Doogie Horner [Interview]

Hello Folks! I sincerely can’t explain how excited I am to share this interview with you all. Today’s guest is somebody that I have wanted to have on the site for quite a while. And we finally got ’em, Everyone! It’s the brilliant comedian, illustrator, and writer Doogie Horner!

I first discovered Doogie’s existence in a fashion that has been a pretty routine occurrence around here at TWS. It was Doug Loves Movies. Much like just about every comedian we have managed to wrangle onto this site, you could probably play that weird Kevin Bacon game to track them back to DLM. In the last few years, Doogie has been such a presence on the show, and it lead me to dig into some of his work, including the amazing book, Some Very Interesting Cats, Perhaps You Weren’t Aware Of, that I will routinely break out when I just need a little pick me up when I’m feeling a bit down. It’s absolutely delightful. And wouldn’t you know it, he has a plethora of other great works that everyone should check out. We talk about of a few of them in the interview below, but it behooves me to let you all know that he is also the creator if a Die Hard coloring book. Yes, you read that correctly. Along with all of his other works, you should definitely buy that.

So Folks, please enjoy some amazing words from the hilarious Doogie Horner. And after you read this interview and definitely say to yourself, “Hey, this guy seems like the cat’s pajamas with the bee’s knees all over them, I should buy stuff that he does!”, be sure to head on over to to do just that. Enjoy!


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

When I was a kid, I loved old comedians like the Marx Brothers, Bob Hope, and Danny Kaye. I liked comedy movies, not necessarily standup. I also read a lot of funny comics like Bloom County and Calvin and Hobbes. I was always a funny (a.k.a. weird) kid, but I never thought of doing standup. I tried it on a whim, simply because I heard Helium (in Philadelphia) had an open mic.

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

When I started doing standup in Philly, standup was not as popular as it is now. So there weren’t many real shows at comedy clubs, or alternative shows in the back of bars. Most of the shows were poorly planned train wrecks, in hoagie shops or VFW halls. Surprisingly, they were generally fun. Because they were so bad, right out of the gate, that you didn’t feel any pressure to succeed. Just surviving was a big enough accomplishment.

The first paid show I did was way out in Delco; it was some kind of fundraiser, I didn’t really know for what. Once I arrived, I found out that it was a fundraiser for a police dog who’d died in the line of duty. The cops gave a eulogy for him and then I went on. There was no stage, and I performed in the round—directly after a Powerpoint eulogy for a dead dog. It was a big crowd, maybe two hundred cops, standing in a circle around me while tears dried on their cheeks, angrily listening to my weird jokes about rowboats and muffins or whatever.

Performing at those early train wreck shows helped me get used to being booed, yelled at, bombing my face off. There’s no way I can bomb harder than I did back then. That’s why when I performed on America’s Got Talent, and everyone at the Hammerstein Ballroom booed me, I wasn’t fazed.

I absolutely adored your book Some Very Interesting Cats Perhaps You Weren’t Aware Of. For those poor unfortunate fools who may not have checked it out yet, could you tell us a bit about it? And what made you want to tell this tale?

It’s an illustrated book of one hundred short, funny stories about cats. Cats are mysterious. You can never tell what they’re thinking. Whenever I leave my house, I always wonder, “What does my cat do while I’m gone?” I imagined him having a rich, secret life, and the book explores stories like that. The secret lives of housecats.

A couple of your more recent writings, such as the YA novel  This Might Hurt A Bit and the cute little comic David’s Dad’s Movies available on your website, have been geared toward a younger audience than your typical one. Obviously there will be differences, but I am more interested in what you feel is the same? Are there any core elements in storytelling that exist no matter what the genre or form may be, in your personal opinion?

This Might Hurt a Bit is a lightly fictionalized memoir about my teenage years, growing up in rural Pennsylvania. I didn’t intend it for a younger audience necessarily, but that book is appropriate for teenagers on up. There’s some heavy shit in there. Everybody who reads it cries.

David’s Dad’s Movie is for a much younger audience, five or six year-olds.

But to answer your question, yeah, telling a story to anyone, at any age, requires certain core elements if you want it to be interesting. Even stories with vastly different formats—a three-minute joke compared to a 300-page book—have similarities.

1. The story has to be coherent. The more the reader/listener understands, the more they’ll enjoy it. This rule sounds self-evident, but it’s amazing how often I forget to stop and ask myself, “Does the audience know what I mean? Are we on the same wavelength?” Kids especially value understanding, because they hear so many things they don’t understand every day.

2. The story has to be interesting, and the best way to do that is to make it relatable. There have to be some familiar elements in it, so the audience can relate to it. Add a few surprises too. But make one of them a surprise for the characters, but not the audience.

3. It’s helpful if things happen, if things change. In story-writing school they call this “character evolution,” but I hate that term. I hate how in movies (books do it less) the main character always learns and evolves. In real life, people rarely do that. Maybe that’s why we love to see it? It’s like believing in Santa Claus, this fairy tale that we can change who we are.

Anyhow, you can sidestep this rule somewhat if you really nail number 2. Movies like My Neighbor Totoro, or books like The Catcher in the Rye or Slaughterhouse Five don’t have a whole lot of character change, but they depict reality in such a clear, true way that that’s enough to keep the audience hooked.

Basically: Be interesting, connect with the audience, and, if you can, tell the truth.

The best book on writing I’ve read is Stephen King’s On Writing. And the best book about reading is How Fiction Works, by James Wood.

If you had free range, and an unlimited budget, to create the biopic of any legendary figure in American history, who would it be?

Well it wouldn’t require much budget, but I’d make a biopic of Bill Peet. Actually, maybe I wouldn’t. He already wrote and illustrated his own biography, and I don’t think I could top it. I’d only do a bio of him so that more people could know about his work. He’s one of my favorite illustrators, and he also worked on a lot of Disney movies. His biography is an interesting read, I highly recommend the book:

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

I’m writing and illustrating a comic book right now. We’re moving back to NYC soon; we’ve been hiding in the woods of Massachusetts during the pandemic.

The main thing I’d like to plug is my novel This Might Hurt a Bit. It’s a funny coming of age story about a kid whose sister dies of cancer. I know that doesn’t sound funny, but the book is generally funny.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My son yelled, “Come into the bathroom!” and I went in and found him suspended near the top of the shower, supporting himself with his hands and feet pushed against the walls. “Help, I’m stuck!” he yelled.

I feel like that anecdote shouldn’t count though, because my son makes me smile ten times a day, so here’s another one.

I was visiting my Dad for a couple days, just the two of us because my Mom was at the beach with my family. My Dad had a stroke, so often he can’t think of certain words. We were shopping at the grocery store, and he was looking for something he couldn’t name. He struggled to explain it to me. “It’s round,” he said, drawing a circle in the air. “Like . . . tortillas. And . . . in a bag.”

After a minute I guessed, “Pepperoni?”

My Dad was so amazed I’d guessed it right that he laughed with surprise. His clues had been pretty bad (although, at the same time, spot on. Pepperoni slices are like little tortillas). He laughed and laughed and said, “this should be a game show.”

That made me smile.

