Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Interview with actor Mary Stein about her career and the upcoming film, LITTLE BOY

Actress Mary Stein attended the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City, after already receiving a BA from Marquette University. In regional theater, she has played such diverse roles as 'May' in Fool for Love and 'Agnes' in Agnes of God. Rave reviews, unique talent and an enthusiasm to explore different media, led Stein to Hollywood where she broke into television on a series of pilots as well as guest starred on such well known TV shows as Star Trek: The Next Generation and Murphy Brown.

Mary's feature film break came with the unforgettable role of 'Angela' in Orion Pictures' 1996 sleeper hit Man of the Year (1995). Mary grabbed Ron Howard's attention with her enigmatic performance as 'Miss Floom', the hotel landlady in Babe: Pig in the City (1998). She went on to play, the Whoville school teacher, 'Miss Rue Who' under Ron's direction in Universal Pictures' blockbuster release of How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), alongside Jim Carrey, Molly Shannon, and Christine Baranski.

Mary took time to chat with me about her career and her upcoming film LITTLE BOY where she stars along side Kevin James, Emily Watson and Tom Wilkinson.

LITTLE BOY is the story of a 7-year old boy who is willing to do whatever it takes to end World War II so he can bring his father home. The story reveals the indescribable love a father has for his little boy and the love a son has for his father.

Trailer for Little Boy

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Composer David Raiklen Talks Music, Inspiration, SPACE COMMAND, & MIA, A DANCER'S JOURNEY

Acclaimed Hollywood composer David Raiklen began studying keyboard and composing at age 5. He wrote, directed and scored his first film at age 9. He attended, then taught at UCLA, USC and CalArts. He has worked for Fox, Sony, Disney, PBS and Sprint. David's composing is recognized by awards, including a 2004 American Music Center Grant.

David Raiklen’s credits include action classics UNIVERSAL SOLDIERS, 30,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, and I AM OMEGA.

David chatted with me about his career, inspirations, the upcoming sci-fi series SPACE COMMAND and the highly-anticipated movie MIA, A DANCER'S JOURNEY starring BLYTHE DANNER.

M: You began composing music at a very young age. Do you remember what was the first musical compositions you heard?

DR: My parents say I was conducting Beethoven in my playpen.

M: Any particular piece from Beethoven you remember fondly from that time period?

DR: Oh yes! Beethoven’s 5th symphony, very exciting! 

M: What is your “go-to” piece of music that you would rather not be without?

DR: Well, there are so many. I would say among my go-to pieces of music are the Bach Brandenburg Concertos, Beethoven’s 5th symphony, but I am also really fond of the 9th, The Right of Spring by Stravinsky, the original soundtrack to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial by John Williams. Those are some that come that come to mind right away, but there are so many others. Mozart’s 40th and 45th symphony,Chopin nocturnes, Debussy’s La mer, Daphnis et ChloĆ©, Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring, Bartok String Quartets, the score to Star Wars.

M: Oh my goodness I guess it is just too hard to narrow it down to just one. I love music as well.

DR: I can’t narrow it down. I don’t have a favorite. I have a whole bunch of different pieces of music that are meaningful to me in different ways at different times.

M: Who would you say had the biggest influence on your career in regards to the type of music you write?

DR: I would have to say the big three are Bach, Aaron Copland, and John Williams.

M: Do you approach composing music for films differently than you do for games or live performances?

DR: Yes. And I approach each film, each game and each live performance differently. Because the needs of the story, the needs of the audience are going to be different. So I have many different working methods.

Let me give you two or three very quick examples.

Sometimes I will be brought on board a film while it is still in the conceptual stage. I will help in visualizing the project by writing music that sets the tone, the characters the general ambiance of that move even though it hasn’t been written yet. It helps inspire the writer.

Then a completely different way of working is I can come in at the production stage and the director might want for example dance music playing at a party and wants particular kind of dance music. So I will write that music so they can play it on set for the actors to actually be performing to the music it is going to be in the movie.

