Kevin Avery [Interview]

 

 

Kevin Avery is a comedian, actor, and two-time Emmy award-winning writer. His writing credits include HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Comedy Central’s The Jim Jefferies Show, VH1′s Best Week Ever, and the critically acclaimed FX original series, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, on which he served as head writer. He appears in and was co-writer of the Comedy Central digital series, White Flight, and was co-host of the popular Earwolf podcast, Denzel Washington is the Greatest Actor of All Time, Period, praised by Buzzfeed as “smart” and “funny” and recommended by Entertainment Weekly as a “Must List(en).” Kevin also wrote and starred in the award winning short film, Thugs, The Musical!

You can see Kevin in early 2019 appearing on the new Comedy Central series The New Negroes on which he also served as head writer.

We are so excited to have Kevin grace our digital pages. And even more excited that he requested the above bio to be used to introduce this whole thing, as I am now only required to write these few short sentences, and get back to quality time with my cat, Gatsby. Seriously though folks, the work that this man has given to the world has already been incredible, and the future is looking so bright for this award winning gentleman. So please enjoy this awesome interview. Also, check out his podcast. I have not yet done so myself, but I definitely will now. Denzel is so great. Fun fact: Until 2018, Denzel had never starred in a sequel to one of his films? I wonder if they bring this up. We shall see! Enjoy!

 

When did you know that you wanted to join the world of comedy? What was it that compelled you to make people laugh for a living?

I mean, I’ve loved comedy for as long as I can remember. Always loved making people laugh, even when I was growing up. I just kind of marveled at people who had the ability to make an entire audience laugh. And I fell in love with stand up at a very young age. I think it’s fair to say I was straight-up addicted to it – whether I was listening to my parent’s old comedy albums, or just watching it on TV as much as I could. I basically studied stand up comedy throughout my entire childhood. And it was something I always dreamed of doing; I just never thought I would actually do it. The idea of writing material seemed so daunting and out of the realm of possibility for me. Meanwhile, at school I was writing funny essays or pieces and reading and performing them in front of my class, not really putting together that I was essentially doing what stand up comedians did. When I got older, I would hang out at comedy clubs and even try my hand at writing material, but then would chicken out and not actually ever go up. Eventually, it took a comedy club owner in the Bay Area, who actually passed away some years ago, Jessica Jenkins, and another comic – a guy from Portland, Troy Thirdgill to talk me into trying it for the first time, and I just never looked back.

Can you tell us about your very first time getting up on stage? What sort of emotional rollercoaster was that for you?

I basically had 2 weeks from the time I got talked into trying it until the actual date of my first set. At the time, I was working this corporate tech day job that I was woefully unqualified for and absolutely hated (I’d eventually be fired from, like, 6 of these jobs). But I’d work from 7am to 4pm, then leave and either take a nap or just watch a movie, and then I’d come back to the office at night, find a conference room and write until really late. I did this for 2 weeks just to put together what I thought was 5 minutes of material, but turned out to be more. This is probably the hardest I’d worked on anything in my life at that point. The night of the open mic, I put my name on the list in the #7 spot, thinking that all of the other spots would be filled in. They were not. I felt as confident as anyone could trying stand up for the first time, so I was nervous as shit. And I had all my material typed out and spread out on the bar in the back of the club, studying it while the show was going on. After the 3rd or 4th comic came off stage, I remember the host saying “Are you guys ready for your last comic?” And I don’t know if anyone else heard me do this, but an audible “No!” actually flew out of my mouth. I was totally terrified, but the next thing I knew I was just walking toward the stage as this guy is introducing me. And it was the weirdest thing: I’d watched so much stand up comedy that, even though I’d never done it before, it all just felt really familiar suddenly. And I became super calm and just walked up there and did it. It was one of the greatest feelings and moments in my life. I remember coming off stage and thinking I have to do this again, as soon as possible!

 

 

You had a perfect description of Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, calling it “criminally short”. It truly was too short, but groundbreaking the same. What was it like to work on a show like this? Did it feel groundbreaking when you were working on it?

Working on Totally Biased was a lot of things for me. It was my first writing job. And then it became my first head writing job which changed my career and my life in ways I could have never seen coming. This show launched my TV writing career. And, especially in the beginning, it was just a lot of fun! I was working with my comedy homie, Kamau, and a lot of our friends that we’d come up with through stand up. And it was all of these things while also being this incredible learning experience in comedy and TV writing, production, collaborating with other writers, and just the business of making a show every week. And I’m getting to work on a regular basis with one of the most amazing teachers you could ask for, Chris Rock, who was one of our executive producers. And all this is happening while I’m living in New York for the first time. But it was also brutally rigorous, particularly when we became a nightly show. In that way, it prepared me for every job I’d have after that. I’ll always be super grateful for that experience.

And, you know, we were incredibly proud of what we were making every week on the show. We got to do and say things that other shows weren’t saying or doing at that time. We got to put talent on TV that you weren’t seeing on every other show out there. I feel like that was our goal with the show, and we did it very successfully. But ultimately, what Totally Biased was for me was this opportunity to make this thing – this show – with my friend, Kamau, who I’d come up with, both of us being each other’s ride-or-die and just trying to make it, to get our shot. And here we were, doing it. That was a very special and exciting time and something I’ll never forget being a part of.

Last Week Tonight is another extremely original in its own way type of series that deals with some pretty damned heavy content each week, yet thanks to brilliant writers like yourself, it still remains pretty damned funny. With that, what would you say was the most difficult subject matter you had to work with on LWT? What did you find to be extremely difficult to even attempt to make light of?

