Tag: elizagalesinterview

An Interview With Writer Michael Pang


Michael Pang is the author of In The Eyes Of Madness; here is a link to his website:




Q: What is In The Eyes Of Madness about?

A: IN THE EYES OF MADNESS is a Young Adult Paranormal Urban Fantasy by Michael Pang. It tells the story of a 17 year old boy who struggles between accepting the possiblity that extraordinary things can happen in the world we live in or the possiblity of impending insanity inherited through his mother. It is a journey of self discovery and embracing who you are.

Q: What gave you the idea for the story?

A: The idea for the novel came to me in a dream one night. I was surprised to be able to get into a deep enough sleep to dream. We (my wife and I) were new parents and our newborn was only a couple months old. What that meant was that we barely slept! So, it was kind of a miracle for me to even have such a vivid and amazing dream (or nightmare, I couldn’t really decide). When I woke from it, I tried going back to sleep, but it was no use. I couldn’t get the dream to continue. In the morning, I told my wife all about the dream and we decided that it made a good book idea. I was desperate to find out what happens in the end, but since I couldn’t get the dream to continue, I decided that I’d just have to write the rest of it myself.

Q: Why is Declan Peters a character worth reading about?

A: Declan goes through a transformation in the book that frees him from all the baggage that he’s been carrying around for 10 years.    I’m sure that there is always something about yourself that you are self conscious of or you don’t like (whether it is something that has happened in your past or something about yourself physically).   And sometimes, you can get obsessed about it so much that it consumes you. But learning to like yourself for who you are and how you got there is probably one of the most freeing experiences of your life.

Q: What personal experiences did you draw from in writing the book?

A: Some of the insecurities that Declan has throughout the book were derived from some of the insecurities that I had myself as a teenager.  And also the way that Declan’s heart glows whenever the love of his life is around, is a pretty close portrayal of how I feel about my wife.

Q: Who are some of your literary influences?

A: I’m a big paranormal fiction fan. A few of my favorite writers are Jim Butcher, Simon R. Green, Cassandra Clare, and Rick Riordan. Jim Butcher has definitely influenced some of the ways I write my fight scenes in the book as his books are always so packed with supernatural action.  And Simon R. Green always has such witty characters that are very unique.  And Cassandra Clare and Rick Riordan simply have a way of creating a world that draws you in.  These are all amazing writers and I really hope that one day I can attain their level of excellence

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

A: Well, my career actually went through quite a bit of changes during the timeframe when I was writing the book.  I was a Senior Mechanical Engineer managing R&D projects in the Gas Turbine industry when I started writing the book, and  had a job change to Project Engineer managing service projects in the Wind Turbine industry.  Finally, when I had finished the book, I became an IT Project Manager.  I guess these transitions helped me develop a lot the of the characters in my book.  When I working in the Turbine industries, I had a chance to travel a lot and it allowed me to meet all kinds of people with different backgrounds.  This inspired me to create a good set of unique and diverse characters.

Q: Does having a background in IT help you in promoting your book?

A: I feel that in today’s society, practically everything is moving into the virtual world.  A majority of book promotions nowadays are done through Social Media. Although, I’m currently in the IT industry, I actually only got a Twitter account a couple weeks ago and I’m still wondering “what…how do I do…?”  And I’m realizing what hard work it really is to keep up with Social Media.  People who are posting all the time, amazes me.  I tried to keep up with Facebook and twitter one day, and I was like “this needs to be a full time job…”

A: What is your weirdest San Francisco story?

Actually, I can’t really remember too much about San Francisco because I was so young; however, the weirdest story my family told was about the house we were living in.  They were all convinced that the house was haunted and whatever lived there was set on breaking up our family.  We only lived there for a couple months; thank God!  But I don’t really remember any of it.

A: Do you think you have to write books in series to be successful nowadays?

No, I don’t think that is necessary.  However, I enjoy a book series because you get a better chance of seeing how the characters grow and become very dynamic.  Also, I love and hate the anticipation of finding out more of the plot while waiting for the next book to come out.
Q: Why do you think stories about paranormal activities are so popular?

A: I think that people are always going to be interested in things that they don’t really understand.  We are a very curious specie.  Whatever we can’t see and touch daily, makes us ponder and sparks our imagination.

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 Child of the Seventies Creator Michael Vaccaro


Michael Vaccaro is the writer and star of the web-series Child of the 70’s; here is a link to his website:


Q: What is Child of the 70’s about?

