Tag: postaday

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 Former Homicide Detective And Author Dan Willis



Dan Willis is a former homicide detective who specializes in wellness training to first responders. He is also the author of the book Bulletproof Spirit: The First Responders Essential Resource for Protecting and Healing Mind and Heart; here is a link to his website:  http://www.firstresponderwellness.com/

Q: What is Bulletproof Spirit about?

A: “Bulletproof Spirit: The First Responders Essential Resource for Protecting and Healing Mind and Heart” is an emotional survival guidebook—a wellness resource for police officers, fire personnel, the military, paramedics, nurses, hospital trauma workers, as well as their spouses and loved ones. It provides, for the first time, over 40 proactive wellness strategies and emotional survival methods that work to protect, heal and nurture the spirit of those who serve—so they will no longer suffer from all of the negative aspects of their profession. The book provides first responders with a message of hope, and a path toward wellness.

Q: What made you decide to write a book?


A: I have been a police officer, now a captain, for nearly 26 years and not only have I suffered from the terrible things I have experienced, but I have witnessed numerous colleagues suffer from PTSD, depression, substance abuse, and many other physical and emotional ailments that have all been brought on and aggravated by what we experience at work. There really isn’t any effective training or information available that addresses how a first responder can proactively work to insulate themselves and protect, heal, and nurture their spirit so they will not only survive, but thrive throughout their careers.


Suicide is the number one cause of death for first responders. Every year nearly 200 officers take their own life. 21 military veterans and 1 active duty soldier kill themselves every day. 120,000 police officers go to work every day suffering with PTSD. There is a tremendous need to provide emotional survival information and training for all these heroes who sacrifice a part of themselves to protect and give life to others.


An officer with a damaged spirit is not only susceptible toward self-destructive behaviors, but they are also unable to provide the most effective and professional police services for the community, which needs and demands them to be at their very best. Bulletproof Spirit provides the training, resources, and essential information to keep them well.


Q: What kind of research did you do?


A: The genesis for the book began in 2010 when I attended the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. I took a course regarding emotional survival taught by a supervising special agent of the Behavioral Science Unit. Since then I have read numerous books on the subject—though none of them really offered effective wellness methods that could be used as a proactive strategy toward emotional survival. Much of the literature that was available primarily dealt with all the reasons why first responders suffer from their work.


I’ve consulted with several experts in the field, such as Nancy Bohl-Penrod, Ph.D., of the Counseling Team International, and have instructed with her. In addition, I have nearly 26 years of police experience, work on our peer support team, and have established and coordinated my agency’s Wellness Program. I continue to travel and teach first responders regarding emotional survival strategies.


Q: What are some of the professional experiences you drew from for the book?


A: Most of my career has been as a detective investigating murders, child abuse, and crimes of violence. I have also been a SWAT Commander and a member of our peer support team. I worked a child molest case where the suspect had over 700 photos of infants and small children being sexually assaulted; I have crawled on my hands and knees inside a body bag in order to collect maggots so that an entomologist could estimate the time of death. I have had my police car rear window shot out, I’ve chased attempted murder and armed robbery suspects at 120 mph and caught them; I’ve worked cold case murders, one taking me five years to solve.


I worked a case where a woman was attacked inside her home and stabbed 76 times, until the knife blade broke off in her skull. And I have witnessed numerous autopsies where I not only collect evidence from the dead body, but have gotten covered in skull dust as the Medical Examiner used a high powered saw to cut through the victim’s skull to remove the brain.


Every time I suffered with my victims, each case of senseless violence, every evil act that devastated so many lives—all became very toxic and poisonous to my spirit. Through many years of trial and error, I discovered what actually worked to breathe life back into my spirit.


Q: What are some of the major principles you teach in your wellness training?


A: The most important principle to realize, is that if we do not do anything proactive toward our own emotional survival, then we will inevitably suffer from the inherent negative aspects of our profession. First responders must also learn to become much more self-aware to understand how the job has changed them—their health and wellness, their relationships, their view of others, and the quality of their lives. When first responders neglect the importance and wellness of their spirit, then they are in danger of turning into someone their loved ones no longer recognize.


I describe several warnings signs that indicate that your spirit is suffering and not constructively processing stress or trauma. I also detail how first responders can overcome the daily hypervigilance roller coaster, how to prepare for and mitigate the effects of trauma, and numerous ways that our loved ones can become our most critical life-line of support.


It is crucial for first responder agencies to develop an effective peer support team, a wellness program, effective use of chaplain services, and ongoing proactive wellness and emotional survival training for the good of the officers, the agency, and the community.


Q: What case that you had as a homicide detective was the hardest for you to deal with emotionally?


