Jim Kouf [Interview]

Today we have another appearance of an absolute LEGEND here today for you fine readers! We have some pretty amazing words from the brilliant writer, director, and producer Jim Kouf. Jim has had a career spanning 40 years that has brought us so much joy in so many different ways. No matter what you would consider to be your preferred form of art and/or entertainment, Jim has been there throughout the years to help bring it to the world.

Whether it is writing blockbuster films you know and love like Rush Hour, National Treasure, Stakeout & it’s subsequent sequel Another Stakeout, or producing one of the most popular television series of recent years, the incredible Grimm, this man has a creative mind that the world has been so fortunate to have had even the slightest insight to over the years. And as we are so happy to regularly find out amongst our interview subjects…he’s a hell of a nice guy! Jim was kind enough to tell us how he started in the world of show business, and help us dissect some of his greatest successes in the world of film and television.

In this wonderful interview, we will speak with Jim about everything from chemistry, to fairytales, to his work with the legendary hip hop artist and poet Tupac Shakur, and just so much more. So, without further rambling, please allow me to introduce the brilliant Jim Kouf!

When did you first realize that you wanted to join the world of filmmaking and storytelling? Was it a passion you have always had? Or did you just find yourself in this business one day?

I had a camera in my hand from about the time I was six or seven.  I always loved taking photographs.  I transitioned to bigger and better cameras over the years.  Then to an 8mm camera.  Then started making films in High School.  My first film was for my chemistry class.   I convinced my teacher to let me do a term film instead of a term paper.  I think he was tired of reading term papers so he agreed.  My film was about the day in the life of three brothers and all the chemistry they encountered  which included hunting (which was my girlfriend dressed as a big dog), surfing and going to a party where the drug of choice was a large quantity of lettuce juice, which I discovered through some research, was a mild narcotic.  This was 1968.  The film included live action and animation.  I didn’t know how to do animation, but I figured it out well enough to animate a few sequences; like the chemical reactions of a bullet coming out of a rifle barrel when the gunfire ignites, wax and water on a surfboard while surfing, and the strange chemical composition of lettuce juice.  The soundtrack had to be created on a reel to reel tape, then lined up with the film so both the projector and tape player could be turned on at the same time for the sound to sync.  It always seemed to be off by about a half a second, like a badly dubbed foreign film.  Anyway, the film received great acclaim (because not many students were making films in high school back in the sixties) and I showed it to all the chemistry classes, then all the English classes.

And this was at Burbank High School, in Burbank, CA where Disney, Warner Brothers, Universal Studios are all located.  But did any of my high school councilors suggest that I go into the movie business?  No.  Never mentioned.  I think the only film schools at the time were at USC, UCLA and NYU.  So I didn’t even realize you could get a degree in film making.

But the film making idea really hit me when I was a senior in high school.  I took a date to see The Wild Bunch.  The film was almost sold out so we had to sit in the front row.  And it was not like any movie I’d ever seen.  It was mind-blowing at the time because of the violence.  It was 1969 if I remember correctly.   And I was jolted.  I remember leaving the theater and saying to myself, “That’s what I want to do for a living.”

But I had no idea how to go about doing that that or what it even meant to be a film maker.  So I tried my hand at another 8mm film, then a 16mm.  But I never wrote anything down.  The stories were all in my head.  I didn’t know that films were scripted.  I had never seen a script.

Anyway, I headed north to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and I got an English degree with a minor in History.  Actually that was probably a better choice for becoming a writer.  As part of my English major, I had a playwriting class and discovered that I loved it and pretty much got straight A’s for the plays I wrote.  They were not great plays, but they were good enough for college.  And it gave me the idea that I could possibly be a writer.  So after graduation, I headed back to Burbank with the intention of breaking into the film business.  I really had no idea what I was doing or how I was going to do it.  I was just determined that I would.  And I guess I figured it out.  I was making a living at it within about two years.

In 1997 you wrote, directed, and got an absolutely amazing performance out of the late hip hop icon Tupac Shakur with the film Gang Related. This film has been a staple to me in the world of cop dramas, and is one I can always go back to no matter how much time may go by. Where did this story come from? What inspired you to tell this very dark story?

Before I answer this I’d like to say Tupac was great to work with.  He really wanted acting to be his way out of the music world, which was controlling his life at the time.  He was also going to score the movie, but was killed 10 days after we finished shooting.  He was a great guy.  We had a lot of fun on set.  And Gang Related had one of the best casts I’ve ever worked with.

I had done a few cop movies, like Stakeout and The Hidden.  And the cops were the good guys.  I was toying with the idea of reality and memory and how they can be manipulated.  And crime is where reality and memory are always tested.  I think of Gang Related as grim farce.  It’s about a couple cops who think they have a handle on how to clean up the streets by taking down drug dealers, making a little profit on the side, and blaming it on a “gang related” murder.  At the time “gang related” was the explanation for a lot of killing on the streets.  No one ever expects a gang related murder to be solved.  After all, it’s just gangbangers killing gangbangers.  And everyone seemed to accept that as an unsolvable explanation of murder on the streets.

