Bill Briles [Interview]

 

 

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? 

I’ve always been interested in creating “stuff” and directing. I started directing performances at an early age beginning with my own Mickey Mouse Club, and at the age seven I got into big trouble with the parents for directing neighborhood girls (also ages seven and eight) to perform dances in the buff. Needless to say, this part of my directing career ended unexpectedly and abruptly. 

I continued my interests in dramatic arts into college where I took some acting courses and screenplay writing courses. I wrote a lot of screenplays in my 20’s none of which were produced. Once cameras became inexpensive enough, we started writing our own scripts and making our own movies, the first being a full feature. 

Aleta’s interest in performing started in elementary school where she produced, directed, and starred in her own plays (lots of Gilligan’s- Island types) in the basement of her house for the neighborhood kids. She sold tickets and popcorn for her performances (an entrepreneur even in her early years). 

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 movie, Romance at Frisky’s Bar, was actually on Netflix and we did get “some” money despite it being very amateurish. It was a two-year, low budget project which required turning our house into a “bar- night-club”. It also required living in a “bar” for 6 months while the movie was being shot. Due to complaining neighbors, all actors had to be bused in to the ‘bar” in a van from a local bank parking lot. We were very motivated to make this movie and jumped a lot of “hurdles” in the process. 

My wife Aleta managed to corner a distributor at the Tribeca Film Festival Filmmaker’s Lounge (we were just spectators). The distributor took a copy with him (we had always carried copies of our movies) and three weeks later he agreed to distribute our movie, thus Netflix. 

The big lessons for us in our movie-making experiences are: it can be a cruel world out there and you are going to hear things about your work you’d rather not hear. Also, there are some people quite willing and ready to take advantage of your hard work. 

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? 

The idea evolved over time. We started the movie with an end-goal of making a short since we had never made a short. As we kept shooting, the story evolved and turned into a feature. Also, my wife and I wanted to see if we could make a movie that involved only the two of us, which included everything; main characters, extras, pre-production, production, and post production. 

The story came from different “pieces” of our lives. My wife is a very good singer-songwriter and dancer and this is where the “private dancer” was born. My characters are personal alter-egos and represent to a degree parts of my life and life experiences. I grew up and went to school in the south and the southern heritage has been a part of all our movies. We are also both doctors and I’m a painter-sculptor, all included in Private Dancer. 

 

 

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 that our movies are definitely not mainstream and “different”. We have also been told more than once that our characters are unusual and at times “quirky”. It is probably because we are “quirky” characters ourselves and our perceptions of the world may also be “quirky”. We love comedy, but a few years ago wanted to see if we could pull off a drama for variety. Our movie, First Shoot the Lawyers was our first attempt at drama and we thought it was drama-like. The first showing at a film festival resulted in, to our surprise, a lot of laughing so we gave up on drama. The distributor called it a “Black Comedy”. So now we call all of our movies comedies whether intentional or not. 

I’m not sure if I answered the question but, we go with what pops into our heads and what pops into our heads “ain’t in the normal range”. I personally am tired of movies with big explosions, lots of killing but say nothing about the “essentials of human existence”. 

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?

Since Van Gogh has been done (several times) I would go with another famous artist, Edward Hopper (from early-mid 1900’s) and his relationship with his wife (also an artist). Based on my understanding, their personalities were polar-opposite and despite monumental personality differences and on-going friction, they were joined at the hip. It would be an expose’ on the human condition and how ‘suffering and misery’ trumps being alone’ (for some). I think there would be many opportunities for comedic scenes and maybe a little insight into our nature. He is also my favorite artist. 

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

We can’t seem to stop making movies so we’ll probably do it ’til we’re ‘pushing daisies’. We’re presently shooting another comedy, Thomas A Peeper (Get it?). The story is about a gardener who is forced to work the “graveyard shift” and a woman going through a tumultuous divorce brawling with her soon-to-be-ex over “custody” of their house. Thomas A Peeper gets entangled and disaster ensues. 

What was the last thing that made you smile? 

My wife Aleta, a very funny girl.

 

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

 

 

Jearnest Corchado [Interview]

 

 

Hello Folks! Today we have a wonderful interview with a real star on the rise. It’s Jearnest Corchado! She is the star of the “The Jaguar”, being part of the AppleTV+ original series Little America, brought to the world from the great Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani. And Folks, Jearnest absolutely SHINES in her role. For those who may not be familiar with Little America, it is an anthology series that focuses on a different person overcoming some significant obstacle, whether it is deportation, visa problems, language gaps, or other cultural clashes. Corchado portrays an undocumented teen that becomes a killer competitive squash player. And Folks, it is so damn good.

