October Spotlight: Eileen Dietz

Posted on October 9, 2020 in Spotlight

Our October spotlight features a true Horror Movie Guru, Eileen Dietz, best known for her appearances in many horror films such as the face of the demon in The Exorcist and for her portrayal of characters on the soap operas Guiding Light and General Hospital. Here she reflects back on a career that has spanned decades and looks ahead to some upcoming projects.

1. Growing up in New York City, you were first introduced to acting alongside your twin sister Marianne DeFossey, acting in various commercials. What was this type of childhood like? Did your parents push you to pursue this career?
My Dad worked in advertising. A print job came up and they needed babies for a detergent ad. He used my me, my Mom and my twin sister Marianne for the ad. And that was it for Marianne and my Mom.  My first memory of wanting to be an actress was when I was 7 years old. Marianne never was interested in the performing arts. My Mom took us to see a Broadway presentation of PETER PAN and we were seated in the first row of the balcony in the theatre.  I thought that if I jumped onto the stage, I could be one of the lost boys in the show. But then I thought if I missed the stage I could fall into the audience so I nixed that idea and fell asleep. 

2. Your TV debut came at the young age of nineteen in a small guest-role in The Doctors. What was this first experience like? 
My first TV role, The Doctors was really scary. I had only one line and I kept repeating it to myself over and over until it was time to shoot. I thought I would forget the one line but it was fine and led to me working on other soap operas with loads and loads of dialogue. A study in contrasts. 

Headshot from Steambath

3. In the late ’60s to early ’70s you acted in many theatre productions – Steambath and Ontological Proof of My Existence – to name a few. With a background in theatre, what was it like being able to flex these skills on stage? 
I loved doing theatre in NYC. I acted in Steambath with Tony Perkins and Hector Elizondo and it was a hoot. We changed the lead three times and Tony ended up playing the lead himself. The only reason I got cast was because they had fired the other girl and needed someone right away and I was available on a Sunday afternoon. Taught me to this day about always being available by phone and in person. Acting in Ontological Proof of My Existence led to me being cast in The Exorcist  Agents saw me in the show and called me the next day and asked if I would like to audition for a film called The Exorcist and the rest as they say was history.  

The Exorcist

4. In 1973, you were cast in The Exorcist. What was this casting process like? 
The casting sessions for The Exorcist were intense but lots of fun. I met with the casting director, Juliet Taylor, and she handed me the Exorcist novel to read and asked me to come back and do an improvisation for her. I read it feverishly and of course it knocked my socks off. But how was I to play a demon?  I ran to the library and got pictures of wild animals, went home and turned off the lights and lit candles and proceeded to roar and growl. Went back to casting and did an improvisation of both Pazuzu and the little girl in a possession scene. Casting loved it but wanted me to lose a few pounds (I was very thin and androgenous but the little girl I was to possess was even smaller) . I wrapped myself in saran wrap and peddled my bike around Central Park for days to lose the weight.  After the next casting session, I was asked to meet Billy Freidkan the director, Dick Smith, the Godfather of makeup and Linda Blair who was to play Regan. Shortly after that I went to Dick’s studio, an adventure in itself, and he made a cast of my face to see if I could look like the demon possessed Regan. I then did a screen test and again played Pazuzu and the little girl on the bed and the crew brought out a foot long paper mache crucifix to act with, haha.  I got the part. 

Legendary Makeup Artist Dick Smith applying makeup and hose for infamous vomit scene.
Eileen in the Exorcist

5. At the time, did you know how influential the film would be? What do you most enjoy about being a part of such a legendary film?
We had no idea that THE EXORCIST would be such a big hit, the scariest movie of all time. We thought we were just making a horror film. They closed the set and swore everyone to secrecy.  Even Dick Smith was not allowed to take photographs.  They would not let anyone in the theatre once the film began.  Long lines ensued which the press picked up and printed photos of people waiting to get in. The press also reported people vomited and fainted in the aisles. The reviews were fantastic, The Exorcist became a bona fide hit. I am proud to say my portrayal of the demon Pazuzu became the scariest part of the film. One of the best things about acting in projects is to make people feel something and for audiences to be able to relate to the characters you are playing even if you scare them to death.  And how wonderful that The Exorcist is still the scariest movie of all time decades later. 

Eileen and Chris

6. After almost 50 years and so many credits, your role as Pazuzu is still one of your most well-known parts. How has The Exorcist shaped your life and career?
First and foremost, shooting The Exorcist, many, many years later, led me to Chris Roe, my manger. He totally reshaped my career.  He also introduced me to horror conventions and I have guested in shows in throughout the United States and in the UK, Germany and Spain. None of this would have happened without The Exorcist and Chris despite my early acting credits.  

Manson Gang from Helter Skelter
Manson Gang from Helter Skelter

7. After the success of The Exorcist, you landed many guest-star roles during the late ’70s. Including, but not limited to, Planet of the ApesKorg: 70,000 B.C.Barnaby Jones, and Happy Days. What do you remember most about this string of your career? 
I had so much fun acting in the 70s and the 80s.  Planet of the Apes was the first film I shot in LA after I left NY and I fell in love with Roddy McDowell who played an Ape. HAPPY DAYS was just well, happy, and our show turned out to be one of the most popular shows ever shot. Helter Skelter was a dream come true as I played one of the murderous members of the Mason gang. In BARNABY JONES I performed a swan dive off a high board, (yeah right, they doubled me) Being an actress has also given me many perks and adventures. I especially enjoy going on location. I shot in the Bahamas for a Soap Opera, where I learned to scuba dive and then my character drowned. And I was off the show, oh well.  I also shot in Turks and Caicos where I wasn’t allowed to scuba dive because of insurance prohibitions. But my husband was invited down for a week and he swam with sand sharks and sting rays. No insurance prohibitions for him. But I got to play an apparition from the 1860’s with only one eye and a huge antebellum dress.  

Role of Sarah on General Hospital

8. In 1980, you landed the recurring role of Sarah Abbott on General Hospital. What was this experience like? What was your favorite thing about the role? 
Sarah Abbott on General Hospital was one of my favorite roles. I played a girl in a mental institution who carried a doll because she decided not to grow up.  Sarah was sweet, vulnerable and messed up and Heather, my roommate was a mean and conniving psychotic. We became the 2nd most popular duo on the show, next only to Luke and Laura. General Hospital became the most popular Afternoon Drama ever and often had up to 14 million viewers. VHS hadn’t taken hold yet so business people and housewives would arrange their schedules around General Hospital. Colleges around the country were holding viewing parties from 2-3 PM.  I requested not to wear “soap opera makeup” because Sarah was in the mental hospital and I  because of that viewers could relate to me unlike other actresses who wore full makeup even to go to the store. I was often asked if I was ever in a mental hospital.(ha, ha, insert your own joke here)  But most of all it was the work. Sarah expressed every emotion on the spectrum and often went from sweet and loving to paranoid and homicidal in a matter of seconds. 


9. Over the course of your career, you’ve amassed dozens of credits in indie horror films. What draws you to these projects? 
Because of The Exorcist I have been asked to be in a multitude of horror films.  I love shooting horror and thrillers and am quite happy acting in this genre. Whether the roles are demons or witches or zombies or vampires or psycho clowns I love scaring people. I am also often cast as victims and love making audiences feel sad and cry. I also love finding places where victims can feel hopeful. 

10. Most recently, you just finished filming a project Clown Motel 2. What was this experience like? 
I just wrapped Clown Motel 2, I played The Queen of Clowns. Playing her was challenging and unlike anything I had ever shot before. She was royal, regal, bitchy and vulnerable, tears running down my face. We were in the desert and in desert caves and it was often 112 degrees but we did not care. One of the wonderful things about filming Clown Motel 2 was that the cast and crew and director were totally committed to shooting the project in the middle of nowhere, without a lot of money or accoutrements. A shout out to our Cinematographer Gary Ott and to Joseph Kelly the director and writer and Angie Joseph, Executive Producer and Summer Twins Productions, for asking me to be in this project. 

11. What does the future look like for Eileen Dietz? 
Unicorns and rainbows. 😊 Live, love, laugh and be happy. 

Next up is The Bleeding Dark, a project that is very close to my heart. It is a thriller shooting in Portland. I have a fabulous part. It tells the story of what happens after a home invasion where a killing ensues, the despair, the guilt, and the grief. I sat in shock for 15 minutes after I read it. Then I am shooting a Sci Fi film, Obscura and a Vampire film Appetite for Sin both in the fall. After the New Year, I go to England to shoot The Callback. I have several films about to be released before Halloween:  The Amityville Harvest, Rot, and The Dark Offerings.

October Spotlight: Monte Markham

Posted on October 8, 2020 in Spotlight

While enjoying a substantial career as a versatile, award winning actor/director/writer in feature motion pictures, television, and on Broadway, in 1992, Monte, with his son Jason Markham and wife Klaire Markham, founded their independent production company, “Perpetual Motion Films”. The rest is history. Throughout his years of non-stop world-wide production, Monte found little opportunity to accept acting offers. In 2009, deciding it was time to wind down a full time, aggressive production schedule, he resumed his acting career – and has found a whole new world of opportunity.

Monte in 2015 Horror Flick We Are Still Here
Monte in 2015 Horror Flick We Are Still Here

1A. Growing up in the South, you pursued an undergraduate degree at Palm Beach State College and later went on to receive an MFA from the University of Georgia. What was your childhood like?
I was born in my Mother’s family home in Manatee, a small town on the west coast of Florida, and raised in West Palm Beach. We were 4 brothers and a sister, and growing up in West Palm has always been described as living the life of “American Grafitti”. My mother played piano and we boys often sang harmony together. Mom insisted we take piano and tap dancing class… until we kind of grew out of it. At 9, I was up at 2am to run a milk route with my uncle Ben, just home from the war. It was a good life. Lotta love, lotta family ….. lotta adventure growing up with the Everglades 2 mles West…and the Kennedy estate 2 miles to
the East.