A: The worst was a case where a middle-aged man was taken about 120 miles away from my city and murdered—and had his head and hands cut off. We never did find the victim’s head or hands and the body was dumped in an alley. We had no cause of death, no murder weapon, no murder scene (he was killed and cut up in another unknown location), no witnesses to the murder, no confessions, no DNA, no fingerprints, and no physical evidence of any kind of the suspects. I spent five years immersing myself in a world of pimps, prostitutes, violent gang members, and drug dealers. I received death threats from the suspects, and was being followed by one of their accomplices.


I became obsessed with working this case, while at the same time needing to work all my other cases that kept coming in. I got very little sleep, had difficulty in my marriage, and became very paranoid. However, after 5 years, 2 Crip gang members were convicted of first degree murder.


Q: What do you believe causes first responders to have suicidal tendencies?


A: Many officers suffer from PTSD without knowing that they have it. They suffer extreme panic attacks, horrible nightmares, debilitating stress, crippling intrusive mental images, and eventually they can begin to feel hopeless as the quality of their lives continues to disintegrate.


Officers also feel a great sense of helplessness. Often we are unable to save a child, stop someone’s suffering, or arrest a violent suspect before he is able to victimize again. This sense of helplessness can also lead to guilt feelings, where the officers continually second-guess their actions—thinking there could have been more they could do.


Additionally, there still is a sense that seeking help is a sign of weakness. What we all must realize, is that PTSD is not a weakness. It is not about what’s wrong with you; it’s about what happened to you. It is actually an injury to the brain’s ability to process a traumatic event. There are effective treatments available that can help heal the brain’s processing ability so that memories of the event are no longer crippling.


Q: What are some of the warning signs family members should look for?


A: There are several warning sings which show a first responder’s spirit is suffering:

  1. Isolation: First responders tend to come home and isolate themselves, so that they can unwind and get ready for the next shift. They become disengaged and indifferent. This creates distance and frustration in relationships.
  2. Anger: The first responder will tend to become increasingly angry at things that never used to bother them. Family members walk on egg shells fearing another angry outburst that they don’t understand.
  3. Sleep problems: 40% of first responders have serious sleeping disorders, and only get about 4-5 hours each night—when 8-9 hours are needed for our emotional, physical, and mental well-being.
  4. Depression: Left unattended, the negative aspects of our jobs can leave us feeling not only exhausted all the time, but depressed, moody, and agitated.
  5. Drinking as a perceived need: First responders have twice the rate of alcoholism as the general population. Drinking as a need in order to relax, fall asleep, or to forget, is a significant warning sign that your spirit has not been processing stress and trauma.
  6. Emotionally dead: As a way to cope with being able to do our job while in the midst of heartache and helplessness, first responders develop the natural reaction of shutting down emotional feelings. Over time this tends to make them unable to feel—being emotionally dead inside. This, of course, becomes devastating to personal relationships.


It is essential to treat, protect, and train all components that make us human, our mind, body, and especially our spirit. It is our spirit that is so critically important. It is our spirit that enables us to cope with stress, overcome trauma, and serve with compassion. Our spirit is the reservoir of our motivation to be committed to public service and helping others, to be inspired, and to be hopeful. Our spirit is the foundation for our mental, emotional, and physical health. We neglect our spirit at the expense of our own well-being.


Q: What do you think draws a person to a career in law enforcement in the first place?


A: Nearly all of us were driven to become a first responder because of our compassionate spirit to want to stand up to evil and to protect others from suffering. First responders dedicate their lives to protect and give life to others. This should give us great satisfaction and be life affirming—yet too often our service for others results in our spirits suffering.


I am constantly amazed and inspired by the level of selfless service, sacrifice, commitment, and dedication of those who work at my side. I only wish the general public realized how much we give of ourselves in order to protect and serve them. It is absolutely the best job in the world.


Q: What is the most misunderstood thing about detective work?

A: Probably the most misunderstood thing about police work in general is that we are human; we suffer, fear, and bleed like everyone else. Yet we often look past our own needs in order to help those who need us. Every one of my colleagues would willingly sacrifice their life if it meant they could save another. The heart and spirit of those who serve in the face of evil and violence makes them all heroes. Yet we have families too. Each day when we say good-bye to our baby or kiss our spouse as we leave, we know we may never see them again. We care about protecting others more than our own welfare.





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 Director Antonio James


Antonio James is the director of Trey the Movie and the reality show The Real Dancers Of North Hollywood; here is a link to his IMDB page:






Q: What made you interested in filmmaking?


A: While working at the Veteran Affairs, I was presented with the opportunity to create a music video for my uncle’s music group. From then on I was hooked. I love being able to turn the ideas of one’s dreams into reality.


Q: What is Trey the Movie about?