Believe me when I say that Corchado is a force to be reckoned with in the world of performance. She has been on the grind since she was 8 years old, and is showing no sign of slowing down. I am so very excited to follow her career and see what she gives out to the world. And we are so excited that she was able to take some time out of her busy schedule to grace our digital pages today, and become the newest member of the TWS family.

So Folks, without further babbling, please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Jearnest Corchado!

 

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

Yes! I knew I wanted to be a performer since I was a baby. I would always love to be the center of attention at family gatherings always dancing in front of people and making a show. I was always super dramatic. Haha. One day, I was watching a kids telenovela and realized kids could be actors, so I started begging my mom to take me to acting classes. I was a child actor and did a bunch of TV growing up back in Puerto Rico, and eventually moved to LA to pursue it professionally.

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 affects your work today?

I think it was a TV show called La Adopción or a telenovela called Dueña y Señora and I was 8 years old. It’s crazy because when you’re a kid, you are just having fun and you’re just so present, you know? And I think I always try to remember that. To have fun and to not think so much and be in the moment.

I am very intrigued by a project that you are involved with now from Apple TV+ entitled Little America. Can you tell our readers a bit about this project and what they will be seeing you do?

Of course. Little America is a comedy anthology series that follows the lives of different immigrants in the United States. There are 8 episodes and each episode focuses on a different family and culture. It’s a truly wonderful series, so fresh and unique. I play the role of Marisol in episode #2, titled, “The Jaguar”. The Jaguar is about an undocumented Mexican girl, Marisol, who discovers a great passion for squash.  She is so naturally talented, and determined to become the best, that eventually, she becomes a professional squash player. As Marisol, people will watch me play a lot of squash and be a very fierce and perseverant young lady!

And what was it that drew you to work in this series? What was it about the story that drew you in?

The squash! I was so excited to learn about this sport and train for it. I really love learning new skills, especially if I’m getting paid to learn them. Haha.

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

Two exceptional women come to mind. First, I’d love to play Cleopatra! That’s one of my biggest dreams. And Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. I think I would have a lot of fun with both roles. I think they’re both very strong, complex and interesting human beings and I’d love to bring their strong essence to the screen. I admire AOC so much and think I could do a really good job portraying her. She is such a badass Latina!

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

If you like horror, my film Cucuy: The Boogeyman is currently available to watch on Video On Demand. Beyond that, my next couple of projects don’t have a home as of now but we should be hearing about them soon. I have the comedy series, Sneakerheads, where I got to work with the amazing director Dave Meyers. Also I have my feature film, Raise Your Hand, written and directed by upcoming filmmaker Jessica Rae. They are two incredible projects and completely different from one another.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Aww. My little brother actually! It was his 7th birthday a few days ago and I sent him a huge teddy bear. He lives in Puerto Rico. When the teddy bear expanded from the box, he jumped to hug it and it was the cutest thing in this world. It melted my heart.

Tracey Cherelle Jones [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! I hope this Friday finds you healthy, safe, and not so stir crazy (yet). Today we have a wonderful interview with an even more wonderful actress. It’s Tracey Cherelle Jones! Tracey has had a wonderful career in and out of the world of performance. On a personal level, I sought Jones out because she appeared in one of my favorite comedies of all time, and arguably one of the greatest parody films of all time, which would be the great Don’t Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood. Hardly a week goes by where I don’t think about the “poem” that she reads to Shawn Wayans and it always brings a smile to my silly face.

We are so excited that Tracey was able to take some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for us here at TWS. She is an incredibly sweet and kind human being, and we are honored to have her join the TWS family. A family that, if I might add, has grown by almost immeasurable amounts, and is becoming all the better for it. With that in mind, while you are locking yourself up indoors and looking for absolutely anything to entertain yourself, check out this wonderful interview below, and dig into some of the back catalog of this incredible actress. So without further babbling and ado, please enjoy these incredible words from the great Tracey Cherelle Jones!

 

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When did you first discover that you had a passion for the world of performance? I know you got into the business at a very young age, but when was it that you decided that this was the life for you?

I love performing for and moving an audience.  I started acting lessons at the tender age of 8 years old.  It was super fun, and the icing on top was becoming different characters.  Being able to get an audience to feel what I was feeling always fascinated me.

 

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 to this day?

My first paid role was in a McDonalds commercial.  It was my first audition I ever had and I booked it.  Well, when my Mother and I arrived to the set we noticed another little girl on camera, saying my lines, who was a shade or two darker than me.  We were told that I didn’t look “Black enough”, I would be paid for the day and was not needed.  I didn’t understand what “Black enough” meant because I WAS black, how much blacker could I be?  Needless to say my Mother (Bless her soul!) cussed out everybody on the set….including the director, assistant director, school teacher, the crafts service person, the wardrobe lady, the security guard…..everybody…..lol!!!  The hard lesson I learned was that Hollywood is a fickle beast!  I was slightly jaded after that experience but kept going knowing that I could always be replaced at any moment for any reason, so just have fun with it!