Well, I’ve always said that if Totally Biased was boot camp, Last Week Tonight was SEAL training. That show took everything I’d learned at T.B. and multiplied that knowledge, like tenfold. And one of those learning experiences was in how to take very boring, complex or even tragic topics and build comedy around them. Routinely we had to take clips that were going in the show – clips about people losing their homes or livelihood, or stories about people being sick or dying – really sad stuff – and write jokes that John had to say right after these clips. So every week there was really grim subject matter that we had to just figure out how to navigate through and know when and how to tell jokes about it. The one that stands out to me the most wasn’t even a tragic subject as much as it was just really boring subject matter-wise for a comedy show. It was the Net Neutrality piece in season 1. I worked on that with a couple other writers, and the whole thing about it was that it was this incredibly boring, complicated topic about legislation and mergers and how the internet works – basically shit that would clear the room at a party. But ultimately, we just realized we had to lean into how dull and complicated a topic it was, and that became the central joke of the piece – this idea that they’re sneaking this very important, critical issue past us all because it is, in fact, so boring and they’re counting on us not paying attention. And once we figured that out, it was a lot of fun to write. It’s also a piece that featured a joke I wrote that made John laugh particularly hard during rehearsal – a weird joke about Superman and Lex Luthor living in the same apartment complex that I’d written at, like, 3am when I was particularly loopy – so that was always a point of personal pride for me.

 

 

Currently you can be found working on The Jim Jefferies Show on Comedy Central. What has it been like to work on this program? What has set it apart from other work you have done as a writer?

It’s been great! Jim is obviously a completely different type of host then John or Kamau – his point of view and take on things is just very different than those guys, so it’s nice to go to a similar type of show that’s still got a completely different feel and comedic sensibility. It just keeps things interesting from a writing perspective. I never want to totally repeat something. 

And just in terms of the writer’s room, it’s a different set of writers, in a different city. I’m in L.A. and not New York, so it’s an all-around different vibe than it was on Last Week Tonight or Best Week Ever or Totally Biased. I like that, from job to job, the feel and inner workings of each writer’s room has been wildly different than the previous experience.

We always like to ask our statue holding friends this one question: Where do you keep your Emmys? And does their physical location hold any kind of significance?

In a glass IKEA case with a bunch of Lego Avengers figurines on top of it. You really have to snoop around my place to find them. At this point, the most noticeable object in my home is the Christmas tree that’s been up since last year.

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

[In March], I’ll appear on a new Comedy Central show called The New Negroes, hosted by comedian Baron Vaughn and rapper Open Mike Eagle. It’s a really funny show that mixes stand up, social commentary from Baron and Mike, and hip-hop from Mike and some amazing guest rappers. I’m doing stand up, and I’ll appear in one of the music videos with Mike and – I don’t think I’m allowed to say who yet, so I’ll just say one of my favorite rappers of all time. I was also head writer on the show, so I’m really excited for people to see what we put together. Also, I’m excited to take down that damned Christmas tree.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The thought of leaving that Christmas tree up one more year.

Tadd Galusha [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! I am so very excited to share this interview with you all today. And it is not only because we are featuring our very first comic book artist and we always love to break into new territory here at Trainwreck’d Society, but it’s more about WHO the artist is himself. It’s Tadd Galusha, Everyone!

For long time followers and/or readers of TWS, you know we have had a very close affiliation with one of the finest podcasts in existence, the wonderful Super Geeky Play Date. We worked on some duel coverage of another acclaimed comic book artist’s, Kevin Eastman, Kickstarter campaign for his book Drawing Blood. And I had the distinct honor of appearing on the show shortly after the release of the masterpiece/absolute disaster (depending on which host you ask) that was The Last Jedi in December of ’17. I love this podcast so damn much, and am always excited when it pops up on my Laughable playlist.

So of course I had to do an interview with their mortal enemy.

Well, to be fair, Tadd is only the enemy of one of the show’s host, who shall remain nameless (for now, keep reading), which may or may not revolve around the idea that he has been forced into an open relationship with his “podcast wife” Big Sexy Bry Fieri (a.k.a. Bryan Bales) and Galusha, as Bry and Tadd host the also brilliant comic book (and more!) centric podcast Blue Tiger. Tadd has made some amazing appearances on SGPD that are also not to be missed.

Hailing from the northwestern region of the United States, Tadd Galusha is a comic illustrator and writer currently living in southcentral Alaska. He has worked for numerous publishers including IDW, Oni Press, Dark Horse, Critical Entertainment, and Western Horseman. When not in the studio, Tadd can be found wandering the Chugach Mountain Range with his malamute, Nikita. His current publication is Bubba Ho-Tep and the Cosmic Bloodsuckers for IDW. Cretaceous, written and illustrated by Tadd Galusha, will be released by Oni Press on March 26th, 2019.

We are so excited to check out Cretaceous, and most likely share it with you all here, and we are so happy that Tadd was able to take some time out of his busy schedule to share some words with us here today. He’s a hell of a nice guy (despite what one SGPD host who is not named Metal Mattson might say), and we know you are going to love this interview.

So Folks, please enjoy this incredible interview with the brilliant artist, Tadd Galusha!

 

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When did you first discover your passion for comic book illustration? Was it a skill and drive you picked up as a youth, or did you just happen to find yourself in the world of comic books one day?

I didn’t discover a love for comics until later in youth, some time during my college studies at Washington State University. I always read comics from time to time and was an absolute Captain America fan. I never missed an issue after discovering Cap Wolf in a grocery store in Columbus, Nebraska (life changing experience for a 6 year old. Not the strongest of the Cap runs, but it holds a special place in my heart. I was always drawing as a kid, so looking back it was inevitable that I would end up doing what I do now. 

What was your very first paid gig as an artist? And where there any lessons learned from that project that still impact your work to this day?

My very first paid gig, as in professional gig, was while I was in my second year of art school. I was hired by some design company to illustrate images and designs for MMA t-shirts out in New York. It was when Affliction and Tapout were popular. Honestly I can hardly remember the gig. I just remember that I got paid practically nothing and they constantly wanted revisions and stuff. I ended up quitting by the start of the next school year. Lesson learned: know when to walk away from a shitty employer. There are other gigs to be found.

 What are some common traits that you tend to look for when you are considering a project that is being offered to you? What are some “must have” elements that you prefer to have when taking on a new project?

I try to find projects that are good stories and have a budget that justifies the amount of work that it’s going to take in creating this thing, as in visually bring it to life. As a commercial or professional artist, unfortunately, it comes down to the budget. This is how you pay your bills and sometimes even the companies that hire don’t quite put that together. So it might be the greatest story ever written, but you have to pass because you’ll be homeless in month trying to meet their demands. I try and make a balance.  I have the work that satisfies my life and the work that satisfies my soul. Ultimately the goal is to combine those two into one…. I’m working on it.

