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Watch Ben 10 at San Diego Comic Con 2008.avi in Animation

Last year I had the pleasure of attending San Diego Comic-Con, thanks greatly in part to the good graces of my dear friend KirFect. I got to spend time with old friends, made many wonderful new friends, saw some amazing panels and even took in a few interviews. Sadly, my video camera was damaged on the way back home and I had no way of transferring my video to edit and get it online. It’s taken some time but I’ve finally been able to get the video transferred. While I can’t be at Comic-Con again this year in body, I’m already there in spirit. To help celebrate the greatest annual event in geekdom, I’ll be posting my videos from last year over the next few days. Enjoy!

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Tonya Hurley

Tonya Hurley

The much-anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller ghostgirl, ghostgirl: Homecoming, hits bookstore shelves today. Author Tonya Hurley gives us a peek behind the dark curtain of ghostgirl by answering a few questions about the series.

ÜberSciFiGeek (ÜSFG) What was your inspiration to create ghostgirl, first as a Webby Award-nominated website and then as a series of novels?

Tonya Hurley (TH) Initially, I created the ghostgirl story and characters as just that. Then, I decided to develop them on my own while I was writing and producing a television series, and the way to do that was to start a website. It was my escape, basically, a place where I could develop the characters with no pressure. After a while, thousands of teens started flocking to the site and it grew by word of mouth. Since it’s such a visual story, I wrote it as a screenplay but I had to leave so much out that ultimately I thought a book would be the best way to tell the story the way I saw it in mind. It took years, but I stuck with it because ghostgirl is a real labor of love for me.

(ÜSFG) In high school, were you a geeky outsider like Charlotte, a rebel like Scarlet, or a member of the popular crowd?

(TH) I was a rebel, no doubt, at least on the outside. When I was in middle school I was so concerned about what everyone else thought and then once I got to high school, I rebelled big time. I was in a punk band, dyed my hair and went to see bands every week. I was fed up and wanted an outlet and music was that outlet for me. I do think there’s a Charlotte in all of us, no matter what we project on the outside.

(ÜSFG) Since music plays such a large part in ghostgirl, what tunes would you pick as personal theme songs for Charlotte, Scarlet, Damen, and Petula?

(TH) It’s impossible for me to sum them up in a song; it’s one of the reasons why I reference so many in the books. If they were to put together a playlist however, The Cure, Death Cab for Cutie, She & Him, The Smiths, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Killers, The White Stripes (anything Jack White does), Bat for Lashes, and Jason Schwartzman would definitely be on it. I love bands from every decade, basically, and my hobby is to discover new bands on the web. I am a real student of music.

(ÜSFG) Is there any possibility of a ghostgirl film or television adaptation, and, if so, who would you like to see play the main characters?

(TH) I hope there is one day. I’d prefer to see someone new that nobody knows, an up-and-comer playing Charlotte. That would be appropriate I think.

(ÜSFG) Will there be further ghostgirl books, both novels and tie-ins such as a full-colour art book that expands upon the line art you inserted in the novels’ chapter headings?

(TH) I am working on the third novel now, which I love. I hope to expand ghostgirl, to give her and her world more life on and off the page. Stay tuned.

Tonya Hurley is a New York Times bestselling author and creator, writer and producer of animated and live action hit television series, groundbreaking videogames and award-winning websites for teens. She has also written and directed several acclaimed independent films, which have been selected for the LA Independent, TriBeca and Edinburgh film festivals and also broadcast on PBS and IFC. Hurley was nominated for the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation Award in Film.

YouTube Interview with the Author: ghostgirl: Homecoming, Tonya Hurley

Order now at Amazon.com:
ghostgirl
ghostgirl: Homecoming
ghostgirl (Kindle Edition)
ghostgirl: Homecoming (Kindle Edition)

ghostgirl and ghostgirl: Homecoming are distributed by Little, Brown and Company, an imprint of Hachette Book Group USA, and Headline Publishing (UK). For more information on the book series and its author, visit ghostgirl.com and the website of Tonya Hurley.

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luminalink

Thanks to the success of shows like Sanctuary, The Guild and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, the Internet has become a compelling source for high-quality content delivered directly from the minds of the creators to the eager viewers. While there is still a plethora of low-quality and lowbrow viral hits, the overall quality of content is steadily improving. As the web becomes a more desirable outlet to feature indie projects, the number of indie filmmakers using the web to deliver their content is increasing.

