an interview with filmmaker, wesley elder!

Last year, I attended The Matchbreaker movie premiere to film interviews and met several amazingly talented people in the process, including Wesley Elder! Wesley not only starred in the film (alongside Christina Grimme) but also wrote and produced the film as well.

The rom-com follows the story of an idealistic romantic who finds himself with a one-time gig of breaking up couples for disapproving parents that spirals into a “match-breaking” profession.

Back in October, I was filming interviews at the Christina Grimme Foundation Inaugural Event in Hollywood and happened to see Wesley there so we set up this inspiring interview.

  1. What inspired you to make your start in the entertainment industry?

 I studied abroad in Argentina right after high school and was there for a year and a half. During my time there, I took part of this touring drama ministry called “Renacidos”. It was super dark, about drugs and all that good stuff. Anyway, when I came back home, I told my mom one day that I thought I was supposed to act, like, maybe in movies or something. I had never been in theater or anything ever, so this was out of left field, but then I started researching a lot about it on my own and watching a ton of movies. And then next thing you know, it’s my career path, ha.

  1. How do you balancing wearing multiple hats, so to speak, during production?

 Dude, that’s hard. Especially on the indie level. Because not only am I worrying about my scene and my lines and stuff, but I’m making sure this actress’ flight arrives on time and I’m making sure lunch got picked up and that we’re on schedule and it’s just a lot. I used to say “this is fine” like the little cartoon dog who is in the burning house, ha. But if you just keep calm and treat people with respect and take care of them, typically it works out fine.

  1. How does a feature movie project like The Matchbreaker go from an idea to a script and then onto the big screen?

 A lot of time, ha. I mean, it took us three years from the original concept to the premiere. I think the biggest hurdle is diligence in the story part of it and staying on task in post-production. It’s really easy to slow down on those two parts of the process and let time get away from you, but if you can stay diligent and knock it out, then you’ll get it out into the world. And always put names in your movie if you can, haha. That’ll help it get made for sure.

  1. What has been one of your most favorite experiences so far on a set?

 Honestly, my more favorite moments are either when I’m doing something big that I haven’t done before (for example, I did a civil war VR shoot this past weekend), or when it’s super small with me and my friends and we’re shooting something. I have a group of friends that I call the Dream Team and it consists of about 6 people and if it all of us on set making stuff, I’d be happy for the rest of my days, haha.

  1. What struggles have you faced in achieving your dreams?

 Being young, haha. People don’t listen to you when you’re young. Which is why you just have to make stuff like The Matchbreaker.

  1. What is your primary focus with entertainment and how have you been involved with it?

 My primary focus is acting. Second to that is writing. Producing is a means to both. More often than not, you’re going to have to set in motion your ideas and that’s ultimately how producing fits into it all. However, I’d love to get to where I’m doing less producing and focusing on the creative more.

  1. As a writer, how do you deal with writer’s block?

 Talk with people. If nothing is happening on the page, then I go to talk to someone to get a little jolt. That or play ping pong, ha.

  1. In your opinion, what do you think is the key to being a storyteller?

 Study other movies and TV. And not just the old stuff, but the new stuff too. What are people doing right now? I think that’s crucial. Film school puts you through all of this old stuff which is sometimes great, but more often than not, it’s dated and is totally different to what audiences enjoy today. And experiencing life helps you tell a story. It’s easier to recreate life if you’ve experienced it.

  1. Could you share anything you are currently working on and how the process is going for that?

 TELEVISION! We want to get into TV. We’re working on two different concepts that are totally different. One is comedic, kind of like Master of None, and one is dramatic, kind of like Mad Men. It’s fun and challenging because within your larger plot, you’re creating much smaller ones. But I’m also trying to plan for 5 seasons because if it got picked up, I want to have a map as to where I’m going. I want these stories to be so strong that if we pitched it, nobody could say no.

  1. What is your advice to aspiring filmmakers/actors/writers/creators?

 Go. Make. Stuff. I’ve learned more from making stuff than I have anything else. Some of us are born with raw talent, but the majority are not, so we have to fail and fail and fail until we eventually succeed.

As a young storyteller myself, I find Wesley’s accomplishments and advice incredibly inspiring! Check him out online @thewesleyelder to keep updated on all of his projects!

at the Christina Grimme Foundation event with Wesley Elder, Eva Amantea, & Yising Kao (October 2017)

Stay Inspired!

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leibster award nomination!

My blog (a.k.a. this website!) has been nominated for the Leibster Award by Kerry Ireland of The Petite Wanderer!

I got sent some questions to answer for this post, so here are my answers:

What is your earliest memory?

