Stephen Huszar [Interview]

Photo by Sarah Murray

Hello Folks! And a happy Friday to you all if that still means anything to anyone! Today we have some wonderful words from a great actor that we are so happy to share with you all. It’s Stephen Huszar! Most recently he can be seen in the third installment of the Ruby Herring Mysteries, and has worked on such incredible films and series like Shock to the System (directed by our dear friend Ron Oliver), the criminally cut short series Backstrom, The Flash, a re-occuring role on Letterkenny, and so many more incredible projects.
Stephen gives a lovely interview below where he delves into some of the wonderful little nuances of working on a film, as well as some insight into what the future holds for this very talented performer. We are so happy that he was able to take the time to answer a few questions from us. So Folks, while you are stuck in your domiciles at the moment, I implore you to delve into the back catalog of Huszar’s work, and I guess anyone we have featured here at TWS, and enjoy some damn fine quality entertainment!
And with that, please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Stephen Huszar!
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What initially drove you to the world of entertainment? Was it something you have wanted to do since your youth, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?
I was 7 years only when my grade 2 class performed the musical “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”. I remember it being such a fun and creative experience to tell a story while playing all these different characters. I guess that stuck with me, because after I graduated from Commerce and worked as a Management Consultant for a few years, I had my quarter-life crises and decided to leave corporate America in search of something more creative. That’s when I re-discovered my love for entertainment and decided to pursue acting full-time.
What was your very first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still impacts your work today?
My first paid gig I played a paramedic in a film adapted from a Mary Higgins Clark novel, called The Cradle Will Fall. It was quite the surreal experience. Not only because I was immediately acting alongside talented and well know actors, but also because it was in the dead of winter on the Canadian prairies, and it was so cold out we had to stop shooting a few times because the cameras froze! The production made t-shirts for the cast and crew that said, “Temperature on Mars = -38 Degrees. Regina Saskatchewwan = Colder.
I learned a bit about Mars on that show and also how resilient everyone on a film set is required to be. We all know that we’re relying on each other to keep the wheels turning, and the camera rolling. When we’re in production everyone needs to bring their A-game.

You have done some great work in one of our favorite genres, which would be the world of horror, including the great film 30 Days of Night: Dark Days. I am curious about how you enjoy the world of horror? Is there anything about this genre that sets itself apart from the plethora of other genres you have worked in?

Horror fascinates me. I wasn’t as appreciative of the genre before I started working in it. I began to experience how rich the stories can be underneath all the blood and guts. Often the greatest stories are told in the horror, sci-fi, and fantasy genres, which is probably why I enjoy them so much. The emotional and psychologically work that goes into preparing characters in this genre can also be very challenging, as it pushes us to explore dark and revealing aspects of humanity.
Can you tell our readers a bit about your upcoming project Ruby Herring Mysteries: Prediction Murder? What should our readers be looking forward to checking out soon?
Sure! “Prediction Murder” is the 3rd instalment of our Ruby Herring Mysteries Series. I play detective Jake Killian who solves crimes alongside Ruby Herring, a consumer investigative reporter played by the amazing Taylor Cole. It’s a real mystery through and through that will leave you guessing until the very end! As we continue to learn more about our characters personal lives, it’s evident there’s chemistry between the by-the-book Jake and the instinctual Ruby. It’s fun to see this develop alongside their ever contrasting crime solving styles.
If you were handed the opportunity to portray any legendary figure in world history, who would it be?
I love to be barefoot in warmer climates preferably in the jungle and by the sea. My tree-climbing skills are also on point, so the obvious choice would be Tarzan.
What else does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?
Hang in there during these uncertain times and to take care of yourself. Eat as healthy as possible, exercise your mind and body regularly, and take time every day to be grateful. This will not only help you keep moving in the right direction, but will empower you to help others in need. It’s in times like these we are more connected as a human race as we work together as a global community. As devastating as this virus outbreak is, it has fostered more collaboration amongst us all, which we can all learn and grow from.
What was the last thing that made you smile?

The respect our societies are showing to our doctors, nurses and health-care workers across the planet. They are truly our heroes right now.

Josh Itzkowitz [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! And welcome back to another weak in what will hopefully be our temporary new existence. We may have some time before we are back to normal, but until then how about we talk about some things that we found beautifully surreal before our actual lives became somewhat surreal themselves shall we?

