Tag: celebrity interviews

An Interview with Writer and Former Showrunner Bob McCullough

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Bob McCullough wrote the book, Where Hollywood Hides: Santa Barbara along with his wife Suzanne Herrera McCullough. Bob and Suzanne also host the podcast, Where Hollywood Hides; here is a link to the website:

http://wherehollywoodhides.com/

 

Q:  What is Where Hollywood Hides about?

A: Where Hollywood Hides: Santa Barbara – Celebrities in Paradise is about how Santa Barbara has always attracted internationally famous Hollywood personalities who have somehow responded to its allure as the ideal place to live, work, and play.  The book presents classic images of Santa Barbara’s movie-making past set against  engaging contemporary portraits and career highlights of many of the area’s renowned celebrities who have discovered Santa Barbara and made it their home.  It’s truly a hard-cover collectible and an informative, engaging read!  (And you can buy it directly athttp://wherehollywoodhides.com or from Amazon.com.)

Q:  What inspired you to write the book?

A: When we moved to Santa Barbara in the Eighties, we were intrigued to find so many celebrity neighbors just going about their daily lives: dropping kids off at school, standing in line at the market, walking the beach…all without fawning fans or hoards of paparazzi nipping at their heels.  They were “hiding” in plain sight…and we wanted to celebrate that aspect of Santa Barbara, that it’s a place where everyone is allowed to simply be themselves.  We were also interested in how these celebrities built their careers, which we learned was simple: through hard work.

Q:  Why do you think Santa Barbara is so popular with celebrities?

A: As above, simply because they can live a “normal” life without always worrying about being “on” for fans and media. Santa Barbara also happens to be unique in that it’s just an hour’s drive from L.A., the weather is 24/7/365 unbeatable, the city has great schools, a major university, innumerable cultural opportunities, pristine beaches, a vibrant arts-technology-business environment, and everywhere you go…free parking!

Q: You were the showrunner for Falcon Crest, what did your duties entail?

A: It all started with the writing. I was given the rare opportunity to create full-season storylines and then to craft each and every script that went before the cameras.  Once the (very impressive and talented) cast came to trust my writing, my job was really to allow everyone to contribute to the finished product.  From a personal “task” perspective, I was involved in casting, working with the directors and editors to develop a consistent “look and feel” of the show, and then to work with outside writers to bring as many fresh ideas into the mix as possible.  In all respects, my three seasons on the show were creatively among the most rewarding I’ve ever enjoyed.

Q:
What are some common mistakes aspiring screenwriters make when trying to break into the business?
A: Well…it can be a long list, but I’d say the top three are: 1) not writing enough and just “talking” about writing all the time. 2) thinking everything they write is perfect; nothing is perfect and everything can always be improved (usually by removing the boring stuff!). 3) ignoring the most important part of the whole process: REWRITING.

Q: What is your strangest on set story?

A: On Falcon Crest, Lana Turner was guest starring in her first episode.  Remember, she was a MAJOR movie star at one time.  But then, so was Jane Wyman (an Oscar winner, for goodness’ sakes).  They had their first scene to do together on this particular day, and Lana would NOT come out of her dressing room and go onto the set until she knew that Jane was already there and waiting for her.  I went to Jane and—first of all, she was never what we could call “fond” of Ms. Turner from personal stuff years before—she she refused to come onto the set until she knew that Lana was there waiting for her.  What to do?  The rest of the cast and the entire crew are assembled, waiting to shoot the scene, and neither of the principal actresses will come out until the other one is out there.  There was only one thing I could do: I lied to both of them, told Jane that Lana was waiting patiently for her on the set…and then rushed over to Lana’s dressing room and told her that Jane was waiting patiently for her.  They both walked onto the set at exactly the same time…and they both thought the other had been waiting for her!  Only the other actors and the crew knew about my little “fib”, and when they applauded at the sight of both of them, both of these great ladies beamed and eventually pulled off some great stuff together on film.  Whew.
Q: Who are some of the celebrity guest you have featured on podcast?

