Monday, October 8, 2012

2012 New Hampshire Film Festival-Films and Panels

Below are a list of some films and panels I hope to see at the 2012 New Hampshire Film Festival.  For more information about the films and panels at NHFF please visit


Children Of The Air

I was lucky enough to do an interview with Damian about the webseries "Candyland". I've heard many wonderful things about this film from the independent film community.

Directed by Damian Horan. Produced by Li Lu, Matt MacDonald, Nick Nides. Written by Damian Horan.  Starring Katheryn Winnick and Travis Van Winkle.

Juxtaposed to the original fairytale of the Little Mermaid, Children of the Air is an unflinching portrait of heartbreak.

Awards/Honors: Finalist USA Film Festival, Winner Best in Festival Lewiston-Auburn Film Festival, Winner Special Jury Award 45th Worldfest Houston International Film Festival.


Girls Against Boys

A lot of the people I spoke with at the NHFF Kick Off Party said I should check out this film.  I'm not really familiar with Austin Chick's work. I am however a fan of Danielle Panabaker.

Directed by Austin Chick. Produced by Aimee Shieh & Clay Floren.  Written by Austin Chick.

Starring Danielle Panabaker, Nicole LaLiberte, Michael Stahl-David, Liam Aiken.

Shae is sweet and sexy and men want to protect her, but sometimes also own her. She is the perfect object of male fantasies. Lu is the complete opposite of her. She is dominant, self-confident, self-reliant and uses her female attraction for her own gain. She is everything that Shae cannot be, her fantasy of superiority and self-interest. Shae has been raped by a man whose romantic advances she rejected, so the two women go on a journey of liberation, which soon takes a turn into revenge and vigilantism.



I had planned on seeing this film at another festival but didn't get the chance to. I'm excited that there will be film representation at the screening. I'm going to try to ask a question during the Q+A.

Directed by Tom O’Brien. Produced by Massoumeh Emami, Dennis O’Neill, Chris Messina, Darren Goldberg.  Written by Tom O’Brien

Starring Chris Messina, Tom O’Brien, Rich Sommer, Sarah Paulson.

Jon (writer/director Tom O’Brien) is well past his glory days on the football field and now coping with life as a single man in his small hometown of Fairhaven, Mass. Enter Jon’s oldest friend Dave (Chris Messina), home for his estranged father’s funeral. Impulsive, attractive, and often dangerous, Dave is hell-bent on injecting some spontaneity into his old friends’ lives. Jon, Dave, and their friend Sam (Rich Sommer) reacquaint themselves after years of life-defining experiences, pushing the limits of their friendship and uncovering secrets from the past.

Awards/Honors: Audience award at the Independent Film Festival of Boston

*Film representation in attendance



This is another film I've heard so much about. It will written by actor (and New Hampshire native) Mike O'Malley. I'm looking forward to seeing Bobby Moynihan outside of Saturday Night Live.

Directed by Peter Askin. Produced by Will Battersby, Mike O’Malley, Per Melita. Written by Mike O’Malley.  Starring Tom Lipinski, Adelaide Clemens, Giancarlo Esposito, Bobby Moynihan.

Dom and Deb are finally getting married, but there’s a catch. Before they can tie the knot, they must participate in a “Pre Cana” retreat, the mandatory course for couples looking to be married by the Catholic Church. Dom has his doubts about the program’s benefits, but is cooperating at his fiancee’s request and his mother’s insistence. While Dom may be unsure of the retreat’s affect, it may just prove to be the hardest test this relationship has faced yet.

*Film representation in attendance


In Danger Of Being Discovered

This looks interesting. I haven't seen many documentaries about local bands.

Directed and produced by Marc Dole and Michael Venn.

In Danger of Being Discovered takes a retrospective look at the rise of the music scene in the picturesque seacoast city of Portsmouth, NH in the mid 90′s. At the time, it was hailed by the Boston media as the next Seattle-like musical sensation. Through archival footage from local news outlets and MTV, live present- day performances and interviews with band members, we get an insider’s look at what it meant to be in the right place at the right time but just miss out on “making it” nationally. In this small musical community that was on everybody’s radar and could have been the ‘next Seattle,’ some dreams were realized, some were lost and the magic that binds every local music scene in every small town was tested.



Hugh Masekela was exiled from his family and native South Africa as a result of apartheid. Undaunted, he would find musical success in America with the 1968 number one hit, “Grazin’ In The Grass.”  Forty years later, his son, Selema, better known as television personality and ESPN X Games host ‘Sal’ Masekela, reflects on his relationship with his father.


Exit 7A

I had the chance to meet the people behind "Exit 7A" and "The Check Up at the NHFF Kick Off Party. They are really cool people. They give students from a local college the chance to work on their films. I was told one of the students edited "The Check Up."

A young man must decide what to do next when his hitchhiking passenger says she’s going to kill someone who lives off of exit 7A.


The Checkup

Walter visits his doctor complaining of headaches and blurry vision, only to be told his baby genitals have not yet fallen off. .Will Walter need surgery, or will his loving wife Margaret intervene in time?



I'm a fan of character driven thrillers.

Directed by Mark Battle. Produced by MarkBattle and Chris Fuoco. Written by Mark Battle and Chris Fuoco.  Starring Mariah Gale, Chris Fuoco, Megan McCormick.

A disturbed young woman stalks a sadistic serial killer in hopes of becoming his next victim.



Crowdfunding the Independent Film

As the independent film landscape continues to shift, so does the way in which indie projects are being funded. “Crowdfunding” has become the new norm, with filmmakers using social media to ask for contributions to their projects. 10% of the films shown at Sundance in 2012 were crowdfunded, and more filmmakers are turning to technology to “pre-sell” their projects rather than going the traditional investor route. What are the different crowdfunding platforms out there, how do they differ and what are the pros and cons in each (and in using these sites, in general)? This panel, presented by the New Hampshire Film & Television Office, will take a closer look at the crowdfunding scene and feature advice on using crowdfunding as part of your business model. Local filmmakers will be on hand to share their success stories and personal experiences, and attendees are encouraged to take part in the discussion.


A Dual Look at Adaptations

The word “adaptation” is defined simply as something that is changed or modified to suit new conditions or needs.  When that something is a pre-existing story, and that new condition or need is a movie, you’ve got yourself a screenplay adaptation.  Join a group of producers and writers in a lively conversation as they share their perspectives, experiences and advice in bringing adapted material onto the screen.


A Conversation on Comedy

Join a motley crew of performers, writers and directors currently working in the multi-faceted genre of comedy in a spirited conversation about getting funny on screen and on stage. You never know who’s going to join in, so listen for any updates.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Producer/Director/Writer: Eiran Lenton

Eiran was born in the town of Kettering, UK in 1987. He went to school like anyone would and hated it like most people do, he never felt he could use his creative side like he wanted to. Now aged 25 not only does he have the best partner in the world and the most beautiful baby daughter, he is a producer, director and writer and uses his creative imagination to make movies and music videos plus anything else he fancies trying his hand at.

He first started running a company with an old school friend working with bands from around the UK, working on albums, organising gigs, doing some promotional work and always trying to think outside the box. After doing this, Eiran moved onto developing his skills in writing and started to work on some film ideas that he had running around his head. A few years later, those ideas have now turned into seven screenplays all of different genres and all containing his own unique style. One of them is almost complete and will be ready to start pre-production soon, the rest are still being worked on.

While doing this, Eiran is also the producer and director of new dark comedy/drama ‘A Mile in His Soul’ which will be filmed during November of 2012. The project has tons of potential and already has interest for a major worldwide distribution deal for 2013! As well as this, he is getting ready to option a period drama called ‘The Culling Principle’ and will also be making comedy film ‘Ambition’ as well as some other films lined up. There will also be some music videos chucked into the mix.

Eiran is very pleased to be living the dream in a career he has wanted to have for a long time and is looking forward to a very positive future where he will be bring some very thoughtful and meaningful movies to the world!

What is the current project you are working on?

I’m currently work on ‘A Mile In His Soul’ which is written by award winning writer Morley Shulman. It’s a Comedy/Drama with a bit of romance thrown in. It’s currently in pre-production and we will start filming at the beginning of November.

We are luck to have Michele Martin, who is currently featuring along side Sir Ben Kingsley, Jena Malone and Julian Sands in ‘A Doll’s House’, in the lead female role and also Mark Paul Wake who recently won best actor at the BIFF’s for his role in ‘Masterpiece’ playing the lead male role. We also have some other pretty well-known actors taking on other roles and we will be able to announce them soon. Also attached is Jimmy Star who is an incredibly talented guy, who knew a guy could multitask! Radio show host, celebrity clothing designer, record label owner, the list goes on!