 

Your performance in the hit 1996 comedy Don’t Be A Menace…. was the sort of stuff that comedic dreams are made of. You were wonderful in it. I am curious to know how the filming process for such a silly film? Was it has much fun to work on as it is still for me to watch to this very day? Anything notable or interesting from working on this project?

First of all, thanks for the compliment!  That was such a fun shoot.  Most of the main cast are comedians so jokes flowed non stop.  Scenes were constantly adjusted to “find the funny”.  I learned so much from that shoot, and it was a joy going to set each day.  Marlon kept me in stitches and the fact that a few friends I knew from growing up in L.A. (Chris Spencer, Alex Thomas, and Darryl Heath) were working on the film made it even more fun.  That was a once in a lifetime experience and I’m grateful for it!

 

 

Another incredible project you worked on was 2001’s Baby Boy, along with our new friend of the site, DeJuan Guy. Same sort of question, but more about your experience working under the guise of the recently dearly departed John Singleton? What made this experience a worthwhile project to work on?

I had known John (Bless his soul!) for several years before Baby Boy, so working with him was like working with an old friend.  He was so cool, and really allowed the actors to just roll with it……loved that!  I also had known Taraji from a previous acting class and I became an instant fan of hers from the first time she put up a scene in class.  She is an AMAZING actress.  The opportunity to work with her and John together was something that I will always treasure.

 

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

I actually would like to portray a legendary figure of African History, Inari Kunate, the wife of Mansa Musa.  Mansa Musa, an African Ruler, is the richest person to have ever lived, and you know what they say…..behind every good man is an even better woman!

 

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

I currently have several Interior Design clients….yes I am a Designer!  I will also be launching my line of perfume oils this year, “Tracey Alexander Fine Perfume Oils”, and my show Grown Folks, season 1, is currently streaming on UMC, so check it out!!

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Cleaning out my file cabinet today I found my son’s prayer book from when he was a little guy.  I read through it and the kindness of his prayers, made me smile and proud!

Jonathan Prince [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! We have an absolutely wonderful interview to share with you all today. It’s another sort of milestone day for me, personally. Today’s interview subject has done some amazing work in so many different fields. But, I have to be candid and tell you all that today’s interview subject was on my mental list of people that I have wanted to have on the site since I started TWS almost 9 years ago. It’s Jonathan Prince, Everyone!

The aforementioned reason that I have ALWAYS wanted to have this man on the site is because he created what may very well be the most important film of my childhood. That film is the incredible Camp Nowhere. I seriously can not tell you how many times I watched this film in my youth. I’ve even watched it as an adult, and it still holds up. It is definitely a 90’s time capsule of sorts, but it remains a brilliant coming of age story that is just as enjoyable now as it was when it came out almost 26 years ago. It’s a true masterpiece, in my opinion.

And as it tends to happen, we managed to steal some time from a legendary artist based around a singular project, and then learned that the subject at hand happens to be a truly incredible human being who has some wonderful things to say. And that is the 100% truth when it comes to the great Jonathan Prince. He gave us some wonderful answers to some questions about a film that was so important to me as a youth, and so much more. This is going to be a good one Folks!

With that, please enjoy some amazing works from the brilliant Jonathan Prince!

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it something that has been ingrained in you since you were a child, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

I’ve always been good at telling stories. Born into a family of five kids, I was the one who could recount a family  adventure at the dinner table. I was the baseball player on the team bus who could best relive the last nine innings. I turned to acting in high school and in college – the interpretive art of telling the stories that belonged to others… And when I discovered that Law School did not provide me with the kind of inspiration I’d hoped it would, I came back to my home town of Los Angeles to chase an acting and writing career. (Which meant I did a lot of waiting tables and selling retail clothing!) Rather quickly (I was quite lucky) I was able to make a living as a TV and film actor, during the time I was beginning to write. And although I enjoyed those acting opportunities in my stage and film/TV career, as well as the film and television directing jobs I was lucky enough to have, I was never satisfied with merely those paths. I longed to be more than the storyteller or the director of the storytellers, I wanted to originate the stories. To create them. And perhaps I might tell them, perhaps I might direct them. Perhaps I might even co-write them. But I loved the process of creating stories… and finding the best ways to get them in front of an audience.

 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 affect your work today?

Two jobs come to mind. My very first paid gig was an acting job – a Yoplait yogurt commercial. I was swimming in an unheated pool, surfacing to get a bite of a spoonful of blueberry yogurt which soon began to match the color of my freezing cold lips. And the other job was as a researcher (must’ve been 60 hours a week on minimum wage) on a series of TV specials working for Dick Clark – who later became my co-Executive Producer on my NBC one-hour drama series, American Dreams. The lessons? No matter what he or she asks of you, work hard for your boss – he or she may someday become your business partner. And make sure you heat the pool.

