Sunday Matinee: Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain [Film]

“Hacktivist and blockchain expert Lauri Love fights extradition in TRUST MACHINE‹his computer skills a threat to the US government. Tech innovators strike a raw nerve as banks and network pundits rush to condemn volatile cryptocurrencies and their underlying blockchain technology. Why are banks terrified while UNICEF Ventures embraces it to help refugee children? Award­ winning filmmaker Alex Winter reveals that proponents of blockchain‹a verified digital ledger‹are already using the technology to change the world; fighting income inequality, the refugee crisis and world hunger.” – Big Time PR

I’m going to need to preface this coverage by attempting to set a lot of minds at ease: I didn’t understand bitcoin before watching this film, and I am still not entirely sure if I do after watching this stunning documentary. But, that is a personal problem. I will say that after watching Alex Winter’s amazing documentary, I understand that it is an absolutely incredible advancement in technology that is receiving a far too negative reaction, for exactly all the wrong reasons. Old heads of our expiring democracy see this type of technology as a threat, and something that needs to stop. Thankfully there are folks out there like legendary cult favorite actor turned documentarian Alex Winter out there to set the god damn record straight.

As I stated before, I am not entirely knowledgable on what bitcoin truly is. But, this is truly just my self-realization that there is so much excellence in the simplicity of it all that it makes it hard for my simple mind to comprehend. Or maybe I understand it entirely. Cryptocurrency makes about as much sense as a monetary world that is solely based around numbers and figures placed into a digital bank. Why wouldn’t it work? Well, the real answer is that there is no reason. It can work. It should work. But, will the powers that be allow it to be a thing? I mean, “no” is their answer. But, can they really stop it? I believe that time will truly tell. And in watching Trust Machine, I find the the future to be very bright in knowing that the old fogies like myself are just going to have to deal with the changes for the better by just stepping the fuck aside, and keeping our god damn mouths closed. Of course, I am not a person of power, so I could never understand the level of narcissism that it takes to be one of these psychopaths, but I’m not here to brag. I’m simply here to support the likes of Laurie Love and everyone else out there who is desperately trying to make the future so bright that we will all be wearing designer aviators out of necessity.

What I am basically trying to say here is that if you have ever wondered what exactly cryptocurrency and blockchain truly is, and want to set your mind at ease about something that is so scary and different than what you are used to, you absolutely MUST see Trust Machine. And also, I may be biased as a fan, but I would believe just about any and every thing that Rosario Dawson told me. Thank goodness she’s not a flat-earther, as I really wouldn’t know what to do.

All jokes aside, Alex Winter has created something magical here. This is the type of documentary that has the ability to not only change minds, but history. Please watch this!

Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain recently premiered in L.A. on November 16th. Additional cities are to follow. Keep up with how you can check out the film at the film’s WEBSITE. And check out the trailer for the film right here:

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Christi Chiello [Interview]

Today’s guest is an absolute gem of a human being, and a wonderful addition to the ever-growing roster of brilliant comedians we have had the great fortune of showcasing on our digital pages. It’s Christi Chiello!

I discovered Christi whilst enjoying our dear friend Amy Miller’s podcast, Who’s Your God, and happened to find Christi to be absolutely hilarious and seemed to be just a delightful person to listen to. And then I checked out some of her standup that was available on line, and I was completely hooked. She is poignant, she is clever, and must importantly….she is funny as hell! I knew after just a few minutes into watching one of her sets that I would really love to have her on the site.

And as luck would have it, she was willing to share a few words with us. Damn you are some lucky readers, if I could say so myself. She is an absolute delightful human being and has a pretty amazing story to tell. We learn about how she got into the world of performance and eventually standup comedy. How God plays an important role in her life (yes, not something we’d normally discuss in this heathen-centric atmosphere, but trust me, this is SO good!), and so much more. So let’s get into it Folks! Please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Christi Chielo!

When did you first realize that you were a hilarious human being and you wanted to make people laugh for a living?

Oh wow, thank you!! I’m a middle child so I had to compete for attention a lot growing up. I’d copy my big sister who was very funny. My whole family is crazy funny, I’m not even the funniest daughter?  They just for some reason didn’t want to make a career out of being funny (smart).  In school I loved doing plays and because I have this weird-ass voice, I played a lot of comedic roles. I’ve wanted to be a performer forever. It think it’s in my DNA.

Can you tell us a bit about your first time getting up on stage? Did you do okay? And was there anything that you took from that experience that still affects your work today?

My very first time on stage was at a dance recital. I took dance classes with my older sister. She was amazing and I was… there. I was dressed up as a chicken for a tap routine. I was probably 6? And I was crying, hysterically backstage, just terrified to go out and perform.  But somehow my teacher got me onstage for the big show. I stood there, paralyzed while the other girls tapped around me. At the very end of the song I did one shuffle step. And that was it! SO- I’d say I nailed it! I don’t remember a moment when I got over my stage fright but a few years later I was doing plays and more dance recitals (where I actually danced). And within a few years the stage became the place I felt the most comfortable.

Having performed on stages all across North America, I am curious to know what have been some of the more unique places you have perform in? What are some cities that you found to be great places for comedy, that most people may not even think about ?