A: Child of the ’70s follows “Carlo Perdente,” a total loser, whose life completely falls apart as he’s about to turn 40. He loses his survival job, his NYC rent-controlled apartment, and his hot boyfriend. His acting career is going nowhere, and his obnoxious and overbearing Italian family are forcing him to abandon his dreams of stardom and get “serious.” A chance encounter with his favorite 1970s TV star, “KiKi Lawrence,” changes everything for him.

Q: What inspired you to write it?

A: I’ve always had the idea in my head, pretty much. But when I realized that people were creating their own content on the web, I realized I could do that, too. I didn’t have to sit around anymore and try to get a meeting with a network in order to pitch an idea. When that hit me, it all took off. I began writing furiously, and it all sort-of poured out of me.
I was kind of sickened by how gay people were portrayed on TV. We were either “Jack,” the over-the-top, ridiculous fool, or “Will,” bland, sex-less and non-threatening. I wanted to write and portray a gay character who was funny and interesting and charming and edgy and flawed and real.

Q: Upon whom is your character based?

A: Me, of course! 🙂 But also, he’s a little bit “Rhoda Morgenstern.”

Q: You worked for Lainie Kazan as an assistant. What is your most memorable work story from that time?

A: Oh, brother…I could tell you stories! Ha! But, I’ll save all that.
Lainie Kazan is an amazing woman. She is literally the person who walks in and completely lights up the room. She is fun and gregarious and intelligent and tough. She had great stories about her life and career. She should absolutely write a book. I really enjoyed my time with her. But, it was also non-stop! From the second she woke up ’til the moment she went to bed, it was overwhelming. My head would literally spin. I couldn’t keep up.

Q: How has the gay culture changed since the seventies?

A: This is a difficult question. Clearly, we’ve come quite a long way, baby, and I’m very happy about the strides we’ve made, and the rights we’ve achieved, but in my view, we’ve been watered down, diluted. We’ve been homogenized, and I feel that we’ve lost what makes us special. We are not like everybody else. We are different. And I’m interested in celebrating those things that make us unique. We are also certainly less political. We’ve become complacent. Our values have changed. I sometimes miss the fight, I miss the anger, I despise the apathy. I treasure the thought that I came up, and out, in quite a difficult, yet magical time. Of course, there will be many people who will be angry at me for this response.

Q: There have been several recent hit films sent in the seventies including Inherent Vice and American Hustle, how realistic do you think these films were?

A: I haven’t seen Inherent Vice, but I thought American Hustle was sooooooooooooooooooooo ’70s, that it made me want to puke! Not everybody who lived in that decade had a perm and bell-bottoms and beaded curtains and bean-bag chairs! Not everyone painted their apartments mustard and orange. It was ridiculous. Insanely unrealistic and over-the-top. Unless the art director and the wardrobe department were trying to portray some kind of 1970s nightmare, then they totally succeeded.

Q: What was great about the seventies?

A: Best decade for movies, ever! Filmmakers and actors took risks, nothing was safe, nothing was taboo. They don’t make movies stars like that anymore. Great TV. Norman Lear changed everything. Fantastic music, amazing performers. A decade when you still had to be able to sing in order to be a singer! Fascinating politics. The destruction of the USA began the second Ronald Reagan took office. And also, it was fun! People danced and did drugs that weren’t made in somebody’s garage. And the sex! I had fantastic sex in many bathrooms of many clubs and bars! We weren’t afraid then. We weren’t weighed down by this pall of death and sadness that eventually took over.

Q: What are some things you don’t miss about that decade?

A: Living in The Bronx. Let me qualify that… I have very fond memories of that place, but I also have nightmares sometimes where I have to move back there!

Q: Do you think being openly gay helped or hurt you as an actor?

A: Both. It hurt in that I was always out, and that wasn’t as chic as it is now, so I lost out on a lot of opportunities. But it made me a better person, and that’s more important.

Q: If you could go to lunch with Walter Findlay or Dwayne Schneider who would you pick (why)?

A: Definitely Walter Findlay! First of all, he lives in upstate NY, and he could come down to the city for lunch. Dwayne lives in Indianapolis. Second, Walter and I could have a great discussion about his fascinating wife. Dwayne would just want to talk about chicks!



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/Writer Kristen Doscher




Kristen Doscher is an aspiring actress and writer who has authored two produced plays. She will be at this year’s Sundance Film Festival; here is a link to her website:





Q:  What made you interested in acting?