And now, some other fun photos Doogie was kind enough to share with us:

Sherilyn Fenn [Interview]

Hello Old Friends and New to another amazing interview here at Trainwreck’d Society. As we near that decade mark that will mark the end, we are going out with a bang! Today we are keeping the Twin Peaks love going with some more great words from another essential and brilliant performer who appeared on both the original run as well as re-appearing in the third season. It’s Sherilyn Fenn, Everyone!

You should instantly recognize Sherilyn as tantalizing and seductive Audrey Horne! Audrey was one of my favorite characters on the series, and so much of that is owed to the immense talented held, and holds, as a performer. She is as good as they come in my honest opinion. With a career nearing 40+ years and including projects on the horizon, she has never slowed down. She’s got Globe & Emmy nominations under her proverbial belt, and has appeared in some amazing projects over the last 5 decades. Especially in our beloved genre, which would be horror. She is an absolute beast in her career field, and just a gem of a human being.

So, I will cut this short, and allow you all to proceed to check out these amazing words from the brilliant Sherilyn Fenn! Enjoy!


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

I think my aunt inspired me as she had great success in the music business. But not for  the reason one might think. I come from a broken and unhappy childhood  as most  of us do. I saw what appeared to me to be a lot of love and attention from all of my family, grandparents, aunts and uncles. I wanted that love shown to me, I believe and I think that I thought IF I became ‘famous’ then I would get it from my family. Instead of feeling like a pillow on the couch. Just an inconsequential object. Or worse, a puppy dog because unlike a pillow, I needed care. My aunt also had some  of the most beautiful clothes that  I had ever seen. Clothes that she bought in London. I coveted pretty stuff  like that as well. I was a child with childish ideas. 

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

I am not sure if  it was my ‘first paid gig’ but I remember doing a small film in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia (when it was still that). I believe I had my 18th birthday there. Walking to the set for the first time,  my whole body was shaking with  fear. All the lights were pointed to a place on the ground where I and a  boy were to sit and do a scene. I sat down, shaking. They said action andI looked down and blanked completely. I could not remember a single line, few though they were. The boy whispered ‘just keep going’ and I looked up- into the lens and said ‘cut’. I was told that the actor NEVER says cut. I learned it. Although now in all honesty, I still may end a take if something dodgy is happening, like a prop is missing, etc. But never from the place of ‘feeling lost’ because that is when the magic starts  to happen. To have the courage to be lost and keep going. Just like we  do in life. Not trying to control everything.

Your role as Audrey Horne in the highly original and beloved series Twin Peaks was absolutely perfect, on so many levels. You were absolutely amazing in the series. So, I am curious to know what drew to this project? What was it about the world of David Lynch that made you want to live in it for a while?

Who does not want to live in any DKL project? I was in my early 20’s and I had seen Blue Velvet and left the movie  theatre speechless. It had so many interesting aspects to it. It was absolutely frightening, Dennis Hopper with the oxygen mask crying for his mama to bizarrely hysterical, ‘Are you the one who found the ear??? I HEARD it. Or I am gonna honk the horn three times, one, two,three……what?????? And everything in between. My mind  was blown. 

Happily I rented The Elephant Man  so I could also see what a deep heart DKL had. 

I did not get to read the script. Just had a meeting with a genius filmmaker. Who would say no?

And how was the return back in 2017 for the latest installment? Was it like old times, and just jumping right back into the proverbial saddle? How was this experience?

The return was filled with many ups and downs. Twists and turns. I was filled with gratitude to work with DKL again as I always am and always would be. I was happy with the rewrite he did for Audrey. And also sad that she did realize her potential as a person in that story. That she was trapped in her own mind. 

The fandom revolving around Twin Peaks is one of wild devotion and extreme loyalty, I have come to notice. At least that is my perception. But as somebody obviously more well informed, I am curious to know what you think? How have your fan interactions been over the years?

The Twin Peaks fans are what I call a ‘sacred family’. They are amazing. And they keep growing. As a young actress I would say ‘if I do a role that stands the test of time, I will know I have succeeded’. Well Twin Peaks has done just that. I meet people younger than my son, Myles, and they are fans.I look at them and say you could be my child. But they  look at me as if I am still that very young woman, which at 56 I am not, with love and  joy i their eyes. And I feel blessed that my work actually touched people and still does. What a gift from God. It makes me so happy. It is a beautiful, beautiful thing. And I love  them all dearly. They are better to me often times than my own blood family. We connect, we laugh, we cry….it is truly a gift.

While you have worked in just about every genre imaginable, one of them happens to be one of our all time favorites around here. And that would be the world of horror. I am curious to know how you enjoy working in this world? What do you believe it is that sets it apart from other genres?

Well I am not big on ‘genres’. I just bring truth to whatever I’m blessed to be a part of. I guess Twin Peaks is considered ‘horror’. But not to me. I feel Audrey was  a light in that darkness. 

That is what I aim to be. A light in the seeming darkness  of the world. My beloved  grandma used to  love  horror movies. She would go and see them alone. She would giggle and giggle during the’ scary’ parts. They never scared  her. She thought they were ’silly’. She was so advanced and nobody could see it. She  was actually absorbing all the energy that others were releasing in the theatre unbeknownst to them. A conscious being shared about this and I realized how advanced she was. People don’t know what to do when they have a lot of energy in their bodies and often spend it in all these useless places. When it is contained and lifted one can access higher states of consciousness. 

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

Well, being my age takes away some my choices. But if age were not an issue…. Hedy Lamarr because she was beautiful but brilliant and pioneered the technology that would be the basis for today’s wifi. And my grandmother loved her. Marilyn Monroe, to finally show the woman. The real woman who was wise behind all the affectations. Clara Bow….. because she was a bright light.

Any amazing unknown to the world woman who showed up in her life to change the lives of people around her, not relations, out of the goodness of her heart and strength of character. 

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

The futures so bright I have to wear sunglasses. Many amazingly great things are coming together……it is quite a ride….. 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Feeling God so deeply at work in my life. So loving. So kind. So present. Not because I am special, we all are. But because I am finally listening. Blessings.xxoo

Wendy Robie [Interview]

Hello Folks! I am as usual very excited to showcase today’s amazing guest interview. Especially so, as we are breaking new ground right at the end of our 10 year run here. Today’s guest is Wendy Robie, Everyone! Wendy is a brilliant performer, who absolutely shined in my personal favorite dramatic series of all time, the amazing Twin Peaks. The OG run, of course. Well, also the third season as well. Wendy played the infamously eye-patched Nadine Hurley, and was a personal favorite character of mine.

Wendy is actually the first cast member we have had from the OG run of Twin Peaks. We’ve spoken with some folks who appeared in the most recent third season, but this marks our ability to add Twin Peaks performers to our roster. And seeing that we are a month out from shutting our digital doors, I am very happy that Wendy was able to take some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for us.

So Folks, please enjoy some amazing words from an exceptional performer of screen and stage, the brilliant Wendy Robie!


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

I’m sorry this will be a boring answer to an interesting question, so I’m glad to get it out of the way. I was one of those kids who put on plays in the back yard for relatives and neighbors.  I was very bossy.  However, opportunities were limited.  Without going into detail, I’ll just say that my route into show business was circuitous indeed. 

