The Blackwater Profile

Kristyn Shelley as Rose Blackwater

Kristyn Shelley as Rose Blackwater

This week’s profile is with Kristyn Shelley who plays GGNS Agent Rose Blackwater.

You have a handful of small parts listed on the IMDb.  Tell me about some of your projects and how you got them.

Most of them, I got from local casting agents, but a couple I found on my own.  There is a local casting guy named Ryan Hill who put out a call for Ides Of March, my first film in which I was an extra, and I have been following him ever since. He was the one who put me in most of them, including an Eminem video.

I noticed you studied at Adelphi University. What was your major and do you feel it helped you as an actress?

That is kind of funny.  At the time, I wanted to be a photojournalist.  I was taking classes like anthropology, but I was also taking a film-making class, as well.  It was just for fun, but it turned out that was the year I really found what i wanted to do… and that was to be around the film industry.  It was a turning-point year for me.  Shortly thereafter, I met my soon-to-be husband and the rest, as they say, was history.

What has been one of your most enjoyable experience to date in any of your projects–what happened and why?

It was on Dark Sky.  That was great.  I got to be an extra in it, and we filmed outside on a football field.  They had all the high budget film props–they had a huge fan and a prop that would make it rain.  At one point, they said that first they would make it rain, then make it windy. and then both.  I was soaked and cold, but I loved it!  It felt, as I told the people around me, as if I were getting paid to be at Cedar Point.  It felt like an amusement park ride.  Later, I learned that people either loved the experience or hated it.  I loved it!  It was my fifth film, and it was with the same director that did Final Destination 5.  Pure fun!  Of course, I always have fun doing Jack Uzi!

Everyone successful has a view in his or her head of what success would be for him or her.  How will you know when you “made it?”  How would you describe your “ultimate ambition?”

I’ll have made it when I finally get that project that makes me feel whole–the one that makes me feel as if I have peace of mind, so I feel as if I don’t need to worry if I will ever make it in this industry–when I am happy with myself and feel accomplished.  Fame is fleeting but success is constant.

Next week:  March and the Mars Connection!

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Andrew and a Winner!

Andrew Dawe-Collins as Justice Rath

Here we see Andrew Dawe-Collins as Justice Rath.  I managed to get a couple questions to him, and he was gracious enough to answer.

1) I notice you’ve got more than a handful of acting work on the IMDb.  How did you get started?

Well, I did a lot of theater when I was… a lot younger. I toured with a summer Shakespeare troop for awhile, not that I even understand any of what I said on stage. This will really date me: I would get my character assignments, then the first chance I would get, I would race to the Library (you know, those musty smelling places with awesome things called books!) then I would rent the Shakespeare albums (see, dated!) and I would memorizes the lines exactly as the actor said them on the record…  I never had a clue as to what any of it actually would mean.  I had fun though.

Then I a bunch of other theater, and after about 12 years of it, I just let other things in life push it to a back burner.  In 2010, though, a buddy asked me if I would like to play a villain in a video short for the Detroit-Windsor 48-Hour Film Festival.  I figured, “Sure why not?  Something to laugh about with the grandkids, you know.”  Well, lo and behold, I fell in love with it.  I was just instantly taken to it, and I have been lucky enough to add some great gigs and meet some incredible people since then.

2) You had also mentioned to me that you’re an artist.  What type of work do you do?  Do you have a gallery anywhere?  Would you care to share a piece or two with our audience?

I come from a very talented family. Art seems to be in the blood.  My mom, she went to art school—does anybody remember the art school that used to advertise on the back of matchbooks?  Yup, she graduated from that art school. My brothers and I picked up the bug from her.  I have to say that about the same time I drifted from the theater, I also drifted from doing artwork.  I had not picked up as much as a pencil to draw anything for 20 years.  Then one day my youngest brother, Noeland James Collins, sent me a sketchbook with a penciled zombie that he had drawn.  There was a shaky word bubble that read “Ink me!” so I inked it, and just like that, the urge to create came back. I am nowhere near as talented as my little brother Noeland, but I am getting better all the time.