 In 1994, you directed and appeared in a film that I have to say, took part in shaping my childhood. That film was Camp Nowhere, and it remains one of my favorite films from my youth to this very day. I have so many questions to ask, but to be brief, I will just ask what made you want to work on this now legendary (to me, at least) project? And how was your experience filming with a collection of young actors?

Thank you for the kind words. I loved that project from the day I first read Kurtzman and Wald’s truly funny script until the day we screened the final cut in a theater in my hometown. What appealed to me at first? I related to the character of “Mud,” played by Jonathan Jackson – a smart kid who felt the pressure from his parents of having to live up to his “potential;” a scrappy, unlikely hero who had to bring together a few dozen kids of different backgrounds to fool the parents and win the day. And I really love stories that happen over a predestined period of time – storytelling with an expiration date. (Like Summer Camp.) I was fortunate enough to work with a casting director, Amy Lippens, who put together a brilliantly talented and charismatic cast – from stars like Christopher Lloyd to the relatively unknown campers, to work for producers – like Michael Peyser – who gave me the opportunity to hire artists behind the camera – in prep, production and post – who made our movie look and sound spectacular, and for a studio (Hollywood Pictures) who gave me a shot. (Although I would argue that perhaps they shouldn’t have released a summer camp movie in the last week of August.) You and your readers can watch the movie on Disney Plus. You’ll be surprised how many of the actors you recognize, including a young Jessica Alba.

 

 

You’ve worn so many different proverbial hats in the world of film and television, both on screen and off. With that in mind, I am curious to know what your favorite aspect of entertainment is? If you were forced to only work in one field for the remainder of your career, what would you want to continue doing?

I’ve acted, written, directed – each of them – in every aspect of our business. From plays to half-hour comedies, to one-hour dramas, to TV movies to features. I’ve been blessed. As I said, I love storytelling and each of those skill sets is important in telling stories well. The best job, for me, is what I do now. Show-running television shows and miniseries. Being a showrunner, I think, is like being the general contractor on the Tower of Babel. He or she has to speak all of the languages of the many artists and craftsmen working on a single project. And I am fluent in SAG, in WGA, in DGA and even IA. I know how to translate what the writer is saying to the actor, what the makeup artist is saying to the writer, what the transportation captain is saying to the director. It calls on all of my history, all of my jobs, all of my skills. And I get to work with people far more talented than me: writers and editors and directors and actors and producers, talented individuals who create and build sets, who scout locations, who design costumes and hair and make-up, who compose and play musical scores, who find great songs for the soundtrack, who drive the trucks to set before dawn, who feed the cast and crew all day, and who close up “shop” well after dark… I’m so lucky to work  with all of them. And, as a showrunner, I draw them a sketch of what I think the show is like and encourage them: “Please color outside of the lines.”

If you were handed the opportunity to create & star in the biopic of any legendary figure in American history, who would it be? I know you covered quite a bit in your hit series, American Dreams, but who specifically would you like to cover if handed an unlimited and refillable bag of money to do so?

To create and star? Hmmm…. I think about my passions – like musical theater – and wonder about playing someone like Leonard Bernstein (it’s being done) or Stephen Sondheim or Hal Prince (no relation.) Or my other great passion, baseball – but I probably can’t play Sandy Koufax and definitely can’t play Jackie Robinson (and it was done beautifully). So I guess I’d like to play a brilliant storyteller, like Charles Dickens. (Although he’s not American… so maybe it’s a different storyteller, like playwright Neil Simon.)

When you look back on your career spanning several decades, what would you say you are most proud of in general? Not specifically one project per say, but the overall legacy of Jonathan Prince?

I hope that people with whom I’ve worked would say that I was creative. And collaborative. Hard-working. And kind. Most of all, kind.

But what I’m most proud of? In terms of my “legacy.” That’s easy. My family – my son, Jackson and my stepson Alec and my stepdaughters, Nadia and Kaile. I’m proud of the father I’ve been (and still am, despite their “advanced” age) and the husband I am to my wife, Darnell. I’m proud of the brother I am to my four sisters and the son I am to my amazing mom.

 

 

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

We’re waiting to hear about a third season of our BET series, American Soul, and about the second season of our show Four Weddings and a Funeral. I’m currently writing a musical drama pilot and episodes for HBOMax and working on a show for Paramount about the early days of MTV, looking at it as an innovative (and maybe insane) “startup.” Finally, I’m finally writing the book for a proposed Broadway musical, working with the talented  composer/lyricist Andrew Lippa, who is also collaborating on the HBO Max project.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My beloved Los Angeles Dodgers’ new right fielder, Mookie Betts, took batting practice yesterday … in a uniform of Dodger blue.