A: A loveable guy struggles to cope with dangerous inner demons, which are fighting hard to come out. However, emotionally, he’s able to keep it together until he meets Ashley, a woman scorned, who sends him crashing over the edge of insanity and unleashes a killer that cannot be stopped!


Q: What inspired you to make it?


A: A bet over a 6 pack of beer that I couldn’t make a $400,000 movie for only $1000. Not only did I make the movie for just $750, it then went on to generate over $150 THOUSAND dollars, won multiple film festivals, featured on Fox news, screened locally and distributed on Amazon. And even though we had no crew or professional actors, the production quality (excluding acting) didn’t look $750 but $500,000.


Q: What are the elements of a successful horror movie?


A: In my opinion, the most important element of a great horror movie is the psyche of the bad guy. Every horror movie’s antagonist suffers from some mental disorder and his behavior should be according to his state of mind. Knowing your character’s psyche allows the audience to understandably relate to why their favorite psychopathic killer rips people apart and makes the viewing experience of blood splatter and guts that much more enjoyable.


Q: What is The Real Dancers Of North Hollywood about?


A: RDNH is about the inside story of celebrity dance choreographers. It shows the struggles, successes, and sacrifice of their underrated world through reenactment of real past events. Call it a “Tell all Book” for TV!


Q: What did you like about Shane Sparks’ writing?


A: What I got from Shane the most is that he writes from the heart. He has strong convictions and a deep recollection of memorable experiences about a world many of us look past.


Q: What kind of day jobs have you had in the past and how do they influence your work as a director?


A: US Air Force, Veteran’s Affairs. As stated above, I love to manage teams and what better team to manage or be apart of then working with American veterans and becoming an Airman in the United States Air Force.


Q: How did you achieve making directing your full time job?


A: By staying passionate about what I do. I view directing as a hobby not work. Why? Because a hobby is something you’re so passionate about that you will use your own money to fund your activity. During my downtime this passion enables me to create spectacular, high quality directing reels at lower costs, which helps when securing jobs.

When it’s not your passion, you’re doing it only for money, which is work. And no one likes to go to work.


Q: What is your oddest onset story?


A: When a background extra decided to become a lead actress at her own discretion. On the set of Trey, we had enough time to film one more shot and in the middle of the shot she got up out of her seat and begin interacting with the lead actors. Yes, I was infuriated, but in post, it ended up being a big part of selling the scene. So it was a fortunate accident.


Q: What film in history would you most like a chance to remake?


A: Dragonball: Evolution (2009). My Producers would be John Davis and Adam Schroeder from Chronicle (2012) and my Cinematographer would be Bill Pope from Matrix Revelation (2003).





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 Couples Therapist Duane Harvey



Duane Harvey is a licensed marriage and family therapist who is certified in Imago and works in Santa Monica, CA; here is a link to his Psychology Today page:



Q: What exactly is Imago?


A: Imago is Latin for image. In neo-platonic philosophy it referred to imago dei, the image of God we carry within us. In Imago Therapy it refers to the image of the type of partner we are looking for, based on our early experiences with caretakers. Our imago contains both positive and negative traits and we are secretly seeking both, while only conscious of the desiring the positive traits. The negative traits are necessary for the re-activation of those early wounding experiences. It has been shown neurologically that deep emotional memory can be reconsolidated and altered by re-activation followed by corrective experiences with the type of person who originally wounded us.


Q: What does getting certified in Imago entail?


A: Basic certification requires a license to practice psychotherapy, attending a Getting The Love You Want workshop, then a year of coursework and supervision with a clinical instructor, which includes video presentation of work with couples. The certifying board is called Imago Relationship International.


Q: What sort if things do you discuss in your Tantric Couples Conversation group?


A: We discuss how to talk about things. We learn to mirror each others words, to slow down. We gaze silently into the eyes of our partner for three minutes while synchronizing our breath. Love is an addiction. Addictions require surges of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Eye gazing can supply us with an endless supply of this drug. Eye gazing is how we fell in love. We discuss what it felt like to fall in love and re-experience the feelings as we talk about it. We discuss what it is like to breath together.

We discuss touching.

We discuss the sexually charged energetic map of the body and explore different ways of touching each center.

We discuss the ways we appreciate we our partner.

We discuss high eroticism as form of healing.

Some of the discussions are private, between partners, but some are shared.


Q: What are the benefits of doing this kind of therapy in a group?


A: Couples discover very quickly that the problems they thought were uniquely theirs are shared by most couples, and that resolving these problems are a lot easier than they thought. Couples don’t even have to share or actively participate in a group to benefit. The romantic dyad is probably the most isolated of all our social units. Breaking down the fourth wall dissolves shame and provides new solutions fast.