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

I played Helena in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Monterey Shakespeare Festival in’82. I learned how seductive laughter can be, and how easily one can hurt oneself doing some pratfall one thinks is just hilarious. On that first job, I observed the professionalism of the actors I admired.  I’ve followed that work ethic ever since. 

You were absolutely incredible as Nadine Hurley in the seminal classic TV series Twin Peaks. I am curious to know what drew you to this insanely original series? What was it about the world that David Lynch created that made you want to live in it for a while?  

In the fall of ’89 when David Lynch and Mark Frost came to Seattle to shoot the pilot for Twin Peaks, I was one of several local stage actors called in to audition.  When I met David and Mark, they told me about Nadine and her eye.  I slapped my hand over my left eye and asked, “This one?”. David laughed and Mark said, “Yes.” Lucky guess. I loved playing Nadine, and I hold her secrets close.  I respect her — her innocence and pain, her yearning and courage.  She never gives up.  She’s like an unstoppable, inconvenient, unwanted puppy.  Her outlandish behavior makes her an easy target for mockery.  Meanwhile, she wanders in a firestorm of loneliness. In Twin Peaks, David Lynch and Mark Frost created a dreamy world of mystery and menace.  Nadine lives there in her own mystery, broken and beautiful where she is broken. 

And how was the return back in 2017 for the latest installment? Was it like old times, and just jumping right back into the proverbial saddle? How was this experience?  

The Return was just astonishing.  I can’t even describe it except to say that it was our Twin Peaks but so much more.  I’ve watched those 18 hours three times since it first aired on Showtime.  Every time I just take the epic ride.  My personal experience was different.  I was so happy and grateful to see these people again, these people that I adore and have missed.  We were so lucky to have shared this experience. When Nadine jauntily marches up that road with her shovel over her shoulder she is earning her own redemption.  How great is that! 

The fandom revolving around Twin Peaks is one of wild devotion and extreme loyalty, I have come to notice. At least that is my perception. But as somebody obviously more well informed, I am curious to know what you think? How have your fan interactions been over the years?

Most of the Twin Peaks fans I’ve met are filmmakers and artists themselves. I’ve met Twin Peaks fans from all over the world.  Agent Cooper is much loved in Finland, you’ll be pleased to know.  The fans know more about Twin Peaks than I do. 

While you have worked in just about every genre imaginable, one of them happens to be one of our all time favorites around here. And that would be the world of horror. I am curious to know how you enjoy working in this world? What do you believe it is that sets it apart from other genres?    

It’s true.  I’ve appeared in a few horror movies.  But I’m not really knowledgeable.  If I had to say what sets the genre apart, I’d say blood, lots and lots of blood. But that can also be said of Greek Tragedy.  I’ve played Clytemnestra in The Oresteia.  She gave her husband a bath and hacked him up with a battle axe.  Trust me: he had it coming.  I’ve played Lady MacBeth a couple of times. Now there’s a play with terror, murder, ghosts, and witches. But we don’t call it Horror.  That’s classical theatre. That’s Shakespeare.  Here’s the secret:  it’s fun.  But there’s a great story and glorious language and profound human truths underpinning all that bloody, frightening skullduggery.   I think that’s true in horror movies, too.  There has to be a human truth and a structure or it just isn’t going to matter.  Wes Craven knew that.   

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

This one is easy. Since I was 8 years old my idol has been Amelia Earhart! I would love to write that, to gather all the information available and just see if there’s more her story has to tell us.  Thank you for that question. 

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

Watch for Michael Smith’s latest film, Relative ( ). We start filming in Chicago this summer.  Yes!  It is time to begin again. 

What was the last thing that made you smile?   

The headline in today’s New York Times: “Chauvin Guilty in Floyd’s Death”. Smile isn’t really a strong enough word.  A prayer of thanksgiving is more like it.

Andrea Rosen [Interview]

Hello Folks! We are back at it with the funniness today as we have an absolute legend in the world of comedy sharing some wonderful words with us today. It’s Andrea Rosen, Everyone! Andrea has been involved with a plethora if hilarious comedic ventures over the years. From the brilliant and underrated Comedy Central series Stella, to working with the legendary UCB, all the way up to working on her long time chum Michael Showalter’s reunion of Wet Hot American Summer in series form, to the amazing work she is doing today, she is a phenomena in the world of comedy.

Andrea is one of those hilarious people who can walk into a scene on any series, film, or stage (I am willing to presume, although I haven’t had the opportunity to see) and absolutely light up the proverbial room when she’s there. I can particularly remember two instances when I noticed Rosen in a scene and just knew it was going to be good, no matter how short your part may be. It was specifically on an episode of Maron, a series we have covered many times over on the site, as well as another appearance on the short-lived but wonderful series I’m Dying Up Here. The later was what made me realize that I would love to have Andrea on the site. Well, several years later, she’s here!

So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the absolutely hilarious comedic performer Andrea Rosen!

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

When I was little my brother and I played 3 albums: Cheap Trick Live at Budokan, the Annie soundtrack , and the Steve Martin album, Wild and Crazy Guy. We were obsessed with Steve Martin. I also LOVED Gilda Radner, specifically, Rosanna Rosanna Danna. I LOVED The Carol Burnett Show, and I LOVED I Love Lucy. So, yeah, I was definitely inspired by those specific comics. Off beat and character heavy. And as a child I was always making up characters and perfoming them for my mom at the foot of her bed.

What was your first paid gig in the world of comedy? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this project that still affect your work to date?

My first real job in comedy was the tv show, Stella on Comedy Central. I played “Jennifer” and I was one of 3 downstairs neighbors. It was such a funny show and Comedy Central definitely should not have cancelled it. But also I was paid peanuts, and that sucked. (Did not have an agent at the time). 

What did I learn? I learned that I really loved being a comic actor. And that even though I was super nervous, I didn’t want to make a living doing anything else.

What are some of the more unique venues and/or cities that you have performed in that many people not realize are wonderful places for comedy? Maybe something off the coasts in the “fly over” region of the country?

I performed in a comedy show at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. The show was short lived because I don’t think the organizers had gotten permission from the museum. The performers played “tour guides” and showed the roving audience around. My character was called “Hortence Frillon”, and I focused on 6 paintings of women in water. I called my lecture “Drownings and Sisters”. I had an indecipherable accent and I wore a dirty wig. It was a blast.

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

I don’t know. Maybe someone who was a drunk, because slurring and screaming is always fun to play. Or someone who’s really shy, because then you don’t have to learn a lot of lines. Or someone who’s really old, so that at the premiere, everyone will think I look amazing. 

This isn’t the answer you were looking for. You wanted a response that would shine a light on who I feel aligned with in a spiritual and physical sense. A person from history who reflects something innate about me…Does she fancy herself a Marilyn Monroe type?(No, but I have a 2nd cousin named “Marilyn”). Eleanor Roosevelt? (No, but I did grow up on Roosevelt Island in NY).  Hedy Lamarr? (Barely know who she is)…I’m sorry. I’ve failed here.

After 20 years in the world of comedy, and the advancements that have been made in technology, what do you believe has remained the same? Are there any core values that have remained since you started? 

It’s always been the same. Truth in comedy is what works best. The goal is to find what’s silly from your own point of view. And that silliness comes from real stuff…Because everyone can relate to true experiences and true feelings. 