A: I can remember all the way back to my Kindergarten variety show. I was given the song “How Much is that Doggy in the Window” to sing in front of the entire school with my little toy dog. Then in 3rd and 4th grade, I think that is when the “performance bug” really kicked it. It was definitely not acting from the beginning, I just remember knowing that I had to be a performer of some sorts. So I had this dream in my head of being a “pop star.” I wanted to be on stage in Madison Square Garden dancing and singing in front of thousands of people. That to me was the ultimate dream, having all these people coming to watch little old me. All throughout elementary and middle school I was starting all girl singing groups and hoping to be the next 3LW. Slowly I realized that the dream of being on stage and really committing to this as a life goal and not just a hobby was mine and mine alone. I knew I had to go out there and pursue it. I remember one day I was sitting in my room and wondering how I could make this dream a reality and it was then that I sort of realized that there are other outlets for performers and that I wanted to try them all. So I did my research and signed up for my very first acting classes in New York City. My Dad pulled me out of school early once a week and rode the train in with me. When I got home every night, the only “homework” I was interested in doing was for the scenes we were assigned and it was a done deal from there on out.


Q: You wrote, produced and performed in two plays in New York, what were they and what where they about?


A: The first play that I had ever written premiered in The Strawberry One Act Festival and went all the way through to the finals with several nominations. The plot line is very true to the title ‘A Love Story’, as it explored the essence of love when it is fresh and new and love when it falters.

The second was a play called MOB which premiered in The Thespis Theatre Festival. MOB is the story of a young Italian American couple who breaks the break by sticking up diners (Pulp Fiction Style) all across NY State. Using different alias’ they stage fake proposals and enlist the help of a flash mob to ensure a substantial amount of hostages. But when these two unintelligent bandits turn against each other in a battle of love, money, and some pretty hip dance moves…who will win and who will make it out empty handed?


Q:  What inspired you to write them?


A: When I graduated from school and realized that from that point forward I wouldn’t always get to have a say in what roles I played, I kind of panicked. It was then that I realized how easily I could market myself the way I wanted to. I could write and create a whole world of my choosing and act along side actors of my choosing, in venues of my choosing. I think you catch my drift! The whole thought of it was very exciting and still is. I also think each play that I have written really spoke to where I was at that point in my life. When I wrote A Love Story I was in a relationship that I was terrified of loosing and the shear thought of it created a spark, an energy inside me and writing was the best way for me to express it. MOB on the other hand was my way of exploring characters with a heightened sense of reality. I really wanted to play on stage, like a kid with no boundaries, and that’s where MOB was born.


Q:  How did you go about getting them produced?


A: Getting them produced was surprisingly easy which isn’t always the case. If you are a new writer and you want to see your work up on stage in front of an audience, the easiest route to take is festivals. They provide you with a lot of the necessities and really help the process be as smooth as possible. I won’t sugar coat it though, as it can be difficult with the amount of people you have to deal with on a daily basis to get your show up and running. I also recommend using a crowd funding platform such as Indiegogo or Kickstarter. Especially if you plan to produce the show fully on your own in a venue of your choosing which is hopefully the next step for me and the cast of MOB. Taking it one step further.


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


A: Well this question is a bit of a doozy. It sounds a bit off the charts, but my day job tends to fluctuate and I always seem to make it work some how. There is the occasional paycheck from acting gigs here and there which is always nice and encouraging. Right now, I am working for a friend who owns a dog walking business. It really is pretty sweet. And it doesn’t feel like work which is nice! It allows me to pursue acting and make a schedule that works for me which is something every actor needs.


Q: What kind of training have you had?


A: I graduated from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts which is a two year acting conservatory geared primarily towards theater training (which I loved!!). The Academy gives you a taste of a little bit of everything, which is nice in some aspects. Every time a new semester rolled around you were given a whole new set of teachers and a whole new perspective on acting, movement, voice and speech etc! This was great because it kind of allowed you to choose which methods worked for you.

After graduating, I dabbled in a few classes and tried out other conservatories until I stumbled upon Matthew Corozine Studio Theatre. I can finally say that I found a space and a coach that created the safest environment for me to truly play as an artist! MCS is based around Sanford Meisner’s technique of living and behaving, truthfully and fully in imaginary circumstances. The technique really taught me how to get off of myself and to create this world around my scene partner. I attribute a lot to Matt, my coach. I’ll be sticking with him for a while!