Q: What is your professional opinion of sexual surrogates?


A: There is no such thing as a surrogate. It is always the real thing. Sexual surrogates will tell you they are really relationship surrogates. On the other hand, every relationship is a surrogate for an original relationship. Practically speaking, I have found surrogates to be of great value for clients who have difficulty finding relational experience through common social channels.


Q: What are some of the most common problems you see in couple’s therapy?


A: All couples experience ruptures of connection. The most common problem I see is the couples inability to repair due to the emotional style in which they react to the rupture. For instance, Susan feels ignored by John at a party, but instead of describing her vulnerability she criticizes him for paying attention to others. This causes him to feel inadequate, so he withdraws, which makes her feel even more deeply abandoned and angry. The story is not important. What is important is the rigid pattern they have been locked into and the stereotypical way it escalates. Their higher functioning thought processes have been highjacked by the lightning fast primitive brain we share with all mammals. They are unable to exercise conscious free will, but think they are.


Q: What theories in psychology do you think are passé?


A: The most obsolete theory in psychology is unfortunately the most prevalent and pervasive. Simply put, it is the notion of individual self-reliance and independence, most succinctly expressed in the slogan that one must love oneself before can love someone else and the corollary that one must do their individual work before they can be a successful couple. Not only is this idea wholly inaccurate, it is destructive and goes largely unchallenged as a collective assumption. Connection has be pathologized into codependence.


Q: How does one go about picking out a good therapist?


A: Most people assume that every therapist is competent working with couples or at the very least is relationship oriented. This is far from the truth. Our graduate training programs, even the so-called integrated and spiritual ones, are heavily biased toward the ninetieth century notion of individualism. Working with couples is not for the faint of heart and most therapists are not comfortable with it, and will recommend individual therapy. It is a well established statistic that individual therapy is very good at helping people break up, not come together. If you are in a relationship, or want to be in a relationship, make sure the therapist you select specializes in relationship.


Q: Are there any relationship problems that you see wealthy couples have that other people do not?


A: We all have the same basic attachment needs and problems. But wealthy couples have greater access to complexity, with more outsiders circling the perimeter. They also tend to have more exits, which leaks energy out of the couple bubble. Bonding requires a deep interdependency that can be inhibited by the illusion of independence that wealth can sometimes promote.


Q: How do you feel about reality shows such as Couples Therapy and Celebrity Rehab?


A: The show Couples Therapy makes me sad.


An effective couples therapist is not distracted by the stories couples tell, but focuses on the process and patterns between.

An effective couples therapist carefully regulates negativity, unravels criticism to expose the emotional need it is trying to express.

An effective couples therapist does not challenge one partner without also challenging the other, and keeps the conversation corralled between the partners, deflecting attempts to draw the therapist in as a referee.

An effective couples therapist makes use of every moment of interaction to uncover and steer attachment needs toward target responses.


It is sad to think that anyone might mistake Jenn Berman’s brand of bedlam for real couples therapy.


I have never seen Celebrity Rehab.




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 ACT Like A Child Magazine Co-Founder Jennifer East


Jennifer East is the co-founder and creative director of ACT Like A Child Magazine; here is a link to the website:




Q: What kind of professional background do you have?


A: My background includes 20+ years as a professional Graphic Designer, Photographer, and Art Director, working both in-house and freelance. I also have professional marketing and writing skills. While in Los Angeles, I designed two magazines, one being ACT Like A Child Magazine. My first L.A. magazine was a fully interactive, digital magazine app, and ACT Like A Child Magazine will be one also, as soon as we get the funding for it! I am also an adult actor, primarily commercial work. I love working on set!


Q: What inspired you to start Act Like A Child?


A: After traveling across the country to help launch my daughter’s acting/performing career, I soon realized that Hollywood is no child’s play. I found out first hand that it takes a lot of industry know-how, preparation, networking, determination and hard work to even make a “dent’ in Hollywood. After thinking a lot about it and discussing it with a friend of mine, Sueanne Steinacker, (a talent agent), who herself, was also going through the same things with her daughters, we decided to help others. Families who have found themselves in Los Angeles, working to make their own kid’s dreams come true. We decided to seek out industry professionals who would be willing to share their wealth of information. Our editor, Jasmine Fontes is a producer for a LA production company. With the right tools, tips, and advice, our readers can develop a plan for their child’s career. Things are done the right way and not relying on luck, or thinking that because their child is good-looking or has been in a school play, that the agencies, casting or directors will want them, Agencies and casting get literally thousands of submissions from good-looking, talented hopefuls. Our readers will learn how to stand out and feel informed and confident with the choices they have to make!


Q: What do you look for in a writer?


