The Thaw

With the  upcoming thaw (cross fingers), we look to begin this year’s principal photography, get the remainder of the pilot out, and take everyone by surprise.  In order to do this, we have a special thaw poll:

The Art ThiefThe Art Thief


“I Hope You Realize This Means War”

That was my favorite line from any Bugs Bunny cartoon ever made.  It has dual bearing on this particular post:

1)  I’m a little peeved that I haven’t had much response yet from people related to my poll in the last post.  After all, the goal is to make a show that you yourselves want to see happen, whether as an actor, a crew member, or a fan!


2)  My game, Art War, is now in production… or at least the limited edition version.  You see, Art War is a collectible card game;  the limited edition is a collector’s version, containing all 108 cards in one box, as opposed to the regular version of the game, which will contain a mixed set of 54, including the rules card and the checklist.

Hopscotch, an ART WAR card by Michael Marcus

This is one of my cards from the first ART WAR game deck.


Man Having Idea

Well, if there’s one thing last week’s post demonstrates, it’s that postponing the intended blog entry even as little as one day throws this off for a full week. In fact, it’s proving really hard to get a start on this week’s entry, as well. I’m not entirely sure why I should have a problem; I’ve had plenty of mental stimulus to keep my rusty old brainpan full and bubbling. For one thing, I was introduced to concepts related to BitCoin and how it works, including “bitcoin mining,” which is actually less about mining and more about high-speed tracking and confirming of transactions. Basically, you buy an ASIC box, hook it up to your computer, and it does all the work for you, making fractions of pennies at a time, very very quickly, and by doing this, turning your computer into a money-making machine.

It has got me thinking quite a lot about many tiny transactions, many times over, and one idea that comes to mind is this: I can come up with a cool-looking black-and-white art piece and sell a special signed and numbered, limited edition print for a dollar each, with the intent that in one year, you could sell them back to me for, say, two dollars each (assuming you didn’t want to keep the original pieces). Naturally, I couldn’t do it over PayPal because of how much they charge on those small transactions, but if I could use that money to get a project going, that seems like it would be a good deal for everyone. So, would that be a cool thing for JACK UZI?

JUst Out of Curiosity…

So, although the series itself is a series whose pilot itself is yet to be completed, and we’re really really close to release but not there yet, we’ve to a bunch of great shots both in front of the camera and behind the scenes (including plenty not seen on this blog or the main site yet… it kind of got me thinking: Would people be interested enough in a calendar to put something together for 2014? We’re looking at a likely price of $9.95 each + shipping, and for just $5 more, we can add YOUR special date to the calendar! Remember a birthday, an anniversary, or even lock in an event date for just $5! Who would be interested in something like that? Don’t send any money now, but if we get at least a dozen votes, we’ll put a button up on The Main Site for you.

J.U. in June Contest: More Details

Hey, everybody… We’re in June now, and you’ve got a whole bunch of posts and graphics to go through that you can use to impress us with your ability to turn one, some, or all into brilliant works of art and fandom. You can turn in prose, poetry, art (digital or painting or otherwise)–whatever you’re inspired to do. Send an e-mail to me, ask questions, if you need to, and send in your entry when it’s ready.

As for what we’re giving out to participants? Well, HIM is giving away comics, games, and even movies on our behalf; other prizes are in the works from other sponsors. Everyone who plays will get something, from the actors in front of the camera to the people behind the scene to the various viewers, and trust me, this leads to an awesome July, when we give out the gifts and show off your work! Come out and play!

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…

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

And I have a deviantart account.

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!”

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

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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