Then a third and quite different way of working is say some is finished a video game and it is a little pocket mobile game. It only needs a few minutes of music then it is ready to go. I write something simple that fits the world of the game and makes it a more immersive fun experience. But I only spend a little bit of time on it at the end just before it goes into the final encoding for the App Store.

M: Mentioning two films you worked on. You worked on the upcoming science fiction series called SPACE COMMAND and BLOOD KISS with Neil Gaiman. Can you describe how you approached composing for SPACE COMMAND and BLOOD KISS?

DR: Space Command is a science fiction dream come true. It is written by Marc Scott Zicree who is the only person to have done scripts for the New Twilight Zone, Star Trek, Babylon 5, Deep Space 9, Battle Star, Sliders. Every major science fiction franchise. So he knows that world very well. He is also a best selling novelist.

We are starting out with a usually heartfelt and encyclopedic knowledge of world so science fiction. Our intent is to create a hopeful vision of the future that everyone can be a part of. That is why we have been able to attract such wonderful talent like Doug Jones who is Pan in Pan’s Labyrinth, or Bruce Boxleitner who is Tron in Tron. These are science fiction icons. Our production designer is Iain McCaig who is the production designer for Star Wars 7, and Harry Potter.

So all these amazing people have come together and the idea is to tell a story that is contemporary but has that optimistic vision of the future. We are referencing back to the time when there was utopian science fiction, which basically was true all the way up to from the end of the 19th century to the end of the 20th century.

I need to create something that will sound fresh and new but reference classic science fiction because that is where our roots are. That is where the hopeful visions of a future were at their strongest. We are hoping though that it is going to come back and that is going to be a new trend in science fiction. I think we are starting to see a little bit of that where tomorrow is better than today instead of everybody dies.

M: I think that is something that many people need and the accompanying music will speak to them wouldn’t you agree?

DR: Oh yes the music needs to express the heroic impulses and the higher aspirations of all the characters. Of course there is plenty of action and WOW sci-fi landscapes and battles. All of that needs action packed epic music.

One of the important things about science fiction is to create a “what the heck is that?” sound. Something that is really unique and immediately says wow we are in another world. Every movie does that to some extent but in science fiction it is prevalent. So I am working with instrument designers to create musical instruments that have never been heard before.

M: That is interesting. How does one go about doing that?
DR: Well you get together with people who are craftsmen. For instance for string instruments they are called luthiers. The person who makes a guitar, mandolin or violin. These people are crafts people, artisans of actually very great creativity. You ask them to do something different, something wild.

I might even have some ideas of what we might use for sound sources. For example banging on actual NASA rockets and recording the sounds.

M: What is the most unique thing you ever used to create a sound that would surprise people?

DR: Hmm … that is a good question. Some of the usual sound sources that I have worked with are bowls. Tapping a bowl with a striker and getting the ring from it. A dumpster, banging on the side of a dumpster and recording that sound. An Aeolian harp, this is an instrument that sort of looks like a harp but on a large scale. The strings are blown by the wind, so it is not actually played by human hands. The wind blowing through the strings makes it to vibrate which makes a wonderfully eerie otherworldly sound. 

M:  You are part of a team for another project, MIA: A Dancer’s Journey. Can you first share how you came across or joined the team?

DR: I appreciate you using the term team because that is what it takes to make a really good game, television show, or concert. It is about telling a story, creating an immersive experience and everyone’s talents hopefully harmonize to make it possible.

I first heard about the project, MIA: A Dancer’s Journey through my friend Carole Dean. She is a wonderful person and a very savvy filmmaker who among many of her accomplishments has administered a grant program for documentary filmmakers called the Dean Grant. If you’re into the world of documentaries you have probably heard about it. It is a prestigious and really useful grant that helps filmmakers actually complete their films and get it out into the world. Everything from funding and legal advice to technical help with sound mixes, etc.

One of the things the grant provides for is a composer to do the music and I was selected for MIA. This is when the film was in a short form early stage. It has come a long way since then. But even then I was amazed at the quality of the filmmaking.