So anyway, when they kill a DEA undercover cop instead of a drug dealer their world is turned upside down.  Now they need a “real” killer, someone to take the fall for their killing because the DEA is all over it.  So they grab a drunk and start to recreate the killing in the mind of an innocent.  This is where I wanted to explore how memory could be manipulated.  Given enough information, photographs and recreated participation, the memory will log everything as reality. And the innocent guy believes he actually did the crime and he confesses.  Which surprises everyone.  No one expected someone to plead guilty.  And this eventually leads to his salvation.

 

In more recent years, you have managed to put out one of the most original and captivating television series of modern times, with the incredible series Grimm. Hailing from the Northwest, just about every actor and filmmaker I know in the Portland area has had some involvement with this program. With that being said, I am curious to know what exactly was the decision point behind making the City of Roses the location to tell these modern Grimm tales? Is there any significance to choosing Portland as a setting?

The Grimm series is based on fairy tales.  And the Grimm fairy tales are dark and brooding and scary and violent.  And a lot of them take place in dark, dank forests.  And for the Grimm Brothers that forest would have been the Black Forest of Germany.  So I knew the area around Portland and realized it would be the perfect place to set the series.  It had a city, mountains, rivers, and forests.  And rain.  We loved the rain.  We actually set the pilot script in Portland.  And they had a tax credit so NBC was all in from the beginning.

Your range has a writer is incredibly impressive. Whether it’s an action/adventure blockbuster like National Treasure, or the more family friendly films like Snow Dogs and Operation Dumbo Drop, to an action comedy like Rush Hour, your knack for storytelling is absolutely phenomenal. In your obvious professional opinion, what are some similar traits amongst the stories that you like to tell? While they are obviously different in context, is there anything you find to be true in and out of each project you work on?

I approach every story through the characters, what they want, how they get it, what happens when they do and how it changes their lives.  To me, whether it’s comedy, drama, action, science fiction or horror, it’s still about character.  I really don’t think in terms of genre.  It’s just a different set of rules for the reality of that particular story.    But you have to make sure you know what the rules are and stick to them.   And all the characters have to be grounded in a reality they believe in.  And I always try to have some comedy in even the darkest stories.  Comedy helps connect an audience to a character.

On the set of Disorganized Crime (1989)

 

And when it comes to your own enjoyment, what genre of a story do you find the most interesting to tell? If so compelled to pick only one, what would you consider to be your favorite genre to write for?

It’s all about the characters.  And the world they have to survive in.  And I don’t want to bore anybody.  So I try to keep things moving.  I like writing motivated people, good or bad.  And I like pressure cooker plots.  They’re fun to write.

When you look back on your incredibly successful career thus far, what would you say you the most proud of as an artist?

I was able to survive for forty years as a writer.   And I got to produce and direct as well.  And I met my wife and Producing partner, Lynn, and we had a bunch of great kids.  And we had a lot of fun along the way.  It’s been a great adventure.

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

I’m still working on a bunch of projects.  Either as writer or Producer or both.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

You asking me to do this.

As avid readers know sometimes are guests are so kind to provide in wonderful inside access to behind the scenes photographs from their amazing career. Jim was kind enough to be one of these folks. He provided the photos from Disorganized Crime and Gang Related which are above, and as well as these gems from the set of Grimm set in our beloved Pacific Northwest below. Enjoy!

 

 


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Candi Brooks [Interview]

Happy Friday All! Today we are sharing some words from a woman that I thought could be “pretty cool” to hear from, who happened to turn out to be an absolutely incredible person who we are so honored to have featured on the site! I love, love, love, when it works out like this! Yes, Candi Brooks is an amazing and inspirational actress, dancer, former casting director, and overall wonderful human being!

I first recognized Candi in one of the finest comedic films of the last ten years, a little film called 21 Jump Street (featuring our old pal Johnny Pemberton!). She was the young woman who was gently removed from your light pink VW bug during one of the most hilarious car chase scenes in cinematic history. She in turned actually helped save the day by stashing heat in her glove compartment. It was a hilarious scene, and I was excited to ask Candi all about it. And as it turned out, there happened to be so much to know and love about her!

Candi is also a long time resident of my favorite American city, which is obviously New Orleans. She joins the ranks of so many different folks we have featured on the site who call NOLA their home. Candi was kind enough to give us just a bit more insight into what it is like to work in the world of casting directing and acting in one of the greatest cities on the planet. And we are so damn grateful that she did!

So Ladies and Gentlemen, please allow me to shut my digital mouth, and introduce to you all the brilliant Candi Brooks!

When did first discover your passion for the world of performance? Was it something you grew up dreaming about, or did you just sort of find your way into it one day?

I began dancing at a young age (around 3 years old).  Tap, Jazz, Ballet, until later years I also took on Hip Hop, Pom Pom, Musical Theatre, Lyrical, Ethnic, & traditional Native American Jingle.  I adored being on the stage with the lights, sequins, makeup, and a captive audience!!  My years of dance continued until my early teen years where I auditioned for a Performing Arts High School in Georgia called Pebblebrook.  It was here I made the choice to begin studying drama instead of dance and the love has never stopped growing.  After High School I went on to earn a BFA in Musical Theatre from an amazing 4 year program at Brenau Womens College (shout out!) & Gainesville Theatre Alliance.  I then did summer stock under the direction of Broadway’s legendary Terrence Mann at The Lost Colony.  I took an internship at Actor’s Express and worked locally in Atlanta market until joining a National Tour of Peter Buffet’s all Native American cast as the lead female singer/dancer titled Spirit The Seventh Fire.  Once we lost funding on tour I wound up in Louisiana with zero ideas of what to do next.  I signed with a talent agent and began the transition of becoming a film/television actor.  In 2009 I took a 2 week job as a reader for Liz Coulon of Coulon Casting and 7 years later retired with dozens of shows under my belt as a Casting Asst & Associate having worked with some of the best!