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

I recently made a short film called The Rain Poncho. I wrote, produced and directed it. I’m also in it. It got into some great festivals and now it lives on line. And I’m super proud of it!   

I’m also on a fun tv show called Upload. It’s on Amazon. I play a stupid boss bitch. One season is out now. We just finished shooting the 2nd season.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

This shouldn’t be the hardest question on here, but it weirdly is…

Okay, movie-wise, Bad Trip really made me laugh. 

Life-wise, my 6 year old son just watched a Marvel movie and then asked me what “sonny bitch” was. He meant “son of a bitch”. I didn’t correct him, I just said it wasn’t a nice thing to say to someone. And the whole thing made me smile.


Brian Thompson [Interview]

Hello Folks! Today we have a great interview with long time working, and self-proclaimed blue collar, actor. It’s Brian Thompson, Everyone!

Oddly enough, this interview came to be because of a random conversation I stumbled upon on my Facebook Timeline. I’m hardly on that wretched site, but it seemed to be fate this time around. Our old friend Randy Mazucca (a.k.a. Mr. Facebook, circa 2013) mentioned that the man who portrayed Shao Kahn in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation was from our shared hometown of Longview, Washington. I was intrigued, and had to look him up. 
And now here we are! Thompson has worked on a plethora of damn fine films and television series. Currently he has a reoccurring role, as fire captain Gerard on the Fox Original series 9-1-1, and has appeared on other fine shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The X-Files. His film credits include, The Terminator, Cobra, Flight of the Living Dead (directed by our old friend Scott Thomas!), I Am That Man, and many more.
On a personal note, Brian actually made me take a deeper look into the place that I call home. I have actually been the cliché (spoiler alert, he says it below) person when talking about where I am from. But, Brian’s words actually helped me put things into a better perspective. So, dearest Longview….my bad.
Alright, so Folks, please enjoy some incredible words from the accomplished Brian Thompson!


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

 I had asked friend Paul Delashaw if he wanted a ride home from school, spring of 1977 about three months prior to graduation from Mark Morris High.  He said, no that he was trying out for the school play then exclaimed, “Brian, there’s a part you’d be GREAT FOR!”  I ended up playing the Russian ballet instructor “Boris Kolenkov” in You Can’t Take It With You.  The entire experience was delightful bordering on ecstasy. It didn’t hurt that three of the girls who would always turn my head were in the play as well.  I got to be near them for several weeks in a row: Julie Lafaw, Nancy Johnson, and Marcia Jacobsen — beautiful, kind, loving creatures. I cherish that experience.  I probably am the only person who still to this day owns a poster from the play, it is framed in my living room. At age 61, the title is an affirmation, “You can’t take it with you…”  The summer after highs school I fought forest fires on for a forestry company.   At the end of that summer I walked onto the Central Washington University football team. At the start of the winter quarter, I saw an audition notice for Guys & Dolls. I think I sang happy birthday that night at the audition. I haven’t stopped acting since.  I started out majoring in music/piano. My father who was a science teacher at Robert A Long High School, was wounded by the declining salaries of teachers. He knew Central was heralded for its business program.  The thought of his son graduating with a degree that didn’t equate with a viable job, caused him much concern. I ended up graduating with a degree in Business Management, but I lived in the drama department. My backpack was full of plays. If I read a monologue that I liked, it wouldn’t leave me alone until I had it memorized. My senior year, without telling anyone, I auditioned for graduate acting programs and got a full ride to the University of California Irvine, where we acted, sang, and danced around 12 hours a day 7 days a week. I was obsessed. Acting was something that I couldn’t stop myself from doing.  I would walk by a closed theater and start vibrating, “they do plays in there!”  UCI was a three year program and half way through my second year I started sneaking off to auditions in Hollywood, just for practice.  I ended up getting some of the jobs. During my last year at Irvine in 1984, I found an agent, became a member of the Screen Actors Guild, did two commercials, two television shows, and one feature film, the original Terminator.

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

During my junior year at Central, I auditioned for the Cripple Creek Melodrama, and was hired. I unfortunately had been hospitalized just prior to when I was supposed to join the company. I convinced the doctor to let me out of the hospital. I was still in a lot of pain. The doctor gave me one more shot of morphine, and I hopped on a plane.  You had to audition for your roles once arriving.  When in the hospital, they had put a tube in my stomach, but the first couple attempts the tube hit my vocal cords and they were bruised.  I tried to sing at the audition but my voice kept cracking. I apologized to the director and producer, told them about the mishap with the tube, and that I was very tired and needed to sleep. I woke up 24 hours later (they had sent a doctor to check on me twice) and learned that I no longer had a job and they had given my parts to an actor who had mistakenly thought an audition application was an offer for work and had driven all the way to Cripple Creek.  So what did I learn?  From the actor who drove all the way there with no job, take chances, something good does have a chance of happening.  For myself, the show must go on. If you snooze you lose.

So, I learned from your bio that you and I share a same hometown! I grew up, for the most part, in Kelso-Longview, Washington. Where I understand you also grew up as well? I know I already asked about inspirations, but I am also curious to know if a blue collar community like Cowlitz County had any influence on joining the world of entertainment?

 I’m very fond of Longview.  Wood shop, metal shop, and auto mechanics classes were a part of our culture. We breed capable people who know how to fix things and know what hard work is. I had a great swimming coach Richard Stumph, who beat into my head, “whether you say you can or you say you can’t you’re right.”  We shared a lot of success together saying, “I say I CAN!”.  That solidified my belief in incremental progress towards a goal.  I paid for my first year of college with savings and working the entire summer at Reese Brothers foresters at $3.75 an hour, but after 40 hours you got time and a half and after 60 hours a week you got double time.  I only took 3 days off the entire summer and averaged 90 hours of pay per week.  I had been working several days in a row when I first started. Luck put me in the cab with one of the two Reese brothers. On the way to the job site, he somewhat apologetically said, “We don’t pay a lot here, but if a guy is willing to work, you can make some serious money.”  I replied, “Yes, today is my 11th day in a row.”  He did a double take, “What’d you say your name was?”  The next day when I arrived for work, one of the foreman handed me a set of keys and pointed at a crew van, “You’re driving.”  Everyone wanted to be a driver as now you were paid for your time to the work site. When we worked on the Oregon coast, it added as much as 6 hours a day to your salary.  A shout out to all my Reese Brother’s Brothers. You know what we did and how many people we saw who quit halfway through the day and asked to go back and sit in the van. To the tens of thousands of trees we planted, forest fires we put out, and the miles upon miles of fire trails we dug by hand on terrain so steep that you couldn’t swing a pulaski without being roped in.  So you ask if Longview had any influence on joining the world of entertainment? I was never a person who said the cliche, “I have to get out of this town.” It was never a conscious decision to leave Longview. I was simply following a path to find a way that acting could bring income. No one in Longview, especially not my parents, ever encouraged me to attempt it, quite the opposite. This is not a fault of anyone. To their credit they know the absurd chances of finding sustained employment as an actor. Every time I get a job, I hear a very incredulous yet quiet voice, saying, “How’d that happen?”  Of the approximately 50 actors that I knew at Irvine who were picked out of hundreds for their professional promise, only a handful of us found some employment, and after about ten years, I was last actor standing. Longview is full of hard working honest people.  When I get to portray those roles, my interaction with them for certain, is a blessing.

