10 Great Indie Rock Songs for Kids Under 10 [Exclusive]

GirlsBeing a parent is a tough job at times.  Of course it is rewarding at least half the time though.  A parent, especially young parents, should always live in a constant fear of raising their kids to be upstanding citizens by the time they are able to take care of themselves.  That is our goal, our job, and should be the hope that we create decent and mature people.  It is our duty (ha, dootie) to develop the best kind of people we can, and maybe with just enough dysfunction to make them hilarious, as the old meme/saying goes.  And folks, this twenty something blogger and father of three is absolutely convinced that this can simply NOT happen whilst letting your kids listen to terrible music.

Let’s face it, when you are a kid you don’t know crap about music.  The sounds blaring from your parent’s car radio or from that secret room you aren’t suppose to go in that is used for “mommy and daddy time” is about all you know when it comes to music.  A child’s parental influence on what we listen to is obviously a big one.  That is if we take the time to teach our children what the hell good music truly is.  Sadly the days of turning on the radio to learn about good music is over.  Old tyrants of days past (yes, I am talking to you Dad!) like to give us a mountain of shit for “our music” today being so terrible.  But we are domineering culture of the now.  We know great music is out there.  Just as my father taught me about Pink Floyd when I was 10 years old and laughing at Dark Side of the Moon because it was “just a bunch of noises” and he told that I would one day “get it”, I shall do the same for my children.  Or when my mom desperately wanted me to enjoy country music, and I let it go at an early age, but eventually found my way in to respecting old school country, pre-dating 1980, I will teach my kids that not all forms of music can be generalized.  And just as my dearly departed grandmother used to have me tag along on trips to the grocery store listening to cassette tapes of Nirvana, Meat Loaf, and Whitesnake, I will teach my kids that is perfectly acceptable to rock!

Now, I am not going to debate the term “indie rock” any longer.  I guess I have accepted its death as we had to do with “alternative”.  I have put out a book on the digital and actual shelves on the subject, written with some very great minds in tact, so I have made my piece/peace.  This awesome playlist below is simply some of the tracks that my three beautiful daughters have come to know and love.  As some of you know, I recently returned from a year long stint in South Korea, and my lovely wife has done a wonderful job taking care of them back in our old Northwest hometown.  And while her mothering and nurturing has been phenomenal, the music snob in me is mostly impressed with the great work she has done in having our kids miss out on the One Directions and Rihannas of the world, and have “chosen” to be subdued by the music culture of their parents.  They are some very “hip” 8, 6, and 4 year old kids.  Of course, it might be inevitable that they run down a path just as I did around ages 10-13 where they go off course just as I did when I discovered 90’s R&B with the likes of Boyz II Men and All-4-One, which some how led me to some junior high years of desiring gangster rap, all of which I will never be ashamed for.  But for now, I think we are doing pretty damn good.

So folks I would like to present to you: 10 Great Indie Rock Songs for Kids Under 10, as hand picked by Ava, Sophia, and Lelaina Trembath.  Enjoy!  And always remember, it is a scientific fact that listening to bad music will equate to living a bad life*.  Also be sure to check out the video at the end of my beautiful Sophia doing her own rendition of “Your Bones”.

 

[Update:  Check out 10 (more) Great Indie Rock Songs for Kids Under 10, for more wonderful songs for your kids]

 

*(not a scientific fact)

Of Monsters and Men – Your Bones

Tegan and Sara – Closer

The Head and the Heart – Rivers and Roads

There Is No Mountain

There Is No Mountain – Blowing Away (CLICK HERE TO HEAR TRACK)

Stars – Dead Hearts

Avalanche City – Love Love Love

Good Old War – Better Weather

Blitzen Trapper – The Tree

The Sea The Sea – Love We Are Love We

Twin Forks – Can’t Be Broken

And of course, Sophia Trembath doing her rendition of Of Monsters and Men’s “Your Bones”

Thanks for reading folks!

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Laura Cayouette [Interview]