Beyond the world of acting, you are also quite the acclaimed casting director in your neck of the proverbial and actual woods down in NOLA, along with our friends and your fellow performers  Laura Cayoutte, Joe Chrest, Ted Alderman, L. Michelle DeVito, and others. I am always curious to learn about film communities in areas that aren’t L.A. or NY. So in your experience, what is the film community like where you reside? What do you believe sets it apart from other communities?

Wow! *blushes* Thank you for such kindness.  Star studded list of folks you just rattled off there! 🙂  The film community here is deep rooted in folks that have been here since the beginning navigating every growth spurt our community has experienced (both in front of and behind the camera), as well as transplants (like myself) whom have moved here for work or otherwise and chosen to stay; and fairweather folks whom come in for the job and then are on to the next!  We are a melting pot of cultures, ethnicities, accents, & styles from street to street and neighborhood to neighborhood.  There is something for EVERYONE here and I think there is atleast one person whom represents all of these different vibes as well.  The majority of the actors here are hustlers, but this is not their entire being.  They are book readers, adventure seekers, parents, pet owners, travelers, & lovers of life!  We make great story tellers because we are living lives outside of the stories we’re telling on the screen & stage.  Other communities I’ve experienced only live for those experiences and so when they’re not acting they’re not fulfilled.

Candi Brooks as “50’s Hair” on the hit AMC series, Preacher.

You worked as a casting director and had a brief but hilarious bit of screen time in one of the greatest comedies in recent years, which would be 21 Jump Street. You were involved in the very intense car chase scene that is an absolute highlight of the film. So I am just curious what it was like to work on a set like this one? Was it as fun to work on as it was to watch?

One of the reasons I retired from casting was due to the conflict of interest.  SAG can fine a film a hefty chunk of change for putting a crew member  in a film.  In this circumstance I was the casting assistant on 21JS.  The hilarious & brilliantly talented Phil Lord & Chris Miller were directing.  I had the honor of being the reader opposite of all the actors both in their audition and callback.  Mid production they called Liz Coulon, C.S.A (local CD on the show) and said “we need a girl-We’re adding a scene on the bridge.  She should be attractive, great with improv, and not starstruck by Channing Tatum or Jonah Hill.  It works tomorrow”  Liz called in a handful of gals for and put them on tape to submit.  She asked me if I wanted to do it as well as a wild card and I said YES! of course!  She submitted the tapes to the guys and they called back with a resounding unanimous vote for me! 🙂  We’d worked together closely in the room for the callbacks so they knew the improv wouldn’t be an issue and I was delighted to take on the role.  We were quite literally “boxed in” on the Crescent City Connection with zero access to move about much once on the bridge.  Our staging area for the day was like a party bus where Channing, Jonah, & myself would wait when weren’t rolling.  I had an incredible time laughing and swapping stories with each of them off camera as well as creating/playing on camera as 90% of each take was improv.  I had no idea what (if anything) they’d keep in the film.

You worked on another project that is among one of my favorite films of all time, a darling sad tale known as Jeff Who Lives at Home. How was your experience working on this amazing film?

Woooooooow!  Excellent taste in films friend!  The Duplass Brothers (from Louisiana) are dynamite!  They were equally as amazing to work with as Phil & Chris.  These guys are incredible film makers and hands on directors!  I love that they share their vision but allow you to dream with them to make their vision a reality.

 

If you were handed the role of any famous woman in American history, who would you want it to be?

WHAT?!  How can I limit myself to telling only ONE story?!  That’s absolutely unfair; great question but absolutely unfair. *grumbles* No Pressure buuuuuuuuuut — Keely Smith; R.I.P.  Keely led an incredible life of passion and performance in her 89 years.  She was well known for her marriage to Louis Prima but theres an amazing story to be told there that I don’t feel anyone has highlighted.  She was less well known for her thoughts on feminism in the 50s and decades after, she was Native American, she was a victim of Domestic Violence but got out in a time when divorce was unheard of/unaccepted, and to a famous man nonetheless.  She took her joy of singing and performance to the next level developing a solo career and starring in multiple films, variety shows, & talk shows.  She was absolutely relevant up to the end and remains a powerful woman in my eyes.

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

Freedom & Fulfillment!  I wear a myriad of hats but am always in search of these two things!  In addition to being an actor, I own my own business taping, coaching, & teaching actors at Brave Arrow Productions.  I am a Health Coach promoting Optimal Wellness in a healthy Body, Mind, Spirit, & Finances.  I’m also a wife, mom, and human!  I’d love for some love on all the social media LOL

IG, Twitter, FB : @thecandibrooks  @BraveArrowProductions or @Brave_Arrow_Productions

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My sweaty 6 year old son running into the dugout after his second ever game to give me a hug and thank me for helping him win!