While you have worked in several different genres, one of them you have done some wonderful work in is the world of horror. Including 2019’s Hoax, which you starred alongside our friend and former interviewee Adrienne Barbeau. So, I am curious to know how you enjoy working in the world of horror? What do you believe it is that sets it apart from the plethora of other genres you have worked on? 

For the average blue collar actor of which I count myself a member, you seldom ever get to pick your jobs. The jobs pick you. Actors love what? ACTING!  The joy of creating a character, memorizing lines, then getting to take these characters to play, is the joy.  The jobs that come your way are often the highlights of your year. The jobs are the vacation, especially when you are a supporting actor.  I’ve done a few leads and the leads get their ass kicked. Supporting parts are usually a few lines or scenes, with lots of days off in between. I’ve travelled all over Europe on my days between being on sets. With the exception of a few days, Hoax was a vacation. We were in a stunning location high in the Colorado Rockies, and there were lots of days off. Matt Allan the director was an actor’s director, kind, funny, and well prepared. What sets horror apart? That something bad is going to happen to these characters and a makeup artist is going to show up with gallons of blood.  Suddenly the story becomes dark, really dark, and these characters that you love, have horrible things happen to them. One of the darkest productions, dark as in haunting, that I’ve ever experienced is Joel Coen’s Macbeth. The scenes I have with Denzel Washington as Macbeth, are horrifying as we grown men are contemplating and planning murder. That’s horrifying. 

One particular project that you worked on that truly blew me away was the 2017 film Trafficked. I know what I enjoyed Siddharth Kara’s story so much, but I am curious to know what drew you to this project? What made you want to be a part of this project?  

Once again, the jobs pick you. I learned of it first from my agent Mike Eisenstadt. I read the script. Human trafficking was a subject that I knew of, but had no idea of the extent it is being propagated in the US. Being involved in projects that help mend social ills, is very important. In scripted form, these projects are rare, so I was eager to help. During the past year I have been able to watch more documentaries than at any other time. Probably very much like many americans who now have a deeper relationship with Amazon Prime and Netflix:  Docs I highly recommend: HBO’s Q-anon, Food Inc, Scientology the aftermath, Forks over Knives, Athlete A, Bikram, Seaspiracy, The Great Hack, What the Health, Last Breath, Dirty Money, Fyre, The College Admissions Scandal, Bob Lazar: Area 51, Gloriavale, Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle, Going Clear, NIXIVM, Holy Hell, Children of God.

If you were handed the opportunity to create and/or star in the biopic of any legendary figure in American history, who would it be? 

Elon Musk. I don’t believe that the average person understands exponential change and how rapidly our culture is going to change — Moore’s law and AI.  A movie that gets inside the philosophy of Musk will introduce many more people to the digital tsunami that is arriving, including crypto currency, as well as the environmental benefits of the world he is moving us to.  The world that he envisions is a healthier safer world. I’m all for carbon taxing now. Petrochemical companies are as liable as the tobacco companies. This includes plastics.  Coal rolling and unnecessary acceleration should be outlawed. We do not have the right to pollute indiscriminately. If you don’t want it in your house, in your air, with your children, why do you allow it outside? 

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

Captain Gerard is returning to 911. There’s a special special agent showing up on NCIS LA.  Then Macbeth, directed by Joel Coen of the Coen Brothers. I’m an ardent supporter of St. Judes, Best Buddies, NEXT for autism, & Operation Hope that is chaired by Longview’s Mark Morris graduate, Jennifer Trubenbach. I encourage readers to share their good fortune with them, as they a really are moving the needle. If you happen to be on the west coast of California or Oregon, you might catch me wing-foiling. Google it.

What was the last thing that made you smile? 

I smile a lot when Shari, my girlfriend of 22 years comes home, or when we sit down to share meals that we prepare. We haven’t been to a restaurant in years.  But the last thing that made me smile actually was Guillermo our painter, just showed up at the door and it was a big smile to see him after several years. That was my last real smile, as he happened by just before I answered this q. 

Trey Galyon [Interview]

Hello Folks! Today we have another great interview with another outstanding comedian. It’s brilliant comedian Trey Galyon. I became a fan of Trey’s several years ago, in a way that I’m sure a lot of his fans have gotten to know his work – through his smattering of appearances on the wonderful podcast Doug Loves Movies. Much like the show’s host, Doug Benson, Trey has made a name for himself for being somewhat of a “green comic”. He likes weed, Folks. Like, a lot. And it’s wonderful. And even beyond the weed humor, he’s just a genuinely hilarious comedian. I strongly recommend his latest album, Live From Creep Records, which is one of my favorite albums of the last decade. 

And beyond the world of comedy and podcast guesting, Trey has moved on to put the title of podcast host to his resume. Alongside fellow DLM fave, Geoff Tate, and Geoff’s brother Troy, they have a movie podcast entitled Ruff Drafts, in which they draft movies with specific themes. For example, movies that feature a talk show host, or dog movies, or Ice Cube/Ice-T movies. It’s absolutely hilarious, and you should definitely check it out.

So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful responses from one of my favorite comedians (back) out there in the world today. Enjoy!


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

I always wanted to be a comedian. It never seemed realistic, so I went to college and got random jobs and got fired from most of them, so decided to start writing things a thought were funny in notebooks. I did that for a couple of years before I started going to open mics and watching. It took a while to finally get my nerve up enough to try one, and loved it from the moment I did my first open mic.

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

My first paying gig was an opening spot at River Center Comedy Club in San Antonio. The people that owned Cap City in Austin at the time, also owned River Center so they’d send Austin comics down there to open from time to time. Your home club is generally the last one to book you for a paying gig. Thats just kinda how it was back then.

We always like to ask comedians who have been all over the place this one question: What are some hidden gem cities, venues, etc. in some of the “fly over” states across the country that many people may not realize are wonderful places to perform in?

Colorado Springs gets overlooked. It’s close to Denver and VERY conservative, but they’ve had comedy there for a long time. Loonee’s Comedy Corner was one of my first road gigs. The people there are a tough crowd, but I always looked at it as just making me more well rounded. Knoxville, TN is great! They have a very cool vibe and plenty of smaller venues that you can do shows at. Dead Crow Comedy in Wilmington, NC is pretty dope too. I never woulda gone to that town if it wasn’t for comedy. The club is run by cool people and the town is small with an artsy feel. Plus, there’s a Waffle House right next to the club!

I became a fan of yours from your multiple appearances on the acclaimed podcast Doug Loves Movies. I know it’s been a hot minute, but I am curious to know what you enjoy about appearing on this particular podcast?

I enjoy doing DLM because I’ve been friends with Doug for a long time and it’s fun to do stuff with friends! Plus, I’ve gotten to meet a lot of cool people doing it. Show biz people and fans. Parking lot hangs after a show with those fans are the best!

And now, you have your very own podcast alongside fellow DLM legend Geoff Tate and his brother Troy entitled Ruff Drafts. Can you tell our readers a bit about it? What should the expect to enjoy?