This is a tricky question for me since I have a very vivid memory, but I literally do remember being read to before bed back in the very early days that included a crib beside several stuffed animals (in which, one particular “Mr.Monkey” was always my favorite!).

What is your favorite drink?

I drink water the most, but that’s a boring answer so I have to say that my favorite drink would have to be a bold espresso-filled almond latte. This literally changes all of the time though! Hot spiced apple cider in autumn is also a great go-to as well.

What is your dream career? 

I like to consider myself a storyteller of many forms, so my dream career has always been the idea of telling stories and just making a comfortable living off of doing the things I love to do.

What are your passions?

I am very passionate about storytelling through filmmaking, creative writing, acting, photography, and art. I do a lot but being so involved with so many passions really keeps me going.

What is the best trip you’ve ever been on?

How does one simply answer this question?!? Hmm. Every trip is super memorable and amazing in their own ways but for the sake of pretending that there is some decisive bone inside of me (where!?!?!?), I would say that the first trip that comes to mind was a trip to British Columbia and then California with my family. During my junior year of high school, I went to Vancouver and areas of British Columbia to visit Stevestons Village (the filming location of the abc show, Once Upon a Time) and tour the office spaces of Club Penguin, which my brother, Adam, designed an entire “Pup1one” persona with online. Afterwards, we flew to LA to tour some college I applied to and I visited the school I currently attend for the first time. I wrote a post about part of this trip that you can read here.

This has been such a great collaboration post and I have to take a moment here to thank Kerry again for nominating me! Check her out online at www.thepetitewanderer.com! You can read my nomination post here.

But for the moment you all have been waiting for… here are my nominees!

  • Travels of 2 Sisters (http://travelsof2sisters.com/)

Eva and Lara Michelsen are two sisters who use their blog as an outlet to share their stories of traveling while providing advice for those who wish to travel luxuriously even on a budget.

  • Alannah Williams (https://www.alannahwilliams.com/blog)

Alannah set up her site as a personal site of self-expression and a creative outlet for health, fitness, and lifestyle. With elegant design and fitspiration style, this site encourages a well-balanced life.

  • Tegan Winters (https://teganwinters.com/)

Eighteen year young Teagan Winters shares her life through her blog and YouTube channel. Her blog style is familiar to mine at LockerStyler and she has a great line up of variety lifestyle posts.

  • Elysian Moment (http://elysianmoment.com/)

Kate loves to travel and uses her site as a beautiful place to share her experiences and tips. The layout is simple and pink, leaving the site elegant with traces of wanderlust.

  • HelloAlima (https://hellohalima.com/)

Halima is a writer who uses her site as a collage of photos and creative writing pieces of all sorts. As a writer myself, I have massive amounts of appreciation for her site dedicated to creative writing!

  • Balance and Vine (http://www.balanceandvine.com/)

Jamie Kennedy, a California girl living in Australia loves yoga, wine, and photography. Her site beautifully illustrates and highlights all three and more complete with playlists and blog posts.

Congrats to all of those I nominated! Here are your instructions for the next step:

  1. Give the person who nominated you a shout-out (a.k.a. me, Sarah Hamilton of LockerStyler, www.lockerstyler.com).
  2. Answer the following questions.
  3. Nominate five other bloggers with less than 200 followers.
  4. Write your own set of questions for those nominees!

Questions:

  1. What inspired you to start your blog/website?
  2. What is your favorite thing to do and why?
  3. What dreams do you wish to accomplish?
  4. Where are you from and what’s it like there?
  5.  What advice would you give to aspiring bloggers/writers/dreamers?

I’m looking forward to seeing your responses! Tweet them at me @sarahfhamilton.

Best,

me

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Interview With Author, Jessica Brody!

t98e5XfOHello!

I just got the amazing opportunity to interview author, Jessica Brody! Back during the 2015 Teen Book Festival this past May, I got to meet her and since she is so nice and inspiring, it has been such a privilege to interview her for this site!

  1. What inspired you to start writing?

In second grade I turned in a four page book report (the assignment was to write one paragraph) and the teacher made such a huge deal about it. I really couldn’t understand why. Writing just came naturally to me. At that moment I remember wanting to be a writer. But somewhere along the way I convinced myself that I needed to get a “serious” job…you know, one that comes with dental insurance. So I majored in Economics in college (very serious!) and went on to be a financial analyst for MGM Studios. It wasn’t until years later that I realized “serious” wasn’t for me. So I quit to pick up where I left off at age seven.