1B. Did you always want to pursue a career in entertainment?
When I graduated Palm Beach High, I enrolled at Palm Beach Junior College (now Palm Beach State), intending to start working toward a law degree. The first day, as I signed up for classes, a Professor, Watson B. Duncan, asked me to try out for a play he was directing for the fall semester. It was a psychological thriller called “The Man”. I played the Man. A life changing experience. Duncan became my great friend and mentor and guided the beginnings of my career. With Duncan’s recommendations, I was hired for professional summer theatre companies in Massachusetts and Vermont….Doing 10 plays in 10 weeks for Pro Stock was a great education in “just getting on with it”. Great experiences.

Monte  in The Second Hundred Years.
Monte in The Second Hundred Years.

1C. In 1967, you began portraying the dual role of both Luke and Ken Carpenter in the ABC sitcom The Second Hundred Years. What do you most fondly remember about this experience?
I was filming my first feature, John Sturgess’ “Hour Of The Gun, in Mexico, when Columbia flew me up to test. I was cast, flew back to Mexico, finished the film, then back to LA to shoot the Pilot. All over Christmas. We were sold for a 26 show guarantee. First feature, first Series…Great Christmas!

Monte on Today Show for Mr. Deeds
Monte on Today Show for Mr. Deeds

2. In 1969, you landed the titular role in the ABC sitcom Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. How was it playing this well-known character?
“Deeds” was a wonderful script by Bernie Slade with a strong feel for the original. Working every day with Pat Harrington, Jr. was a rare pleasure. Bernie wrote his Broadway play, ‘Same Time Next Year’ and wanted me for the role. I had a great run with Betsy Palmer.

3. From the late 60s to 70s you starred in a handful of Western films – Hour of the Gun, Guns of the Magnificent Seven, and Shame, Shame on the Bixby Boys. What drew you to these projects?
Fortunately, they found me, My first feature, Hour of The Gun starred James Garner, Jason Robards, Robert Ryan with many excellent character actors – directed by John Sturgess. The producers had optioned me for another feature and I went right in to “Guns Of The Mag 7”. I’m very proud to have been part of these classic Westerns.

Monte in Hour of the Gun
Monte in Hour of the Gun

4. What do you enjoy about the Western genre?
Bottom line? Who wouldn’t love it? I grew up with the great John Ford films and always felt I was part of a rich cinema tradition. “Bixby Boys” was written by Bill Bowers. He’d received Oscar Nominations for “The Gunfighter” and “Sheepman” and many awards for “Support Your Local Sheriff”. “Bixby Boys” was pure pleasure, with Bill always on set.

5. Throughout the 70s & 80’s your acting career flourished as you guest-starred on a variety of network television shows. The High Chaparral, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Barnaby Jones, The Six Million Dollar Man, and countless TV Features. What was it like jumping into guest-star on shows with established casts? How do you approach this?
After working 2 comedy series, I knew that I didn’t want to be confined to a single role, no matter how good. Searching out well written characters in series and tv features offered possibilities to explore a great variety of lives. The down side? Too often, some series leads were bored, just going through the motions. Made my work less satisfying and far more difficult, but still worth the challenge.

6. In the 80s you were Series Regular, Don Thorpe, for the first two seasons of Baywatch. What did you most enjoy about the show?
In a word…painless. Good people, good shows, great locations. It was lightweight fun…every day’s the 4th of July in Malibu. Thorpe was a delight… great cast and crew…beautifully produced. Even more beautiful now with the new Re-Mastering in 4K!

7. While on Baywatch, you were also able to direct a handful of episodes. What was this like?
I’d directed my first feature, “Defense Play” just before joining Baywatch. There was quite a change in feeling after the first season on NBC. The second season we were on our own…no network. A great feeling of freedom. Directing was a hoot! Great producers, scripts and casts…first class crews.

8. In 1992, you formed the independent production company, Perpetual Motion Films, with your wife, Klaire, and your son, Jason. What inspired you to pursue more producing and directing jobs at this time?
I’d just finished directing my second feature, Neon City, and we were planning the 3rd season of Baywatch. The offer came up to produce and direct Air Combat, 13 1-hour documentaries for US News and A&E. Though this meant I could no longer stay with Baywatch, it was an
irresistible opportunity to take on a new and very different challenge. I never anticipated 20 years of incredible life adventures.

Monte directing for Perpetual Motion Films
Monte directing for Perpetual Motion Films

9. Perpetual Motion Films quickly expanded – you were soon filming multi-hour documentaries and series all the way from the Amazon to the Arctic. What was your favorite thing about this part of your career?
Everything about it was unimaginable. From leading the Sail 2000 Tall Ships into NY Harbor, to 130 below on the Greenland Icepack; from a thousand miles up the Yangtze, to filming virtually every US military aircraft and ship; from The Royal Navy with Prince Andrew, to Ground Zero and our first responders; Months on the road, working side by side with Klaire, producing and living great adventures with wonderful people all over the globe.

10. While you stepped away from acting during this stretch of your career, in 2009 you decided to wind down on the busy production schedule and return to acting. What inspired this decision?
It’s quite amazing, now, to consider the rich variety and quality of work we were able to achieve. The joy was in the constant feeling of discovery and how to capture those moments and those people. And then, finally, after averaging over 200 days a year on the road, we felt we’d done enough. I am, in heart and soul, an actor. I needed to get back to work.

Monte in Beach Bar
Monte in Beach Bar

11. What are the biggest differences you see in the industry now as opposed to when you first started?
The great change is in the ability to create films and television, and to distribute, almost instantly, to a global audience. Whether good or bad – and there’s plenty of bad – anyone, anywhere in the world can make a film and get it seen. Since 2010, Chris Roe has navigated me through – and to – over 20 feature films. And until Covid 19 hit the fan, it’s a been a wonderful time to be an Actor.

12. What does the future look like for Monte Markham?
I know I’m a most fortunate man. I have absolutely no complaints. Onward!

Monte in 2018 Horror Flick Reborn
Monte in 2018 Horror Flick Reborn

September Spotlight: Laurine Price

Posted on September 8, 2020 in Spotlight

An artist from a young age, our September Spotlight client Laurine Price started acting as a hobby… until it became her entire life. Over the past year alone, she’s booked guest roles on ABC’s Schooled and a lead in horror/thriller Blood Born, just to name a few. We’re thrilled to chat with Laurine about her career. 

1.  Growing up in the D.C. area, you were playing the piano and singing from a very young age. This childhood led you into musical theatre and the world of acting. How do you think this background influenced you?
My grandmother pointed out that I was an artist from a very young age.  She asked my parents to put me in piano, voice lessons, and dance (well, the dance part didn’t happen.  Whoops!).  This has absolutely shaped almost everything I’ve done in my life.  Even having a great job right out of college in an I/T department, I immediately auditioned for community theater and my acting career was built almost entirely as a hobby… until I could commit full-time to my life-long dream of being a creative artist.

2. While you’ve been in many theatre productions, over the past few years you have begun to land bigger roles in TV/film as well. Was this the path you always wanted to take?
I didn’t really plan the path, it evolved pretty naturally.  I was drawn to musicals and classical theater because my parents watched all of the Rodgers and Hammerstein films and my grandmother and I read classical literature.  So it felt natural to do musicals in my spare time.  Early on, an audience member suggested that I sign with their agent (I had nothing to lose, right?), who sent me out for commercials, industrials, and print.  I was blessed to book a lot and joined SAG-AFTRA.  Eventually, I ended up auditioning for the highly regarded London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art (LAMDA), and was accepted into a 13-person class!  With achieving my post-grad degree from LAMDA, the next step was to move to Los Angeles and jump into the film industry.

3. What are the biggest differences for you acting on stage versus on screen? Which do you prefer?
The biggest difference, for me, is delivery.  You always have to be honest playing whatever character you enbody, but on stage I have to project much more.  I was relieved working in stage productions with mics, because then I could sing how I wanted… I could play tender moments naturalistically and softly because the mics could pick up my voice.  And while it’s really fun to throw grand Shakespearean speeches to the back wall (and I will never say no to those opportunities!), I do trust and love the intimacy of film (even if it’s broad comedy, it can still be so intimate).  I really do love both stage and screen for the imaginative worlds we get to create, but having done so much theater – I am now really enjoying the process and extraordinary teamwork of filmmaking.

Price in American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace.

4. In 2018, you guest-starred in the second season of Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace. What was this experience like? How was it working with Ryan Murphy?
Talk about a perfect marriage of my theater and film experience!  I got to play Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, who Gianni Versace costumed in her role as “The Countess” in a 1993 opera.   Bright/Daniels Casting was looking for an opera singer for the part, and I got the call asking, “Do you sing opera, please say yes?!!”  Thinking that I was going to be sent in to the LA Opera, I honestly responded, “No… musical theater, pop, sometimes can get away with classical…”  They told me that was too bad and they were looking for an opera singer for a role on the pilot of a new series… to which I replied, “Oh… TV-opera????  Let me try it!!”  (Knowing that with effects and editing, it might be a little more enhancing.  LOL!)  Singing my one aria for the audition, I booked the role and was over the moon!

The experience was extraordinary.  The scenes are about Versace and the masterpiece of a dress he made for my character.  I think I had three fittings for the dress (of which wardrobe had to hand-sew all of the intricate designs and patterns to replicate the original Versace gown).  On the day, that specific dress came with two people, as it wasn’t practical to walk in.  The two dressers carried the train and a PA helped me walk sideways to the soundstage for the opera scene. I was set in place, and when I had to move backwards or forwards, three people came to assist!  Standing on the stage of the Orpheum in L.A., in a theater full of audience-extras and the Long Beach orchestra in the pit, was mind-blowing.  However, it was not a new experience as I had performed for two-balcony theaters (1400+ audience) many times in my theater past.