I’ve known Geoff for a long time too, so it’s just fun to be able to do something with him every week even tho we live in different towns. I see him more than a lot of my NYC comedy friends right now. That’s one of the few benefits of this Zoom meeting thing. Having Troy on is great just to even out the dumb talk me and Geoff throw around during the show. Troy gets us back on track. Ruff Drafts is just a simple movie draft where we pick a category each episode and draft our favorite movies in that category

If you were handed the opportunity to create and/or star in the biopic of any legendary figure in American history, who would it be?

Hunter Thompson. A true American!

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

Who knows what the future holds? That’s kinda the groovy thing about the future. I’ll always have comedy in my life. Family and comedy. We’ll figure out the rest as it comes

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The last thing that made me smile was arguing about LeBron James with Geoff earlier today. I think LeBron has kids locked up in his basement and Geoff disagrees

Charlotte Larsen [Interview]

Hello Folks! As many of you know, this our tenth and final year of bringing Trainwreck’d Society to the world. We’ve done hundreds of interviews, all equally fascinating in their own ways. A lot of the time we have creators from projects we already know and love, which is always great. But, one of the other fun things to do is to learn about some folks we may not have been aware of for some reason. I’ve spent years working with some of the best PR firms in the business, and discovering new talent across the globe to showcase here at TWS. And today is no exception! We are headed down under today to share some words with trailblazing producer of film and television, Charlotte Larsen!

Charlotte has managed to bring some very intriguing projects to light, especially some based in her homeland of New Zealand. She is a bright, creative soul, and we are so excited to have her grace our digital pages today. So, Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the great Charlotte Larsen! 


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

I wanted to be an actor since I was a child. At age 10 I got my first role in a play and really enjoyed it. I did more plays in school and decided I wanted to be an actor, so I went to college to study theater and film. After that, I started a production company and fell into producing through that.

 What was your first paid gig in the world of film and television? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this project that still affects your work to date?

My first paid gig was when I started my company. I wasn’t really paid a fee for the work, but we made money on the project, which went back into my company to grow it into bigger things. It was a tv talk show series called FixTV, which was great fun to work on!

 Having worked in both the New Zealand market of film and television, as well as the states, I am curious to know how they compare to one another? And how would you say they differ?

The film industry in NZ is a lot smaller – a lot less people in the country! Usually this means you know everyone you’re working with even if it’s the first time working with them. In the US, there are so many shows and films and small indie projects and big studio projects that unless you are making your own work or are a permanent hire for a company, you usually don’t know anyone who is on the project. That’s both a good and a bad thing – the diversity of people you meet each time makes the experience different and you really get to make a new mini family with every new project!

If you were handed the opportunity to create the biopic of any legendary figure in New Zealand history, who would it be? Why?

Taika Waititi! Well, he’s not really historical yet, so if I had to choose, I would say maybe Kate Sheppard. She was our most famous suffragette, making New Zealand the first country in the world to give women the right to vote!

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

I have several projects I’m trying to sell right now. I work a lot with my best friend and roommate, Michael Benzaia, who is a very talented actor, writer, singer and dancer. I am in awe of his drive and talent, and we have a few projects we are developing. My favorite is a TV drama series called Neon Lights which I hope we can get made sometime very soon! After that, I am just hoping to be able to get to London to see my mom, and to New Zealand to see the rest of my family!

What was the last thing that made you smile?

It was either a dog I follow on Facebook called Tucker Budzyn (he is also on Instagram), or something Michael said/did, because he’s always doing something silly and fun!

Michelan Sisti [Interview]

Hello Folks! I am absolutely stoked to share today’s interview with you all. I’m always excited to have these go live, but today is particularly special. Today we have the legendary actor and puppeteer Michelan Sisti! Now, I have to begin by stating that Michelan was not only involved with two projects that are still all time favorites, but he actually portrayed an absolute hero of mine when I was very young. Michelan famously portrayed the whimsically badass Michelangelo in the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live action film alongside our friends Lief Tilden (Donatello) and Judith Hoag (April O’Neil), as well as the sequel (and my personal favorite) The Secret of the Ooze. When I was but a boy, there was nobody cooler than Michelangelo. Absolutely nobody. Hence, the reason I am so stoked to be able to ask the man behind the suit about what it was like to create one of the coolest dudes to ever exist.

Beyond the world of TMNT, Michelan also worked on one of my favorite television series of all time. The highly original and so damn fun series Dinosaurs, where Sisti portrayed several characters, and was the primary Charlene Sinclair. He goes into his work on the show with some great details. You’re going to love this one, Folks!

In more recent years, Sisti has done extensive work in another legendary world of the Muppets. He’s also worked on great films like Team America: World Police and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. We are so excited to have him on the site today. This was a real bucket list one, Folks! So, please enjoy enjoy some wonderful words from the great Michelan Sisti!


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

I’m one of those people who knew from a young age that I had a dream with a goal that felt right for me. As to the  moment when I discovered this dream, that took place in my elementary school talent show when I was in sixth  grade. I gave a solo performance of the song, “I’m  Getting Married In The Morning” (My Fair Lady) complete  with comedic choreography and I liked it! The dream  was born. 

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 to date? 

Music was my first paying career, and that enabled me at age 20, to choose the path that I wanted most. To move  to New York City to be an actor in the Broadway theatre.  That dream became a career for the first time, with a  paycheck attached, when I was asked to join the NOW Theatre Repertory Company, to begin creating new plays  and shows for the Studio Arena Theatre in Buffalo (my hometown area). I was a professional actor! I made the move to New York and the journey since then has been a fantastic ride where I have learned from each and every experience along the way. It was the more than two  decades working in the theatre that taught me the vital  importance of learning how to collaborate. That has been  the lynchpin of everything since. All of what I know about  acting and music has sustained me through major  changes in my career path. The first, my transition from  music to acting as a career goal. Second, when I agreed  to leave New York, and the theatre, to move to Los  Angeles and begin working in movies and television. And  I have loved every bit of it. 

You famously appeared as the great Michaelangelo in the  first & second live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles  film. Our dear friends and past guests Judith Hoag & Leif  Tilden were a couple of your co-stars! So, I am curious to  know how your experience was in bringing the beloved  comic book & cartoon character to life? What would you  say is your fondest memory of these projects? 

That is a difficult question simply because there are so many facets to my life as a Turtles and how that changed  everything. Plus, I have many fond memories from that hectic time so it’s hard to choose. The physical work was  extreme, overwhelming at times and often horrible.  Creating Mikey in partnership with Mak Wilson was the  absolute highlight of both movies for me. Mak is one of the best puppeteer/actors in the world, with the credits to  bear that out, and he was at the top of his considerable game. The creative experience with him was a joy. We  discussed and considered every idea we came up with  and then rehearsed as much as we could until we  became so in tune with each other that we could  improvise bits and moments on the fly. That was amazing  and great fun. So, collaborating with Mak is my fondest memory of becoming a Turtle. Beyond that, it’s the fans.  They have been such a source of love and hope ever  since I donned the green and I thank them. 

There had to have been a ton of props laying around on  the set of TMNT 1 & 2. I am curious to know if you were  able to take anything home with you? Anything special in a  physical sense, that you were able to take away from this  project? 