One such filmmaker is Jennifer Thym, the writer and director of the new dramatic web series Lumina. Lumina is a dark fantasy-thriller that was filmed in high definition with the RED camera on location in Hong Kong. After watching the trailer, I was immediately interested in the series. It appears to be unlike anything else I’ve seen produced for the web and I am looking forward to seeing it. Jennifer graciously took a break from her editing to answer a few questions for us about Lumina the Web Series.

ÜberSciFiGeek (ÜSFG) You are the creator of the new web series Lumina. Can you tell us a little bit about the story?

Jennifer Thym (JT) Lumina the Web Series is a modern fairy tale, a dark fable that has its foundation in the seemingly simple girl meets boy scenario. Only she meets him in a mirror, and afterwards, the world that once looked so familiar to her starts to unravel!

We have a terrific cast — the beautiful JuJu Chan as Lumina Wong, and the wild-haired Michael Chan as Ryder Lee. Vince Matthew Chung, the winner of the Amazing Race Asia 3, plays Lumina’s best friend, Teddy Waits. And we have a whole slew of mirrorspies, including the formidable and sexy Emilie Guillot as guildmaster Laetitia Ricou, Jacob Ziacan as the creepy Eben Sanchez, and Simon Yin as the aggressive Damien Wu. Maybe I delight a little too much in my villains, but they are deliciously real to me.

The series will span twelve webisodes, 4-6 minutes each, and will be available to view on YouTube and other online video portals starting in August 2009. The trailer is up now on luminaseries.com!

lumina-epk-still-1

(ÜSFG) You have created an urban mythology as the backdrop for the story of Lumina. Can you tell us a little about this world you’ve created?

(JT) I love the idea of parallel universes, and of worlds that intersect and interplay with each other. Corwaith, also known as the Dark Realm, runs parallel to our world, also known as Earth or the Light Realm. In Hong Kong in particular, there has been an abundance of cross-universe cultural pollination: for instance, both worlds speak the same languages, people on both sides look approximately the same and have fairly similar living habits.

However there are differences between Corwaith and Earth, and they are significant ones: the people of the Dark Realm are nocturnal whereas we are are diurnal; their technological development has also taken a different path from ours, and the benefits of technology are only available to the aristocracy. Unlike modern day Hong Kong, Corwaith is ruled by a two branch government comprised of a monarchy and a legislature.

(ÜSFG) Is Lumina going to be the first of many such stories of this world?

(JT) Absolutely! I feel particularly drawn to the Dark Realm and its denizens, most of whom have not even been mentioned yet in this season’s story arc. There are a number of them already inhabiting a quiet corner of my brain, so it’s a matter of giving them voice in the right way, at the right time. They’re going to look awesome too!

(ÜSFG) I’m very familiar with RED because I was part of the Sanctuary Beta a couple of years ago and got to play with some raw footage. Why did you choose to work with RED and what was it like to work with?

(JT) That’s awesome that you were part of the Sanctuary Beta! It must have been very exciting to see a piece of web series history being made.

We got lucky with the RED. Our cinematographers XiaoSu Han and Andreas Thalhammer were going to shoot Lumina on their HVX 200A with an adapter and photo lenses. I’d seen their work before with that setup and I was perfectly happy with that since what they could do with that setup was a million times better than what a lot of other people can do with 35 mm film. Then one week before we were scheduled to start shooting, they bought the RED and that boosted everyone’s spirits even more.

For Lumina, the complete digital workflow worked great. My DPs gave me a hard drive with all the raw RED footage on it, and I imported it into Final Cut Pro with the RED Plug-In (it converts the R3D files to Apple Pro-Res files) and could work on it straight away with my editor. And we know our output is going to be digital as well, so when we’re compressing for YouTube, for example, we work on delivering the best balance of file size and picture quality. I think the digital workflow is an amazing step forward for the film industry — although the old adage about story being the most important thing still holds true, it certainly helps to have access to tools that both offer better production values and are increasingly more affordable.

(ÜSFG) What made you decide to shoot Lumina for the web?

(JT) The Internet is a wonderful modern resource that is, ironically enough, the first place that someone will look for information about a filmmaker, and the last place that a filmmaker thinks to exhibit his or her work. The cinema is still the ultimate sacred venue; television screening is next and then after that, DVDs. Distribution on the Internet is often either done illicitly via torrenting, or the film is put through a grinder and then spit out into someone’s poorly compressed showreel. There are some companies making inroads into the legitimate internet distribution but it is still a nascent industry. But the web can be so integral to testing your skills as a filmmaker and connecting to and growing with an audience.