This was Day 1 for “Versace: American Crime Story”, so Ryan Murphy was racing the clock.  However, he is a genius.  He created these scenes that were so easy to get swept up in.  It felt like magic.  He stopped to tell me I was doing great, which I appreciated – as he was literally running around.  The whole experience was transcendent, and remember thinking to myself between takes – “Yes.  This feels perfectly right.”

(And btw – I ended up lip syncing to Dame Kiri Te Kanawa’s track, which was the plan all along! They just needed to hire a legit singer who could fake German and stand convincingly on an opera set.  Most of the audience thought I was actually singing!  Darren Criss came up to me, and whispered, “I may or may not know that you’re really singing,”… and then winked.  Too much fun.)

Price as Jane Doe in Phoenix

5. In 2019, you landed a Series Regular role in the series Phoenix for streaming. What has it been like playing Jane Doe?
This series is *awesome*.  It’s high stakes, high suspense, high drama.  We are dropped in the middle of her limping away from a plane crash – so it runs the whole gamut of emotions.  But I am HERE for it!  Every new script I get, I am continually in awe of the turns it takes and am blessed and thrilled that I get to do this.

6. What is your favorite thing about the role? What do you find the most challenging?
My favorite thing about this role is discovering who my character is.  Having lost my memory, my character “Jane” doesn’t know who she is, where she came from, or how any of this has happened.  Discovering and piecing together clues is as exciting on-camera as it is reading the script for the first time and thinking, “Ohhhhh!  Wow!  Didn’t see that coming!” This part is a challenge on the body, as it doesn’t know to separate trauma for the cameras versus real life.  So when I cry, my body thinks it’s actually grieving.  When I’m scared, my body kicks into fight or flight mode with adrenaline and cortisol.  I appreciate the feedback that it’s coming across as honest, but I have to make it a point to enjoy a lot of self-care during days off! 

Price in Schooled on ABC.

7. Later in 2019, you had a co-star role in an episode of ABC’s Schooled. What was the energy like on set?
Working on “Schooled” was as joyful as the show comes across on TV.  I laughed so hard at the main actors’ deliveries of their lines, their improvisations, as well as their banter.  These are some ridiculously funny people.  Also, the episode I was in was directed by David Katzenberg – who was also way cool.  It was just a great experience, one where at the end of the day you’re sitting on the Sony lot and thinking to yourself, “Huh, that was amazing AND I got paid for it!”  🙂 

9. A few features you filmed last year are scheduled to be released soon as well. In Switched (which released September 4th), you play the Mom to the lead role of Cassandra Evans. What was your favorite thing about playing Sarah Evans? What are you most excited for people to take away from the film?
My favorite thing about playing “Sarah Evans”, the mom of the lead “Cassandra” (brilliantly played by Miya Horcher), was that I got to be loving, supportive, understanding, and quirky.  (I mean, C’MON!  lol) She’s also the quintessential Disney/Nickelodeon mom on some levels, but is all heart. I loved it.

The film’s mantra is “Lead With Love”.  I’m excited for this message of loving one another, as it’s a nice reminder in today’s generally disheartening media climate.  It’s light hearted, family oriented, and will make you laugh under the umbrella of its wonderful theme.  I think it gives us a moment to exhale in a difficult year so far.  Another key point is the colorblind casting of Asian American actress Miya Horcher as the lead girl, with myself as her mother and Daniel Chioco as her brother.  Kudos to Lisa London Casting and Mustard Seed Entertainment for probably not even thinking about it, and just doing it.  I have had so many Asian American friends and family say that it’s so nice to see characters that reflective themselves up on the screen.  This is no small thing, and it is so much appreciated. 

Price in Blood Born

10. You also had a lead role in the horror film Blood Born which is set to be released late 2020. What was this experience like? 
“Blood Born” is a horror film that was an absolute blast to shoot.  The cast and Epic Level Entertainment’s crew became like a family, as we sat in this smoke-filled house for three weeks with all sorts of cool make-up and prop gags.  It’s funny because I don’t enjoy watching horror films (I scare easily!), but I really love making them because the production process is incredible.  Props, effects, stunts, make-up, wardrobe, and a production crew that comes together to pull off the supernatural is astounding to watch and really thrilling to be a part of.

11. What did you enjoy most about playing Cherise?
My character on “Blood Born” was the best friend of the lead, and I was very clear on my motivation – get my friends the EFF OUT of this cray cray.  I loved playing “Cherise” because I was determined, strong, funny, sarcastic, yet clear-minded.  Sometimes it’s really fun to play that gal that shouts, “Can you not SEE what’s in front of you?  Yeah… NAW, we leavin’!!”

12. What does the future look like for Laurine Price?
I am an actress, producer, and super fun creative.  I have a whole white board overflowing with notes for original stories.  I’ve optioned some amazing work and am currently pitching a project that you will absolutely know about a year from now.  And it’s just the beginning of an avalanche of films, limited series, and shorts to come from the mind of me… the little girl that played piano and read Alfred Lord Tennyson with my grandmother.   🙂  Stay tuned!

September Spotlight: Courtney Gains

Posted on September 4, 2020 in Spotlight

Growing up in Los Angeles, our September Spotlight Client Courtney Gains has been surrounded by the entertainment industry his entire life. While his most well-known role came at the young age of 19 in Children of the Corn, Gains has gone on to amass over 100 credits in both Television and Film – releasing his own music as well. We’re thrilled to speak to Courtney about his long and illustrious career. 

An old B&W headshot. 

1. Born in Los Angeles, you had your film debut at the age of 19. Growing up in a city entrenched in entertainment, was acting something you were always pursuing? What inspired you to take this career path?
I sometimes wonder had I not been born in LA would I have had the guts to come to Hollywood? My father was a laborer at Warner Bros. Studios, on weekends I would go with him to work and see sets from Fantasy Island and run around the backlot. My mother went to a Fame school in LA and entertained the troops in WWII when she was only 13, so I guess it was in my blood. First time I did a play I was 10 years old. Played the prince in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and I was hooked.

2. As previously stated, you were 19 years old at the time of your film debut in 1984. What we didn’t mention, was that this was for Children of the Corn. What was this experience like?
Well for me it was about proving I belonged. I had been studying acting in a professional workshop from the time I was 13 and felt I was ready to do good work but still had to prove it to myself and everybody else. When I was done shooting I knew I WAS an actor.

Gains in Children of the Corn

3. At the time, this was one of the earlier Stephen King adaptations. Now, his works have been adapted into dozens of films and TV shows; Children of the Corn itself being its own film franchise with a cult following. What is it like being part of such a film?
We had no idea COTC would go on to be a cult classic. I think it has been a blessing and a curse. 100+ gigs and 35 years later, it is still the most well-known role I have done.

4. After this debut, you had a lot of film success in the 1980’s with roles in HardbodiesLust in the DustCan’t Buy Me Love, and The ‘Burbs, among others. What was this stretch of your career like?
Back in the 80’s child emancipation laws were very strict. You had to be 18 to do a full day’s work, so if you looked younger that was an advantage. 80’s teen cinema was just blowing up and I was well trained for my age and looked 15, so right place right time.

Gains in The ‘Burbs

5. What were some of your favorite memories from these films? 
In that run my main thing was to not play the same role twice, I ended up doing many different genres of film and got to work with some great old pros and learn from them.

6. During this time, you also had a role in Back to the Future. What was it like being on set? Did you know the impact the film would have while filming?
Had no idea BTTF would go one to be one of the biggest trilogies of all time. Did know Speilberg was involved, so had high hopes for it. I was on the film before Eric Stolz got let go and ended getting paid for many weeks while they did the reshoots, so ended up being a financial blessing in my career.

 Gains playing guitar. 

7. You continued to act throughout the ’90s and began to branch into the music industry. You’d always been a talented musician and released a solo album during this time. What was this like? Had you always wanted to do this?
I started taking guitar lesson at 13 as well. I really enjoy writing music. I had done some recording with my first band The Gathering and then some solo recordings over the years. I realized I had enough material to put out a record, so I did. 

8. In 2013, your band Ripple Street released an EP and plans to make more music as well. What is the future of your music career?
Ripple Street EP came out in 2013 and a full album in 2017. Just put a video up on YouTube for our single Going Places. We are working on some new material now.

9. We’ve spoken about many of your film roles and your music career, but we have yet to touch on your TV work. You’ve guest-starred on many notable shows including SeinfeldMonkERCharmed, and Alias, among others. What is it like jumping into a guest role on a show with an established cast? How do you approach it?
Television moves very fast, so you have to be ready to get it right the first time. Every show is different, some are very welcoming and others are like you won’t be here next week so why bother to get to know you. Either way, you gotta be prepared to do the job when they say action.

Gains with Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama

10. With tons of experience in both TV and film, is there a medium you prefer? What do you like/dislike about both?
I prefer film, it’s exciting to go on location somewhere with no distractions from home and create something. Though I must say TV has given me some very rich roles to play. The roles in Diagnosis MurderMy Name is Earl and most recently Criminal Minds to name a few.

Gains in Field of Lost Shoes

11. More recently, you have starred in films like Camp Cold BrookHell’s Kitty, and Candy Corn. What were these experiences like?All three of these films were in the horror genre. In CCB I played a TV producer so that was a different role for me. Hell’s Kitty was a comedy spoof on COTC character, so had fun with that, even wrote a little song for it called I Hate Cats. CC I also helped produce so that was a lot of work. I played a small-town Sheriff trying to figure out what the hell was going on in his little town.

