JD Westphal interview

I had the honor of interviewing Happiness Trifecta founder, speaker, writer, and former baseball player JD Westphal, check out all his awesome stuff!

BP: So my first question is, for those that don’t know you, you were a Cubs baseball player turned speaker/writer, why the big career change?, and has being an ex-MLB player helped you to book engagements?
JW: My original dream growing up was to become a professional baseball player. After reaching that goal, and after playing for a few years, I realized it was time to move on to bigger and better things. I decided to go back to school and become a dentist, I am actually in training right now to be a pediatric specialist in the dental field, and I love every minute of it. The writing/speaking/blogging engagements have been a recent venture in my life as I try and expand my realm of significance in this world. I have been loving the opportunity to help people not only change the outward appearance of their smile from dentistry, but also helping people gain a reason to smile everyday through the Happiness Trifecta. The Happiness Trifecta is something that takes up most of my time these days, and is a message I can continue to spread while I continue to practice a dentist.
I actually never made it to the major leagues, just minors, but I would say that it has definitely helped as a conversation starter, people always enjoy a nice baseball story. It has definitely helped in knowing how to approach people who are professional athletes themselves. People like to make a big deal about playing minor league for the Cubs, but I’m more proud about my others achievements like living in Honduras for two years as a missionary for my church. 

BP: What’s the happiness Trifecta?
JW: Plain and simple, the Happiness Trifecta is a way of living to obtain complete balance and joy in life. It’s all about focusing your life around three basic concepts of the body, mind, and soul. The idea came about during a very difficult and dark time in my life where I questioned what true happiness was all about. I started to experiment with different morning routines and lifestyle changes to see what would bring the most success and happiness into my own life. As I looked back at the different times where I felt I was happy, I realized that they all had three things in common- Those three things (body, mind, soul) are what became the three pillars of the Happiness Trifecta. The Happiness Trifecta is all about balancing the three through improvement each day Mentally, Physically, and Spiritually. When I was playing baseball professionally, I was in the best shape of my life and my days were always focused around getting my body into optimal shape to be able to excel at my sport. I was happy during this time, but I knew I could be happier. When I lived in Honduras for two years as a missionary for my church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), I was constantly focused on improving my spiritual side. I would study scriptures, meditate, pray, and proselytize 6 days a week, every week for the entire two years. I was on such a spiritual high from the work I put in each day and it felt amazing, but once again, as I looked back, I was happy, but I knew I could be happier. When I was studying to be a board certified dentist, I was completely focused on improving each day mentally. I would wake up before class started and would read text books and articles that pertained to the subject taught that day, and I would come home at night and continue my studies. It was very rewarding to see my progress mentally as I went on to pass my board exams with flying colors and move on to be accepted as a pediatric specialist, again, I was very happy, but not as happy as I could be.

After looking back at these different times in my life, I started to wonder if it would be possible to try and combine all three of these aspects to my personal life to see what would happen. I began working on fine-tuning my morning routines to focus on equal parts body, mind, and soul and the results were pretty awesome. I started small by allotting 15 minutes to each pillar of the trifecta every morning, and now it has grown into a complete lifestyle change by focusing a large part of the day to each aspect of the trifecta. I have now decided to focus a large portion of my time to spreading the message of the Happiness Trifecta to all who are looking to improve their happiness and satisfaction in life. It has been so rewarding to see people adopt the Happiness Trifecta lifestyle in their lives and hear about the impact it has made in their satisfaction in life. I have now come to the point where I realize that success is not determined by your net worth, but by your worth in the lives of others, that’s why I started the Happiness Trifecta, not to make money, but to add value to others lives and help people realize their full happiness potential.

BP: So when someone isn’t happy, one of these categories is lacking?
JW: More like if one of the areas of the Happiness Trifecta is out of balance, or if too much time is focused on one, then your not harnessing your true potential. It’s amazing how focusing on small improvements of the body, mind, and soul can have such a big impact on many different aspects in life. If you are feeling like you are in a little funk, full on depressed, or wanting to reach your full potential in life, then I would suggest trying to get your Trifecta balanced.

Me: I see, and this is something you speak, write, and coach about?
JW: Yes!, it finally came to the point where I was benefiting so much by following the lifestyle changes associated with the Happiness Trifecta that I felt guilty keeping the information to myself. I realized that our value is not based on the number of dollars we have made because we have worked, but by the number of lives we have improved because we have lived. That’s what gets me excited, seeing other people improve their lives and knowing I might have had a small part of it. 

The speaking, coaching, and writing is something that has resonated with me for a really long time. I have always wanted to help people in more ways than what I already do with dentistry, which I continue to love. However, I came to the point in my life where I wanted to extend my realm of influence to more than just people in my own city, but to people around the world. I am currently working on the Happiness Trifecta book which will go more in depth into each aspect of the Trifecta and how to apply it to your life. As for speaking and coaching engagements, I have limited availability as of right now for coaching, but am always open to inquiries through my email at HappinessTrifecta@gmail.com. If you want more inside info into what is going on with me and the Happiness Trifecta you can always follow us on Twitter and Instagram. 

Me: Awesome!, when will the book be done?, and where can someone find your speaking schedule?
JW: I’m going to be starting with an ebook first that will lead into a traditionally published book, hopefully by next year. The ebook should be out in a few months from now. I am always open and willing to entertain speaking engagements as my schedule permits.  For now anybody interested in booking speaking, you can contact me at HappinessTrifecta@gmail.com .

I speak and teach through my church on a bi-weekly basis for right now, and I’m loving every minute of it, but I don’t currently have a nation wide tour, that would be awesome though, and is a goal of mine to eventually have a tour along with my book. 

Me: Awesome!, so what all can we expect from you in the future?
JW: I’m really excited about the future of Happiness Trifecta and for the message to spread all over the world.  Be sure to watch for the new and updated website (HappinessTrifecta.com) that should be out soon. Which will include information on how to improve each day mentally, physically, and spiritually. It’s pretty much going to be a bunch of value bombs being dropped daily. I would like to eventually have a Podcast and YouTube channel where I can continue to spread the HT message. 

Me: Definitely alot to look forward to!, is happiness trifecta going to be your sole profession now?, stuff like baseball is behind you?
JW: Great question!, yes, baseball is now behind me. It’s funny because people will always ask me to play on their work softball team or play in a league and I usually politely decline the invitation. Baseball was a very big part of my life and I learned a lot of very valuable life lessons that I will always cherish, it was the original dream and a big goal that I was able to achieve, but I feel as though I can inspire and affect more people with the message of the Happiness Trifecta. I am still working full time as a pediatric dental resident and work on HT on the side. I absolutely love being able to help people in all aspects of their life, even if it is just one person each day. That one person can then go on to spread the happiness, and before you know it, through the compound effect, hundreds of people will be inspired to live a happier and more fulfilling life. 

Me: Very awesome!, is there anything else your fans would be interested in knowing?
JW: Just to keep an eye out for the new website that should be launching soon at HappinessTrifecta.com. All the information and links to everything we have talked about can be found there.  Also, you can follow the HapTri journey on instagram @HappinessTrifecta and on Twitter @Jdwestphal. 

Me: Definitely!, thank you so much for this interview!
JW: Thank you! It has been great being able to do the interview over email.


Lonita Cook interview

I had the honor of interviewing writer, actress, film critic, and blogger Lonita Cook, check out all her awesome stuff!

Me: So my first question is, for those that aren’t familiar with you, tell us some about you and your work
LC: I’m an aspiring writer. I write for the page, for the stage and for screen. I will be releasing the first installment of my paranormal romance series, “The Chronicles of Cyn” in a couple months. The first book is “Awaken the Sleeper”. I’ll be participating as a writer in Project Playwright (in KC) this September and I’m writing my first feature screenplay, a supernatural-mobster romance.