My favorite places to perform at are smaller, more intimate settings. I like my audiences to be on my lap, the entire show. I love doing crowd work and truly engaging with everyone and that’s harder to do in huge venues. I truly love Union Hall in Brooklyn, it has so much character and the people there are amazing. Ars Nova is my favorite theatre for sure. Hmm… once I performed on an elevator in Brooklyn, that was pretty crazy.  Shea Stadium is a super special place, too. Brooklyn has a lot of really bizarre venues. And to be totally honest- I haven’t performed outside the city as much as I’d like to! I’ve been to venues on the East and West Coasts but I’d love to travel to Austin, Portsmouth, Denver & Chicago and check out their comedy! Montreal is amazing in the summer because of JFL, there’s nothing like it.

I was watching some of your sets on YouTube recently, and I happened to notice that your growth as a comedian has been quite substantial over the last couple of years. I watched a video from 5 years ago, and it seems quite different than your recent work (both still very funny, BTW). Is this something that has just come from experience? Or have you had some sort of proverbial awakening over the last couple of years?

Thank God I am improving! I look at some of my old videos and want to jump off the Queensboro, I’ve really gotta take some of those down. I learned early on that I could get away with saying a lot of fucked up shit because of my voice & overall demeanor. So I went for shock value… all the time. It was pretty cheap!  As I continue to grow I’m learning to talk about the stuff I truly want to talk about.  Even if I’m not sure if people will understand or be on board.  A perfect example is my being a Christian!  Wow… transitions into your next question seamlessly and I did NOT even plan this!

I loved your appearance on our friend and past interviewee Amy Miller’s podcast Who’s Your God. It was so insightful and inspiring. I am curious to know though, has the fact that you are an outspoken Christian in your own right, had any affect on your career as a comedian? You’re obviously doing very well for yourself, but has anything been lost due to having faith in a business that seems to be more association with atheism or agnosticism? Or am I just making a bland assumption about a world in which I obviously know nothing about?

Thank you so much, I’m a big fan and I was so thrilled when they asked me to do it! I love your last question so much, it’s so honest, lolol. You’re not making bland assumptions at all, I think it’s a totally great question! For starters I think most people think I’m joking when I talk about Jesus.  I think they assume that because I approach the topic so lightheartedly, that I can’t possibly be serious.  But I am! My faith is super important to me but I don’t get preachy about it. Most of my friends are atheists and that’s fine by me- to each their own!  There’s a mutual respect which I think is important. To many Christians- I am NOT a Christian.  Because I sin like, all the time. But I have a relationship with God that is so powerful and unique to me. And God loves my fucked up jokes. He’s ROCL (Rolling on the Cloud Laughing). I’ll see myself out…

My God is everything I want him to be. He’s love.  And your God could be Sinbad? I mean, I don’t give a fuck. Whatever makes people happy.

And I pray for the day that I don’t have to ask this question, but I feel like the conversation needs to continue: How do you feel about the currently climate for women in comedy specifically? With the events that have occurred within the last year alone, are things getting any better? Have you noticed any difference in people’s attitudes towards women in the world of comedy?

I think things are for sure getting better because there’s so much more awareness. I also think there’s a lot more to be done! I’m just always rooting for women.  A win for one is a win for us all.  There’s so much room at the table. I’m proud to be a woman in comedy and I’m proud to support other women in comedy!

I understand you have a one-woman show entitled “It’s Christi, Bitch!” that will be coming to Ars Nova in NYC that sounds very intriguing. For those who haven’t seen it yet, what can folks plan to experience whilst viewing your brilliantly titled opus of a show?

Lolol that’s right. Me and Britney Spears, the 2 biggest genuises of our generation! Audiences can expect a RANGE of emotions.  It’s an hour of vulnerable storytelling, ACTING, heavy audience interaction aka CONNECTION, jokes, songs, laughter, pain…. I’m living and dying on the God damn stage.  It’s everything to me. It’s my story- that of a holy and horny girl just doing her god damn best.

What else does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

Everything’s always on my site christichiello.com & I’ll share on social media @christichiello.

Also look out for some fun developments with Battle of the Divas – the amazing long-running show I co-host with Matteo Lane at Union Hall in Brooklyn!

What was the last thing that made you smile?

YOU, wanting to interview ME.  Thank you. ❤

Find more information about Christi at christichiello.com, and check her out live shows coming soon!

Check out Christi at the following shows:

November 21st @ Comedy Connection, Providence, Rhode Island 8:00 p.m.

December 2nd @ Union Hall, Brooklyn, New York. 8:00 p.m. (It’s Christi, Bitch! show)

Christina Cole [Interview]

Today we are sharing some amazing words from an even more amazing actress. It’s Christina Cole, Everyone! Christina has had some absolutely wonderful roles in the world of film, theatre, and television. In fact, it’s in the world of television that we here at Trainwreck’d Society came to know and love her work. Christina is a star on the truly funny and poignant new series The Indian Detective, which also features acclaimed stand up comedian Russell Peters. It is an absolutely brilliant and she is absolutely brilliant in it.