 

 

 

Mary Kate Schellhardt [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! I hope today finds you well & mostly isolated. It’s a very weird time we are living in, that is for sure. During this time of isolation and confusion, we here at Trainwreck’d Society are hoping to simply continue to bring you some valuable content for you to enjoy and maybe take your minds off of the madness for at least a few minutes.

And with that, we have an absolutely wonderful interview to share with you all today. Today’s interview subject is an absolutely amazing actress who just so happened to appear in one of my favorite films of all time. It’s Mary Kate Schellhardt! Mary Kate notoriously portrayed one of the members of the illustrious Grape family in the absolute gem of a film, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?. Even as but a young child, she shown through greatly in her performance in this legendary film. And her work beyond this one film that originally drew me to desperately wanting to have her on the site is nothing to scoff at as well. Shortly after her appearance in the aforementioned film, she appeared prominently in our friend Dwight H. Little’s film Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home. And since then, she has done some incredible work on the stage and on the silver screen, making appearances on insanely popular series like Scrubs, New Girl, House M.D., and more!

And as we have come to notice as a trend here at TWS, Schellhardt proved to be an incredibly cool human being. She gave some amazing A’s to our Q’s, and I am so excited to share them with you all today! So Folks, please enjoy this incredible interview with the wonderful Mary Kate Schellhardt! Enjoy!

 

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What was it that initially inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? I know that you began at a pretty young age, but when was it that you personally decided that this was the life you wanted to be involved in?

I sort of fell into it. After my first ever acting class, I knew that I loved to perform. When I was cast in [What’s Eating] Gilbert Grape, and in front of the camera and a part of that set life, that’s when I knew I wanted to do this as a career. The people around you on any set become your family and you are all just telling a story. And once that was defined for me, I knew telling stories was going to be my pursuit for life.

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?

When I was eight or nine, my acting teacher put me up for a commercial for “Dad’s Gourmet Blend Cat Food.” It was a TV commercial where I see a cat out in the cold rainy night and we bring it in and feed it. That was the first paying gig that I ever got. On that set, I learned about being professional. I learned that you had to be ready to say your lines when they wanted you to and that you needed to listen and be as prepared as you could be. I also learned how to hide my nerves. I was very nervous, but also elated and I just acted like I knew what to do. Which was far from the case. All of those lessons relate to my approach to anything that I do today. It’s ok to not be sure of yourself as an actor, I think. What’s important is trust in yourself and the time you took to prepare. What’s important is to just breath and jump in.

 

 

In 1993, you appeared in one of my favorite films of all time, which would be the incredible What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? I am curious to know how your experience was working on this now legendary project? Was it as fun to be a part of as it is to watch to this very day? Anything memorable you could tell us about?

Awe. I’m glad that you like that movie so much. I am honored to have been a part of it. The whole experience was magic. We filmed it in Austin, Texas. Leonardo was not a household name yet and he could get around anonymously. He was able to just snap into Arnie’s character without any notice. He was that good and so young. I loved watching him work.I only knew that Johnny Depp was Edward Scissorhands and I was starstruck immediately. He was calm and deeply sensitive. Everyone took me under their wing for that film because I was thirteen, and I never felt as new as I was. Darlene Gates who played momma was one of the sweetest women I’ve ever met. I remember when they blew up the house at the end, we were standing pretty close to it. When it exploded into flames, I remember thinking, “this is my job, to stand here and watch this house burn.” I fell deeply in love with making movies on that set and it changed my life forever.

 

You have done some great work in the world of film, television, stage, and beyond. I am curious to know which type of performance you enjoy the most? If you were forced to work in just one of these fields for the rest of your career, what would it be? 

Thank you! This interview is doing wonders for my confidence! Well, it’s a tough question to answer. I love television and film so much, but stage is actually where you can really flesh out a character. Doing eight shows a week as one person and traveling from the beginning to the end every performance really allows for the character to grow around you. I find myself taking more risks on stage as I get comfortable exploring my character. It’ll sound strange, but the characters start to take over sometimes and I love it when that happens.

Today, I’d love to tell a story on television. It’s the golden age for television and stories are made now that impact lives in a way like never before. I’d love to be a part of a show like that, one that reaches far and wide, where the character lives only for a short time. I really love the idea of limited series where once it’s done, it’s done.

 

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

That is a great question. I’d like to play Stevie Nicks. I’m a huge fan of hers. I’m interested in telling the stories of women who were at the top of their fields in professions dominated by men, and Stevie was one of them. Music is a huge part of my life, and the expression of it in the rock and roll world for Stevie Nicks seemed like she was riding mountainous tides.