Why have you decided to donate a percentage of the films profits to charity?

We decided from an early stage that it would be great to pick a charity that we would like to support in raising money and also awareness due to the fact that the movie storyline is strongly centered around the homeless and the challenges they face on a day to day basis.

We will donate a percentage of the movies profits to a charity based in Edinburgh (where we will be filming) who work with the homeless, the charity that the money will go to is still to be decided.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

This is actually my first movie that is in production, a lot of my work before this was in the music industry where I worked with bands and solo artists, organising gigs, working on albums etc. After that, I started to write screenplays and also will be doing music videos. I now have ‘A Mile’ to work on and am looking at optioning a period drama called ‘The Culling Principle’ which we will start to work on early next year and also a comedy called ‘Ambition’ which I look to do towards the end of next year.

As well as this, I am working on seven of my own screenplays with one that is almost complete.

Is there anyone you would let "Walk A Mile In Your Soul"?

Hmmmm, good question! I don't know if anyone would want to walk 'A Mile In My Soul' but there are plenty of people who I would say I would like to 'Walk A Mile In Their Soul!'

Why do you think a person would "moonlight" as a homeless person?

To be honest, I have no idea! I guess they feel that it is an easy way to earn money, or to con people.

In ‘A Mile’, the main character, Malcolm, moonlights because at a young age his father left the family to live on the streets and he never knew why so he thinks that by doing it himself, it’s less money that could potentially go to his father and also to people that would spend it on drugs and alcohol.

Of course the majority of people you see on the streets are genuinely homeless, it’s just a shame that there are people out there who view it as an opportunity to con people and earn themselves some extra cash!

What's one thing you take for granted?

While working on a project like 'A Mile' I think you start to really appreciate what you have. It's another reason why I love the story so much, it will make people stop and think how lucky they are. They might think their house is horrible or they don't have much, but really you have everything. I can't begin to imagine what it's like to be on the streets with no friends or family around you so I think the small things that you think are 'normal' are the things that are taken for granted.

How do you define success?

Success is a difficult thing to define. I guess in the movie industry some people would say that if they get to Hollywood then they have been successful. For me, to now be doing what I have worked hard to achieve is a success itself.

How do you handle rejection?

Of course when it comes to making a movie, rejection is something that comes along naturally but I find that you just have to let it go over your head and move on.

I think what I found hard was the lack of belief from people who don’t think it’s possible to make a career in film especially as a producer and director, they seem to think you are living in a dreamworld just because you want to do something that’s a bit different. In the end, you just have to put it all behind you and work even harder to achieve your goal which in the end, if you believe in yourself, you can.

One of my current cast members recently said “If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough” and that is totally true, never give up no matter what anybody thinks.

What's your favorite quote and why?

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them” - Walt Disney

It pretty much sums up everything I’ve been trying to do, my dream is to make meaningful and powerful movies that I truly believe in, I’ve had the courage to pursue that dream and now it’s coming true!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Firstly, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to do this interview. Also, I would like to thank Spectra Records who will be the official distribution company for both our movie and soundtrack, they will be releasing both for us worldwide both online and in stores everywhere next year.

I would also like to add some links to pages for 'A Mile In His Soul' which are as follows: -

Website -

Facebook -

Twitter -

Distribution -


Thank you for doing the interview Eiran.  I think it's wonderful that a portion of the money to make the film will go to charity.  I'll do what I can to spread the word about your film.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Magda M. Olchawska: Filmmaker, Author, Consultant

I am:

1.    An award winning filmmaker.

2.    An author of children books.

3.    Entrepreneur.

4.    An activist.

5.    Dyslexic.

Few facts from my life:

1.    I was born in Wroclaw, Poland.

2.    When I was 7 years old two things happened in my life that shaped my dreams & future.

a.  I watched Citizen Kane.

b.  I read a film magazine & came to the conclusion that being a movie star is awesome.

3.    When I was 19, after graduating from high school I decided to follow my childhood dreams of becoming a filmmaker and, knowing only little bit of English I moved to London.

4.    I make films & write children books.

5.    I help creative entrepreneurs: filmmakers, actors, writers, photographers, artists to:

- promote their work

- find the right audience for their artistic outlet

- find money for their projects.

6.    I blog a lot about indie filmmaking & indie marketing & promotion for creative people.


Writer, Director, Producer

2012 - "Two People"- feature film in pre-production

2012 - "Anna and  Modern Day Slavery" - feature film in post- production

2010 – “The Man With The Spying Glass” short film;

Awards: Best Picture BSFF 2011

Official Selection at:Jaipur International Film Festival; Newport Beach International Film Festival; NYIFF – (NY spring & LA summer 2011); Short Film Corner – Festival de Cannes; Ballston Spa Film Festival; Naoussa International Film Festival; Cornwall Film Festival; Poppy Jasper Film Festival;

2009 – “9 mm” short film;

Official Selection at; Waterford Film Festival; Jaipur International Film Festival; Deep Fried Film Festival; International Festival of Film & Culture at Patras City; Naoussa International Film Festival; Novara Film Festival;

2008 – “Short Guide-Autism” experimental

2008 – “Mikolaj”  experimental

2007 – “7 Minutes of Ur Life“ short film;

Official Selection at: No Festival Required

2007 – “Reverse“ short film

2006 – “The Fantasy House“  medium length film


2012- "A Shot At The Big Time" short film

Scripts, Short Stories & Books

2003- 2011 – I have been writing scripts for all of my shorts.

2012 - “Moncania” - children book

2012- "Mikolay & Julia: Mikolay Has a Secret" children book

2012 - "Pooh Gets a Beating" children book

2012- “Do You Know Why You Blow Your Nose? Do You Know How To Blow Your Nose?” interactive e-book

2012- "Do You Know Why You Need To Do Pee Pee Or Poo Poo In Your Potty?" interactive e-book

2012- “Do You Know Why You Brush Your Teeth? Do You Know How To Brush Teeth?” interactive e-book

2012- “My Mom Is a Superhero” interactive e-book

2011- "Mikolay & Julia In The Attic" kids illustrated book

2010 – “Two People”  feature film in pre-production

2010 – “Fantasy Room” feature film in development

2010 - “Mikolay & Julia Meet The Fairies”  kids illustrated book

2009  - Short Stories Collection

- “Julia & the Sea”

- “A Man Who Gives Happy Memories”

- “The Man & His Dragon”

- “Scary”

- “3 Months”


What is the current project you are working on?

“Anna & Modern Day Slavery” – this is a feature film in post-production


Anna, a strong & independent woman, leaves her partner & high paid government job behind to set up an underground Organization that exposes corruption and injustice which is spreading like a virus around the world.

Her IT/hacking skills come in very handy when she discovers international sex slavery network that runs deep into the government & corporate structures.

Her investigation leads her to Eastern Europe where one vital contact set her on track to discover horrific truth behind human trafficking.

To keep up on top of things Anna recruits Pawel, a talented researcher who unwittingly gets entangled into the unstoppable current of events.

Together, they risk everything to unravel the secrets behind a major trafficking ring and shed public light onto the horrors of sex slavery.

How do you define success?

Being able to do what you love doing. Drawing happiness from even the smallest things in life.

How do you handle rejection?

Of course it was hard at the beginning but with time it kind of became part of the job. It still makes me sad if I’m not accepted to film festivals with my movies or if someone gives me a really bad review. However, at the end of the day you can’t make everyone happy, right?

What is your writing process like?

It varies. Sometimes I write while watching a movie or listening to music. Sometimes I need total silence.

Usually I have an idea such as a title for a book or a script & I just start writing. After the first draft I keep on re-writing until I’m satisfied enough with my words.

What and/or who influences you?

Filmmakers: K. Kieslowski, Mike Leigh, Wong-Kar-Wai, Jean Pierre Jeunet, Christopher Nolan

Authors: Kafka, Dostoyevsky, Camus, Saint-Exupery and a lot of children's authors.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

Films: 15-16

Scripts: 20

Children books: 30 (6 of them are published)

Why do you think it's important to help other people promote their projects?

First of all let me tell you that I don’t believe that we artists have to compete against one another. We can co-exist & co-create & there is enough space for all of our creation.

I think it’s very important to help each other any way we can. This way we are able to create supportive community around our work.

Creation isn’t a piece of cake so it’s vital to support fellow artists & to celebrate their achievements any way we can.

What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in your business?

Persistence. Don’t give up & don’t let other people tell you that you are worth less than you really are.

How would you describe your education?

I went to high school in Poland & after graduating I moved to UK. I got my media degree in the UK.

I hated high school & I really mean it.

Uni. was much better ‘cos finally I was able to do what I really wanted.