A: We’ve been blessed with some wonderful guests including David Selby (Dark Shadows, Falcon Crest), Tab Hunter, Paul Peterson (The Donna Reed Show), Jimmy Hawkins (It’s a Wonderful Life, Evil Knievel), Hawk Koch (Academy President), Greg Evigan (Broadway & TV), Barry Katz (talent manager), Diane McBain, Ana Alicia, Shelley Fabares, Director Jerry London (Shogun), Producer Lloyd Schwartz (The Brady Bunch), Ron Friedman (writer of Transformer movies)…and a host of other writers, producers, actors, and some very enlightening “behind-the-scenes” Hollywood professionals.

Q:  How did you and your wife meet?

A: I was a Location Manager at Universal Studios (struggling to write scripts).  She was a production secretary who walked through my office hallway.  One look. I was done.  It took me five years to reel her in, but when I finally did, I knew she was a “keeper”.

Q:  You are really well connected and have interviewed some very successful folks on your podcast. Do you have to agree to ask or not ask them about certain subjects in order to get them on your show?

A: Never. Perhaps because Suzanne and I are fairly private people (outside of our writing and podcasting), guests realize that we respect their private lives as well.  But there are absolutely no “pre-conditions” or “guarantees” of any kind when guests agree to chat with us.  Nothing is off-limits, so our conversations can become quite revealing and highly illuminating…particularly for listeners who have their own Hollywood career ambitions. If someone wants to know the reality of working in the business, there’s no better place to hear about it that on the Where Hollywood Hides iTunes podcast series.

Q:  What are some of the defining characteristics of 1970’s television?

A:
Everybody watched it, and there were only 3-4 major broadcasting networks.  ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS were all vying for the same viewers, but each network programmed distinctly.  You knew that an ABC show was going to be action-packed and “high concept” entertainment (remember “Charlie’s Angels”?).  NBC played more to sitcoms and star-driven personalities (“Laugh-In” was a huge hit at the time).  CBS tended toward some serious police procedurals and “deeper” dramatic stuff, along with being the premier news network (Walter Cronkite).  The audiences in the 1970s knew when their favorite shows were on during the week, and they made it a point to be in front of the tube at that time.  Then, with the advent of the VCR, “time-shifting” became possible, and network schedules were often shuffled around to combat the competition without regard to where the audience might be.  And today, the world is tilting on its axis.  The networks are faced with competition from multiple directions and from an expanding media universe.  The future belongs to those who can capture the attention amid all of today’s myriad viewing choices.  It’s exciting…and it’s challenging.

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 Andrew Mondia

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Andrew Mondia is an actor who appears in the film Another Hand; here is a link to his website:

http://www.andrewmondia.com/

Q:  What made you interested in acting?

A:  I always enjoyed performing since I was born.  Singing and dancing were first than the acting came when I was in grade 5.   Love the fun when it comes to being part of a production and when my grandfather died when I was 14 decided to make it a career choice.

 

Q:  What is Another Hand about?

A: I don’t remember much but it was to do with a life support machine being accidentally turned off.

 

Q: What role do you play?

A: I played one of the patients.

Q:  What kind of training do you have?

A: I took various classes in acting, singing and some dancing classes but did a 1 of a 2 year acting school program.   Some of my work is also based on personal development work I have done working on myself on a spiritual level.  I did take a break from acting training as result but slowly getting back into it again.   I only took courses like a couple of stand-up comedy courses to help with how to do stand-up comedy when I lived in London.   Sometimes taking a break from acting classes can help especially if you work in your head a lot and if acting has become your only focus.

Q:  What has been your greatest professional triumph?

A: One of my greatest triumphs is being a part of the Opening Ceremonies for London 2012 and working with Danny Boyle.  I was part of the big number called Pandemonium ie Industrial Revolution.

Q:  If you could play any famous character from literature, who would it be and why?

A: Oh tough choice as I love many great characters…  Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde from by Robert Louis Stevenson Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.  The character goes from the good and evil within us.   On some level if we wanted to we could get real evil and let the ego take control but most people choose not to.   Exploring another side to us that resides deep within and what would happen.  What if you let your evil self out and how would that play out in life?

Q:   What is your strangest on set story?

A: Well not as an actor that I can think of but I worked as I Production Assistant on location for DaVinci’s Inquest TV Show which was filmed in Vancouver.    In a bad part of the city they had cleaned this alley way for filming night shoot.  I had to watch to make sure no one did anything in alley ie go to bathroom.