 

 

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

I’m heading into directing, as well as continuing to tell stories as an actress. I want to be at the helm of the stories I make. I’m inspired by Issa Rae, Lena Dunham and Greta Gerwig and all women filmmakers. I want to tell stories the way I’d want to see them. So the answer to your question is look for me behind the camera as well as in front of it.

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The last thing that made me smile was this interview. Thank you so very much for reaching out and for allowing me to share a little of myself with your readers. Thanks for being fans and for making something positive. I wish you great success in all that you do, Ron!

Francis Capra [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! And a happy Friday to you all. Today we have a wonderful interview with an absolutely legendary actor who has been in the game for basically his entire life. It’s Francis Capra, Everyone! Growing up in the 90’s I was all too familiar with the work of this cat. Kazaam was one of my favorite films during this time, and if you ask me, it still holds up. I watching A Bronx Tale shortly after, and it’s still one of the greatest films of all time in my own opinion. I truly love what this cat did back then, and is currently doing. Now, with that being said, I need to get personal…..

I’m going to admit it, I did/do not watch Veronica Mars. Nothing against the show, it’s just one of the many that I haven’t managed to check out. I am sure it is wonderful. In fact, the reason for getting personal here is actually something that I have brought up here before. It’s my 14 year old daughter. She has made a few appearances on the site over the years, as I am consistently attempting to earn “cool Dad points” through this site. Well, I may have finally cracked something here. I’ve spoken with her favorite author who has been oh so kind to share her upcoming projects with us on a regular basis now, which is absolutely incredible. But, today we have the fucking Weevil himself! That’s right, my kid is OBSESSED with Veronica Mars. And when I told her that I had Weevil on the site, she lost her mind. I know it seems selfish, but that’s what I am getting the most out of this. Impressing my kids. And anyone who wants to blame me for doing this can just stop reading and depart immediately.

All of that being said, Francis is an extremely impressive performer who we are so excited to have on the site today. He’s so damn talented, and it is a true honor to digitally get to know him. So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Francis Capra!

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of performance? I understand you started pretty early in life? What drew you to this life?

Transformers! Haha, I’m only half kidding. As a young boy, I was a super fan of the cartoon and toy line Transformers. My favorite part of going on an audition was the guaranteed Transformer my Mom would surprise me with afterwards. I thought I had a slick racket figured out! Fortunately for me, my mother saw that I had a talent and put everything into managing my career. I had no real desire to be an actor until much later in life, the first 5 years or so of my career felt very much like a really long party with my Mom, who was my best friend. Good times!

 

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

My very first paid performance was in A Bronx Tale, which is still my favorite and most cherished among all of the work I’ve done. If only I could hop in a time machine and eavesdrop on every word Bob (Mr. Deniro) said to me, with these 37 year old ears instead of a 7 year old’s! It was an honor to have been a part of such an incredible film.

 

 

One series that you worked extensively on happens to be my daughter’s favorite show, the beloved Veronica Mars. So it behooves me to ask how your experience was working on this fine series? Any fun antidotes from your time on set that you would like to share with our readers?

Oh Veronica Mars, the gift that never ceases to give! I became a man on the set of this show and it seems that I am now becoming an old man on it as well! I never realized how special and powerful this show would be until after we were cancelled, but sometimes it seems like if we never really stopped making Veronica Mars! I don’t think we ever will! It lives on in the hearts and minds of the fans, no matter what form it takes.

As far as anecdotes, the one where Kristen had wrote a fake love scene between Logan and Duncan the very night before a planned loved scene between her and Duncan, and sprung it on Teddy Dunn out of nowhere. It was classic, I always think of how funny that was when asked about anecdotes. We all grew up together and had a lot of fun during the original 3 seasons. I love the gang very much.

 

Cast of Vernoica Mars at the San Diego Comic Con w/ that legend Kevin Smith. Photo by Tommaso Boded/Getty Images for IMDb.com

 

Another incredible project you worked on when you were young is one of my favorite films from my childhood, the 90’s classic Kazaam. Again, I am curious to know how your experience was working on this now legendary film? Was it as much fun to work on as it was for me to watch endlessly during my childhood?

Haha, I am glad you enjoyed it! Working on Kazaam was like “working” at an amusement park for 4 or 5 months. Shaquille became very much like a big brother to me and as a boy who hadn’t had many male role models around, I became really attached to him. He’s a terrific guy. I think it’s hilarious how Kazaam has become such a nostalgic 90’s icon and I get asked about it nearly as much as I do about Veronica Mars. Particularly the whole “Mandela Effect” and kids saying how I was in a film with Sinbad, called Shazam. Crazy stuff!

 

 

If you were handed the opportunity to appear in the biopic of any legendary figure in American history, who would it be?

Oh gosh, there are too many. It’s not quite American and I’m far too old to play the role, but I am currently writing a screenplay of the young life of Vlad III called The Scholomance. It’s a lifelong passion project for me and like many of my favorite writers, I’ll no doubt portray a role as well.