However saying all that I think you learn the most on the job. The hands-on experience is priceless. No amount of reading can provide you with the relevant knowledge you need to either write or make films.

What are some of your favorite American films? Foreign films? Television shows?

American Films: “Blood Diamond”, “Constant Gardener”, “Another Earth”, “Drive”, “The Lords of the Rings”, “Harry Potter”, “Inception”

Foreign Films: all of Mike Leigh’s films, “Three Colours” “Sex & Lucia”, “In the Mood For Love”, “2046”, “City of the Lost Children”

TV Shows ( I don’t have TV so I’m usually very behind) “Friends”, “The Game of Thrones” , “True Blood”

How do you balance you life as an author and filmmaker?

To be honest it’s not difficult. Writing & filmmaking is all story telling, just using different tools.

I write a lot during the fall & winter & if it’s possible I make films in the spring/summer.

Writing is easier ‘cos you just need a pen & paper or your laptop.

To make a proper movie you need vast amounts of money and a number of people. You can’t make a movie on your own & it does require loads of planning before you can go into production.

I love both. Actually I could never tell you which one is more important to me J

Is human trafficking more prevalent domestically or overseas?

Human trafficking doesn’t differ & you can find trafficked people in US, Canada & Europe as much as in Africa or Asia.

There are at least 27 million people kept as slaves around the world across the globe for sexual & physical exploitation.

Just check Village Voice Backpage & you can find out how people are trafficked & sold in US.

What's your favorite quote and why?

I don’t think I have one.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I also run consultation and soon small workshops for other filmmakers & authors. If you would like to find out how I could assist you, check out my website


Thank you for doing the interview Magda. Let me know if  “Anna & Modern Day Slavery”  screens in Boston. I'd love to see the film and meet you in person.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Comedian Bobbie Oliver

Born Barbara “Bobbie” Evans in Covington, GA, the city where The Dukes of Hazzard was filmed, she grew up dirt poor in the Dirty South. The economy was depressed and so were the people. Bobbie found escape in staying up late with her father to watch The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Carson and the comedians who performed on his show, including Roseanne, Brett Butler, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Lily Tomlin and Garry Shandling, became an inspiration to her.

Studying theatre in high school, Bobbie discovered that she had a gift for comedy and went on to receive a BA in theatre from LaGrange College, where she founded a standup comedy group with her future husband Chris Oliver. After graduating Bobbie and Chris moved to the cultural hub of Athens, GA. From that base, Bobbie began working the grueling comedy circuit of the East Coast. Comedy clubs, colleges, one-nighters, military bases, corporate gigs, frat parties…you name it, Bobbie did it, for seven years. This experience, the comedy school of hard knocks, has provided her with a rock-solid foundation that cannot be acquired through any other means.

In 1998, tired of the road, Bobbie and Chris made the move to Los Angeles, where she founded the renowned comedy school StandUp Academy at The Ice House Comedy Club. Ready to make a new start, Bobbie completely scrapped over an hour of material and started fresh. Bobbie has appeared on ABC, TNN, The Style Network, Entertainers with Byron Allen, at The Riviera in Las Vegas, The Ice House Comedy Club, Flappers, The Improv, The Jon Lovitz Comedy Club, The Comedy Store and many clubs, colleges and corporate events, including NASA, USC and congressional fundraisers. She has won many comedy contests, including the Hollywood Ha-Ha Festival and the L.A. Soup-or-Bowl of Comedy, and was featured on the cover of Pasadena Weekly. Bobbie is the author of The Tao of Comedy: Embrace the Pause, to be published in 2012. Bobbie Oliver is smarter, sexier and funnier than ever, and her Southern charm wins over audiences wherever she performs.

What is the current project you are working on?

I am finishing my book The Tao of Comedy: Embrace the Pause. The book is about approaching standup comedy from a Taoist or Zen perspective. It is what I teach in my comedy workshops and is the culmination of my life's work as a comic and comedy teacher.

How do you define success?

As long as I am brave on stage, as long as I use my microphone to address the things I care about in the world, as long as I am proud of my body of work, I am successful. But, some cash would be nice.

How do you handle rejection?

Lots of drugs

What and/or who influences you?

I have been influenced by lots of great comedians including Richard Pryor, Roseanne, George Carlin, Janeane Garafalo, Johnny Carson, Lily Tomlin, Brett Butler, Mae West, Sally, Mullins, Tom Simmons, John Fontaine, my husband comedian Chris Oliver... the list goes on. I've also been influenced heavily by Taoism and Zen Buddhism.

What's your favorite type of marsupial?

Anyone who does not respond "Koala Bear" to this question is dead to me.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

God, who knows. I have been doing comedy 24 years. I'm gonna say a zillion.

Do you have any interesting talents?

Aside from comedy? I am a mean roller skater.

What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in your business?

I would tell them to redefine "make it". You do comedy to do comedy, to express yourself, to find the truth about yourself and the world around you...not to be rich and famous. Also, make your own opportunities. Make your own projects. Don't wait for someone to come along and hand you anything. Create. Also, I recommend meditation for everyone no matter what their field. Quieting the voice in your head and bringing yourself into the Now is the best tool you can have for your career and your life. I also recommend the book The Tao of Pooh for everyone. Life-changing book that can teach you how to not take everything so seriously.

How would you describe your education?

Formally, I have an AA in Psychology, BA in Speech Communications and Theatre and an MPA. But my real education has been doing comedy for 24 years all over the country in every type of situation you can imagine. I have also learned a lot about comedy and myself by working with other comics in my workshops.

What is it like working with your spouse?

Well... it can be a fun and it can be a challenge. We have been together for over 20 years. Sometimes we get sick of each other (ok a lot) but I love and respect him so much and I get so much out of working with him both in our comedy office and in our new comedy double act.

What are some of your favorite American films? Foreign films? Television shows?

My favorite tv show was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Now I watch a lot of the HBO original shows like Game of Thrones, Girls, Newsroom, etc. I love Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction. My fave movie ever is Flash Gordon. I never thought of myself as a geek until I answered this question.

How would you describe the comedy "scene" where you live?

Cut throat. But, I have tried to create my own comedy community that is supportive of each other, not back-stabbing.

Why do you think some people consider your work controversial ?

I am controversial because I don't shy away from any topics. I talk about politics and feminism. I try to be brave on stage and in my writing. I talk about what I care about; I don't spoon feed the audience.

What's your favorite quote and why?

"You must do the thing you think you can not do." Eleanor Roosevelt.

I love this quote because I have seen the power of facing your fears. Facing fears sets you free. Running from them makes you a slave.

Are you a morning or a night person?

I'm a comic, so obviously I am a night person. I sleep 3-10am usually.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Everyone please check out my website for more info on me, upcoming shows, my podcast, my cd, and for tons of video and audio. Also, follow me on twitter @thebobbieoliver


Thank for for doing the interview Bobbie. I wish you all the best with your book "The Tao of Comedy: Embrace the Pause".  Let me know if you are ever visit Massachusetts. I'd love to see your show live.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dylan Brody: Humorist, Playwright, Author and Comedian

DYLAN BRODY’s new CD, CHRONOLOGICAL DISORDER, his fourth with Stand Up! Records, was released on February 14th 2012 with liner notes by Elayne Boosler. His previous CD A TWIST OF THE WIT came out in 2011 (liner notes by Paul Provenza) and the two before that were released in 2009 by Stand Up! following a sold out launch event at the Comedy Central Stage. BREVITY, a compilation of pieces originally produced for radio, and TRUE ENOUGH: Dylan Brody – Live. His humorous self-help parody, The Modern Depression Guidebook lived near the top of the Amazon/Kindle comedy best-sellers list for several weeks. His stories, commentaries and humor segments have appeared on KYCY Radio in San Francisco, WBAI Pacifica Radio in New York and KPFK Pacifica in Los Angeles. He makes recurring appearances as a guest on KSRO’s The Drive with Steve Jaxon. He has appeared on A&E’s Comedy on the Road, FOX TV’s Comedy Express and has landed solid punch lines on seasons one and two of SHOWTIME’S The Green Room with Paul Provenza.

Brody’s material runs on XM/Sirius Sattelite Radio’s comedy channels and as part of the Pandora comedy Catalogue. In 2011 his comedic segments ra on the CBS Interactive Network, streaming to approximately 1.5 million listeners daily and he writes and performs regularly for the David Feldman Show of KPFK Radio in Los Angeles. His work has also been heard on Pacifica Radio stations in NY and Texas and he recently found airplay on John Rabe’s OFF RAMP on NPR’s KPCC. Winner of the 2005 Stanley Drama award for playwriting, he is a thrice-published author of fiction for the Young Adult market with one of his books, A Tale of a Hero and The Song of Her Sword finding a place in the curriculum at several public schools in the U.S., earning him a yearly influx of poorly written fan letters and e-mails to which Mr. Brody diligently replies. He has been a regular contributor to The Huffington Post,. As a radio raconteur, whose witty and profound tales of his journey through life are unique, yet utterly recognizable to everyone, he has earned a reputation as one of America’s fastest rising storytellers.