I did keep my nunchucks (hero and rehearsal categories)  most of which I have given away to charity auctions and a  fan/friend over the years. However, I kept my hero pair of  chucks that I used in both films. Of course, you couldn’t  

see them in the second movie because they were kept  inside of the leather holsters strapped to my belt. The  laws in England, and some reactions to our first effort,  

required that my chucks not be revealed onscreen. That  is what led to my “Combat Coldcuts” during the mall fight  scene in Secret Of The Ooze. I do have one of the two  

pair of Combat Colducts too. My friend and martial arts  double, Nick Palma, had them and kindly gave me one  pair. I kept my original shooting script including my  written notes and gave away a few others I had. The 

Creature Shop lovelies presented me with a pair of my  Mikey hands and feet. However, because they were  made of foam latex, they have disintegrated into dust a  long time ago. 

Another absolutely legendary program that you worked on  that had a huge impact on me growing up was the  wonderful series Dinosaurs, which you and Leif Tilden  would work together once again! So, same questions  really: What was it like to work on such an insanely  original, and downright hilarious, project? 

 Oh my, Dinosaurs. I am so proud of that series and  everyone who participated. Among my fellow performers,  we all agree that show was the pinnacle of animatronic  character work. What we created there was  groundbreaking in many ways, from putting puppets on  primetime tv, to pushing every envelope of animatronics  we could find in our performances and then some. Plus,  the writing was superb and tackled very pithy subjects.  That’s what I am most proud of, that we never stayed  away from topics that might be controversial. Then, of  course, we did something rare on television shows. We  killed off our entire cast! My great, and ongoing, joy was  to be partnered with Bruce Lanoil for our character,  Charlene Sinclair the daughter, and with John Kennedy  for all the variations that our Sid Turtlepuss character got  to play. Two other world class puppeteers and, like Mak,  excellent people! Yes, I have been so fortunate to work with the best

You have worked on and off screen in the world of film &  television, as well as work on the stage across the globe.  With that in mind, what would you say has been your  favorite space to work in overall? Why?  

Okay, the theatre is my first love. I wished to become a  working actor and that is what the theatre allowed to  happen. I had multiple Broadway shows and that fulfilled  a subset of the original dream too. So, my work on the  stage is my favorite space to be as an actor. Now, I loved  all the work with Jim Henson and Muppets and Disney,  etc. because of the challenges they contained. That’s  right. Each and every puppeteering or animatronic or  performance capture job comes with a very unique set of  challenges that must be solved and techniques that must  be developed. When I’m acting on the stage, I am  familiar with the basic structure of the job in each  performance. With the other work, each job throws up  new obstacles and required adjustments. That is what  kept me coming back for more. I love a challenge. 

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

The pandemic and our initial lockdowns ended the  projects I had lined up for 2020 and changes at Disney 

have altered the landscape with Muppets too, so I am  entering my retirement. I still am happy to participate in  projects with friends but I am ready to pass the torch. It’s  time for younger performers to take my place and  continue the path to their dreams. And with free time  now, I’m rediscovering the joys of travel. Of course, that  has all been put on hold this year, but I’m really looking  forward to resuming travel and having new adventures. I  have even booked a trip for May 2022.  

What was the last thing that made you smile? 

Lots of things make me smile, thank goodness, but the  most recent was from this morning. I watched out my  window as some of my neighbors came walking down the  road with their two little girls who started shooing the birds  at my feeders. The kids were squealing in delight while  one crow sat on the fence, cawing and flapping it’s wings  in protest, I think. Now, how could I not smile at that?  Cheers!

Kelly Walker [Interview]

Hello Folks! I am so very excited about this one! If you are a regular reader here, or simply returning from yesterday, you know how much I loved the film My Fiona, which we featured yesterday. Well, now we are so fortunate to be able to have the film’s brilliant writer & director here to grace our digital pages today! It’s Kelly Walker, Everyone!

I was completely unaware that My Fiona is actually Walker’s feature film directorial debut. It’s actually quite insane that it is, because it is so damn good! Kelly is also a performer, editor, all of the things! I dare say that Kelly Walker is the future of film and television. I’m not even kidding. Everyone NEEDS to see My Fiona. Read this interview, read what we talked about previously, and then just get it done. You will be thanking me later.

So, I am going to relinquish and further babbling, and let you all get to some wonderful words from the great Kelly Walker! Enjoy!


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

Growing up in Australia, my Mom loved sharing films with me as I was growing up. I was probably too young to see the films I did (Gypsy and Flashdance at six years old? Questionable). I think that’s what got me into filmmaking at such a young age. I started making feature-length films with my best friend when we were 12 years old. These films were terrible, but our hearts were all in! We would write, direct, act, produce and edit one feature a year and then force everyone we knew to watch them. I think it was inevitable that I would go on to pursue filmmaking. Also, my aunt lived in Los Angeles and is a sitcom writer. So I think having that connection to the industry made it feel doable and not just a fantasy. I moved to Los Angeles when I was seventeen and the rest is history! 

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 to date?

Good question! I didn’t have many money-making skills outside of filmmaking. I had worked at Subway for a hot minute in high school, but it didn’t last long because I was a slow sandwich maker. (Their words, not mine!) When I landed in LA, I jumped right into freelance video editing. I think it taught me to be super-efficient with my time since I was creating my own schedule. All those years of editing made me feel confident to jump into directing. The film lives and dies in the editing room and I think my biggest strength as a director is being able to reverse engineer the process. 

I absolutely LOVED your film My Fiona. It’s seriously one of the best films I have seen this year, by a long shot. Could you tell our readers a bit about this project? What made you want to bring this story to the world?

Thank you!!! The story is based on experiences from life. When I was 12 years old, my babysitter passed away from suicide. It left a real impact on my life and I developed a fear of people I love dying. And with each loved one’s death I’ve experienced, it’s made me realize that no grief is alike, and the journey is navigated at your own pace. I really wanted to liberate the stigma around grief and look at it from a judge-free perspective. 

Another aspect of the film is the exploration of sexual identity. I identify as bisexual, but it wasn’t until I was happily married to my husband that I started talking about it openly. Actually, it was through writing My Fiona that I really took ownership of this part of myself. I wanted to explore the idea that love can be circumstantial; it can be forever or for just a moment, and more importantly, it can be with anyone. Jane’s story showed me that the only identity that matters is the one we give ourselves, and we should celebrate our ownership over our identity. 

Lastly, My Fiona is a love letter to female friendships. The women in my life have been magical soul mates and also the source of intense heartbreak. Sometimes your friends know you more than you know yourself, and our identities can be wrapped up in those relationships. I think friendship is less explored on film, and I wanted to honor my ladies and my incredible love for them. 

I have several of my own takeaways from the film that I formulated in my own mind. But, I am curious to know what you believe viewers of My Fiona should (hopefully) take away from this incredibly emotional journey? Without spoiling too much, what should our readers be on the lookout for? And should tissues be readily available?

Grief is unwritten, and there’s no right or wrong way to experience loss. Don’t judge yourself, don’t judge others. You are never cured of grief, you learn to live alongside it. That may sound depressing, but I actually find it liberating. Humans are resilient, and we can survive just about anything. There’s nothing better in life than surprising yourself. 