Laura Cayouette
I could lie and try to sound cool by saying that I knew who Laura Cayouette was without doing a IMDB search for “the lady that played Leo’s sister in Django Unchained, who I also recognized from Kill Bill and Hell Ride”, but then I would be a liar.  But, I can honestly say that it was one of the wisest decisions I have made!  After a little digging into the career and world of Laura Cayouette, I can honestly say I feel honored to have learned of her work!  Hell, I should have known that if my favorite filmmaker in history considers her a friend and keeps bringing her back in to his films, there must be something special about this woman!
Laura has an amazing blog that could bring tears to the eyes of anyone who either lives in the city of New Orleans, or has ever even visited the city to experience the amazingness that it holds.  She has also written a book geared towards actors trying to break in to the business.  And she has had a career that is truly awe inspiring.  I’ve never really had the acting bug myself, but I know that if ever did, Laura Cayouette is exactly the kind of person I should admire as a professional and as a person.  That being said, we were fortunate enough to have Laura share a few words with us!  It is an honor and treat to share with you some questions with Laura Cayouette!
When did you first know that you wanted to join the world of acting?
I started very late, especially as a female. I was 25 – running a dress boutique, teaching college one night a week and modeling on my days off. Other than doing Godspell as a teenager, I had almost no acting experience so I studied in New York then Los Angeles for years before really trying to compete. I figured if I couldn’t be young or related to someone in the industry, I’d better be better than the girls my age with the fold-out resumés.
You’ve had a pretty close working relationship with Quentin Tarantino.  What is about working with QT that you enjoy the most?  What keeps you wanting to work with him?
Quentin is a remarkable person for so many reasons that any excuse to hang out with him is a good one. But the thing that’s so intoxicating about working with him on a set is his unbridled enthusiasm for making movies . When we’d be exhausted and playing the same scene for the umpteenth time, he’d say, “We’re going to do one more folks. Why?” and we’d all yell together, “Because we love making movies!” How can you not remember how privileged we are to be getting paid to do what we love after shouting that in a room full of talented people making something amazing?
And, of course, one of the reasons everyone wants to work with him is that there are very few times in a career when you can be certain that the movie you’re making is probably going to be recognized not only by critics and awards, but by generations of movie lovers.
Laura Cayouette2You even picked up duties as an Associate Producer, as well as a co-star, the awesome biker film Hell Ride, presented by Quentin.  How did your involvement in this project come to light?
This is kind of a long story but I love it. I had been friends with Larry Bishop for years when I met Quentin and Larry had done a BUNCH of biker movies in the 60’s and 70’s. When Quentin and I first started hanging out, he mentioned one of Larry’s movies or something and I said, “I know Larry.” Quentin got so excited, “You know Larry Bishop? Like, ‘know him’ know him? Like you have his phone number? So we called Larry and Quentin invited him to join us to watch “The Savage Seven,” one of Larry’s old biker movies. It was my first “true” biker movie (Easy Rider isn’t always accepted in the genre) and afterward, I commented that I liked the moral ambiguity – something I love in Quentin’s movies as well. (Criminals are good guys, we laugh when some poor kid’s head gets blown off, etc.)
So this conversation goes on until it turns into a casting session for the biker movie we started imagining in that moment. Larry was going to write, direct and star with me at his side and we added Michael Madsen to our cast list. Then, I saw Quentin say to Larry, “It is your destiny. It is your destiny to write, direct and star in the greatest biker movie of all time.” Even with all of that, it still took 7 years to come to fruition. I spent those 7 years helping in everything from turning Larry’s initial novel into a screenplay to the casting of nearly every female in the film.
I’ve asked several members of the horror world about the on set life during difficult subject matter.  Now, slavery is a whole different type of horrific subject matter.  So, what was the set life like on Django Unchained?  Was it a pretty light hearted set behind the scenes?
I wasn’t there on the worst day, the day of Kerry Washington’s whipping, but I heard that was a high impact day. Mostly, Quentin and the producers made the set fun with short birthday parties with personalized cakes for everyone and occasional cocktail breaks to celebrate film footage mile-markers. We always had music between set-ups. Sometimes people would dance. Jamie Foxx sang along to “My Prerogative” with 4 women dressed as house slaves doing a synchronized dance behind him.
The best part of dealing with the past was that it was an invitation to explore our own heritage. Many of us, especially the local New Orleans actors, found out remarkable things about our families, whether we were descended of slaves or slaveowners or both. We would share our stories creating a living legacy and adding truth to our characters. So, yes it was lighthearted at times but we knew what we were making. We knew when to focus.
 
Laura Cayouette3You recently released a book entitled Know Small Parts that has been lauded by critics and actors alike, to include folks like Kevin Costner and Richard Dreyfuss.  But, how has the reception been for your real audience, actors looking to break into the business? 
It’s a fair question since all the endorsements are from people who are further along in their careers. I love the reviews I get on Amazon, Facebook and Twitter because they are coming from readers who genuinely feel helped by my book. One young woman recently said she got her first callback after reading Know Small Parts. I love all the feedback about inspiring people but real results matter.
My favorite part about writing the book has been doing Q&A’s and seminars at colleges and acting and film schools. I love being able to speak directly to people who are eager to learn. I went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts where I studied in New York and sat on the stage I’d done plays on talking to students who were just where I was 25 years ago. It felt good to be a living example of being able to do this as a career.
You proudly boast the city of New Orleans where you currently reside.  I have had nothing but wonderful times during my stays in that wonderful city.  Even times I might not fully remember.  But, what was it about New Orleans that made you want to move away from obvious places for working actors to live like NYC or LA?  What made you want to move there, and what keeps you there?
Though I wasn’t born here, my family is from Louisiana for generations. If home is where the heart is, my heart’s home has always been here. I lived in New York for almost 3 years and Los Angeles for almost 18. Both cities have their merits are are critical to the industry. Louisiana may be Hollywood South right now but the industry could move on as it did in Canada. I will still be here. I may have moved here just as the industry started to bloom, but I moved here to be happy, to love my life when I’m not working.
I write a blog, LA to NOLA (latonola.com) that’s basically become a 4 year love letter to this city, its people and its culture. Everyone’s heard about our amazing music and food but it’s so much more than that. The people of this city are so resilient, so full of creativity and joy – it’s awe-inspiring. Also – Who Dat!?! The synergistic relationship between this city and its Saints is something you have to see to believe. I’ve never loved football more and the sense of community it can create.
We recently spoke with one of your fellow NOLA based actors, L. Michele DeVito (you two were both actually in Now You See Me, but seperate occasions) and we asked her this question as well…… How is the acting scene in New Orleans?  Are you all a fairly close knit group of folks?
It’s a fairly small community of people but I feel like I’m always seeing new faces. I don’t know if everyone knows everyone but I would say most of us are aware of most of us. That said, everyone came together to fight for keeping the tax incentives in place with no adjustments. That solidarity is critical as we face future administrations who may want to change things.
It seems as though there has been a rather large influx in films being shot in the New Orleans area lately, even more so than in the past.  In your professional opinion, what do you think it is that is attracting studios and filmmakers to the area?
Definitely the generous and well-constructed tax incentive. That said, the area has created an impressive infrastructure including facilities, crew and support. Though L.A. is a young city, it’s studios are actually pretty old. New Orleans is very old, but our studios and post houses, etc. are all brand new state-of-the-art.
The reason NOLA has always been in movies is because of the beautiful, unique architecture and vibe of the place. The cool thing is that between the woods of Shreveport, the suburbs of Baton Rouge, the swamps and plantations, the rivers and tiny towns – Louisiana can double for almost anywhere.
But the best reason to film in New Orlenas is because on your days off – you’re in New Orleans!
What are some of your non-artistic type of influences in your career? 
I was in retail for 10 years and I think sales skills are critical in the entertainment industry. As an actor, I am the product so it helps if I understand what I’m selling and how to present it. Teaching helped me learn to speak to a room full of people who may have other things on their minds. It can be so unsettling to feel you’re not reaching someone but that can happen at an audition. I’m so glad I learned how to cope with that and even change it. From 10 years of modeling, I learned how to live on seasonal, sporadic paychecks. I also learned that rejection could be arbitrary. I would get rejected one day for being too thin and the next for being too “hippy.” I was too tall and too short, too old and too young. I learned to see rejection as nothing more than tearing up a losing lottery ticket.
Most importantly, I ran a successful dress boutique for a few years. I learned why sometimes people have to be fired, why a more qualified applicant might not be as good a choice as a lesser-qualified employee, how much it costs to keep something running, how to work collaboratively for a greater goal, how to delegate, make spending choices and so much more. I am my own business so the skills I learned running that store are invaluable.
Laura Cayouette4If you could grab the starring role as any well known female in American history, who would it be? 
Unfortunately, the woman I most admire is someone I’m not the right person to play – Harriet Tubman. But the woman in the industry I most admire is Lucille Ball. She started as another pretty face, a Ziegfeld Girl, and she got to audition for Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind.” But she went on, with her husband, to create the live studio audience, the 3-camera system of filming and most importantly – the rerun. Without reruns, we would have no residuals. Lucy had beauty with brains and was not afraid to make a fool of herself. And her best years started later in life. She made it all look so easy that no one even mentions that she a Dezi were a biracial couple at a time when you couldn’t even say “pregnant” on TV. All of that said, I’d rather admire her than try to play her so maybe I don’t really have an answer to this question.
One of your upcoming pieces of work, Maggie, is currently in post production and sounds absolutely amazing.  Care to tell us a bit about that film?  What will you be doing in the film?
I play Arnold Schwarzenegger’s sister and Abigail Breslin’s aunt. I’m only in one scene but it’s a pretty great scene. It’s a zombie-virus movie but you don’t really see many zombies and it’s an Arnold movie but there’s very little action. I remember when we finally got to see “Collateral Damage” after the 9-11 postponement, I was so impressed by Arnold’s acting. He made me cry. I was always a fan but I was sorry more people didn’t see his work in that film. In Maggie, Arnold finally gets another chance to show us his chops in a haunting story of a father faced with a decision no parent should ever have to make.
What else is in the future for you?  Any other projects in the works?
A bunch actually. I’ll be back as David Morse’s ex-wife on HBO’s Treme and I also did a scene as a drug dealer’s mother with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in HBO’s True Detective. I play an awful woman in Charlize Theron’s Dark Places and a sweet church lady in the suspenseful Convergence. I’ll also be in Nicholas Cage’s Left Behind and American Heist with Hayden Christensen. I play a crass alcoholic mom is Student Bodies and a congressman’s wife in The Loft.
What was the last thing made you smile?
Easy answer – the Saints just won another game.