 The comic book industry seems to be another sector that seems to be moving towards being showcased more in a digital space. As an independent illustrator having worked in the business a number of years, and have worked on digital based projects, what are your thoughts on this manner. Are we destined to see physical comic books go the way of vinyl records, and just be a rarity that some people are avid collectors of?

Good question. I think comics are already like vinyl. The really good stuff you have to have on your shelf so you can pull it out now and then and just take in its beautiful existence because it does something for you on an existential level. The digital stuff is great too because it’s there for instant reading and if you really like it the collection is always available. Both platforms are incredibly important and valuable. The biggest thing about digital is as an artist you can do what you want now. You can negate the validation of a publisher and still cultivate a solid viable readership. It puts everything on you as a creator, but you own everything, the potential is limitless.

What would you consider to be the most challenging, yet rewarding, project that you have done thus far in your career?

The most rewarding thing I’ve done up to this point is Cretaceous, which will be released March 26th, for multiple reasons. I wrote and did all of the art and Oni Press helped make it a reality in supporting the project and releasing it out into the wild. It feels like a bit of a “Rocky” moment for me. I had some big, big names early on when I was writing and loosely pitching the idea around tell me “it wasn’t marketable”, “it was a waste of time,” “ it needed jungle babes,” (I kid you not). Basically I was told NO early on, so it was a form of vindication to have Oni Press come aboard and say “YES, we see what you’re doing here, lets do this!”

 Can you tell our readers a bit about the podcast that you co-host with friend of TWS, Bryan Bales entitled Blue Tiger Podcast? How did the name and concept of this fine program come about?

Blue Tiger Podcast! It’s something that Big Bry and I do for fun. We just chew the fat on weird news and what’s going on in the world of comics. How’d we get the name? Go read up on the Maltese Tiger. A rare and magnificent creature, does it exist? Some say it does, deep in the eastern forests of the Taiga. That’s us, possibly existing deep within the metaphorical forests of pop culture.

Who is your least favorite podcast host and why is it Brady Berserker from Super Geeky Play Date? 

I don’t like to name names, but my least favorite SGPD podcaster is this guy (Brady) who really thinks he knows what’s going on, but hasn’t got a clue (Brady B.). The dude operates with the surgical proficiency of a chimpanzee with a shot gun. I never know what he’s talking about, his co-hosts don’t know what he’s taking about, I could go on…. But I don’t like to insult people or name names (Brady Berserker… B.R.A.D.Y.). He tries, so I’ll give him that. Luckily he has amazing co-hosts to steer the ship and provide quality content.

 

 

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

Well, I’ve got a couple things in the fire, so to speak. Cretaceous comes out in March. I’ll be releasing a daily web comic starting the end of [this month], as well as bringing back my web comic, The Backwoods , for Volume 2. Both comics will be 100% free over at my site: TADDGALUSHA.COM. I’ll be linking them to a Patreon for the first time, so if people like the comics and want to help support it they can and I will just provide more and more content. I’ve been writing and developing a bunch of different concepts over the last couple of years and I’d like to start getting them out there. So we’ll see. The more support, the more content I can create. I just want to tell stories.

What was the last thing that made you smile? 

The last thing that made me smile? Probably my wife, she’s a secret comedian behind closed doors. A regular Maltese tiger of hilarity.

 

 

To check out more work work from Tadd and to get your own copy of Cretaceous this March for yourself, find details at taddgalusha.com.

And be sure to check out the Blue Tiger Podcast, available on iTunes, but also available on the far superior podcast app, Laughable

Siena Goines [Interview]

Photos by Victoria Bradley Images

Hello Folks! We have a very exciting interview to share with you all, once again. Today we have some incredible words from a truly wonderful actress that you should all know and love. Her name is Siena Goines, and I am certain that many of you will immediately recognize her by name, as she is one of the best in the business. Siena has had reoccurring roles on series like Criminal Minds, Jericho, and (a personal favorite of mine) Judging Amy. She’s also made appearances in films like The 40 Year Old Virgin and Flight of the Living Dead, which we most definitely discuss in our words below as they have already become staples here at Trainwreck’d Society. And on top of all that, she is also a former Soap Opera star, which is another form of art that we have spoken about at lengths here on the site. Needless to say, Siena is a perfect fit, and we are so damn excited that she is gracing us with her digital presence today here at TWS.

So with that being said, let’s cut the rambling and get right into this incredible words with an even more incredible actress, the amazing Siena Goines. Enjoy!

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When did you decide that you wanted to join the world of acting? Was it something you have always been passionate about since your youth?

I think I decided unconsciously when I was 11. I rarely went to movies but on this day I did and the theater felt like home.

What was your very first gig in the world of acting? And did you learn anything from this experience that still affects your work today?

I started in commercials then I did a movie called Show and Tell. I was the female lead and it was 30 dollars a day. From there I got a Manager and booked my first show which was a MOW – Movie of The Week with James Garner in Rockford Files.

Garner had a profound affect on me. He had to be in his early 70’s. We were shooting in LA. It was hot! And he did all his off camera work. No complaints. He was kind, professional and a team player. I learned from his example and his personal words to me regarding my career encourage me for a lifetime. Thank you JG.

You worked on a very hilarious scene opposite Romany Malco in the now classic comedy 40 Year Old Virgin. How was that experience? Was it hard to not break character with all the improve happening around you?

Romany actually got me that audition for 40 Year Old Virgin. Thanks Rom. It was a great learning experience. It was Apatow’s first feature directorial and the studio shut us down on day three because the speed-dating scenes at that point were 17 hours long. I remember driving back in the van to base camp with Apatow learning the news we were shut down. I looked at him in shock but Judd Apatow was cool as a cucumber. They’ll calm down – see you soon.

It was not difficult for me to stay in character, we had a blast playing around.

In 2007 you appeared in Flight of the Living Dead, directed by our friend Scott Thomas and featuring another friend of ours, Laura Cayoutte. We are big fans of horror films here at TWS, especially this one. So, how was your experience working on this film? And what do you enjoy about working in the world of horror? What sets it apart from other genres that you have worked in?