  1. How did you go about getting your first book published?

It was really really difficult! It took me five years to sell my first book. Actually my “first” book was never published. It’s still sitting on my shelf! I tried for three years to get an agent for that book and eventually started a new book that would become my first published novel. After five years, I finally landed my first agent and she sold my book in only 10 days! That’s the power of a good agent.

  1. What is your favorite book/ who is your favorite author?

Oh, my, I have so many! Here are some of my top 5 (in no particular order!)

ROOM by Emma Donoghue

THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir

READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline

THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson

THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins

Also, pretty much anything by Sophie Kinsella!

  1. If you could spend a day in one of your stories, which one would you choose?

Oh, what a great question! Not sure I’ve ever been asked for that! I would love to spend a day in UNCHANGED, the third book in the Unremembered trilogy. It’s a pretty scary world, but the technology is just SO cool (I’m a huge tech nerd, so it was super fun to invent all sorts of new gadgets). It’d be nice to spend a day there knowing I can escape!

  1. What is your favorite memory as an author?

I think every time the first copy of my latest book comes in the mail. I just received my first advance copies of A WEEK OF MONDAYS (which releases in August 2016) last week and it was truly an amazing moment. You would think by the ninth book, you’d be jaded and go, “Oh, cool” and then just toss the thing aside. But you don’t. Each book is more exciting than the last! I spend about twenty minutes just touching the cover, making sure it’s really real.

  1. Are any of your characters based on yourself or people you know?

Actually yes! I do this a lot, actually. I think picking characteristics from real people and inserting them into your characters help make them feel more real. I based one of the boys in MY LIFE UNDECIDED on a boyfriend I had in high school. He even has the same name and drives the same car as my ex did! And the funniest part was, I hadn’t spoken to this guy since high school and right when I finished writing the book, he Facebooked me out of the blue to say hi. It was really surreal. He must have knew on some level that I was writing about him.

  1. What do you do to overcome writer’s block?

I actually don’t believe in writer’s block! That’s how I deal with it. I think it’s a mental thing. When you believe yourself to be blocked, presto! You are! When you refuse to acknowledge that it even exists, it doesn’t. I actually wrote an entire blog post about this very phenomenon! You can read it here: http://www.jessicabrody.com/2014/03/the-condition-which-shall-not-be-named-5-tips-for-outsmarting-whisper-writers-block/

  1. Where do you see yourself in upcoming years?

Hopefully still writing! Seriously, if I can do this job for the rest of my life, I’ll be one happy camper.

  1. Can you tease any information about upcoming projects? If so, what?

Of course! I have four books coming out in the next two years! I’m so excited! Here’s what’s coming up:

BOYS OF SUMMER (April 2016): After spending nearly every summer together on the beautiful Winlock Harbor, three best friends—Grayson, Mike, and Ian—return to the island to discover they are each dealing with a personal tragedy that will test the strength of their friendship.

A WEEK OF MONDAYS (August 2016): After her boyfriend breaks up with her on the worst day of her life, sixteen-year-old Ellie finds herself stuck in the same horrible Monday over and over and decides to use her unique situation to attempt to save her relationship.

ADDIE BELL’S SHORTCUT TO GROWING UP (Early 2017): My first middle grade novel about a twelve-year-old girl, tired of her “immature” peers and eager to grow up, who makes a wish on a magic jewelry box to be sixteen and wakes up to find her entire life has been fast-forwarded four years. But she soon discovers a lot more has changed than she expected.

UNTITLED (Summer 2017): This one is still under wraps! I hope to be able to share information about it soon!

  1. What would you say to inspiring young writers?

Don’t be afraid to write badly. All writers have awful first drafts. That’s why they’re called first drafts. Sometimes you have to just get through the story before you can make it pretty. I think a lot of new authors quit halfway through the book because they’re afraid that it’s not good. The first draft won’t be good. Just finish it and fix it later. The hardest part about writing a book is getting to that last page. Don’t be afraid to write crap because crap makes great fertilizer.

image004-1 image002

COMING IN 2016!

 

Boys of Summer – April 5, 2016 – Simon & Schuster

A Week of Mondays – August 2, 2016 – FSG/Macmillan

 

Follow Jessica at the following links!

www.JessicaBrody.com

Follow me on Twitter @JessicaBrody

Find me on Facebook

Thank you so much to Jessica for this great interview and I know that I will be reading her upcoming books!

 

Stay Inspired!