Michael Walker [Interview]

TMR director headshot Michael Walker

Much like many of the folks we speak with here at TWS, I discover them from a little thing called Netflix.  Other wise known as the digital Thor who smashed away all those pesky Blockbusters.  But that is a whole other distorted bit of madness to go over at a different time.  NO, I am here to talk about the fabulous filmmaker Michael Walker, who I first learned even existed when I discovered his wonderful film Price Check, that I still find myself heading back to the digital wasteland to watch Parker Posey strut her stuff in this beautifully directed and well orchestrated film.  And then I realized that Mr. Walker was indeed coming back behind the camera in his very own feature film once again.  It realized that it had been over a decade in between his fist film, Chasing Sleep, which was amazing as well, and his most recent film, the aforementioned Price Check.  But, then I learned that history would not repeat itself once again, and he was already back on the books with his upcoming film The Maid’s Room, which seems absolutely delightful.  So, I decided it would nice to get a few words from Michael to see what he was doing on hiatus, talk to him about how great I think Price Check is, and about his upcoming film.  So enjoy!

We saw a 12 year gap between the release of your debut film Chasing Sleep and Price Check that was released just last year.  Tell us, what were you up to during this time?

I was writing.  I did some work for hire and had some scripts optioned.  Most of that time I was trying to get THE MAID’S ROOM made.  I finished the script in 2003 and it seemed like it would happen a few times and then fell apart.   

Price Check is one of my favorite films to come out in the last few years.  How did you come up with the story behind this wonderful picture?

I had this character of Susan Felders, a driven boss who is insanely ambitious and good at her job and sort of acts like a man, but uses her feminine side when it works, and she’s great at what she does.  I had met a few women like this and found them really interesting in the way they couldn’t balance their work and their lives.  Then I wanted to put her in an environment that reflected what most of my friends and people my age were going through.  They were getting older, had more expenses and were having to choose between supporting their families or trying to keep their heads above water and pursuing dreams that they had in their 20’s that were becoming less realistic.

You have stated in previous interviews and such that you had originally set out to become an actor.  Is there any chance we might see you get from behind the camera and out in front?  Possibly writing a role for yourself?  

I went to acting school (Stella Adler) after film school, but I never set out to be an actor.  I did it because I had trouble talking to actors and I had read Elia Kazan’s book, and others, and they all said that if you want to direct, you need to go to acting school.  When I was finished, I did want to do it for about five minutes, but being an actor is a tough life and I quickly scrapped that idea.

TMR still 1 Paula GarcesCan you tell us a bit about your upcoming film The Maid’s Room?

