Actor Q+A: Farhan Mohammadi

What is your favorite thing about acting?

When it comes to acting, there is no better feeling than stepping out of your comfort zone by challenging yourself to be someone else. I think the rush of embodying a person completely different from your actual self is the where the fun happens. You get to push yourself to new limits through a character, that’s exciting!

What is the hardest part?

The hardest part about acting is not losing hope. This business is a dog eat dog world, everyone wants success just as much as the next person. You have to force yourself to maintain a focused and faithful mindset that you will make it. Patience, hope, and hard work is the key.

What are your tips for newbie actors?

Focus on yourself. Prioritize yourself. Train yourself. If you want to make it, you have to put yourself and your craft first before anything else.

What skills, training and education do you recommend?

I highly recommend Meisner Technique Training Program. It not only helped me reach new heights as an actor, but taught me so much about myself as well.

Who are your favorite actors/actresses and what do you learn from watching them?

My favorite actor is Adam Sandler and Jack Black. Their sense of humor shines through their acting which is truly inspiring for an aspiring actor.

What are your upcoming projects and career goals?

I plan to finish Meisner Technique and pursue other techniques to better myself as an actor. Long-term speaking, I hope to one day be known as one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood with multiple Oscar winnings to my name.

What is something funny that’s happened to you on the job that makes you love acting more?

 One time I had to put makeup on for a part. As a middle eastern man, wearing makeup is frowned upon, however I loved trying something new and different. I have to say, my eyebrows were totally on fleek!

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Author Q+A: Andy Hernandez of “Drive You Crazy”

What inspired you on this book?

What inspired this one shot was certainly the “slice of life” genre. I created this one shot to be a mixture of slice of life mixed with aspects of mystery. My previous experience working with my illustrator Sury(Suryani Soedarja) also inspired this book.

Why did you want to become a writer?

Simply to create fictional stories that other people can hopefully enjoy.

What was the hardest part of creating this book?

Determining how long this project was going to be. I spent some time debating how long I was going to make it.

What do you hope people gain from reading it?

A sense of danger and excitement from the high tension situations in the book.

When you were a kid, what were your favorite books?

As a kid my favorite books were the Goosebumps series by R.L Stine.

What is your advice to people who are not excited about reading?

My advice would be to start off reading some short stories first.

Why should we buy your book?

If you’re a fan of mystery short stories involving a young cast, I would certainly check this project out.

Author Q+A: L. Lamont

What inspired you on this book?

I always imagined winning the lottery and I would often itemize how I’d spend the money and what my life might be. So, the more I thought about it, the book came about, and I decided to write it from a single man’s perspective.

Why did you want to become a writer?

Writing was always a love since middle school. I remember writing a script by hand because I didn’t have a word processor or typewriter. I participated in writing competitions, wrote for the college paper and earned a degree in journalism.

What was the hardest part of creating this book?

Writing this book took having perseverance and ingenuity. I didn’t create an outline, I had a premise of what I wanted the main character to experience, but no ending in mind until much later. For my second novel, I’m currently using the same tactic, with some outlining. However, and active imagination and an ability to write is all you need.

What do you hope people gain from reading it?

Being financially free is a wonderful thing, but without an awareness of self and a sense of purpose, one can never truly be free. Love is most important of all.

When you were a kid, what were your favorite books?

I can’t say that I had on favorite book as a kid. I was reading Dr. Seuss, the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew storylines. I loved reading articles in Ebony and Jet magazine. When I grew older, by middle and high school, I was collecting Source Magazine.

What is your advice to people who are not excited about reading?

Reading is an acquired taste but finding topics that interest you can help develop the interest. I love music, so reading about Hip Hop artists in The Source as a kid, stimulated my interest in reading expository text, which led to an interest in journalism.

Why should we buy your book?

If you love stories about people who get their “big break” or fall in love, this has that and more. Ultimately, it’s a book about the importance of being grateful.

Music Q+A: Dukane

Why did you want to get into music?

I’ve always been an entertainer but originally started as a basketball player. Even the sound of a basketball bouncing traversed into an interest of music. Through basketball I got to travel all over the world and saw a lot. I have a story to tell through music.

What was your first musical experience?