12. Over the course of your career, you have been widely recognized for your work in horror films. What do you think of this notion? What do you like about the horror genre?
With the success of Corn I will always be linked to the horror genre and recently once again offers for horror films have come my way. Now instead of the kid, I am playing the older characters, full circle I guess. I am not a huge horror fan, I don’t like violence. For me like in any movie I am looking for a good story I can believe in.

13. What does the future look like for Courtney Gains?
So I have a comedy short film I directed called Symptoms playing the festivals right now. On August 25th a film I’m in called The Silent Natural was released on VOD, it’s about the first deaf baseball player to play in the big leagues. Just finished shooting an indie film called My Redneck Neighbor and will be recording some new tracks for Ripple Street very soon. 

Gains in Memphis Belle

Emmy Spotlight

Posted on August 31, 2020 in Spotlight

In anticipation of this year’s Emmy Awards taking place on September 20th, we thought we’d take a look back at all CRM clients who have been nominated for and/or won any of the various Emmy Award platforms. We had the pleasure of chatting with Melvin Jackson Jr., Michael Bruining, Mariette Hartley, and Bruce Davison about their Emmy experience.

Melvin Jackson Jr.

Jackson Jr. at the 2018 Emmy Awards.

1. In 2018 you wrote, produced, and starred in comedy web series This Eddie Murphy Role is Mine, Not Yours. In the early stages of development for this project, did you ever think it would have this type of success?
I knew it would be successful but just didn’t know how. But I had a vision for it and my goal was to submit the series and myself for Emmy consideration.

2. Later that year, your portrayal of Eddie Murphy in this web series was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. What was this experience like – the nomination, the FYC events, the awards show itself?

Jackson Jr. and his wife, Kelly Jenrette.
Jackson Jr. and his wife, Kelly Jenrette.

It was a great experience, I was rewarded for my hard work and something that I created. It was truly a passion project that took me on an amazing ride that I didn’t expect. Not only was I was Nominated but so was my wife and we made history by being the first-ever African American married couple to be Nominated for an Emmy in the same year. The FYC events were great we went to almost 80 events that year campaigning and meeting people. The awards show was fun and full of a lot of interviews. It was truly an honor and experience that I will cherish forever.

3. A relatively new category, you were nominated in the Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series category. How do you think this newer type of content is transforming the industry? 
In the past 3-5 years, there were a lot of web series being done and they changed the way of watching content. You can watch them on your phone and now short content platforms are being created such as Quibi. So people like content that is 5-10 mins an episode. It’s the new wave. 

Michael Bruining

Bruining with his Emmy for Every 15 Minutes. 

1. In 2004, you were working at KTLN-TV in Corte Madera as a Producer/Editor/Director. The Every 15 Minutes Youth/Children’s Segment you produced that year was nominated for a Regional Emmy. What was it like getting this type of recognition for your work?
I knew we had something special and I wanted to create the same sense of shock that the live event captured. I also wanted to create a cinematic piece that would leave a lasting impression. When we submitted the piece for an Emmy we were all extremely excited when we got the nomination. 

2. Every Fifteen Minutes is a nationwide program that recreates car accidents due to drunk driving. What was it like creating this type of project? How long did the process take?
When I first heard about the “Every 15 Minutes” program I was very intrigued because I liked the idea of showing high school students just how dangerous drinking and driving is. I wanted to be part of that message. The event itself is beyond impressive. It’s held at a high school where the students are led out to a parking lot and then seated in bleachers. They don’t know what’s going to happen until it’s revealed they are witnesses to a car accident. Two cars are smashed up, fire trucks fly up the road sirens blaring, a helicopter circles overhead. The students watching are shocked into silence as the bodies of their friends are removed from the scene of the accident, loaded into the helicopter to be airlifted to a hospital, and in one case a “dead student” (it’s all a recreation) is put in a body bag by the coroner and taken away. This is an event that takes weeks of planning and coordination. But the belief is that if they can save one life showing the students how dangerous it is to drink and drive, they’ve done their job. I spent a day filming the event and then several days editing.  

3. This nomination was the first Emmy nomination for KTLN-TV. What was this experience like?
The night of the Emmy Awards was pretty incredible but also nerve-wracking. It was absolutely amazing when my name was called, definitely an experience I’ll never forget. It was also the first Emmy that KTLN ever won so it was very exciting. I’ve always been proud to not only win an Emmy but to be part of something that has had a positive impact on many lives. 

Mariette Hartley

Hartley at the 31st Emmy Awards.
Hartley at the 31st Emmy Awards.

1. Your first Emmy nomination came in 1977 for portraying Clare Gardiner in The Last Hurrah. What was this first nomination like?
THE LAST HURRAH: 1977? Good God. I remember my hair was redder, I was taller and I loved doing that movie. One of the last movies of the week. I do remember that Carroll (O’Conner) was a bit hesitant about hiring me. Maybe I was too tall or too young, but I did love doing it. I had never been to the Emmy show and I found it very scary and intimidating and of course I always felt underdressed and had no idea that the women often paid to have their hair and makeup done. Oh well, other than that it was exciting and gratifying because I loved the part. Carroll underscored how important it was to make deep eye contact with the actor. Footnote: I have no idea what I was doing, or where I was when I found out.

2. Your second nomination and first Emmy win came just a year later when you portrayed Dr. Carolyn Fields in The Incredible Hulk. What emotions ran through you when your name was called? What is it like to be awarded for your work?
What emotions did I go through when my name was called? Panic! Disbelief! I mean who wins an Emmy for the Incredible Hulk? I went to bed with Bill Bixby and woke up with Lou Ferrigno and… c’mon. Plus, my infant daughter was in a hotel room next door with a sitter and it was time for me to nurse her. Decisions, decisions. I knew enough to stand up, smile, not trip on my dress, walk forward go up the stairs, behind the podium, saw the enormous audience and this came out of my mouth. “Holy cow!” Lincoln, I’m not. I did manage to thank one of my dearest friends, Bill Bixby who was divine in our time together. And Lou and Kenny Johnson who’s show it was. It was an unforgettable night and even more unforgettable because my mother was there.

Hartley won for the role in The Incredible Hulk.
Hartley won for the role in The Incredible Hulk.

3. Since then, you have been nominated four more times – for a total of six Emmy nominations. How has each experience differed?
I was nominated four more times? The worst of those nights was when I was nominated twice, hot stuff, huh? One for comedy and one for drama. The first was comedy. As the four names are announced you sit forward in your chair, trying to look gorgeous and relaxed. Ha. The cameras race toward each of us stopping just in time as everyone waits breathlessly and your name… isn’t called. Then comes the acting part. You try to maintain grace and nonchalance, looking at everyone saying… it’s fine. Really, it’s fine. Except, I’m up for another award! This one for drama and this one I really cared about. Which I didn’t get either. Who’s Barbara Stanwyck? Standing on the sidewalk in a line waiting for my car, a dear friend, Joan Rivers who was the host that night sidled up to me and whispered, ”you had my vote kiddo, you should have won.” That’s what I really remember.

Bruce Davison

Bruce Davison
Bruce Davison

1. In 1998, you were nominated for a Primetime Emmy for your portrayal of Jake Weiss in Touched by an Angel. What was it like guest-starring on the show?
I was in the middle of doing a lot of guest-stars at that time. I was playing a Jewish landlord who’s a slum lord and I said to the guy, “if there’s any way you can give me some red hair,” or something to tilt away from my WASP-look. It was a great part. It was sort of timely – a whole lot of slum lord stuff going on. A judge sentenced a slum lord to live in the apartments that he had neglected for years – and I was playing that part. So it was a good message. I think John Laroquette won that year. He’s a friend and a poker buddy. You throw your name into the hat so many times and hope you come up with a brass ring… and sometimes you don’t. There are 10,000 great performances and they pick a handful, flip a coin, and somebody wins.

2. What was your reaction when you saw the Emmy nominations? How did it feel to be recognized for your work?
Well, you’re always thrilled to be nominated for something because somebody’s put you up for the brass ring. That’s always nice. 

3. Three years later, in 2001, you were nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Directing the Children’s Special Off Season. How did this experience differ?
That one meant a lot to me because it was my opportunity to direct something. I hadn’t had that opportunity much before. It was wonderful because I got to work with Hume Cronyn who was sort of a mentor of mine. I had known him from theatre – we had done The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial together – and then I worked with his wife, Jessica Tandy in Glass Menagerie on Broadway. So it was an opportunity to work with Hume, who is a great hero of mine, a man who was 94 at the time we did it. It was wonderful for me to see Hume get nominated, and the film had 5 nominations in total. It was quite rewarding. It was an opportunity for me to present something I was a novice in, and realize it was something I could do and get credit for. That was one I was quite honored to be nominated for. 

August Spotlight: Faysal Ahmed

Posted on August 6, 2020 in Spotlight

Our August Spotlight client Faysal Ahmed started in Hollywood when he landed a role from an over 700-person casting call for Academy Award-nominated Captain Phillips in 2013. Since then, his credits include Watu Wote: All of UsSicario: Day of the Soldado, and a recurring role on Hulu’s Castle Rock. We’re so happy to chat with Faysal.

1. One of nine children, you moved with your mother to the United States from Yemen when you were fourteen years old. What was this transition like?
The transition wasn’t hard. I was with my family and a lot of other Somali families who were new to the country. During this time, there were many families that had just come to America as well. We navigated our new lives in our new home as a group. That made things a lot more fun for me. 

Ahmed in a theatre production at The Miracle Theater.
Ahmed in a theatre production at The Miracle Theater.

2. Growing up in Minnesota, you were involved in the local theater scene as a Youth Program Coordinator at the Bedlam Theater. How did you get involved with this? 
My mentor at the time introduced me to Bedlam Theater. Our relationship started from there and they offered me a job as youth program coordinator. That’s where I learned how to truly express myself in different characters and stories, and that’s how I fell in love with acting. 