In addition to his regular performance schedule in 2010, Dylan appeared in the George Carlin Tribute at the New York Public Library, hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, featuring Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller, Ben Stiller, Kevin Smith, Louis C.K., and publisher Lewis Lapham, among others, and produced by Kelly Carlin and Tony Hendra. George Carlin, whom Dylan deeply admired as a child, once referred to Brody as a “very funny young political comic.” This, of course, was back when Dylan was young. And a political comic. His one-person show MORE ARTS /LESS MARTIAL premiered in January 2009 to a standing ovation. The piece takes Brody and his audience on a poignant and often hilarious journey from a childhood of bullied insecurity to an adulthood of martial arts study, personal growth and ultimately true Mastery of storytelling and Taekwondo.

In early 2007, Dylan Brody's Thinking Allowed, brought long form humor and insight, literate and literary, to a broad based audience. The show, the first of its kind ever in the venue, enjoyed a successful six month run on the main stage at the Hollywood Improv. Mr. Brody began performing stand-up in New York the summer after he finished high school. During his sophomore year at Sarah Lawrence College, the world famous Improvisation in Hell's Kitchen accepted him as a regular performer.

Dylan also studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, England while he worked London’s comedy clubs and developed a loyal following at the Canal Café Theater where he performed weekly. Returning to America, Dylan worked venues from New York to Los Angeles, sharing the stage with some of the comedy world’s biggest stars including: Adam Sandler, Jeff Foxworthy, Dennis Miller, Jon Lovitz, Larry Miller, Norm McDonald, Louie Anderson, Richard Belzer, Larry David, and Jerry Seinfeld. He has appeared at M.I.T., at Sarah Lawrence College’s vast Reisinger Concert Hall and served as Northfield Mount Hermon School’s first ever Artist in Residence. He has written for dozens of comedians, including Jay Leno, who has used Brody’s work in his monologues on NBC’s The Tonight Show.

Mr. Brody wrote his first play while still in grade school, and went on to become a prolific writer and novelist. His novels, A Tale of a Hero and The Song of Her Sword and The Warm Hello, were published in 1997 and 1999, respectively, and his novella, Heroes Fall, was published in 2009. Brody’s work has been published in periodicals ranging from TSR’s Adventure Fantasy magazine, Dragon, to Harvard Press’ scientific humor magazine, Annals of Improbable!Research.

For more than two decades, Dylan Brody has been making people laugh around the world. He has evolved into an artful anecdotalist with an engaging style all his own.

What is the current project you are working on?

Hah! I am always involved in more than one project. I have to keep incredibly busy and productive in order to stave off the ever-looming threat of stasis-based depression. Right now, in no particular order, I am putting together the material for my next CD to be recorded in October, gearing up to travel to Baltimore for the opening of my play, MOTHER, MAY I at the Strand Theater in September, doing some final revisions on a collection of stories that my literary agent will take out for me, booking a mini-tour ofWestern Massachusetts that will include performances of my one-person show MORE ARTS / LESS MARTIAL and some other, more generalized story-telling shows. I'm also always writing and performing sketches for The David Feldman Show on KPFK and writing and performing commentary for Off Ramp With John Rabe on KPCC. Also, I think I've found the perfect young woman(Michele Martin, interviewed for this blog recently) to play the lead in an indie film I wrote the screenplay for, so I may need to get into a rewrite on that pretty soon. I'm leaving things out. This is a pretty busy time for me.

How do you define success?

My definition of professional success changes from day to day, from year to year and from project to project. Because financial reward is intermittent at best for me and the arts are so subjective in their reception, I try to stay focused on my own satisfaction with the work. That is to say, if I am proud of the stories I tell on a CD, the sound quality, the final product, I call it a success. If critics agree with me or sales numbers are strong, those things indicate that the work hits the mark for other people as well and reassures me greatly in my own assessment, but I try not to let those be the markers of my success. That's not always easy, but I try. I assume it is professional success you were asking about.

As a human being, I define success as being decent to those around me significantly more often than behaving like a jerk.

How do you handle rejection?

Much better than I used to, thank you. I used to take every rejection as a personal attack, an indication that I was an abject failure, that I should not be showing my work to anyone as it was clearly not ready for the world. Martial arts played a large part in my learning to take rejection as a passing thing. Once I learned that I could be kicked in the head and keep fighting, I started to figure out that someone saying, "this script isn't for me," or "I don't think you're right for our theater," didn't mean I had to give up, lie down and start from scratch. That is not to say I don't still feel each rejection deeply. I just don't let getting kicked in the head from time to time stop me from doing what I've set out to do.

What and/or who influences you?

I am most influenced, oddly, by the music I listen to. John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats writes lyrics that affect my work and my desire to be more succinct, more intuitive in my use of language and to explore implication and nuance. Dar Williams reminds me of the power of simple sincerity. I adore the writings of David Sedaris and Ann Patchet, they both inspire me to write more thoughtfully, to consider and reconsider structure. Any performance, be it stand-up or theater or dance, any writing, be it prose or poetry or lyric anything that sparks my imagination tends to lead me down paths toward greater creativity and inner journey.

What's it like writing for the Huffington Post?

See? I told you I was forgetting things in the list at the top. The Huffington Post is great in that it lets me reach a wide audience when I have an idea I just want to get out there fast. It doesn't pay, so there's no pressure to put anything out on a regular schedule. I think of it as away of broadcasting ideas when I want to do that. A couple of times HP has rejected really good pieces of mine for what I can only assume are political reasons. That has troubled me a little and has led me to write less frequently for that outlet than I might otherwise. I do like it, though, that I have that open to me as a way of putting my work into the world.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

I couldn't begin to tell you. I have half a dozen screenplays of my own languishing on a shelf in my office. I'm working to sell a novel and a collection of stories right now. I've lived in Hollywood for twenty-six years and I haven't starved to death so . . . you know. A lot.

Is there anything in your past that you wish you could change?

Oh, sure. I regret some opportunities that I stepped on when I was young and stoned and arrogant. I regret some relationships that I handled badly, both professional and personal. When I was nine, I accidentally killed my gerbil by grabbing him too hard when I he tried to skitter away from me. Damn you, John Hoff! Why do you make me think of these things?

What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in your business?

Give yourself permission to do what you want to do. The idea of being discovered, of finding a manager or an agent or a studio deal that allows you to be who you want to be is pure mythology. Do the work you want to do. Show people the work you have done. Do more.

How would you describe your education?

I have the impressive but over-credited education of the gifted child. I went from public school to prep school to college, always focused on writing and performing. I went to Sarah Lawrence College and then did my senior year in London, studying with faculty at RADA (the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts) and LAMDA (The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts), all of which sounds very impressive and, in fact, sort of is. I learned a great deal, but in truth, I learned most of it through osmosis and practice. I rarely did the assigned reading and when I did, I was stoned at the time. I genuinely believed for many years that if something didn't come easily to me, it wasn't worth doing. The result is a spotty but very impressive-on-paper education. I've recently started reading some of the books I was supposed to read in college. Some of them are pretty damn good.

What is your favorite childhood memory?

I remember lying on the hardwood floor of my family's house in upstate New York, my head resting against Dusty, the great, coffee-stained sheepdog of my youth, reading comic books by the shaft of sunlight that slanted through dust-motes to the four-color page.

What are some of your favorite American films? Foreign films? Television shows?

My favorite film of all time is Local Hero. I also love The Stunt Man. I can watch any old swashbuckler with Errol Flynn over and over again, and the Marx Brothers almost everything by Woody Allen. When I was a kid, my father taught a film class at Skidmore College and he used to pre-screen all the movies on our living room wall to make notes before he took them in to show his class. I remember seeing Truffaut and Renoir and Antonioni flickering on the wall of the living room, and being amazed at how different the subtitled movies of the auteurs were from the American movies you could see in the theater. Blow Up, Small Change, I loved that stuff. Of course, as a martial artist, I go to see anything new from Jackie Chan or Jet Li then I wander around muttering, "I don't train hard enough," for hours afterward.

The television I watch is often a source of shame for me. I like some of the hour-long crime dramas, the Law and Order franchise, that sort of thing. I've been loving Leverage and Burn Notice, but I'm embarrassed by that because I like to present as being far more erudite and sophisticated than my actual taste would imply. I'm a huge Aaron Sorkin fan. I think of him as a television auteur. His series could be structured by nobody else. He puts his stamp on his work and there is no question that each episode is crafted by the hand of a master.