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Interview With Alexis Shafira Cunningham!

www.carlarheakids.com, Carla Rhea; ENGAGEMENT photographer; COUPLES head shots, head shots for kids, actor head shots, ADULT head shots, oc HEAD SHOTS & FAMILY photographer; L.A. MODELS & HOST photographer; Carla Rhea, Orange County HEAD SHOT Photographer, NEWPORT BEACH, ORANGE, NYC, NEW YORK CITY, Irvine Photographer, Los Angeles, KIDS
Hello!

I recently had an opportunity to meet an incredible young singer here in sunny LA. Of course, I had to interview her. Alexis’ journey, talents, and dreams are incredible and her abilities are incredibly inspiring. Here’s what she had to say…

What inspired you to start singing?

I was inspired to sing by going to an Alicia Keys concert at four years old.  Seeing Alicia Keys on stage made me fall in love with performing.  The fans were amazing, the music sounded great, she looked beautiful, and I felt her energy.  I want other people to feel that same energy when I sing. Also, I am inspired by my feelings to write and sing songs.  Whatever I feel, I just write and sing about it.

Who inspires you the most?

My vision board really inspires me to be the best.  I have singers on there such as: Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, The Beatles etc. I have pictures of awards that I would like to win on my board, professional teams I would like to sing for, Interviewers that I would love to sit down and interview with, places I want to travel, and other goals I see myself accomplishing. 

What are your goals for the future?

My goal for the immediate future is to record an album in the studio.  My long term goals are to continue my training, become the best singer/songwriter in the world, inspire others to live their best life, make songs that will be the soundtrack of my fans lives, have a charity to help children in need, and to become a movie star.

What is one of your favorite memories?

My favorite memories involve my three little sisters.  We sing together every day all day.  We really love getting together and  singing for Christmas and all of our family come over to  watch us.

If you could perform anywhere, where would you choose?

If I could perform anywhere, it would be live on America’s Got Talent.  I would love to perform on that show.  It’s been a dream of mine for years to perform on National Television in front of the world.

How do you juggle your career, school, and life?

It’s really hard juggling my career, school , and life.  I do not have a lot of free time to myself. I have to stick to a schedule in order to get task completed. Also, I make singing and everything that I do fun.   

How old were you when you discovered your passion and talent for singing?

I discovered my love for dancing at two years old.  I discovered my passion for singing at four years old.  I began making songs at four and putting on shows for my family shortly after.

What would you say to inspire others follow their dreams as well?

I would tell anyone who is pursing their dreams  to push past their fears and step into greatness.

Her website can be found at www.alexisshafira.com and her latest link can be found at https://youtu.be/scYTLppFays

I want to say thank you so much again to Alexis for letting me interview you and for you readers, I hope that this post inspired you since it definitely inspired me.

Stay Inspired & Follow Your Dreams!

me

PHOTO CREDS: www.carlarheakids.com, Carla Rhea; ENGAGEMENT photographer; COUPLES head shots, head shots for kids, actor head shots, ADULT head shots, oc HEAD SHOTS & FAMILY photographer; L.A. MODELS & HOST photographer; Carla Rhea, Orange County HEAD SHOT Photographer, NEWPORT BEACH, ORANGE, NYC, NEW YORK CITY, Irvine Photographer, Los Angeles, KIDS

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Interview With Author, Nina Revoyr!

 Hello!

Recently I had the amazing opportunity to interview Nina Revoyr, author of several books including “Southland” and her most recent novel, “Lost Canyon”. I read “Southland” as a suggested read through the college I am attending and in November, I will be attending one of her events being held on campus. It was really great getting to interview her and here’s what she had to say…

     What did you want to be when you were young?

I always wanted to be a writer—I always wanted to tell stories.  Beyond that, really, I wanted to play sports. I played basketball through high school and part of college.  But if I were in my teens or twenties now, I’d want to climb mountains—a passion I came to late, which is probably a good thing.

    What inspired you to start writing?

I started writing for the same reason I loved reading—to keep myself company, and to enter a world that’s different than the everyday one I live in.  That’s still fundamentally the same reason I write now—to create a world that’s different, and more ordered, than the real one.

   What’s your favorite book?

I’m not sure I have one favorite book.  But if I could only take a few books with me to a desert island, they would include Beloved by Toni Morrison, Emily Dickinson’s poems, a collection of James Baldwin’s essays, A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean, and a few others that change depending on when you ask me.

    If you could be in any of your stories, which one would you choose?

My new one, Lost Canyon.  It’s an adventure gone wrong in the Sierra Nevada.  I love mountains, and I love adventure, and while the characters run into some tough situations, that’s also kind of exciting.

   What is your favorite place to visit in LA?