We are beyond excited that Christina has graced out digital pages and was willing to share a few great words with us here today. So without further ado, please enjoy some wonderful words from the great Christina Cole!

When did you first discover your passion for the world of acting?

It was always something I really enjoyed at school and I was very fortunate to have a fantastic drama teacher at school who pushed me along.

Was it something you just always knew you were going to do?

At the time no. I don’t come from a back ground of people in the arts, so I didn’t perceive it as a tangible thing.

Or did you sort of stumble your way into this world?

Yes, I kind of did. When I was at college, I had a teacher who said that I should try to get into drama school… Again, I thought Uni was the only way into the work place. Anyway, I auditioned at two drama schools to see what it was all about. Got into one. Won a scholarship and that was the turning point… I focused everything into those 3 years.

Of the many genres you have done some amazing work in, you have had some great roles in one of our favorite genres which is the world of horror. So in your obvious professional opinion, I’d love to know what you like about working in the world of horror?

The human imagination is limitless and everybody loves a good play on their own fears and senses. Well, those who enjoy a horror, anyway. They are all so different to work on. Doghouse, a more comedy type horror, was such good fun to work on. Getting to play with supernatural roles in prosthetic make up is just the best!.  But something like Rosemary’s Baby was completely different. I love working on psychological thrillers. Developing a role that leaves people guessing as to your own involvement in the protagonists dilemma, is a very exciting process..

What is it about this genre of film that sets itself apart from other genres you have worked on?

I don’t know … suspense…the race against time….blood and gore… depends on which one. Lol.

We also thoroughly enjoy the world of comedy, and you starred alongside Russell Peters in the series The Indian Detective, that is absolutely hilarious. How has your experience been working on a zany and hilarious program like this? Is it as much fun to work on as it is for us to watch?

It absolutely was. Russell is a laugh a minute to be around, and just a lovely guy. We shot most of the series in South Africa, in and around Cape Town, which was beautiful. The crux for us all was trying to get the right balance of comedy and drama…

And I imagine you are not at liberty to speak on anything about the future of The Indian Detective, but if we were to speak hypothetically and strictly opinion based…What would you like to see the future look like for Robyn Gerner? Is there any sort of character growth you would like to bring to her character, should you continue to bring her character to life?

I’d like to see more emotional tension between Robin and Doug’s character. The kind of ‘will they, won’t they’ tension that you often see in male and female partner cop type dramas, really works. That type of character development is interesting to watch.

You have had some great success in the world of film, television, and the theatre. With that being said, I am curious to know which form of performance is your favorite? If you were destined to only work in one field for the rest of your career, which would you choose?

That’s a toughy, as the best part of it all, is that I get to do it all. And never get bored. I really enjoy getting to hop between film, TV, and Theatre. They require slightly varying tools and I enjoy the challenge of that. Sorry, thats a boring answer, I know, but I really couldn’t choose.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

Well, I’ve just had my 2nd child (and last..lol), so I’m currently having fun working out the new normal in our family.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Watching my eldest entertain her little sister by doing a silly dance while I had a quick shower this morning.

Season One of The Indian Detective is available now on Netflix.

Liza Treyger [Interview]

Photo by Mindy Tucker


Holy Shit Folks! We have an absolutely wonderful interview to share with you all today. I know I say this a lot, and I always do mean it. But today is very special! Today we are featuring one of my favorite stand up comedians working today. It’s Liza Treyger Everyone! I have been following Liza’s work for quite a few years now. Well, honestly, I’ve just managed to hear her on probably dozens of podcasts, which may not be truly considered “work” (as Liza will discuss below) but it is undeniable that Liza is downright hilarious, and a rabbit hole of Treyger related YouTube videos is probably one of the most delightful ones you can go down. She is raw, honest, and has brilliantly honest takes on a mirage of different topics. She can make you feel uncomfortable with her honesty and forthrightness, which is truly a sign of a damn great comic.

As previously mentioned, I have been following Liza for years, and have watched her grow as a comic and begin to receive the popularity I felt she deserved so many years ago. Most recently notable, Liza can be found the latest stand up special that Netflix has put out entitled The Degenerates. The special features some other amazing comics, but the stand out of them all was obviously Treyger. I watched them all in one binge, and all biases aside, I found this special to be one of her best sets to date. Go watch this Folks! If you call yourself a fan of comedy, and haven’t delved into the world of Liza Treyger, I truly won’t believe you.

So Folks, please enjoy some words from one of the best in the game, the great Liza Treyger!

When did you first discover that you were a damned funny person, and that comedy was a natural gift that you could use to earn a living?

Being funny might be a natural gift, but doing stand up is a skill that you get better doing with experience and when I decided to do comedy it was never to earn a living. That was a great perk, but I didn’t realize it until years after doing it. But, yeah just being a funny person doesn’t mean you’re going to be good at stand up and some good stand ups are boring people that I want away from me. But, if someone’s goal is just to make money I would suggest not getting into stand up comedy.

Having been in the game for a while, and traveled all over the place doing stand up, I am always curious to find out what are some hidden gems of cities out there in regards to comedy? What are some places that most people wouldn’t think of as great comedy towns?