THE MAID’S ROOM is about a maid who gets a job working for a family at their weekend house in the Hamptons.  The family tries to cover up a hit and run by their son, and the maid becomes the only person to know the truth.  It’s a dark, suspenseful film.  It’s a very simple story, but the film has a lot of ideas in it and I think people really like the way it uses those ideas in the story.

How did you come to have Paula Garces as the lead role?  Was she the kind of actress you were thinking of when you were writing the script?

Paula auditioned for the part.  She couldn’t have been more perfect and she’s an amazing actress.  I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to find someone for the part and we had seen a lot of actors for it.  And talked about some “name actors” as well, but they all seemed wrong.   Paula seemed to really understand the character and it was amazing for me to watch her play Drina.

So what is next for you?  Any other projects in the works?

I have a film that I’m casting now called THE REVOLUTION OF JENNY SPECK, which is a sort of cross between the office politics of PRICE CHECK and the psychological mind fuck of CHASING SLEEP.  It’s a really fun film that has a lot to say about the way we live in our pop culture.

One of the things about having ten years between projects is that I have a few scripts that are already written and ready to go.   And I keep writing.  So there is always another project in the works.  It’s just getting a cast together that can get it financed that takes the time.

TMR still 7 Paula Garces Annabella SciorraHow was your experience at the Hamptons International Film Festival, which also served as the location in which the film was set?  Was the audience receptive?

I had a great time at the festival.  It was interesting to show it to a crowd that could relate to the characters and the settings in the film.   They definitely got some of the jokes, which was nice.  They seemed to really like it.  It was an older crowd, so maybe not the Twitter generation, so I didn’t see any honest reactions after the film behind my back.  The audience was really with the film.  I can only tell in the suspenseful parts when they jump at the right places, and they did.

What is it that you absolutely love about the world of filmmaking?  What disappoints you the most?

I love making films and the big disappointment is that it takes so long to get them made.  I love writing (sometimes), I love actors and I figuring out shots and scenes, and I love editing.  There are huge disappointments when you make films, and part of them is watching bad movies.   Now that I think about it, there’s no end to the disappointments in filmmaking.  It’s enough to make a person cynical. 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

I wrote a funny scene the other day that made me laugh out loud.  That’s always good.

Christopher Douglas Reed [Interview]

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A few years ago I fell in love with this little show on FX about biker gangs.  It seemed, at still does, so unrealistic but just plain tantalizing, especially for someone who could never attempt to pull of the biker persona.  I’ve been on a motorcycle once.  I was riding the proverbial “bitch” on a stretch between Biloxi Mississippi and New Orleans.  With my dad.  So, yeah, I am no bad ass over here, but dammit if this little show known as Sons of Anarchy on FX isn’t a beautiful soap opera for men, as my personal bike driver (Dad) would say.

And a few years ago SOA introduced a whole new batch of “prospects” to the show. A few guys attempting to work their way in to club, for reasons I could never understand.  But, that’s not up to me to figure out.  I just watch the mellow dramatic man problems and love it.  Of course I actually believe they introduced a bunch of new folks because they kept killing off all of the old ones!  No matter, one of those fine folks introduced became my one of my favorite characters.  He was known as Filthy Phil.  A heavyset errand boy for a little while, but eventually became a key member of SAMCRO in recent episodes.  Until, in good ole SOA fashion, they off one of the most beloved and sweet characters they have, whilst letting fucking Hellboy continue on letting the world burn.

Christopher Douglas Reed was mildly up and coming when he scored the gig as Filthy Phil.  The majority of his credits to date included local theatre in the San Diego area.  But then one day, he got the call that would change is his career to this day.  And even though SOA literally blew Filthy Phil’s mind away, we can all be pretty certain that the man behind the cut will be continue to be a household face and name in the world of entertainment, and we are so happy that we got to talk to Christopher about who really is, in comparison to the badass/nice guy persona he portrayed on Sons of Anarchy.  So ladies and gentlemen, please give it up for Mr. Christopher Douglas Reed!

I understand you were involved in the theatre world prior to landing the SOA gig.  What sort of productions, and where, were you a part of?  Any thoughts on going back to that route after success in television?

I got casts in a couple of shows at the La Jolla Playhouse. I did both Midsummer Night’s Dream and Tobacco Road.

Theatre is awesome. You get to be a part of creating something unique and tangible every night. It also doesn’t pay all that much. I made more in one day on SOA my first season than I did in a week doing a play. So it’s a little tough once you have an agent and manager to dedicate 2-3 months to a full production. I’m envious of the ones who manage to do so.

What was the atmosphere like when you were a part of the fictitious group SAMCRO?  Was there an actual family like feeling?

Absolutely. It’s one of the biggest reasons why the show is so good.

What sort of research or training did you find yourself participating in to take on the role as Filthy Phil?  Were already a rider prior to the show?

I was not a rider at all. I actually say that at the time I thought I would die not having rode one. The show had me get my license immediately upon hiring me but I didn’t actually ride a bike on camera till season 5.

When I got the gig I spoke with some guys I had known growing up who had either left or entered the MC world to get an idea of the world. And I watched a lot of Gangland, which didn’t really help that much.

If you were given the chance to work again on a motorcycle themed television show or film, would you do it?  Are you worried at all about being typecast in your future works?

Not as a motorcycle rider. But I would prefer to play characters who eat less junk food than Phil.

url-1How has the fan interaction been for you with SOA fans such as those who showed up at the World of Wheels?

The World of Wheels tour is such a blast. They have a really cool show and fans were usually pretty jazzed well before they got to me. Shows like that are amazing because they don’t charge for autographs and I get to meet a wider swath of our fan base, which is the best on TV. I hope I get to do more.

I understand you are going to be in an upcoming episode in the new season of Eastbound and Down.  That sounds absolutely fantastic.  Can you give us some insight as to what you will be doing?  And how was that experience for you?