I serve on the board of CinemaKC, a not-for-profit and television show that showcases local artists. The show airs on KCPT, our local PBS affiliate. I also serve the board of Kansas City Women in Film and Television as co-vice president and chair of our Short Screenplay Contest Committee.

My first short film, “Return” has played a couple of film festivals and I’m developing another short script so I can learn how to actually make films. I’ve been a film critic on Kansas City Live, a day time talk show on KSHB-TV 41, our local NBC affiliate and for my column on an online site, but now I’m transitioning out of that so I can focus on creating content.

It might be important for me to specify. My fiction is TA (traditional adult).

Me: Very awesome!, I don’t think I’ve seen a paranormal mobster film, how’d you come up with that?
LC: Well, I write the stories I’d like to see. I love the supernatural, I always have. I love romance, and I like mobster films, but this particular script came from meeting an actor, kind of famous, in person. This actor, I won’t say his name, but he usually plays deranged killer types, a mafioso or something along those lines. His characters always seem to have this lunacy in their eyes. They’re spiritually and morally disheveled, which can be kind of cool, but when I met him, he was beautiful, absolutely beautiful. He was sweet and shy. I thought, his talents are being wasted. This guy should be a leading man. He’s an incredible actor and he’s drop dead gorgeous…and very Italian- dark, smooth, handsome. I wanted to write something that could potentially be for him that marries his type- the crazy mobster- with his beauty.

Me: Well we definitely look forward to seeing who it is!, that will be your first feature film?, and the paranormal romance will be your first book?
LC: If the stars align, right? (I’m laughing) but yes, I would love to have him play the role. I keep his photo posted above my desk as a source of inspiration for the character. 

I am pretty new to writing. I’ve been a mom and routinely a mother for 19 years. I have three children. As they grow up (my son already moved out) it’s starting to be real that they will move on. They will move out, go to college or what-have-you. I am single, so I’ll be alone in my empty nest. No whining here, but, I am acutely aware that I didn’t do very much for myself. I was one of those women who shoved aside my own desires to meet the challenges of motherhood, but, I do want to have something for myself when they’ve grown up and gone on to live their lives and fulfill their own desires.

I’m starting to learn and write. So yep, these projects are my firsts, and by firsts, I mean, I’ve written tons of things, practiced, taken courses, been in writing groups, etc, but these are my first book and feature that I am producing and will submit to contests and festivals or release to an audience.

Me: I’m sure you’ll do great!, will you also be in it?, you did great in counterparts!
LC: Will I be in the feature I’m writing? No, I don’t really consider myself an actor. I hope to create roles for actual actors, but, thank you for the compliment. It was an honor to work with Patrick(Rea) and then a dream come true to have him direct my very first short film!

Me: Was pretty awesome!, it’s unfortunate for your fans that you won’t appear, are you going to try your hand at directing?
LC: I think I would be a good director. I lack some of the skills necessary to produce, but have always kind of been good at directing, particularly when it comes to working with actors (since my formal training is in acting, I guess), but writing is my central focus.

Me: Very awesome!, why don’t you think you’d be good at producing?, and will Patrick Rea produce?
LC: Patrick is a great producer. I’ve learned so much working with him. He makes himself easy to learn from. He’s easy going and open with newbies. He is a mentor, but, this feature is just being written. My hopes for it are grand, but my plans on how to get it there haven’t been quite fleshed out. I’m not sure who might produce.

I am a problem solver, but probably not by nature, so it’s a slow burn process. I’m the kind of person who needs to ponder situations and figure all possibilities. I seek advice before making decisions (usually). I’m not quick. I think a producer has to be quick in finding solutions. I also see producers as people who aren’t pushovers, especially when it comes to money. I’m kind of a pushover, but I’m just getting started. I’m not super sure what my other talents are as a filmmaker or artist. I know my passion is writing and I’m fairly decent at it. I work hard to be better. I write everyday. I read “how-to” books. I read the trades and try to stay acquainted with industry trends, including what’s coming, but, that’s just all in my room, at my desk work. I’m not sure what I can do outside of it yet. Could I guide a film team from development to completion? Would I be good in a room? Do I network well? How’s my pitch?

I’m not sure yet. Sure I want to do it. Not sure I’m good enough to do it. Still in a fairly insecure mind set. Do you think that insecurity ever goes away?

Me: I think insecurity goes away as we become comfortable in our craft and learn how to do what we’re doing well
LC: That’s true. I guess I don’t mean insecure in the traditional sense of the word. I think most people hear the word and think a compromised sense of self-worth. What I mean is- am I prepared? Have I prepared enough?, and then that’s when it comes down to how others size you and luck. You know, when opportunity and preparation meet…

Me: You’ll be secure someday!, so what all can we look forward to in the future?
LC: Thank you! I hope that for every artist. I know we tend to struggle with both senses of insecurity and I root for us.

Well, I am always in each step of the creative process. I am always developing a concept, in production on a project and/or editing. Right now, we’re editing my novel (shout out to my editor Naomi Shupp), am in production on a self-generated blog/vlog project centered around approaching 40, and then, of course, I’m writing the feature. I guess presentation is a step in the creative process. That step will be new.

I will also continue to serve the community. That part is incredibly important to me.

Me: Awesome!, where is your vlog at?
LC: Well, we haven’t launched the site yet. We are treating it like television (or how we perceive television schedules to rotate). We’ve written a bunch of entries and are in the process of filming some video spots. We don’t have a hard date when we want to launch just yet. We’re still coming up with a marketing and sales plan…but we decided to move forward with production because it’s a blog. We can have a blog without the fancy businessy stuff, right? It’s more for fun than anything. 

Oh, I’d also like to mention that Kansas City Women in Film and Television and KCFilmFest is open for submissions with our short screenplay contest. There are two categories: Best Short Screenplay- open to female writers only (including teams). That has a $1000 prize, and Best Female Protagonist – open to all gender writers (including teams). That has a $500 prize. All finalists will be eligible for the Audience Choice Award – $100 prize. 

I mention it because I am the Chair of the committee and would like all writers to know of this opportunity. I plan to be very busy with it, so, submit, submit, submit! Find more info at kcwift.com

Me: You’ll definitely have to let us know when your vlog launches!, how’d you get involved in KCWIFT?, and how long have you been involved?

LC: I will definitely keep you posted. I appreciate that.

I’ve been a member of KCWIFT for four years and on the board for two. This is my third year. The people in this town are just really close knit and we support each other. After joining and being involved with both the org and the industry, I was invited to serve the board. It’s a great honor, and now I am working with CinemaKC. I have been really blessed, but as far as KCWIFT is concerned, I think it’s paramount that we mention that our membership is made up of everyone. Our central demographic that we serve are female filmmakers, but we support all filmmakers. That always seems to be a question in everyone’s mind, but we welcome everyone.

Me: Very awesome!, it’s like a support group?
LC: It is in many ways a support group. Our local film industry works to build on a pretty solid foundation. We have many professional artists who are working and they mentor up-and-comers. It is our goal as a whole, I think, to have a viable, bustling industry that can compete with other cities and states, especially when it comes to attracting productions.

KCWIFT meets a need- each organization has a different focus (ours is ensuring female filmmakers have equal opportunities)- but we work in accord with the other organizations to support the growth of our local industry, as well as the growth of our filmmakers.

Me: That’s definitely awesome!, so in addition to all of this stuff, you’re also a film critic and columnist?, tell us some about that
LC: The way I see a film critic, or any critic, is they are a liaison between the film and the audience. They take their expert perspective and share it with consumers, so that that consumer can get a sense of whether or not to engage in the art.

That’s how I approach film criticism. It is more than an opinion. It is an art in and of itself. Where the task becomes challenging for me is each critic has to have a defining voice, something strong to be heard above the noise. It takes a lot of energy to get your brand to the point where it stands out, a lot of energy, stamina, focus- refining and refining. For me, film criticism, aside from how I like to work to “perfect” all things I commit to, isn’t my passion. It is fun and doable, but not my calling.

