?

Q:  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but MANVIL is a big fan of word-of-mouth. If your tweeting and whatnbot are working with you, stick with it. We’re not a big firm, and although we don’t have the capital needed to really blow sunshine up people’s butts, we do work hard to get the word out. I think the efforts you’ve put forth to promote your own blog are beginning to pay off, but it might take time. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Perhaps if you had some sort of recognizable brand graphics that displayed your intent… BTW we do that.

Q:  What was the greatest Internet marketing campaign ever?

A: I think the sleeper campaign for the 2009 South African thriller “District 9” blew anything that I’ve seen from Hollywood lately off the map. They covered a huge number of bases. District 9 had an off the radar website presence, was supported by great videography and content, and was melded into “straight to You-Tube”, “this isn’t a trailer” faux news stories. I’d rate a film that makes 7 times its production cost a success.

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 Webcomic Factory Writer Tony DiGerolamo

Tony DiGerolamo runs the website The Web Comic Factory. He also writes for The Simpsons Comic book Series. Here is a link to his website:

http://www.thewebcomicfactory.com/

Q:  What motivate you to start an online comic website?

A:
I had been working in print comics a long time with titles like Jersey Devil, The Travelers, The Fix and Everknights. I had some success, but it always seem like the overhead was such a huge burden. I’d go to comic book convention and struggle trying to sell just a $3 comic. Plus it was so hard to get all my ideas out there. I have so many and it seemed like I spent more time promoting than creating.

Then one day, I was at a comic book show doing my usual shtick when I see these guys across from me selling T-shirts like crazy. $20 a pop all day! I was like, shit, maybe I have to do more shirts. Then the show ended and I was packing up and I saw these guys leaving and I said, “Hey guys, you had a nice convention.” They turned and said, “This is the worst convention we’ve ever done. We’re never coming back.” I was floored. Who were these guys? I asked around. They did a webcomic called Penny Arcade. I turned to my artist, Chris and said, “Chris, we’re doing a webcomic.” So I started with Super Frat. Eventually, I started The Webcomic Factory to do the webcomics I couldn’t do with the Super Frat characters. Now I’m making money and the creative challenges are everywhere!

Q:  What has been the biggest change in the comic book industry in the last ten years?

A: Nothing and that’s the problem. Print comics have been creatively stagnant for decades and the business side has only made things worse. The pricing has been out of control since comics passed the $2 mark. The movies do little to increase comic book sales. In fact, I would argue it actually further hurts them. What would you rather buy? $20 worth of Spiderman comics or the new director’s cut DVD of Spiderman 2 with extras, that probably won’t even cost you $20? There’s just no contest.

The behind-the-scenes editorial situation of the big two, in my view, is an utter nightmare. It’s a mix of the most cynical kind of corporate decision making, mixed with fanboys that haven’t read much of anything outside of comics and guys that just hire their own friends. Imagine Hollywood with no money and you pretty much have the comic book industry. The medium had a great opportunity in the 90’s to change to things and they blew it. They just decided to grab as much money as possible from the fans. Now, they’re paying for that mistake and webcomics are eating away at the fan base faster than they can make up for it. I predict that within the next ten years one of the major comic book companies will simply close shop and their corporate owners will farm out the characters to smaller publishers. (Probably the remaining publisher of the two.) And once Hollywood discovers webcomics, forget it. Print comic books are about as relevant, stable and profitable as print newspapers.

Within ten years, you’ll either be on the web or you’ll be nothing.

Q:  What is the secret to good comedy writing?

A: Surprise.

Q: What was the greatest comic book series ever (and why)?

A: Hmm. Tough call. I would say Grimjack. It was designed to be a comic book where literally anything can happen at any place with anyone. It ran the gamut from action, adventure, supernatural, science fiction, noir, comedy—- I really enjoyed it.

Q:  What was one of The Simpsons episodes you wrote for?

A: I write for the Simpsons comic books published for Bongo. My most recent story was Locked in Brewery, where Homer and Barney get trapped in the Duff Brewery during a tour and then have to save Duff from some corporate spies trying to steal their new secret beer recipe. It was in the most recent Simpsons Summer Shindig #6. Two of my favorite stories I wrote were when Lisa runs a games of Dungeons and Dragons (in the Bart Simpson comic #65) and a couple of stories I wrote called The Maggie and Moe Mysteries, where Moe babysits for Maggie and together they must solve a mystery.

Q:  How does one get their work on your site?

A: Well, everything on the site is either written by me or co-written by myself and the site’s co-founder, Christian Beranek. We work with artists from around the world, so if you’re an artist, feel free to shoot me a link with your portfolio. If you’re a writer, you’ll have to make your own site.

Q:  What is your wildest work story?

A: I work at home via computer, so other than the occasional website snafu, nothing happens here. But on the road at comic book conventions, plenty of stuff happens. I guess the wildest moment was when I was promoting The Travelers at Dragon Con. I would frequently offer a free comic to any woman that would go topless. Finally, someone took me up on that offer. She said she was broke and would flash the fans for $20. I said, sure. So I bought her top for $20 and she whipped it off in front of the fans to cheering. Later, one of my publishers asks, “Hey, did you ever card that girl and make sure she was 18?” I had not. I immediately threw away the top. No wait, that never happened, I just made that up.

Actually, once I dated a comic book groupie. She was actually there to meet my friend, another creator, but I ended up dating her for a year.

I was on a plane about a week before 9/11 and a storm hit. The cockpit door was swinging wide open and making noise keeping everyone awake. I thought, “That looks unsafe. What if the stewardess trips and falls across the controls? They should really secure that door for safety reasons.” Is that considered a wild story or does it have to be sex-related?

I saw two comic book dealers get into a fight on the floor of a convention once. They were arguing over some trade they had made and things go out of hand. A lot of those types of experiences I tried to put in Dealers, one of the webcomics we do on the Webcomic Factory. It’s about toy collectors in the late 90’s and is very similar to what happened in comics a few years prior.

Q: How accurate a stereotype is The Comic Book store Guy” from The Simpsons?

A: Scarily accurate. Dead on.

Q: If you were a superhero which one would you be?

A: Oh, who cares? Does anyone really give a shit about that? I create new characters every day and the vast majority of them are NOT superheroes. Who the Hell would be fighting crime if they had superpowers anyway? How about stopping wars? Helping the sick and homeless? How are you supposed to punch your way through those kinds of problems?

Q: If Batman and Superman got in a fight, who would win?

A: What are you six? Writers can make that story happen either way. They’re just characters. Please, read some webcomics. The creators there have moved pretty far beyond that.

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