Which is more difficult writing jokes or writing a book?

All writing comes pretty easily to me. A book takes longer 'cause . . .you know . . . a joke is generally just a few sentences.

How would you describe the comedy "scene" where you live?

I live in Los Angeles, the heart of the entertainment industry. For many years the comedy scene here was all about people trying to get into television. Lately there's been an explosion of alternative clubs. Remember, I don't think of myself as a comic any more. I'm more of a story-teller and humorist now than anything else and people seem to have started recognizing this as a valid distinction. Story-telling rooms are proliferating, reading series, all sorts of interesting venues. It seems to me the scene is thriving, evolving and developing into something far more interesting than it was in the days when everyone was just working to put together a tight six.

How has social media changed your life?

Social Media have (notice the plural, man. "media" is plural.) been a huge boon to me. I've met people I would otherwise have had no way of encountering, and readers and audience members who might never have found their way to me have been able to do so. This is a very good time, I think, for artists and performers and writers. Social Media represent a huge opportunity, a powerful set of tools.

How do you balance your personal and professional lives?

I don't really. My personal and professional lives overlap and intersect all over the place. Most of my favorite people are people I work with or at the least who work in the same general milieu. My wife and my dogs show up in my stories. Parties I attend are thick with associates and colleagues.

What's your favorite quote and why?

Right now I've been living on something Garry Shandling said. He said, "it can't happen too late." This has layers of resonance for me.

Che Guevara said, "Let me just say, at the risk of seeming ridiculous, that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love." I think that's pretty damn great and insightful.

Quotations sort of stick with me for a while and then get replaced by others. It's not like I have a motto that I took from someone and live by. Oh. Also, this. At the coffee station at a job we worked together, Opus Moreschi (now writing for The Colbert Report) once said, "Half and half and half: Now with fifty percent more!" Man, I wish I had written that.

If you could have any super power, which would it be? Why?

I would love to be able to fly. Really fast. I hate airline travel.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Any life in the arts is difficult. We expose our egos to battery, we risk financial catastrophe, we live with constant gnawing doubts about our own adequacy. Most of my time in therapy has revolved around paying someone to remind me that the creative process is inherently anxiety producing. Still, I think artistic creation is a worthwhile endeavor. As a culture we have gotten used to taking in information at an alarming rate; a great deal of that information is generated and broadcast by people who are not actually artists, they are craftspeople and bean-counters whose purpose lies not in the exploration and revelation of truth and insight but in the maintenance and support of a profit margin and a corporate status quo. Sometimes the corporate structures can be used by artists to get ideas and creations out to the world but that is not their primary purpose. Ultimately, it is up to the artist to create, to present and to distribute the work. It is up to us to generate our own momentum, our own careers, to find our own audiences, our own ways and our own media. It is up to us to create our own definitions of success and to have the discipline to find the success of our own definitions. The simple act of creation is not enough. Every aspect of a career in the arts falls ultimately to the hands of the artist him or herself. If it were easy, everyone would do it. It's hard work. It's worth it. Humanity needs art. Humanity needs art more than it needs entertainment. I would love to see everyone come play in the sandbox, but when you step in, you'd better be ready to use the bucket, the shovel and your hands, 'cause nobody is here waiting to build a little castle for you to play with.


Thank you so much for doing the interview Dylan. I wish you the best of luck with your many projects. I'm sorry I made you think of your childhood gerbil.  If you're ever in the Boston area let me know. I'd love to see a show.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Actress and Writer Michele Martin

Michele Martin is a classically trained actress who studied ballet and jazz as a child, until she accompanied her friend to an audition for "The Sound of Music," where she was asked to and try out and landed the role of the outspoken nine year old Brigitta. She fell in love with acting and spent most of her formative years touring and performing plays in regional theatre in the United States and Europe. She has played a gambit of roles from broad comedy, in the film Dadgum, Texas (2011), opposite Lost (2004) star Jeff Fahey to the indie drama Assisting Venus (2010), opposite Michael Steger ("90210" (2008)) and Julian Sands (24 (2001), where she plays his much younger lover. She has also taken the stage as Cecil Volanges in "Les Liaisons Dangereuses", Miranda in "The Tempest" and Charlotte Corday in "Marat/Sade." She was raised in a small Southern town by her Russian Jewish grandmother and her first generation American father, who is from Guadalajara, Mexico.

What is the current project you are working on?

A modern adaptation of the legendary writer Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, set in modern day middle America (Ohio) in the trials of today’s economic hardships. It is so interesting to me that a play written in 1879 is still so relevant with the war on women and banking craziness. But this film won’t be boring; it is so exciting to have the chance to bring a fresh take on a classic, much in the way that “Black Swan” bridged the gap between the classical art of ballet and a thriller. This adaptation, as our director Charles Huddleston says, Is not your great grandmother’s A Doll House. I am excited to be working with Ben Kingsley and Jena Malone on ADH.

I have also been cast as the female lead in a wonderfully dark, funny and warm comedy, A Mile in His Soul, the script attracted me with it’s unique story about homelessness and what it really means to become an empathetic person, to truly walk in someone else’s shoes. It is beautifully written by Morley Shulman and produced by Eiran Lenton and will be filming in Scotland this Fall.

What was the casting process like for "A Doll's House"?

Interesting. lol. I think that if you have a quality project with a strong script, it becomes a little easier, but this is always a really challenging part of filmmaking. The right casting can make or break a project.

How do you balance writing and acting?

Wow. that is a question! I have trouble with balance. Basically, I get very little sleep. Ha, and not ha. I put 110% of myself into both. Someday I may be forced to participate more in one than the other and I guess if I had to choose that would be acting, my first love. Both art forms serve different purposes in my life and are fulfilling in unique ways.

How do you define success?

When I am surrounded by creativity and inspiration, I feel very lucky and successful.

How do you handle rejection?  

Not well. But somehow, no matter how hard it is, I pick myself back up and try again. For better or worse, I never learned how to quit.

Did you always want to be an actress and writer?

Yes. I am afraid that I’m not cut out for anything else. I fantasize about other lives, and admire other professions, but I realized early that if I actually had to do anything else I’d be miserable and a complete failure at it.

What inspired you to become an actress and writer?

Great films. Great writers, directors, actors. Since I was a kid I’ve watched a lot of movies. It is my my mini vacation and escape; reality is overrated. One time in class I jokingly said I wanted to be a young female Woody Allen, but I think the idea stuck. Like Inception only with Woody Allen.

What is the best thing about being one?

Getting to be someone else. Living in someone else’s skin, their heart and dreams. It has helped me develop a part of my humanity and empathy and opened my mind in ways that I might not have experienced if I only lived this life as myself.

What is the worst thing about being one?

Lack of carbs. Donuts especially. Rings of love I call them. I miss donuts a lot.

What was it like working with Jeff Fahey, Michael Steger and Julian Sands?

Jeff is a really cool guy. He’s a team player; we were on the set of a very small comedy in Texas, in the the dead of summer and he was helping out, getting the crew water. His acting style is so unique, he never learns his lines until he is in the scene, which creates truly spontaneous moments. That can be disconcerting for someone like me who came from the theatre, but I went with it. I love to learn. Michael is the easiest going person, such a sweet guy and that relaxed genuineness translates in his acting. Julian is a good friend of mine and I have such admiration for him. He is the consummate actor, I can never repay all of the time and attention he has given to my work. Like most actors, Julian is not only a performer but a fan of film and theatre; he is a scholar and a class act. Plus the camera is in love with him, he has that thing that you can’t take your eyes off when he is on screen.

How has your life changed since you became an actress/writer?

The change is ongoing and in ways that I might never fully understand. Everyday is an adventure. I am so grateful that I took the road less traveled.

What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in the film business?

Oh, geez. First there is not one piece of advice. The journey is different for every person. I guess most importantly, make sure there is nothing else you could possibly do. Because, it’s tough, but so very rewarding if you don’t give up. Think outside the box and yeah, never give up.

What do you like to do besides acting and writing?

I like to travel, garden, listen to music, read and visit art galleries. I can basically draw stick people but great art inspires me. And of course see theatre and film.

Have you had any other jobs outside of the theatrical arts?  

A couple of inconsequential day jobs. I worked in a sandwich factory one summer. Don’t ever eat those sandwiches out of vending machines. Just don’t do it.

How would you describe your education?

Life has been my educator, so i guess I will always be in school. I studied classically at The American Conservatory and privately but reading and observing has been my main form of education. I am a huge advocate of literacy programs. I believe all educations begins with reading. Not everyone can afford a fancy degree but everyone can get a library card.