Growing up listening to Tupac, and then the whole Southern atmosphere of Master P

Who are your favorite names in music right now?

East coast, Jay Z Naz and Styes P.

What is your next release going to be?

My first official project with producer Stevie Cali! “Most Hated” it’s gonna make history!

Author Q+A: Troy Gathers

What inspired you on this book?

Take Me With You Volume 2 was actually inspired by my relationships with others. Over the past 10 years, I’ve really embraced the fact that we are dealing with character types more so than people. Have you ever met someone who reminds you of someone you knew your whole life, just by there actions? That’s what inspired me to write this book.

Why did you want to become a writer? 

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. In middle school, I would enter all the writing and drawing contest to display my interest. I won a few of them and received awards of participation for others, but the passion was always there.

What was the hardest part of creating this book? 

The hardest part of writing this book was actually finding the time that I could sit down and just write. Currently, my day revolves around finishing up my Ph.D and running multiple businesses. I did find the time to finish up the book but it usually came at the price of sleep.

What do you hope people gain from reading it?

After reading Take Me With You Volume 2, I want the readers to leave with a sense of discernment. This book is packed with biblical scriptures, wisdom and lessons. I want people to gain a better understanding of who’s in their life. The wrong friendships could really hurt your future.

When you were a kid, what were your favorite books? 

Great question. When I was growing up my favorite books were the The Trumpet of the Swan, James and the Giant Peach and The Scarlet Letter. These 3 books will always be on my favorites list.

What is your advice to people who are not excited about reading? 

Usually those that don’t like to read a whole lot are more visual people, which is fine. What I would tell them is, just imagine a movie that only you could see and you make up the faces of the characters and you determine the imagery of the story. Reading is the only pastime that gives you that experience.

Why should we buy your book?

Everyone reading this interview should buy my books because I put real life aspects in my books. I guarantee with all my books you will learn and adjust from my writings. I only deal with facts and personal experiences of others and myself. When you buy any one of my books you are buying information and not opinion.

Model Q+A: Anastasia Belotskaya

How do you get modeling jobs? Are you with an agency or freelance?

I have an agency that handles my bookings, it is absolutely necessary . Having a reputable agent is really what defines modeling as profession.

What made you want to be a model?

I was scouted back in Moscow, Russia, where I was born, by a photographer. He offered me to do a photo shoot and suggested I try myself in modeling. My first ever photoshoot got me exited about the job and I started working, at first part – time, then it became my career.

What is the hardest part about pursuing modeling as a profession?

Hardest part is to stay patient. Before you actually start getting bookings, it’s a long way of attending dozens of castings and long time waiting for pretty much everything: clients to book you, editorials to come out , and also get paid.

What is the most fun?

Fashion weeks are fun. For every designer, a fashion show is a celebration of the new collection, so it is very exiting to share their joy. Waling down the runway is just fun itself . And also some shows also have very cool afterparties;)

How do you respond to people who don’t believe in your goals?

I don’t really respond. Just do what I like and want to do.

What advice do you have for people who want to model?

Go for it, you can do it

What are your career aspirations and where can we find you next?

I have designed my own lingerie line and recently started working with a non profit organization supporting women’s rights  

Some more links on Anastasia!

http://retouchist.net/work/2017/2/25/retouching-the-dapier-by-arianna-coan-prichard

http://www.majormodel.com/portfolio/mainboard/women/1032770/anastasia-belotskaya

https://www.facebook.com/anastasiabelotskayamodel/ 

https://www.stevemadden.com/world/mag_article.jsp?categoryId=3278&entity=601

http://www.modelingmentor.com/blog/model-of-the-month-anastasia-belotskaya/

Anastasia Belotskaya @anastasett by Philippe Regard @philipperegard Hair and Make Up by Dunia Ghabour @duniaghabour

Anastasia Belotskaya @anastasett by Philippe Regard @philipperegard Hair and Make Up by Dunia Ghabour @duniaghabour

Artist Q+A: Meredith Hama-Brown

What kind of art do you specialize in?

I’m an actor and also a director/writer.

‘Cinephiliac’ film

What first attracted you to art?