Q:  What do you hope to achieve at Sundance this year?


A: Well, there are a ton of things that I would hope to achieve but I really want to go in head first with out a plan. I sometimes feel like that is when the best and most unexpected things occur. I will say that a main focus of mine is meeting as many people as I can and building my roster of contacts. When I look back to my experience at the festival last year, the greatest thing I took away was the terrific and talented people I met. Most of them I am still in contact with and will be spending time with this year! If I come back home with a pocket full of business cards, then I would have done my job right!


Q: What made you want to transition from theater to film?


A: I’ve always wanted to act in films. Growing up, theater was never something I wanted to do. Once I went away to school and began my training, everything changed and I felt this electricity every time I was on stage. I remember thinking “wow, you cannot beat this feeling” and I fell in love with the theater.  I am glad that I got the training that I did and I will always go back to the theater to continue to grow as an artist and discover new things about myself. I only use the word transition because after graduating, theater has been the bulk of my work as an actress. I want to feed my on screen career and see if it grows. I feel I owe that to my 8 year old self.


Q: How do you approach creating a character?


A: I wouldn’t say that there is one set way that I approach a character. I think there are many different factors that go into it. First, I think it depends on the type of character I am playing. I like to look for the similarities and the differences between myself and the character and then start from there. I used to try and forget “me” all together and try to become this whole other person, but over the last few years I’ve grown to realize that the character is me. I am embodying another life and taking on their struggles and triumphs as my own. Second, I think it depends on the director that you are working with. Some directors are very organic. They just want you in front of the camera or in the rehearsal space, on your feet, doing your thing. And if they love it, GREAT! And if they don’t, then they will tweak it. And I think that works marvelously for some actors because it gives them complete freedom to play. Some directors like to work as an ensemble, discovering the characters as a unit. Why they all came together, etc. What makes them who they are. What brought them to this certain point in their life. How they move in their bodies. On the last play that I wrote I worked with this terrific director, Joanna Tomasz. She was the hands on type which is the kind of director that I love to work with. Like I said, some like the organic route but I like to be pushed and pulled in different directions. I like to see my character from other peoples point of view, whether I agree or not. It’s more fun that way! Joanna introduced myself and the other actors to the Labon Technique, which is based on the belief that by observing and analyzing a characters movements, whether they are conscious or unconscious, you can uncover their inner self. It is essentially a tool to help you build the characters personality through the movement of your body. I am a firm believer in physical work when creating a character!


Q: What would you like to change about the film industry?


A: I’m almost afraid to mention it but I think there is a bit of sensitivity with feminism and woman in the work place lately. I think it is a beautiful thing that so many people feel so passionately about it because it is something that is very important and needs to be voiced. I attended an event for New York Women in Film and Television last month, where Maggie Gyllenhaal gave a marvelous and to the point speech which covered her hopes and fears when it came to this sensitive topic. She ended it by saying that change only occurs as a result of revolution. We need the beautiful, young, and naive girls of this new generation to challenge our views and fight against the current. I thought that this was an awesome way of saying “let people have their own opinions” because in the end people are going to think the way they want to and behave the way they want to and the universe is going to unfold as it may as a result of that. I think women in the industry should continue fighting for their beliefs and if they feel there is an unfair advantage or an unfair amount of opportunities for women then they should absolutely continue this crusade. I can only hope that in the next year we see more of a change and more of an understanding when it comes to this topic. I do firmly believe that art needs a women’s heart and vulnerability to thrive!



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 “The Case” Author Marc Hirsch


Marc Hirsch is a retired doctor who is the author of the mystery novel The Case: here is a link to his Goodreads page:





Q:  What is The Case about?


A: The Case follows Alice White, a divorced legal assistant in 1955 New York City, who travels upstate to investigate the death of a country doctor. What at first appears to have been an accident, turns into a deadly power play of greed and marital discord and threatens to end her life just as she has begun to thaw.



Q:  What makes Alice a character worth reading about?


A:  Alice White is a woman in her thirties, out of her time. She loses her job at the end of WWII to the men returning from military service and refuses to conform to the mold of housewife and mother society seems to expect her to fit into. She is beautiful and athletic, she runs for exercise, inspired by Fanny Blankers-Koen who won four gold medals in the 1948 Olympics, and she goes to law school at night while assisting two Manhattan lawyers with investigation on their cases.