Andy Cowan [Interview]



Today’s interview subject is a man who obviously knows what is hilarious. Andy Cowan has been in the business of comedy for over 40 years, and has been one of the creative minds behind so many projects that you know and love. He joins the ranks of several other folks we have had the pleasure of sharing some words from here at Trainwreck’d Society who also happened to write for one of the most beloved sitcoms all time known as Seinfeld. But Andy has had an immense amount of success behind just this one series as well. He is also one of the brilliant minds that brought us the irreverent and absolutely original series, 3rd Rock From The Sun. He also wrote for Cheers! The Merv Griffin Show! Seriously, the credits can go on and on!

And now Mr. Cowan has an absolutely incredible new book to share with you all. What lucky bastards you all are. It’s called Banging My Head Agains The Wall: A Comedy Writer’s Guide To Seeing Stars. It is an absolutely brilliant look into the world of comedy writing and show business in general. If you are somebody who even remotely considers yourself a fan of comedy in any form, you owe it to yourself to check out this amazing work of art.

So Ladies and Gentlemen, please enjoy some amazing words from the comedic legend himself, Mr. Andy Cowan!

When did you first decide that you wanted to work in the world of comedy? What initially drew you to this world?

Aside from very early influences as a kid like Laurel and Hardy, Jack Benny, Johnny Carson… and later Woody Allen and Albert Brooks, I was drawn to the MTM sitcoms during the ’70s… The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show… and a later offshoot of the MTM shows, Taxi, produced by some who’d written for MTM. I wrote several spec Taxi scripts that were well received. Another dip into the comedy pool was when I started doing standup in Philadelphia in ’76 during the early stages of the comedy club boom, before later moving to L.A. in ’78 and continuing to perform.

We have been fortunate enough to get some words from some of your fellow Seinfeld alum like Peter Mehlman, Steve Skrovan, and Marc Jaffe, because this is obviously a legendary program. That being said, in your own personal and obviously experienced opinion, what do you believe it is about Seinfeld that has continued to make it a staple in the world of comedic television?

As I say in my book… “The chemistry among the principles and natural rhythms…of the show were electrifying to me. You felt like you were palling around with living and breathing, organically funny characters.” Seinfeld was refreshingly devoid of the set-up, punch of so many sitcoms that continue to this day. The stories were most important. Also the show was brilliantly cast across the board, down to the guest stars and smaller parts. They had a naturally funny and slightly off feel to them, refreshingly different from the cookie cutter casting among a lot of network shows.

Another damn fine program you worked on was the truly unique hit series 3rd Rock From The Sun. I have to admit, when the show first aired, I never thought it would last. But it seems as though with some damn fine storytelling and character development, it has become a historic program as well! So again, in your personal opinion, what do you believe it is about 3rd Rock that set itself apart from other niche type sitcoms? What do you believe worked so well for this show to be such a hit?

John Lithgow was the big reason. He was such a great actor, so committed to the role and extremely likable. French Stewart, Kristen Johnston and Joseph-Gordon-Levitt (professional beyond his young age at the time) also went the extra mile. As I say in the book, I was drawn to shining a light on life through the fresh eyes of newly arrived extraterrestrials posing as humans. Everything would be brand new to them, and the actors helped the audience buy into the hook.

I understand you have a new book coming out soon that probably answers the questions I’ve already asked in much greater details. Can you tell us a bit about it? What made you decide it was time to get your story out into the world?

Banging My Head Against the Wall: A Comedy Writer’s Guide to Seeing Stars represents four years of writing about forty years of writing, performing and creating comedy from the ground up. Along with being the only writer associated with Cheers, Seinfeld and 3rd Rock from the Sun, I’m very proud of the myriad original creative projects… stand-up, half-hour comedies, sketch, talk, web/radio shows, comedy docuseries, single panel cartoons and comic strips that I get to share with readers. They’ll have a bird’s eye view of what it feels like to perform comedy on national television, take in industry pitching strategies and reactions back. Not to mention personal reflections from over fifty iconic celebrities I pre-interviewed during my first Hollywood job in the ’80s as a talent coordinator, writer and recurring performer on The Merv Griffin Show, including from Orson Welles’ pre-interview for his final appearance on the show, the day before he died. I structured the book to help the readers feel as if they go on the journey with me. The ups, the downs, persistence rising above daunting odds, and the uplifting message of hope I leave in the epilogue.

Speaking of “the opposite” of giving up, and still creatively flourishing after wandering the Southern California desert’s peaks and valleys all these years, I was happy to further drill down in my book on George Costanza’s opposite-winning method to the madness. I’d first reflected on doing everything the opposite in my own life before helping George grab onto the brass ring on Seinfeld in “The Opposite.” (Larry David, after whom George was reportedly patterned, once told me, “You are George.”)  As I illustrate in the book, to this day George’s epiphany is championed in art, economics and politics, and “the opposite” is also a recurring theme throughout the book in terms of comedy, as well as the twists and turns of show biz. It was a thrill to get to work with Jason Alexander many years after Seinfeld as a guest on my talk show pilot, in which we reenacted scenes from my first draft of “The Opposite.” That is just one of many creative project links readers can also visit within the book.