Today we have some words from a brilliant filmmaker who’s work we have covered a bit in the past. It’s Josh Itzkowitz, Everyone! Josh previously worked as a producer on one of our favorite films of last year alongside our friend Yedidya Gorsetman entitled Empathy Inc., also featuring our friend Kathy Searle. Now, I came across the likes of Mr. Itzkowitz after being passed an extremely different type of film he wrote, directed, and produced himself, having never made the previously mentioned connection. That film is called Same Boat. And I assure you that we will be talking about this film in the days to come. As I mentioned before, it’s VERY different from Empathy Inc. Yet, it still has that breath of fresh air originality that it sometimes feels like we have to search for these days in the world of film. I won’t lie to you all, by premise alone I was a bit confused and not entirely interested in the film. But Folks, if you are somebody who is more like me who desires stories about human connections over sci-fi laced time traveling showcase, you are going to LOVE his new film.

I would never compare Josh’s work directly to anyone in particular, as his whole style seems to be coming up with something highly original. I may “liken” it to a bit of a strange genre of sci-fi that might have an origin linked (at least in my mind), to a guy like writer/director Charlie Kaufman. It’s that type of science fiction that takes an idea that is futuristic and exciting, but focuses more on the human reaction elements to a bold stance. A time traveling assassin who travels hundreds of years into the past to kill a woman but can’t because of the power of attraction? That’s on par, if not superior in my opinion, to how humans would react to living in a celebrities head for 15 minutes or fighting against time in your head to stop the erasure of a loved one from your memory while Hulk and Kristen Dunst dance on top of you.

So Folks, I assure you that you are going to love Same Boat. And you are going to love these incredible words we were fortunate enough to receive from this incredible filmmaker. Please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Josh Itzkowitz!

 

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What initially drove you to the world of entertainment? Was it something you have wanted to do since your youth, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

As a kid I loved playing music. I played drums, piano, guitar, and an accordion my grandparents got me as a gift. In high school, I started making videos and loved the collaborative and creative process. That led me to take on internships in college at a Public Access TV station and a photography magazine that was making digital videos to accompany their written pieces. All of this happened right as DSLRs began shooting video. Making higher quality looking films was becoming cheaper and democratized. It was a good time to be getting into film.

 

What was your very first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still impacts your work today?

After graduating from school I started a production company with two friends, Uri Westrich and Yedidya Gorsetman. The first gig we got was for a glove company that wanted to advertise a new product they were developing. They paid us $2500 to write, produce, film and edit the video. It wasn’t a lot of money, but we were grateful that someone was willing to give us a job.  We treated the process seriously and spent quite a bit of time in preproduction planning the shoot. I think the major takeaway was how invaluable that preproduction process was. On Same Boat we tried to be as meticulous as possible with scheduling and planning out the shoot since we were so limited on the amount of time we had to film while on the cruise ship (7 days total). Here’s the glove video if you’d like to check it out. http://youtube.com/watch?v=KBFSM04CLVA

 

You recently worked alongside our dear friend and past guest Yedidya Gorsetman to put out one of our favorite releases of 2019, Empathy, Inc. I am curious to know what drew you to this project? What was it about this story that drew you in on a personal level?

I’ve known Yedidya since we were 10 years old. Like I mentioned above, we started a production company together when we got out of school. We spent a year making commercials, then used the money from those videos to make our first feature together Jammed. After making Jammed Yedidya and Mark Leidner (who wrote Jammed) began working on Empathy, Inc. When they showed me the script, I loved the story, but more importantly, I was excited to work with Yedidya and Mark again on another film. I think more than the story, it’s often the people that make me want to work on a project. It’s a multi-year commitment producing a film, and I want to make sure that it’s emotionally sustainable to work on a project together. Yedidya and I were both interested in taking the lessons we had learned on Jammed and seeing if we could do better on Empathy, Inc. We’re both proud of how Empathy, Inc. came out.

 

Can you tell us a bit about your new project, Same Boat? What should our readers be excited to check out soon?

Same Boat is entirely different from Empathy, Inc. despite both films having a sci-fi element. Same Boat has a fun, light, comedic tone throughout, and is about a time-traveling assassin who falls in love with his target on a cruise ship. I developed the film with Chris Roberti, who stars in and directed it. Chris and I had met on Jammed, where his character is the comedy relief, and I had wanted to collaborate with him in a more involved way after working with him on that.

We filmed the movie in secret on a cruise ship, and in large part that was possible because of our DP Darin Quan. Darin was also the cinematographer on Empathy, Inc. (as you can see there’s a lot of crossover between all the films) Darin was the perfect person to work with because he knows how to do a lot with very little and he’s usually the calmest person on any set. He also directs his own films, which on Same Boat was really nice, since Chris would often be in front of the camera, so Darin was a nice additional creative presence to have behind the camera.

 

 

If you were handed the opportunity, with an unlimited budget, to create & star in the biopic of any legendary figure in world history, who would it be?

