This is Important!

Well, no, it isn’t…  it’s just that with April approaching, March  has been an incredibly long, sleepy month, so much so that I actually fell asleep ALL LAST SUNDAY.  With the upcoming thaw, I’ve been asked to start putting more stuff on the shooting schedule.  More reports will follow as they need to, but there will be some exceptions.  After all, in mid-April, I am scheduled to go to SPACE.  That’s where I’m doing the big premier of my new game, ART WAR.

Speaking of which, I’m looking for artists and crafters of every sort for the next ART WAR deck.  I’m planning on doing several themed specialty decks for sculptors, knitters/crocheters, culinary artists, fashion designers, cartoonists, jewelry makers, and more.  Get in touch with me, and you can be part of the fun (and make some money!).

The Jack Uzi Parking Lot


Meet Paytra Gessler

Today, we focus on Paytra Gessler–little did we know when we cast her as one of Christy’s friends in Baltimore that we were casting a musical sensation! This singer, dancer, and lyricist hails from Toledo, Ohio is pounding her way into the teen music world with her hard-hitting vocals and stirring lyrics. Behind her big brown eyes is the mind of a true musician, passionate about sharing her music with the world.
Paytra Gessler

Have a Jack Uzi Christmas: Buy a calendar!

Next week: A Secret!

Production and Collaboration, Little Red Hen Style

This is not the “Sky is Falling” story, but rather the one about a hen which finds some grains of wheat and asks the other animals to help her plant it, but none do except for her own chicks.  The same thing happens when it comes time to cut the grain, grind the flour, and make the bread… only when it comes time to actually eat the bread do the other animals happily volunteer and come around.

Well, in many ways, production on work like JACK UZI relies on everybody doing everything, and with it being more than just a movie, but an episodic series, it’s taking long enough that some of the folks are finding other ways to engage themselves while the metaphorical “bread” bakes.  That’s one of the reasons we’re doing this blog–it provides an anchor for people to come back and hear about the show, and it provides a place where all the actors and behind-the-scenes people can promote (with just a a quick word to me) the various projects they’re doing.  That’s one of the reasons we’ve been doing these profiles.  Have something to promote?  Let us know!

Meanwhile, I’d like to both promote one of my current (still in design phase) projects and invite all of you, cast, crew, or general public, to get involved.  The project is called ART WAR! and it’s a collectible card game, which means that as people buy the decks, you get paid for your participation!  Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Find or make a piece of artwork and convert it to digital (or just work right there on the computer).  If you’ve made a painting, scan it to digital;  if you’ve made a sculpture or some other form of 3-D art, take a digital photo.
  2. Take that digital image, shrink, sample, and/or crop part of the image to 600pixels by 600pixels.
  3. Send me the resulting image, along with its title, year of creation, what the original form of art was (acrylics on canvas, digital photo, clay pottery…), and where the people playing the game can find more of your art.
  4. Repeat this eight more times.

When I get enough art in, I’ll compile the decks, and I’ll tell everyone where to find them.  I need a total of twelve artists;  if I end up with more than twelve artists, artists will be accepted on a first-come-first-published basis, but any remaining artists will be drafted into the next deck, so your work will get out there, and it won’t be wasted!  Right now, I have the six of the twelve I need on the first deck, and it’s all looking really great, so come on out and play with us!

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!

Meet Marla!

Kalissa Brown as Marla in "The Adventures of Jack Uzi"

What happens when a nice girl falls for the wrong guy and ends up in a bad crowd? You wind up with someone like Marla. It took a special actress to take this role, and we were lucky to get Kalissa Brown for this role. This week, I have my interview with the lovely lady.

1) How did you find your way into acting, and what appeals to you most about it?
I started acting as a child in school plays, but really got into it when I lived in Los Angeles. I learned a lot there, mostly by observing things from the perspective as a background actress. I find acting rewarding because it stretches me to limit of my abilities.
2) I know that you’ve started a great family–has that changed your plans at all?
Having a family has changed my plans in that I would describe my acting status as “partially in hiatus.” Whereas before, I would audition like crazy and even do extra work, now I limit auditions to the best opportunities and don’t do extra work.

3) What has been your most fun experience to date in any of your projects–what happened, and why?
The most fun, rewarding acting job I’ve had was as the hostess of travel show pilot. I got to travel around to different locations within a city and try new experiences…such as standup paddle boarding!

4) 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?”
I once read an article that stated simply if you’ve been paid for your work as an actress/actor, then you are a professional, working actor.   I would say it’s true, but for me, that would also entail having lines… That has already happened for me, but I would say having steady, paid work (with lines) as an actress would mean “I’ve made it.”

Well, there you have it–Kalissa Brown for your reading pleasure.  If you have any more questions for her, send them to me, and I’ll do the required follow-up.

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!

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…
Continue reading