I will continue to watch movies and give feedback, but as part of my upcoming blog. Just a small section that isn’t the defining, well, I am concerned with identity. I don’t want to say I’m a film critic because I’m not. I’m a writer. I have an opinion and I love films, but I am a writer. That is the thing that I am cultivating. That is my passion, and here’s the thing. It was tricky to discern for awhile because film criticism utilizes many of the same skills that turn me on about writing. As a critic, I got to write, sneaky, sneaky, it felt right because of it. I got to give my opinion- contemplate and share. I discovered the idea of developing a voice and sharing it. This is a key skill for writers. So, it felt right because of it, and I LOVE movies, I love filmmakers, I love audiences and consumers. So, it felt right because these are the key people I thought criticism served, but, alas, I am a writer who wants to write fiction- for the page, the stage and for the screen.

I am finished with the old site where I was posting reviews and I am not the kind of girl who likes to go backwards, so, let’s talk about kcwift.com. I am beginning a blog called kcwift’s KC Hot Spot. I will conduct interviews with entertainment and film professionals. I will also continue to review movies. I’ll talk about the impact film has on the careers of women professionals as well as the effects women have on film.

My first installment was an interview I did with Keith Coogan from Adventures in Babysitting and Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead fame. He was wonderful. 

Me: He’s definitely a talented actor!, thank you so much for this interview!
LC: Thank you endlessly for your attention and for letting me talk about these things that I find super cool. You’re pretty awesome.

Marshall R. Teague interview

I had the honor of interviewing actor Marshall R. Teague, check out his awesome stuff-

Me: So my first question is, for those not familiar with your name, where would people recognize you from?
MT: Definitely Road House, doesn’t matter where or when, everyone knows  Jimmy Reno.

Me: And since then you’ve been in everything, how do you think you avoided being typecast?, and getting diverse roles in quantum leap, star trek, Babylon 5, Walker, etc instead?
MT: As a character actor, I am always willing to alter my physical looks. Thus, the various different roles on Walker Tx, the most of any other actor.
Granted, a majority of my characters are ‘bad guys’ and most have died…I have over the past many years been offered completely different roles, such as Last Ounce of Courage. I do believe, as an actor, you delve into the personality, you create characters based on the general concept from the writers, and you bring the life into that character, whether it be an alien, cowboy, or military, or whatever.

Me: So we’ve mentioned Walker, you’ve also been in other stuff with Chuck Norris and have became his friend, how did that start and evolve?, and how has your involvement in his projects affected your career?
MT: We were friends prior to the acting..sparred in the martial arts circles…the times of Bill Wallace, Joe Lewis, Mike Stone. As for our evolution in friendship, we have grown closer as our families have grown. Our friendship is a trust/bond that translates to scenes on film and TV, making them so realistic. As for affecting my career, anytime an actor is working, that benefits ones career..
Every project I take on with a character, I give 110%, so my involvement in a Chuck Norris project-I for one, love working with my friend, I trust whatever direction he has in vision, and we make it work for the project, so affecting my career..I hear from many Walker Tx. fans how affective and effective my characters are. So for anyone that watches the shows, they see an actor that’s willing to go the distance, change their physical appearance, and thus, helping casting agents, producers, writers to envision me as their characters in their projects.
I believe it’s our relationship that makes that possible.

Me: Awesome!, you come from a martial arts background?, is that how you got involved in film?
MT: My martial arts is a facet of my getting involved with acting. The actual thought started when I served as a Deputy Sheriff in Memphis, I took acting lessons to be more convincing undercover, so with the local theater group, I performed Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night Dream’ as Puck. My passion grew and 35+ years later, here I am. My career truly utilizes all my experiences.

Me: Awesome!, so out of the hundreds of roles you’ve played, what have your favorites been?
MT: I would have to say definitely RoadHouse for the sheer fact of what that movie was..total 80’s cult bar room fights, and what it took to have what is still one of Hollywood’s top fight scenes.
Monte Walsh is near and dear for the simple fact it encompassed a way of life, highlighting the evolution of the ‘old west’, tremendous cast, scenery, wonderful humor, and a sadness seamlessly combined emotions.
I would also say Last Ounce of Courage for the sentiment and emotion that exudes from my character Bob Revere..a thank you to our military men/women and their families, and for all to realize we have the ability to stand firm in our beliefs, whatever they be.

Me: Are there any roles you wish you didn’t do?
MT: No I don’t. Every show that I have done grows my spirit as an actor.

Me: What is your dream role?
MT: A role that I haven’t done would be a horror film, don’t know why..so I would LOVE to have that opportunity.
As for a ‘dream’ role, there’s a lot of talk of the ‘Johnny Quest’ film currently be written/Directed by Robert Rodriguez. That happens to be one of my favorite animated series, so I would LOVE the opportunity of Race Bannon -some physical similarities. Although, I hear Dwayne Johnson may be interested too…
The other thought of ‘dream’ role, IF the movie Road House ever does get remade, I would want to be considered for either Wade Garrett (nice twist) or the Brad Wesley character..The talk of Road House is of remaking the original which carries a lot of mixed feelings..for RH2 they wanted cameo appearances, that just wasn’t the same-look up the article written on my
http://www.imdb.me/MarshallR.Teague page talks about the redo.

Me: I think it will be awesome if they remake it!, so what are your upcoming/current projects?
MT: Upcoming releases are ‘Road to the Well’ a very dark thriller..it’s looking to go through film festivals before a release period. Film called ‘AmeriGeddon’ is in post production. I have a handful of films that await final financing green lights, so not sure which will go when.

Me: Awesome!, are there any other projects you’re excited about?
MT: There are 2 projects that I am excited about, cannot say much on either one..one is a reality based space game, involves designing conceptual ‘games’ into physical games, based on science, space, teamwork, the other is still waiting to work out details on.

Me: Very awesome!, so is there anything else your fans would be interested in knowing?
MT: Would appreciate you attaching links to the IMDb, FB, Twitter..all be great- facebook.com/Marshall.R.Teague/ twitter.com/marshallrteague

Me: Awesome!, thank you so much for this interview!, it was a true honor since I’ve been a fan
MT: Much appreciated!

Tim Kelly interview

I had the honor of interviewing comedian and podcaster Tim Kelly, check out his stuff-

Me: So my first question is, for those that aren’t familiar with you, tell us some about you and your work(comedy,podcast, etc)
TK: My name is Tim Kelly (@TimKComic on twitter) I’m an open mic comedian from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, I’ve been doing comedy for a year and a half now and hopefully will one day be good at it. My podcast is called The War of the Words podcast (@TWOTWPodcast) and is a free flowing discussion that my co-host Wally Warwick (@TheWallyWarwick) and I have with another comedian guest, I try to keep it as a comic hang instead of an interview format, mostly because I’m a terrible interviewer. We have only been posting episodes sporadically for now, but I hope to get on a weekly schedule soon.

Me: Awesome!, what kind of comedy do you do?, and what’s the premise of the podcast?
TK: My stand up is mostly long-form stories, with a few one liners sprinkled in. I try not to have a premise or meaning to my podcast, mostly, I just have my friends on to discuss comedy and whatever is brought up along the way. We try to keep the podcast light and fun, and make sure the discussion is as free flowing as possible, I like it to feel more like you’re just hanging out with me, rather than being interviewed by me.

Me: I understand that!, comedy is a frequent topic?
TK: Yes, since most of my guests are my friends from comedy and some older comedians the discussion tends toward comedy usually, but comics are always opinionated, so it often spirals into discussions of politics, race, and other social issues of the day.