I also raise questions about the problematic doctor/patient relationship regarding mental health in our country. I hope if the audience is interested in this aspect of the film, they’ll do their own research. Who knows, maybe when they or a loved one needs help, they’ll have a more informed perspective that in turn could save a life.

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

Woah! You wanna hear something wild?! The two scripts I’m working on right now are Bio Pics!!! I have a feature about Audrey Hepburn and her marriage to Mel Ferrer. I am a HUGE Audrey fan, and I think there are elements of her story that haven’t been told, and I would love to put a voice to her experience. I am also developing a limited series called Vice Versa. It’s based on the hidden life of Edythe Eyde, a naive secretary in the 1940s. She covertly created the first-ever magazine for lesbians during a time of suspicion, communism and vice raids in America. I randomly stumbled upon Edythe’s story last year and have fallen completely in love with her writing, outlook on life, and what she did for the queer community. Her story is relatively unknown, and I feel this sense of responsibility to get her message out there! 

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

Hehe. I think I just did above 🙂 You can follow me @girldownunda on Instagram or check out to stay up to date with all things filmmaking. 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The little things in life fill me up with so much joy. My dogs’ tails wagging when I walk in the door. My husband squeezing my shoulder as he passes me in the hallway. The plants in my office, the crystals all over the house. Texts from friends that simply say – I love you. It’s been a rough year for all of us, and I think we need to make it a priority to look for the little wins and little joys. That’s what life is all about. 

Bryce Wagoner [Interview]

Hello Folks! We have an absolutely wonderful interview to share with you all. Bryce Wagoner is an actor, writer, filmmaker, just about everything! On screen you may recognize him from roles in projects like Gingerdead Man 2: The Passion of the Crust. Behind the camera he created the captivating documentary, After Porn Ends, which would then spawn two further additions. And, as if that weren’t enough, he was kind enough to let me know about his 2017 documentary, Parrot Heads, which is intriguing as hell! I have an unabashed love for Jimmy Buffett, so a look beyond those proverbial curtains was an absolute delight.

Wagoner answers a few of standard questions below, and gives us some wonderful insight into the world of filmmaking. We are honored to have Bryce with us today, and I think you are going to love what we have for you today. So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the great Bryce Wagoner!


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

Phil Hartman’s performance in So I Married An Axe Murderer and the DVD extras from Seven were the two biggest things that inspired me to accept the calling of working in entertainment. My fraternity brothers would endlessly quote Phil’s Alcatraz speech and it would bring such joy to us all, that it got the wheels turning to the point where I said to myself, “Hey I would like to create something that would do the same for some other group of idiot friends.” Then, when Seven came out on DVD, I was enthralled with not only Fincher’s approach to story and world building, but the process of how the movie was cast, shot, and the studio script process. The curtain had been pulled, and I was hooked!

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 to date?

In 1999 I made $97 as an extra for two days on Sally Hemmings: An American Scandal, a TV movie that shot in Richmond, VA; starring Sam Neil and Mario Van Peebles.

I learned that the days on set would be long, but worth it, and that positivity is a huge factor in pulling anything off. We were doing this big protest scene and the AD says “Now really get into it and sell your anger so you can make it into the shot.” Sam was right there with us and he says “They ALL deserve to be in the shot.” And gives us this warm look of acceptance as equals. I will NEVER forget that moment and it’s why I am so grateful to anyone that agrees to be in front of a camera that I’m directing.

I thoroughly enjoyed your highly original 2012 documentary, After Porn Ends, which would then spawn two additional films. The subject matter is one that I think a lot of people actually think about a lot, but don’t like to think about it too often, I would imagine. With that, what was it that made you want to bring this story to the world?

It started as a simple question when I was doing some motion capture work for the WWE, where some of the guys on set were aghast at a website one of them did cyber security for that involved sex with vegetables. I was running my lines and suddenly this guy named Alby says “HOLY $h!t, HOW IN THE F&@K DO YOU DO ANYTHING IN YOUR LIFE AFTER DOING…THAT?!?!?”

Something clicked, and I asked myself “what does happen after you leave the XXX business?” Did some research and saw mostly one sided/negative stories that courted sensationalism, and I wanted to give these folks a fair say into their life stories. Not just cautionary tales that took no regard for them as human beings. 

Note to aspiring documentary film makers: It’s NOT hard to humanize people if you let them tell their own story without an agenda. 

Can you tell us a bit about your 2017 documentary Parrot Heads? What made you want to document this insanely loyal fan base? And how was your experience bringing this project to life? Do you have any significant memories that still make you smile when you think about them?

I’m an insanely loyal fan, and I knew there was a deeper story there than what most people see at the tailgates. 

Bringing the project to life started with a rum-induced phone call to my longtime ECU cohort Vance Daniels with the idea, three years of pitching said idea, to me working a door at the Bar Marmont and lamenting to a regular that no one in Hollywood gets Jimmy Buffett, leading him to say “I get Jimmy Buffett, how much do you need?”

Then as a result of doing it in earnest, we were able to get it to Frank Marshall (Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, etc), who loved it and advised Jimmy to be a part of it, to which he agreed to not only take part, but to become our distributor as well. 

That is one of the literal hundreds of memories that make me smile throughout the life of this movie, but the one that means the most to me is when I first showed it to my dad and he leans into me after the first 10 minutes and says “This movie is just too much fu@$ing fun!”

In front of the camera, you appeared in one of the most hilarious comedy horror franchises of all time, and one of the greatest sequel titles of all time, which would be Gingerdead Man 2: The Passion of the Crust, which also happens to feature our dear friend and past guest Junie Hoang. So, I am curious to know what drew you to this project? What made you want to dig into the world of the killer cookie?

When I was an actor I’d actually auditioned for the producer (William Butler) on other projects and we became friends. So Billy emails me one day and says “Wanna come play for a few weeks?” And knowing his sense of humor and my penchant for the absurd, I accepted without hesitation. Junie was lovely, as was the incomparable Michelle Bauer, and the now TV famous Parker Young. But of course I gravitated to hang with the creative/technical guys all doing Billy a favor, like Greg Nicotero, Mike Deak, and the late John Vulich/John Carl Buechler.  Talk about getting some free film school cookies in!


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

Legends are created by campfire stories, authors, filmmakers, the media, and the occasional viral video. Which is why my producing partner (Cara Kidwell) and I are trying to make a film about a certain woman who SHOULD be a legend, and most certainly will be when it’s all said and done.  

But in the meantime, if a studio called me and said “Here’s a pile of money, now go make this biopic of Chuck Yeager.” I’d break my wrist from signing that contract so fast! 

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

As a writer, I’ve had three scripts optioned but not made, so hopefully the future allows me to get one (or all) of them on screen. But until that time avails itself; I’m currently producing a nature documentary in the Outer Banks of North Carolina that I can’t say much about, other than it’s been another great experience and opportunity for creative growth that we all feel has a noble purpose and is appealing to just about anyone.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Hugging my big sister a few hours ago for the first time in over a year.

Everyone please get vaccinated so we can can ALL do the same (and have cocktails afterwards). Cheers!