 

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

The future is blindingly bright! As I mentioned above I have begun to enter the insane world of writing, I cannot wait to reveal the nature of my first project as it deals with a franchise/world I have dreamt of working with since I was a child. A literal dream come true. As for film, I recently appeared in an independent film titled Shadows with David Labrava of Sons of Anarchy/The Mayans. David & I had a lot of fun on that film and we are planning on working together again later this year. As for TV, I am currently working on something really exciting but am buried under so many NDA’s a few friends of mine would kill me if I said anything. As always, you can tune into my Twitter @franciscapra I almost always run my mouth on there as soon as I am able! 🥰

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My Wife, Nora.

Kyle Ayers [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! We have an absolutely wonderful interview for you all today that I have been wanting to have go up on the site for quite some time. It’s Kyle Ayers, Everyone! We have had a lot of comedians on this site over the years, and I would be willing to say that all of them are very, very, nice. But, there is something about the (at least digital) aura that Kyle puts out into the world that feels just so damn pleasant. Hailing from the midwest, Ayers puts out a a vibe that feels very Missouri-like, but only in the good ways. He is what a mother from Columbia, MO would probably refer to as a “nice boy”. And this is not to say that his comedy is “clean”. Far from it actually. He’s just a brilliant comedian with a great sense of whimsy and self-awareness that blends into a perfect comedy act that just about everyone can enjoy.

Kyle also happens to be the creator of two very different, yet insanely hilarious projects that I feel as though the entire world should know about it. One would be “Boast Rattle”, which is a competitive compliment contest, which should have been a very obvious idea in theory, but in reality, the idea of being funny whilst being the opposite of being offensive is actually a very foreign idea if you really think about it. But Sir Ayers made it happen, and it is fucking incredible. I have not had the great fortune of seeing the show live, but I sure hope to one day!

The other amazing project he has out in the digital ether is his incredible podcast, Never Seen It. It’s “another movie podcast” where he has comedians write short scripts about classic films that they have never seen. This is the main gist of the show, but please trust me when I say that it is SO much more than just that. He also creates a multitude of games (often with long winded titles, which is hilarious in itself) to play with his guests that are so damn much fun. And as a person who has, quite frankly, stolen these ideas and played them in a office environment, I guarantee they are worth a listen. Regular readers around here know that I am a huge fan of Doug Loves Movies, and have called it the premium “movie podcast”. But, Never Seen It is an entirely different movie podcast experience entirely, and I enjoy it on the same level. And, much like DLM, Kyle has an abundance of guests who have been featured on these here digital pages. Folks like Amy Miller, Joe DeRosa, Steph Tolev, Shane Torres, Tommy McNamara, Tom Thakkar, DC Pierson, Billy Wayne Davis, Kurt Braunohler, Martha Kelly…..okay, now it feels like I am just bragging on our part, and I should probably not do that. Anyway, cool people have done his podcast. They are all wonderful!

So Folks, please forgive this long-winded introduction, and let’s get into some answers from the star of the site today. Please enjoy some wonderful words from the absolutely hilarious comedian, Kyle Ayers!

 

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

You know, I kind of eased into it, I suppose. It never really seemed like something that could be a feasible career. I remember seeing Dave Attell and Lewis Black on tour, sometime in middle school or freshman year of high school, and thinking “Oh wow, this is actually a job?”

But I never really thought it’d be something I’d do. I always felt funny, but more as a defense mechanism to avoid bullying, or get out of trouble, or something like that.

I reluctantly auditioned for an improv troupe in college, and that sort of started my on-stage comedy performing. I’d done some theater and the like in high school, but it still all never felt like a thing that could be a job.

Improv lead to open mics and stand up (and a lot of bombing), but it was really the only thing I ever felt like I wanted to keep doing. No “traditional” career ever caught my attention long enough to care.

This is meandering and I guess the gist is that I kind of just kept doing it until it was the only thing I was doing.

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

I honestly can’t remember my first paid comedy gig, but WAY too early on I was booked by a friend to perform at their college (while I was still in college). I had to do an hour when I had probably five minutes of decent jokes. A lot of bad crowdwork, a lot of waxing poetic on premises that I’d never even tried on stage before. It didn’t go great. Honestly, I wish I could say that the lesson I learned was “Don’t perform outside of what you’re capable of.” but I think the lesson I actually took away was “Get paid when you can, even if you bomb. It’s hard to get paid.”

Can you tell our readers a bit about Boast Rattle? What made you want to come up with this concept? And how has your experience been putting it out in the world?