Me: Very awesome!, where can people find your comedy and podcast?
TK: People can find my comedy on the Southern Ontario open mic scene, as I don’t have any videos yet, and they can check me out on twitter at @TimKComic, my podcast they can check out on twitter at @TWOTWPodcast and they can download it on Itunes or listen to it on Podomatic.com by searching “The War of the Words Podcast” in the comedy category

Me: Ever going to post any comedy vids?
TK: One of theses days, I definitely will, my friend has some of my sets recorded, but he keeps forgetting to send them to me, as soon as I can get the money for a camera, I’m going to start recording all of my sets and posting them though.

Me: We definitely look forward to it!, so what all can we look forward to in the future?
TK: In the near future, I’m going to be trying to put out my podcast on a weekly basis, as right now, I’m only releasing them sporadically, hopefully I can get a camera soon and start uploading the podcasts to YouTube and putting out more content in general, and I’m going to continue to devote myself to becoming a better comedian.

Me: Definitely awesome!, so alot of comedians are in movies, is that something you’ll hopefully do eventually?
TK: That sounds like something that would be awesome and I would love to do, but that kind of thing would be very far in the future, and I would have to have many things go my way for that to happen. Hopefully I will be able to act someday, but right now I’m focusing on becoming relevant as a comic, even if I could act, I would still want my main focus to be my comedy, as it is my true passion.

Me: Very awesome!, is there anything else your fans would be interested in knowing? 
TK: Haha, I’m not sure I’m at a point where I really have fans, but anyone who wants can search “The War of the Words Podcast” on Itunes and on Podomatic.com, also follow my co-host @TheWallyWarwick on twitter and follow my podcast page @TWOTWPodcast on twitter. If anyone is ever in Brantford, Ontario on a Tuesday night, go to club NV at 8PM and check out Comedy Car Crash, which is my buddy Wally’s stand up show, That’s about it.

Me: Well you have followers; thank you so much for this interview!
TK: Thank you sir, it was an honor

Brian W. Collins interview

I had the honor of interviewing title designer, editor, and writer Brian W  Collins, check out all his awesome stuff-

Me: You do horror film reviews?, why horror films?, and where can we find them?
BC: I used to run a daily site called Horror Movie A Day, where I’d watch and review a horror movie every day. I “retired” in 2013 after doing it every day for over 6 years, but I still update a few times a month. I also write occasional reviews for ShockTillYouDrop and have a weekly column on horror at BirthMoviesDeath.com. 

As for WHY, I just always gravitated toward the horror genre. I’ve been watching them since I was 6 years old (very lenient parents!) and find them to be the most entertaining, and at their best, original and daring genre in film. I never planned to be a writer/reviewer, but it just sort of happened, not long after I moved to LA. It’s not how I make a living, but it’s certainly a fun thing to do for a little bit of extra cash, and occasional free blu-rays.

Me: Why the cut back on horror movie a day?
BC: I cut back on Horror Movie A Day because my day job became more time intensive than it was when I started, and that left me with less free time there. That free time was how I caught up on reading, writing, etc, so it got to the point where I wasn’t spending enough time watching movies for the sake of watching them, or writing anything besides my daily reviews. That, plus we wanted to have a baby, and I knew it would never be possible to do it with a little toddler running around, so it had to go.

Me: How did you get connected with shocktilyoudrop and birthmoviesdeath?
BC: Shock used to be run by Ryan Turek, who is a good friend of mine, so I’d write the occasional thing for him. He’s also suggested me for other stuff over the years, but I’m pretty comfortable at my day job, and now with a baby, I can’t take too many risks with my job situation. I’ve been here longer than I’ve known him or anyone else in LA.  As for Birth.Movies.Death, Devin is another friend, and when he was getting ready to launch the site (then called Badass Digest), he asked me to write a weekly piece about horror. I try to do more for them than that (I wrote a lot of Community reviews/articles, for example), because they’re all great writers, and I’m really honored to be a tiny part of the team. 

Me: You consider horror to be the most “Original and daring genre”, which film is the most original and daring and why?, where can we find that review?
BC: I don’t usually think in “most” or “best” terms…no matter what movie I say, someone will say it’s wrong and that some other movie is much more (whatever – daring/original in this case).  Like I could say Serbian Film, and someone will just say Salo is far more daring, well, OK, then it’s Salo, and then someone will say Serbian Film is more daring, and either way, it doesn’t matter – they’re both pretty brutal experiences that you’ll wonder how they got made, so I don’t really have an answer. It’s NOT the Poltergeist remake, I know that much. 

Me: You were the title designer for the “Hatchet” movies, how did you connected with Adam Green?, and what was it like working with him?
BC: HE IS A MONSTER. Kidding. I actually met him when I was volunteering for a film festival called Screamfest that happens every October here in LA. The first Hatchet showed there one year and I introduced myself after the movie because I knew from the film he was a fellow MA native, so I was stoked someone from my neck of the woods had made a kickass slasher movie. By the time Hatchet II came along, we had become pals thanks to a lot of mutual friends like Ryan Turek (former editor of ShockTillYouDrop, now a Blumhouse exec), and since making credits for TV shows was my day job, I almost half-jokingly asked if I could do the credits on the movie, and he said yes. I had also PA’d for a couple days on it, so I actually got two credits on the movie.  Take THAT, Danielle Harris.

He’s great to work for. Obviously my contributions were limited at best, but from what I saw, he was very collaborative and also knew what he wanted. I’ve been on other sets where the director seemed like he was unprepared for what he was shooting, which led to a lot of delays, but there was none of that on Hatchet II. You’d be surprised how much of the movie was shot in just those 3 days I was there. I almost got to be in it, sort of – they needed Crowley’s shadow to go across Danielle’s face, and they didn’t want to have Kane do it himself since he was still getting makeup put on, and I’m about Kane’s height, so they almost had me do it, but one of the stunt guys did it instead. I was crushed! 

Me: You mentioned appearing on film, you also appeared in “Dead in America” and “Infected”, tell us about those
BC: Dead in America was our student film from film school; half the class worked on one movie (Dead in America), half the class worked on another that never got finished, far as I know. I was the editor and I played a few zombies in it. It taught me a lot, and helped me cement my decision to focus on editing instead of directing or whatever.  Infected is a short film that I played the monster and helped edit. I am a shitty actor (as I’m sure the directors of both shorts will attest), but I was the only one the director knew who would work for free and was big enough to play an imposing monster. In human form, the character is played by AJ Bowen, so that was pretty cool. I had to get my torso plaster-casted for it, and I swore off ever doing it again (at least, for no pay hahaha).

Me: You also worked with Adam on Hatchet III and fairy tale police, what was your involvement in those?
BC: Hatchet III I just did the titles.  For Fairy Tale Police, I shot a bunch of behind the scenes stuff and edited a little making of piece that was originally supposed to be released along with FTP itself on Xbox, but it ended up just showing on Youtube. Was a fun shoot, I miss doing shit like that, but again, time/baby keeps me from doing so.

Me: You’re also an editor and have worked for NBC, what have you have edited for them?
BC: I don’t edit for them in the traditional sense, I just do the credits at the end of the shows. It’s technically editing since I use an Avid, but it’s all very technical, not much creativity in the process. Doing movies and short films on the side is where I usually get to have a little more fun. The job has other perks however – free parking at Universal is a very nice thing to have.  Very easy commute too!, and on Fridays, we get bagels. All very important things to me. Any regular editing I do is at home, freelance gigs.

Me: Do you have any interested in making your own movie?
BC: I used to, but when I made a short film in college, I realized quickly that I would probably not be the best director. I have a tough time explaining what I want and I also have control issues – I’d be the asshole telling actors exactly how to say lines and grabbing the camera from the operator to shoot something myself. So I gravitated more toward editing, because it allows you to input creative ideas without having to deal with all the micro-managing that I’d be terrible at.  Plus you can move on when you’re having trouble; if you’re cutting scene 23 and it’s just not working for you, you can just go work on scene 24 and worry about it later – can’t really do that when you’re directing!, I’ve always loved doing jigsaw puzzles, and editing is kind of like assembling a really big one, albeit with more flexibility. 