Oh jeez. I’ve learned that I cannot star in anything. In Empathy, Inc. I was a background actor in a coffee shop, and they had to cut around me since my performance was too distracting. In Same Boat, I’ve regretfully left in a cameo where I play an ultra orthodox Jewish cruise passenger.

It’s a little cheesy, but I think it would be fun to create a biopic about my grandfather Arnon Hiller. He passed away a couple of years ago right as Empathy, Inc. began production. He lived an interesting life, born in Portugal, fled to Cuba before World War II, and then settled in the US. He had a large impact on everyone he met and reinvented himself a number of times, always taking responsibility for the people around him. I’d say he was legendary in quite a few ways.

 

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

Excited for Same Boat to get out there. Also, the film I made right after called An Exquisite Meal, just had its festival premiere. It’s funny like Same Boat and dark like Empathy, Inc. I love it and I hope other people will too.  http://anexquisitemeal.com/

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

I watched Brittany Runs a Marathon last night. Seeing people hanging out in groups in NYC, reminded me that we won’t be quarantined forever. That made me smile.

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Matinee: Space & Time [Film]

 

“As they quickly approach their thirtieth birthdays, academic physicist Siobhan and her photographer boyfriend Sean realize they failed to answer key questions about themselves and their relationship. Their devotion to each other is further tested when Siobhan decides to chase a research opportunity that would move them to Geneva.” – Head On Pictures

 

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Relationships can be very hard. This is not an uncommon thought. And the concept of “space and time”, may seem a bit of an odd thing to focus on right now, but try to remember the days when matters such as relationships were even a matter to be considered. Take a break from the isolation, to remember what it meant to be loved. Space & Time is a beautiful exploration of two people who became so engrossed in being together, that they forgot how to be themselves, and in turn discover that maybe they weren’t meant to be together. It’s a tale as old as time, and is a concept that has not disappeared over the years. As we become a more individual based society across the globe, the process of choosing a soul mate has become seemingly impossible to a whole new generation. It’s a complexity in which we may never know the truth, no matter how hard we search for it. But I believe the overall concept and lesson of Space & Time is to never give up hope. Believing in yourself is of the upmost importance, and can not be understated.

 

 

Toronto based writer/director Shawn Gerrard has created something uniquely brilliant with the oddball not so romantic comedy/drama, Space & Time. It’s unknown, as I am terrible at research, just how biographical he has gotten with this film but it is suffice to say that even if the story is completely made up, there is something deeply personal about the tale of Siobhan and Sean. It’s truly Shakespearean in a way. Two people who seemingly have committed their lives to one another, only to realize that their paths may have only been meant to cross for a brief period of time. Will they one day return to each other’s arms for embrace? Who knows. The film will leave you with a lot of “What if’s” and “Maybe’s” which, if done correctly, can be the sign of a great storyteller. And Folks, I believe that Gerrard may be one of those damn great storytellers.

Performers Victoria Kucher and Steven Yaffee give amazing performances as the film’s central focus. Their chemistry is absolutely on point, but maybe not entirely romantic on all levels. Which actually makes quite a bit of sense for the storytelling. So Bravo to these two! On a personal note, it was quite a pleasure to see one of my first childhood crushes appear in this beautiful film. That would be the OG Pink Ranger herself, Amy Jo Johnson!

So Folks, if you are looking for a beautiful little indie film with a strong message to help you kill a few hours during these trying times, I definitely can not recommend Space & Time enough. Hell, I would recommend it in the pandemic-free world that will hopefully happening in due time. Check it out, Folks!

 

 

 

 

Saturday Special: Rootwood [Film]

 

Rootwood follows two students who host ‘The Spooky Hour’, a podcast about paranormal phenomena and urban legends. When they are hired by a Hollywood film producer to shoot a horror documentary about the curse of The Wooden Devil, they smell their chance to become famous. Together, with their friend, they enter Rootwood Forest and investigate the area to find out the truth about The Wooden Devil and his victims.’ – High Octane Pictures

 

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As if the world isn’t scary enough right now, TWS is here to shake it up a good fashioned horror film! Today we are talking about the brilliant indie horror film Rootwood. It’s truly original take on a well known premise, and features a twist that you are sure to not see coming. Highly stylized with a glorious combination of the elements that you have come to know and love in the world of horror. There’s blood. There’s jump scares. There is just so much to love about this film and the very least, it’s a nice little break from the horrors of the real world which surround us today. After one viewing of Rootwood, it’s possible that you won’t want to get out of the house anyway. Well, maybe not. But, you get the point.