It’s hard to say what first attracted me to it. But I do know that I’ve always used my work as a way to make sense of complicated thoughts and emotions. Even as a teenager I would keep a journal and write in it most days. So I would say that in a sense it has always just been a part of my life.

What made you want to do it as a profession and not a hobby?

I was very fortunate to grow up with parents who encouraged that I do something I’m passionate about. I’m sure that played a big role in why I wanted to pursue something creative professionally. I also always felt that since so much time is spent at work, that if I did something I really cared about then I would be better off. Of course, maybe I wasn’t really taking into consideration all of the challenges that come along with creative professions.

Who are your favourite artists and how have they influenced your work?

So many different artists have influenced me and I don’t think I can sum it up in one answer. I really think that every artist whose work I’ve seen, even if I didn’t like it, has had an impact on my work. I guess that’s why it is so important to experience every type of art possible, because that is what allows us to expand our range and discern between what speaks most to us and what doesn’t.

What is your attitude towards art in our time period?

My attitude towards art in any time period would be that it is a reflection of the current world. From what I see of art these days, it is very expansive and varied, maybe more so than the past. I feel like this points to how complex our modern world is. And art serves as a way to express how we feel in this world. But then again maybe every time period has felt this way.

What is your advice for people who want to have professional careers as artists?

I don’t really know that any one person can give a satisfying answer to this because everyone’s creative path needs to be found in such a unique way. So I guess my piece of advice would be simply to stay true to who you are and to seek out your own authenticity in your creative work. At least that is what I am always continually trying to do!

‘Lifeguard’ film

Where can we view your work and/or buy it?

The best place to see some of my work and also to stay up to date on new work being released would be my website or instagram.

Actor Q+A: Nicole Vukov

What is your favorite thing about acting?

Definitely the ability to explore all the different sides of myself and being able to transform into a completely different character but still finding myself within that character. I love being in the moment and when a scene or moment works, you just feel it. It’s electric and that is honestly the best part of acting.

What is the hardest part?

The hardest part? Well I don’t think there is a hardest part I think it does get frustrating but that is all part of the process. If you can’t enjoy the process and the struggle than you shouldn’t be acting.

What are your tips for newbie actors?

I don’t think I’m qualified to give tips to newbies because as much as I’ve done I always feel like a newbie and I’m always learning, so all I can say is that no matter the experience you should always view yourself as a student because there is always room to grow.

What skills, training and education do you recommend?

I definitely believe in education so if you have the opportunity to go to school and study acting you should because being able to study such a craft is considered a privilege.

Who are your favorite actors/actresses and what do you learn from watching them?

One of my favorite actors is Johnny Depp. He’s known for creating all these quirky characters and I am always curious about his thought process while creating a character and that’s why I’m fascinated with his work.

What are your upcoming projects and career goals?

In the last year I starred in two off Broadway shows called Conversations with an Average Joe and Three eyes on Pinocchio. Now I’m back starring two new original productions called Highlights & Shadows and The Immigrant Story of a Millennial Dream performing at the renowned The Producer’s Club. Highlights & Shadows is an Original One Act Play about three young Millennial girls. Navigating the ins and outs of what it is to be a girl in this generation. It’s not just a girly story it’s more than that. It explores the themes of mental burden, sex and consequence. It questions the term “It’s fine, I’m fine” and highlights conversations that girls keep behind closed doors. Highlights & Shadows is a lighthearted play with a strong message to the core and wants to open that conversation. The Immigrant Story of a Millennial Dream an Original One-Woman Show tells the story of a young immigrant girl trying to purse her millennial dream. What is a millennial dream you may ask? It’s whatever you want it to be. It’s an homage to the American Dream as the millennial generation tries to define what the American Dream means to them. This story is just one of the many with a twist. “It all started with a key”, she said. I’m exited to announce that I will be starring as the lead in both shows and exited for people to come see it at The Producer’s Club Off-Broadway.

What is something funny that’s happened to you on the job that makes you love acting more?

Oh gosh many things ahaha. I love moments that happened on accident for example me forgetting a line or me knocking something down on stage but being able to stay in the moment and use that to your advantage to create something special is what it’s all about. Honestly those are the things that make me love acting even more.