I have several favorites. The Watts Towers for sure.  Little Tokyo. Sacred Cove in Palos Verdes.  I love my own neighborhood of Glassell Park—the views in every direction are amazing.  And the San Gabriel mountains—technically L.A. County, not city, but it’s amazing that we have real mountains, with bears and mountain lions and longhorn sheep, right here bordering the city.

   What/who inspires you?

Great writing inspires me.  And people who work to help other people, to help communities.  I am constantly humbled by the efforts of the people who work at my nonprofit—as well community residents and activists in Watts, and the Rampart/Westlake area.

   What’s your new book about?

Lost Canyon is about a multiracial group of people from Los Angeles who go on a backpacking trip to the Sierras and have everything go wrong. They run into some bad guys who are indicative of things we’re facing in our country right now, and they end up having to run for their lives. 

    What was your favorite book to write?

I’ve loved writing all of them.  But the first one—The Necessary Hunger—and the new one were probably the most fun.  Southland was really hard at first, but then I finally figured out what I was doing.

   If you were anything else, what would you be?

My personal fantasy would be mountain climber or adventure athlete.  But professionally, my fantasy job would be detective.

    Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I hope to have written two more books by then.  And to have hiked a lot more trails in the Sierra, and have climbed another mountain or two. I also hope to still be doing work that’s important to me.

   What would you say to inspiring writers and/or people moving to LA?

For writers: read everything you can, write about what you care about, and stick with it.  For people moving to L.A.: get outside!  There’s a lot of beautiful stuff out there.  And go visit other parts of the city. We have such an amazing variety of people, cultures, food.  Go out and take advantage of it.

Thank you so much again, Nina, for making this interview possible! If you would like to keep up with Nina’s works, check her out at the following links:

WEBSITE: http://ninarevoyr.com/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/NinaRevoyr

Stay Inspired!
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An Interview With Anna-Marie Rytter, Teen Blogger!

 
Hi there!

Recently I got the opportunity to team up with another teen blogger named Anna-Marie Rytter who runs the site, https://officialannamarier.wordpress.com. An entrepreneur, writer, and occasional YouTuber all at the age of sixteen, she’s making her dreams come true and blogging about her life and interests! I asked her a few questions and here is what she had to say in response…

What is your site about?

The Story Of My Life is basically about, well, my life. It’s just something I created one day when I was bored. I came across an old blog that my mom created in 2008, called LoveMyMac (), that I used to write on when I was a kid. I looked through all the old posts there, and thought, “hey, I’m gonna create my own WordPress blog!” It was just something I created because I was bored, and I wanted a place where I could blog about anything.

When did you start blogging?

I started blogging in about 2008 or 2009. Like I said, I had done some posts on my mom’s blog, but I really wanted my own blog. So in February or March 2009, it’s hard to remember the exact date, I started my own blog with my parent’s help. A Kid’s Point Of View () started out as a blog where I would write about anything on my mind… but over the years, it’s turned into more of a fashion, lifestyle, beauty, and celebrity gossip blog. And the rest is history!

What inspired you to start blogging?

So many people I admire had created blogs at the time… I remember I went through an iCarly phase when I was about 10. I wanted to share my thoughts with the internet, like Miranda Cosgrove did on her TV show! Haha! I have always enjoyed writing…. the first story I ever wrote in grade 2, “Barbie and the Flu Shot”, brought tears to all the teachers’ eyes, so I kinda just continued writing after that. I think my love for writing really inspired me to start my first blog.

What has been your favorite post so far?

This isn’t really my favorite, but the most memorable blog post was my first one on A Kid’s Point of View; I wrote about the new Disney show– well, it was new at the time– “Sonny With A Chance”. I started my blog the day after that show premiered, so that was the inspiration for my first post! As for my favorite blog post… it changes all the time. Right now, it’s probably one I did today on my business website, Rustic Christian Signs… it’s the newest one, called Passion. I haven’t really been into writing on AKPOV lately, like writing about celebrity gossip just isn’t my passion anymore. So I decided to write a huge post about how I feel.

Who inspires you?

I have a lot of inspirations, in writing, in music, and in my personal life. My parents are #1. They encourage me to keep achieving my dreams and support me in whatever decisions I make. I told them that I had created The Story of My Life, and they totally supported my decision to start a personal blog. There are a lot of people in music who inspire me to achieve my dreams. Nick Jonas, Tori Kelly, Ed Sheeran… they’re all incredible singers/songwriters, and I find that their lyrics inspire me to keep writing. In my personal life, I find that music just inspires me in a way that I can’t even begin to describe.

In several years, what do you see yourself doing?