Mia Slavenska is a star and her charisma just pops off the screen. When she dances, just WOW! This is clearly a great artist from the golden age of ballet when you could be a star for dancing.

There were other story telling images created by our amazing director Kate Johnson. There were things that I had never seen in a film before. So I was going to have to do my best just to live up to the quality of what had been done already.

I came onboard to basically help finish the film, but over the years we’ve worked on this project I think the music and the images and the interviews have all woven together to make one really compelling story

M: In terms of the creative process how do you decide where to begin in creating the music for it and working with what they already had?

DR: Good question. On this particular film I saw maybe the first ten minutes or so of the picture, a different form than they are now, but many of the elements were there. Usually I try to compose starting at the beginning going through in chronological order to the end of the film just like I was a member of the audience who was seeing it for the first time. I search for a melody theme or a set of themes that represent the characters and ideas. That is going to be the guide, the emotional musical story telling through line that goes from the beginning to the end. Changing, varying, morphing to whatever the story and the situation requires. So I came up with a melody-theme for MIA, which is essentially the main theme of the movie. That has stayed throughout the whole process.

The setting, the orchestration and the tempo all the ways we develop the idea that has evolved over the years. 

M: What word would you used to describe MIA: A Dancer’s Journey seeing the music and the visuals all together in the final package?

DR: Immersive. You feel like you are in that amazing glittering world of the golden age of ballet.

M: Do you have any information on when or where we can see MIA: A Dancer’s Journey ?

DR: It is showing in Los Angeles on January 29th on PBS So-Cal at 9PM. The film is also screening at Lincoln Center on January 31st at 4PM EST. You can purchase tickets in advance, which you should because it will sell out.

M: Do you have any other upcoming projects or music information you would like to share with our audience?

DR: Follow me on Facebook and you will find out first what is coming up next. 

Listen to a sample of Mia End Titles, composed by David Raiklen:

David Raiklen

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Blair Witch Project's Eduardo Sanchez presents Ninjas vs. Monster

On DVD and VOD February 2!

The Blair Witch Project's Eduardo Sanchez presents Ninjas vs. Monsters, clashing on DVD (Endlight Entertainment and Big Damn Films) and VOD (Uncork'd Entertainment) on February 2nd

From director Justin Timpane and executive producer Eduardo Sanchez comes a horror-comedy with fright and fight!

Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Werewolf, and a coven of sexy Witches battle the high-flying Ninjas in an all new action/horror/comedy from the makers of "Ninjas vs Vampires" and "Ninjas vs Zombies" premiering on DVD 
(Endlight Entertainment and Big Damn Films) and VOD (Uncork'd Entertainment) this February.

BUDDY HUTCHINS - Starring Jamie Kennedy (Scream 1-3) and Oscar Nominee Sally Kirkland

His Bad Day Is Now Your Bad Day

JAMIE KENNEDY and SALLY KIRKLAND star in Buddy Hutchins, on DVD and VOD this March from Uncork'd Entertainment. 

Named one of Wicked Channel's Top 25 Films of 2014, Buddy Hutchins features Jamie Kennedy (Scream, TVs Ghost Whisperer) as you've never seen him before!

Buddy Hutchins (Kennedy) is just a regular guy doing his best to support a wife and two kids. A recovering alcoholic, Buddy hasn't had a drink for the better part of a year, but it turns out the only reward for his good behavior is a failing business and a cheating wife. Throw in a ruthless bounty hunter and an hot-tempered ex, and Buddy's already short fuse is about to blow. Pushed over the edge and armed with a chainsaw, Buddy Hutchins is out for blood.

Starring Jamie Kennedy (Scream, Tremors 5, Son of the Mask), Oscar Nominee Sally Kirkland (The Sting, JFK), and Sara Malakul Lane (Kickboxer : Vengeance, Scouts vs.Zombies). Written and Directed by Jared Cohn (Jailbait, 12/12/12).