What are some of your favorite American films? Foreign films? Television shows?

I don’t watch a lot of TV. I’m loving The Newsroom, the best TV to come along in a long time. And I like Boardwalk Empire. And Entourage as a guilty pleasure.

Films, foreign and American melt into each other for me. Here is the cliff note version of a long list:

All Woody Allen films, even the flops. I loved his dramas, September and Interiors. And Annie Hall and Hannah and Her Sisters are classics. I saw Midnight in Paris at Cannes and I cried. Sitting in a comedy and crying. Completely absurd but that is how much I love his work.

Lost In Translation
The Godfather 1&2
The Royal Tennenbaums
Rushmore Lost in Translation
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Red by Krzysztof Kieslowski
Moulin Rouge
Black Swan
The Fighter
My Week with Marilyn
Blue Valentine
House of Sand and Fog
V for Vendetta
and Talledega Nights and Get Him to the Greek for cheap laughs, always work.

How would you describe the film "scene" where you live?

In LA? It’s a mecca for film. What Broadway is to New York. So pretty intense and yet it is LA, so people try and act like they don’t care as much as they really do (or at least I hope they do, because I do). The energy and passion for film is here, sometimes you just have to chip away the facade.

How has social media changed the film industry?

Monumentally. And I hope for the better. It opens doors to new filmmakers with fresh ideas, that might not have been able to be seen or heard if not for social media.

What's your opinion on crowdfunding?

Positive. Exciting that there are alternate avenues for filmmakers to raise funds. The public knows a lot more about what they want than they are given credit for and crowd funding helps everyone get involved.

How does independent film differ from the mainstream?

In indie film non mainstream subjects and unique stories can be explored, a great example of a truly independent film is Dee Rees’s Pariah. The indie spirit is about acceptance and learning about people living what might be considered alternative lifestyles. Independent film opens hearts and minds. I love that. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t get excited by mainstream films. I am a huge fan of the Batman films! As long as a film has something to say, mainstream or indie, there will be an audience.

You could go back in time and see and film being made. Which film would it be and why?

Would have loved to be on the set of The Godfather, to see an iconic film and the process from beginning to end, and to see all of the things that went into making it iconic would be truly amazing.

Do you believe in life on other planets?

I think so. But I am still trying to wrap my head around life on this one! ;)

What's your favorite movie quote and why?

“La-di-da, la-di-da, la la” from Annie Hall.  Because, it says it all.

What is your opinion on movie remakes and sequels?

There are classic iconic movies that should not be remade. “If it ain’t, broke don’t fix it,” my Grandpa use to say. But there are excellent examples where remakes and sequels work, like Christopher Nolan’s Batman. I am excited to see what Baz Luhrmann has done with The Great Gatsby.

On book to movie adaptations?

If they are good, it’s great. if not, it is unfulfilling, especially if it is a book you really love.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I’d like to say thank you for taking the time to come up with these thoughtful questions and for caring about art and film.


Thank you so much for doing the interview.  I'm also an advocate of literacy and libraries. I think libraries are extremely underfunded. I'm a huge fan of Julian Sands. His commitment to both independent and mainstream films is inspiring.  I wish you all the best with "A Doll’s House"," A Mile in His Soul" and your future projects.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Joshua Levine Producer /Director/Writer/Actor


Joshua Levine has over ten years of experience as a producer, director, writer, actor and brand marketer.

Levine was bitten by the youth culture marketing and branding bug at about the same time he seriously began to pursue his career inHollywood at the turn of the century. At Howell’s Imagewerks Youth Culture Branding Agency, Levine assisted in brand-building campaigns for the launch of Toyota’s Scion brand, Activision’s Tony Hawk Pro Skater video game franchise, and campaigns for nonprofit organization Keep California Beautiful, among others.

Levine’s acting career began in 2004 when he gained an array ofexperience working with other actors, directors, producers, andmanagers, while compiling extensive TV and film credits for My name is Earl, Gilmore Girls, Malcolm in the Middle, and Ryan Murphy’s Running with Scissors, CSI NY, and Banksy's film Exit Though the Gift Shop.

While acting, Levine served as Head manager of Mattie Management & Films, a company responsible for clients including Miara Walsh (Cory in the House Desperate Housewives), Emma Caulfield (90210,Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Darkness Falls), Alexa Havins (All My Children, Old Dogs, When in Rome), and Justin Bruening (Night Rider, CSI, All my Children), among many others. At Mattie Management he deepened his experience and expanded relationships in entertainment with casting directors, studios, networks, and distributors.. Levine is the founder of Mattie Films, a boutique film production company credited with indie smash hit Fat Girls, which won the Tribeca Film Festival JuryAward for Feature Films in 2007 and was purchased by Here TV for worldwide distribution. Levine went on to be the head of the TV/film dept for Jet Set Agency.

Levine now owns his own full service production company our unique combination of professional market and production experience and insight to the values of the elusive youth consumer enables Black Rock City Films to create focused and authentic youth culture production and branding.

With use of alternative and traditional  production and marketing strategies and techniques. Black Rock City Films has a proven recipe for success in connecting their clients and productions with today's active youth culture.

What is the current project you are working on?

I'm just finished a hybrid talk show called "the party" its a super cool show with some great guests, now I'm working on two TV pilots and documentary about art cars from the burning man festival and working distribution for DPIO.

 Did you always want to be a filmmaker?

No I wanted to be a fireman when I was younger but then in jr high I was in the theater dept and it was all down hill after that lol so film and TV  was something I have always loved and wanted to be involved with.

What inspired you to become filmmaker?

My high school drama teacher.

 What is the best thing about being one?

Craft services lol no the best thing is the freedom you can have with shooting your own vision.

 What is the worst thing about being one?

DRAMA! so much its a juggling act of egos and feelings but its all small things compared to doing what you love.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?


 Who is your favorite filmmaker?

Wes Anderson /Alejandro jodorowsky

 How has your life changed since you became a filmmaker?

Longer nights less sleep more time in front of my computer more red carpets.

 What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in the movie business?

Patience and drive, and good projects.

What do you like to do besides filmmaking?

I love to work in my garden and my art studio.

Have you had any other jobs before you decided to become a filmmaker?

OMG! I have been everything from a paperboy to a zookeeper.

What are some of your favorite American films? Foreign films? Television shows?

Dark knight

El Topo

Modern family is pure gold writing and acting top notch!

How would you describe your film education?

Trial by fire...LOL

How would you describe the film "scene" where you live?

I'm all over the place but I'm writing this from my compound in San Diego so the film scene is very small in SD but its nice and underground.

 How has social media changed the independent film industry?

Yotally! It's a catch 22, but if you can use to your advantage then its a game changer.

What's your opinion on crowdfunding?

It's a good concept but could be to many cooks in the kitchen for certain projects.

What is the casting process like?

HELL! ha ha it could be long and boring but when you have good actors come threw that are solid and off book then its pure joy!!!

 How does independent film differ from the mainstream?

Less money way more work but more control so you have to choose the right battles on the mainstream side.

You could go back in time and see any classic film being made. Which film would it be and why?

Casablanca man the sets would be amazing!

 What's your favorite movie quote and why?

"I'm 10 min away will be there in 5"

 You could have any super power. What would it be?

Flying save so much time at the airport.

 What is your opinion on movie remakes?

It's good from the standpoint of the studios.

What is your opinion on book to movie adaptions?

It makes an investor feel more secure with their investments.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Come follow the film at the links below

The hilarious downward spiral of a frustrated woman's night as she tries to relax at home after a hard day. The short is elevated by surreal animation, cringe worthy what if scenarios and good fashioned T and A.








Thanks so much for doing the interview Joshua. I've never seen El Topo. I'll have to check it out.  I wish you all the best with "The Party", DPIO and your other projects.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Filmmaker Megan Doyle

After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, Megan Patricia Doyle created Patty Cake Films LLC to commit full-time to writing, directing and producing film. Her directorial debut “Private” (2012) will be screened at this summer at festivals around the world. Currently, Megan Patricia is in post-production for the children’s short film “Fistful of Sand” (2012), which she wrote and directed. She has recently become a resident of Brooklyn, NY where she is in the early stages of developing her first feature film

What is the current project you are working on?

Right now, “Private” is in the festival circuit. Meanwhile, I’m in post-production on my latest film “Fistful of Sand”.

What is the casting process like?

Referrals, referrals, referrals. I can’t say enough about asking film friends for referrals. That’s what we did and were lucky to have a very talented cast. On my most recent film, I was incredibly lucky to have a producer that was a casting director. Wouldn’t have found those superstars without her!