I have a redbubble site for t-shirts…

http://www.redbubble.com/people/andydawecollins

A lot of my stuff ends up on display on my facebook page

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1108826768291.18646.1455491260&type=3

And I have a deviantart account.

http://andrew-dawe-collins.deviantart.com/

Plus I have illustrated 2 full tweener books for Living Dead Press:  “The Zombie in the Basement” and “Children of the Void.” I am in talks with them to do a 3rd book tentatively titled “Zombies are Cool!”

http://www.livingdeadpress.com/index.php/childrens

I have been published in dozens of independent comic books, which I love doing. It has been mostly horror stuff, lots of it zombie stuff! which is my favorite! I guess all the links indicate, YES! I would love to share some of my work!
3) What has been your most enjoyable experience to date in any of your projects–what happened, and why?

My most enjoyable experience to date is still the short video I did for Poison Apple Entertainment

http://www.poisontheapple.com/

I used to think, “If I ever got the chance I would LOVE to be a zombie on screen.” (I know that doesn’t sound like much to most people, but I have loved all things zombie long before zombies were popular–Romero’s 1968 film hooked me for life!) I answered a casting call for a homeless guy in the Poison Apple film ”Hallowed End” I got a reply back from the casting director Nicole Truett saying I looked the part and I didn’t have to audition, just show up. Cool, I didn’t have to audition! I showed up for the shoot and very much to my ever-undying pleasure, I got to be a homeless guy ZOMBIE! It was my first time working with the wonderfully talented people at Poison Apple–it was AMAZING, and is still easily my favorite experience. Second would be a very recent small role I did for Ring of Fire Entertainment‘s short called Whiskey Tango In.  I got to meet and be on film with one of my all time favorite musicians, Mitch Ryder…I am such a fanboy sometimes!

4) What are you looking to get out of your acting career?  What are your personal goals?

Honestly, I am just looking to have a great time doing fun and interesting roles. I would of course like to get paid for it sometimes but hell, truth be told, I’d do it for free anyway if I loved the role.  I have been lucky enough to meet some great people on film sets. Stupidly, sort of… off-kilter people… just like me! It has been like walking into a very loving dysfunctional family I never knew I had.  So that is what I am getting the most out of my acting career—the people.  I usually don’t sleep well the night before a new shoot because I know that day I will meet somebody cool I never knew existed.

So my first goal has been attained–I got to be a zombie on film. And I reached my second goal last year; I got to kiss a girl on film (my wife hasn’t seen the film yet…she will probably bludgeon me to death with my “best actor” trophy when she does.) My only remaining goal is to play a loving, understanding, pot-smoking grandpa on film…weird I know, but I think it would be fun.  I just want to keep doing this as long as I can–I love it.

Meanwhile, on the photoshop contest, the winner is…
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Courtney and the Contest

Courtney Danielle Steward plays GGNS Agent Lora Pine in "The Adventures of Jack Uzi."

Courtney Danielle Steward plays GGNS Agent Lora Pine in “The Adventures of Jack Uzi.”`

Today, we start with an interview with Courtney Danielle Steward, who plays GGNS Agent Lora Pine in our series.  After the interview, we proceed with information on last week’s Photoshop Contest… along with a poll where you get to decide the winner.  Courtney is an actress, a model, and a dancer, and one of the nicest, and friendliest people you will ever meet.  Gracious as always, she not only answered my questions, but also passed along information on those with whom she worked.

Courtney, you list yourself as an actress/dancer/model.  Tell me about some of your projects as each, and which of those you wish to do most (and why.)

Well, first off, I’ve been a dancer since I was eight–I was also on the competitive team, through Maria’s School of Dancein Fowlerville.  I also currently teach dance there, so there are way too many things that have happened with that to even list.  The coolest experience related to dancing would have been performing at Hayden Panettiere’s 21st birthday party in Ann Arbor, when she was here filming Scream 4.  Dance is what actually led me into acting.  Many of the dance conventions [the team] would go to would have acting classes that we would all attend.  That was my first taste of acting, but my first acting experience was during my freshman year of college.  I performed in a play that one of the English professors wrote; it was an adaptation of the Cinderella story, and I was an evil stepsister.  After that, my passion for acting jumped into high gear.  I met Jack Uzi director Michael “Freon” Andaluz on the set of I Remember Yesterday, where my grandfather, Curtis Watkins, and I were both extras.  My next project was The Adventures of Jack Uzi, where I played Lora Pine.  Since then, I have done a few projects, including a fun music video by a country artist named David Shelby.  I was a featured extra there.  My most recent project was Dissonance, short film by Colin Nichols.  Without giving too much away, I play a character named Kate who catches two guys breaking into the house where she’s home alone.  I’ve also recently been cast in a feature-length independent film, Beyond the Dark.  Modeling was something I started doing just tog et more exposure and some great pictures.  I’ve done a few different workshops, and one of my pictures was used in an ad for a resale store.  Other than that, I’ve recently shot with Steve Phillipson in Howell and with Brent Taylor out in Holt.  I would like to do more acting, but with my class schedule, I really don’t have a lot of time to audition thanks to homework, exams, and the rest.