I love the crowds and shows and comics in DC! Cleveland is a good time! Lots of good local shows at sweet venues with great food and there’s a lot to do there. Cleveland has a great art museum, fun sports, Great Lakes Brewery, and cheap ass drinks.

I loved your appearance on the podcast Stand By Your Band that is hosted by former TWS guest Tom Thakkar and Tommy McNamara, in which you so brilliantly defended the genius of Aqua. I actually happen to catch you on ALOT of podcasts, which is probably how I know of you the most! As a huge podcast fan, I am curious to know how podcasts affect your work as a comedian? Do you get people showing up in random cities saying, “I heard you on Race Wars/SBYB/etc.”? Is there any ultimate payout for doing podcasts? 

I like doing podcasts because I love to talk and chat and hang with friends, so I’ll do almost any podcast but i don’t do anything for payouts. What I get from it I just like to have fun and I find them enjoyable. I do get people at my shows from podcasts more than anythings else. we will see what happens after Netflix but, I get a lot of Crab Feast fans come out to my shows and i almost always at least one day a weekend see someone in a Legion of Skanks t shirt. being able to be on podcasts also gives me something to do in the daytime or I might never leave my house so that’s great too. Oh and this is a radio show but people come out from Bennington!

I really loved your appearances on the brilliant series Horace & Pete. What was it like to work on this truly unique project? And to keep it a secret the whole time? That had to have been tough!

I mean I told my friends, so I didn’t really keep the secret but, I loved not telling people outside my friend group and then it just dropping out of nowhere. Loved that and felt super cool. working on this show was one of the best moments of my life and I’m very grateful and just still can’t believe it. I mean Steve Buscemi, Alan Alda, Edie Falco, Jessica Lange, and then just chilling with Steven Wright, like OMG! it was magic to be around such talented people and watching them work.

Liza Treyger on The Degenerates available on Netflix NOW!

Your Netflix Special that was on Netflix’s The Degenerates was definitely the biggest highlight of that showcase for me. Part of it was that I was a big fan of yours before it came out, but also it was so fucking funny! So, what is life like post-Netflix special? Have you noticed the Netflix-bumped life been going for you? 

it just came out [two weeks ago] so it’s mostly attention on the internet which isn’t real. Oh but people are texting me, so that’s nice but, I hope people come see me live. The biggest thing honestly was the paycheck too, that was great and now I have my own place and bought a bunch of stuff and threw a party. I also got a bunch of leather harnesses, omg and got to see Celine Dion since we taped in Vegas, which was a true gift!

When you look back on your career in the world of comedy in say 50 years or so, what would you like to be able to look back and say to yourself about the legacy you will leave behind?

I just hope to always be working and thinking forward and making cool things that I believe in. I just hope I always stand up for myself and others and stay true to myself and treat people well and always pushing myself creatively. I would love to have some specials and projects that people can watch for years to come.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers? 

I would just love for them to watch my special and follow me on Instagram. I’m working on [some]things but there’s really no guarantee that anything will actually come out but, hopefully there’ll be some fun things in the future.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

OMG, today I got to go to a college sociology classroom to talk and do stand up and answer questions  and I really loved the students and teacher and they made me smile. They were cool ass city kids and chatty and confident and I just had such good feelings and that made me smile! Before that I put a new shelf thing in my living room and decorated it so freaking cute and I keep smiling every time i see it.

Check out Liza’s special featured on The Degenerates available now on Netflix.

Sunday Matinee: Sacred Heart [Film]

Sacred Heart chronicles the journey of a religious man, who rejects God and his faith, after the tragic death of his pregnant wife and then challenges the Devil. He receives a visit from his priest, who pushes him to question his own beliefs.” – October Coast PR

I have to preface this by stating that I am of the opinion that referring to a psychological thriller as “extremely fucked up” is a high compliment. These types of films are meant to toy with your emotions and tear down your sense of right and wrong.

With that being said….Sacred Heart is extremely fucked up.

It is a story that weaves in and out of reality like a national leader on Twitter. It creates false realities, but it is on a deeper level than the previously mentioned example. At its core, this is a film about dealing with not only loss and pain, but guilt and self-hatred. With a plot that is simply two men having a conversation about God and relationships, the creators of this fantastic film manage to create a story so in depth and in touch with the human psyche that it was not only frightening to watch, but also pretty damn uncomfortable. Which is a sign of most good art. If you’re uncomfortable watching a film, you’re probably relating it to it on a psychological level that you may not truly understand.

It should probably go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway, that the reason this film was so impactful is clearly based around the work of both David Field and Kipan Rothbury. While clearly well-written characters developed by writer/director Kosta Nikas, these two really hit it out of the proverbial ball park when it comes to making you truly believe in the madness that is raging within both of them. Their point/counterpoint and delivery were spot on. Their reactions were rapid fire or a slow burn, and in either case they absolutely destroyed their time on the screen.

Although Kosta Nikas’s brilliant feature film debut was released almost two years ago, it is finally seen its light of day with a DVD and VoD release this past summer. And if you watch this film and feel as though you need to take something away from your time viewing it, please let it be that Kosta Nika is a filmmaker to lookout for in the future. I am so excited to see what else can come from the mind that would bring us a film like Sacred Heart. Again, brilliant performances. A wonderfully written story. Shot fantastically. This is what great cinema is all about!