3. Was acting something you have always wanted to pursue? 
I always watched movies as a kid, and I wanted to become many things like a teacher, fire fighter, doctor and a farmer. In the movies I watched, the actors did just that. They transformed themselves into different characters, as people learn and grow in real life. I didn’t know how to pursue acting until Captain Phillips casting came to Minneapolis. 

Ahmed with Captain Phillips co-stars Tom Hanks and Mahat M. Ali.
Ahmed with Captain Phillips co-stars Tom Hanks and Mahat M. Ali.

4. In 2011 you went to a casting call for Captain Phillips with over 700 other participants. You were ultimately one of four participants cast in the 2013 Academy Award-nominated film. What was this casting experience like? 
The first thing that comes to my mind is walking in extremely excited, so excited that I couldn’t sleep! I had to be there at 7am and the location was across the street from my building. I saw many of my friends, and we worked together and coached each other. That made my experience very fruitful, and a lot of fun. 

Ahmed in Captain Phillips.
Ahmed in Captain Phillips.

5. Filming for Captain Phillips took place in 2012 for 9 weeks off the coast of Malta aboard a container ship. What was your experience like on set?
The set was the Ocean and huge ships. It was like dreaming each day. Paul Greengrass the director understood we were new to everything and helped us every step of the way. 

6. What did you most enjoy about playing Najee? 
I liked being the wild one of the pirates!

Ahmed in Watu Wote: All of Us.

7. In 2017, you starred in the Oscar-nominated short film Watu Wote: All of Us. How did you get involved and what was the experience like? 
I was contacted by the Producer and after reading the script, I fell in love with the story. The best way to describe it is that during the shoot, we were living in the jungle, camping there, and every day you might run into giraffes or zebras. 

Sicario: Day of the Soldado.
Sicario: Day of the Soldado.

8. In 2018 you were in Sicario: Day of the Soldado. What was your favorite thing about playing Bashiir?
I’m a huge fan of Sicario, including Bashiir.  That great story was a blessing for me because Bashiir gave me complex emotions to play with. Bashiir is a pirate leader who gets captured and sees his brothers killed by drones. His reaction reveals his humanity as he breaks down and confesses to everything. 

9. How was it transitioning from a short film like Watu Wote, to a bigger production like Day of the Soldado? What filming experience do you prefer? 
I love to be creative. Whether it’s for a short film or bigger production, I’m just happy to be part of the project, part of the team.

Castle Rock.

10. Most recently, you had a 6-episode guest star role on Hulu’s second season of Castle Rock. What was it like playing Hassan? 
Playing Hassan was fun—he’s the protector and the muscleman. 

Ahmed and Barkhad Abdi.
Ahmed and Barkhad Abdi.

11. Castle Rock also gave you the opportunity to reunite with your Captain Phillips co-star Barkhad Abdi. What is your relationship like?
It’s always good to reunite with him. We’re good friends.

12. What does the future look like for you? 
I don’t know exactly what the future holds, but I’m ready to start, like a racehorse waiting for the bell.

August Spotlight: Kathleen Kinmont

Posted on August 6, 2020 in Spotlight

Born in the San Fernando Valley to well-known actress Abby Dalton, our August Spotlight client Kathleen Kinmont has been immersed in the industry her whole life. We recently had the opportunity to talk to her about her childhood, her experience as a woman in Hollywood, many of her iconic roles in horror films, and more recently, her success as an author! We’re thrilled to chat with Kathleen. 

Kinmont’s parents Jack Smith and Abby Dalton on their honeymoon. Mammoth Mountain, December 1960.

1. You grew up surrounded by the business as your mother, Abby Dalton, was a successful actress during the 60’s-80’s. You were even cast in The Joey Bishop Show as a baby the year you were born. What was this type of childhood like?
I was blessed with two loving parents who gave me and my two brothers an exceptional childhood in a charming neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley, Toluca Lake, California.  Conveniently nestled between several major studios, Toluca Lake became the ideal location for the many creatives in the entertainment industry. To me, it was ‘Mayberry’, because it was all I knew, plus Andy Griffith lived down the street. I grew up around all kinds of celebrity personalities. It was normal to have someone like Davey Jones from ‘The Monkees’ over for dinner, or James Caan join us for Thanksgiving, or Debbie Reynolds over for coffee. I grew up with John Wayne’s grandkids, so every once in awhile his massive frame would fill the doorway. It was routine to be surrounded by performers in front of and behind the camera. I never realized the magnitude of star power until I became older.

Kinmont in Hardbodies.

2. Your first film role came years later – you were almost 20 at the time – in Hardbodies. What was it like being on set?
I was fresh out of barely graduating high school and teetering on the notion of going to college, so when ‘Hardbodies’ came along, I figured I was set, because I was on a set. I was actually 18 at the time of filming and was equipped with two things, a pair of roller-skates and zero clue. It was my first time in front of the camera as an adult and there was a lot of pressure for me to disrobe. My character firmly says in a photo session scene, “I’m not taking my clothes off.” Plus, it wasn’t scripted. It was my first foray into navigating the shark infested waters of sexual harassment and power abuse on set. I learned a lot from that experience and I also met my friend and fellow cast mate, another CRM client who continues to inspire, Courtney Gains. It was wonderful to circle back and work with him again in the 2019 indy, ‘The Silent Natural’. No roller skates that time and a little bit more of a clue.

Kinmont and her mother, Abby Dalton. Tracy Roberts Acting Studio, 1990.

3. Were you encouraged by your mother to pursue acting? Was it something you always wanted to do?
I was encouraged by my mother to always do what inspired me. She never pushed me into acting but she saw that by the time I was 15, I’d caught the story telling bug. My mom gently guided me into taking the necessary steps a performer needs to hone their craft. She was incredibly generous with her time and her truth. I knew firsthand about the pitfalls in the business from several stories of my mom’s own personal experiences. Back in the 20’s – 2000’s there was basically no protection from any kind of harassment. Thankfully, she uplifted me with a very strong voice that has probably saved me from quite a few scraps. I have always wanted to work and have a job as a performer and for many years that was a whole different ball game for women in the industry. If my own 15 year old daughter ever wants to step into this business, I will give her the same talk, but at least I will know that a lot more ground work has been laid in the protection of everyone on the set. Yes, we have come a long way, baby.

Kinmont as Kelly Meeker.

4. In 1988, you starred as Kelly Meeker in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. What was this experience like?
‘Halloween 4’ was my first horror film and franchise experience. It was a thrill to work with veteran great, Donald Pleasence, while alongside, Danielle Harris, who was only 9, and also a convincing and gifted actor. I arrived in Utah and discovered that one of my own high school friends, Sasha Jenson, would be playing ‘Brady’, the boy I seduce. I was 19 and not old enough to drink but old enough to understand what’s what. My character, ‘Kelly Meeker’, the sheriff’s daughter, has a great opening line to a young local working up the courage to ask me out. Before he even has a chance to exhale, I cut him off with, “Fuck off Wade.” It wasn’t scripted like that, but I was game to give it a try and they used it for the film. That particular experience certainly freed me up as an actor to experiment with moment’s and words that are not on the page, just to see where it takes you. Or as our director, Dwight Little, said that day when he changed the line, “Let’s just try it once, for shits and giggles.” It worked and I gleamed that as long as it doesn’t feel compromising, improvising is a welcome blessing to improve what’s on the page.

5. The Halloween franchise has amassed a cult following over the years – comprising eleven films spanning five decades. What is it like being a part of such a franchise?
It’s a thrill to be part of a franchise. What’s better than banking on a built in audience and fanbase? I think the tremendous amount of pressure and responsibility that comes with representing a brand inspires everyone involved to a higher level of performance. I know that no matter what the job, we do our best and hope that it does the franchise well, while simultaneously worrying that if it sucks, you’ll forever be a part of the one that sucked. Hopefully, everyone on board is feeling the same excitement and brings their own personal A Game.

Bride of Re-Animator.
Bride of Re-Animator.

6. Following the success of Halloween 4, you were cast as the title character in Bride of Re-Animator. What was it like playing Gloria/The Bride?
‘The Bride of Re-Animator’ is the standard by which I measure all forms of why I am an actor. It was everything that made me realize how much I love to perform, engage and embody another being. To educate, entertain and enlighten is why I am in this business, and I’m not talking about the audience. I personally learned so much about myself and what my mind can tolerate on a rollercoaster of complete abandon. I was way out there with that character and from that view I experienced tremendous highs and lows on and off the set by taking on ‘The Bride’. It was a gift.

7. At this point in your career, you started to become known for starring in Horror movies. What do you think of this notion? What do you like about the horror genre?
I think that when you become known for something it means that you could possibly be finding your niche as an actor. It also means you have a fanbase from that particular film or television genre. Quite honestly, I’m very grateful for being known for anything. It’s a wonderful thing for an actor to become identified with a part, which means someone saw it and they possibly liked it. Horror films are very dramatic and because of that fact, my life as a dramatic actor grew. My dedicated fanbase for horror films has a tremendous loyalty factor that spilled over into my other work. It’s amazing when parents have turned their kid into a fan from one of my films or shows. That’s true fan love. I also believe that we morph into different people as we continue to grow as an artist and in age. As long as I’m still willing to share myself and give as an actor, I believe I’m capable of playing all kinds of characters. 

Kinmont with Stephen J. Cannell, Lorenzo Lamas and Branscombe Richmond in Renegade.
Kinmont with Stephen J. Cannell, Lorenzo Lamas and Branscombe Richmond in Renegade.