A: What we look for is quality, trustworthy inspiring people who have a great tale to tell regarding their own journey to help their child live their dreams. It is even better when that person is an industry professional who is working in the field and is able to share their wealth of information. We have professional actors, performers (singers and dancers), models, directors, acting coaches, casting directors, agents, and more, offering their personal experiences and advice in their articles. We love reader’s stories and comments and welcome them! We also love reader’s questions so we can help them with issues that they need real answers to, because chances are, there are hundreds in the same boat, needing those same answers.


Q: What are some common mistakes stage parents make?


A: Probably one of the biggest thing is “smothering” their kids. There is a fine line of being there to manage your child’s career (which is very important, keeping them safe and happy) and not going over-board with their training, micro-managing, pushing them to do things they aren’t ready for, or don’t want to do. This partnership has to be a fun, inspiring, uplifting, an adventure for both parent and child. It does require a lot of discipline and work, as long as the parents infuse positivity and encouragement with their children. Allow kids to be “kids”. They need downtime and playtime with friends. Life needs balance. Also, another mistake is trying to “coach” your own child. It just doesn’t work, unless you are a professional acting coach, and even then, the child will probably listen to another person better. Be there to encourage for your child and be a positive role model and please don’t try to live your life through them.


Q: What do you look for in a cover star?


A: Well, we have three levels of talent that we look for – with all three, we hope to help launch and promote their careers. For a young child to the “twenty-something” actor/performer that is new or fairly new to the industry, we offer the “Cover Star” section, complete with their headshot and short bio, they just need to submit through our website: www.act-likeachild.com and they will be prominently displayed in a special section of our magazine. The first six headshots submitted for each issue will be on the cover and the next six will be on the table of contents page! We also list them on our Facebook page and our website, in hopes that casting and directors will have a great place to see fresh talent. All kids/teens/twenty-somethings are welcome to submit! Based on the bios, we sometimes select kids to be interviewed for our “Special Feature”! …..We also offer interviews and inspiring stories from our “up and coming” kids/teens/twentysomethings for a “Special Feature” (2-page spread w/photos) for those who are working hard in their field, who have a bunch of booked work and have a great story/journey to tell….Lastly, for our “Cover Feature”: (Cover shot and a 2+ page spread w/photos) is reserved for the kids/teens/twentysomethings that are currently booked and working in their field, have IMDb credits and are currently in a project that our readers can follow, such as a recent or upcoming full-feature movie release (lead or supporting actor), principal in a national commercial, a singer/group with a new song or album release (on iTunes),  a television show (reoccurring, guest or principal), principal on stage, in a professional show (acting, singing, dancer), model in a current fashion/ad campaign or runway show, etc. Parents, publicists, managers, etc. are asked to submit photos along with their credits for our consideration for a Special Feature and the Cover Feature! It is that simple!


Q: What makes a child performer a natural?


A: You can just tell when a child is in their element and experiencing pure joy when they are on stage or in front of a camera. They create performances at home, using the kitchen chairs and blankets as props and Mom and Dad’s closet for costumes. They are constantly singing and dancing around the house and as soon as a good song comes on, they are there to perform it for you! They have that sparkle and come to life when they watch musicals and can perform the scenes with accuracy. They are well spoken, good listeners and great readers.


Q: What is your oddest work story?


A: I’ve been wracking my brain and I just can’t come up with anything! We have such amazingly talented writers and photographers who contribute their work to us and we feel truly blessed. We would love to go to the next level and get this magazine off the ground. We are currently on issue 12 and we really want to see it as a digital, interactive magazine app that would be a super fun, interesting and a ‘go-to’ resource for all kids/teens/twentysomethings (adults love it also) and their acting teachers and coaches! That talent managers and agents would have a quality resource to offer to their clients. Even directors and casting could feel confident in referring their talent to the magazine for advice and information.


Q: What are some of the challenges involved in starting a magazine?


A: Honesty, it is advertising, funding and getting the word out to prospective readers. I know why they say that starting a magazine from scratch is probably one of the hardest things to do – what were we thinking? haha! This project is totally a “work of passion” getting each issue out, as a grassroots effort, to boot. It is a dream of mine that some amazing person or organization, of influence, will see this magazine and love it! They, of course, would have the need to want to give back and help other young actor/performers get inspired and prepared for their career. Because they are as excited about this project, as we are, they would decide to help us financially to get to the next step with the interactive magazine app! If this is you, reading this now – please contact us! We would love to talk with you!


Q: What kind of training do you recommend for children?