Check out the trailer for Sacred Heart, and find the film wherever you get them on DVD and VoD, available now:


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/140627364″>Trailer SACRED HEART Australia Psychological Thriller (90 min feature)</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/devilworksales”>DEVILWORKS</a&gt; on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Daniel Roebuck [Interview]

Hello Folks! We have an absolutely wonderful interview to share with you fine folks today! And I know we say this a lot, but this man is one of the most versatile and hardworking people in the world of art and entertainment. And when I say that Daniel Roebuck has done just about everything there is to do, I mean that with absolute sincerity. The man grow up as an actual clown in the circus. That’s right, he developed his performance chops in the circus. He has a journey into this world that is so profound and exciting and we are beyond excited that he is here to tell us all about it.

Beyond just being a phenomenal character actor, Daniel is also an acclaimed producer, writer, and filmmaker. One of his latest films, Getting Grace is available now on DVD and VoD, and is an absolute delight that you have to see. From his performance as Jay Leno, to his work on our friend Penelope Spheeris’s cult classic film Dudes alongside the lovely Jon Cryer, to another dig into the world of the television series Becker that we bring up on every occasion possible here at Trainwreck’d Society.

The man is a damned delight. And we are so excited that he was willing to grace our digital pages today. So please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Daniel Roebuck!

When did you first discover your passion for the world of performance? Was it something you had wanted to do from a very young age?

I can pinpoint a moment at about first grade where I tried to write my own script.  The problem was I didn’t know how to write yet because I was only in first grade, so I decided to draw the script instead.  I ended up showing it to Sister Kathleen who insisted we perform my play.  And just about that same time I started talking about “when I’m on TV…”, to the point where my parents got me a cardboard television to pretend I was on TV.  So from the cardboard television, I moved to to actually performing in front of people.  I tried to be a ventriloquist first, then I was an impressionist like Rich Little.  And then at 12, I became a clown in a circus. I swear to god that’s the truth… other kids would run away to the circus but my mom drove me back and forth for every show.

I read in your bio that you were once a full fledged professional clown in the circus! That is beyond intriguing! I don’t believe we have ever had a true clown on the site before. So what was that experience like? And were there any sort of lessons from that experience that you may still incorporate into your work today?

Well, I like to be the first in any instance, so I am glad to be your first clown turned actor.  The greatest thing I remember about that time in my life, was that the adults in the show taught me a valuable lesson because they never treated me like a kid.  As far as they were concerned, if I was hired as a clown, I was a clown.  So the other side of that great lesson is that because they didn’t treat me like a kid, I never acted like a kid.  I went to every rehearsal.  I learned every gag.  They were all much more experienced than I was obviously.  And I learned a lot about physical comedy.  And yes, all those things I still utilize in my work.  An amazing side note, that although many of the clowns have passed on because they were older when I was only 12, the next oldest clown and my first mentor, Neil Fehnel, is actually in the movie I just directed, Getting Grace, as a clown.

Copyright Daniel Robuck.

You have become a sort of staple in one genre of film specifically, which is the one we love and adore the most around here, and that is the world of horror! So, as a professional who has worked in so many different genres of film and television, I am curious to know what it is that you enjoy about working on horror films? What sets them apart from all of the other types of films and shows you have worked on?

So it’s beyond ironic that I am in so many horror films because as you may, or may not know, I was a huge fan of the Gothic Universal Horrors of the 30’s & 40’s.  Such a fan, that I bought a museum to hold artifacts and collectibles of that time frame.  People can still view it, at the original www.DanielRoebuck.com site, if they look under the tab marked “Dr. Shocker’s House of Horror.”

What I love best about being in horror movies is this ridiculous opportunity that people dont generally get in the world of acting in which I have actually entered into the same stories horror wise that I used to watch as a kid.  Like imagine that I said in the Boyd theater in Bethlehem PA in the 1970’s and watched Jamie Lee Curtis running from Michael Myers.  And then 35 years later, in another movie, so was I.  The same goes for being killed by one of the Phantasm Orbs.  If you would of told me when I saw that original movie so many years ago, that I would of been dodging, unsuccessfully dodging, one of those orbs, I would of never believed it.  One of my favorite things about working in the genre is wearing the SPFX makeup.  That is a big deal for me, having grown up on all those great Jack Peirce make ups in the Universal stories.  So I do love that.  Also any time I spend with horror mistro, Rob Zombie, makes me happy.  It’s kind of become a joke, the brevity of my roles in his films, but I definitely enjoy working with him.  He really is a visionary filmmaker.

In 1987 you starred in a film directed by our dear friend Penelope Spheeris called Dudes, that is an absolute cult classic, at least in my mind. I’d love to know what it was like to work on this amazing & a little dark (but not too much) film? Is this one of those films that you get recognized for often?

