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 blackrockcityfilms.com 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" http://vimeo.com/firstbureauofimagery 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, turntable.fm 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 http://www.pattycakecinemas.com/


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: http://www.formspring.me/DarkAcreJack



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 amazon.com'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 kylecassidy.com 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 rollerderbyportraits.com. 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.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Musician Chad Raines

While in Austin, TX, Chad Raines found his musical niche, becoming a talented multi-instrumentalist, playing everything from bluegrass banjo to salsa trumpet and most everything in between.

At 19 he became a late night television personality on Austin Music Network – a cable channel that featured Texas artists and on cable access television producing bazaar television shows (Eccentrics Anonymous) as a visual aid for his music using experimental video production techniques and super 8mm film and animation.

He formed the Elastic Wasteband after writing music for his first play at the Doghouse Theate, which formed a chamber music ensemble that would perform original music for dance, theater and clubs around town.

From that he studied music theory and composition at Texas State University.

In 2005 he joined the Stingers, a roots-ska band that toured Europe with Jamaican legends such as Desmond Dekker, Doreen Shafer and Laurel Aitken as a keyboard/trumpet/guitarist/vocalist.

After moving to New Haven, CT he soon earned critical acclaim with The Simple Pleasure, an electronic rock band for which he fronted and wrote music for, With that band he wrote an original score for Yale University’s production of Bertold Brecht’s “Baal” as well as playing with such acts as White Denim and Ra Ra Riot.

Yale Summer cabaret productions starred him as Tommy of “The Who’s Tommy” and “Hedwig” getting rave reviews as a theatrical rock star.

While at the theatrical Sound Design program at the Yale School of Drama, he wrote and premiered works such as “Missed Connections” and “Project Realms: The World of Henry Darger” as well as designing and composing for Yale School and Repertory productions.

Currently, he lives with his wife and daughter and plays with Amanda Fucking Palmer and performs, composes and designs in the New York area.

What is the current project your working on?

Right now, I'm working on three things intermittently. I'm finishing up an EP with my pop music group The Simple Pleasure - for whom I sing and write for - Its a lot of fun and its sounding great - some final mixes and a few vocal takes and its done - also, I'm in the middle of a technical rehearsal for a new play entitled "From White Plains" written by Michael Perlman. I'm doing sound design for it now and tomorrow is the last day I have to get all the music cued up and ready for showtime! You can check that out here - http://www.facebook.com/events/166567276805849/ - And of coarse not to mention touring and recording with Amanda Fucking Palmer. YOW!

How do you measure success?

Happiness really - having the luxury to focus on things you care about. And how many times I get to ride in a limo - or ride first class, which as of now I'm failing miserably. I don't think I've ever been in a limo. Jeez, I don't know if thats a good or a bad thing. Lots of things could go wrong in Limos. I almost bought a limo with Zebra stripes that was on sale for 2 months in Hyde Park Austin, TX when I lived there. That would have been a good investment.

How do you handle rejection?

Rejection just makes me want to prove the rejectors wrong. It inspires me to work harder. Or to say "fuck them, they don't know what they're missing!" - so I guess not very well.

Did you always want to be in a band?

No. - OH DID I? - I thought you typed DO YOU - my bad. UH.....

I just always wanted to make music - being in a band is awesome- but only if you're making music. Otherwise your just masturbating together in a circle. Big fucking mess in the middle. That tends to happen a lot.

What inspired you to become a musician?

Um. I've never been able to adequately express myself through language. It's something I've been working on. I think it is born out of frustration. Also, I've been exposed to a lot of strange stuff - things haunt me and I have to exorcise the demons.

Who is your favorite musician of all time?

Thats a hard question - There are musicians and there are artists who happen to play music. I think they are very different things and sometimes there are artist who are virtuosos. I think thats rare. OK so - favorite musician of all time...

I know its a cop-out but its gotta be Beethoven. Sturm and Drang baby! virtuoso pianist - first freelancer - deaf? -Didn't bow to no Hapsburg - didn't need to. The beginning of Romanticism the end of Feudalism. The last piano concertos...

How has your life changed since you became a musician?

Well, shit. Right now is the first time I can call myself a professional musician - as in. I make all my money now - doing musical things. No student, no daytime job. Its great doing what you love and what you're good at. Its called "living the dream". Except "living the dream" is such a harder life. There is no clocking out of the dream. There are no 5 week holidays away from the dream. You won't even be able to enjoy yourself because you know there is still so much to do.

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

Travel. Meet lots of people. Keep in touch. Do what you want to do.

What do you like to do when your not creating and/or playing music?

I like cooking. Staying at home. Cuttin' Loose. Reading. Staying physically active somehow. Outdorsing. Electronics - Circuit Bending.

How would you describe your education?

I'm an overeducated twit. A near high school dropout that accidentally got a master's at Yale. I still think I'm self-taught for some reason. Sounds better.

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

I live in New Haven now, have been for 7 years I guess. New Haven is a very transient town (in more ways than one). People are always in and out - and that's mostly Yale's doing (though not all). I think the state of CT is ranked 49th in keeping young people in their state. And it shows. With so many other places to go so near by, its like - why stay? But that might be changing. The city is becoming a better place to live - and if more Yalies decide to stick around instead of fleeing immediately - there would be such a better "scene". Also - Yalies tend to get to busy to venture outside of their 3 block perimeter of study.

How has social media changed the music industry?

Provided a lot more noise - we go through filters (blogs, twitter)to help identify things we like from the barrage of information. Each person is not competing with other local bands or shows for attention anymore - they are trying to compete with the rest of the world in their particular genre.So artists try to entertain filters with hot web presence. Have you tried to entertain a filter? Then their stage show is weak. Thats ok though - as long as you got banging music videos.

What's your opinion on crowdfunding?

Awesome. I love what its doing to the music industry.I wonder how long it will last though? Like pledge drives for public radio? I mean, shit - I can go out and buy a tshirt for $10. Why do I need to give you $50 for that shirt -a warm and fuzzy feeling? I can get that for another $10 of Makers.

How does independent music differ from the mainstream?

Mainstream goes: boom si boom si boom si boom si

Independent goes: neener neener neener neener neener neener neener

You could go back in time and see any band play for the first time? Which would it be and why?

An Ottoman Military Band in the 17th century. Mozart heard them on the doorstep of Vienna -so impressed by their exotics, he wrote Rondo a la Turk (sp?). That shit must have sounded like outer space and probably still does. Shifting rhythms and time signatures played by an army of heathens thirsty for the slaughter. Must have raised some hairs.

Music before and after war - that would be a good study.


Thanks for doing the interview Chad. I wish you all the best with your projects. I'll be attending the rock show in Boston in August. Hopefully, we  can meet in person.