8. In 1992, you landed a Series Regular role on Renegade. What did you enjoy about playing Cheyenne Phillips?
I never auditioned for the role of ‘Cheyenne Phillips’. She was handed to me on a silver Stephen J. Cannell platter. She was a smart, strong, love-sick, bad-ass. I loved that I had a Native American stepbrother, ‘Bobby Sixkiller’, played by the wonderful, Branscombe Richmond. We were bounty hunters with an endless supply of bad guys to chase. I enjoyed that Cheyenne’s unrequited love with the lead of the show, ‘Reno Raines’, went on for four seasons. That was fun. They never got together in the show, but they did divorce in real life. I had the added glamour of working with my then husband, Lorenzo Lamas, who played ‘Reno’ in the show. We split up halfway through the second season and continued to work together for two and a half more seasons. It was the play within the play and it arrived with a boatload of emotions and responsibility. It was the best and most difficult of times and I wouldn’t trade a single frame. The friendships and memories are some of the most special in my heart.

9. At this point, having experience both on a popular movie franchise and on a hit TV series, what aspects of each did you prefer?
Making a movie is similar to a summer romance, where a TV series is more like a marriage, that will eventually get cancelled, or everyone calls it quits. Either way, everyone in the entertainment business habitually bounces from one lucky job to the next. I think movie’s are wonderful in their ability to entertain us in a stand alone, special kind of way. I also adore binging on TV series where we can really get to know the characters and follow a story line into several hours and possibly days of entertainment. I’ve been greatly influenced by story and performances from both genres and in our current climate, all I can say is, “Thank God for every creative who helps facilitate in making and creating entertaining content. We’d really be bummed without you.”

Abby Dalton in Mrs. Sweeney.
Abby Dalton in Mrs. Sweeney.

10. In the late 2000’s, you took a step back from acting to pursue other ventures. What was this period like for you and what were you able to accomplish?
I had already been in the business for well over 25 years and beginning to experience what everyone will eventually go through if you hang in there long enough – ageism in Hollywood. At that time, I was living in La Crescenta, with my young daughter and I needed to take a step back and reevaluate what was most important in my life. It was a pretty easy choice, one that I’ll never regret. As I redirected my focus into my daughter’s formative years for growth, I also started writing and producing my own content. I directed my first short film, ‘Mrs. Sweeney’, starring my mother, Abby Dalton. I wrote and directed a TV pilot, ‘Fame Game’, a female ‘Entourage’. I really do love being behind the camera and it gave me even more of a profound respect for the amount of money and energy that goes into production and how truly vital every person on set becomes. Although, I think the most important thing I was able to accomplish during this time was how much I loved and missed acting. There’s no way I could stay away forever. 

Magic & Beauty.
Magic & Beauty.

11. More recently, you have been writing your own books. In late 2019, you published your first children’s book Magic & Beauty. What inspired you to write this book and what was the process like?
‘Magic and Beauty’ was inspired by a conversation I had one dewey morning with my little girl on her way to pre-school. She was coming to grips with things and where they came from and wondering if they were going to stay. As we pulled out of our driveway she asked, “Mommy, is our house still going to be here when I come home?” I gave a resounding, “YES!” And thought, wow, thank you ‘Wizard of Oz’ – that’s what I get for letting my four year old watch a classic on repeat. Then she asked, “Where does all this stuff come from?” “Stuff?” I asked. “Trees and plants and animals… you know, Mommy – Stuff!” “Oh, okay, umm, I’m pretty sure it’s all from God. That’s what I heard, anyway.” She thought about this for about a mile while she gazed out the window at all the stuff zipping by, and then she finally said, “That’s a lot of work. She must have been really sweaty.” I looked in my rearview mirror at my little darling angel in her carseat and said, “Yes. It was a lot of work – and she was sweating like a horse.” From that moment, I began creating my own creation story for my four year old who is officially horse, unicorn and pegasus crazy. Fortunately, no one owns the rights to this narrative on who, how or why we got here, so I’m pretty sure I won’t get sued.

I Should've Been Nicer to Quentin Tarantino: and other Short Stories of Epic Fails and Saves.
I Should’ve Been Nicer to Quentin Tarantino: and other Short Stories of Epic Fails and Saves.

12. Just this summer, you had the release of your second book I Should’ve Been Nicer to Quentin Tarantino: and Other Short Stories of Epic Fails and Saves. As this is a collection of short stories – and not a children’s book – how did this process differ from your first book? What inspired you to write it?
‘I Should’ve Been Nicer to Quentin Tarantino and Other Short Stories of Epic Fails and Saves’ is a book about my life’s screw-ups, saves and lessons. I wrote this book for my daughter in an effort to give her some insight on who I was and who I’ve become. I believe our failures are stepping stones to growth and enlightenment. When we give ourselves an opportunity to acknowledge where we’ve failed with some humor and a light heart, we can release ourselves from things that no longer serve us. I’ve created my own genre, spiritual satire, as I think we are more willing to continue to learn when truth and humor collide. The difference between the process of writing my children’s book and this book was the time invested. The children’s book is 23 pages, my non-fiction is 432 pages. Big difference.

13. What is on the horizon for Kathleen Kinmont?
Awe, the horizon… I would love to use this moment and manifest a prayer for all of us. I pray we all have good health, surrounded with love, strength and hope. Remain creative, compassionate and considerate. Practice a sense of calm, while actively finding ways to be of service. In other words, Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. And for the Love of God, VOTE!  And if I can make one wish on the setting sun in the horizon – it would be for when the mighty factory of production resumes to be cast in ‘Yellowstone’. It’s an excellent series, and like my daughter, I’m officially horse crazy, plus I can ride.

Kinmont and her horse Jack Black Gambler. Griffith Park, CA.
Kinmont and her horse Jack Black Gambler. Griffith Park, CA.

Special Spotlight: The Living Dead

Posted on July 31, 2020 in Spotlight

George A. Romero is known as the “Father of the Zombie Film” all beginning with his 1968 film Night of the Living Dead. Since then, Romero has written and directed dozens of films. Later in his life, Romero turned to fiction as to rid himself of the constraints of filmmaking. At the time of his death, The Living Dead was an incomplete novel. 

Chris Roe & George Romero

Over the past three years, Romero’s longtime manager and friend Chris Roe worked together with Romero’s widow and the Romero Estate in order to see the book through to completion. Enter Daniel Kraus – co-author with Guillermo del Toro of both The Shape of Water and Trollhunters. Kraus and Roe knew each other from high school, and Kraus was honored to be asked to complete Romero’s work. 

We have both Chris Roe – George A. Romero’s longtime friend and manager – and Daniel Kraus – co-author of The Living Dead – to answer questions. The Living Dead comes out August 4th. 

Chris Roe,  Romero’s longtime manager and friend

Chris Roe

1. While George Romero is known as the “Father of the Zombie Film”, it’s been said that he felt constrained by filmmaking at times, and turned to fiction later in life to fully tell the story of the rise of zombies and downfall of humanity. As Romero’s manager for over fifteen years, how long had he been working on this book?
George started working on ideas for this book in 2009.  I put together a two book deal with a publisher, and they made a great offer.  George didn’t want to feel pressure from the time constraints, and decided to just write the two books and turn them in.  Unfortunately, George had a stroke in 2010 and it just derailed everything.  He made a full recovery a few years later and slowly got back into a groove with it, and figured out his story after spending his down time doing research.  He continued to tinker with it until he passed. He was planning to complete it in 2017.   At the point of his passing, the story had gone through many changes and rewrites.  But he was on track with a great story that Daniel ultimately was able to finish.  Between his chapters and notes, about 50% of it was complete.

2. What inspired Romero to approach the zombie genre from a new direction?
George was always thinking of new ways to talk about the human condition using his zombies.  I saw and heard him talk about so many different ideas.  He was a true genius.  He could insert social commentary into anything.  It was one of his consistent contributions.

3. After Romero’s passing in 2017, with the book unfinished, when did you decide to pursue avenues to complete his last work? What was this process like?
After George passed we looked at what was in his treasure chest.  What was written fully and partially.  We also had to look at other attachments.  Meaning, did anyone else have ownership to those various projects.  Were those people involved in the development.  I knew immediately that the book was free and clear of attachments.  It seemed to be the easiest property to do something with.  It wasn’t complete, but George had made a good start on it finally in 2013.

4. While you and Daniel Kraus knew each other back in high school, when did you decide to approach him about The Living Dead? How did it all unfold?
Daniel and I knew each other back in high school.  We both went to Fairfield High School, in Fairfield, Iowa.  Daniel was a year behind me. His sister Jennifer was in my class.  I never kept in touch with Daniel once getting out of school.  We were not close friends, but knew each other well.  Sometime in 2005 I think we reconnected, he reached out to me.  He saw that George was making a personal appearance outside of Chicago.  I said  I’d love to introduce him to George, and made the invite to come to our hotel.  George had really gotten sick that weekend with a bad cold.  But I was able to introduce the two in between our commitments.  I remember Daniel being very happy. It was nice to see someone else escape Fairfield, and go out and have a career in this business.  I was happy for Daniel’s success.  

5. What do you hope this now completed novel adds to the George Romero legacy?
I hope that it continues to show George’s genius and talent.  George was a pioneer in this business.  Pioneers never really get the respect they deserve.  They get credited for breaking down doors, but financially, they rarely get rewarded for their contributions.  George is the only legendary modern horror director with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Carpenter, Craven, Hooper, none of them do.  We have a lot of things in the treasure chest.  I hope some get to see the light of day.

Daniel Kraus

1. Growing up, you had been a huge fan of George Romero. What about his work interested and inspired you? What was your favorite project of his?
I grew up on George Romero like some kids grew up on Star Wars. Part of it was simply that my mom loved Night of the Living Dead and passed that love on to me. But his ideas excited me in a way that no other artists’ ideas did, and they stuck to me like burrs. George’s movies taught me to think about art as metaphor, and that was hugely influential in both my personal and artistic growth. So Night was my favorite, but I also became obsessive about Day of the Dead and Creepshow. I don’t think he ever made a bad film.