Monday, December 22, 2014

Actress - Producer, Tracey Birdsall Interview

Born in Van Nuys, California, Tracey Birdsall is an accomplished actor, producer, and vocalist. She was recently honored with the Action on Film 2014 Maverick Award for her accomplishments in the entertainment industry (Previous Maverick Award Winners Include: Talia Shire, John Savage, Harry Lennix, Michael Madsen, David Carradine, Tom Sizemore, Debra Kara Unger, Kim Coates and many others.)

Tracey has several films she has been cast in this past year, including the up-coming "Dawn of the Crescent Moon" in the role of "Tracey" which was specifically written with her casting in mind, and in the coveted role of Francesca (a trophy wife with an unsatiable appetite, and a force to be reckoned with) in "Do You Like Your Balls?" 

We had a chance to chat with Tracey recently

Congratulations on the Maverick Award win. How did that make you feel – that all the hard work is worth it?

Thank you! Although we already feel that it’s worth it from our own perspective (after all, we are getting to live these lives and we are being hired), a little recognition from within our industry is really unmatched in how it feels. I feel that our audience is easy to please, but our cohorts and other people within the industry giving recognition is another type of validation… and completely unexpected!

You also had two films screening at the AOFF, right? What were they?
First of all, you have to love Del Weston and the Action on Film Festival! I’ve traveled film festivals all over the world, and to have a high class organization like this in our own town in which to premiere movies is really unmatched. I had DO YOU LIKE YOUR BALLS? which is a comedy in which we won BEST COMEDY SCENE in the fest, and also DAWN OF THE CRESCENT MOON which is a supernatural thriller (which we won BEST CAST ENSEMBLE IN A FEATURE for.)

You’re definitely not an actress that had pigeonholed herself. You seem to like to mix it up in different genres. But is there any type of film you prefer doing over the other?

I love all the genres, and well said on not liking to get pigeonholed! I like to follow anything up with a comedy, because it’s like a dance of sorts… so I guess I would have to vote for comedy. That said, a comedy is most fun when you’ve been already shooting something more dramatic. It’s the dichotomy of it all which keeps it interesting.

How was it working with Barry Corbin on “Dawn of the Crescent Moon”? He have any good advice to share?

Watching Barry work is really a treat. I loved working with him, getting to know him, and hopefully having some of that veteran talent rub off on me! I don’t know if I would call it advice, but he definitely has a great perspective on things and a “do it all” attitude. It’s funny, as you work with people who are more of newbie’s and they carry on about what they will or won’t do… Barry just loves to work and that really resonates with me. Besides that, he’s a really stand up guy. We actually worked together again in the upcoming Science Fiction Film AT THE EDGE OF TIME and I just have to say that I would work with him again and again if given the chance.

You’ve done a lot of TV, too. What’s the main difference between doing TV and doing film?

When you work in a film, you have time to really get into your character and become someone else - take on another life. You spend weeks and sometimes months becoming the character and immersing yourself. I imagine that’s how it is if you’re a lead role in a television show, but I haven’t had a long term television show that I was a lead character in. So I feel that in television, you kind of pop in and out of who you are and in film you actually have immersion and become someone different for a while. That said, if I had a lead television series that I was in for a long time, and I was living that life as my own, I imagine it would have the same feeling and that I would become the character after a while… that’s my favorite part is the transformation.

What are you currently working on?

Funny you ask ;) … I just wrapped a Science Fiction Time Travel movie set in multiple realities about a week ago entitled AT THE EDGE OF TIME, where I play an incredibly badass General in an exhaustive twenty-year-old war trying to stop Cyrano (played by Darren Jacobs) from re-writing history. I have to say that the costuming and the character were such a blast to play!