In several years, I see myself continuing to encourage and uplift people with inspirational posts (and with my Rustic Christian Signs business, of course!). I would also like to become an actress someday; I’ve always loved drama, and I’m actually doing a drama class at school this coming year, so I’m really excited about that. If I started acting, I would love to star in some inspirational movies.

What kind of posts do you love the most?

I really like inspirational stuff. Posts about confidence, inner beauty, hope– those are all my favorites. I’m trying to write posts like that; posts that will motivate whoever reads them. 8) What blogs do you follow? I love Bethany Dillon’s blog ( ). Even though she hasn’t written any blog posts since 2010, I’m looking at her blog for inspiration. She’s one of my favorite Christian singers, so when I found out she had a blog too, I was ecstatic! I’m also following , your blog, and a few others.

What would you say to inspiring bloggers?

If you want to do anything in life, I would say, go for it! If you have a dream, don’t be afraid to take the steps to achieve that dream. Set goals, work hard, and you will get to the top someday. Never lose sight of who you are or where you came from. Constructive criticism is a good thing; it will help you learn some new skills and become stronger. Ignore the people who try to discourage you; from what I’ve learned, they’re probably just jealous of how successful you are. Don’t let the criticism get to you 🙂 I have a few quotes to share with anyone who wants to achieve their dreams: “How can we succeed, if we never try? It is only by trying that we can reach greater heights.” ~Lailah Gifty Akita “Don’t be afraid to stand out.” ~Britt Nicole “Live like you’re at the bottom; even if you’re at the top” ~Jonas Brothers “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” ~Kelly Clarkson

My answers to these questions are posted on her site here: https://officialannamarier.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/an-interview-with-sarah-hamilton-of-lockerstyler/

It was so great getting to interview her, and if you want to learn more, visit her on her site, Instagram (@officialannamarier), youtube, and twitter! Thank you to Anna-Marie for letting me interview you!

me

 

 

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Interview with author, Joelle Charbonneau!

  

Hello!

Last May, I had the incredible opportunity to be an author’s assistant for New York Times Bestselling Author, Joelle Charbonneau, at a Teen Book Festival! She shared some super inspiring information about writing, performing, and publishing. This May (a full year later!), I am going to be featured as a teen author at the same festival and I am so thankful for all the advice Joelle gave! Her books are amazing and her author story is so cool as well.

So, I got the opportunity to interview her for this site!

 

JoelleCharbonneau 

 
What inspired you to start writing?

Funny enough, getting rejected inspired me to start writing.  I was a music theater and opera performer for a long time and loved being on stage.   But part of being a performer is getting rejected. There was one audition and call-back that went really well.  I was hoping I would make that next show, but when I got to my dressing room for the show I was currently performing, I learned that several of the people in my dressing room had gotten cast that day in the show….and I had not.  Sigh…That night while I was driving home, I suddenly had an opening line of a book in my head.  The idea wouldn’t go away and so two weeks later I started writing that book.  It is a terrible book, but it made me want to try and write something better.

Which one of your books is your favorite?

I think my favorite book is always the one that I just finished writing.  So, I guess NEED would be my favorite book.  When I’m done with the one I’m writing now that will probably replace it.  It’s kind of a quirky, thank-God-I-got-to-the-end-again kind of thing.

What kinds of books do you personally enjoy?

I love reading almost anything.  My shelves are filled with books in just about every genre as well as a bunch of non-fiction.  However, if you push me to name a favorite genre, I would have to say anything that has a mystery at the heart of the story.  I love puzzles!

How do your dreams from childhood/teen years relate to now?

You know, I always dreamed of doing lots of different things.  I wanted to be a lawyer and an actress and a teacher and maybe even a congressman.  Never did I think about being a writer.  However, being a writer means that I get to explore being a lawyer and a teacher and a government official and even a performer.  Each book is a new challenge and lets me experience a whole new life.  So, I guess being a writer let me achieve my dreams in a way that I never would have thought was possible.

In your opinion, what is the best thing about being an author?

Ha!  I think I answered that in the above question.  Having a job where I always get to learn new things and explore various ways of looking at things is both a challenge and a real joy.

What is a favorite author memory of yours?

I think my favorite author moment was when I was first published.  I was at a mystery conference and was wandering around the room where books were being sold and Harlan Coben walked by and said “Hey Joelle.”  I said hello back then realized I wasn’t wearing my badge and that Harlan actually knew my name.  It was a moment that made me feel like I belonged in the writing community.  I’ll never forget it.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a stand-alone thriller where 16 year old Sarah is living with her grandmother who has Lewy Body Dementia. They are both working to mask the problem so they can stay together. Only one day Sarah comes home to find a dead body on the kitchen floor and her grandmother standing in the kitchen with a bloody knife. Grandma doesn’t remember who the woman is or even if she killer her, but she is worried that the woman is part of a secret from the past that has come back to find them and is far more deadly than any disease. The working title of the book is MASKED. We’ll see if I decide to change it before sending it to my editor. First, I have to finish it!