Me: Have you considered 2nd unit director?, like some editors do
BC: Nah, I wouldn’t be any better at 2nd unit directing than I was at 1st unit, hahaha. I directed a short in 2002 and it came out awful. It is not in my skill set.

Me: You mentioned loving editing because it’s like a jigsaw, is that your favorite part?
BC: It’s fun to get all that footage and start making something out of it. Like you get these 10 minute clips of people saying the same four lines over and over, and it’s boring, right?, but then you start cutting it up and making the scene out of it, and suddenly, it’s this entertaining element of a movie someone will love. That’s awesome. Plus, you’re largely free of the on-set bullshit that can make filmmaking such a chore – actors hiding in their trailers, sun coming up… all that stuff is in the past and now you get to just put the movie together. 

Me: What are your current/upcoming projects?
BC: Right now, I am working on finishing up Horror Movie A Day: The Book (I know, creative title), which will be a year’s worth of horror recommendations. Not all obscure stuff, but more in that vein – I didn’t want to be like “You should see The Shining!” because every horror book says that (and rightfully so). If you haven’t seen The Shining yet, I won’t be the one to convince you. So it’s mostly indie/foreign/DTV stuff that stuck out for one reason or another over the 6 years I was watching a horror movie every day. If all goes to plan, that will be out before the end of the year (perfect holiday gift!), for Kindles and such, but hopefully we can get a small print run too. 

Me: What all can we expect from you in the future?
BC: Besides the book, in the future, you will hopefully see more updates to HMAD; not daily anymore of course, but hopefully at LEAST once a week, preferably every 3 days or so, because of the book, I’ve let it slide; there are some months with only like 2 new reviews, and that’s no good, and also, once it’s done, I can start doing longer/more intensive installments of my Collins Crypt column at Birth.Movies.Death, and contributing other things to the site, but I also already have an idea for another book that will take a lot of research and movie viewing, guess we will see how this first one is received before deciding to plunge into another. 

Me: Thank you so much for this interview!
BC: Thanks

Sam Lyon interview

I had the honor of interviewing artist
Sam Lyon, check out all her awesome stuff!-

Me: So my first question is, for those that aren’t familiar with you, tell us some about you and your art
SL: I started painting a few years ago. I’m self-taught and began to experiment after living in Australia, where I was lucky enough to watch some Aboriginal artists at work. Their talent was really inspirational, and I fell in love with their techniques and style. I paint with acrylics, and I do a lot of Aboriginal-style art, but I also paint some abstract. Everything I do tends to be really colorful and cheerful.

Me: Awesome!, what gave you the opportunity to learn from aboriginals?
SL: I went to Australia on a working holiday visa, and was able to visit Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. There are lots of craft fairs and touristy areas where incredibly talented Aboriginal artists share their art and paint right in front of you. It was really breathtaking how they could create masterpieces in no time at all!

Me: That’s definitely awesome!, and that inspired you to start doing your own?
SL: Definitely! There is just so much to their art; it isn’t just about the images, but about the meaning behind the images. Every single animal or symbol had a special meaning. In particular, I found dot painting therapeutic. You can just let your mind wander and enjoy the detail.

Me: Very awesome!, so what are your current/upcoming projects?
SL: Right now, I’m working on one or two commissions. Aside from that, I have an exhibition coming up in Loughborough Town Hall, starting in January and running for about four months. It’s with the Sockette gallery – a place for emerging artists. It’s my first exhibition, so I’m thrilled.

Me: Awesome!, that’s in the middle of England?, will it be a solo exhibit?
sL: Yes, Midlands, right near Leicester. They usually exhibit more than one artist, but currently, I’m not sure who else will be displaying their work.

Me: Very awesome!, it’s your first exhibit?, can we look forward to more?
SL: Yes. It’s my very first exhibit, and I’m half excited, half petrified. Hopefully there will be more to come!, I’m keeping an eye out for galleries that actively support and encourage emerging artists.

Me: I’m sure you’ll do great!, and you said you also do commission work?
SL: I do commissioned paintings every now and then, usually when someone sees one of my paintings but wants a slightly different color, etc. I always enjoy it; it’s a collaborative effort! It’s just lovely and humbling whenever anyone wants one of your paintings.

Me: Very awesome!, what all can we look forward to in the future?
SL: I’ll just keep painting away and work towards further exhibitions. I’m constantly putting work into my blog (https://samlyonart.wordpress.com) and keeping up with social media (Facebook and Twitter @samlyonart). The online artistic community is always so supportive and helpful!

Me: Very awesome!, is there anything else your fans would be interested in knowing?
SL: Awe, fans, you’re so generous!, I’d just like to add that I’m planning on moving in the next year, so I need to find a loving home for all my unsold paintings that are currently shut away in my spare room. If anyone would like one, I’d be happy to bargain on price. 

Me: Very awesome!, we definitely look forward to seeing what becomes of your art!, so one last question, what’s your favorite kind of art to do?
SL: I only ever paint acrylic on stretched canvas, and I love either painting animals or landscapes, like trees, leaves and flowers, but I appreciate such a varied range of art, and I really envy artists who are good with oil!

Me: Have you tried oil?
SL: I have, and I wasn’t incredibly successful! I’d love to give it another go, though.

Me: Thank you so much for this interview!
SL: My pleasure completely!

Nicholas Ely interview

I had the honor of interviewing artist and actor Nicholas Ely, check out all his awesome stuff, and his website-

Me: So my first question is, for those not familiar with you, tell us some about you and your art
NE: I am an Australian graphic designer, but I regularly work with 3d and traditional illustration too. I like weird, new and awesome, if anything can tick all three boxes, that’s a bingo. I make a lot of theatrical posters, and while they’re pretty diverse stylistically, I’m always striving to capture a renowned theme or icon from the script in an amusing, ironic or interesting way.

Me: Awesome!, what all movies have you been involved in?
NE: My posters are mostly for live action theatrical productions, so stage plays and things like that, though I have worked from time to time as an actor, in small roles on Australian TV.

Me: You did graphic design on a short called the majestic garden?, what all did that entail?
NE: That was a children’s TV pilot, and I was hired to design the show’s print and packaging collateral for distribution.

Me: That would’ve been awesome if it had’ve been picked up!, and actingwise, you were in deadline gallipoli and the hit series danger 5 this year?
NE: Yes, I had a scene with Hannibal’s Hugh Dancy, just him and me, chatting about a clipboard, so that was pretty thrilling!, but I also found myself sitting in a tent with Game of Thrones’ Charles Dance at one point, and it turns out he was a graphic designer for about three weeks at the start of his career. I got quite lost in conversation with him about contemporary poster design on the West End, he just was the nicest man. Oh yes, Danger 5!, they blew my head up, so that’s checked off my bucket list – had head exploded on Danger 5.

Me: Sounds pretty awesome!, what have you done theaterwise?
NE: I’ve done all sorts of different shows as an actor-Shakespeare, Chekhov, dusty drawing room dramas, I was even in a production of the Ring Cycle once. I’ve designed and built sets, or visuals for sets, I’ve designed promotional material and posters, I’ve managed and maintained venues, I’ve worked front of house and admin. I like to think of myself as a company man, you know, someone who was happy to do whatever was in the company’s interest, but I have much less energy than I used to, so I much prefer the quiet and solitude of my work now.

Me: So you’ve done it all?, have you done writing and producing?, and does working all of those help with the design and arts side you’re on now?
NE: That might be true to say, but not all of it particularly well!, I wrote a lot when I was in my early twenties, and the more I wrote, the more I disliked writing. I filled out a few arts grants before, so maybe I could spin the producer too, but I won’t!, because I know what producers actually do, and I don’t ever want to do that.

I’m not sure. Those years profoundly influenced the person I am today, so in that sense, it doesn’t merely help, it almost entirely defines my work today, but not necessarily because I trust the person I am. There’s nothing wrong with rejecting your traditions.

Me: I see, so we mentioned 2 acting projects and constant artwork, there any other current/upcoming projects?
NE: No, nothing immediately. Honestly, I prefer the down-time when I just get to create artwork for my online stores.

Me: Definitely worth checking out!, what all can people buy from you?
NE: I produce print-on-demand artwork. It’s usually applied to a range of products, clothing and stationery, like iPhone cases, greeting cards, wall art, t-shirts, etc. All this work is available through my shop at http://www.nicholasely.com/shop

Me: Definitely awesome!, is there anything else your fans would be interested in knowing?
NE: Every time they buy my work, I move that little bit closer to eating actual food.
Me: That’s how you make your living!, thank you so much for this interview!
NE: Thank you Bryan, great to meet you. 

Games and graphics interview

I had the honor of interviewing the podcast team of games and graphics, check out their stuff-

Me: So my first question is, for those that aren’t familiar with you, tell us some about each of you and your podcast
B@tman- I am the most unhelpful, lazy, drunk, and greatest superhero around……I am the Justice League. I am the Creator/Host of the show, and I spend a lot of time keeping my co-host Ghost out of trouble while always having to remind Bob Gordan I’m not a janitor. For me, the guy under the brandy reeking cowl, I am just the everyday working Joe, and a proud father.
Ghostfayse- My personality on the show is Ghostfayse, who is always a bit stabby, and needing to be kept out of trouble by my Co-host B@tman. As for the man behind the mask, I’m just an every day college student and huge nerd who is studying criminal justice, hoping to graduate in a couple of semesters.
Romag- I am the old guy of the group. I am the editor/producer, and sometimes guest host of the show. I am also a contributing writer of a new magazine coming out in the U.K. called The Indie Project.
B & G- Games and Graphics is a show all about comics, video games, movies, all things of nerd media, and of course, having a good time. We review these things while giving honest opinions. We have a unique since of humor that we try to showcase on almost every episode.

Me: So Romag mentioned a magazine, so we can see the people behind this podcast, what do you all work on apart from this show?
B@tman- Outside of the show I work in shoe wholesale (haha, yeah, just call me Al Bundy), and father to a 4 and 3 year old. I do a lot of research for the show (mostly for site set up at the moment), and set up the interviews. Ghost and I work out most of the skits, either while at work or while we chat it up playing a game. Aside from that at the moment, I am currently working on a comic book story. I have the concept and set up already in mind just trying to get it scripted out.
Ghostfayse killa- Outside of the podcast, I am a college student. I work a part time job in retail (ahhhh, somebody save me!!!!). I do not have much time to be working on any other projects at the moment. The podcast is really my escape and where all of my creative passion is focused right now. I do have some ideas cooking up for the comedy portion of our show though, and I believe that they will showcase our brand of humor. We have talked about creating a website or blog for the podcast as well, so that may be the next big project in the works for all of us. After 23 episodes (not including interviews) and episode 24 recorded, we are throwing around the idea of doing a best of episode, but that is really more in the hands of our editor Romag.
Romag- Outside of the show, I am a postal worker (aka your friendly neighborhood mail man) ,and proud father of 3 children ranging from 19 to 4. I am also the uncle of b@tman and ghostfayce. We have a pretty tight nit family, and I would like to think that I am partially responsible for their warped sense of humor. 

Me: @B@tman-What can you tell us about the comic book?

@Ghost-What is your major?, and will it help with the show?

@Romag-What can you tell us about the magazine?

B@tman- I would love to tell you a lot about the project, but it is still in the works. I’m keeping under the hat for the most part until I really have it fleshed out. What I can tell you is it is a unique tale based on a very old story, and just from general feedback from the guys, I think it could be good. I wish I could go into further detail on the project.
Ghostfayse Killa- My major is Criminal Justice, and I’m close to graduating. I do not think that my major will help with the show. My personality on the show is about a far from law enforcement as you can get, but it allows for a creating outlet. The show for me started out as a hobby that ballooned into something I became passionate and look forward to every week.
Romag- The magazine is called “The Indie Project Quarterly” and it is about the indie comics, game, and music scene. In a nutshell, it’s an underground magazine celebrating all things indie.  There are a lot of talented artists, writers, and comics creators who collaborated to bring the magazine into being, and the best part is, it’s totally free on drivethrucomics,com. Rees Finlay, creator of Damnation and High Priestess comics, is the mind responsible for The Indie Project Quarterly, and deserves a lot of credit for the magazine coming together. I have heard a lot of good feedback about the magazine and my article since it’s release, and I hope to write many more for it in the months and years to come.

Me: All awesome things!, now onto the show!, tell us some about your upcoming/current projects
B@tman- Yes, we are currently working out the details on starting up a domain of our own, where we can put the shows up, and place links to the things we talk about on the show. Also, add new elements to the show with B@t-rants, and additional stuff from Ghost and Romag. The idea of the best of show is to take all the comedy bits from all the shows we have done so far, and compiling them into one episode for the folks that haven’t heard the show from the beginning. Sort of a way for everyone to catch up with all the running jokes in the show. We also have an interview with the guys from Mulan Revelations we are very excited about.

Me: All awesome stuff!, for those that don’t know, what’s Mulan revelations?, and when/where can we catch your interview?
B@tman- Mulan Revelations is an intriguing tale of suspense and magic. The story really pulls you in and the art work is amazing. It is published by Dark Horse Comics, created by Robert Alter, scripted by Marc Andreyko, and art by Micah Kaneshiro. The interview came out on Aug 27, and should be out to listen to in a few days later. You can catch the interview on gamesandgraphics.podomatic.com, stitcher radio, or iTunes. You can keep up with whats going on with the show on our Facebook page or our twitters- @gamesandgraphis @therealcrasus @des2v1.

Me: So it’s like a comic book that does interviews?
Ghostfayse- Haha not exactly, the interview is with the creator Robert Alter and the writer Marc Andreyko

Me: Ooo, awesome!, so what all can we expect from you in the future?
Ghostfayse- Well nobody can really predict the future, a year from now, I would hope that the show is still going strong. I hope, that in that time, that the show grows, and that the three of us grow as hosts. I can say that in the near future, that we will be trying to contact Mr. Eric Powel ,creator of the well known comic The Goon, for an interview. The last weekend in September, B@tman and Ghostfayse will be attending the Wizard World Comic Con in Nashville, TN, and we will be doing an episode about that for sure.

Me: Comiccon is definitely an awesome event to be going to!, will this be the first event for you all?
B@tman- It should definitely be a lot of fun. Yes, this will be the first comiccon either of us will have been able to attend. So we really look forward to going.

Me: Definitely awesome!, so more of you guys, more interviews, and events, definitely alot to look forward to!,
Is there anything else your fans would be interested in knowing?
Romag – I will be writing more articles for The Indie Project Quarterly, as well as working with the guys on the show.  Snookie Pimp will be doing 3 segments interchangeably on the show. One will be Dear Snookie, where twitter followers can ask for love advice from the love master himself. Snookie Starts Internet Rumors, which is exactly what it sounds like, and What If Snookie Wrote It. This will be childrens stories which have been pimpified by Snookie.  Also, I am developing a new podcast called The Mail Man’s Survival Guide to the Galaxy, where I discuss some heavier topics with a humorous touch.  We would like to remind fans of the show just how much we appreciate them and their support. We really do love you guys, and we hope you continue to enjoy the show!

Me: Alot going on!, thank you so much for this interview!
B@tman- Thank you having us.

Mat Edwards interview

I had the honor of interviewing Mat Edwards of the Crabitat channel, check out his YouTube-

Me: So my first question is, for those that aren’t familiar with you, tell us some about you and crabitat
Mat: Hello Bryan, I can happily tell you a little of myself and my crabitat. I am married, white, male, and living in the Goldfields Western Australia, working as a mine geologist in the mining industry.  I graduated from Curtin University in Perth with a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Geology. After working for low hourly wages for several years after completing year 12, it was a blessing to be able to return to study, emerging myself in the nature of the Earth, life that exists here, and the processes by which the solid Earth is changing. Film has always been an interest, and several times I toyed with the idea of studying film, and briefly experimented with filming motocross after year 12 studies during the Crusty Demons of Dirt evolution. Recently, I have found myself in a financial situation to return to my keen interest in filming. After an impulsive purchase of some hermit crabs at the start of 2014, I found myself browsing through YouTube hermit crab content that I thought was missing insight into the potential of a crabitat. I was searching for the best crabitats out there, and found for the most part, they were not really replicating the natural habitat of a hermit crab. Most people are keeping hermit crabs in glass aquariums that are expensive to buy, if a considerable size. I wanted to build a larger crabitat that would have multiple levels and a glass aquarium was just not going to be the way to go about it. Fast Forward to today and I have two large 750 gallon enclosures. Later in the year, I will start filming the second season of The Crabitat, which showcases the hermit crabs I keep in a fictitious story. I found the best platform to share my work was YouTube, where I have done the majority of voice-over with my daughter and son, and the end result is The Crabitat Channel.

Me: So people were missing out on seeing how crabs should be naturally?, how did the stories come about?, what inspired those?

Mat: Yeah mate, I reckon that’s right, I’d say these little guys get up to some amazing stuff in nature that they just don’t have a chance to do when kept in a small cage or tank. I do see a lot of information out there now though, and it’s easy to jump online and see what a hermit crab needs. The story came about after filming and being really surprised with the amount of detail the digital cameras can zoom into. I just did a bunch of filming and decided to edit the film into a story which eventuated into the first episode of the season. I thought it would be pretty fun to turn it into a series as I figured talking hermit crabs hadn’t really been done before, and I’m usually pretty keen to try new stuff. I was pretty impressed with their acting skills as well, they are a pleasure to work with. The problem with filming in the crabitat though is the limited space. That’s where the idea of the gateway came about, which ultimately opens the crabitat up to an under-explored land. Growing up, I read and played a bit of fantasy-type stuff like dungeons and dragons and warhammer fantasy battle, so the stories are no doubt influenced by that, and inspired by great movie making talents such as Peter Jackson.

Me: Awesome!, and you’ve gotten great responses, are you surprised at how much of a response you’ve gotten?

Mat: Some great responses indeed, with my favorite being ‘lookout Merkat
Manor, Hermit Crabs are in the House!, and generally really positive
responses. I tried to keep the videos viewable for anyone who keeps
hermit crabs, which is quite difficult, and may sacrifice some appeal
to any one age group, but absolutely, I was really happy with the response
I got. I knew there were a lot of people out there who keep hermit
crabs, all over the world it seems hermit crabs are a pet that people
tend to have a try at for a period of time. Only the real dedicated
ones are successful at it, because keeping them is tricky. So with
all the hermit crabs out there, I’m not surprised that people will
scroll through YouTube looking for hermit crab content. I really
believe the Crabitat Channel has a potential to grow basically to the
number of hermit crab keepers out there or more, and that is anyone’s

Me: Awesome!, so other than crabitat, what do you do?
Mat: With regard to time away from work, I actually work an 8/6 roster, so I work for eight days and then have 6 days of theoretical rest and
relaxation. This is a typical roster of the mining industry, but many
others exist that are designed to keep the mines running 24/7. Living
residentially in the Goldfields in a town of a few thousand people
means it’s really quiet except for all the motorbikes buzzing around.
I’m planning to get quad bikes for my wife and kids when the kids are
a little bigger, and that will be a something we can really enjoy as a
family. My daughter started kindergarten this year and won a merit
certificate, so I’m really proud and enjoying seeing her learning new
things everyday. My son has just started to get comfortable on his
feet and I reckon he’ll be pretty good at sports, it’s an exciting and
fun time. With regard to the Crabitat Channel, I also do vlogs,
how-to’s, and I am taking a trip once a year to capture footage of
hermit crabs in remote locations. This is then made into a documentary-type series. The current series is the remote hermit crab
location of Coco’s Island, and I’m about halfway through that series.
The next trip is likely going to be the Okinawan Islands of Japan.

Me: So you’re a small town family man who just happens to be popular with crab videos?
Mat: Yeah mate, that pretty much sums me up, lol, just stumbled across a bit of stardom by making a few crab videos!, but honestly, the YouTube community is great to be a part of, I’m getting to know a few of the other channels. I got a 3rd place in Jesse Ridgway’s movie making competition, which is run on his McJuggerNuggets channel, a very popular USA channel. So while I’m having fun making videos, I’ll continue to do it, and it seems the viewers like a good laugh too, with many of the popular content on YouTube being comedy driven. I reckon that’s what the viewers are after, perhaps I’ll shorten the videos in season 2 of the Crabitat and focus more on comical value.  A wonderful thing about YouTube is it has an awesome analytics, so I can concentrate on what works, and optimize it through audience retention data.

Me: You mentioned season 2 being shorter and more comical, how else will season 2 differ from season 1?
Mat: Well that’s a good question, because I have a rough plot, but it’s time to start breaking it out into episodes. It’s a case of writing it so
it can be somewhat fluid with what the hermit crabs do. I’m keen to
have another animal or two make a guest appearance. Also, there will
be filming outside the Crabitat again, and will no doubt expand to
include the Forest and the dwellers there. The Nemchin, which are
freshwater crayfish, will be potentially there again. There will also
be a similar hermit crab cast, with the characters from the first
season carrying on. The problem I had in the first season, and the
reason so many hermit crabs were introduced, is because they would
burrow down and I would literally lose my actors!, to combat that, I
have made a holding tank where I will keep them for the duration it
takes to capture the footage.  Definitely, I see it being more refined,
especially the sound quality and general post-production.

Me: Do animals make it hard to keep continuity?
Mat: I think they have their challenges, as I mentioned, the hermit crabs
need to moult, so they will burrow down and may stay under the
substrate to shed their exoskeleton from anywhere from a few weeks to
4 months for the bigger guys. I did struggle a little when my main
bad guy, his name is Wallace, decided to change out of his shell into
a more comfortable one. This was a disaster, as hermit crabs are near
impossible to get out of a shell. They will basically prefer to be
ripped in half rather than give up a shell they like. So I had to
leave him in the new one and try to get another similar looking
crustacean to take up residence in his old one. I had no success with
this, and the Wallace’s shell is still unoccupied, that’s the reason
he didn’t feature prominently in the second half of the first season.
Actually, all the footage of him in the last episodes are some of the
first filming I did. I really like that shell, I’m going to have to get another crabby in it to truly play the role of Wallace.

Me: Is that something most people notice though?
Mat: Yeah, I think so, people would certainly find it hard to follow a story
with sudden missing characters and shell changes. At one stage, the
whole project was teetering on the edge of the too hard basket, because I really wanted to have continuity of characters, and it took a
while longer to film it than I anticipated, with the holding pen I
have now, I wont have this problem.

Me: I see, I don’t know alot about crab shells personally, they’ve changed which actors have played a TV character on other TV shows!, TV shows replace major characters, like Darrin on bewitched was played by 2 different actors, I’m sure a different crab can play Wallace!, lol

Mat: I see, yeah that’s right, and Sammy Senior was played by Harlequin in
‘Alchemy’ the final of S01. You can see the chip that Sammy Senior had in his shell is gone in that episode. Harlequin has a very similar color to Sammy Senior, and his walk and shell are also similar, but without the chip, but I did give Harlequin recognition in the
credits. It was a cold night when we filmed those final Orange Island
scenes, so he definitely deserved to go in the credits, but as for Wallace, I would happily put a different different colored crustacean in Wallace’s shell between seasons, or even have a different crustacean with a different shell playing the Wallace character, but
to do that mid-season for no apparent reason is what I want to avoid
having to do.