A: For starters, get them into Improv classes. Through improv games, kids learn to act and re-act naturally, helping them to think quickly on their feet. This will help with auditions and interviews. I really feel that kids need to act like kids as long as they can. They are natural actors. As they get older, such as middle school age, then start acting classes. I feel any training in the arts is an asset. Professional dance training and singing classes teach children how to move and use their voice, which is awesome preparation and fun to participate in. Read, read, read as much as they can! Let them read, out loud, as much as possible, so they can hear their own voice and feel comfortable with conversation. Have them audition as much as possible – the more they are in front of the camera or on stage, the more natural and comfortable they are with the process. They will need to ‘ooze’ confidence with this process.


Q: When is it time to tell a child to give up and how do you go about doing it?


A: I would have a hard time telling a child to “give up”. Parents should feel so lucky if their child has a passion that gets them out of bed each day – especially teens. So many kids flounder because they haven’t found that “something special” that motivates them. Statistics show that most child performers won’t end up pursuing acting as adults, but there are still countless benefits they can gain as they make the journey. If the child is truly the originator, bitten by the ‘performing bug’, it is in their DNA and there really isn’t anything a parent can do to stop that. They act/perform because they have to. Nothing else will truly satisfy them and fill them up the way getting on stage or in front of a camera does. Offer them other choices, if you are worried. If they have choices, then they will learn what they really want to do. Until then, support them! Don’t stand in your child’s way of self-empowerment, happiness, self confidence, and success, to become the best ______________ (let your child/teen fill in this blank) they can be! Did you know that many successful people in casting, management, teaching, producing, directing and more, had their start as actors/performers? Well they did! Along the same lines, many successful professionals studied theater/dance in the hopes of the big acting/dancing/performing career. A performer learns valuable skills that will help them their entire lives such as, building self esteem and confidence, improved reading skills, learning how to speak in public, independence and responsibility, social interaction, listening skills, risk-taking, learning to think on your feet, poise, how to deal with rejection, and so much more! Being realistic with goals is always very important, but if there is a true dream, backed with determination, a real plan (developed by reading ACT Like A Child Magazine) and support from family, then stand back and hold on for the adventure of your life!


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 Go Berg or Go Home Owner Christopher Berg


Christopher Berg is the owner of Go Berg or Go Home, which is a career coaching company; here is a link to his website:




Q: What kind of professional background do you have?


A: My background is based in sales, teaching, and human resources. I have continually advanced in the last 10 years with two Fortune 100 companies. My expertise is in training, coaching, recruitment, hiring, and resume writing. I currently hold a B.A. in English, M.A in Organizational Leadership, and pursing an ED.D in Educational/Organizational Leadership.


Q: What made you interested in becoming a consultant?


A: Honestly, working within a “system” has its limitations and I have never been known for staying within the system parameters. I wanted to do more for young professionals and the only way that was going to happen is if I went out on my own and began making my own rules. Consulting is just a glorified word for helping, well…it should be (laughing). I look at what I do as helping others.



Q: What qualities make someone employable?


A: Great question! A potential candidate has to understand the mindset of a hiring manager when viewing resumes. There are specific “power” words that we look for. Specifically, I look for two distinctive qualities and some distinctive “power” words. First, what are the leadership qualities? For example, the last 7 resumes that Go Berg has edited did not have the word leadership recorded anywhere, but management was mentioned over 17 times. That tells me the candidate is strong, but not necessarily a proactive, self-starter that embodies initiative and authority. Second, is coaching and development. When reviewing manager’s resumes, the biggest responsibilities a manager has are to coach and develop others. If the language and descriptors are missing around these two vital management competencies, I can only assume that they were a one-dimensional manager.




Q: What are some common mistakes you see on people’s resumes?


A: The three common mistakes I see in people’s resumes would be formatting, grammar, and elongated. Formatting is huge!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot express this point enough. Think about it, the hiring manager can only judge the candidate based on the presentation on paper. The exact quote I was told by a leading HR recruiter in New York City was “If you don’t pass the eye test, I don’t care what you write.” Second, would be grammar and confusion! Quick tip! Take your current resume and read it aloud or record yourself reading it. It sounds crazy, but I use this technique with my clients all the time. If you are stumbling over your words, have a lost facial expression, or confusing descriptions, you could imagine what the hiring manager is going to think. Lastly, Keep your resume to 2 pages maximum! Here is the golden rule professional resume writer’s follow. For every 10 years of work experience, allow yourself one page. Therefore, college students should not have 3 pages (laughing)





Q: What are some of the ways you help people select a career?