Y’all, it’s gonna be epic. I was absolutely stoked to get the part. I’m a huge fan of the show and getting to play with Danny McBride and Co. was awesome. Kenny F’n Powers ya know?  I can’t say anything except I’ll be wearing a dope necklace.

Have you any aspirations to get behind the camera to write, produce, or direct?  Have you already?

Aspirations is an accurate term. I haven’t done anything yet.

Anything else brewing in the future now that SOA literally blew your mind away?  What sort of projects would you like to work on next?

The pipeline is currently empty. I was waiting on some calls when Charlie dropped outta 50 shades but my phone just stares blankly back at  me….

If you were told tomorrow that you could take any role, fictional or real, and you were guaranteed to land the gig, what would it be?

Star Wars.  King of the Ewoks.

I was reading some of your old posts from your blog Reedy To Rumble, and I came across a great little diatribe you wrote about calling yourself “an actor” and the sometimes turmoil that can cause your soul when others would judge you.  That was over two years ago.  How do you feel about your given occupation now?  

The VMA’s are fucking stupid.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Peyton Manning losing to the Colts.

Jacob Vaughan [Interview]

Jacob VaughnDear fine readers: I am writing today to be so kind, and to let you all know about something so delightfully wonderful, you are definitely going to be thanking me later.  But being the oh so modest individual I am, I will not take the credit (but, thank you).  Today I present to you the man behind one of the most original, hilarious, and even heart felt films to be release in a very long time.  And it also involves a shit monster.  Yes, you read that right.

Jacob Vaughan is not new to the world of filmmaking.  He has actually been a film editor for quite a while, working with folks like the Duplass Brothers to edit films like Jeff Who Lives at Home and Cyrus.  But, he has broken out of his element completely to write, produce, and direct his first feature film, Bad Milo.  This is a tale that is so unique that is it almost entirely breathtaking.  With all the talk out there about how there is nothing original being created out there in the world of cinema, this is exactly what we needed.  And now it is time to but our money where our ass is and acknowledge Mr. Vaughan’s creative genius in all of its glory.  Bad Milo is a film that should have been campy and disregarded.  Instead it is rightfully revered and celebrated.  Jacob Vaughan has managed to turn something as weird as a shit monster, and turn it in to the most adorable thing since the Mogwai, or hell, I would even say E.T.  Trust me, it is that great.  So today we are fortunate enough to get to steal a few words from Jacob to ask him about his latest film, and some of the other fine work he has done in his career thus far.  Enjoy!

What initially drew you in to the world of filmmaking or film in general?  Where there any films from your childhood that made you yearn to get in to this world?

Like most people, I was entranced by movies when I was a kid. No other medium makes you feel like you’re living a different life quite like cinema. The films that most affected me in the very beginning were Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, ET, Empire of the sun, basically anything that Spielberg made. Then later I saw Trust by Hal Hartley and it really surprised me by showing what else movies could do. It was so understated and simple and human. It was my introduction to indies.

Later, I discovered David Cronenberg. His films had a huge impact on me.

As a film editor, I can only imagine you spend an amazing amount of hours staring at faces of folks that some of us go apeshit about just seeing them for an hour and half or so (i.e.  Jason Siegel, John C. Reilly, Catherine Keener, etc.).  Tell us if you would, do you ever lose any sort of awe or impressed feelings for some of the folks you have had stare at on a constant basis?

Not really. Especially for those folks you mentioned. I remember on JEFF, WHO LIVES AT HOME I was continually amazed that I was actually editing scenes with Susan Sarandon in them. I felt and still feel very lucky to working with such amazing talent.

I am only just learning that you also did some work on one my latest and most favorite discoveries of a film, The Happy Poet.  How did you come to team up with Paul Gordon on this quirky little film, and how was the experience for you?

I met Paul in Austin when we were both living there. At the time that I got involved with his film I had been working a lot as an additional editor — I would come onto projects for 3-4 weeks after the film had already been through a lot of editing and I would bring a sort of fresh set of eyes to it. Most of the work had already been done on THE HAPPY POET but it just needed another push to get it over the finish line. I watched the cut and told Paul what I would do to it and he agreed. I think I spent 3 weeks on it. I love that movie and Paul has such a unique comedic voice. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

Your latest film in which you wrote and directed, Bad Milo, is a truly original and wacky idea for a film, something we haven’t seen the likes of in a few decades at least.  Where did the idea for the film stem from?

It’s completely autobiographical. I kept a bathroom journal for a couple of years and I just recorded events as they happened.  I have no clue where ideas come from. I like David Lynch’s metaphor for creativity — he says it’s like fishing. He uses meditation to practice going deep within himself, and then (not necessarily in meditation) he waits, like a fisherman, for the ideas to swim by and then he tries to hook them.

bad-milo-ken-marino-2Now that Milo is out and in to the world, what is your personal opinion of the final product?  What are you most proud of, and what might you have liked to do differently?

I’m so proud of all the actors and everyone behind the camera. I’m proud of the film, how weird it is and that I got away with it. It still makes me laugh when I’m forced to watch it. I don’t think there’s much I would do differently. We stretched our budget about as far as it could go.

So what as the overall experience like working on a production of this size with such an amazing cast like for you?  What are somethings you learned from the experience?

It’s an amazing experience being at the helm of a movie, especially one with such talented people. But there’s a heavy set of responsibilities that go with it. Not only are you trying to be true to your vision, but you have you try to be of service to the people around you. You have to help them be the best actor, best production designer, best grip they can be — which to me means you have to come to the set every day with a lot of confidence and enthusiasm, even while the voices in your head are casting doubt on everything you’re doing. It’s basically a mindf*ck.

What has the general reception for the film been like overall?  Are you happy about the way viewers have reacted?