Me: I see, so is the future of Wallace up in the air?, if so, how will you write him out of the script?
Mat: It will depend if I can get another crustacean to take up residence in
his shell, which I’m optimistic in being able to do. I have not
considered how I would write him out of the script, if that becomes
necessary, I’ll deal with that situation if it arises, but I’ll be doing all I can to get a crustacean in the Wallace shell, even if I have to ask the local pet shop if I can leave his shell in their tank, that would mean a sale of a hermit crab for them, so they’d probably
be OK with that.

Me: Well we definitely look forward to seeing what will happen!, so other than the future of Wallace, what all can we expect from you in the future?
Mat: I envisage the Crabitat continuing for a few seasons, and I hope to grow the Crabitat Channel to the number 1 hermit crab location online, so alot is planned on just building the channel into a formidable YouTube channel, it is linked to my website thecrabitatchannel.com ,where I have made the episodes available for download. There will be merchandize available there soon, some stickers and a few other bits and pieces. The focus will be mostly on video production on YouTube, I think the future is bright at YouTube, with many people surfing there and using it as a search engine. I am also interested in interactive video, so at some stage down the track, I may try to branch into that. The other thing is gaming applications, I’d like to make a Crabitat game, I already have a few nifty ideas for that, so it’s something that may eventually evolve as well. 

Me: Awesome!, merchandize this fall?, what all can we expect?
Mat: Not a massive variation of items, but I will make some t-shirts
available, there will be some sticker kits, I’ll do a few hats, and
possibly look at a couple of specialty items like mugs or a hoodie.
Actually, the first batch of stickers came through from the states and
they look great!, I’ll be showing those in an upcoming vlog with the
t-shirt that’ll be available. Most likely, for a starting point, I’ll
do a basic white tee with Sammy Junior on it, similar to the one
that’s available for the monthly giveaway. The monthly giveaway is a
question I post at the start of each month about season one, and the
first correct answer posted can choose a Crabitat Channel t-shirt. So
far, they have been snapped up by United States residents, the U.S.
makes up the highest percentage of the subscribers at present.

Me: We look forward to all the stuff!, why do you think the US watches most?, you live in Australia?
Mat: Yeah great, thanks!, I do live in Australia, and I guess it’s just a numbers game with 23 million in Australia and 320 million in the US. My latest subscriber report showed Australia second, then Brazil, UK, Canada, Mexico, and Japan, so Australia is showing some support in front of some big countries. That’s the great thing about YouTube, it is really popular everywhere. I try to add captions after I upload a video, which can be done on YouTube, and they can be translated into over 100 languages, so that’s an awesome feature, I’m a few videos behind at the moment, so I’ll spend an afternoon adding subtitles in the coming days.

Me: It’s awesome you get support everywhere!, is there anything else your fans would be interested in knowing?
Mat: Anyone can contact me anytime through youtube.com/c/thecrabitatchannel ,I’m on twitter- Happy Days @thecrabitat ,also on Instagram- matedwards_thecrabitatchannel ,so numerous ways to get in contact. I post more personal stuff on instagram, whereas on twitter, I post a lot of statistics from YouTube, such as subscriber counts and view trends. My base website has a video editing service too, so anyone needing a holiday edited, a sporting event, or any footage edited, can go to the film editing link at http://www.thecrabitatchannel.com/ and I can arrange a quote, which is calculated from a ratio of raw footage to final product. Also, anyone that is interested in collaborations, cross promotions, has their own song that they want promoted, etc, can contact me and certainly I’m open to these things. I used a lot of purple-planet music in the first season and it was really great, their feel and variation was perfect for what I’m doing, but I’d like to add an independent artist or two into the mix as well. 

Me: Awesome!, what collaborations, cross promotions, and whatnot have you done so far?
Mat: I have done a couple of collaboration videos with smaller channels, which was really fun. Thomas Brown featured the Crabitat Channel on his latest Moving My Tank – TVR Road Trip 2.0 video, he has an aquarium channel with a bunch of interesting stuff. Currently, I’m doing weekly #MMM videos for McJuggerNuggets channel, this is a really fun competition where he nominates a video theme and anyone can make a video on it for the required length and rules, it lasts a week, and the videos are uploaded to YouTube under the #MMM(weekly number), he will choose winners and do shout outs, really cool and a great way to get exposure, I thought this was a great initiative from him, I reckon there’s probably room for this competition to grow too. 

Me: Very awesome!, thank you so much for this interview!
Mat: You’re welcome, it was fun!

Blair Bathory interview

I had the honor of interviewing Blair Bathory, hostess of Fear HAUS and indie filmmaker, check out her stuff-

Me: So my first question is, for those that aren’t familiar with you or the show, tell us some about you and the show
BB: So, FEAR HAUS is a weekly online show that showcases independent short horror films. The curator and creator of the show, is me, Blair Bathory. I have been creating original content within the genre since 2012. Along with hosting FH, I also write and direct. Plus, this year, I will be hosting The Spooky Empire International Horror Film Festivals. One of the many events I hope to haunt in the coming months. 

Me: Awesome!, and how do you find such great shorts?
BB: Initially, I reached out to my friends that I know have amazing films. Of course, most of them were thrilled at the idea of having a horror hostess introducing their work. At this point, I have over 50 filmmakers signed up to be on FEAR HAUS. I have found them through several outlets, which is initially how the idea of FH came to me. I wanted to create a centralized location for such great films. (There’s so many out there!) 

Now, I have people sending me their films randomly, but I am constantly on the look-out for more potential victims. 

Me: Definitely awesome!, so there are currently 7 episodes up?, but more coming September 2nd?
BB: Yes, we have shot seven episodes and an interview with Director Brian Lonano. (More interviews to come.) 
September 2nd, we will be back, deader than ever, with a film from Jerry Pyle! 

Me: Brian Lonano being the director of the transmission?, and Jerry Pyle directed service?
BB: That’s right!, Brian directed The Transmission, and I will be introducing ‘Service’ by Jerry Pyle. 

Me: Awesome!, so your current/upcoming projects are more episodes and more interviews, any other treats?
BB: Oh you never know what I’ve been conjuring!, I have several narrative projects in the works and a potential collaboration with a well known horror director. 

Me: Definitely alot to look forward to!, so you’ve been making your own films since 2012?, can they be found anywhere?
BB: Yes, you can find ‘First Date: A Modern Love Story’ on Youtube and Vimeo, and ‘Kitty, Kitty’ will be made public at the end of this year. 

Me: And you also did second unit for followed?
BB: Yes I did. A loooong time ago. 

Me: 2011, but definitely worth your fans checking out!, so the show will be back on September 2nd, interviews to follow, but next year or later, what can we expect from you or the show?
BB: Next year, I hope to be on my way to directing a feature length horror film. Hopefully, FEAR HAUS will have a much bigger audience and perhaps a new home, other than Youtube. ​

Me: Awesome!, do you have a script?, and new home, as in your own website?
BB: I do! I really can’t wait to see it come to fruition. For now, I can’t say much, but FEAR HAUS has a lot in store for it. Wherever we end up, I want to help independent filmmakers get their work seen! 

Me: Definitely alot to look forward to!, is there anything else your fans would be interested in knowing?
BB: Of course!, I think i’ll be sticking to the horror genre until the day I die again. Part of the black magic that is FEAR HAUS is that it’s an open forum. People can comment on each episode and let the filmmakers know what they think of their work. I really want to encourage people to start engaging in the series. 

Also, I am so thankful for the people that have been watching the series thus far. I’m so glad I can contribute to your nightmares. 

Me: Definitely!, thank you so much for this interview!
BB: Not a problem. Thank you for the opportunity.