Let me tell you this about Dudes.  I get recognized from that movie so much more than I ever thought would be possible, considering it only played in three theaters, 31 years ago.  I think what was the thing about it that makes people go back to it is the relationships.  I think Jon and I really appear to be friends in the film, and are actually real friends still 31 years later.  Penelope was great, an innovator by the way, because there weren’t a lot of female directors.  She definitely knew what she wanted and I think we had a good time giving it to her.

By the way, I saw Katherine Mary Stuart a few weeks ago, and she doesn’t look like she aged a day.  And yet Jon and I, look like we could be the fathers of the guys from Dudes.  I have really enjoyed the resurgence of the movie lately (the Shout Factory Bluray) and Penelope is finally getting the credit she deserves for the amazing work she has done.  She is a great lady, and when ever I say nice things about her, she acts like I am insincere, so I hope she reads this and learns once more how grateful I was for the opportunity to be in the movie. I am also a huge fan of J. Randall Gahnson, he’s the greatest guy ever and a very excellent writer.

Jon Cryer & Daniel Robuck on the set of “Dudes”, directed by Penelope Spheeris. Copyright Daniel Roebuck

We also love us some stand up comedy around here, and you happened to have portrayed one of the absolute legends in the comedy world, one Mr. Jay Leno, in the HBO fim The Late Shift. So what was it like to channel in on Mr. Leno to pull off the performance that you did? Did you manage to shadow him at all?

Not only did I not shadow him, I was a nervous wreck about not wanting to annoy the pour guy.  But here is an astounding tale, the very first day I was working on the movie was the first day I went to my fitting for my blue contact lenses.  By the way my eyes are already blue, but his are much bluer.  Anyway, I was driving down Franklin Avenue in Hollywood toward the optometrist and I stopped at the stop sign, and across from me was Jay Leno in a vintage car.  We passed each other in that intersection, and I thought all was right in the world.  After I wrapped filming, I called him at his office and he came to the phone immediately and couldn’t of been move gracious.  He was very curious to know how it went and very congratulatory.  Since then, I have seen him a number of times and even cast him to narrate an animated film I produced (“Christmas is Here Again.”)

And I have always felt grateful, that I got to play the nice guy and poor John Michael Higgins, who is truly a terrific actor, and has proven so for the last three decades, got stuck playing Letterman.  And now that I’m an older guy and older people are aloud to speak what is in their heart, I can say that I was appalled by how Letterman treated Jay as he proved himself to be as neurotic, as despicable as any famous person I have ever heard of.  I know there was camps of people who clearly love Letterman, and to them I say, look at the man’s character.  There is nothing funny about that.

I know this is very specific, but I really have to ask: In 2003 you appeared on episode of one of my personal favorite sitcoms of all time, known as Becker. One of our first interviews was actually with Hattie Winston. So whenever I get someone on here, I have to ask about Becker. How was your experience working on this highly underrated program?

Well lets begin where we have to begin.  Ted Danson is a god.  Like the guy is really the greatest guy.  Ive gotten to work with him a few times and hope to do so many more.  He is gracious and talented and funny.  He always kept his good humor up the entire time I was there on Becker.

Now here is an interesting side note about that episode, it was directed named Randy Carter, making his television directorial debut.  Randy Carter, you may recall, played Randy Carter the first AD on the Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld reunion episode, because he was the actually first AD on “Seinfeld” for many years. You know, as a guest star, which I have been hundreds of times, you never know what you are walking into.  Sometimes you think, “Oh this show is funny, its going to be amazing and we’re going to laugh all week…” and you get there, and everyone is a douche.  Other times, you think, “Oh, this show is serious, we’re going to be serious all week.”  And you get there, and everyone is laughing the entire time.  And it’s like Christmas morning, you don’t know which package you’re going to unwrap, or what is going to be inside.

But I would say Becker, based on Ted Danson’s leadership, was a happy set.  And I’d like to speak to that for a minute if you don’t mind.  I’ve learned from literally the best people that part of your job as the series lead is to keep the set moving forward because its very easy to get bogged down in drama.  Anytime creative forces meet, there is the possibility of any kind of explosion.  And even a minor explosion can throw all the schedule.  With only 8 days to shoot an episode, every moment is precious.  So when I am the lead, or a regular on a TV show, believe me, I keep everybody laughing the entire day even if it means insulting myself or tripping over things.  What ever it takes, I’ll do it to make people’s work day pleasant.

I am very intrigued by the 2017 film that you not only starred in, but also directed and co-wrote as well, entitled Getting Grace. Can you tell us a bit about it? Where did the concept for the film come from?