Is there any information regarding to a possible movie/TV adaption for your works?
Right now there isn’t a lot of news.  Tons of stuff happens behind the scenes before things ever really move forward into casting or stuff that can be announced.  I will say that I think NEED’s adaptation has a better chance of being produced first since it is a smaller scale movie when it comes to budget.  That always makes things easier.
What are some of your secrets to writing/storytelling?
I have NO secrets. But, there are some things I do when I write that tend to keep me going. First, when I’m writing a book I write every day. I don’t outline, so I sit down every day to find out what happens next. I also don’t edit while I write. I get to the end and then go back. It is impossible for me to edit until I know where the story is going. So I have to push to THE END before I can ever think to start making the book better.
What would you say to inspire aspiring writers?
To all aspiring writers, I would say first and foremost – read! Don’t stop reading. Lots of writers forget that they need to keep reading and fill their head with stories and different storytelling techniques. Also, remember that writing is about rewriting. Don’t rush to submit your work or publish it until you believe it is the very best representation of what you can do.
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Coming soon – NEED – Nov. 3rd, 2015, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers
New York Times and USA Today Best Selling Author of THE TESTING TRILOGY
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Interview With The Hillywood Show!

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Hello!

As some of you may already know, I love to make videos and there are so many amazing videos out there that inspire me as a film maker. One group in particular is the incredible Hillywood Show, in which I was fortunately able to interview recently with the creators and stars, Hilly and Hannah Hindi! They have been noticed for their incredible parodies for shows and moves such as Twilight, The Hobbit, Doctor Who, The Walking Dead, Warm Bodies, The Vampire Diaries, and coming soon, Lord of the Rings. With over 100,000,000 views, The Hillywood Show continues to being a growing production. Here’s what they had to say!

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What inspired you to start making videos?
We have been creating videos since a very young age. We always enjoyed dancing, performing and creating short films.

What inspires you both?

Music and movies.

What was your favorite spoof to work on?
Our upcoming production “The Lord of the Rings Parody” has been our favorite so far! We are huge fans of the movies and it’s been a dream to create something on theses films for a very long time.

What was the coolest moment since the start of “The Hillywood Show”?
Meeting Lady Gaga! Since she loved our “Gagaween” Parody, we had the opportunity to meet her after one of her concerts backstage and she was truly genuine and sweet. It made our year!

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Where do you see yourselfs in the future?
Our goal is to have The Hillywood Show® on a television network as a variety show weekly. We dream big.

What do you two enjoy doing when not filming?
Hanging out with friends and family. We are usually so busy that we just like to relax.

What sparks the ideas of upcoming videos?
Hilly gives God the credit when coming up with the ideas but she says the music helps to inspire her to begin creating a screenplay.

What advice would you give to young people who want to go into the world of videos and film?
It’s tough! You need to begin playing around with it yourself to see if you even enjoy it first. If so, then you will need a positive and determined attitude. You need a passion for film making.

What do you think is the key element to telling a story through the lens?
You need to have a good actor/actress. If you don’t have someone acting to tell the story, it all falls apart and your audience does not respond to the story being told.

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You can check out The Hillywood Show at http://www.youtube.com/Hillywood. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook and subscribe to their channel! I, personally, look forward to seeing what amazing projects they will work on next!

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Interview With Actress Susan Gibney!

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Hello there!

Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to meet actress Susan Gibney in an acting workshop. She is so incredibly nice and very inspiring and I got a little interview with her.

Susan Gibney has been in multitudes of television and theater productions including Star Trek, Lost, Crossing Jordan, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and many, many more. Her professional profile continues to expand as she is currently in post production of We Are Still Here (Maddie) and also forming her own acting workshop in upstate New York.

What inspired you to start acting?

I began acting in school plays in first grade. Gretel in “Hansel and…” I am the sixth of eight children and it became my defining activity. Through lots of changes in family and geography, I could always turn to acting as my outlet. There was only one year in my entire grade school career that I did not participate in a play. I decided I should try to be a cheerleader (my five brothers were all jocks), that lasted one year. I did not intend to pursue acting as a profession in college, but yet again, participated in the college’s theater program as a minor. Through a series of wonderful mentors and colleagues, my path into professional acting took shape.

What was your favorite acting experience?