I couldn’t be happier. I mean we’re talking about an ass monster movie, and people seem to really dig it. I think there’s a large chunk of people who are scared off by the synopsis when they come across it on VOD, but I would just tell those people that there’s a side of the movie that’s really tender and heartfelt. Sounds strange but it’s true.

Because of the content of the film, you have had to have heard some great “shit” complements or complaints, even though you managed to keep it classy as well as campy.  What are some of the best comments you have received from viewers and critics?

I’ve heard that people are starting refer to their grumbling stomach as their own Milo. As in, “oh man, Milo is starting to act up.”

When picking and eventually directing a lead role in your films, what is it that you are specifically looking for in an actor, and how do you know that you have “gotten it”?  Is there a lot of faith put in to the actors?

I don’t have a ton of experience picking a lead actor, but for me, on this film, I knew that I wanted somebody who was really smart. Ken is incredibly smart and is just a great storyteller. He’s a writer and a director as well, and has a lot of ideas, and he knows how to deliver his ideas in a way that doesn’t make you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing.  Yes, I have to have a lot of faith in the actors. But at the same time, they’re putting their trust in me as the director, to not embarrass them, to support them, to help them be fearless in their choices.

What is next for you?  Any new projects in the work you could tell us about?

Jacob Vaughan2I’m working on a lot of things right now. I’ve got an action-comedy that I’m writing with a friend, a horror-comedy that I’m developing, and a sequel to Bad Milo, if anyone’s interested. I’m also reading a ton of scripts and there’s a couple that I’ve read that I’m very excited about. With any luck I’ll be making another film next year.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My wife.

Charles Baker [Interview]

Charles Baker
So, I know it has been a while, but at one time there was this little show on AMC called Breaking Bad that a bunch of people, including myself, tended to go absolutely insane over.  Does anyone remember that?  Well, I sure do!  It was such an amazing show for so many reasons.  There were the conflicting idealogies leading to damn near mental break downs, back stabbing, resentment, and, of course, the greatest meth ever known to man.  There was so much about this show that was absolutely perfect.  But most of all, it was the cast!  Every character whether they were in all episodes or just a few, were fantastic.  And today we are lucky enough to speak with a man who portrayed one of my two favorite characters on the show, the one and only Skinny Pete (the other being his sidekick Badger).
But here is a “spoiler alert” for you….Skinny Pete is a real man.  His name is Charles Baker, and he is an absolutely fantastic actor who has really broken out on his own in such an incredible fashion.  He portrays a meth head with a weird sense of humor and wicked piano skills on the show, which is what made him one of the most fascinating actors to work on Breaking Bad.  I simply could not help but feel for this guy.  Here he is doing an amazing job whilst working on one of the biggest television shows of all time.  But, it all has to end.  And that is when Hollywood and bullshit tactics of the film business were sure to come to play.  And I was wondering what was going to come of this guy who seemed so brilliant.  When was his next junkie role going to be?  Would he squander his talents.  Well, then I saw grey.  Actually, I saw Grey.  Grey being his latest role on the amazing new television drama The Blacklist that has absolutely blown me away.  Then I learned of some of his other works coming soon or recently released, and guess what….no meth!!  I was so excited about this concept that I knew I just had to talk to him, and fortunately enough for us the stars seemed to align and here we are.  So without further gushing, I am so happy to have gotten to steal a few words from the truly talented and amazing actor Charles Baker!
First of all, I have to note, that you and I come from similar backgrounds, as far as traveling the world as a military brat, that is.  Tell us if you would, do you believe your childhood spent always on the move had any sort of impact on your current profession as an actor and musician?  Do you think world travels make you more versatile?
I have a soft spot for people who lived that life. In a lot of ways the spouses and children of Military personnel sacrifice as much of their lives as the soldiers themselves.  I have no doubt that the constant moving had a major impact on my career choices.  Someone once described my childhood as a form of “adaptive survival”. Every new town and school to which we moved was different. The people had different dialects, regional tastes, styles of dressing, etc., so, in order to fit in and avoid the inevitable teasing that came from being different, I would adapt to the new environment as fast as possible. It became second-nature for me to change my dialect, my colloquialisms, my hair-style, and fashion in no time at all so I could spend the year or two that I was going to be there in relative normalcy.  Versatility became my standard.  In fact, it wasn’t until I started working regularly as an actor that I was finally able to start discovering who I really am.
After traveling the world, you seemed to end up staying Texas, where I am told you still reside.  What is it about Texas that makes you want to continue residing there when all stereotypes will suggest you must flock to Hollywood? 
That was true up until about 8 months ago, when I finally gave in and moved my family to LA.  For the longest time, I was rather stubborn about staying in Texas simply because I was rebelling against those very stereotypes.  But, I eventually realized that some stereotypes exist for a reason.  One of my favorite acting teachers in jr. College, Jakie Cabe, once said “if you can’t “make it” in your home town, why in the world would you think that you can make it in NY or Hollywood?”  He was speaking not of acquiring international fame, but, simply local recognition.  That made a lot of sense to me, so I decided that I would try make a name for myself at home and then play it from there.  Then Breaking Bad happened.  I had managed to secure a pretty decent reputation for myself in Dallas/Fort Worth Texas, and now I had lucked into a job on one of the best shows on Television! I got a taste of 1) being paid more than your average local theatre stipend, and 2) international recognition.  I’m not ashamed to say that, being acknowledged internationally as a legitimate actor was pretty gratifying and a lot addictive! It would be disingenuous of me to say that I don’t LOVE feeling validated. And, getting paid enough to support my family well, for the first time in my adult life is such a great thing! So, as Breaking Bad started winding down to its final conclusion, I was faced with a choice; stay in Texas where I felt I had very little chance of stumbling into another opportunity like BrBA, or take a gamble on Hollywood while I still have some momentum.  I took the gamble and it paid off. Big time.   Keep in mind, I have no doubt that if I had fed into that “Hollywood” stereotype earlier, that things would be way different.  I’ve been told by my new manager that I picked the perfect time to move here.  I was still “hot” from my role as Skinny Pete, but that wasn’t going to last.  I had to hit while the iron was hot.  I got here, and instead of having to spend several years establishing myself with a whole new set of entertainment professionals, I hit the ground running and have barely had time to slow down since.  While it’s true that a lot of productions are moving out of Hollywood, they almost always still hire the main supporting roles out of Hollywood, so, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!
One can only imagine that you did not originally intend to get in to the world of acting just to play a drug addict, but we could be wrong.  So, what was it that led you to becoming a man of the stage and screen? 