 

 

One of the most delightful parts of Rootwood could be obvious for our regular readers. One of our dear friends is in the film. Of course, she happens to be a legend in the world of horror, so it’s no surprise that the filmmakers would want her to be in the film. I’m speaking of course about the great Sarah French! And as you would expect, she is incredible as always. We love her so much, there is no question about that. But, we should probably also state that the other two main cast members are amazing, and during the times they are all on screen together, they make a hell of a team. The other two would be the wonderful performers Elissa Dowling and Tyler Gallant. Seriously Folks, I could watch these three work on screen together dozens of times over. The dynamic of of Rootwood simply would not exist without any three other performances. I believe this with all of my heart. Screenwriter Mario von Czaapiewski created a wonderful setting, filmmaker Marcel Walz presented it naturally, but the cast really brought it all together. That’s team work folks, and it’s beautiful. I implore you all to check out Rootwood.

 

Rootwood is available now on DVD and VOD from High Octane Pictures.

 

 

Tasia Valenza [Interview]

 

Hello, Folks! We have made it another week (if you hadn’t realized), so Happy Friday to you all! To wrap up the week, we have some very wonderful words from one of the top performers both on screen, and especially in the voice over world. It’s Tasia Valenza, Everyone! Tasia has famously voiced the legendary villain Poison Ivy in the even more legendary Batman franchise. From the games to the series, she has been there through it all. And it’s definitely not just the Batman franchise, not by a long shot. Tasia has leant her voice to the likes of Star Wars, Scooby-Doo, World of Warcraft, and so much more! For her on-screen work, she received an Emmy nod for her work on All My Children, and also appeared in our old friend, Tim McLoughlin’s, film Sometimes They Come Back, and so much more.

Tasia is currently out in the ether letting people know about her incredible new TEDx Talk entitled #GiveGreatVoice, which can be found at the end of this wonderful collection of responses. Valenza is a very kind soul who has given us all some wonderful insight into an industry that I personally thought I knew about, but now know that I knew next to nothing. I am so excited to have her grace our digital pages today, and to share her wonderful responses with you all.

So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the great Tasia Valenza!

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it something that you have wanted to do since your youth? Or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

Both of my parents were actors, my father was on Broadway by the time he was fifteen and my mother was a professional singer so it was something I was born to do. I came out of the womb screaming and I haven’t looked back!

 

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affect your work today?

I started to work professionally by the age of fifteen when I was discovered by the late great director Louie Malle and co-starred opposite Sean Penn for my first professional role. Six months later, I was cast as Dottie Thornton on All My Children and I was nominated for an Emmy during my three years on that show. The lessons I learned from those gigs is staying humble, work hard, be respectful, and save your money when things are good. I learned that the hard way because I was let go after the three years on AMC, because my storyline stalled and I had to get non-acting jobs to support myself until my next professional gig.

 

For quite some time, and on multiple platforms, you have been the voice of the legendary villain in the Batman franchise known as Poison Ivy. I am curious as to what drew you to work in the world of Batman, even before you stepped in as Ivy? And how has your experience been working in this world over the years?

I was a big fan of Batman because I grew up with the original TV series with Adam West, and it was definitely part of my childhood lore. I also played a few roles in the TV animated series Batman before Poison Ivy in the Arkham Games, so I was feeling already connected to the franchise before I got that animated role. I loved the Dark Night aspect of Batman as he’s one of the only superheroes that is human and whose flaws make him very relatable. Getting to play Poison Ivy was a thrill because I loved to be able to lend my seductive sound to a multi-layered character who is considered a villainess and yet is so much more nuanced. After all (spoiler alert), she was the “shero” in Arkham Night.

 

The Batman franchise has a very devoted fan base, to say the least. I am curious to know how your experience has been amongst the fandom? How have your fan interactions been over the years?

The fans are fantastic and very devoted to Batman and very kind. I have done many podcasts with the fans and always felt very appreciated. I get requests through Cameo for Poison Ivy messages, which is fun, and I highlighted her in my TEDx talk because I love her so much.

 

 

We have spoken with a lot of folks who work in the world of voice over acting, and I always love to hear what people have to say about one question: How do you manage to personalize a character that is entirely animated, and using only your own voice?

That’s a great question, and for me, it always starts with writing. Excellent writing allows my imagination to run wild, and I can begin picturing my character and her background and intentions. Of course, having a picture also helps inform the role, and I take that information and look at the style of drawing and the audience, kids or adults, and different mediums; a very realistic video game role or broader, more animated series role. Also, because of my on-camera acting background, I approach each animated role as I would an acting role. When I’m auditioning I’m physicalizing the role in front of the mic so that energy and specificity comes through.

 

I understand that you created a TedxTalk known as #GiveGreatVoice that sounds very intriguing. Would you mind telling our readers a bit about this project?

The TEDx talk came out of my thirty-five years of using my voice as a powerful instrument of persuasion and understanding the importance of it in my personal life as well.