A: I have programs I can screen a resume through to sort out the keywords and phrases to match to a potential path. However, the real strength of Go Berg or Go Home is meeting in person. When consulting and coaching, we strive to do out best to align passion with realistic expectations. We have countless stories of clients applying for jobs that were way out of their qualifications realm, but it was stated that this job was their passion. Our job is to do the best we can with our clients strengths and passions in aligning them with a realistic chance of landing a job. Next, exposure!!! You can be the best at what you do, but if no one knows you, it is irrelevant. Go Berg is apart of over a dozen networking events in career services a month throughout the Northeast region. One of the best services we offer to clients is the ability to come along with the Go Berg team to these events. Enjoy the buffet, get your Sunday best on, and come meet some people. I have attended these events regularly for the last year. I guarantee you will meet strong connections and many of my staffing and HR recruiters are at these events and I can assure you they are always willing to review what career opportunities they have open! At Go Berg, if you know us, people will know you!







Q: How do you prepare someone for a job interview?


A: I have connections with over 2-dozen leading recruiters, directors, and staffing agencies around the Northeast. For the most part, if you name an industry, I can reach out and obtain recent interviewing guides that are being used for interviews being conducted today. I can take these questions and set-up a mock interview session where I ask some of these questions and throw in a curveball here and there! After we conduct the mock session, I assign a score based on delivery, body language, and strength of answers, power words, and confidence. Then we revisit the interview after coaching through some of the responses. Lastly, there are specific guidelines for answering questions that interviewers use. I have access to these entire answering techniques. If you would like to know what they are, just give us a call today!




Q: What are some common mistakes people make during interviews?


A: Honestly, the biggest mistake I see is not asking questions! I have conducted over 2000 interviews in my career and I still can’t believe how many candidates do not ask questions during the interview. There is no “magic” number to how many questions to ask, but I can safely bet that ZERO is not a great number. Prepare beforehand! Interviewers love being asked questions, I know I do because it allows a chance for them to talk about the work they do and the passion to why they do it. Go Berg has a list of “Golden Questions” to ask during an interview. One example of a “Golden Question” would be…”How does so-so company focus on development of their workforce on a daily, monthly, and annual basis?”



Q: Why just young professionals?


A: I wish I had a nickel for every time I was asked this! (Laughing) Let me just go on the record that Go Berg or Go Home will absolutely help any and everyone in career services! The reasoning behind focusing on young professionals is because…I am a young professional. My research for my doctorate focuses heavily on coaching generations in the workforce, specifically Gen Y and Z. Being apart of Gen Y, while researching coaching patterns for Gen Y and Z, gives me absolute credibility and validity in front of fellow young professionals. Coaching a recent graduate or a mid career young professional is completely different then coaching a Gen X or Baby Boomer. I cannot call myself an expert in this field and honestly would not be as effective with these generations. I know it and research supports this claim.




Q: What kind of research did you do when building your business?


A: Wow, this will surprise many people, tons of funny stories around the beginning stages but I will keep it high-level! First, the great Jack Welch taught me in order to succeed in business, you need to know who you are in business with. I decided to edit my current resume and submit it to the online resume writing companies. I paid for 4 services total. I purposely edited the resume and included grammatical, punctuation, and formatting issues. Needless to say, I was not impressed and actually quite surprised to what was missed and brushed over by these “experts.” Next, I needed a way to see why college graduates were coming into interviews slightly unprepared and misinformed. I decided to take the same resume and become a “student.” I visited with over a dozen college career centers and pretended I was a student. Some caught me, some didn’t, but I got what I needed from the quest. I was shocked what I was told and how some college career representatives were disconnected from the workforce. Not all were bad, but there was little consistency and a lot of miscommunication and misinformed reps in those offices. Lastly, I just studied the numbers. 52.9% of 2014 graduates will not have a job by the end of 2014. That number is staggering and I pay very close attention to the numbers because I know I struggled immensely with student loans and come November, student loans are due and many will not have an avenue to pay these loans.


Q: If everyone had their dream job, who would wash dishes or answer the phone?


A: I love the question! If everyone had their dream job, they can wash their own dishes and answer their own phones (laughing). Honestly, everyone has to start somewhere, and dream jobs don’t happen over night. I like to think the person washing the dishes is an aspiring entrepreneur looking to open a bakery and just wanted to get in the kitchen to learn from someone running their dream business. The person answering the phone is an aspiring politician that wants experience working in an office to learn the process and gain experience. We all need to start somewhere…each journey starts one step at a time and I like to think these jobs are the first of many steps for finding ones passion to contribute to this beautiful world.


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 Hip Hop Artist Men†al Epademik,


Men†al Epademik is a New York based hip hop artist; here is a link to his Soundcloud page:

Q:  What made you want to be a hip hop artist?