Boast Rattle is a comedic compliment contest that I started running years and years ago in Brooklyn. Comedians competitively complimenting one another. The concept started as a bit during a different show I ran, just a fun idea I thought could break up a bigger show. Then something happened: everybody loved Boast Rattle more than the rest of the show. So I formed it into a full show, and it took off. It’s now been to tons of festivals, Just for Laughs Montreal, Bonnaroo, Moontower, SF Sketchfest, and more. It’s its own show on Sirius XM now, too.

People seem to connect with the positivity of the show, and the creativity required to write effective compliment-jokes. When a lot of things seem overwhelmingly negative or angry or third adjective here, Boast Rattle seemed to cut through all of that and resonate with people. It makes me truly happy, and the show is really funny.

I’m a huge roast fan, too. I think roasting amongst friends is a high form of love. Some things I love about Boast Rattle are 1) Talking with comedians about how interesting and tough writing Boast jokes is, and watching comedians deliver those jokes. 2) Watching comedians receive compliments. It’s incredible to watch comedians receive positivity. The reactions range from elation to “i cannot be told kind things.”

Being happy is tough for me. Amongst a myriad of mental illness, I have depression. I think there is something to be said for, even when it’s tough, trying to be positive and happy, and help others feel the same. I hope the show achieves that.

 

 

I am a huge fan of your podcast Never Seen It. Our dear friend and past guest Amy Miller did  about The Shining, and I still laugh to myself when I think about a “complimentary stabbing knife”, lol. I am curious to know about what have been some of your favorite moments of the show?

Oh god, picking out a few favorite moments will be very tough. The podcast is produced by Starburns Audio, and early on in our pod-life (the show had been a live show for years and years before a podcast) Dan Harmon told me that he loved the concept of the show, and he even brought it up on his podcast, and then eventually guested on Never Seen It. It got the show out there to such a wonderful audience, and hearing compliments from someone I admire like Dan was very surreal. His “Dan Harmon Has Never Seen Lawrence of Arabia” script is still an all-timer for me, too.

Hearing from guests that they had a fun time writing their scripts always makes me happy. I laugh about Henry Zebrowski’s scripts all of the time. The same with Miel Bredouw’s Shawshank Redemption script.

The outpouring of fan love for my dad has to be my favorite part, though. Working with him (and my mom, who does the behind the scenes) to get segments of “Guess What Movie Kyle’s Dad is Describing Having Only Watch the Trailer and Never Having Heard of the Movie” makes me smile on a daily basis. That and fans submitting scripts, game suggestions, Before & Afters, and more, just really makes the entire show feel so wonderfully collaborative.

Langston Kerman’s Scarface, Dave Ross and Hampton Yount’s Human Centipede, and Alison Leiby’s The Sopranos scripts are all better than anything I will ever write in any capacity, the rest of my life.

I noticed that you are on the road quite a bit making the world laugh. I always like to ask touring comedians this one question: What are some cities that many people may not realize are great places for comedy? What are some “fly over cities” off the coasts that have great audiences?

I love that comedy has helped me travel to places I never would have been able to, otherwise. It’s helped me see the world! It’s not exactly traveling, for me, but my hometown of Kansas City has seen an incredible growth in the comedy scene in recent years, thanks to a supportive scene, and tons of comics, including the very funny Aaron Naylor, who seems to be a point person for lots of comedians traveling through. The same with Andrew Youngblood (and a slew of others) in Houston. Melissa Hahn of Modelface Comedy in Asheville puts on shows that are as good as anywhere in the country.

There are so many great comedy shows that don’t require you to go to a traditional comedy club and buy two drinks or whatever. Denver has a million great shows. Atlanta is another.

And less-on-the-radar, you’ve got Omaha, Des Moines, there are so many places. Comedians and producers are putting in so much work to build scenes all over the country and bring in hilarious, interesting acts. Anyways I went on too long with this one but check out local comedy wherever you are!

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

I’m always keeping on with Never Seen It podcast. You can listen to it wherever you get podcasts. I’m just wrapping up a month long tour with a couple of bands where we put on a big interactive wrestling-themed music+comedy show. It’s been wild but I’m excited to get back into more regular stand up, again.

I recorded an album in December and it will be out this spring, with Blonde Medicine records. Please just follow me online to keep an eye out for it! I am very proud of it. I recorded it outside, which is insane for comedy, and I think it conveys who I am really well, in the record. I’ll be posting about it on instagram / twitter a ton once I settle on the exact date to release it, please follow me there!

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My friend Dana just got a very funny puppy and posted a bunch of pictures of him on Instagram, which I proceeded to show to people as though Dana’s dog was my son.

 

 

 

 

Kyle Ayers also has a wonderful YouTube series entitled “Stuff I Notice the Second Time Through Watching A Movie I Didn’t Know the First Time”. Check out his incredible latest clip centering around a dear old friend of ours, John Carroll Lynch. Enjoy!