Getting Grace is the story of a teenage girl who is dying of Cancer.  She goes into a funeral home to find out what is going to happen after she dies and ends up teaching the funeral director how to celebrate life.  Although I’ve had a great interest in the funeral business in my teenage years when I briefly considered it as a career, I was surprised at the simple elegance of a script I read called Bending Spoons.  It was written by a Michigan writer named Jeff Lewis.  I found that script 9 years ago and it took 7 years to get it made.  We rewrote it together and turned it into Getting Grace.  So I am excited to say that our little movie has been making great waves.  We’ve ran in 85 theaters and played for eleven weeks around the United States.  The movie has not started moving into international markets, and became available on November 6, 2018, and Netflix a few months later.  It’s been an extraordinary journey, extremely fulfilling, I would invite your readers to go to gettinggracethemovie.com to see the trailer.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

As usual, I have such a wide swaff of films coming out that are all different.  There’s a crazy horror movie called Wild Boar by Barney Burman, the Academy Award winning make up man. A lovely faith based film called Palau: The movie about the South American Tel-evangelist Louis Palau, and a comedy by Tom Callaway called Give Til It Hurts,” in which I play a despicable preacher.  But first out of the gate, will be a lovely Alzheimer’s drama called A Timeless Love, which I also produced.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The first answer is this question.  The second, kinda grosser answer is that I got this amazing copy of a Herman Munster head today… but really if you want to know what makes me smile is knowing that God loves me and lets me experience like sitting in the theater in Edmonton Alberta, Canada, and watching 200+ people laugh exactly where I thought they would while they were watching a movie I made two years earlier.

Check out the trailer for Getting Grace right here:

Hallie Shepherd [Interview]

 

Oh do we have a wonderful interview for you fine folks! Today we  are featuring an person who is not only extremely talented, but is a truly multi-faceted artist. Hallie Shepherd has done some amazing work both behind and in front of the screen. In 2018 alone, she earned credits as editor, producer, writer, and actress in two very incredible films, Last Seen In Idaho and Bayou Caviar. The later was recently released last month and features the brilliant Cuba Gooding Jr. in a role of his lifetime.

We get into these films and so much more with this wonderful interview with such a brilliant artist. So why don’t we just get right into it. So Folks, please enjoy some amazing words from the brilliant Hallie Shepherd!

When did you first decide you wanted to join the world of filmmaking and performance? Was it an early aspiration for you, or did you just find yourself in this world one day?

When I was a little girl, I really wanted to take dance and acting classes and be a gymnast, but I grew up in a small town of one thousand people in western Washington. It didn’t have much by way of activities beyond sports. So sports and academics were pretty much my life growing up. I was always reading novels and writing my own stories. I’d also create little newspapers. I’d interview other kids to be staff writers, and then I’d edit and distribute the papers. And I also loved writing plays and casting other students. I would beg my teachers to let us perform them for the school. In grade school, I really only had one teacher who didn’t support my creative pursuits. That teacher had the mentality that the class needed to do everything together at the same pace. I was spilling out of my skin that year.

When I was in sixth grade, my teacher contacted the county newspaper and told them he had a student who had started a sixth grade newspaper and would they let me write an article? I had no idea he was going to do that, and of course I was thrilled when I found out that they said ‘yes.’ I guess my first article about my class hatching fish eggs must have been a smashing success, because they let me on the staff as a weekly columnist. I did that for three years, stopping when I went into high school and started working on the yearbook.

I’ve always known I wanted to write novels, which only recently I’ve started to work on when I have time. But filmmaking and screenwriting seemed like worlds away. While my young mind could conceptualize the process of writing a book and getting it published, the process of making a movie was so foreign to me. My family had a VHS camcorder, so in grade school and high school, I’d write and direct little movies with my friends. I loved to act, so I was usually the lead role. But it felt to me more like a hobby than a career path.

When I was in high school, Good Will Hunting came out, and I saw it in the theatre with my mom. I just loved that movie – “How do you like them apples?” When Matt Damon and Ben Affleck won the Oscar for that screenplay, I thought to myself, “Hmm… maybe I could write screenplays.” I remember feeling really inspired by that, but I kept that aspiration a secret for several years.

At Western Washington University, I got a B.A. in English, but it wasn’t until my senior year there that I started taking acting classes and performing with the theatre department. That’s the year that I finally just said, “Screw it, I’m really doing this. This is who I am and this is what I want to do!” I haven’t looked back since. Even when things get rough – and trust me, they do – I think to myself, “I didn’t come this far to only come this far.”

You have worked extensively with fellow writer/producer and filmmaker Eric Colley on quite a few projects over the years. I am curious to know what it is that makes you both a solid team of highly creative people? And what is it like to work extensively with your own partner? Are there some sort of professional and personal boundaries that can prove challenging?

Eric is the most amazing teammate. We have a similar work ethic, and we believe in creating a really positive environment on set and working with good, trustworthy people. This is our chosen career path, but it’s also what we’re passionate about, so it’s wonderful to be able to share that with each other. When you work with your partner, there’s also a level of trust and understanding that’s automatic. We challenge each other creatively and when we don’t see eye to eye on something in one of our projects, we debate it passionately. But it always feels productive and supportive. If one of us gets overly busy or stressed out, the other one picks up the slack. We have each other’s back. Making movies is hard, but working with Eric is actually the easy part.

 

I really loved your film released earlier this year, Last Seen in Idaho. I’m a sucker for a well made, female-driven, thrill ride such as this film. I am curious to know what inspired you to tell this tale? 

Thank you! I miss the classic ‘90s thrillers. I was coming of age when Sandra Bullock starred in The Net and Julia Roberts starred in Conspiracy Theory. Those were exciting thrill rides for me, and I looked up to those women. They were strong and resourceful and relatable. I love a good thriller with twists and turns.