A:   Besides my passion for the art, I would say freedom of expression. There is so much you can say through hip hop when you have the balls, brains, and heart to execute. The commercial industry is embarrassing, they demoralize the public. So I can understand why it looks ignorant to most people. But for example a few tracks I did “Dead People”, “99%”, and “A Verse About Humanity” I am able to use the power of words and rapping (which has been around before hip hop) to get right up in your face and tell you exactly what I think. If you continue to tune in to the track you’ll be forced too listen to what I have to say. Instead of the song itself taking you away, like rock N roll, r&b, jazz, funk etc.Which does have a whole different level of power, it’s pure emotion rather than pure thought. Hip Hop being pure thought, especially considering a lot of the best producers sampled.

Q:  How did you come up with your name?

A:   My original alias is Nasty Andy, many of my friends, associates, and followers still know me by this.I basically just ended up with the name, people called my old truck Big Nasty, and eventually Nasty Andy came about. My new alias Men†al Epademik, represents the current state of society. I was originally thinking pandemic to be more accurate but Men†al Epademik has a nice ring to it.

Q:  What inspired you to write Capo Di Capi?

To be honest I was smoking a nice spliff while my brother was playing guitar. I plugged him into my pre amp and started recording him strumming.I cut a few loops and played with it a bit. Then i laced a drum pattern on it. then the lyrics just came to me. I’m the type of person that processes a shit load of thoughts all day, so when I write my sometimes my thoughts explode on paper. 

Q:  Who are some of your musical influences?

A:   My personal music influences would be Namaste, L’exorcist aka Fredax, Amsterdamish, Infidel Cashtro, Berkowitz, DZL, Veda, Hammond Dee, Frosty Fin, Alpha, Polli, Grolock, Dougy, RoY and few more i can’t remember right now. But all of these individuals are fun to work with, they inspire me to bring my A game.

As far as popular artist, groups, and bands I admire Immortal Technique, Tool, KRS One, Rage Against The Machine, Gang Starr, Sublime, Brand Nubian, Led Zeppelin, Tribe Called Quest, Godsmack, Wu-Tang, Metallica, Rick Rubin, Everlast, Non Phixion, Jedi Mind Tricks, La Coka Nostra, Necro, Mf Doom, J Dilla, Madlib, and so many more.

Q:  What sets you apart from other hip hop artist?

A:   Well, when I’m not having fun with insane word play, or trying to offend people. I’m usually trying to spread some what of a constructive message by pointing out the strange things about humanity. Not that i have much of a solution, but I certainly feel the need to mock, or address the human race. I’ll never claim to be a spokesman for revolution, but I will always support it in my own drastic insane way. I don’t have any financial success to show for my work, but I believe I’m bound to piss enough people off before I die in one way or another. Even if not through music, we have our ways.

The media put a disgusting label on this thing of ours. Most think about so called ballers, and gangsters when they think about hip hop, but I think  REVOLUTION OF MIND.

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

A:   My job is a typical obligation, I am part of the population that wealthy citizens refer to as peasants. You could say it fuels the fire of revolution that burns inside of me, because music is the best way for me to vent. The darker life gets the darker music gets, the more drugs I have, the better the music is. In one way or another everything does come together in some sort of way,  but my day job is annoying and my boss is the devil himself. Sometimes i wonder if its possible he may be a reptile, if such a thing could be possible he’s the first person to examine.

Q:  What do you like about NYC?

A:   I love the diverse culture, you can almost see the future here sometimes. If you want to be optimistic, you can see how different people from different backgrounds can come together at times. Also this is the birth place of hip hop’s heart and soul. The art originated as voices of the people, breaking, turntablism, and graffiti art. All of which was born here, thats probably the only thing that makes me proud to be a New Yorker.

Q:  What don’t you like about it?

A:   I don’t like the negative energy that swims in the air. Bad vibrations haunt us all everywhere, but in new york and other highly populated areas that negative energy accumulates. It’s easy to loose your empathy in the moment of tension, and have a starring role in a drama filled comedy with a touch of horror.

Q:  What is your strangest New York Story?

A:   The strangest thing that happened to me in New York would probably be back when I was kid back in like 2001. We used to play “hey mister” quite often. Which is asking of age people to buy you beer or cigarettes. One particular night it took us three hours to get someone to buy us a 12 pack. He was supposed to meet us down the road but instead he took off, and stole our beer. Two days later we ran into the same guy and confronted him. He claimed to completely forget the incident. He was obviously lying, and doing a pretty good job acting like he had no memory of the incident. Guilt was all over his face, he bought us a 24 pack and gave us about a quarter bag of regs . So considering he felt bad its obvious he remembered stealing our beer. It’s strange because, two 13 year old kids intimidated a man in his mid to late 20’s.

Q:   What are some of the things you have done to promote yourself?

A:   As far as promotion goes the most I do is network with people. I support any independent artist, blogger, internet radio stations etc. Instead of paying for promotion and supporting the system, I prefer to support the people. It’s the only way!!!!!


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