2. When Chris reached out to you about finishing one of Romero’s uncompleted works, what was your reaction?
I was stunned. It was beyond belief. I still don’t fully believe it. To be a part of this world that affected me so greatly, it’s like the closing of a lifelong circle. 

3. You and Chris went to the same school together.  What was it like working together all these years later?
Yes, we went to the same small-town high-school in Iowa! The idea that we both ended up in the entertainment industry, and then circled back together decades later, is pretty incredible. Honestly, it makes me feel proud — proud of Chris and proud of myself. There wasn’t a lot of effective support for the arts in small towns back then, so success in the wider artistic world required a lot of resolve, energy, and self-sufficiency. 

4. While you have written many novels on your own, and even gone through the process of co-writing a book with award-winning film directors, how was this experience different? What was your process like?
Not having George around to bounce ideas off of made each decision I made feel more weighty. Thankfully, I did months of research getting myself inside George’s head, had many fruitful discussions with Suz Romero and Chris Roe about George, and had the benefit of a lifetime of studying his work. The biggest challenge was connecting the dots in a way that felt natural and fluid. George’s material included pieces that belonged at the start of the book, the middle, and the end, so I had to build bridges — and sometimes very long, complicated bridges.

5. What did you feel was most important to get across while writing The Living Dead? What do you hope fans take away from it?
George’s manuscript really came alive when he was writing about people, their backstories, and their moral grayness. He believed we were all shades of gray, none of us completely good, and he never gave his characters an easy way out. His larger message, of course, remains that Americans continually fail to band together in a crisis — we see that in his movies, we see that in America’s response to Covid-19, and we see that in this novel, and I took pains to highlight it. 

6. What does it mean to you to contribute to the legacy of someone you’ve long been a fan of?
It’s hard to call it a dream come true, because it is BEYOND any dream I ever had. I wasn’t just a fan of George Romero. He was a father figure to me, a teacher, a guide. He made me into the person and artist I am, and to feel like I’m paying that back to help get his epic novel over the finish line fills me with joy every day.

July Spotlight: Marcie Barkin

Posted on July 6, 2020 in Spotlight

While our July Spotlight Marcie Barkin has a fairly unconventional start in Hollywood, her career and continuous love for the craft has spanned over decades. After a number of roles in hit shows of the ’70s and ’80s, Marcie left the business entirely to create her own computer consulting company. But that couldn’t keep her away long – Marcie returned to acting in the early 2010’s and has been working ever since. We’re so excited to talk with Marcie about her career.

Barkin in the career-starting Chevy commercial.

1. Your start with acting is a little unconventional. Working at an ad agency, when they were unable to cast a Chevy car commercial, you hopped in. Was acting something you had previously been interested in? When did you know you wanted to pursue it?
I never even thought about acting at any point. Painful, short lived piano lessons as a kid stifled interest in any creative endeavor! It wasn’t until I saw myself on the screen in that Chevy commercial that the idea of being an actress occurred to me. I saw someone else up there on the screen – it wasn’t me. That transformation fascinated me.

2. Throughout the ’70s and ’80s you had many recurring roles on hit TV shows of the time – All in the Family, Welcome Back Kotter, Tales From the Dark Side, The Harvey Korman Show, The Facts of Life, etc. What were these like?
Being on hugely successful, well known shows, working with ensembles that were already cohesive and subsequently being recognized for the first time all provided the foundation for a leap in my acting skills and confidence. I became totally at home playing with ‘The Big Boys’, and that shift served me well in all the auditions and jobs that followed.

Barkin's father posed outside a billboard in Arizona featuring his daughter.

Barkin’s father posed outside a billboard in Arizona featuring his daughter.

3. You also had a recurring role (6 episodes) on Santa Barbara. What was your favorite thing about playing Marcia?
For the first (and just about only) time, I wasn’t type cast as the ‘Best Friend of the Tits and Ass’. I was a BAD GIRL! I was a drug pusher who was trying to re-addict the lead character. The station actually got HATE mail for Marcia which led to more episodes for my character. A quick story – when the show was airing, I went to the Hamburger Hamlet on Sunset for lunch, and the waiter wouldn’t serve me because, as he said, “How could you try to get Gina to do drugs again? SHE’S BEEN THROUGH SO MUCH!” And he stormed off and got someone else to wait on me. Honestly, that’s a true story.

4. You also had roles in a variety of films at the time – The Van, The Boob Tube, Kitty Can’t Help It. How would you describe those experiences?
They were all ‘B’ movies, but ‘A’ experiences… doing all those low budget, independent movies was a mine field of learning. I basically realized that I had to fend for and protect myself – understanding that I had to make my voice heard in the midst of generally inexperienced film makers. Certainly my acting choices were my own as there really wasn’t any direction – you were basically hired based on your audition and they just expected you to say your lines. Those early films gifted me with opportunities to find my creative voice and learn to trust my instincts.

Barkin in The Van (1977).

Barkin in The Van (1977).

5. Despite early career success during this time, you left the business in the late ’80s to start your own software consulting company. What inspired this change?
I had a mentor at the time who repeatedly discussed the diminishing returns of a woman growing old in front of the camera… back then it was especially true. He saw the statistics and wanted me to have a career that would see me into middle age without the mark of ageism. His intention was sound, as was his suggestion that I go into computers…but it took me years to leave Hollywood. I finally left at the height of my career, kicking and screaming, much to the dismay of my agents and manager. I moved to NY (it was too painful to be well known in LA) and started the very difficult quest of a career in the software industry. It’s particularly gratifying for me to see that now we have women-owned and run production companies, and more women in all areas of film and TV.

Barkin in The Boob Tube (1975).

Barkin in The Boob Tube (1975).

6. During the time at your computer consulting company – How were you able to continue flexing your acting chops?
The truth is, I never stopped acting. Every morning, I would wake up and say, ‘Who am I playing today?’ And then I’d look at my schedule and think, ‘Oh! I’m a corporate professional.’ And I’d lay out the business suit, silk blouse and heels. I always felt as though I was playing the part of a company owner and consultant – it never felt like who I really was, despite all the education, the technical speaking engagements and the meetings with CIOs of billion dollar companies.

7. Regarding your technical background – How has this specific background influenced your acting now that you have returned to the entertainment business? Why did you ultimately decide to return?
Oddly, dealing with all levels of people in corporate America has opened up different, intuitive methods of communication which have enhanced my ability to read body language and nuances of behavior and speech. So I think I’m more aware in my acting now. Also – after developing my own enterprise software product, these enhanced communication skills have helped me sell my product to global companies. The key to selling a product is to sell what you believe in, and certainly as actors, we have to not only believe in ourselves as the product, but we have to believe in and become the person we’re playing.

Why did I decide to return? How could I not? Acting is the only career/expression I’ve ever loved. It’s an integral part of me. I missed acting every single day for the years I was gone. So several years ago, I had a social trip planned to LA…and on a whim, before I left on my trip, I called a casting agent I knew well from the old days. Upon asking him if I could meet with him when I arrived (Wow! He was still in the business!), he said ‘Of course! Where the hell have you been?’ Two days after arriving in LA I had a commercial agent and an apartment… and the rest, as they say in Hollywood, is history.

Barkin as Madelyn in Carbon Dating.

Barkin as Madelyn in Carbon Dating.

8. In 2015, you were the lead (and Associate Producer) in a web series called Carbon Dating. How did you get involved with this? What did you most enjoy about playing Madelyn?
Carbon Dating was unexpectedly born out of a whining conversation with an actress friend in our acting class. I was complaining that I was sick and tired of only playing small parts in web series… I loved the medium and wanted to play a lead! Damn it! But I didn’t write so was relegated to whatever was offered. My friend said, ‘I can write.’ My response was simple – ‘Write us a damn series!’ 2 weeks later she sent me the pilot script and when I laughed out loud, a show was born.

Ah, Madelyn – my polar opposite. Which is why I love playing her. I feel sorry for her – her insecurity, her damaged self-image, her manic desire to be accepted and loved. I love her simmering righteous anger which lives a hair’s breadth beneath the surface. I root for her – I’m her biggest fan. I want her to find herself and not be defined by being someone’s wife or needing to fulfill others’ expectations. I want her to realize she’s wonderful just as she is…if she could just get out from under her deeply bruised ego.

9. Acting over a span of many decades – What are the biggest changes you’ve noticed in the entertainment industry? What changes do you think still need to be made?
I think I can sum up the current state of our industry by saying that it encompasses the good, the bad and the ugly – When I returned to the business, it seemed to me that much of the personal connection was now missing – no more Casting Director ‘Meet and Greets,’ no meetings just to get to know you and talk about your work and your aspirations. I understand that there is a huge talent pool now, but I miss the individual attention. And I also miss the amount of money we used to be paid for ‘national’ commercials LOL! The good news, however is that in this new Digital environment we have the ability and means (Indiegogo, etc.) to self-tape auditions and create our own content, allowing us to be creative and productive to an extent that was unheard of. We no longer just have 3 networks to work for, so the width and breadth of opportunities is much deeper. And we also now have a greater pool of independent talent in front of and behind the camera with whom to work and create. What changes should be made? Ask me again after we return from the pandemic…

10. What does the future look like for Marcie Barkin?
I’m the eternal optimist, so I suspect my future will be fabulous… if I can just get out of self-isolation in my apartment AND Hollywood figures out a safe way to start production. This will no doubt be a new era for the entertainment industry, but we survived talkies and streaming channels and so much more, that I’m confident the need for people to be entertained will keep us in business.

I have great admiration and respect for veterans like Betty White and Helen Mirren who have spanned the decades, and risen to the challenges that inevitable change brings. I’m in a position to play parts that wouldn’t have been available earlier in my career – and in new formats. I’m anticipating a future filled with unique parts, working with creative people both established and new, bringing what I can to worthwhile projects. And being with Chris is my perfect home base – I’m confident that together we’ll surf the waves of this insane business. I’m so happy to be back.

July Spotlight: Garrett Wang

Posted on July 6, 2020 in Spotlight

Our July Spotlight Garrett Wang is known all across the world for his role as Harry Kim on hit TV series Star Trek: Voyager. Since his time on Voyager, Wang has been very active in the convention world as a moderator, has traveled extensively, worked on his golf game, and even started his own podcast. We’re so excited to catch up with Garrett. 

1. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Star Trek: Voyager. What was it like working on this show? Any memorable moments on set?
It’s difficult to believe that we have already reached the 25th anniversary of Star Trek: Voyager.  It seems like yesterday when I went in for my very first audition at Paramount Studios with Casting Director Nan Dutton. Self taped auditions did not exist back then.

Working on Star Trek was different from every other show in production at the time because we had to deal with extensive green screen work as well as having to learn how to navigate all the techno babble that was included in every episodic script. The hours were long, usually twelve to seventeen hours a day. I used to joke that filming a single episode of Voyager was more work than what the actors on “Friends,” which started the same year as Voyager, put in for an entire season on their show.

There were many memorable moments on the set. One particular moment that stands out happened while we worked on the Bridge set.  Bridge work days were typically the longest days because of all the set up involved. Once, to break the monotony of a long day on the Bridge, I decided to entertain Kate Mulgrew, who played Captain Janeway, by dancing my version of “Riverdance,” the popular Irish stage dance performance from the 90’s, to pay homage to Kate’s Irish heritage.  Not soon after I began my dance parody, the actors that portrayed Tom Paris, Tuvok and Chakotay lined up on both sides of me and joined in to create an impromptu synchronized dance routine. Kate practically fell out of her Captain’s chair from laughing so hard.

2. What was your favorite thing about playing Harry Kim?
My favorite thing about playing Harry Kim was probably the fact that being the youngest Starfleet officer on the crew meant that I was able to start with a blank canvas to create the character and add layers of nuance over the seven years worth of episodes. I know that the question didn’t ask this but I will also tell you my least favorite thing, which would be having to wear the extremely uncomfortable wool blend uniforms under the hot stage lights. They were designed to fit perfectly while standing. Any time I had to sit down it pulled in all the wrong places.

3. What has your experience been like being on a show with such a devoted fanbase?
Being on a show with such a devoted fan base has been nothing short of amazing. Many of these fans have been following Star Trek since the original series aired in 1966. They are loyal, intelligent, compassionate people who have shown their love and support for Trek in the past, present and will continue to do so in the future. 

4. What do you most enjoy being part of the Star Trek universe?
What I most enjoy about being part of the Star Trek universe would have to be knowing how much my show, as well as the other Trek series, have influenced people in such a positive way. Unlike all the drama-filled reality programs being produced which serve only to glorify judgemental, petty and vain behavior, Star Trek has always provided viewers with underlying messages of hope and how to better ourselves, how to raise ourselves to a higher level of consciousness, how to bring out the best in people.

If all the leaders of the world were forced to sit down and watch every episode of Star Trek produced, I believe there would be no more armed conflicts. On the same note, if every police officer was forced to do the same thing, police brutality would cease to exist.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met fans that have told me that watching Star Trek pulled them out of a bout of suicidal depression or fans that were in a horrible car accident with only a slim chance of recovery who relied on Star Trek to help them heal. Is there any other show in existence that can say they’ve saved countless lives?  I am truly proud to be attached to a show which I consider to be “must watch TV.”

5. You later went on to play the role of Commander Garan in Star Trek: Of Gods and Men. How did this experience differ from that of Voyager?
“Star Trek: Of Gods and Men” was an independent Star Trek film, not produced by Paramount. It was directed by my fellow Voyager acting alumni Tim Russ. I remember it was not long after we wrapped Voyager when Tim called to ask whether I would be willing to work on the project. I initially turned him down because I was exhausted after seven long years of filming Voyager, but when he told me I would be playing a character that was the complete opposite of my role on Voyager, to portray essentially a mirror universe character, I said yes.

Although I enjoyed playing the part of Commander Garan, the filming itself was probably the toughest I’ve had to endure in my acting career. We filmed in upstate New York during August which was also the same time that a Harley Davidson festival was happening. The set was located in a building that lacked air conditioning and was situated next to a set of train tracks. So, not only did we have to deal with the blistering humid heat, we had many takes that were ruined whenever loud motorcycles or trains passed by.  The producer also inexplicably opened up the set to a number of VIP fans, so in between filming, we were being bombarded by fan questions while trying to focus on rehearsing lines for the next set of scenes that we were about to film. 

6. What did you most enjoy about playing Commander Garan?
As I touched upon before, in the previous answer, the chance to play the bad guy was what I enjoyed the most about playing Garan. It also helped that the script was well written. 

7. You took some years off from acting to pursue other avenues. What other things were you able to do?
After Voyager ended, I worked on ST:Of Gods and Men as well as a nice role on the TNT mini series, “Into The West.” It was then, in 2005, that I made the decision to take a break from Hollywood. I have always loved to travel, but working on Star Trek was so time consuming that I was limited to weekend trips and thus only local flights.

So, from 2005 to 2010, I kind of went a little travel crazy. I visited thirty five countries during that five year time span. There was a time I flew back from Europe to the US, had a six hour break, where I went home to do laundry and then returned to the airport to fly to Asia. Three continents in 29 hours was definitely too much. I have since learned that moderation is the best policy.  

After traveling non stop for five years, I slowed things down by picking up the game of golf which I proceeded to play practically every day for four years, although my golf handicap probably stayed the same. It was also around this time that I began to immerse myself in the personal appearance/convention world. I took on the job of Master of Ceremonies for Fedcon, the largest European convention. I also filled the role of Director of Star Trek programming for Dragon Con in Atlanta. It was during this phase of my life that I discovered that I had a knack for hosting panels and other convention related events. As far as I know, I was the first actor to go behind the scenes and work for a convention.

8. You mentioned your involvement in various conventions over the years – even interviewing Stan Lee at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo in 2012. What is it like being a moderator?
Being a moderator started in 2010, when I became the Master of Ceremonies for FedCon, the longest running European Sci-fi convention, which takes place in Germany. It was also not too long after that when I took on the job of Trek Track Director for Dragon Con. Both roles required me to be on stage and moderate every guest actor. I quickly discovered that I had a knack for it and thus moderating became something that I truly looked forward to and enjoyed immensely.  I then started to offer my moderating services to each convention that I was invited to. Some of the other conventions that I have been utilized as a moderator include Calgary Expo, Edmonton Expo, Montreal Comicon, Hal-Con, Phoenix Comicon and Denver Comicon.  Of all the countless times I’ve served as moderator, the only time that I’ve actually been nervous and “fan boyed” was when I moderated Stan Lee for the first time.  It still came off well, albeit my shedding a few tears of joy on stage with the man, the myth and the legend.

9. You’re also very active on social media and have a notable following on Twitter. How do you think social media has changed the way we view and interact with celebrities?
Years ago, it was Robert Picardo, who played the Doctor on Voyager, that told me how important it was to have a healthy number of Twitter followers.  He told me that Film and TV producers would often base their hiring decisions on which actor had the highest number of Twitter followers.

Social media has definitely changed the way fans interact and view celebrities.  Before social media existed, your only option to interact with a celebrity was to send a letter which would take time to arrive and respond to.  Nowadays, access and interaction  is practically instantaneous. The way we view celebrities has changed as well. Pre social media, everyone would rely on magazines such as “People” or “Us” to read about what was happening in the lives of our favorite celebs. Now, we only need to jump onto social media to see what celebs are doing off camera.

10. What inspired your return to acting?
After taking almost a decade and a half off from acting, I started to feel the need to be creative once again. I missed the feeling I used to get when walking onto a set for the first time.  I also had several friends encouraging me to return to the acting world. It was a chance meeting with Chris Roe at a convention in Canada that set all the wheels in motion for my return to acting.

11. More recently, you have created a podcast The Delta Flyers with fellow Voyager co-star Robert Duncan McNeill. Was podcasting something you had always been interested in? If you were to create another one – what types of topics would you want to discuss?
I’d like to start by saying that there is a podcast called “Delta Flyer” that was started by two Voyager fans a few years ago. My podcast, “The Delta Flyers” is an idea that I’ve had for over a decade now, but it took a pandemic for me to actually make this a reality. We uploaded our first podcast on May the Fourth, which funny enough happens to be Star Wars Day.  Each week, we watch an episode of Voyager and discuss our thoughts about the episode as well as talk about what happened on set, behind the scenes.  Originally, my idea was to do this podcast solo, but it was my significant other Megan, who suggested I ask Robbie to join me on this journey.  I had considered Robbie as a potential co-host years before but ruled it out because he has always been so busy working as a television director and producer, I knew he wouldn’t have the time to participate.  Once again, the pandemic intervened and the silver lining was that he had free time on his hands to be a part of my podcast idea.

If I had to create another podcast, I would love to do one discussing “Ancient Aliens” types of topics, such as UFOs, Aliens, the lost city of Atlantis, the Bermuda Triangle. Or maybe one where I just interview my favorite people from all walks of life, not just celebrities. 

12. What is your dream role?
My dream role would be anything comedic.  My resume is comprised of mainly dramatic roles but comedy has always been my true passion. Making people laugh would make me ecstatic.  Growing up, I was a huge fan of Saturday Night Live. I also adored master impressionist Rich Little. I suppose my ideal role would be sketch comedy with an emphasis on impersonations.

13. What does the future look like for Garrett Wang?

The future I would like to manifest is one where I am either doing dramatic work which inspires people, not unlike Star Trek, or comedic work which makes people fall out of their personal “Captain’s chairs” laughing. After all, laughter is the best medicine.