You are correct.  Junkies and idiots were not my goal, at least not completely.  As I said earlier, I am a product of my childhood. I don’t remember ever having ambitions that didn’t involve the entertainment biz somehow.  I wanted to be the old-school kind of film star, a “triple threat”- Singer/dancer/actor-but that was heavily discouraged in my family.  Learning those skills was ok, but only as a hobby.  I loved making people laugh or cheer and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life.  When I told my father that I wanted to be an actor or singer when I grew up, the beating I got was more than severe, but, it pretty much solidified my resolve.  That being said, I let fear and the constant discouragement from friends and family keep me from actually attempting to attain my goals for a really long time.  It wasn’t until I discovered a sense of self worth that I was finally able to ignore the doubt and just go for it.

How was your experience during your times on the set of Breaking Bad?  Was there a sense of companionship amongst you and your cast mates, especially Matt Jones, who you worked very closely with it seemed?  
Ask any one of the cast that question, and I would bet they all have a similar answer: this was the best cast and crew I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with.  Every day on set was like a dream.  We all got along great.  Bryan was like a father figure to us all.  Aaron is probably one of the sweetest people you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting, and Matt Jones is a laugh a minute!  We all became very good friends rather quickly. Here’s a good example of our relationship- When we started the show, I was the only one that was married.  Aaron and Matt were both rather content with their bachelorhood, but, we (oddly enough) spent a great deal of time talking about love and relationships.  I am blessed with an incredible marriage, so, I let them know how good it can be, if it’s done right.  As the seasons passed, both of them met the loves of their lives and before the series was over, they were both married, happily.  Matt went from “I have no idea how you could look at someone and decide you could spend the rest of your life with them” to “I met THE ONE! I’m going to marry her!”  I’m so proud of that!
Did you ever have one of those “Holy Shit” moments upon realizing that you were a part of what will go down in history as one of the greatest television phenomenons? 

Yeah, pretty much every day.  I have to be wary of letting the reality of the whole thing set in when I’m in mixed company, even today.  I spent much of my life believing that being a working actor on TV/Film was a pipe dream, so, when the fact that I’m on Breaking Bad, with all of its accolades, crosses my mind, I get somewhat emotional.

Charles Baker2Tell us, in all honesty if you would…..how many offers to play addicted and/or street thugs have you been offered in the last few years?  Has the pigeon holding been brutal or is that a wronged assumption?
I had a feeling that playing such a high profile character like that could be an issue.  One of the sad truths about this business is that despite the enormous amount of creativity that is involved in making great Tv and Film, there isn’t much creative thinking in casting the roles.  They see a guy play a drug addict, and suddenly he’s a “drug addict actor”.  I often joke that if I had been brought onto the show as a DEA agent, I’d only get called to play those roles. So, I asked my agent to please be very selective about the roles that start coming in.  I wasn’t against playing addicts, but I didn’t want to become a professional “day player” – actors who just do one scene on a show and then never return- so, if we could limit those kind of roles to the projects that are worth it, maybe we could change the paradigm from “he’s a drug actor” to “he’s a chameleon”.   Now, she may be a little prone to hyperbole when giving me this info., as some agents are known to do, but, she tells me that she’s rejected quite a few offers for “skinny pete” type of roles.  Luckily, she doesn’t always tell me when those offers come in, because my financial situation at the time was a little more desperate than I would have liked it to be and I may have been tempted to abandon my strategy for a quick payday, but, I think it was the right choice for the long game.  It is a brutal business sometimes.  I sacrificed a lot of money to overcome that stereotype, but not everyone has the kind of stubborn resolve that I do, or is in a position to turn down work.  Some actors are content to be Stereotyped, as long as it keeps them working, and I don’t blame them a bit, but, I think it comes back to my Military brat upbringing; I’m not used to being the same person for an extended period of time, it doesn’t feel right to me, so, I took the risk that someone would give me a chance at something else and waited for the right moment to come.
I have yet to get a chance to see the film, but you have a role in new film Ain’t Them Body Saints.  The film looks incredible.  Can you tell us a bit about your role in the film and what you thought of working in the world of Westerns?
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints is such a beautiful experience.  I didn’t say film, because to me, it’s more than just a film, it’s an experience.  I knew that David Lowery was an exceptional writer/director from the moment I watched his short film PIONEER. He has such a beautiful and powerful vision that I didn’t hesitate to call him directly when I saw the news of ATBS being announced (we had an existing relationship from a short film we did together in Tx). I play a character named “Bear”, which is obviously a bit ironic considering my size and complete lack of the ability to grow a beard.  Bear and his posse had one purpose; kill Bob Muldoon.  We are his past come back to haunt him and make him pay for his transgressions against us, whatever they may be.
I LOVE working on westerns, although this one was actually set in the 70’s, it had a very timeless feel to it.  But to be able to, in a sense, relive a time in history; to have a chance to almost taste the flavor of that time, be a part of a zeitgeist that no longer exists, is hard to describe.  We live in a world of imagination, and when it’s in tune with a world from a time gone by, it’s almost transcendent, definitely magical.
If you were given the chance to have the lead in a biopic for any major figure in American history, alive or dead, who would it be?
This particular question is the reason it took me a few days to finish this Q&A.  There are so many different ways to answer it that I needed time to reflect on not only what my answer would ultimately be, but, also, what my motivation for that particular answer is. Do I just say someone famous whom the audience might find impressive, or do I pick someone who I genuinely admire, and if so, does it have to be someone that I could viably portray? But then it hit me; a person who has had a tremendous influence on my career, who is the reason I was so determined to work so hard to be known as a “chameleon actor” as opposed to a “character actor” is Joel Grey.  How he isn’t known as one of the world’s greatest by now is beyond me.  Everything he does is captivating, precise, and phenomenal!  The fact that he is such a true Chameleon may very well be the reason why he isn’t recognized for being as great as he it.  I would love a chance to bring his story to the world and at the same time, have a chance to learn as much about his life and career as I can in the process.
The only other person I would want to portray would be my father, Col. Alfred W. Baker.  He was one of the highest decorated soldiers in Viet Nam, held many high-ranking posts around the world, literally wrote the book on Middle Eastern terrorist tactics, and is rumored to be the one of the men that Col. Kurtz, Brando’s character in APOCALYPSE NOW, was based on.  The only issue with me playing him would be that I’m about 1 foot and a half too short.
What sort of things does the future hold for you?  Any new projects in the works?
The future is bright!! My manager has been pulling double shifts keeping the work flowing for me, and I’m in awe of the results!  I’m currently working on a little show on NBC called THE BLACKLIST with James Spader.  I play James’ right-hand man/confidant, GREY.  I’m not necessarily a regular character on the show, yet, but I will be in and out as much as they need me.  In between episodes of The Blacklist, I’ve got a small role in film that is currently shooting in Oregon with Reese Witherspoon called WILD.  After that, I’m going to be in AZ in December of this year performing my first lead role in a feature film called ELEVEN ELEVEN.  I can’t tell you how excited I am about that project! Not just because it’s my first lead, but because the script is REALLY good!  And lastly, after ELEVEN ELEVEN, I’m going to be playing a character named Chris Walton in Stephen Bochco’s new crime drama MURDER IN THE FIRST, on TNT.  The cast on that show is as impressive as a cast can get!  I’m just so incredibly grateful for all of these opportunities!
Beyond your working career, what does a hard working guy like you do to simply relax and/or let off some steam so to say? 