You’ve been going to college… What is your major, and how does this fit in with your career plans?

My major is in Human Services and Case Management at Baker College;  I hope to work in the adoptions field.  Most of the acting and modeling projects I get don’t pay much, so I plan to get a job in the field after graduation in order to pay for my travel and eventual move to Los Angeles.  Then, if the acting work in L.A. doesn’t pan out, then I have a degree to fall back on.  Interestingly, many of the psychology classes I have taken have also helped me when trying to understand a character.

What has been your most fun experience to date in any of your projects–what happened, and why?

I would have to say one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had recently would have been on the set of Dissonance.  When Colin sent me the script, I knew immediately it would be great.  One thing that drew me to it is that my character ends up [spoiler removed!].  If you didn’t know, I’m kind of a geek about the special effects stuff–I can’t do any of it, but I love to see how it’s done. Both the make-up artist Haleigh Wovo and Colin Nichols himself worked on my bullet wound.  It looked awesome!  The acting in it was also a challenge for me because a few of the scenes required that I convey all these different emotions but only with my eyes. (Once you see it, you’ll understand what I mean).  Everyone was very helpful, though, and it’s always great to connect with others in this industry.  My co-stars Cameron McCormick and Tristan Ward are great actors as well.  It was very helpful to be able to watch experienced actors work through a scene and learn some of the things they do. Overall, the entire cast and crew were great, and between scenes everyone was friendly and joking. It was a lot of fun.

Everyone successful has a view in his or her head of what success would be. How will you know when you “made it?” How would you describe your “ultimate ambition?”

That’s a hard question because some people in this industry think that being a successful actor/actress means you are “famous.” To me, I’m already successful–I get to something that I love, and my friends and family say that they are proud of me.  That’s what success means to me.  My ultimate ambition, once I get to LA, would be to play a character that is the complete opposite of myself, to experience my ultimate challenge in acting.

And now, the Photoshop Contest Finalists!

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“Because It’s My Birthday, Dammit!”

Some but not all of you knew it was my birthday on Friday, and now you all know, so welcome to my “See Jack Shoot Self-Indulgent Blog Post Of The Year.” You may or may not know that I’m not only doing story design, but the website, script supervision, miscellaneous production work, location scouting, various sorts of research, verbal abuse absorption, and a few other tasks behind the scenes. In front of the camera, I play Simon Simmons, the janitor at a local high school where Christy and various other malcontents, er, students goof off instead of taking their classes seriously. For this amazing role, I was given an oversized jumpsuit built for Lurch from the old Addams Family… if Lurch was a zeppelin.

Michael Marcus as Simon Simmons

Does this make me look fat?

YES, yes it does.

I looked like a grey oompa-loompa(tm) with a thyroid problem. It didn’t help that the suit trapped heat, as well, and thus caused me to sweat tremendously. By the end of the typical shoot, I was acting in coveralls that felt like they were filled with gravy. Sexy, Oscar-award-worthy gravy, but gravy nonetheless.

Nevertheless, there is work to be done and fun to be had, and so in the spirit of laughing at myself on my birthday, I open up a contest: PHOTOSHOP THAT PICTURE! That’s right. Take me and my mop and put me where you want me, fill the school halls with custard, or litter the floors with banana peels, so it looks like I’m going to fall. Put someone behind me chasing afterward. Change my jumpsuit for a better outfit. It’s all up to you. The funniest entry wins a copy of our game, LEA$E FOR LIFE, as featured in our series. That’s a $40 value for those of you who care about such things. Send entries to secret@idea-men.us and watch this space for developments.

You’ve got a week. Let’s see what you’ve got.