Because we love suspense and surprises around here, I feel compelled to ask: What do you feel will be the most surprising thing that readers are going to discover about the world of comedy writing from the book?

That when your creative juices are overflowing even though your resumé isn’t yet, you can muster up the audacity to hop a train to New York and arrange a phony meeting with Lorne Michaels at SNL. And in this era of classic TV reboots, readers will also get a kick out of discovering dozens of “new” Seinfeld stories I pitched on the show that never made it to air.

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

The book’s final chapter points to a new half-hour comedy docuseries project I co-created with Rich Ross and star in, the logical creative project Banging’s over 400 page journey leads to,The Lost Sessions with Andy Cowan. We worked hard on it, an inventive entry into the world of therapy with an accent on honest humor, a hint of pathos, and eking out therapy both in session and out in the 21st century world. Comedy veteran David Steinberg, an early champion of the show as mentioned in the book, will be meeting with me again to strategize about where we take it.

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Vocalizing and playing hand percussion with my jazz group in Los Angeles venues, a musical mission that’s been ongoing for over thirty years. And being dragged into an Arthur Murray Dance Studio (that happens to be in my building) two days ago by a lovely female instructor who noticed me walking by before teaching me a few quick Foxtrot steps. I hate dancing. I did the opposite!

Andy Cowan’s book Banging My Head Against The Wall: A Comedy Writer’s Guide To Seeing Stars will be available on June 28th. Find out more details HERE. And put in your pre-order on Amazon today!

Wanna reach out to the legend Andy Cowan himself? Well, he will allow you to do just that! Shoot him an e-mail at contact@andycowan.net today!

Robert R. Shafer [Interview]


Hello Dear Readers! For our first interview in a few weeks, I wanted to share some words from a seriously amazing dude, that have been a long time in the sharing. And it’s 100% my fault. The great Robert R. Shafer had been kind enough to share some words with us quite a while ago, but there I was to drop the proverbial ball and lose track of such amazing responses. But, we are here now to make amends, and share with you fine folks this amazing interview.

Robert R. Shafer can easily be identified as one of the finest characters of our time! In the same vain as our old friends Richard Riehl or John Carrol Lynch, Shafter is a multi-faceted actor with a god damned heart of gold, apparently. Whether you immediately recognize him as the solid man’s man and husband to Phylis on the successful NBC series The Office, a.k.a. Bob Vance of Vance Refrigeration, or you are a fan of the amazing genre series with a well deserved cult following known as Psycho Cop, your just a fan of great art in general…Robert Shafer should very well be one of your favorite actors. Hell, he is in EVERYTHING. Well, everything that matters anyway.

Yes, Robert Shafer is a man who consistently working either in front of or behind the camera, creating some of the best art today. He has a film, The Want Dick Dickster, that will soon be released on Lions Gate, and we can not wait for the world to get a taste of Dick (sorry, childish, I know). We discuss this and so much for in this incredible interview.

So Ladies and Gentlemen, please enjoy some amazing words from the brilliant Robert R. Shafer!

How did you find yourself immersed in the world of acting? What made you want to get into this world?

I fell in love with a beautiful, famous actress and after watching her work, I decided it was something that I might be able to do. So I began to study the craft with the legendary teacher Peggy Fuery, and among my classmates were: Meg Ryan, Nick Cage, Eric Stoltz, and Sean Penn, and it was a very competitive environment and I really embraced the challenge. I think an advantage I had was that acting was not something I had ever considered up until the time that I was in it; so I was not seeking fame and/or fortune, I was learning how to be the best actor that I could be; which, of course, turns out to be a lifelong pursuit.

In 1989 you starred in the cult classic horror film Psycho Cop, that is absolutely amazing, as well as Psycho Cop Returns in 1993. Two questions: What drew you to such a strange, and very original, project? And what has the fanfare been like since the films have been released? Do you find die hard projects of the films?

What drew me to it was that it was the title-role in a possible franchise. When I read for the part, the material used for the audition was Sam Shepard’s play, True West, which I had been working on in class. So I absolutely crushed the audition and they offered me the role. I got to go to Cannes and promote the film and I learned a lot about the business of show business; especially as it relates to distribution and financing. The films have achieved a great cult status, especially with recent Blu-ray release of PCR and the fans of the franchise are die-hard and now there is a whole new generation of them.

I am very intrigued by the 2015 film They Want Dick Dickster, which you actually co-wrote and produced as well as playing the lead. How did the idea of this film come to you? What made you want to tell this tale?

I was working on a script for a pilot about John Wayne and while researching that I learned about Wayne’s relationship with Director John Ford, which was incredibly complex. And of course, I have a lot of friends that are B-movie directors and they are all convinced of their own greatness even in the face of underwhelming results. Being an Indie director in Hollywood is one of the great roller coaster rides in career choices and so the picture incorporates behaviors about such legendary bad-boy mavericks like Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, Sam Peckinpah, Woody Allen and Roman Polanski. I think of Dickster as my love letter to Hollywood:“On Dick’s movie sets — He’s the Monster!” In the film, Dick is forced to remake his only hit horror film into porn and hi-jinksensue. It’s being distributed by Indican Pictures and coming out soon, hard, fast and often!