 

Q:  What kind of day job do you have and why is acting better?

A: Currently I am teaching English in China while working on my working visa for US.

Acting is my passion and love playing the different roles that comes my way.  You get to have fun being creative and breathing life into the roles.  Dressing up sometimes in costumes picked out whether period pieces, modern or something way out of this world.  I bring entertainment to the people and if it makes them laugh even better!

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

A: One aspect is that studios actually give TV shows a chance to build an audience for the season instead of cancelling shows even before they have aired.  At least air the shows that are already have been given 13 episodes and then decide once all episodes aired.

Q:  How do you prepare for an audition?

A: I do my best to have fun with the role I am given.   If it is a role with lines now I aim to memorize as I find I work best when they are.  I can play more with the character.   Sometimes I can practice till I do it to death but really no such thing.   Some take more work than others.  I auditioned for a role in the movie Eurotrip back in 2003 and had a call-back.  It was the best audition I did but role was younger than me but part was up my alley.   I had memorized sides given and really got into part so much that I didn’t even realize I changed some lines which made it even funnier.  It’s usually unheard of but later that day I came across someone from the casting office and she gave me a positive comment on my audition.  I have not forgotten it and as result have set the bar of how I want my auditions to be.

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 Tino Orsini


 

 

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Tino Orsini is an Anglo-Italian actor who appears in the film After the World Ended; here is a link to his website:

http://www.tinoorsini.co.uk

Q: What is  about?

 

A:  After the World Ended is  multi-faceted story that takes place on an alternate future time line of Earth directed by Tony Sebastian Ukpo.

Q: What role do you play?

A: I play Elias who with his wife Aurora (Arinda Alexander)  help a young girl(Shuna Iijima)who stows away on a touring vessel bound for the restored natural borders of the abandoned surface cities of a once thriving metropolis to search for her family.

Q:  What makes it different from other science fiction movies?

A: its different to other Sci-Fi films in that it’s a drama and about human survival without necessarily all about special effects and such.its more an exploration of life in a world struggling to re-imagine itself,and the people who inhabit it.

Q: What is the biggest difference between acting for stage and acting for film?

A: the biggest difference I would say is that stage acting lends itself to a much broader performance in order to reach the audience whereas in film the camera is right up close on your face and so it’s much more subtle and less is more.

Q: To what theory of acting do you ascribe?

 

 

A: well,I don’t have a particular method per se,I have studied the Stanislavski approach and Meisner which I still try and use when creating a character but I think what it boils down to for me is bringing all of that knowledge and creating a truthful three-dimensional character within the realms of the story.

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

A:  I’ve done all sorts of day jobs including waiter,security,agent’s assistant and even delivered flowers.

They all teach me about different aspects of life which I bring to my work.

Q: What famous role would you like to attempt?

A: I would like to try Eddie Carbone in Arthur Miller’s ‘A View from the Bridge’.

I played him at school and I love the complexity of this character.

Of course I would love to try the Shakespearean roles of Shylock and Lear when I’m older as they are a real challenge to do and I think actors need to be challenged in order to grow and evolve.

Q: You lived in Los Angeles for a while; what was the biggest culture shock you experienced?

 

A: I had always dreamed of going there as a teenager and when I landed there it took me a while to get use to the sheer vastness of it all.

Also the all year-round sunshine which was wonderful.

Q: What would you change about the British film industry?

A: I would say since the huge amount of inward investment that we are experiencing it’s a sign that UK is the best place in the world to make films right now but digital needs to be embraced if cinema hopes to remain relevant for audiences in the future.

Q: If you had to become any character you have ever played for the rest of your life, who would it be?

A: I played Nat Miller in the theatre production of ‘Ah,Wilderness!’ In London and he was such a joy to play as he was such a kind hearted and understanding head of the family.

I would like to think if I ever have my own kids I would have his qualities as a father.

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 Aida King

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Aida King is an aspiring actress who will appear in the upcoming HBO pilot King Kamehameha; here is a link to her IMDB page:

www.imdb.com/name/nm6601628

 

 

Q: What made you interested in acting?