Top that off with my quitting Final Fantasy XI after a five year stint, and then reading about Felicia Day making The Guild after playing World of Warcraft, and voila, I decided to start off with a web series. To me, each story needs its own format. Some things will lend themselves better to an episodic way of telling the story, some to a feature film length narrative film, some as an ongoing monthly comic, some as a stand-alone graphic novel.

lumina-epk-still-4

(ÜSFG) You shot the story over a period of twelve days in Hong Kong. What were you looking for when choosing locations?

(JT) Before we started shooting, we spent quite a bit of time looking for “existing” sets — beautifully lit spots in Hong Kong which were public spaces and had cool reflective surfaces. I was amazed by how many reflections we found once we started looking — it seems like every corner of Hong Kong is decked out in a little bit of mirror, chrome, and shiny glass. In that sense, it’s an incredibly modern city.

My favorite location is a shiny black stone wall at a street corner in Causeway Bay. It’s not a traditional mirror, but in the evening and at night, it becomes this glossy dark mirror — where the colors of the real world and the colors of the mirror world are almost the same, but there are these tiny imperfections in the mirror world, little ripples and distortions. Seen from just the right angle, it is almost as if the dark world is breathing. And if you watched closely enough, maybe you’d find that way in, that way to the other side.

(ÜSFG) Is there an underlying theme you are trying to convey with Lumina, or are you just trying to tell a modern day fairy tale?

(JT) I like stories that are open to interpretation, stories where audiences can apply their experiences to get their unique understanding of the story.

For me personally, the Lumina/Ryder relationship was an allegory for online relationships. When I played Final Fantasy XI, I noticed that the players tended to fall in love rather quickly. Admittedly, when you have been intensely gaming with someone for six hour sessions at a time, you may think you know everything about them already. But how well do you know someone really? Half the time, the “girls” in MMORPGs weren’t girls at all. But the misrepresentations that occur in real life relationships can be just as egregious as or even outweigh the online ones, because they go beyond the obvious physical lies to the internal ones, the spiritual ones.

(ÜSFG) From reading a bit about you on the website, you seem to be a storyteller who loves a good fantasy. What were the influences and inspirations that led you to love the fantasy and sci-fi genres? Was there a defining moment or experience that drew you to it?

(JT) I remember sitting on the floor of one of the enormous Barnes & Nobles in New York as a child, with piles and piles of epic fantasy books around me (the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant from Stephen R. Donaldson, the Dragonlance novels from Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, the Dragonriders of Pern from Anne McCaffrey, the Belgariad from David Eddings.) My mother said I could get as many books as I wanted, but that the books would be parceled out to me over time, usually as a reward for good behavior. A week later, I snuck into the closet where the books where stashed and started secretly reading them.

Around the same time that I was discovering fantasy books, I was getting into comics. I had a friend in school who brought me tons of X-Men comics to read in class, mostly the Chris Claremont era. And then another friend showed me Elfquest, and I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. Wendy and Richard Pini rock.

In college came the Sandman from Neil Gaiman, and an array of cyberpunk novels from William Gibson, Pat Cadigan, Neal Stephenson, and Wilheminia Baird.

(ÜSFG) You started the production company RockGinger. It’s a great name. How did you choose the name and what kind of projects have you been up to, besides Lumina?

(JT) I wanted a fun name for my production company, something different and that would represent me. I love rock music and rock candy; after playing around with some combinations, I found that by adding “ginger” after “rock” it implies candy and at the same time gives the name a bit of an Asian spin.

As for what’s up next — I want to do a series of music videos for some of the great bands that are contributing music to Lumina, and I’m writing an action film script. I’m also producing Let Go, the new provocative thriller by the award-winning and very talented Doug Kin-Tak Chan!

lumina-epk-still-3

(ÜSFG) This is your directorial debut. I can only imagine how excited you must be. What was it like finally bringing one of your stories to life, and how is the finished product comparing to your vision? Were there any surprises or changes that just seemed natural in the transition from page to screen?

(JT) I am very excited! And even more so when I read about other people’s reactions to the trailer — I think we’re going in the right direction!