How do you handle rejection?

It’s apart of every job. I just focus on my next project. Each experience tends to get better. I’d like to think that I handle it well.

Did you always want to be a filmmaker?

Growing up, I wanted to be on both sides of the camera. When parents bought a digital video camera, I asked for the old one. I started with filming my dance choreography which eventually led to filming fake commercials, the Oscars, cooking shows, music videos, Miss Cleo spoofs, a TV pilot, and much more.

What is the best thing about being one?

It’s definitely sharing a story. Part of you as a writer and director is in every scene, in every shot. At the end of the day, it’s totally worth all of the blood, sweat, and tears for the project.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

I would guess over 20+ projects. A lot of those were PA-ing.

Who is your favorite filmmaker?

Probably Otto Preminger or Woody Allen but I haven’t settled on one yet.

How has your life changed since you became a filmmaker?

My schedule has been a lot more flexible having graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. I write more often now that I have downtime.

What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in the movie business?

Make it happen.

What do you like to do besides filmmaking?

Mostly Netflix instant, and drinking lots of iced coffee with just a little bit of cream. Right now, I’m in Film Programming the Rubin Museum of Art.

What are some of your favorite American films? Foreign films? Television shows?

TV shows: Breaking Bad, 30 Rock, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.

American Films: Don’t Look Now, My Man Godfrey, Manhattan, Melancholia, All About Eve, and An American in Paris to name a few.

Foreign films: Elevator to the Gallows, Black Orpheus, and Lebanon.

Can’t get these movies out of my head! Love ‘em.

How would you describe your film education?

All hands on experience. I started PA-ing on local film productions a few years ago. I interned with the Austin Film Festival, then any indie film that would let me work on their project. I gradually more integrated into the Austin film scene and as I finished school. Plenty more for me to learn.

How would you describe the film "scene" where you live?

The Austin film scene is energetic and full of heart. So many talented people both behind and in front of the camera. I’d love to see Texas with more and bigger productions, giving more opportunities for crew and talent. Recently, I moved to New York so still learning the ropes of the scene!

What's your favorite movie quote and why?

The Beguiled (1971)

It’s the creepiest on screen kiss, as well as one of the greatest movie quotes:

“Old enough for kisses” –-Clint Eastwood as Corporal John 'McBee' McBurney to twelve year old Amy

It really sets the tone for the rest of this film.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thanks so much for having us! I had a blast! You can check out trailers of my films at


Thanks you doing the interview. I hope you will consider submitting “Private” to the New Hampshire Film Festival. I'd love to see the film and meet you in person.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Christopher “Jack” Nilssen Of "Dark Acre Games"

CHRISTOPHER ‘JACK’ NILSSEN is an independent game developer, science fiction author, runner, yogini, and lover who is awake before you in the morning. He spent his twenties living and working in Tokyo, Japan, where he learned to celebrate diversity and appreciate privacy. When asked what his favorite anything is, he usually responds with “I don’t play favorites“.

What is the current project your working on? 

The main project for the last year has been "The Child", an isometric point-and-click adventure game. There's a secondary project, code-named PREVENGEANCE, that's a 2D tower defense "brawl" for iPad.

How do you measure success?  

If even a single person plays one of my games and gets some tiny iota of entertainment & enjoyment from that, I've done my job.

How do you handle rejection? 

It's hard to get rejected in game development. You either "hit", put together some winning combination of player interaction and content, or you don't. When you don't hit it can feel pretty crappy but you get over it quickly by producing more and more content. Then it just becomes a marathon race with an undetermined finish line.

Did you always want to be a game developer? 

Nah, the first career I remember wanting to have was that of a movie director, like Steven Spielburg. It wasn't really until about 10 years ago at age 27 that I put it all together in my head that making games might be a good thing for me.

What inspires you to create games? 

I love games, I love the interactivity of them. That you can create something that someone else can play with and get their own experience from is fascinating to me. I also have a few stories I want other people to "find" (as opposed to just "telling" them, like books & movies) and games is the perfect platform for that type of narrative delivery.

What is the best thing about being a game developer?  

Sometimes it's cool to think I'm part of a "new media" movement. A lot of the stuff we do, if we do it well, no one's ever experienced before. There's a lot of "explorer reward" to that, like being the first person in space, or on the bottom of the sea.  Also making the attempt to be in tune with the games industry unearths a lot of rare gems in the form of games "normal" gamers may never hear of.

What is the worst thing about being one? 

Creating a videogame (or analog game) that WORKS, one that runs or plays without fault, is easily communicated to a player, and provides some form of enjoyment is a HARD LABOR. Thinking up the initial idea is easy, almost anyone can do that, but carrying that idea through the execution process to completion is one of the most difficult things to do. Why do you think the major game studios require a hundred people working a whole year to produce a game? And even then those games come out with bugs and problems. At the core of it, game development is hard work, and for solo or small-team independents like myself it's just that much harder.
That and not being able to really explain to anyone else what is precisely that I do, beyond "make games". That can be frustrating.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on? 

At the time of this interview I've been a game developer for 3 years, and I've published 22 games and abandoned 5. I have yet to publish a game for money, and I believe at most my games have gotten perhaps 10K plays.

What is your favorite game of all time? 

I don't play favorites, but the game I've most enjoyed in recent memory has been Polytron's absolutely phenomenal FEZ. If you own an XBOX 360 and love charming, exploration-based platforming with unique mechanics and style, you've got to check it out. It's this generation's "A Link to the Past".

How has your life changed since you created "Dark Acre Game Development"? 

I don't punch a clock anymore. I'm not beholden to a boss. The profit of my labor is solely mine. I don't need to wear pants. I go hungry a lot yet am somehow getting fatter...

What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to become a game developer?

I can only really speak to those with independent aspirations: Be prepared to work hard, and to fail. Don't be afraid to publish. Have enough money in the bank to survive for 5 years without a payday. Never give up, never stop learning. Don't let anyone tell you it can't be done; prove it to yourself.

What do you like to do besides creating games?

I'm a science fiction author with 3 published stories and more to come. I'm an avid runner when the weather's right, and just an annoyed one when it's not. I enjoy ashtanga yoga. And of course, playing games both analog & digital.

Have you had any other jobs before you decided to become a game developer?

Yeah, I've done all kinds of stuff. A lot of kitchen work as a youngster, from dishwashing up the chain to chef. I've been a security guard, an errand boy, and an accounting assistant. In my "dark years" I was a drug dealer & a bit of a gangster. The longest and most profitable stretch so far was 10 years in Japan as an English teacher.

How would you describe your education? 

A waste of time and money. Aside from the basics, all post-secondary has taught me is that if you know what you want to do go out and do it. Unless of course it's brain surgery then you're probably better off getting professional guidance. Personally, I wish they'd do away with standardized education and bring back wholesale apprenticeships.

How would you describe the gaming "scene" where you live? 

Surprisingly, even though Vancouver is considered something of a mecca for game development on the West Coast, there's a much less-active gaming scene than other places in Canada like Toronto. Then again for me the majority of my gaming happens in virtual space, and that's been constantly growing for years.

How has social media changed the gaming industry?

Obviously the desire to create a hit "social game" has become the major focus of a lot of studios, though no one can really define what that ideal social game is! You've got games that can Tweet stuff to other people, and games that rely on social networking to function, but all of that still remains secondary to crafting a good, core player experience.

In terms of how social media has helped developers, especially independents like myself, it's become the water cooler. Twitter and other hubs are places where independents can find one an other and exchange ideas and quips pretty easily, so levering that to get some form of social activity has become pretty important for a lot of us. Also it functions well as a grassroots marketing engine, places where we can promote our games and raise awareness.

What's your opinion on crowdfunding? 

When I first started planning for life as an independent I could never have foreseen things like Kickstarter. Sure, we had PayPal donation systems back then, but even pre-orders for games were an alien concept. Now it seems a lot of people are willing to throw their money at ghosts and promises and as a businessperson I don't like it. Call me old-fashioned, but I don't believe in charging people money for things that "might be". But I do think it's great that there's a platform for those that do.

How do independent games differ from the mainstream? 

I think that the main difference is budget and time spent perfecting what you're delivering to your players. An independent can craft something that's every bit as good as something a major studio comes up with, it just takes longer and is more prone to failure. Personally I think an independent would do well to avoid the stigma of being an "indie" and try to present themselves as professionals, if the end goal is competing with the big boys. But the wonderful thing about being independent is you can do whatever you feel.

You could go back in time and see any game being made. Which game would it be and why? 

There really haven't been a lot of games that struck me as "holy crap how did they do that"? In fact, it's really only FEZ that's had me scratching my head and trying to figure out how it's done. As for learning someone else's process I'm not really keen on that. I think we can learn fundamental principles, but it's up to each of us to suss out our own methods of working through attempting to execute.