Q:  Why did you chose to write about a female protagonist?


A:  I wrote a chapter to get into a writing workshop. The woman in the scene which composes the whole chapter, sitting alone on a fire escape in the heat of a summer evening in the Bronx of the 1950’s, became Alice White and, only in retrospect, I realized she was modeled after my older sister who underwent similar struggles in 1950’s New York City, as did our mother. Both were working women, my sister a  divorcee like Alice. I have had many women friends who have educated me throughout my life about the struggles of women with societal expectations. I am prejudiced in Alice’s favor.



Q:  How did your experience as a doctor help you in writing a murder mystery?


A: The Case practically opens with a doctor struggling to have a life outside of medicine. That is as much my own story as his. My whole career I have attempted to balance work and many other interests. I did not want to bury myself in clinical practice, yet I took care of critically ill people and wanted them to have the very best I could deliver, so I had to devote much of my “free” time to continuing my medical education. I squeezed in my other interests, though, and started The Case while I was still engaged in high pressure hospital practice. Of course I finished the book in retirement.



Q:  You worked as a doctor on Alcatraz during the 1969 Native American occupation of the island. What compelled you to take that job?


A:  I was a new doctor, interning in San Francisco, and a staff attending physician at my hospital asked me if I’d go, despite the risk of jail time because the Indians had occupied federal land without permission and they were armed. It made me confront what being a doctor meant to me, so I went. Forty five years later, even though I’m retired, I still try to live up to that standard. I volunteer at a local free clinic and, when they try to thank me, I tell them I need to do it more than they need me to do it.



Q:  Who are some of your literary influences?


A: I really didn’t do much reading for pleasure until I finished my initial postgraduate medical training. In the early1970’s I spent a year living on an island off the coast of British Columbia and read boxes full of used detective fiction by kerosene lamp. I discovered Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and Earl der Biggers, creator of Charlie Chan, on that island. More recently, James Lee Burke, Lee Child and Michael Connelly have entertained me with their detective fiction.



Q:  How did you get a publisher?


A: I meditate as a devotee of Paramahansa Yogananda. Every six months I attend a retreat here in Kentucky. One of the regular attendees read and loved my book, The Case, and introduced me to his son, a publisher in Louisville, Kentucky. He is a fan of my writing as are his editors and they have encouraged me to finish my next book and move on to others. They have named this first group of books the Alice White, Investigator series.


Q:  Many great writers from Ernest Hemingway to Charles Bukowski have been heavy drinkers who have suggested that alcohol helped their creativity. (Hemingway said, “write drunk, edit sober.”)You are in recovery; what are some creative techniques you use that do not involve alcohol or drugs?


A: I am definitely an alcoholic in recovery and can no longer drink. When I did drink I did not find alcohol particularly stimulating to my creative expression, so I don’t miss that aspect of it. Recovery has improved so much of my life I would have thought had nothing to do with my drinking. In regard to being an author, it has increased my enjoyment of the process of writing and going out to research people and places to write about. I also now read far more than I did when I drank. So I think the daily process of recovery has far surpassed my use of alcohol as a creative stimulant.



Q:  What was your greatest triumph as a doctor?


A:  I feel fortunate to have been able to deliver so many babies at various times in my career and that, I would normally say, has been a repeated incredibly positive experience in both my life and my medical career. But the single triumph of my experience as a doctor has to have been very early in my career, one particular teen ager who was involved in a high impact automobile accident, struck in the chest by a steering wheel, with no pulse and not breathing. The nurse present encouraged me to move on to another of the victims of this multiple vehicle catastrophe, but I had a feeling this youngster was still salvageable and I sprayed his chest with antiseptic and plunged the biggest bladed scalpel I ever saw between his ribs and into his chest, and the hole sprayed out a mist of blood under pressure with a sound like a coffee can opening and he came back to life. I never got over that.



Q:  If you could take a road trip with Dr. Watson or Dr. Victor Frankenstein who would you pick and where would you go?


A: I would travel with Dr. Watson to London. There are so many reasons besides the obvious, that, when I read Sherlock Holmes, I identify with Watson. I loved London when I was there in the 1960’s. I stayed with fellow medical students in the East End. I would want Dr. Watson to show me his version of London and regale me with his peak experiences, fears and methods of both medical practice and investigation as a student and friend of the famous detective.




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 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:




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



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:




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 DeStress to Success Author Leo Willcocks





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


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:)