2 things: My family and Music.  In Texas, I had a lot of free time.  When I made the choice to make acting my only job, I found myself waiting for work, a lot. I spent a lot of time gardening, taking care of my daughter while my wife worked, and just sitting around the house waiting for my agent to call.  Most of my friends will tell you that I absolutely HATED weekends, because not only didn’t I have anything to do, I most definitely wasn’t going to be getting any calls about possible jobs until Monday! Then I moved to LA, feeding on the momentum of Breaking Bad, and found myself with time off from jobs as opposed to being unemployed and hoping for work.  That made time off feel a lot more relaxing than before, so, now I’m learning how to enjoy it more. Now that I’m not afraid to spend money because I didn’t know when my next job would be, me and my family have started doing cool family things like going to fairs and shows and, hopefully someday soon, Disney Land.

I play with my kids when they’re not in school or taking naps, and I periodically lock myself in my garage/office and play my guitar and wail out my favorite cover songs by The Beatles and John Prine (and the occasional Simon and Garfunkle), and when I’m alone at the house, with no one to disturb me, I break out the Wii and feed my Mario Kart addiction- there tends to be a lot of foul language involved, so it’s best to do when the kids aren’t home.
Charles Baker3What was the last thing that made you smile?
I wake up smiling every day lately.  I’ve been very happily married for 13 years now, I have 4 extremely healthy children-the youngest in diapers and the oldest in Law School (on an academic scholarship), and I have a pretty respectable acting career going.  Not bad for a guy who was thrown out of high school, dropped out of college, and worked as a short-order cook for a good portion of his adult life!

Grandhorse: Portraiturefolio [Album]

GrandhorseJust as I thought I was losing touch with the sound of my favorite musical city, to what should my wandering ears should I hear, but the latest band of merry PDXers to emerge from the land of fugitives and refugees, Grandhorse!  I most begin by clearly stating that I absolutely love this band and already have a preconceived bit of bias towards this wonderful group of guys.  But, that is not to say that Grandhorse and their debut album Portraiturefolio is not without merit of their own.  This is beautiful spaced out pop music that is driven my powerful chords and stimulating lyrical madness.  It’s not insanity, but this is a band that definitely pushes the pedal to the floor when steering through the often mellow dramatic world of Portland indie rock.

Grandhorse is a four piece band of wonderful folks who have, in some form or another, made their way through the grungy streets of PDX in their own ways before bonding together through mutual pairings to develop the wonderful product they have today.  Portraiturefolio is a beautiful example of what can happen when like-minded artists with the same goals in mind come together to create some modern magic.  Each of the 9 songs on this album speak almost directly for themselves, and are all equally powerful.  Although I do find myself skipping back to “Washington” during any given setting.  But, again, this is one of those rare gems that is a truly solid work of art.

Like many of the Grandhorse’s successors, it is easy to listen to them on a record and just know that to truly grasp the beauty they create, you have to see them live.  Because if the electricity the create on a record can be this magnetizing, one could only imagine how much fun it would be to see these cats spewing sad and/or uplifting lyrics right in front of your face.  That being said, it still behooves me to state that Portraiturefolio is an obvious last minute addition to the forthcoming lists of the best albums of 2013.  Without a shadow of a doubt.

Live in the Portland area?  Then be sure you have yourself down to The Press Club for a FREE show on November 2nd (that’s tomorrow)!  Grandhorse will be joined by Dedere (another fine band you will soon hear about here at TWS) and Reaver Drop for their official release of Portraiturefolio.  Find out more details HERE.