In 2014, you appeared in a In film written by our friend Al Kaplan known as Zombeavers, that I thought was hilariously great. As an actor, what was it that drew you to this project? Was it the title alone?

The casting director on that film was Chadwick Struck and I said yes to that cameo role to stay on his good side. Also, I always ike working with new directors. And going in, I knew that that title was going to get a lot of internet attention and that’s something that actors have to constantly be aware of these days.

We have spoken with a lot of actors who have worked in the realm of SyFy films, as they are very intriguing to us. You are definitely no stranger to this world, with your roles in Super Shark and Mega Shark Vs. Crocasaurus. I’m always curious, what is it like to work on a project like this? And how does it differ from other projects you have worked on?

The first film I did was Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid, starring Debbie Gibson and Tiffany, directed by Mary Lambert, and it was a real hoot. The trick is not to know that you are in a ridiculous movie, but that the situation is real to your character. The straighter you can play it, the better it is. The challenge is that you have to manufacture reactions to green screen monsters: “OK, Bobby, look! there’s the snake! Here he comes!”

You are of course, the man behind the legendary Bob Vance of Vance Refrigeration on the brilliant show the world knows and loves, The Office. I absolutely must ask, what was set life like on a show like this? Was it as fun to work on as a it was for us to watch?

It was amazing to be a part of it. What a cast! I think we had more fun doing it and the show only continues to grow in popularity. Life on the set was great, it truly was a team effort and the catering and craft services were the best ever.

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

Look for Awaken The Shadowman, The S.H.U. (which also stars Melora Hardin (Jan) from The Office), and I’m very excited about a new series I did called A Girl is a Gun starring Denise Richards, directed by French director Mattieu Tonetti.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The deliveryman just arrived with my Philly cheese-steak. Delicious! And thanks for asking!

Craig B. Warmsley [Interview]


Today’s interview subject is a one of a kind class act type of gentlemen, that I have to admit…I wasn’t entirely aware of until recently. Or maybe I was, but hadn’t really put the pieces together to truly figure it out. I was simply scrolling around and trying to find the end of IMDb one day when I stumbled across a man who had worked in some capacity on a couple of classic Sega released video game adaptations of two of my favorite films from the early 90’s, which would be Aladdin and Demolition Man, and a guy who also happens to be a star in a little indie-gem of a film that had crossed my radar in the last year or so entitled Stronghold. The latter is a film that I am very intrigued to get to check out and eventually share with you fine folks. The first two, well, wade your way through the sea of nostalgia and check that shit out!

That man is Craig B. Warmsley, and I will be damned if he didn’t turn out to be an extremely intriguing individual with some pretty incredible stories to tell. He has been in and around the world of show business in one capacity or another, and is a prime example of the type of person we are so fortunate to get featured on TWS. So Ladies and Gentlemen, please gear up for some pretty amazing words from the insanely multi-talented individual, Craig B. Warmsley!

In doing a bit of research, I have noticed that you were involved in the world of Sega Genesis in the 90’s, including one of my favorite games from the time, the video game adaptation of Demolition Man. So, what were you doing with Sega at the time?

Great question! Actually, I was working for Virgin Interactive Entertainment (VIE) as an Assistant Producer, VIE was a subsidiary of Virgin Enterprises. VIE functioned as an in-house video game Developer and Publisher, Demolition Man was developed and published by VIE for the 3DO video game system, but was released on several platforms including the Sega Genesis under a different Publisher. In 1993, I had a video game idea Bionic Diva which I pitched to several developers in Southern California, I left a copy of Bionic Diva with a Producer at VIE and received a call from the Executive Producer later that night. The Executive Producer said during our conversation (I’m paraphrasing) “I think your game idea is shit, but I like your initiative and knowledge of the gaming industry. We have an opening for an Assistant Producer. Would you like the job?” And the rest is history. I was 19 y/o at the time and remember having trouble renting a car to present games at Comic Con, so the Accounting department had to act as my “Guardian”, it was hilarious. As you can imagine, this was a dream job for me, and I had to grow up fast and learn how the business world functioned.  My creativity really blossomed during my time at Quicksilver Software in the mid-nineties. Quicksilver was a Computer Game developer and didn’t have the financial prowess of VIE, so they gave their employees freedom and autonomy to learn many different things in regard to game development. Quicksilver is where I learned Sound Design and Multimedia.

When did you first discover that you had a passion for the world of the arts? What made you want to join this world?

I’ve always been a creative person since I was young. In Junior High School, I played the Trumpet and had an interest in Music. The contrast is that I am a very large and physical guy, so my interest in the Arts always was in conflict with my physical interest, for example; (Music / Football) and (Multimedia / Security). At the moment, the same contrast exists as I am ending my career as a Protection Specialist / Bodyguard of 17 years and going back into the Arts as an Actor. The Security industry is the antithesis of creativity; so the Arts called me back! I have a mind that is filled with ideas and concepts, and the Arts / Entertainment industry is the perfect vehicle to express myself.