 

A: I find acting is very similar to playing music. Some of the most gifted musicians actually can’t even read music but their ability to create from a place of love, emotion while keeping the integrity of the beats & scores which really is the mind of music is a craft in itself. Acting combines the skills of heart and mind because it challenges you to understand & channel the emotions of the character you are playing, their feelings, their thoughts while at the same time memorizing lines, and knowing the lines of everyone in the script. I became interested in Acting because the wonderful combination of skills required to bring out those emotions of a character or role and assimilating that with the roles of others. I also know that I was interested in acting because it allows you to reach emotions that you did not know existed. You have an empathy for people in ways that sometimes most people in the public may not have, because you constantly have to wear somebody else’s shoes and become them.

Q: What is King Kamehameha about?

A: King Kamehameha is about a specific individual, a King, in Hawaiian Folklore who transformed Hawaii in the 1800’s while keeping it independent amidst colonial interest in the islands. What I did not know before, about him was that King  Kamehameha is remembered for the Kānāwai Māmalahoe, the “Law of the Splintered Paddle”, which protects human rights of non-combatants in times of battle. That was very interesting. The Pilot is more of a story line very similar to the show VIKINGS, in it’s format, which is on the History Channel. That’s about all I can say …until we start shooting.

Q: What role do you play?
A: I am set to play the Queen of King Kamehameha, which should be a very challenging role, and a wonderful opportunity.

 

Q: What did you do to prepare for the part?
A: to prepare for the part, I have spent a great deal of time trying to understand who she was, from the historical records. I think it’s important to learn more about the customs that were prevalent in Hawaiian history back then and from that framework, I can start to get a feel for the kind of person she was as the Queen. There is a lot more that I will be researching naturally as I get the script but for now, it’s extremely important to know the role of noble women in Hawaiian history, because she came from that. So that’s basically what I am doing and I am sure there is more that I will need to know as I learn the character.

Q: How did you get your audition for the part?
A: well interestingly enough, my management team was aware that the script was being written, and felt that they wanted someone who was new to play this role. I never auditioned per say, it was simply given to me because my management knew the people behind it very well, and they lobbied to get me the role. I did do a screen test that went very well, and they felt there was no need to hold open auditions for this part. Of course I am grateful for the opportunity.

 

Q: What kinds of day jobs have you had and what makes acting better?
A: I am a Business, University graduate from Ryerson University in Toronto and for the most part I have been most fortunate to work for myself. I sell items on eBay and I teach others how to use eBay and I have managed to make a good living out of it, while pursuing my other interests. Acting and music are my other interests but acting has become foremost because as I said before, I honestly believe that putting yourself in other people’s shoes on a consistent basis allows you to empathize with people in ways that maybe a lot of people can’t. And when you think about how many actors are humanitarians, or environmentalists, or activists, I really believe it’s because they have an understanding of humanity.  That’s not discounting individuals that are not actors, but I believe that we all need to put ourselves in other people’s shoes, and isn’t that what acting is really about?

Q: How did being a violinist prepare you for acting?
A: being violinist is very interesting becomes it’s a very discipline instrument. I mentioned earlier that a lot of accomplished musicians don’t read music, because as I have often heard, it gets in the way…lol. But  I read music because the violin as I played itinerary was part of an orchestra. There was a conductor naturally and you learn the power of cooperation, and  collaboration. Acting requires cooperation and collaboration. No divas allowed. It’s pure in the sense that we are all part of a team and acting is all about that, even when you are shooting scenes by yourself, you constantly have to remember that’s it’s not about you but it’s about the final product, and the role we play to create that product.

Q: What famous film role could you have nailed?
A: well that’s a tough question…lol…my career has just begun, and time will tell what I accomplish and what roles will be offered to me or what roles I will have to compete a lot for….right now I expect to audition for a lot of parts, because there is a push in Hollywood for more Asian actors. A lot of that however is just a start because it will really come down to the scripts I get positioned for…..we will see

Q:  If you could change one thing about the film industry, what would it be?
A: again, the film industry is changing to reflect the great diversity that exists in North America, but I think more people of color and more women need to think about writing screen plays, or producing their own content and if there was one thing I wish was more accessible is opening up more distribution channels for this kind of content to reach the masses. And it’s happening…it’s just that’s it’s a little slow…but that’s ok…

 

Q: King Kamehameha was the king of Hawaii, If California had a king, who would it be and why?