That movie was fun and Scott did a great job. There’s a lot of amped up terror of being horribly murdered most of the film, so that’s a whole other genre in itself. Right?! What was interesting was I get bit at the end and the inevitable is near. Now I don’t do well with blood. And of course they had to bloody my arm up. All day I had this bloody arm and I can’t look at it and it feels super heavy and now it hurting. It seriously started to hurt. Mind of matter is a real thing.

We have spoken with quite a few folks who have worked extensively on screen or behind the scenes in the world of Soap Operas. You spent a couple of years appearing on the classic series The Young and the Restless, even earning an NAACP Image Award nomination for your work. How did you enjoy working at the break neck pace that Soaps are known have? Was it a challenging way to shoot a project?

I took over a role from another wonderful actress who was ill who was the original Callie Rodgers on Y&R. I remember I had back shows to make up totaling 46 pages in one day. I remember thinking: Did I repeat myself? Did I just say the paragraph from that other scene? Soap stories moved at a snails pace, how to make the same moment new after a month of repeating it became a challenge for me. Just tell him you’re pregnant already!!

With that said I was no longer a fit for daytime Soaps. But how grateful I am as the medium taught me I could cry on queue to perfection and how to study, study, study, my lines 🙂 to the point it becomes so real, I’m honored with a NAACP AWARD.

If you were handed the opportunity to star in the biopic of any well known figure, regardless as to whether it has already been done before, who would you want to portray?

SADE because she’s fascinating to me and was an inspiration growing up where there were few who resembled me. Plus… music is my first love.

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

Two episodes of Grey’s Anatomy to air January 24th, 2019 and February 7th, 2019 and Chicago Med February 13th, 2019.

Dates for Chicago Med subject to change please check schedule for show titled “Can’t Unring that Bell”.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The vastness of the sky.

Taylor Morden [Interview]

 

Welcome to another week of awesomeness here at Trainwreck’d Society. Today’s interview subject is an absolutely brilliant filmmaker who sense to want to pull on my own very specific and nostalgic heart strings. His name is Taylor Morden, and he has a couple of very exciting documentaries that are posed to come out in 2019 that will surprise the hell out of me if they don’t end up on Netflix or any other applicable streaming service in the near future.

Morden is man who has taken along the labor of love in showcasing the very lost remaining Blockbuster Video store in existence in the upcoming and aptly titled film, The Last Blockbuster. He also has a very intriguing doc in the works about the incredible third wave of ska that saw great popularity in the late 90’s entitled Pick it Up! Ska in the 90’s. So basically, it seems as though Taylor just took a glimpse into the things that I loved as a youth, and still have fond memories of to this very day. While it may seem like a stretch, the specificity of it all is very peculiar.

We were fortunate enough to steal some time from Taylor to talk about his upcoming projects, how he got into the world of filmmaking, and so much more. We are very honored to have Taylor Morden grace our digital pages here today. So let’s get into it, shall we? Here we go! Pick it up, pick it up, pick….alright, I’ll stop. Enjoy!

 

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

I was always the kid in high school with the VHS camcorder running around making dumb videos, but I never thought that could be a career.  Mostly it came from playing in bands and making our own music videos for years.

You have put quite an emphasis on the world of documentary filmmaking specifically. Was it by design? Or did you happen to discover that you had a real knack and love for this specific style of film?

I love documentaries.  I love being able to learn about something and be entertained at the same time, so I was definitely drawn to the documentary field. I also may or may not be mentally stuck in the 1990’s and wanting to re-live that era in any way I can.

 

Your first released documentary was on the wonderful group that sadly can be categorized as a “one hit wonder”, which was rampant in the 90’s, known as The Refreshments. What made you want to profile this band? What led you pour your heart into a project about the guys who made “Banditos”?

I had recently moved to a small town, and had some time on my hands.  I had done several short form docs and wanted to try something new.  The Refreshments are one of my all-time favorite bands, and I had recently discovered that they were basically still playing, under a new name, and had a huge cult following.  That was fascinating to me, so I reached out to see if they’d let me try to make a movie about them.

They said, “not sure why anyone would want to do that, but… OK” so I set out to make my first feature length film.  The process was difficult for sure, but I’m proud of that film and it got me to where I am today (making 2 more feature docs).  

I am very intrigued by a project you have in the works entitled Pick it Up! Ska in the 90’s. I still have vivid 20 year old memories of skanking the night away at a Reel Big Fish show, or in a church basement somewhere in my shabby hometown. Also I notice that legendary actor & musician  Alex Désert is attached! We LOVE us some Becker around here! Anyway, what can you tell us about this project? What can viewers get excited about seeing in the future?

Ha! I also love Alex Desert, he’s a rad dude! and Hepcat is a phenomenal ska band! if you like Becker… you’ll love Hepcat!  But seriously… I’ve played in ska bands for over half of my life, and that music has made more of a difference in my life than anything else.  It gave me a sense of purpose, a sense of belonging, a strong DIY work ethic and it took me around the world playing music for tens of thousands of people. So it only made sense to combine my passion for filmmaking and my love of ska music into this project.  If you have a soft spot in your heart for a skankin’ guitar, a sweet horn line, and a dirty pair of checkered Vans, I think you’ll love this movie.  It’s an unapologetic love letter to third wave ska and I couldn’t be more excited to share it with the world.  As far as who else is in it, there are a lot of folks you may know (no one else from Becker) including members of Reel Big Fish, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Sublime, No Doubt, Less Than Jake and tons more.  

Another project you have in the works is another extremely intriguing documentary entitled The Last Blockbuster, a story about the last remaining Blockbuster store located in our beloved Pacific Northwest. Bend, Oregon to be specific. You even had a very successful Kickstarter campaign, receiving almost double your $20,000 goal. So, for those who are not in the loop, what can you tell us about this project? What made you want to tell the tale of this store and the rise and fall of its namesake?

I moved to Bend, Oregon about 4 years ago, and since then I have driven by this Blockbuster Video almost every day.  I was almost certain it was closed and they just hadn’t taken the sign down yet.  But one day I decided to go in… and it was like stepping back in time 10 years! The florescent lighting, the shelves of movies, the smell, the customers picking out their evening’s entertainment, the employees still dressed in the iconic blue and yellow… It really took me back.  So I asked the store owner if I could start working on a documentary about their store.  At the time there were still a dozen or so locations so I thought I might follow them for a year or two and see how they were still in business.  Then this year, the remaining stores (mostly in Alaska and Texas) all closed down, leaving the store in Bend Oregon as the last remaining Blockbuster Video.  So I immediately jumped back into high gear to finish this film while they are still in business.  The ultimate goal being to have our documentary on the shelves and available to rent at Blockbuster.

 

With all the research and work you have done on The Last Blockbuster, I am curious to know if you had any opinions as whether or not the city of Bend is one of the reasons that this place still exists? Or is it pure coincidence?

The City of Bend is really interesting, and it’s definitely a contributing factor, but I think it has more to do with the owners and the staff wanting to keep the store alive, and the confluence of events that lead to the rest of the locations closing.

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

I’m working hard to get these two films out in 2019, I’m really excited to get them finished and out into the world and start on the next projects.  I’ve been reading a lot of scripts and looking into making a narrative feature, possibly some more short films.  To follow along with any of these projects you can go to popmotionpictures.com 

We are also on instagram for both films at:

@skamovie

and 

@lastblockbustermovie

What was the last thing that made you smile?

I’m deep into editing the ska documentary right now and today I was working on the segment on the Aquabats, which is a super-hero based ska band from Orange County CA that is perhaps the silliest of all the ska bands of that era.  We spoke with Travis Barker (Blink 182) about his time playing in that band and have found some old footage of him dressed as a super hero, playing the drums… that made me giggle for sure.

Bruce Langley [Interview]

 

The level of excitement that I have for sharing this incredible interview with you all today is on par with the level of excitement that I have for the return of the absolutely brilliant series in which our subject is a major element, and extremely important character. I am talking about the great young actor Bruce Langley, and of course I am talking about one of the best (amongst the vast amount of) series available now, the television adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.

Bruce Langley brilliantly portrays one of the series’s most intriguing antagonists, Technical Boy. In my mind, and probably should be everyone’s, Technical Boy represents the most sincere threat to any belief in what the old gods have to offer. Here I am spilling these words onto a MacBook for you all to enjoy, while my 11 year old daughter sits 10 feet from me, eyes glued to an iPod. Case in point: how are we to believe in anything real to life these days? But, that’s a whole different tangent, really.

It is suffice to say, Bruce Langley gives an absolutely incredible performance as the manifestation of a truly real threat, and a delightful update to even the concepts that Gaiman introduced to us 20 years ago, when the internet was still a little scary and we weren’t entirely sure what was going to come of it. And now that we know, it’s actually even a hell of a lot more scary. And thanks to the amazing acting chops of the likes of Bruce Langley, we have even more to be afraid of. So thanks, Bruce!

In all seriousness, Langley is an absolutely brilliant performer that we are so excited to have with us on our digital pages. He joins our old friend Chris Obi as cast members of American Gods to grace our pages, who ironically both happen to be British. I mean, hell, they invented acting, and if the recent viral sensation of Americans remembering that Christian Bale is also a Brit is any clue, we probably need them to come on over and show us how it is done for real. I personally am very thankful for this. Yet no matter where they are from, I am so excited that there is such talent as Bruce Langley out there to keep us entertained and possibly teach us a lesson about life, love, and what it means to vape in the back of a limo with an incredibly dope hairstyle.

So with that, please enjoy some wonderful words from the absolutely amazing actor, the great Bruce Langley!

 

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What was it about acting that initially interested you, and drove you into the world of performance as an occupation? 

Hard to say really. I got the lead in the school play when I was 5. It was a production about a cavemen befriending dinosaurs through chocolate. Yep. It was called Choc Rock. I played ‘Chip’. ‘Chocolate Chip’. Interesting to consider as I think I may have gotten the role due to my speech impediment. I couldn’t pronounce my ‘R’s; they came out as ‘W’s. With the main song going ‘Choc rock, choc rock we love choc rock’ for me it was ‘Choc wock, choc wock we love Choc wock.’ According to reliable sources it was ‘fucking adorable’.

If I were to hazard a guess I would say that early experience counted as a win for me. One on which I doubled down. I’m sure my mum would tell you I had performative tendencies before then.

I have been insatiably curious my whole life. Indeed one of my first memories is of sitting on my grandad’s knee being told war stories. I loved them. I would see them as he told it. Imagination, creating and telling stories has been a huge part of my inner chorus of conversations as long as I can remember. 

Your performance as Technical Boy in the Starz Original series American Gods was absolutely phenomenal. While Technical Boy can be considered one of the villains on the show, I am curious to know if you might be able to think of some redeeming qualities that audiences should think about whilst watching the show? Should we have some sort of pity for Technical Boy? 

I would not deem to tell anyone what to feel about any of the deities on AG. They are avatars of our own belief. Condensed and distilled humanity. If there’s something people don’t like in any interaction of any of the characters I would think that is a greater reflection of a part of themselves they are adverse to acknowledging. With that said, I would find it important to highlight the potential loneliness associated with being worshiped. TB is elevated from humanity, separate from it and also generally shunned and despised by all other deities. Even those supposedly on ‘his side’. Constantly achieving, adapting, updating, so fundamentally aware that to stagnate for even a moment would mean obsolescence. Death. I would think many people today can and do relate to that feeling typically associated with constant engagement with technology. Addictive engagement. A dopamine leveraging randomized reward systems. Anxiety, pain and a fundamental empty feeling left from the in personal and human connection we are retreating from. Who needs fulfillment when you’ve got engagement? TB is the manifestation of a consciousness in pain. I could talk about this ad nauseam, trust me I have a lot more to say on this subject. What I will say for now is this, to everyone operating in the world today. Take care of yourself, your health, mental and physical. You’re not as alone as you think you are. If you feel like you need it, ask for help. 

 


How much time would you say you spent in chairs getting those incredible hairstyles of Technical Boy done? What sort of process did that entail? 

An abundance. Usually hours per doo with the occasional hat related exception. For example the look from the bone orchard (101) initially took 3 hours but we got it down to 2 by the end. Cornrows? Time killers. A major shout out of respect to the hair team. Artists to be sure. In season 1, I spent my first couple of weeks being played with by the hair and costume teams. Trying to find what felt right, and we did. That’s an important thing to highlight; the hard work and undeniable results from hair, makeup and costume. They worked and work damn hard and are rarely acknowledged. Thank you gang, love you. Indeed to all the crew.

The looks of all the characters don’t just happen. Furthermore they contribute so much to the final product. When I would put on the right costume with the right hair and makeup it would just fit. Deliberately vague choice of language there as the feeling was so all encompassing it felt somewhat ethereal. TB would be looking back from the mirror and I could taste it.

You are a wonderful addition to the obviously incredible cast of American Gods, probably one of the best I’ve seen in so long. In your professional opinion, what do you believe is required to create a great set dynamic between actors? Are there any sort of unspoken yet agreed upon ideals that performers follow to eventually make something as phenomenal as American Gods?

It has to be a safe place to fail and take risks. To play. Without that there would not be the freedom to truly create art organically. Major shout out to Bryan and Michael for creating a home environment for us to play in. We have become a family as a cast as time has gone on, due in no small part to or double dads.

Furthermore, Ricky has set, and continues to set, an outstanding tone as the Number 1 on the call sheet. He’s in nearly every day, long days, lack of sleep, still having to train in the gym regardless of our wrap time yet he infallibly raises the energy of any room he’s in. He looks out for us, makes us laugh. In a sense he’s the big brother of the whole cast and crew and I can’t thank him enough for watching out for our gang. He took me under his wing from Day 1, the read-through of episode 101 and has made sure I have someone in my corner since. 

If you were handed the opportunity to portray any historical figure in a biopic, who would you like to take on? 

Well not a biopic per se but Richard the 3rd at some point later in my career would be a total joy. Similarly Macbeth (somewhat sooner than Richard) and Hamlet (somewhat sooner than Macbeth). Most definitely lago, oh dear lord yes please. I would relish the opportunity to play with Shakespeare whether on stage or elsewise. The work is simply beautiful, art. 

Returning to the parameters of the question. I don’t know. This is a wonderful query that I wasn’t expecting. I shall think on it then take steps to prepare for said eventuality.

Bruce Langley and American God’s author Neil Gaiman

 

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

Look into the RCT. Robin cancer trust. A great charity that might save your life or someone’s you care about. One of their campaigns is called ‘Talking Bollocks’ another ‘You’re Not Overacting’. Germ cell cancer is a right bastard and a 30 second self-exam could change the direction of your time on earth. 

Look into it: @rctcharity on instagram and Twitter. ‘The Robin Cancer Trust’ on Facebook. 

Another thing to plug; if anyone reading this feels inescapably alone, you’re not, ask for help, take care of yourself.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My mum got a new bird feeder for her birthday from my sisters and I. It has ‘fat balls’ that apparently the birds love. Especially the packaging detailed that blue tits and grey tits were fond of them. 

She posted a picture on the family chat of the feeder up on the tree with the caption: “Fat balls awaiting tits. Thank you xx.”

Outstanding. Well played Mum.

 

Watch for Bruce in Season 2 of American Gods, March 10th on Amazon Prime Video.

To learn more about The Robin Cancer Trust, visit therobincancertrust.org.

 

 

Patrick Kilpatrick [Interview]

 

Today we are sharing some words from a notoriously bad man. Well, on screen that is. Patrick Kilpatrick is a wonderful actor who has most likely appeared in a film or three that you love, as the guy you probably want to see dead. With a large stature, and intimidating demeanor, it is no wonder that he is stand amongst the likes of our previous guest Sven-Olen Thoreson as one of the finest villains that the world of film has ever known.

But, of course, Patrick is actually a very kind and generous person in real life. And in all reality, his roles are not entirely pigeon-held to just playing the bad guy. With a career spanning close to 40 years, Mr. Kilpatrick has accomplished so much more than just playing the bad guy. Although, it is undeniable that when it does come to playing an antagonist, you really can’t do much better than him. And that is why we are so excited to have him on the site to tell us about his work in some of the finest action movies of the past and present, and his brilliant new expose of this world in his new book, Dying for Living: Sins and Confessions of a Hollywood Villain and Libertine Patriot.

In the incredible interview that follows this long winded introduction, we get into the book, talk of his work in our beloved world of Troma Pictures, and a whole lot more. Patrick is a lovely man, who gives a wonderful interview and we are so damn excited to have him with us here on our digital pages today. So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from a true Hollywood legend, the great Patrick Kilpatrick!

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What inspired you to get into the world of acting? Was it something you always had a passion for since your youth? Or did you just happen to find yourself in this world one day?

I had a passion for performance  which I worked out in all manner of sports. Football, baseball, basketball, wrestling – always a show. I had no acting aspirations at all as a boy or in university. I wished to become a journalist  (and that was a form of performance) and writer so that’s what I became  – working for nearly every magazine in New York and most of the ad agencies  – advertising and playwriting and directing in New York City in the 70s and 80s – then moved to screenwriting in between later acting jobs for others and my own company UDF, so writing has always been important and also provides a place where I can work without others largely when one gets weary of collaboration with so many. I knew I had insider stories and a unique background and life experience and highly placed lit agents agreed hence the book, Dying for Living: Sins and Confessions of a Hollywood Villain and Libertine Patriot.

One of your very first gigs was in the cult favorite Troma production entitled The Toxic Avenger. We have spoken with a lot of folks who have worked in the Troma universe throughout the history of its existence. I am curious to know how your experience was working on this now legendary horror comedy?

At the time I viewed it as sort of a student schlock film – perhaps the worst film in western civilization lol – but it struck some sort of chord for a generation. Not my idea of great filmmaking but clearly a necessary escapist outlet. Made $60 million dollars in five sequels. TROMA liked what I did so much they doubled my salary – $75 dollars to $150 for the week. It was ironic, by the time Toxic Avenger came out I had appeared as a lead in a huge PBS production Roanoak – both got great reviews at opposite ends of the cinema world.

You’ve made quite name for yourself as a go to actor for “villain” roles. From recent roles in a film written by our old friend Chad Law entitled Black Water, to one of my favorite action movie sequels of all time, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, you have been causing mischief to the protagonist of films brilliantly for years now. So how do you enjoy this type of character? And beyond your obvious physical stature, what do you believe it is that has drawn folks to cast you in this light?

I’ve enjoyed it immensely. Its been rich acting turf. Whatever it is that causes me to have that ability it started early. I was the villain in my 1st grade play, The Pied Piper of Hamelin – I played the evil mayor. lol. Even in football I was always the roving ‘monster’ man defensive player or offensive end. I liked to seek and destroy and disrupt and once and a while catch a glam pass or interception. I think it was physical boldness and exuberant love of mayhem. I do think I became typecast in institutional TV and action films – fortunately that didn’t carry over into independent films as much so I’ve had my good guy moments. It does seem that even when I’ve been a good guy it’s often – not always – someone bravely, recklessly wreaking havoc on the enemy.

 Movie villains are quite prone to reaching a fatal ending at some point throughout most films. With that, I am curious to know what has been your favorite way to die on screen? What would be the most memorable way that you got to go out? 

I think in Class of 1999  being hit by a bus and having my head torn off by a forklift was fun. lol. In Parasomnia, one of my favorites, I got two screw drivers plunged into my eyeballs by the succulent Cherylin Wilson. Hard to beat that. Of course Naomi Watts made my head explode in Sleepwalkers, a manner of death I repeated in Scanners, The Showdown.

Patrick Kilpatrick in Under Siege 2: Dark Territory.

I understand you have a book out entitled Dying For Living – Sins & Confessions of a Hollywood Villain & Libertine Patriot. Can you tell our readers a bit about what they should expect to learn and enjoy whilst reading your story? 

These are explosive memoirs that any Hollywood or movie aficionado should read this year. And proceeds of sales go toward the continued care of veterans, America’s true action A-list heroes.

This is wicked, ribald, graphic, lascivious, close to the shattered bone, light the fuse and run reportage that every Hollywood aficionado intrigued by elevated craft and the inner workings behind the scenes brain damage, on & off set indulgence should gulp down.

Having played against a spectrum of Hollywood’s leading action heroes including, Tom Cruise, Yun-Fat Chow, Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Caan, Bruce Willis, Steven Segal, Sean Connery, and Jean-Claude Van Damme, to name a few you can expect unvarnished hilarious truth and celebration.  I’ve even waged war with the largest mammal on earth in Free Willy: The Rescue.

Although elegantly revealed I think , Dying For Living rips through social norms without regard to sensibility or political correctness. Plot points include murderous bi-polar assaults by an adulterous mother, privileged education amidst pastoral splendor and American Revolution patriotism. Also tucked in are bi-racial affairs, indiscriminate promiscuity and incendiary politics … not to mention, a near fatal car accident, motorcycle crashes, scribing for nearly every magazine in New York as well as bodyguarding the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Grateful Dead, Rod Stewart and more … plus a global vision for 21st century America. Let’s just say this – my last five movies – the stars were either too self indulgent or too neurally incapable to learn their lines or even use cue cards.

We launched Oct. 3, 2018 luncheon at The National Press Club and following event Q & A at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts – both in Washington, D.C. Renowned director and celebrated Leftist Oliver Stone’s son Sean Stone was host with Scott Evans of Access interviewer for both events. Glorious beauty Bai Ling did readings.

Nov 17, 2018 I headlined a book launch event at Barnes and Noble Union Square, New York City – largest in the country.

Throughout the national book tour I’ll be making coordinated visits and signings at VA hospitals.

Gossip can be interpreted as rumor and innuendo. I’m as ruthlessly truthful about myself and other – there’s no rumor – it all happened and the truth will out in an entertaining and often loving and scathing manner. The book has been extensively vetted by lawyers, lol. The book has many legs – eroticism, insider behind the scenes, literature value, hilarity, politics and provocation. hopefully wisdom, poignancy and celebration of others and my own life. The title refers to the exuberance, the hunger to live each moment.

 

 I understand that you will be actually be donating a percentage of your book sales to the Disabled American Veterans organization. Which is very cool, and as a service member I thank you. I am curious to know why you chose this organization specifically? And why did you choose this particular group of folks to support?

Over the years I’ve supported many vet groups, COALITION TO SUPPORT AMERICA’S HEROES which became WOUNDED WARRIORS, GALLANT MEN, PATRIOT’S HONOR, BAY AREA BUILDERS (they build and give challenged prepared houses for wounded warriors and their families in Texas) particularly wounded warriors, but DVA came up and asked me to be a Centennial Ambassador with Vince Vaughn and Mel Gibson so I said sure. Initially they said they would tie in their promotion arm with the book tour, but I knew all along the material might have elements a little too scandalous for them so I just give back and visit the vets in hospital. I want to make it clear the book is about far more than scandal and provocation. There’s inspiration, overcoming blindingly dangerous injury, craft, poignance, discipline and humor – as well as the juicy tell-all madness. I think that’s why we’ve gotten 100% 5-star reviews from critics and readers alike.

 

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

Its always been a merger of writing, producing, directing combined to bolster and enhance the acting. That hasn’t changed – I run a mentorship program – Uncommon Dialogue Films Entertainment Warrior Program – and those four disciplines are the key to acceleration and longevity. Self reinvention and self generated  creative life combined with audition mastery. That’s the equation. The business is vastly more competitive because of digital submissions, every meeting, every audition, every part is both a miracle and an opportunity that can’t be missed or haphazard. Deliver the Goods is the name of my curriculum and life motto – physically, emotionally, creatively.

Catalyst is coming out, I play a pedophile priest, The Grand Inquisitor – I’m a hard but redeemed border patrol Officer, Night Walk – a towering vessel of hate insulting each and every global cultural group, Burnoff – the heroic president of the United States. Black Water – head CIA interrogator on a submarine is on Direct TV now.

Vol. 2 of Dying for Living : Wasted Talent in the Valley of Debacle is out about Valentine’s Day.

We have signings: Jan 18th, Las Vegas Jan 26th and Hendersen, NV Jan 27th, Chaucer’s in Santa Barbara Feb 24, Vromman’s in Glendale Feb 28th, Burbank Barnes and Nobles March 23rd.  I alway bring in celb guest to have fun and bang the drum with the audience. A lot of audience participation, lol.

Sean Stone and I just wrapped filming Night Walk in Morocco – a Romeo and Juliet/prison flick, Night Walk sets Islam beauty (played by Sara Almi) and western journalist (Stone) in tragic love. Throughout my prison guard makes life hell for Stone’s character, journalist Frank. Sean’s Dad Oliver never met a ‘Socialist’ dictator he didn’t love, and Sean just converted to Islam in Iran no less, so our conversational turn is always like watching a two-headed goat staked out for an apex predator. I love him and he’s a supper smart young dude and fine actor.

Legendary Martial Arts Director Art Camacho has come along to signing – love, em he directed me to a People’s Choice Award in Assassin X, and actor buddies like renowned thespians Costas Mandylor and Ken Davidian and Bai Ling come by. We mix it up.

Published worldwide on all platforms and top retail outlets by Boulevard Books AMAZON.COMBARNESANDNOBLES.COM – hardcover, kindle, softcover, audio will be out momentarily.

Personal autographed copies are available on PATRICKKILPATRICK.COM.

There are buy portals all over FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM AND TWITTER.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My fiancée, my boys, my friends, my Dying for Living Christmas ad makes me laugh!

Stephanie Leigh Schlund [Interview]

Happy Monday Folks! And welcome back to Trainwreck’d Society. We have an absolutely wonderful interview to share with you all. Today we are sharing some words from an incredible actress that you all should (or do) already know. It’s the great Stephanie Leigh Schlund! She is a damn fine actress you may recognize from the beloved Hunger Games franchise, and so much more. But, she also happens to be an extremely kind and thoughtful person as well. Which is exactly the kind of person we love to showcase here at TWS!

Stephanie was kind enough to take some time out of her very busy schedule to tell us a bit about her career thus far, including some wonderful insight into things like Hunger Games and The Price Is Right, and so much more. Right off the bat, you are going to notice that Schlund has a very kind soul, and we are so honored that she wanted to share some words with us.

Also, it behooves me to give a shout out my daughter, Sophia, who is as obsessed with the Hunger Games franchise as anyone I know. And I fully support her in it. This one is for you, Girl! Is your dad cool, now? Please?

So with that, please enjoy some wonderful words from the absolutely brilliant actress, the wonderful Stephanie Leigh Schlund!

When did you first discover your passion for the world of performance? Was it something you have always been passionate about, or was it something you just found yourself doing one day?   

I honestly can’t remember ever “deciding” to perform, it was just always something I grew up having the desire to do. The challenge came in working through all the “fluff” and finding the right people who could provide the right opportunities…and then the hard work began. I contribute where I am today to my instincts, faith, support of my family, and the encouragement of my representatives.

  

We have spoken with a few other folks who began their career in performance in the Atlanta area where you hail from as well, and everyone has had different yet mostly positive experiences kicking off their careers there. So how was it for you? What is it about the Atlanta film scene that sets it apart from the others?

My experience has been wonderful! I debated moving to LA with others when I was younger, but I could never find peace with leaving my family. The thought of it just broke my heart and didn’t feel right, so I didn’t. I trusted that I was meant to pursue this industry and I trusted that it was meant to be from Atlanta (However, in sticking to that theory, I’ve acquired quite a few sky miles in my career!). I feel like growing up and studying in Atlanta gave me a different approach to my technique that was able to set me apart in some form from the others auditioning for the same roles from other coast. I believe the film industry in Atlanta is set apart because it has more heart to it than most places. The talent & crews all know each other well and have been on this wild ride of what Atlanta has become together, we are a family here.

In 2008 you spent some time as a model on Drew Carey’s then new takeover of The Price Is Right. I am curious about how this experience was for you? What was a day to day set life like on a legendary game show such as this one?

It was incredible, but a lot more work than one would think! As a model, we would have to know the games inside and out and have memorized multiple scenarios based on the answers given by the contestants, so we never really knew what to expect! We would have one rehearsal (backwards so the prizes where in order of appearance for the show) then tape an episode. Break for lunch, and do it all over again. I truly cherish my time on the show!

My wonderful 11 year old daughter is obsessed with The Hunger Games franchise, so it would be behoove me to try and earn some “cool Dad” points by asking what it was like to work in the insanely popular Hunger Games lure? What was it like to jump into such an established franchise?

There honestly aren’t even words.  I found out I booked the role then had to wait a solid month, not telling anyone (Yes, I told my Mom, Dad & Sister and swore them to secrecy) before Lionsgate made the official casting announcement. During that month, I experienced every kind of emotion possible, the main one that kept rearing its head though, was the fear of the public’s reaction once it was out. Studios care about the public’s reactions, especially when it’s a phenomenon such as The Hunger Games. Thankfully the public’s reaction was positive and time passed creating one of the most epic experiences in my lifetime thus far. I’ll always hold it close to my heart.

 

And how has the fan interaction been since you portrayed Cashmere in the third installment?

Exciting! I love hearing fans stories of how the books helped them or inspired them in some way. It’s incredible to be part of such a franchise such as The Hunger Games.

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

Susan B. Anthony…She played a pivotal role in the women’s suffrage movement. In 1878, she presented an amendment to Congress that gave women the right to vote which later was passed. I feel like her fight for woman is what motivated other movements that, in turn, lifted some of the glass ceiling for women.

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

Acting is and will always be my passion, so I’m still doing what I love!  My Instagram, @StephanieLSchlund gives a more in-depth look at what I’m doing on a day to day basis if you want to see my take on Work, Fashion and Travel (whenever I can squeeze in a trip somewhere!).

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Hearing that my 2 year old niece refused to take off her fairy costume from Halloween. Keep rocking in baby girl, keep rocking it…..