I’ve noticed that you have recently appeared in some music videos for artists like Chris Brown and Justin Bieber. I don’t believe we have spoken with anyone who has worked in the world of music videos, in front of the camera anyway. So, how is this experience as an actor? How does it differ from working on a film? Considering the time constraints and what not?

In my experience, the energy on a Music Video set is more intense due to the time constraints that you’ve mentioned. The sense of urgency is much greater and the budgets are a lot smaller, so I have a responsibility as an Actor to understand my role and stay focused since there aren’t a lot of takes. I really enjoy the diversity on Music Video sets! Because the Music Video has to tell a story in a short period of time, you get Actors and Actresses from different scenes crammed into a single area. I’ve met people from all over the globe and had some interesting conversations.

Can you tell us a bit about one of your recent projects, Stronghold, that recently appeared at the Las Vegas Black Film Festival. What can we expect to see you doing in this film? What is the film about overall? What was the on set life like on a project like this?

In Stronghold, I am playing the role of “OG (Original Gangster) Fat Rat” who is in an opposing gang to “Rooster”, the protagonist of the story. Rooster has done something against my gang that requires retaliation, and as an “OG” of my gang, I must test a younger member “heart” by giving him an order he cannot turn his back on. Stronghold is the story about Rooster, a gang affiliated young man from Compton who is a major money maker for his gang set. Rooster will come to a crossroad in his life after he meets “Tisha” a beautiful witty lady who introduces him to a new lifestyle as a Christian. Now Rooster has to make a decision to follow God or the Hood. What impressed me most about Stronghold is the realistic portrayal of gang life from the fast money and women to the hardcore daily violence and stress. Some “religious” based movies take a puritan approach to making movies where the language and content is censored to reflect their allegiance to a new found faith. Stronghold doesn’t take the puritan approach and instead tell the hardcore truth about the realities of gang life. I believe this movie will change a lot of lives because those involved in gangs will respect the sincerity of the movie and be willing to change for the better.

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

The future is looking pretty bright for me at moment. I was recently cast as Eric Garner in a politically charged music video for a major Hip Hop Group. And I’ve been busy putting together a trailer for an animated short I’m creating called Desires of the Fallen™. My name is getting out there, and I’m excited about the opportunities coming my way.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

I’m sure it was a meme on Instagram. I’m officially addicted to it.

Matthew Moy [Interview]

I am very excited to share this interview with you fine folks, and not only because it may be the last one we get to share with you all for a short while. I’m very excited about it as this turned out to be one of those amazingly sweet surprises to enter the TWS world. I have always thought Matthew Moy was a funny guy as I watched him on the hit TV show 2 Broke Girls. But I was generally unaware of what the rest of his career has had to offer us. And since getting to know a bit more about Matt, I have become increasingly more impressed with what he has given to the world and even more excited about what he will give in the future.

Matthew Moy is an extremely sweet human being and we are so excited to share some amazing words from this extremely cool dude. So lest we forget that this is all about Matthew, I shall end my rambling, and let Matthew speak for himself. With that, please enjoy some amazing words from the brilliant Matthew Moy!

When did you first discover your passion for the world of acting? Was it something that started at an early age? Or did you just sort of land into this world?

I discovered acting when I was a sophomore in high school. I noticed a lot of my friends were in the theater program, and I wanted to do a fun extracurricular activity with them. But after high school, I didn’t do much acting at all. I majored in Japanese and minored in Linguistics in college. Eventually, however, I became unhappy in my Japanese major and decided it wasn’t for me. I finished the major, but in my senior year of college, I asked my mom for her advice on my next career path. She recommended voice acting because I loved animation and had previously liked acting and had been good at it. I followed her advice and fell in love with voice acting and studied intensely. I worked for a year at a pet hospital and saved all the money I could. Money in tow, I moved to LA in 2008 with the intent of being just a voice actor, but I wasn’t making enough money to sustain myself as a voice actor even with the money saved (LA will eat you alive if you’re broke), so I decided to diversify myself with my remaining funds and learn on-camera as well. I’m glad I did!

What was it like the very first time you saw yourself on screen? Was it a surreal experience? Do you remember what you were doing the first time you saw something you worked on go live?
The first time I expected to see myself on screen was in a skit on a show called Mind of Mencia. My roommate I were on the couch, giddy and excited to see my first performance on television. Then the skit came on, and I was nowhere to be found. My roommate and I thought, “Maybe I’m at the end of the skit!” But then the skit ended and cut to the title sequence of the show. I was so disappointed (mainly at myself), and that’s when I decided I needed to take on-camera acting classes. My actual first time on TV was on a game show called Cha$e. It was like a game of tag where “agents” have to “catch you,” and you could win up to $50,000. I said I would buy a hypo-allergenic cat if I won, and I got tagged out first. It was such a silly show. Good times.


You had a long run in an absolutely brilliant role on the sitcom 2 Broke Girls. I am curious to know what the atmosphere was like while you were on set as a part of a very talented group of individuals? Was it as fun to work on as it was for so many of us to watch?