A: I don’t think anyone person in today’s society can play that role. In my mind the kings in California, are people dedicated to SERVICE…..veterans, first responders, teachers, nurses, doctors, people who make a real difference. And those are the stories that are being told in the movies today… I have a particular interest in the stories of Veterans of WW II, the greatest generation. And it’s great to see artists like Angelina Jolie telling us the Story of a living legend, in UNBROKEN,  who was a POW on the Pacific. Also to see the emotion she brought to directing that movie and the love you could see she had for the gentleman whose story the movie was based on, was really touching. Same could be said for the code breaker in The Imitation Game…..that’s what I love about Acting And Movies…telling stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things…lol
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 Singer and Spiritual Guide Oksana Angel

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Oksana Angel is a singer, spiritual guide and the creator of Kingdom of Angels and the film Unconditional Love; here is a link to her website:

http://www.oksanaangel.com/

 

Q:  What is the theme of Kingdom of Angels?

A: The Kingdom of Angels is a Musical “user-friendly” guide to my interpretation of the spiritual world through my personal experiences as a spiritual guide. I’ve decided to use music (the universal language) to convey how the average person can “tap into” the realms of pure spiritual joy, celestial beauty, compassion, kindness and unconditional love to bring them to a place of understanding.
Q:  What inspired you to create it?

A: After years of research and experience in these topics, my inspiration was the first song “Unconditional Love” I recorded with my producer Anthony Meyer (songwriter/producer for Mitchel Musso, Kaya Jones, Jeff Timmons)
Q:  When will we be able to see your reality show?

A: We are currently in post-production with the reality TV show “The Kingdom of Angels”. The first episode is dedicated to my creative work on the song “Unconditional Love”. My producer and I show our viewers the making of the record from an idea to the final product. In our discussions we touch upon various spiritual subjects as the creation of the song provoked us to contemplate on deep philosophical matters of meaning of life, value of human life and the role of the spiritual realm in our evolution. It will be posted online in the next few weeks followed by a worldwide release of the song on iTunes.
Q:  What makes your family worth watching?

 

A: The family is an imaginary one! A “fictional take” (if you will) In the subsequent episodes I’d like to introduce a magical element to “The Kingdom of Angels” TV show. It will illustrate the life of a medieval (fictional) family, celestial beings and divine creatures of the Kingdom.
Q:  What is the most common misconception we American’s have about Russia?

 

A: Perhaps, the myth that Russians are a bunch of “strict communists” living in a “strict, black and white” country. When, in fact they are just like Americans in many ways… Creative, loving and hopeful to see about a better, united world free to personal expression.


Q:  What kind of training do you have?

A: I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music (Voice/Piano). I also had operatic vocal training by renowned singers of Russia – Anatoly Postnov (opera coach) and Alevtina Korshunova (Pop vocal coach)
Q:  Who are some of your musical influences?

 

A: I love listening to Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton, Enya, Madonna, Enigma, Evanescence, Sarah Brightman, Sade.
Q:  What is the film Unconditional Love about?

 

A: Unconditional Love, a Medieval Story is a movie about extraordinary love between two souls that reincarnate on Earth lifetime after lifetime to be together. Only after a series of such returns to Earth in a human form, the two spirits finally attain the bliss of oneness. The movie revolves around these two characters and their timeless unconditional love for each other that keeps being tested until they enter the Kingdom of Eternity together.
Q:  What role do you play?

A: I have not picked a role yet… Most likely, I will play the Angel of Love who sings love songs in this movie-musical.
Q:  What is the difference between traditional religion and spirituality?

A: Spirituality goes beyond the traditional boundaries and rituals of the traditional religion, I think. I was raised in an Orthodox Christian society where religious rules and laws were confining and depressing. I do not favor or promote any particular religious views in this film. I believe that ALL personal interpretations of “God” are true and valuable as long as the individual accepts him/her as their “higher being”. This movie is about Unconditional Love towards all living beings, the entire God-created Universe.

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