In a few months, I head off to the East Coast to work on a film as Jenna in the comedy WHO’S JENNA JAMESON?. It’s a really hilarious film with Thomas Baldinger at the helm (624 Productions) and also starring Bob Sorvino, Joe D'Onofrio and Garry Pastore - so it’s a great cast! All good things :)

Twitter: @traceybirdsall1

Instagram: traceybirdsall1

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

TV Host counts down the Top 100 Indie Filmmakers In The World

Renowned filmmaker and Television host Del Weston is known for saying it like it is, and with his new book on independent filmmaking, Weston’s tongue remains true to his nature.

The Top 100 Indie Filmmakers In The World Part 1, now available on iTunes, showcases the world’s best independent filmmakers in a way never before seen in print or otherwise. Their hopes, their dreams, their work along with links to the people who have molded them and their craft are explored and revealed.

Weston, the creator of the AOF Festival and host of Del Weston On Film, gets feverishly and entertainingly honest in the read-this-before-shooting manual.

“I found that this book was necessary to create. There is a lot of hype out there and it seems that anyone with a camera considers himself or herself to be a filmmaker. I simply don’t agree. I have been making film and television for almost 30 years. While I have spent time in the studio system, most of it has been as an independent filmmaker and producer. That means no studio, no multimillion dollar backers and no easy route to distribution. It just means hard work and careful planning.”

The Top 100 Indie Filmmakers In The World Part 1 features chats with such filmmakers as Stan Harrington, Tyler Williams, Michelle Muldoon, Aaron Kurmey, and Mark Giardino.

“The people represented in the book were culled from both my experiences as a filmmaker and those of the creator and producer of the hugely successful Action on Film International Film Festival. Each person deserves his or her place in this book. They have shown that they have what it takes to wear the badge of an artist and filmmaker.”

The success of Part 1 has paved the way for sequels, says Weston.

“There are future volumes coming. Every year moving forward we will recognize another 100 filmmakers. Our goal is to separate the wheat from the chaf and to introduce to the world some incredible people who happen to sculpt with a microphone, paint with camera lens and serenade with a screenplay. “

The Top 100 Indie Filmmakers In The World Part 1 is available on iTunes

Friday, December 12, 2014

Arnold Schwarzenegger Pumping Iron HD Giveaway

Pumping Iron, the classic documentary, is now available for download on digital HD for the first time with rarely seen content and interviews

The Entertainment Corner has one (1) Digital copy of Pumping Iron to giveaway to one lucky reader!

About Pumping Iron

Everyone knows Arnold Schwarzenegger but do you know the whole story behind the man?

From Gold's Gym in Venice Beach California to the showdown in Pretoria, amateur and professional bodybuilders prepare for the 1975 Mr. Olympia and Mr. Universe contests in this part-scripted, part-documentary film.

Five-time champion Arnold Schwarzenegger defends his Mr. Olympia title against Serge Nubret and the shy, young, deaf Lou Ferrigno, whose father is his coach; the ruthless champ psyches out the young lion.

Sardinian Franco Columbu competes in the lightweight class; at home in Italy he solves a tight parking problem by lifting the car into place. Joe Weider is the marketer; Mike Katz and Ken Waller go for the title of Mr. Universe. Bodybuilding and a celebrity-to-be go mainstream.


Pumping Iron (plus bonus content) Available Today:!content/611872/Pumping-Iron-plus-bonus-content

Special Features:

· Still Pumping: Success in bodybuilding is a mental challenge as well as physical. In these newly recorded interviews, Arnold Schwarzenegger talks about the will power and focus you need to become a champion, and the mental attitude that has shaped his career.

· TheHard Science of Bodybuilding: Arnold Schwarzenegger and top bodybuilders give insights into the sport of bodybuilding and tips for building the body of your dreams.

How To Enter The Giveaway:

1.) Tweet using #PumpingIron and include @Entertaincorner so we can see your tweets

2.) Share this blog post on Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc and give a link back in the comments below

3.) Share your favorite Arnold moments in the comments below

The Pumping Iron Blog App

Giveaway Rules:

Only open to residents of the U.S. and Canada

Giveaway closes December 27th, 2014

Each household is only eligible to win One (1) Pumping Iron Digital Download via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

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