2 Broke Girls was such a big part of my life, and will always be. I learned so much since it was my first sitcom and series regular role, and I had so much fun, and all the cast mates and crew and writers are like family to me. Kat Dennings is a genius and sometimes I’m convinced she has a near photographic memory. Her ability to memorize changes on the spot was insane. Beth Behrs is so adaptable in any situation.  Jennifer Coolidge is a magical being that would make me break in laughter almost every time I had a scene with her. Garrett Morris is electric and has so many jokes and stories. Jonathan Kite is an amazing impressionist and comedian and one of my best friends. Every single person was so talented in different ways—I always compared us to being like a great football team, where every person had their specific part to play and was damn good at it. I just had lunch with Garrett last week and am flying to New York to see Jonathan in a play. We keep in touch a lot.


You have worked quite a bit in the world of voice over gigs as well as on screen work. We’ve spoken to several folks who have worked in this world, especially when it comes to video games. And I am always curious to know how an actor enjoys this gig over on screen work? What would you say are the pro’s to voice over work to being on screen?

Well, I moved to LA with the intent of just doing voice over work! That is what I was trained to do and had gone to school for. I love voice over work, and I love on-camera work—both for different reasons. Voice over work can stress out your voice occasionally if you’re doing a lot of video game gigs that have you screaming, but normally it is the most laid back job ever where you can finish recording within four hours. Then you get to go home and have nachos, you know? Don’t get me wrong, though, you still have to be prepped and disciplined at any job you do—so I’m saying it’s laid back if you are reliable and a disciplined hard worker! On-camera work can have you working 12 hour days and then you have to do the same routine the next day, but the people you meet, the experiences, and the pace you work at is fast and fun. Both careers have stretched my mind so far now that I love doing both! And it’s a great feeling that I’m able to do what I moved to LA to accomplish!


What does a guy like Matthew Moy do for fun? When you find yourself not hard at work, what would one find you doing for a little “me time”?

Most of the time I am fixing stuff around my house, but I like to draw, go to painting class, cook, work out, go to spin class, hang out with friends and eat sushi…occasionally I’ll travel, but most of the time I like to be at home! Me time is the best!


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

Well, I’m filming a guest spot for The Guest Book on TBS soon, and you can still hear me as the voice of Lars on the animated show Steven Universe. I am part of a new Marvel show called New Warriors that is still in production. It’s Marvel’s first half hour TV comedy! I play Zach Smith aka Microbe on it who has the powers to talk to bacteria and germs. It’s always fun being a super hero. I hope to produce and write more in the future, but we’ll see!

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Seeing and talking to my friend whom I hadn’t seen in a long time. We had the best time chatting! Also we were having coffee, and coffee always makes me smile!

Brooke Bundy [Interview]


Hello there dear readers! We are back with another exciting interview, this time somewhat going back to the well of amazing folks involved with one of our most prized genres….the world of horror. Yes, die hard horror fans will automatically connect the great Brooke Bundy to some of the most fascinating chapters of the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. She was of course Elaine Parker from the Dream Masters inclusion of the series. The ones I enjoyed the most, if not only for the much needed inclusion of the band Dokken and Tuesday Knight.

But, Brooke Bundy has been a staple of the silver screen, television, and the theatre for over 50 years, and has been on just about every TV show you can shake a digital stick at. Including other projects that we have regularly featured here at Trainwreck’d Society like the gem of a Soap Opera, General Hospital, right around to Star Trek: Next Generation. Throw in some appearances on classic shows like The Brady Bunch, The Mod Squad, Charlie’s Angels, Lassie, and on and on, she is a freaking American treasure! And we are so excited to have gotten a few nice words from her to share with you all today. So ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy some words from the legendary actress, Brooke Bundy!

When did you decide that you wanted to join the world of acting? What initially drew you to this world?

I never wanted to be an actress. I was modeling in NYC and went to a school for young professionals, my class mate was Christopher Walken who suggested I audition for a Broadway Play he was in and I did and I got it.

What was it like the first time you saw your name appear in the credits of a project you worked on? Do you remember what you were doing at that time, and how it made you feel?

Great question I have the same feeling every time, it’s very out of body and I look at it and think this was serious this was real.

Your involvement in the legendary A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise with Dream Warriors and The Dream Master, was an absolute highlight of the series for sure. How was your experience working on such a legendary film series. What was the set life like on such frightening tales?

I had always turned down horror scripts, I didn’t want someone sitting in a dark theater to think “hey that looks like a good idea” and do something awful. But my wonderful agent talked me into it and it’s the gift that keeps giving. The set was great I think that starts from the top and Robert Englund is the consummate pro, a gentleman and a cool dude.

Beyond just the Nightmare series, you have done an extensive amount of work in the world of television, appearing on just about every major TV show there was, regardless of genre, for a very long period of time. What was it about the world of television that made you enjoy working in it?

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According to IMDb, you added the title of “associate producer” to your resume with the 2006 film Amber Benson project, Lovers, Liars and Lunatics, which I have not seen but am very interested in. How did you find yourself involved with this project? What drew you to it?

Tuesday Knight discovered Amber and I was a young actors’ agent and Tuesday sent her to me, I fell in love with her such an amazing actress booked her on a lot of projects  and she generously gave me screen credit.

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

Opportunities to meet fans and I do private coaching.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

I like to think of smiling as a cause not an effect. Smile all the time.