The success of both has been my ability to verbally communicate in an emotionally intelligent and meaningful way. I’ve seen how over the last ten years voice has been becoming less and less used in lieu of our digital communication. I wanted to make a TEDx talk to both inspire people to use their voices “by thinking like a voiceover actor” in their own lives both for their own success by speaking more confidently.

With the goal to help them reach their goals and to encourage them to use to use the tools for their professional and personal relationships. Ironically since Covid19 this “Move and touch someone” with your voice has had a more profound meaning than ever before, so the timing is perfect to have shared this video, although I had no idea at that time how impactful it would be.

 

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

I’m still doing voiceover projects, and currently, I’m narrating a Discovery ID series called My Murder Story that’s on now. I also have a free affirmation meditation app called Haven guided affirmations that is something l love to share since it’s a “Be kind to your mind app” that’s completely free and needed more than ever. (Some people think my soothing voice sounds very Poison Ivy”ish so that could be a draw to some)

But my passion for sharing what it means to Give Great Voice and teach both individuals and groups how to use their voices both powerfully and meaningfully through this novel lens is what I will be doing more. I hope to have my webinar up soon, and I post daily about the subject.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My husband just told me a joke, my daughter just gave me a hug and my doggie just snuggled up to me. I’m smiling ear to ear.

 

Check out the previously mentioned, Give Great Voice TEDTalk here:

 

New Music Tuesday: Local H – Lifers [Album]

 

Hello Folks! Welcome to another New Music Tuesday for that ass! While these segments are becoming more and more infrequent, please know that the consumption of music is life and well here at TWS headquarters. And with the current state we are in, it feels like we should start sharing some of the amazing records that have been passing through our inbox. We all need any sort of entertainment we can get these days, right? So with that being said, let’s get a little loud, Folks!

Today we are talking about the classic alt-rock duo Local H. Their name should ring a bell, considering they are 30 years deep into the game of making loud yet melodic tracks that hit  loud and proud. Local H has always been a little on the outside of their contemporaries, and it’s always been a positive thing I would say. Being just a little bit louder, a tad bit more wilder, and a thousand percent more self-aware than most, this is a band that has been relentless in their pursuit of loud. And a few decades has not slowed them down a god damned bit!

Lifers, as the kid’s would say, fucking KNOCKS. This album is a collection of build ups with actual payouts, which should seem like an obvious attribute, but sadly it is not. Local H shows that experience in this game has come to fruition as the albums plays effortlessly and poignantly with their classic grunge-adjacent sound that can literally rattle a pair of Air Pods out of one’s ears.

 

Photo by Julia Simone Paul

 

While an album like Lifers should really be listened to in its entirety, front to back, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to point out a few highlights. But, it is important to note that while I have a few favorite tracks from this album, it’s more like moments. Moments that I thoroughly enjoyed whilst giving this album a few dozen listens. “Turn the Bow” is a prime example of the aforementioned build up with pay offs. “High Wide and Stupid” is a comical look at society and the digital chaos that ensues on a daily basis. And “Beyond the Valley of the Snakes” is somewhat operatic playhouse that culminates in a great bit of screaming.

So Folks, if Lifers is any indication as to what a legendary group like Local H is still capable of doing, I dare say that there may be a bit of hope left in the world. And I am very excited to see what the next 30 years has in store for these heroes of the loud.

 

Lifers will be available via AntiFragile Music on April 10th, 2020. Check out the band’s WEBSITE for details.

 

 

 

Aleta Doroudian [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! Welcome back to another week of wonderful content here at TWS. If you can think far back into the past, say one week exactly, You may recall a wonderful interview we did with the brilliant indie filmmaker Bill Briles. We talked a bit about his new film A Private Dancer in Mom’s Kitchen! and there was a good deal of mentioning one Aleta Doroudian, who was, literally, the other half of the creators on this wonderful film. Aleta shines in the film, and we are so excited that she is with us here today.

Aleta and Bill have been working together for over 10 years to create some of the most original work you could really lay eyes on these days. She’s a damn fine performer, but also manages to complete just about any role required to make an independent film. In a time where we are all constantly complaining that every film made is a reboot/remake, we should all be looking towards the independent scene. Actually, we should probably ALWAYS be doing this, as the most creative content has always come from these folks. And in that realm, Aleta and Bill should reign supreme. I implore everyone to take 92 minutes out of your day to check out A Private Dancer in Mom’s Kitchen! and assure you that you will know what I am talking about here.

So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful responses from the great Aleta Doroudian!

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of filmmaking? What is something you had wanted to do since your youth, or was it something that you happened to find yourself doing one day? 

My husband, Bill Briles inspired me to get into the world of filmmaking. We met at his movie premiere in February 2007. Our mutual friend invited me to come see him in a movie. I cancelled my night out with my girlfriends since they didn’t want to come and went with a different girlfriend. It was at his movie that our mutual friend introduced my now husband (writer/director/actor etc.) to me. I really enjoyed the movie. At the afterparty, Bill asked me if I wanted to be in his movie. I was a bit skeptical and said that I had to meditate on it for two weeks and I would get back to him. Fast forward, we are husband and wife still making movies. Ha. 

I always wanted to be in the movies, and I always enjoyed performing. I would do magic shows in our lawn, as a youth. My little late sister, cousin, and I would perform “Sunday Afternoon Live” (instead of Saturday Night Live) on the backyard of my Uncle’s tavern in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as children. For those of you who remember, we did skits of “Captain and Tennille” and “Cone Heads”, to name a few. In elementary school I would produce, direct, write, and star in plays (a lot of Gilligan Island style ones) in my basement. I would also sell popcorn and tickets to the neighborhood kids. I guess I started out as a little entrepreneur, too. I also took drama classes in middle school. 

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affects your work today? 

Our first paid gig in the world of entertainment was for our movie Romance at Frisky’s Bar. We went to the Tribeca Film Festival with our movie in our hand and literally on our back (t-shirts). We were in the Tribeca Film Lounge and I said that we were looking for a distributor. Then someone said I’m a distributor. He took our movie and got it on Netflix. Yay! 

I would say the lessons I have learned from this experience that still affects my work and life today are to ask for what you like (put what you’ve prepared out there), stay curious and naive, never take no for an answer (at least not right away).:-) Also, do things the way you think they should be done (as long as it’s not harming someone). 

I recently truly enjoyed your latest film A Private Dancer in Mom’s Kitchen! It was so great, and insanely original. I am curious to know where the idea for this film came from? What made you want to tell this tale? 

Bill was the writer. The idea for this film probably came from us, as human beings. So, I would imagine the characters in the movie represent a part of who we are. Bill is an amazing artist (painter and sculpture) and doctor. He puts my name scattered in all his artwork, since I met him. So, he’s probably a cross between “Billy” and “Doctor Edward Sebastian” in the movie. Ha! I also enjoy singing, songwriting, and dancing, which were part of “Alyssa’s” character in the movie. I’m also a doctor that enjoys meditating. 🙂

 

 

You have a very original style of filmmaking in Private Dancer, the likes of which I don’t believe I have ever really seen before. And I’m actually not quite sure how to describe it. So, would be willing to do so? Can you tell our readers what it is about your style that makes it unique from other filmmakers out there? 

We have been told the style of our moviemaking is very different. The movies we make may be called “quirky”, eccentric, and eclectic full- feature comedies. We tried to do a drama once and since we were in it, the distributor called it a “Black Comedy”. Go figure. Ha! I guess we are a bit “quirky” and funny people ourselves.:-). We also did everything for “A Private Dancer in Mom’s Kitchen” from pre-production, production, post-production and acting. 

If you were handed the opportunity, on an unlimited budget, to create the biopic of any legendary figure in American history, who would it be?

I would maybe create a biopic of the legendary figure in American history of Muhammad Ali. Even though it has been done before, I may look at a more comedic side of the great boxing champion on how he plays with his opponents and the media. His upbringing and his later years would be interesting, too. His relationship with his family, country, and Islam would also be interesting. 

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

We are currently in the production of the dramedy (drama- comedy) full-feature Thomas A Peeper. The name says it. Ha. Though, there’s more depth to it than that. It’s about a gardener named Thomas A Peeper who is forced to work nights for a lady who is going through a bad divorce. Thomas gets involved and trouble ensues. 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My husband, Bill. He is hilarious. 

 

Check out this trailer from the Dr. Gabs, and check out A Private Dancer in Mom’s Kitchen on Amazon Prime.

 

Sunday Matinee: Inside The Rain [Film]

 

“College film student Benjamin Glass has it all: ADHD, OCD, borderline personality. And he¹s also bipolar. But Glass is more than his diagnoses ­ he prefers the term “recklessly extravagant” — and he¹s determined to prove his genius. When a misunderstanding threatens to expel him from college, Glass pushes back; he plans on recreating the incident on video, with the help of a moonlighting sex worker (Ellen Toland), to clear his name. But how will he raise the money for the film, when his parents dismiss the scheme as another manic episode?” – Prism Media Group

 

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Hello Folks! For today’s Sunday Matinee we are going to do something that we should all be doing in this trying times – showcasing that it is okay to laugh at a very serious situation. We’re not talking about a pandemic, although analogies could work the same. No, we are talking about mental illness, yet again. It seems to be a common thread around here, as I tend to get drawn to works of art that take the matter seriously, and can even make it a bit of heart-warming effect. And that is exactly what Inside the Rain.

Based on his own life, writer and director as well as star of Inside the Rain, gives a new outlook on what it means to suffer in a world where most people simply don’t understand you. It also sheds a light on what it can be like when you finally DO find somebody who understands you, and those around you want to do everything short of forbidding. Inside the Rain is part romcom, part drive to succeed story, and part display of whimsical ignorance. It’s a film that will make you laugh out loud at one moment, and then throw yourself back in anguish at the next.

 

 

Aaron Fisher shines in the role he was literally meant to play, which is one self, obviously. But his performance is severely bolstered by those around him. Specifically, the likes of Ellen Tolland can not be ignored as I personally believe that she gave the most heart-warming performances of them all. And of course, the legendary actress Rosie Perez shines as the no-nonsense psychoanalyst who manages perfectly to portray a professional who learns to care by not caring. Eric Roberts also shines in what I would consider his best role in quite some time, or at least, a very different role than he has done in quite some time.

I sincerely recommend Inside the Rain for anyone who wants to take a deep dive into what a life so foreign to them may be. I recommend it for everyone as it is such a damn good film, but for those who need a little insight into the chaos that the mind can cause, I highly recommend Inside the Rain.

 

Inside the Rain is available now on Amazon Prime, and will be on more streaming platforms soon. For details, check out the film’s WEBSITE.

 

 

Saturday Double Special: Wives of the Skies + Gold Dust [Films]

 

“Wives of The Skies is a romantic dramedy, set in 1965, starring two stewardesses, Fran and Marcy from Fine Air, a well-appointed airline. One evening after work, at their stewardess’ hotel, they befriend Derrick, a British photojournalist who wants to interview them as “subjects” for his “documentary film”. As Fran and Marcy are interviewed, they are revealed as very different than Derrick hoped for or could possibly have expected…  As they get to know each other, Wives Of The Skies makes a contemporary socio-cultural statement regarding the meme of “the good girl, drawn bad”.  Wives of The Skies clarifies the impact of the overarching “men’s gaze” which objectifies women as carnal sex objects men seek, while they look for love…  along the way, addressing the primitive issue of Trust vs. Mistrust” – October Coast PR

 

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Hello Folks! And welcome to another Saturday in the ‘Tine! As to probably be expected, I have watched ALOT of films in the recent weeks, and I want to get to sharing all of them, so I present to you another Saturday Double Special.

First we have the absolutely delightful sociological exploration short film Wives of the Skies. The film explores the world of airline stewardess in the 1960’s, and the bizarre male attraction that was, and still is, a weird perverted obsession. The idea that an entire occupation was essentially made to evoke the gaze of men is something so out of date that most of you out there, the good people I would like to assume, could not even fathom being a real thing. We watch shows like Mad Men and see it as all a fantasy. Sadly, it wasn’t. And that is were Wives of the Skies comes in to make it a whimsical and over-dramatized vision of a very different time.

 

 

What intrigued me most about Wives of the Skies is the subtle yet in your face sense of sarcasm that exists throughout the story. Why & how would two women manage to co-exist in a non-sexual nature, have a demanding occupation, work very hard, and still maintain an image that pleases the male gaze? Why they must be some kind of psychopaths/robots. Just how could this be? Filmmaker Honey Lauren does an amazing job at encapsulating the dumb male ego that most of us are guilty of overstating, and the power that women can have over the meek and babe-in-the-woods like men who simply can’t fathom the idea of equality. Wives of the Skies is a poignant, shocking, and intriguing film. Check it out ASAP!

 

Wives of the Skies is available now on DVD and VOD.

 

 

 

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“Classical music. Thundering opera. Rattlesnakes and precious gems. Mansions and gold mines. Friendship and despair. Treasure beyond imagination that vanishes in the desert wind. In the desert there is no limit to the adventures at hand!” – October Coast PR

 

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First of all, Folks, I have to admit that I had my doubts about this one. I made some quick judgments and decided that this film was not for me. But, given that time is abundant these days, I decided to give Gold Dust a shot. And I have to say Folks…..I was SO WRONG! And if you are having doubts on premise alone, I can emphasize enough that you are only hurting yourself with your initial impulses. I was immediately blown away by the chaos, confusion, and downright hilarity that ensues in just the first 20 minutes. It’s really kind of hard to explain what is happening within the film, as nothing really fits together, yet it blends ever so greatly. Prospectors, an operatic obsessed assassins, drug cartel kingpins, kids flying planes, kids crashing planes…..Santa Claus? Seriously Folks, there is so much going on in this whimsical and exciting film that I sincerely can not recommend enough.

 

 

I always enjoy a good buddy film, which is another big aspect of Gold Dust. In fact, somebody on Twitter recently posed the question, “What is your favorite male friend duo from recent pop culture?” And wouldn’t be some great timing to say that David Wall and David Wysocki may very well be my favorite in their portrays of Fink and Moses respectfully.  Their back and forth conversations and “Would You Rather” talks are the stuff that buddy movie dreams are made of, that’s for damn sure.

Seriously Folks, watch the trailer, and know that Gold Dust is a delightful adventure that you will not want to miss out on.

 

Gold Dust will be available on DVD and VOD on April 7th.

 

 

Hazelle Goodman [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! Happy Friday to you all. It is Friday after all, in case you forgot. Today we have the pleasure of having the a legendary performer gracing our digital pages. It’s Hazelle Goodman, Everyone! I first came to love Hazelle for her incredible performance in one of my favorite films of all time, and also what I consider to be the best film from the legendary filmmaker Woody Allen, which would be Deconstructing Harry. She is so damn good in it, really just stealing the show. And of course, Hazelle has done some amazing work in films like Heat, Hannibal, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and more! She has also done some wonderful work on the stage, including her infamous one woman show “Hazelle, What’s Going On?”.

And as it usually tends to be, thankfully, Hazelle turned out to be an extremely kind and funny human being with some pretty wonderful responses. We are so excited to have her join the TWS family. So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Hazelle Goodman!

 

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When did you first discover your passion for the world of performance? Was it something you had dreamt of doing since your youth, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

I first discovered my passion for the world of performance as a little girl growing up in Trinidad, WI.  My cousin took me to the movie theatre for the first time to see Sound of Music and my dream was born!  LOL!

I always loved performing when company visited but seeing all those kids in Sound of Music made me realize it was possible.

 

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affect your work today?

Honestly, I can’t remember my first paid gig but the stellar training I received at the Aaron Davis Center at the City College of New York gave me a solid foundation for my work. 

Recently, I had the awesome privilege of being coached by one of my teachers from CCNY, Robbie McCauley.  She coached me in preparing to do a revival of my one woman show, which had been an HBO Special entitled “Hazelle!”.  Our revival, “Hazelle, What’s Goin On?”, enjoyed sold out performances at NYC’s Off Broadway Triad Theatre.  We look forward to a successful Broadway run!

 

You gave an absolutely phenomenal performance in my favorite Woody Allen comedic films, Deconstructing Harry. I am curious to know what drew you to the role as Cookie? What was it about this project that appealed to you the most and made you decide you wanted to take on this role?

I really knew nothing about the role of Cookie.  Woody doesn’t give you the script  in advance so I was clueless.  I went to the audition in my running clothes and sneakers.   As God would have it, in one of my lines, the character said something about working out.  LOL! 

The role was controversial because I was the first black woman to appear in a Woody Allen film and I was playing a hooker.  However, I loved the role.  Cookie was strong, funny and deep in a unique way.  

 

You have done a lot of work both on the big and small screen, as well as on the stage. I am curious to know what your preferred medium is to work in? If you were forced to only stick to one for the remained of your career, what would it be?

I enjoy the wide exposure that film and television give.  You are able to impact millions globally at once.  But, I love hearing the laughter, seeing the tears and receiving the warm hugs of my audiences.  Only the theatre can give that magical intimacy, that peep into our souls.

 

If you were handed the opportunity to portray any legendary figure in world history, who would it be?

I would love the opportunity to portray Sojourner Truth.  Her words “Ain’t I a woman too?” have always haunted me on so many levels as a dark skin, black woman with kinky hair in America. In addition, her courageous work as an abolitionist leader, advocate of women’s rights and prison reform is truly inspiring.  

 

 

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

For the last several years, I have had the privilege of ministering to incarcerated women at a maximum security prison for women.  Many of them are serving 25 to life.  One young woman that I have been ministering to since 2014 is finally being released this year 2020.  She has served 25 years.  What I have discovered is that the woman I’m meeting today is not the same person that committed the crime 25 years ago.  Most of these women were in there 20’s when they made wrong choices and are deeply remorseful now in there 50’s and older.  My heart fills with  an indescribable joy as I see them receive a second chance.  

My bright future includes bringing the love of Jesus Christ to the incarcerated and leading them out healed and transformed.  I see me starring in impactful roles in film, television and Broadway.  I see “Hazelle, What’s Goin On?”, a Broadway hit, touching, moving and inspiring lives.  I see me winning Oscars, Emmys, Tonys, Golden Globes, and a Nobel Peace Prize.  I see a loving and mutually empowering marriage.  I see me hugging freely without concern for social distance and self quarantine measures.  LOL!!

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The last thing that made me smile was answering these wonderful questions 🙂