What's your favorite quote and why?  

"Life is hard; it's harder if you're stupid." - John Wayne. Basically, never overestimate the other person's (or your own!) intelligence.

What is your opinion on game to movie adaptions? 

It seems like they really could be good. Look at the Halo, Mass Effect, and more recently Prototype 2 TV commercials. There's potential in there to craft really great movies using these properties. I think they've gotten this stigma because of people like Uwe Boll who make garbage films as slush funds, and the studios who give the rights so that it happens. Perhaps we're in the same bad old days that comic book movies were in. If it follows that trend then maybe in a few years we'll start seeing some really great adaptations of video game properties on the silver screen.

Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Buy (or borrow for free if you're an Amazon Prime member) my eBooks! If you like science fiction I think they're decent stories, and those pennies are currently the only active commercial funding channels for Dark Acre Games, since I don't take donations.

Aside from that selfish plug, I'd encourage anyone who's ever thought about making games to go ahead and give it a try. The tools are getting easier and easier to use, and I think it's only a matter of time before pretty much anyone can make games. I ESPECIALLY recommend spending a couple of months in your part time to learn something like Unity or Flash and come up with some simple games to see if you even like doing it, before dropping thousands of dollars on school or several years in a career you might wind up hating.  Thanks for the questions and if you've got any more feel free to hit me on Formspring:



I've seen FEZ via the documentary "Indie Game: The Movie". It looks crazy awesome. I wish you all the best with "The Child", "PREVENGEANCE", your future projects and books.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Artist Kyle Cassidy

When not traipsing off with rock stars Kyle Cassidy vacillates between serious documentary photography and works of sinister whimsey. His critically acclaimed 2007 photo book "Armed America: Portraits of Gun Owners in Their Homes" won praise from a broad swath of reviewers from the Washington Post, to Vanity Fair, to Field & Stream. It won's "10 Best Art Books" and "100 best books" medals the year of it's publication. His most recent book, "War Paint: Tattoo Culture and the Armed Forces" (Schiffer, 2012) documents the tattoos and stories of American war veterans. Kyle's spent five days photographing the Dalai Lama, a week photographing the opening of tombs at the Great Pyramids in Cairo, another week in the sewers underneath Romania photographing homeless orphans, and his "In the Hive" project allowed him to trip the shutters of cameras carried by 25 people all across America at random times and photograph whatever happened to be in front of them. In addition to this he photographed the covers for the Amanda Palmer albums "Who Killed Amanda Palmer" and "Map of Tasmania" as well as being one of the principle photographers for "The Big Book of Who Killed Amanda Palmer". He's done numerous projects which you can read about at as well as see an awful lot of photos of his cats.

What is the current project you are working on?

Right now I'm finishing up the Bed Song Book with Neil Gaiman, that's something coming together this summer (2012) that will be done & out probably in September. It's a limited edition art book available only though Amanda Palmer's kickstarter as a $1,000 reward. It's a script by Neil that I photographed based on a song by Amanda.

I'm also working on a huge portrait project of roller derby players -- you can see some of that at I was inspired by the individuality as well as the athleticism and I'd never photographed sports before. After seeing a game last year I was really motivated to try and capture some of the personalities. That's really the big thing. I've been traveling all across the country working on these portraits and it's coming out really well.

How do you balance your professional and personal life?

It can be tough. I"m away from home a lot which is difficult but my wife is an actress and she's got her career and is very supportive and I actually think that celebrating one another's accomplishments while apart has been a good part of our relationship. Being away means you get to come home more. Also, a lot of the time the two collide so it's exciting for me to hang out with actors and go to my wife's opening nights and cast parties and things like that and she's often along while I'm working so there's a constant flux of rock stars and models and writers and playwrights in our lives.

I think one key to having a public life is to be very decisive from the beginning about what's public and what's private and drawing those lines very distinctly and not going over them.

Do you prefer to use a digital camera or film camera when taking photos?

Digital. I don't like having to wait a week to see if I screwed up the lighting. That said, I have a lot of film cameras that I love -- I've never had a love affair with a digital camera the way that I have with film cameras, sadly, they've become just tools -- the romance is gone but that's not a bad thing. Taking photos because you like holding cameras is sort of like having babies because you like naming them. If you're not in it for the work, for the final product, you're probably not doing the best work.

How do you measure success?

Well, there are a lot of ways, it's not as simple as counting up Twitter followers and the number of people buying your books -- I remember the day I found out that Kurt Cobain had killed himself -- he was one of my idols and really, it seemed to me, at the top of the world. Realizing that I was happier than him, sharing a one bedroom apartment above a noisy tire store, living on $5,000 a year -- that had a profound impact on the way in which I measured how well I was doing.

There's a formula that includes "how much have I produced?" and "how happy am i?" and contrary to popular belief it's not just "how happy am I?" either -- I'm pretty happy sitting on my sofa and watching Frasier on Netflix. And I'm certainly miserable standing in the security line at an airport with 50 pounds of photo equipment strapped to my back trying to take my shoes off wobbling about on one foot -- but the discomfort there is rewarded in accomplishment -- so you give up some happiness and you get back something you produce, the work, and hopefully you realize that the discomfort is temporary and important to the final thing. It hinges on that. I'd rather sell 50,000 books and be happy in moderate obscurity than sell twenty million and be like Kurt Cobain.

There are other little things too -- the number of times you get recognized on the street, people who send you meaningful letters about how you've affected them, those are all points along the way. And, invariably, you compare yourself to your friends. I think that's inevitable. You're sitting at the dinner table looking across and your friends trying to calculate if they've been on the radio more last week than you or if they got a better review than you or some fancy gallery show, but that internal nagging monologue is motivational, and it's entirely human; it doesn't go away but you try and recognize it for what it is.

How do you handle rejection?

Usually with astonishment, but also great resilience. By the time you've gotten successful you've been rejected over and over and over and over so you're used to it, but you get to a point where it stops happening with any regularity because you know what works, and you know what you're good at and you know how to package things. So when something does get rejected I'm usually really surprised, but you bounce off of that and charge ahead because you've read all  those stories about how many times the Cat in the Hat was rejected or whatever. I don't usually spend a lot time thinking about that, but just where to go next. "No" just means you haven't asked the right person, so when you get rejected you try again right away with someone else.

Did you always want to be an artist?

I wanted to be a reporter first. Which is still kind of what I am sometimes.

What is the best thing about being an artist?

The company you keep and the realization that at night when you go to bed something beautiful exists that didn't exist that morning and wouldn't exist at all without your having made it.

What is the worst thing about being one?

The worst thing is that people seem to think that artists don't need to get paid. We live in a society surrounded by artists that undervalues what they do.

What is the estimated number of projects you've worked on?

I couldn't really say, and it wouldn't be a useful number anyway. I mean there are things that you knock out in a day and there are things that take years to finish and there are ones you're not even sure if you should count. But there are usually three or four going on at a time.

What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to become an artist?

Bring art into your life and study it, make it a part of your every day, surround yourself with artists.

What are some of your favorite American films? Foreign films? Television shows?

Jaws, The Exorcist, Troll Hunter, Lost, Breaking Bad, Rare Exports, I'm really liking Game of Thrones right now.

How has social media changed the art industry?

It's allowed artists to very easily stay in touch with the people who like their art. It's helped to cut out the middleman whose job used to be "make sure fans know about this"

What's your opinion on crowdfunding?

We live in the world of ten-dollar Medici's. It's a good thing and a bad thing. It serves to democratize things but that's not always where art flourishes best -- sometimes you need the one person at the studio who says "nobody wants this film, but I believe in it and I'm going to fund it!".

How does independent differ from the mainstream?

Usually one's built upon spectacle and the other from story. Spectacle is easy to understand, it's made of broad strokes and loud sounds and flashy costumes. There's time and place for both. Independent often requires much more work from the audience and more of an understanding of not just the work you're looking at, but related works. You don't go home from watching Speed talking about the difficult questions of life. But independent isn't necessarily a synonym for good, it just means "less money". Sometimes there's a reason for that. And mainstream doesn't necessarily mean bad.

You could go back in time and see any piece of art created for the first time? Which would it be and why?

The Sphinx. I would have liked to see the planning that went into it, the architects, the artisans, the craftspeople and the laborers working together. I wonder what that construction site must have looked like, how everybody got fed, who might come in and look at things and say "thin up the beard" or whatever.


Thank you so much for doing the interview Kyle. I'll be sure to check out your artwork when Amanda & The Grand Theft Orchestra come to Boston in August. I will check out & spread the word about your roller derby portrait project.