My favorite experience is difficult to pinpoint. The reasons vary. For the most part, I would have to say my theater roles have been the most fulfilling. They have been extremely challenging and therefore, more rewarding. I love classical theater, and the amazing, over-the-top women in many of those plays. Mary in “Mary Stewart”, Nora in “A Doll’s House”, Flora in “Indian Ink”, Marian in “Abingdon Square”. Many of my television and film roles (most of which were supporting) have also given me great pride and fulfillment. Being blessed enough to work on a smattering of iconic series is other-worldly in itself, but doing good work with amazing professionals and having their respect is wonderful. In the end – we are all just actors. Professionals, trying to do our best.

If you could co-star with any other actor/actress, who would it be and why?

Co-star!!! Oh Lordy! Meryl Steep. Hands down. Went to Yale because I said “I’m doin’ whatever she did!” Didn’t want to be bowled over by “Osage August County”, but darn it all, I was. That woman is a force of nature. Fearless. And all those around her become better for it. Give me some of that! Matt Damon. Real real real, and earth. And stupid smart, Chris Cooper. 175%, but never looks like it. Younger crowd? Jennifer Lawrence, can’t wait to see what she will do. Free, courageous. Finding her power.

How do you prepare for auditions? How do you deal with rejections?

Preparing for auditions and dealing with rejection I have given whole workshops on. I will give you the bottom line on each:
Auditions – be prepared, which = make a choice and stick to it. It doesn’t have to be the “right” choice (how the heck are you supposed to know EXACTLY what the director wants?! We are not mind readers!). Commit yourself 100% to whatever you have chosen to do. THAT is what directors and producers are looking for. Second, go in KNOWING that you are good enough to get the job. And you are! Leave the room forgetting about the whole thing, and preparing for whatever comes next. If you get the role it will be a pleasant surprise, if you don’t…”what the heck was that audition? I’ve forgotten it already.” If you do your best, they WILL remember you. And somewhere down the line, they will use you. It may take years. Believe me my darlings, you have to earn it. This business is not easy. They want professionals who can deliver over and over and over in stressful situations. The audition is the first indication that you can do so. It is JUST A CHANCE TO HAVE FUN AND PERFORM! ENJOY A MOMENT OF DOING WHAT YOU DO BEST, AND LET IT GO!!!! It will come to you. Relax.
Rejection – REJECTION IS NOT FATAL! (though many of us drama queens behave as though it is) You will not cease to exist if you don’t get THE ROLE. Believe me, life goes on. I do not feel “rejected” when I do not win a part. My goodness, there are so many talented people out there! Different shapes, sizes, colors, accents, takes on life! I KNOW that I will bring my version of the role to the table in an admirable way. The creators of “this project” have a vision. They have to consider the “whole”, the other characters, the dynamics. Some other person may fill the need they have better than I merely because of age, race, or BEING TOO TALL! IT IS NOT PERSONAL! I have been rejected a thousand times. It does not scare me. It is not fatal.

Who inspires you?

Keep posted for the second half of this interview and don’t forget to share this post and comment! Also, follow me @LockerStyler and Susan @Rogue_Actor on twitter!

Stay Inspired!

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Interview With Actor Scott Micheal Foster!

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Hey there!

Today’s post is super exciting because I have had the incredible opportunity to interview Scott Micheal Foster! You may know him as the actor from Chasing Life‘s Leo (abc family) or even Once Upon a Time‘s Kristoff (abc), starting up september 28th! It was wonderful asking him some questions to share with you today.

Who inspires you?

Judi Dench

Describe life on set of CL and OUAT.

Fun & Love.

What inspired you to start acting?

I’ve just always been drawn to it and have been inspired by so many.

If you could co-star with anybody, who would it be and why?

Elizabeth Banks…she is very sweet and so talented.

What did you want to be when you were younger and how did it morph into who you are now?

I have always had a passion for acting and it has made me a better person to just be expressing each character.

What is your favorite on-set memory?

Definitely when Italia (Ricci) and myself accidentally fell while walking in the halls at the hospital scene. (CL)

What is your best auditioning advice?

Stay calm and if you mess up, don’t worry, just start from the beginning…

What would you say to inspire others?

I would say…when you look at life, don’t see it as you have to be better. Being yourself is all anyone wants. Never let no one hold you back from your dream and always stay positive.

You can see him on abc family’s Chasing Life and abc’s Once Upon a Time. Plus, here are some additional ways to see what he’s up to!
TWITTER: http://twitter.com/scottmfoster
INSTAGRAM: http://instagram.com/scottmfoster

Stay Inspired!

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