As for the specific story premise of Last Seen in Idaho, I don’t recall the exact moment I came up with it. People often ask me how I come up with story ideas, and the answer is that I rarely actively try to think up ideas. There’s no shortage of plots and characters and scenes floating around in my mind. I’m a daydreamer. The problem is there’s not enough time for me to turn all of my ideas into screenplays or books!

Ten years ago, Last Seen in Idaho was one of the first scripts that I ever wrote, and as first scripts go, it was terrible. Over the years, I’d revisit the concept and I’d write an entirely new script: new plot, new characters, new everything. It went through several incarnations. The script that we finally made into a movie is nothing like the original script I wrote all those years ago. The only thing that’s the same is that the heroine is named Summer, and she sees a missing person flier with her face on it for a kidnapping that’s in the future. She has to solve and stop her own murder before it happens.

I’m really proud of Last Seen in Idaho and the cast and crew that worked on it. It was a pretty ambitious production on an indie budget, so everyone wore a lot of hats to get it done, which you can see if you watch the “Making Of” on the DVD. The film is out now on DVD from online retailers like Amazon and Best Buy, and it’s also available almost everywhere on Video-On-Demand, like iTunes, Amazon Instant, Google Play, Vudu, Xbox, PlayStation, and from you local cable or satellite provider.

In making Last Seen in Idaho, you found yourself shooting in my beloved home state of Washington. How do you enjoy filming in the Pacific Northwest? What sets working in this region apart from many of the others that you have shot in?

I love shooting in the Pacific Northwest. Washington is a beautiful state with such variety. We have waterfront, rainforest, good-sized cities, rural areas, mountains, all kinds of stuff. And if you want to venture to the eastside, you can get the desert look. I’d like to go over there and shoot a post-apocalyptical story someday.

For Eric and me and our company Fireshoe, as long as it makes sense for the project, we prefer to shoot in Washington. Logistically, it’s easier for us. We have so many friends and family members and business contacts here that we can pull from for resources. The film community here is pretty small, but because there aren’t a million movies being filmed here, the non-film people aren’t jaded about it. In Los Angeles or New Orleans or areas with bigger film industries, people get annoyed with city streets being shut down or filming that causes some noise in the neighborhood. But here, people are excited to be part of the process. Rather than paying an enormous fee for a location, people open up their doors for you. That’s in part because it’s not commonplace here and in part because we know so many people in the area that we can reach out to our network and say, “Hey, do you know someone with a secluded log cabin? Or, would you lend us your RV? Or, do you want to help us build this set? Or, do you want to be an extra in this party scene?” Doing that also creates a great community around the project, because everyone who contributed in some way is part of the team and in support of the film. 

 

I am very intrigued by the upcoming project in which you will appear in and be a producer of entitled Bayou Caviar. How did you become involved in working on the directorial debut of Cuba Gooding Jr.? And what should your fans be excited for when the film is out there?

Eric Colley and I came on board the project during the early financing stages. With our partners in China, we financed a large portion of the budget. The title of the film has actually changed a few times. The original script was called Burbank Caviar and it was set in Burbank, California. When we were considering different filming locations, New Orleans was on the list. Cuba really liked the look and feel of the city, and I agree that it works well with both the vibrant story elements and the sordid story elements. So then it was renamed Louisiana Caviar, and the pig farm in the script was changed to an alligator farm, which is even more interesting anyway. Alligators are scary! Finally now it’s titled Bayou Caviar.

My acting role is tiny. It’s just a small scene with Cuba, but it was fun to switch from producer to actor for a few hours. And that’s actually what I’m most excited about is the performances in this movie. Cuba is great as a boxer who’s past his prime, and Richard Dreyfuss is a wonderful bad guy. There is a reason that both of those men have won Oscars. Famke Janssen is fantastic as a tough, manipulative character whose moral compass is off-kilter. Actually, most of the characters in this movie have moral compasses that are defective. That might make the film challenging for some audience members. Who do you like? Who do you root for? There are story elements that are uncomfortable, and some themes and topics that are quite timely.

 What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to share with our readers?

Sure! I recently wrote two new scripts, and we’re in development on them right now. One is a fun action-thriller and the other is an eerie psychological thriller. We’re working on the financing and packaging.

Throughout the last six months or so, I wasn’t really acting or auditioning. My focus was almost entirely on my screenwriting and my editing of the “Behind the Scenes” for The Last Seen in Idaho DVD and social media teasers. There are only so many hours in the day! But I’m feeling the acting bug again, so I need to get back out there. It’s my understanding that a psychological thriller that I acted in late last year is just finishing up post-production. It’s called Losing Addison and it stars Sherilyn Fenn from Twin Peaks. I play a pushy District Attorney in it, and I can’t wait to see it.

I have a website where I write a blog and post my short stories that I call “Tiny Stories.” I also give updates about my projects, so people can always check that out to see what the latest is. I’m really active on Instagram too.
www.HallieShepherd.com
www.Instagram.com/hallie.shepherd

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

This interview. I smile and laugh a lot! Life is weird, so you have to. 

 

Bayou Caviar is available now on VOD wherever you stream movies. Check out the trailer here: