Graeme Thomas King [Interview]

We have a great interview for you all today folks. Today’s interview subject is a young artist who is ready to shock the world. His name is Graeme Thomas King, and is sure to be our next big star in Young Hollywood. With dashing good looks, and obvious talent, King is definitely what we have all been looking for in the world of show business.

Graeme can be seen in the latest project from legendary filmmaker Neil Jordan entitled The Widow. Graeme works alongside such talents as Chloe Grace Moretz and a regular in the Neil Jordan, the great Stephen Rea. And I dare say that this is very fitting company for this wonderful young man, who we will all soon discover is destined to be one of the greats. And we are so very happy to have him join the TWS family here today.

So please enjoy some amazing words from the brilliant Graeme Thomas King right now!

When did you discover that you had a passion for acting? What drove you to this world?

I would be lying if I said I knew my entire life I wanted to be an actor. Growing up I was ridiculously shy, so doing what I do now still comes as a shock to me. My 10 year old self would be petrified. I suppose it was always a subconscious yearning inside me that drove me to where I am today. My hero’s growing up were always comedians actually, Billy Connolly for example had a huge impact on me and still does. Robin Williams was another. Their storytelling and ultimately ability to make people laugh always inspired me, I thought it such a noble skill and it has stuck with me forever. We need more laughter in the world.

What got me to consider acting seriously was a chance encounter on a bus in London (the number 11 to Liverpool Street, if you were wondering), when I was asked by a young filmmaker and actress if I would consider being in a short film she was making? What possessed me to say yes I would audition I cannot say. It was a transitional point in my life and I like a chance encounter better than anyone so I agreed and we set a date for the audition. I think I fell in love with the process then and there. It really was everything I’ve always wanted in life from working with fascinating pieces of literature (I auditioned with an Ibsen monologue) to collaborating with diverse groups of people and working together to meet a common goal, and ultimately having a lot of fun along the way. Bearing in mind this was only a few years ago now it’s been a bit of a whirlwind to say the least. On the back of this I applied for acting school in New York, found myself there for just over two years, headed back to London for a spell and now I’m in LA. As I said earlier my 10 year old self is screaming at me inside. But that’s ok, I know this is what he wanted all along. Im making up for lost time I suppose.

I am intrigued by the premise of the OJ Reyes film No More Lonely People that you will be appearing in. Can you tell us a bit about this project? What sort of character will you be portraying?

Of course. Working with OJ was a real pleasure. A terrific guy and just wonderful, passionate filmmaker. I’ve never come across a guy with so many ideas in his head at once. His creativity astounds me. Interesting I initially auditioned for the lead role, OJ told me it had gone to another actor but convinced me there was another role that I would be perfect for, Clark Bruce, who I ended up playing in the film. If I was perfect for it only time will tell! No More Lonely People (NMLP) is a story that takes place in a world where the government decides your soulmate upon your 23rd birthday. My character Clark is a self made millionaire from then UK who gets matched with Diana, played by Simone Policano, a wonderful actress and dear friend who everyone must go and check out, she does wonderful work. My character has to prove to Dianna that he is everything she’s looking for despite the fact that she is in love with someone else.

 

Another project you have worked on was The Widow, directed by legendary filmmaker Neil Jordan, and features an incredible cast as well. How was your experience working on this project?

This was a dream to say the least. I cannot express my gratitude to Neil and his team enough for allowing me on his set and just giving me the honour to work creatively with him and everyone else. It was a joy from beginning to end and I’m excited for the film to come out. I was nervous to say the least but Neil created such a collaborative and friendly environment that I felt at home immediately. You really get into acting to work in such environments, because that’s what it’s all about, the work. There shouldn’t be any ego’s because we are all in it together and we are creating something that is bigger than ourselves, a story that is hopefully going to have a positive impact on people and make them experience and feel things that they might not necessarily be able to feel in everyday life. It’s exactly the type of environment I want to work in for the rest of my career and I thank Neil for that.

Working under the guise of a legendary filmmaker like Neil Jordan seems like it would be an eye-opening experience of sorts, for someone on the outside looking in. So, how was it for you? Did you take anything away from the legend himself?

Eye opening is an understatement to say the least. I think the big thing I took away from this experience is never be afraid to ask questions. Being a young actor in such a high profile setting I think the danger is to become a bit of a yes man. You have to trust your instincts and if something doesn’t feel right then you need to bring that up, and I think Neil appreciated that. We are all in it together and it’s art at the end of the day, there are no correct answers. That was another big thing I learnt. We were making something and there is literally no blueprint for this sort of stuff. As an actor you learn from your mistakes and you have to be prepared for them, they are inevitable. Neil was just fantastic in that there was such open dialogue between himself and I and I really appreciated that seeing as I was new on set. It’s something I’ll always take away with me and try and recreate in future projects.

You have had experience working in film and the stage. In your professional opinion, what is your preferred style of acting? Which setting do you find the most rewarding to work in?

That’s a tough question because they are both so different. My training comes from the theatre so I’ll always have a deep reverence and respect for it. I think theatre will always be the ultimate challenge for the actor. There’s no hiding on stage. The camera never lies and so much of a film is made or broken in the editing room, which is something I’m becoming more and more aware of. On stage, you’re really putting yourself out there, it’s live and it’s different every night and I suppose so much can go wrong! Theatre will always be very special to me because of that live factor. You’re inviting an audience to participate and engage directly in what you are doing. Watching a film or TV you can easily switch off as an audience member. But in theatre, the audience is such a huge part of it and it requires their direct participation and involvement which is very special. I do worry about the accessibility of theatre these days. Ticket prices seem to be getting more and more expensive and it simply isn’t conducive to getting the message the story is trying to tell across to as a wide demographic of society as possible, which should be the goal. Theatre should be for the many not the select few who can afford it. I suppose this is where TV and film comes in, its far more wider reaching and accessible and this can only be a good thing. I’ve spoken about theatre so much but I like many people are inspired by film every day. We all have our favourites and isn’t it a frequent question when we meet someone for the first time; what’s your favourite film? There’s a reason for this and I suppose it’s why I love film. It has the power to move and inspire like all great pieces of art do. I’ll keep saying it but for me it’s got to be all about the audience, these stories are for them. I, as an actor, get so much joy out of the process and that’s my reward, but the alchemy of it is for an audience, who will hopefully be inspired like I have been by so many great films over the years. Just don’t ask me which is my favourite that’s such a tough question!

If you were given the opportunity to portray any figure in the history of popular culture, who would it be? 

James Dean. For those who know me they will attest he’s a big influence on me. I know he has been portrayed before, and very successfully I might add, but I think there’s so much more to tell. I’ve read a lot about him and garnered any information I could and the thing that always struck me was the wide variety of opinions on the guy, and I’m not sure if anyone truly knew him for who he was. I’m not saying I would be able to encapsulate that I’m just saying there would be so much scope to explore areas of his life that haven’t necessarily been explored before. Obviously he’s had such an impact on popular culture for so many years now and the images of him are iconic. For me what’s really interesting is this clearly misunderstood guy. He had so much success in such a short space of time but was he actually happy? My instinct says no and there is something tragic about that. What could be interesting would be a fictional tale of what James Dean would have done with the rest of his life had it not been so tragically cut short. Starring me of course!

From your training, and experience in the world of acting, what would you consider to be the most important aspect of the job? What should every actor be striving to achieve when they take on a new project?

As I said before it’s about the audience and this for me is paramount. It’s not about you as the actor and I’ve learnt this very quickly. Especially on film sets because you are such a tiny cog in this great machine, it’s always been very humbling for me which I love. It’s just not about you as the individual. It can’t be and if you think it is then there’s an issue. The goal for me should be great storytelling and doing great work. Everything else is secondary. As a former teacher of mine said to me, your job is to be there for the audience. That always stuck with me. Anything that gets in the way of that must be stripped away.

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

The future is very exciting and I wish I could go into more detail but I can’t! Such is the nature of the business. My present situation puts me in the U.S. which has always been a special place for me. I’m surrounded by incredibly creative, lovely and generous people and that’s always a recipe for success so watch this space!

What was the last thing that made you smile?

I watched Drake’s “God’s Plan” music video yesterday and that made me both smile and cry simultaneously. Another example of the power of art.

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Hanala Sagal [Interview]



Today we are talking with a truly inspiring figure in the world of art and entertainment. And I am deeply ashamed to admit that I am only now beginning to learn just how amazing she truly is and has always been. Hanala Sagal has been a Hollywood staple for a very long time, and has done some incredible work in her wonderful career. One thing would be her involvement in the film Elvis & Nixon, which was the reason I initially reached out to her. But, what I would learn about Hanala would be even more fascinating.

Hanala is truly a breath of fresh air in a world that seems absolutely polluted with proverbial ignorance and hatred. She has truly lived a life, with enough ups and downs to be a ride at Magic Mountain. But, in the end she has come out clean and thriving on the other side. She was a YouTube sensation before we even knew what that was going to be, and she has spent the majority of her life being an inspiration to millions, which is just about as admirable as it gets.

But, how about we let Hanala speak for herself? She was so kind to take some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions and tell us some stories. So please enjoy some great words from Hanala Sagal!

When did you first realize you wanted to join the world of show business? Was it something you had always gravitated towards, or did you just sort of fall into it?

​I was on stage in Montreal, playing the role of a little girl separated from her mother in the Holocaust. The audience laughed and cried and I was hooked. I liked playing this daughter of survivors much more than the one I play at home! One day while watching The Beverly Hillbillies, I asked my mother “How much do you have to pay to be on TV?” She said “They pay you!” I decided to grow up and move to where I could be on TV and out of the snow. Plus, my mother paid attention to and believed what she saw on TV so I had to get on TV. 

Hitler spoiled my parents for regular suffering. I’d say, “Ma the girls in school don’t like me” she’d say “You think they liked me in Poland?” If I couldn’t be Opie of Mayberry I would play him. I wanted to be Ritchie on The Dick van Dyke Show. I also wanted to be Laura Petrie. I like to sing and dance for people. My parents bought me a car when I was 21, I said thanks, drove south, made a right at Ohio and came to L.A. to get into TV. I got into drugs, limos with strangers and eventually I got sober, became an aerobics instructor a motivational speaker and created my Comedy Wellness brand. Shape Up, L.A. began as a 1980’s Public Access show and cost about sixty bucks to produce — which proved my mother wrong. I was paying to be on TV. 

What can you tell us about the origin of the brilliant 2016 film Elvis & Nixon that you co-wrote and also starred in? Where did the idea for this project come about, and what are your thoughts on the final product that was given to the world?

Elvis & Nixon began as a micro-budget vehicle for my ex, also an actor, and me to star in. I’d just finished writing a bromance screenplay (I love writing about men working together) so when I learned Elvis took his buddy, Jerry, to see Nixon, I had my angle. I wrote a funny part for myself and was thrilled to finally achieve commercial success. I was so buzzed, I filmed a segment for my YouTube channel on how I was a 30-year overnight success. Hashtag whoohoo. At first, I was treated well by the producer. Then I brought in a lawyer who’d worked with the producer. He looked at the deal I’d been offered, was empathetically offended and agreed to work on the contract for a percentage. I went from being the darling to being the bitch. I was yelled at, criticized and eventually ghosted. Lately, I’ve been asked about Kevin Spacey, but it was the big-deal producer running the show who really creeped me out. He’d produced Oscar winning movies and I was stunned to be bullied by someone at that level. He gave the role I’d written for myself to another actress, cut me out of the production and gave writing credit to his brother on Twitter. I went to bed for a year. It was the best I could do. Then I got out of bed and wrote a new screenplay and  TV show and started a new book. And that’s why I’m the Bounce Back Kid.

Scrolling through your IMDb credits, I can’t help but be intrigued by the fact that you were a dancer in the most iconic music video of all time, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. Watching that video seems like it could have been a pretty grueling month, she​ of fun to work on. So how was your experience on this set? Did it surprise you at all how infamous it would become?

​My agent sent me to dance on something called a Music Video starring Michael Jackson. I said “You mean from The Jackson 5?” ​I didn’t recognize him but was amazed to discover at the end of the day the lovely, talented woman in flowy robes who led us in choreography was Michael Jackson. It was hard work for little pay and I didn’t think it was going anywhere so I only showed up for two days. I think I went home and worked on my tan which has faded, unlike Thriller which never will.

You became a YouTube sensation before we even knew that was going to be a thing!  So, what made you decide to get into this world? Also what do you enjoy about the format, and what keeps you continuing to put out hilarious content?

​YouTube was just Public Access TV on steroids. I knew how to talk to a camera. I liked the camera and it liked me back. I’d become petty famous in L.A. (with fans like Eddie Van Halen and Marlon Brando) because I said funny, inspiring, profound things — and I did it in tights. I was like clean porn for self-esteem. 

​In 2008 I got a phone call from YouTube. I was, “Wow, you’re a place?” They said, “You have a million views on one of your videos, you should monetize it.” I said, “You have the wrong number.” I checked, YouTube was right. The channel is now at 300M views and 300K subscribers! They didn’t call, but they did send a trophy.

It’s an opportunity to reach and inspire millions of humans each week with my Comedy Wellness brand, to perform regularly and to try out new material.

Check out Hanala’s work on

When you look back on your brilliant career in the world of show business, what would you say you are most proud of? Why?

It was cool that Elvis & Nixon won Centerpiece at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016, but what I’m proudest about is the 15 years I was on Public Access TV. The show had a dream-come-true social impact. ​A father told me that until he saw my show where I dressed as a little girl, he had no idea how screaming at his kids impacted ​them. A woman say she’d watch my show (on crack, which is the only way she could watch it) and ended up with me in her head so much that she started going to AA and is still sober. I created the show because I wanted to work regularly but was audition-impaired so I hired myself.

I adapted my TV scripts into a book published in 2006. In those dark moments, when I feel like a commercial failure, I read the Amazon comments from readers who describe how My Parents Went through the Holocaust and All I Got was This Lousy T-shirt inspired them to understand their experiences, to heal, and to laugh! Anthony Hopkins and Kirk Douglas know me and my family because they read my memoir. I remember making Barack Obama laugh at Oprah’s house in 2008 and how that moment would have impressed my parents.  

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

It took 12 years, but I finally finished the screenplay adaptation of ​my memoir (My Parents Went through the Holocaust and All I Got was This Lousy T-shirt.) ​​I cried for the ​​first 10 years​​ so I could spend the next two making it funny.​ ​​​Traumaland is a #metoo story of epic dysfunction and spectacular recovery​ for today’s audiences. We’re also developing a new TV series called Boat Karaoke. It’s like Carpool Karaoke but prettier. Music and comedy on yachts cruising Marina del Rey harbor… Singers share secrets by the seashore. Micro budget and huge worldwide potential for distribution. Get onboard at boatkaraoke.com!

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Smiling is powerful stuff​,​ ​mood altering, that’s what ​the ​poodle is for. My little reminder to cheer the f*ck up.​ I realized, after 35 years of therapy and 12-Step meetings, that I’m just a clump of habits, so I created ones that make me happy. I enjoy doing what I’m good at and I get good by practicing. The way people practice complaining (mostly to the wrong people) you’d think cranky were a desirable state. I practice gratitude which leads to smiling. This can also cause pissiness in others who have not been able to tap into their joy. Joy dies from lack of use. Another thing that makes me smile — being effective! Life is messy and when I get two things done out of the seventy things I wanted to do, I smile. ​

Learn more from Hanala at hanala.com, and check out some of Hanala’s wonderful work on YouTube, right here:

 

Traumaland:

Boat Karaoke:

 

Elena Beuca [Interview]


Avid readers of Trainwreck’d Society (as I’m sure you all are!) will remember a brilliant indie film entitled D-Love that we covered back in December. The film would then go on to be our favorite film of the year. I simply can not say enough great things about this incredible powerful film. I was beyond impressed with everything about it. Especially the film’s director and lead actor, you guessed it, the wonderful Elena Beuca!

In what has become a routine in my personal life as well as on this site, I tell EVERYONE about how great this film, so that is what I wanted to do again today with Elena! She was so kind to share a few words with us here today. And now I am not only a huge fan of her directorial debut of a film, but I will be following her career as it continues to flourish, which I am absolutely certain it will. The sky is the limit with this amazing artist, as she has already proven time and again the past. I am so excited to watch her grow right in front of us all!

So ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy some amazing words from the brilliant and one of my favorite guests we have ever had the fortune to showcase here at TWS, Elena Beuca!

I read in a previous interview that you didn’t actually begin acting until you were in your late 20’s, and that you were in real estate prior? So when did acting and filmmaking become your full time passion? And what led you into this world?

The desire to start acting started really late in life when I was 26 years old. I had my own real estate company in Bucharest, Romania and I just got my law degree and out of a sudden something new awoke in me – a passion about acting. It was bizarre cause although I dreamed of being an actress, but it always seemed like a far away dream, unrealistic, and I never actually thought to give it a try- always finding different excuses- nobody in my family has ever done acting, and it just seemed so far out of reach for a country girl who at the most needed a real job not a dreamy one… But that thought and feeling that I should follow it this time, didn’t leave me so I finally had to listen to it and started doing research and looked into best acting schools in the world and I came across the American Academy of dramatic Arts in Los Angeles. 

I submitted the application and very soon they invited me to come and audition to Los Angeles… I had a real short time to prepare the two monologues that they required and flew to Hollywood, filled with nerves, passion and hope for new future. Thank God I was excepted right away – the director of admission said that I have a natural talent and a passion that few of her students have and was one of the few students who got excepted immediately. And that’s how I was to embark on a new journey in a different country where I didn’t know one single soul before moving to Los Angels . I was so passionate and fascinated with my new world of acting and I excited about learning everything about it. I started taking classes as much as I could outside of the American Academy and I started taking classes with Ivanna Chubuck who is an excellent acting coach who coached Charlize Theron, Brad Pitt, Halle Berry just to name a few.

Your directorial debut D-Love is not only the best film we saw in 2017, it is also surely to go down as one of my personal favorite films of the last decade at least. I understand it was a very personal journey based on a true story. With that, I am always curious to know what sort of emotional ride it must have been to recreate an obviously very vivid memory. What was it like? Was there a struggle to meld accuracy with a visual medium?

I met Ditlev in 2012 at the airport when he asked me for a ride to the freeway – We took him home with us and he stayed at our house for 5 days and he made a huge impact on me and my husband – It was as if our souls were already connected long before – we establish a immediate friendship as if we’ve always known each other. We knew that we are connected by a invisible thread and he will always be a part of each others life- in one way of another . When he left I just wrote a short script that I had no intention to make into a film at that time- I just wrote about 20 pages or so because I just wanted to remember the feelings that we had when we met him and the friendship that came to life because of it.

So in in real life Ditlev myself and my husband- I think we were connected by an invisible thread that brought us together and that made us trust and develop a friendship right away. When later on, a couple of years later, I decided to make my first feature. I chose the D-love script and I knew I had to take the ral event and make it into something that people could relate to… We knew that if we were to tell the story the way it happened – that we instantly liked the kid and we recognized his soul- it would be hard for the audience to believe it and plus there wouln’t be any conflict for the film and who wants to watch a film where nothing happens and its all good and dandy ☺ ? So we decided to shape a different kind of story and to show a different perspective from the woman’s point of view and to show her growth and change. The biggest struggle that I had with playing the Stefania character was actually before we start shooting because initially didn’t intend to act in the film, we always thought we going to have a name actor playing myself and Dave’s character. When that didn’t happen and we chose for Ditlev to play himself as D-love- That’s when Dave and I knew we had to act in the film to make it easier for Ditlev who has never acted before. But he knows us and he can trust us to just play and be himself.

My character Stefania is so different than I am- and I was so afraid that I would not give it justice- I was terrified that I would come across as a unlikable character- that people will not relate to her- because on the paper she comes across as a bitch at times and would be very hard to understand where she’s coming from -unless you are able to bring different layers to the character to understand that she’s not a bad person, she’s just been scarred and guarded and that’s her way of dealing with it. So for a few nights before we started shooting I think I was crying every night and I was so terrified of playing her, terrified of failing, not knowing if I’m the best choice for it or not but unfortunately it was too late in the process because we didn’t have the finances to hire some well known actress. And I’d gotten so far that it was too late to back up because now I had a whole team relying on me and there was no way I can turn around – that was not a option! But it wasn’t easy and as I said throughout the pre-production, during the production even the postproduction sometimes I had my own doubt whether I am good at it, whether people will feel something or not .

Once I committed to playing her- I treated it as if this was a regular script because the reality and the truth is all though I was playing a fictionalized version of myself acting in a imaginary circumstances – and did my homework to understand where with this woman come from, to understand her hurt, her struggle, her frustration, her loss and once I was able to identify it was much easier to bring truthful elements of my life and substitution and slowly Stefania the character started taking over. And throughout the course of our filming I had moments when I felt our characters so alive in the way we talked, acted that it was almost like an out of body experience and that helped me give a more truthful performance , that hopefully people can identify with.

On an acting level, how does one truly portray themselves? Is it pretty easy, or extremely difficult?

I think to really show yourself and to be as natural as possible as an actor is pretty hard – it requires a certain kind of vulnerability, you have to be very open to allow yourself to just Be. In my case I had to allow certain parts of me to be exposed and that’s a very vulnerable thing to do, and it makes you feel like you’re naked in front of people so they can judge you or criticize or hopefully relate to you .

What has your experience been like with the fans who shown their support for the film in theatres and festivals? Have audiences been pretty excited about the film once they have seen it?

Our experience with the fans around the country has been incredible. When we first open the film n in Los Angeles -most of the people who came to to see it at the opening night were our friends or acquaintances or people that we love and love us and they were very excited and showed us a lot of love but a part of us didn’t know whether the film it’s really good because we thought these are our friends and they will support us no matter what. Until we actually started going to festivals around the country and showed it to people who I’ve never seen before who don’t know me or us and to see their excitement and their enthusiasm about the film and to see how effected they were by the film, the way they told us that it touched their hearts- that has been incredible and very humbling and very rewarding because it made me realize I guess in the end I did my job as an actor and as a director: to make a film that is relatable to people, that feels authentic, raw and real where they can find themselves in each of the main character’s struggles, desires or insecurities or in who they are as people. We are beyond grateful for all the love that people have shown us – we have won 10 best feature film awards either by the audience or Jury vote out of the 12 festivals that we have been a part of.




If you were given the chance to give a performance of any historical figure in world history, who would it be?

If I were to play one character in the history I would choose Aimee Semple McPherson for her courage for her God-given abilities and for being such a pioneer ….I am fascinated with women or people in general who overcome their obstacles and their challenges but instead they rise up to become something that they never even dreamed of because there is a power that is being activated when you are pursuing your purpose- and Aimee is one of them .

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

I have a couple of projects in mind that I would like to work on and they were very different from romantic comedy to a drama TV series about orphanages in Romania during the communism or another dark comedy that my husband is wring at the moment….. I am very much into telling stories about real people who overcome their challenges and they rise up above their situations or above their obstacles and they are able to be a solution instead of a problem – that’s what I am fascinated with.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

I was on FaceTime with my sister Lidia who lives in Romania who just had a baby who is 10 months old- her name is Miriam. My sister was telling me a story while holding Miriam in her arms – who was smiling and talking in her own language that we don’t understand yet. Miriam was trying to get my sisters attention and then out of a sudden she just wraps her arms around my sisters neck and kiss her on the cheek and than she smiles with such love that it just warmed my heart…….That gesture put a humongous smile on my face because I could could watch them and I could see that there was so much adoration in their eyes for each other- the way she was looking at my sister with such love – and the way my sister was looking at her- Their love was tangible and that made me realize what a beautiful gift Love is.

Check out this trailer for D-Love, and learn more at dlovethemovie.com

 

Elsa Faith [Interview]


I am very excited to share some words with you fine folks today with a truly amazing and inspirational artist who I have been a fan of for many years, and am very honored to even call a friend. Elsa Faith is one of the most prolific and talented songwriters and voices in the world of music today. I first became engaged with her work through a band called Social Distraction which featured Elsa on vocals, and the extremely talented Marty Mitchell on lead guitar and vocals as well. Early iterations of Trainwreck’d Society have Soul Distraction skewed about, as well as during my time at Fensepost.com.

Elsa was also kind enough to have been a part of a project I did back in 2011, contributing an amazing essay in the charity based project Children of Mercy: Tales and Teachings From the World of Independent Music. Without hesitation, she presented the CoM team with an amazing contribution, and I am forever in debt to her for that, as well as for the amazing music that her and Marty Mitchell (songwriting partner/husband) have provided over the years.

While Elsa has been making music since she can remember, and has been a part of some amazing bands (which will be discussed below), she has never actually released a solo project. Until now! Today marks the debut single of a solo Elsa Faith single entitled, “Tattoo” that we are so proud to premiere for you fine folks today! It is a brilliant track that you are absolutely going to do. While it is definitely a continuation of Elsa’s amazing contributions to music, it very well might be the best thing we have heard from Elsa in her extremely impressive career. I dare say it is my favorite song, and I am so happy to get to share it with you all today.

So please enjoy some amazing words from an amazing artist, and please enjoy Elsa Faith’s wonderful new track “Tattoo” below. Enjoy!

When did you first discover your passion for music? Was it something you have always been into?

I was born into a musical family, so the passion came early for me. My first performance on stage was at six, and two years later, I wrote my first song on keys. Although it sounded like a child wrote it (because I was!), I knew that music would be something that will stick forever in my life.

Who were some of your earliest influences in the world of music? And would you still consider them to be so?

In high school, at 13, during recess, one of my good friends at that point of time, shared with me the most beautiful songwriting to my ears. It was “Ode To My Family” by The Cranberries. Dolores’ voice touched my heart, and I was inspired to pick up the guitar. My eldest brother, who was already a musician, taught me how to play the instrument on my dad’s acoustic Ibanez. Naturally, the first few chords which I picked up, would be songs by The Cranberries. They are still a strong influence in my songwriting, and I am deeply affected by Dolores’s recent passing.

My older siblings shared a wide variety of music with me, from Tom Jones to Queen. Although I don’t listen to these artists everyday, subconsciously, I would just naturally slip in a little hint of those influences into my songwriting.

What was your very first paying gig as a musician like? Were you a bag of nerves? And how did it feel when you stepped off stage after completing a full blown gig?

The nerves never really said goodbye ’til today! However, I love performing, and I love getting paid! Barely out of high school, and receiving compensation for playing music felt odd, but good kinda odd. I got the same exact feeling every time I got off the stage, and it’s a nice sweaty satisfaction. I do have an addiction to playing live!

Your tale of moving to the U.S. is a truly fascinating one that you touch on with Soul Distraction’s “Ticket To America”, one of my favorite SD tracks of all time. Can you tell our readers a bit about your journey for those who may not be aware?

Oh, thank you for remembering that song! Yeah, I met Marty (who is now my husband) via Myspace back in 2006. We talked about music a lot, and finally when he gave me the opportunity to audition for his band, Soul Distraction, I took it. I was born and raise in Singapore, and it was my first time coming to America. I didn’t know anyone here. It was scary, and the flight was so long too! Thankfully, Marty wasn’t “catfishing” me, and the audition went well. “Ticket To America” described the feeling that I had on that journey of traveling into the unknown.

Listen to the song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7j_iKOwtj4


You’ve had another project in recent memory with a group called Madame Torment that I also found fascinating. Can you tell us a bit about this band? How did this one come to form?

Madame Torment is an all female hard rock band, something that I’ve always wanted to be a part of. I met Erin Elizadeth (lead guitarist) in 2010 at a tribute band audition, but it wasn’t until a year later that she approached me about forming MT. We clicked in songwriting, and had the same goals for the band. Currently, we have opened up for a number of bands that have influenced us as a band, from Lita Ford to recently, LA Guns.

I am also in another female empowerment project, Synful Syrens. It is still in the rock genre but we focus more on the vocal harmonies.

I love how these projects are different from one another, and it really helped me expand my songwriting.



Your debut single as a solo artist, Tattoo, is absolutely wonderful. Can you tell us a bit of the backstory behind it?

Thanks!!! Although I’ve been doing music for a while, I’ve never had the chance to release a solo project. Tattoo is a song which Marty and I wrote in 2008, but it never got presented well enough back then. To me, tattoo itself is a great symbol of commitment. To have something on you permanently. That is love, and loyalty.

When my older brother Juno visited me last year, I knew that I wanted his voice in the recording, and his cajon playing on the track as well. Not wanting to let him miss the opportunity, we went into Matt Jefferson’s home studio, and the rest is history. You can definitely hear a huge part of The Cranberries influence in this song.

Check it out: tiny.cc/elsafaith (also see below!)

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

A lot of traveling is going to happen this year, and more music releases from Synful Syrens, and Madame Torment. There is a new documentary which will feature my song as well. 2018 is looking like a great year, and I am excited for it! Check me out on Instagram (@ElsaFaith) for updates!

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My 2.5 years old granddaughter, Hannah, picked up my guitar, and she started “strumming” it. I love how she naturally fell in love with the instrument. I remembered being that age, and doing the same thing. Even if she doesn’t end up playing the guitar in the future, to just know that music makes her happy, made me smile! 🙂

Check out Elsa’s debut single “Tattoo” right here on Trainwreck’d Society, and be sure to check in on her WEBSITE for more details:

Kevin Farley [Interview]

Photo by Russell Baer


We are bringing the funny back today, Folks! Today we have a nice little interview with the very funny comedian and comedy actor that you already know and love, the great Kevin Farley! He is an impressive specimen of a funny man who has created a wide and brilliant body of work that includes stints on great shows like Superstore, Still the King,  Drunk History, and the brilliant Netflix Original animated series F is For Family.

He is also a killer in the world of stand up comedy, and is most likely coming to a town near you! For a few decades now, Kevin has been making people laugh since he first joined up at the legendary Second City, and he hasn’t looked back since. He is a legend in the field of funny, and we are so happy that he was willing to share a few brief words with us here today. So Ladies and Gentlemen, please enjoy some words from the great Kevin Farley!

While you come from a pretty well known and obviously talented trio of brothers involved in the world of comedy, I am curious to know what it was exactly that drove YOU specifically to the world of comedy and acting? Or show business in general? When did you first realize that you wanted to play pretend for a living?

I got involved with Second City in the early 90s. I saw my brother on stage and I know that’s what I wanted to do with my life. It seemed fun and exciting. Second city to this day remains the reason why I got into show business.

A scroll through your very impressive IMDb credits made me realize that you have worked on one of the best animated programs of recent history, the Bill Burr driven Netflix Original F is For Family. How have you enjoyed this work? Is voice over work as cool as some make it out to be? Do you really come to work in pajamas if you felt like doing so?

I love F is for Family. I love doing voiceovers. It’s challenging to act only using the voice. I don’t go in to the studio in my pajamas. However, I do feel very relaxed. It’s the best job in show business.

In 2015, you worked on bringing the brilliant documentary I Am Chris Farley into the world. In your own obviously expert opinion, what do you believe it was that set this doc apart from all of the other films and recollection pieces that have been done before? What did you feel needed to be said that hadn’t been said before?

I’m very proud of that documentary. I wanted to show just how sensitive and creative Chris was. Also how well liked he was by people in the business.

Beyond acting and filmmaking, you are also an established stand-up comedian. How do you enjoy this line of work? What do you enjoy about stand up that you don’t get from your normal duties as a comedic actor?

I love stand-up comedy because of the live aspect of it. It brings back my old Second City days. The immediate laugh is the best!

You appear regularly on the new hit comedy series Still The King as a somewhat emotionally unstable parole officer, and do it damn well if I might add. What has it been like to work on a program like this? Is it as much fun to work on as it is to watch?

Still the King was a great show and I was proud to be a part of it. I love Billy Ray Cyrus. He’s a great guy to work with.

The show takes place almost entirely in Nashville, Tennessee, which I have found to be a lovely town. How has your time been working in this area? Do the locals seen receptive to what you all are doing out there?

I had such fun in Nashville getting to know the city and how great the food is. I’d love to go back some day and spend more time there.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like our reader’s to know about?

I’m just gonna keep doing stand up and recording F is for Family. I love what I do and I’ll just try to keep getting better.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The last thing that made me smile was when my girlfriend drank another guys coffee at Starbucks. Very Funny.

Wanna see Kevin be hilarious in person? You should. So find him somewhere near you:

February 8-10 Hyena’s Comedy Club, Dallas TX
February 17 Royal River Casino, Flandreau SD
February 22-24 Stir Crazy Comedy Club, Glendale, AZ.
March 1-3 Funny Stop, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
March 8-10 Hyena’s Comedy Club ,  Ft. Worth TX
March 16, 17 Old Train Depot, Pierceton, IN
March 22-25 Harvey’s Comedy Club, Portland, Oregon
March 29   St. Jude’s Fundraiser event,
Meadow Lands Comedy Club,  Moonachie, NJ.
April 27-29  Mojo’s Comedy Cellar, Austintown, Ohio

Find ticket information and updates at his WEBSITE. And check out this amazing reel of his work right here:


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/187184104″>Kevin Farley 3</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user55517697″>Cindy Collins</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Joey Sagal [Interview]

Today’s interview subject is with an extremely nice and talented cat. He is a guy who I will admit, I didn’t know I was following and enjoying for many years. A character actor to the core, he has literally shown up multiple times in completely different characters that I had no idea they were all the same person! He is also a brilliant writer, which is how I came across the man that is Joey Sagal himself. Last year I managed to check out a little flick called Elvis & Nixon, which was even more intriguing than you are already probably thinking. It was such damn fine flick. And of course, this is set me off the search for the creators of just a fine product, and get them up here on the site!

And through my research, I discovered that he did the spot on George Clooney impersonation in Not Another Celebrity Movie, the highlight of the film if you ask me. And even more important to me, he was the bad guy in the 1989 comedy horror film The Return of Swamp Thing, which was directed by our old “friend” Jim Wynorski (“friend” because he kind of hated us, check out that interview). Seeing his list of credits simply solidified the fact that I needed to have Joey on the site, and would be absolutely honored to have him. So here it is folks! Please enjoy some amazing words from a brilliant writer and performer, the great Joey Sagal!

I know you grew up around the world of film and television, so there was probably some influence there. But, what do you believe it was that drew YOU to the world of acting? What made you want to journey into this world? What were some of your own personal influences?

I enrolled in an acting class at Lee Strasberg in Hollywood. They taught me a technique of how to use my talent to be real and honest, how to show off my talent in the best way, to do the kind of acting I loved watching and wanted to do.  I was hooked.

You appeared in the brilliant 2016 film Elvis & Nixon, which you also executive produced and co-wrote with Hanala Sagal and Cary Elwes, which was absolutely brilliant. So what was your inspiration in bringing this film to life? How did you come about bringing this story to life?

I got the idea for Elvis & Nixon to an independent film producer. He green lit it and wanted me to play Elvis and write it as a low budget film. When I sat down to write the movie, I felt nobody would be able to relate to Elvis at this point in his life…he was in his bizzaro period.  Elvis had taken the trip to meet Nixon with a friend, Jerry Schilling. Jerry was a real normal guy who everyone could relate to. So, I thought it would be fun to go on a ride with Elvis, through Jerry’s eyes. Jerry would be the Nick Carraway/everyman and Elvis would be Gatsby.   After I wrote the first draft, the producer decided it should be a bigger movie with big stars, so I ended up playing a smaller part, the Elvis impersonator and being Executive Producer/Co-writer.

Your performances as Elvis is a bit revolutionary in comparison to those who have done it before you. I really dug it. So what was your process like to create your own Elvis? What do you feel you did differently than others have in the past? What kind of research was involved?

I  played Elvis in a play Steve Martin wrote called Picasso at the Lapin Agile, it was the original Steppenwolf Theatre Production that played at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, it was a fantastic production with the young Tracy Letts in it also, it was a hit, I was playing Elvis on stage 8 shows a week for 10 months in a very funny cool part, it took me about 100 performances before I really got the voice, but because we ran  so long I was able to really work on my Elvis,  I ended up doing over 350 performances of that play. I went on to play Elvis in some movies,  a Stephen King mini-series, and of course Elvis & Nixon.  I also got to meet Elvis, when I was 7, because my dad was a director and directed Elvis in the movie Girl Happy. Elvis has been very good to my family.

This photo was taken in 1995, the 100th performance of Steve Martins play Picasso at the Lapin Agile the Los Angeles debut of Chicago’s great Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Steve Martins first and only play and the first time I played Elvis, Steve had cast me himself. I’m on Steve’s left to Steve’s right is Tracy Letts author of August Osage County which he won the Pulitzer and the Tony, Tracy and I shared the stage and a dressing room for 10 months during this run of 333 performances. Ten years after this photo was taken Tracy wrote a movie starring Michael Shannon called Bug, twenty years after this photo was taken I would co-write Elvis & Nixon starring Michael Shannon, Tracy is also in Elvis & Nixon, wild wacky stuff? This was also the last time this theatre would be called the Westwood Playhouse during our run the name was changed to The Geffen Playhouse after David Geffen gave them a lot of money.In 1989, you appeared in one of my favorite films as a child, The Return of Swamp Thing, directed by our past interview subject Jim Wynorski. What was it like working on a film as strange as this one? In comparison to the more serious work you have done, what was it like to work on a horror/comedy of sorts?

I loved working on Return of Swamp Thing we shot in Savanna, Georgia a beautiful city. It was like going to summer camp. I got to play the bad guy, sooooo fun.

When you look back on your career spanning over 30 years, what would you say you are most proud of? What would you like the world to remember you most for in 100 years?

As and actor I am most proud of my work as Elvis, it’s my ace in the hole role. Although I have played George Clooney in a movie that was a spoof of Oceans 11,  that was fun too.

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

Writing my next movie, I have a great idea for a film also for a Broadway musical if any producers are interested out there..

What was the last thing that made you smile?
My girlfriend and my dog.

Tom Thakkar [Interview]


I first came to know Tom Thakkar like I learn about a lot of young comedians. I heard him on random guest appearances on the wonderful podcast Doug Loves Movies, as is the same for a lot of the stand up comedians we have featured on this site. Actually, I should clarify and say that I first came to know a guy named Tom Brady. Actually the same person, but way better name choice for someone in his business. If somebody were to throw a damn football at me every day for a gag, somebody may be dead.

Anyway, Tom Thakkar is an amazing young comic who has been slaying it in the game lately. His Conan special was absolutely brilliant, and on par with some of my other favorites like Ian Karmel or Ron Funches or David Gborie or….you get it. He also has very original and very cool new podcast that he does with fellow brilliant comic Tommy McNamara called Stand By Your Band. Each week, comedians come on the show to defend a band that people generally like to shit on because it warms their weak and insecure hearts. Anyone from Justin Bieber to Chumbawamba. I highly recommend listening to our old friend and past interviewee on the sight, Sean Patton, doing his best to defend the band 311, specifically the band’s lead singer Nick Hexum, who is also an old friend and past guest on the site! Tom was always on my radar, but now I am a full on fan of this brilliant cat. So with that, I will stop rambling and let Tom speak for himself. So Ladies and Gentlemen, please enjoy some great words from the brilliant Tom Thakkar!

When did you first discover that you are a hilarious person and that it was possible for you to make a living standing in front of people and making them laugh?

I remember when I first started trying to be funny, it was in presentations in high school. I was a shy, weird kid, especially for a public school in southern Indiana, so those school presentations meant so much to me, and I started caring less and less about the grade, and more about seeing how I could be funny throughout. I had this great media teacher, Mr. Kennedy, who set up this thing where we got extra credit if we did stand up at the end of class, and he pulled me aside and said “Obviously you’re going to do it.” I was obsessed with stand up. I watched Comedy Central Presents every chance I got, and I loved Nick Swardson, Gaffigan, Todd Barry, Tony Woods, and Maria Bamford. I honestly loved every half hour I saw. I thought that what they did was impossible, and that to do it, you had to be like chosen by some kind of higher power in the entertainment industry or something. So the idea of doing it after class seemed odd…but I was so drawn to it, I had to try it. I did that like 3 times, and it was a huge rush to get any laughs, even though I’m sure whatever I did was garbage. I kind of thought that would be the end of it, because there wasn’t really anywhere in Bloomington to do it back then. We had Bear’s Place, which was like a one nighter for road dogs, and then IU’s campus, but there wasn’t a club at that point. I did improv for a couple years in college, and then towards the end of college, The Comedy Attic opened. That changed everything. It was a real comedy club, right in our town. I could go see the people I’d watched on Comedy Central in person. And they had a weekly open mic. I had tried stand up like 8 times between when I tried it at 14 and when the Attic opened. I went to their open mic, and I bombed hard. I was feeling good about improv then, so I was frustrated with how it went, but felt like stand up would be a side thing anyway, but it killed me that I didn’t do well. I had to try again. So I did about 6 weeks later. Sure enough, I bombed again. Bombing like that hurts. Especially when your friends do well. It’s soul crushing, especially in the very beginning because now if I bomb, I’m just like, damn, that was a weird set or weird situation or whatever, but I can brush it off. But in the beginning when you bomb, you have no point of reference…you’re just like, damn, everyone in this room hates me and my sense of what is funny is completely out of whack, when in reality, the problem can be your timing, your obvious discomfort on stage, leaving the mic stand between you and the audience…whatever. Anyway, I was destroyed. I vowed to NEVER do stand up again. But then I had an improv friend who wanted to try stand up, and he begged me to sign up with him. I tried it one more time, and by some miracle, I did well. I remember I was talking about the Sham Wow. And then the next couple times went well too. Then I was hooked. I didn’t commit to it fully until after I graduated college, but slowly my dream went from being a doctor who does comedy, to a nurse practitioner who does comedy, to a nurse who does comedy, to just doing comedy. As far as it being a living, it’s insane to me that anybody pays us for this, but I’m very happy they do. I’m still hoping that some day I feel like the higher powers of comedy are choosing me to be one of the comics I looked up to when I was a kid. I don’t know if any of this answered your question, I just didn’t feel like addressing the idea of “discovering that you are a hilarious person” and it seemed easier to write a million words on how I started than answer that.

In the comedy world, I hear a lot about the city of Bloomington, Indiana. I know nothing else about the place, other than I’m told it is a great city comedy. And learning that you are a native of this city, would you agree? Is there anything that sets apart Bloomington from other major cities, from a comedian’s perspective?

I absolutely agree that Bloomington is a great comedy city, and that is one thousand percent the fault of Jared Thompson, the owner of The Comedy Attic. I say fault because I just turned 30, and I’m finally getting a room with a door on it next week for the first time in 2 and a half years. For better or for worse, he cares so much about not only the club, but the people who are a part of it. The regulars, the staff, and every comic who puts time in there. The comics who come out of there are like family to me, and Jared is our comedy dad/uncle/brother. I really believe he’d do anything for any of us. He bought a plane ticket and flew to LA with less than 24 hours notice to come hang out with me when I did Conan. It’s just like any scene with a club that cares about it’s locals. Austin, TX has Cap City, Denver has Comedy Works, Madison Comedy on State, Cincy has Go Bananas, Portland has Helium. I think the clubs that truly care about comedy more than selling quesadillas, and that put their locals on and monitor their growth and foster it, those clubs and scenes flourish together. I also think that having comics with a centralized goal, like working at the local club when it’s a good club, it pushes everybody to get better. When you’re surrounded by good comics, it makes you want to be better, and especially when you’re doing the same shows every week, you want to have the newest, best stuff every week.

Also, just as far as Bloomington goes, it really is a great community. People always shit on Indiana, but Bloomington is incredible. With their population, they have no business having a comedy club in that town, but they support it so much that it makes all the difference. And they’re super appreciative of the comics who come out there. I think that’s the other reason comics who go through there love it. They can feel the atmosphere that Jared’s created, with people who know to be quiet and not use their phones or whatever during a show, but also they can feel how much the people of Bloomington appreciate comedy.

You have been pretty open about your fairly traumatic relationship with your stepdad. I read the story about Brad and Rex the Rat, as well as heard you mention him on our friend Amy Miller’s show Who’s Your God?. It seems as though a lot of really funny people, such as yourself, have something pretty dark in their past that lead them to the world of stand up. So, was that a part of it for you? Is being funny in front of people a way of coping with said trauma?

I don’t know. I think it’s kind of a stereotype of comedians that we all come from some trauma or something, and I don’t think that’s always true. I’ve loved comedy forever, but I also was born into this violent thing, so it’s hard to tell if I would’ve been drawn to comedy otherwise, but I know comics who, from their account, came from super happy homes and money and whatever, and they’re still really funny. For me, comedy always released tension when I was a kid. Like if I could watch The Simpsons or stand up, and if I could laugh, I felt safer somehow. The logic being, nothing bad happens when you’re laughing, which is definitely not true, but I needed that correlation, just like I thought that there couldn’t be a tornado while it was raining. It’s not true, but it calmed me down. Tornados scared the shit out of me, haha. There have been times in my life where I used comedy to get through something that bothered or upset me. When my engagement ended, that became most of my comedy, and it helped me get through that. But I think that’s the exception and not the rule. My favorite parts of comedy are when I can do the silliest thing that makes me laugh and connect an audience to it. I don’t think it’s trauma related anymore. But it’s possible I’ve been doing stand up long enough now that I don’t remember what it feels like not to do it, and if I stopped, all the feelings that I’ve repressed for the last 9 years would come back. Fuck, I guess I hadn’t considered that til just now.

I have managed to discover some damn fine comedians, such as yourself, on a little podcast called Doug Loves Movies. The show is so much fun to listen to, and whenever we get a regular guest from the show on here, I have to ask: what is it like to do DLM? Is it as fun to be part of as it is to listen?

It is so much fun. I was a fan of the show looooong before I got to do it. We used to play the Leonard Maltin game at bars in Bloomington all the time until they got rid of his app. The first couple of times it was nerve-racking, and now it’s just fun. I get stressed out sometimes about specific actors/directors that I’m not strong in, and I’m really competitive, but I try to just relax and enjoy the games. Throwing donuts at the crowd is super fun though, I wish everyone could do it. The only thing I hate about the show is reading what people have to say about me on Reddit after. It’s usually mostly nice, but people hate my laugh, and for whatever reason, that show’s comments are the only ones that bother me. I think because I’ve been a fan of it for so long.

Can you tell us a bit about your own podcast Stand By Your Band? What drew you to the concept of the show?

Stand By Your Band is me and Tommy McNamara’s podcast where we have comedians come on and defend guilty pleasure music! I got the idea when people were complaining so much about Coldplay doing the Super Bowl, as if they were the worst thing that anyone has ever heard. I understand the flaws in Coldplay, but get fucked. They’ve made some great music that I love, and it’s that hacky mindset of people jumping on a bandwagon of hate that annoyed me. Like, I know a lot of people truly hate them for legit reasons, but I think that a lot of people just pile on because it’s a joke other people have made. But me and Tommy live together, and at the end of long drives, we were finding ourselves listening to music that people make fun of, and I wanted to do a show where other people show us the music they love that people make fun of, and we give them a fair chance. I felt like it would give us a chance to learn about the comic, but also to learn about a band, make fun of them, etc. We have fun with it, and our listeners are so awesome. But if we get one more review complaining about how we talked about a band I’m quitting. jk

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

I’m really excited about the future! Flying cars…sex robots! Me and Nikki Glaser have a show starting on Comedy Central Radio on Sirius XM called You Up with Nikki Glaser! It starts Feb. 26th, and we’re crazy psyched for it! We just tested it, and I’m certain it’s going to be the best time. Also, me and Tommy McNamara have a monthly show at Caroline’s on Broadway that people should check out called Stand By Your Band Live! We’re also doing a live podcast at Limestone Comedy Festival in Bloomington, IN this summer! And I’m gonna have a real room with a door on it starting next week!

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Probably one of Tony Zaret’s memes. His Insta is brilliant. Also last night we were quoting Martin Urbano jokes in the green room, and everything he does makes me laugh. Watch his Kimmel set!