Artist Q+A: Tim Starnes

What kind(s) of art do you specialize in?

BIO:

Tim Starnes is an American playwright meets entrepreneuritainer – current owner and CEO of Ethereal Crack, largest provider of ghost tours in the United States, and other tourist trap attractions – he claims credit as being one of the world’s few “backyard theme park” owners. When not running Ethereal Crack and wrangling staff and his family, he writes stageplays that seem as if they have come from the pages of an irate history textbook left to go on an endless loop on an endless rollercoaster in an endless rainstorm, with periods of history shamelessly pulped together with fictional characters based on real figures, and then heavily peppered with autobiographical stints tinged with aspects of horror-comedy, cheap thrillers, German expressionism, and film noir.

Interested in comedy as black as licorice floating in the darkest corner of space (where nobody can hear the critics scream,) punchy satire, absurdism-tainted realism, and biting hard, he is here to prove that it is great fun (and exercise) to be run out of town by an angry mob, especially when you have style about it.

What first attracted you to art?

It’s what I’ve always loved doing – I have always loved entertaining people. Unfortunately, unless you live in NYC or LA, and are very lucky, doing just that is extremely difficult without being a small-time party clown, magician or artist – you might be lucky to get your name in the paper – especially in rural North Carolina, where I’m from.

What made you want to do it as a profession and not a hobby?

It’s just one of those natural callings in life – I can’t explain it, or maybe I’m just psychologically messed up and have an interior need to entertain people to validate myself. Your pick.

Who are your favorite artists and how have they influenced your work?

John Waters, Terry Pratchett, Terry Gilliam, William S Burroughs, Frank Lloyd Wright, Florenz Ziegfeld, Johnny Carson, and many more.

What is your attitude towards art in our time period?

I feel that art currently lacks substance. Have you watched a TV or a movie in the past ten years? Not even late-night TV isn’t enjoyable anymore now that David Letterman has left. The status of art is so incredibly sad. CGI and low-grade writing has replaced what used to be great about the artform – and if you check out my work, I’m no prude! It isn’t the content itself, but a lack of thoughtfulness or ingenuity behind it.

What is your advice for people who want to have professional careers as artists?

Drink a lot of coffee, and don’t give up. If an idea doesn’t work, throw in the towel and move on to the next thing, but don’t act like it didn’t happen. Things also take time – don’t be afraid of that.

Where can we view your work and/or buy it?

Check out my current venture at www.etherealcrack.com or @EtherealCrack on Twitter.

Actor Q+A: Christy Chilton

What is your favorite thing about acting?

The self expression that it allows,a great performance is one that breaks down walls, not merely for the audience’s sake but for the further development of the actor who’s processing and working through the role. This is why you’ll often see actors continue to choose roles that “challenge” them, each role well worked opens you a bit more creatively. It definitely becomes a craving, to grow and further cultivate your creative talent, to stretch the limits of how far you can go. More often than not, the audience is not merely watching a well rehearsed performance but more so they are witnessing a genuine and often times, a vulnerable, display of feelings, actions, reactions, and emotion thereby creating a pure, intimate exchange of emotion between actor and audience.

What is the hardest part?

Finding projects and roles that I truly love and admire. Breaking through the barriers of vulnerability in some instances.

What are your tips for newbie actors?

Anything that you can find, all that you can afford, really, what ever works best for you and your lifestyle. Success in this industry (and most others) comes after experience, perseverance and consistent action taken.

What skills, training and education do you recommend?

I went through formal training for the majority of my life, yet most of my personal favorite breakthrough moments and performances are the ones that followed my training with Benson Simmons, who taught me the Ivana Chubbuck Technique, which is a combination of the Stanislavski, Meisner, and Hagen methods all rolled into one.

Who are your favorite actors/actresses and what do you learn from watching them?

Leo Dicaprio is a fav, he really absorbs his characters and takes each one on fully.

What are your upcoming projects and career goals?

Two short films in the works presently, Ultimately would like to finish my own screenplay and begin working more on the other end of the camera again.

What is something funny that’s happened to you on the job that makes you love acting more?

There have been a lot of funny moments while on various sets over time. They are a usually a welcomed break, drawing cast and crew together a bit more.