Although I wore a lot of hats in this production — writer, director, producer — and that’s most certainly not uncommon for an independent effort, or in fact, for any small business — Lumina is very much the product of the collaboration of many, many talented and artistic people. I may have laid out the foundation and the framework, but everyone else gave it all the color and life. That’s the fun part of the filmmaking for me — exploring what everyone has contributed and then shaping it into something unique, something that has a life of its own. Knowing that, you realize how important choosing the right cast and crew is to your end result.

It’s hard to remember what my original vision looked like. For me, JuJu has been Lumina for almost as long as the project existed, and Michael was just Ryder as soon as I met him. And Xax and Andy have such a luscious visual style, I don’t think anything I originally conceived in my head would have been as beautiful as what they actually captured on camera.

lumina-epk-still-2

(ÜSFG) Tell us a bit more about yourself. The information available on the Internet is sorely lacking. What have you been doing before now?

(JT) I have worked as a lawyer and an investment banker, and I’ve had the opportunity to work in the US and in Europe. About a year after I arrived in Hong Kong, I thought to myself “new city, new career!” and went into filmmaking. But seriously, I enjoy new challenges, whether it be figuring out a foreign city’s subway system or a new job’s rhythm and flow. Change keeps me on my toes.

(ÜSFG) How did you get into filmmaking? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

(JT) I always wanted to try it, but until last year, I think I wasn’t ready yet. Whether it was the indecisiveness of youth or the perceived lack of opportunity, I generally had managed to talk myself out of giving it a real go. That changed in July of 2008, when I just decided that I was going to give a real solid try and that I was going to make my first project by the end of the year. Once I had made up my mind, I started planning out what I needed to do to achieve that, and first up was get a better understanding of project workflow for films. The Internet as a collective resource is amazing — there are so many tutorials and how-tos and blogs simply detailing experiences that you can really teach yourself quite a bit online. And I have been really lucky with making friends who know a lot more than I do.

(ÜSFG) The Lumina website mentions “one of your stories”. Do you have another story already picked out for your next project and do you do a lot of writing?

(JT) I have dozens of short stories and half finished novels locked up in a box, and I know that they will come out someday, each needing its own form and its own evolution. Although I enjoy writing, I also enjoy collaborating with other people, and I’m hoping to find the right synergy with writers who love the same things that I do.

(ÜSFG) With the success of Internet produced content over the past few years, location doesn’t have such a huge influence on the success of a project because its fan base grows due to positive word of mouth. That being said, Internet fans anticipate a higher level of interaction with the creator and actors in the shows they follow. Do you have any plans for attending any conventions or showing any screenings outside of Hong Kong to help raise awareness of Lumina?

(JT) Conventions would be superb — once we’re finished with post-production on Lumina, I am hoping to attend some with my actors. If you have any suggestions as to which ones we should go to, that would be greatly appreciated! We’re also in discussion with a few film festivals as well about showing the trailer.

(ÜSFG) Is there anything else you want to share?

(JT) Thanks for taking the time to do this interview, Raven! And thanks to everyone who has taken the time to watch the trailer and help spread the word about Lumina — it’s an incredibly gratifying feeling for all the cast and crew to see that people are enjoying it and wanting to share it with their friends!

Lumina the Web Series will premiere in August 2009 on YouTube and other online media outlets so keep checking luminaseries.com for updates. While you’re waiting, don’t forget to check out these other Lumina-related links:

Lumina’s YouTube Channel
Lumina’s Facebook Group
Lumina News RSS
RockGinger

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Dave Beeler

Dave Beeler

With the release of the new web series Safety Geeks: SVI and interviews with Tom Konkle of Dave and Tom fame, we’ve been mentioning Dave Beeler a lot around here at ÜberSciFiGeek. Like his writing partner, Dave is a multi-talented writer, actor and comic with both screen and stage credits. For those of you who’ve been waiting patiently, we’ve finally had a chance to talk to the man himself!

ÜberSciFiGeek (ÜSFG) Did you have an active imagination when you were a kid?

Dave Beeler (DB) Wow, what kid doesn’t? I’m reminded of the wonderful Picasso quote, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” I remember watching a Clint Eastwood film and thinking he was so cool (and he was and still is) and I would act out bits of the film while I was supposed to be going to sleep. And when I was about 10 years old, I made a mustache out of some black craft hair my Mom had (she was always doing artsy-craftsy things). I fished some old toy six-shooters out of my toy box, shoved them in the waistband of my mint-green pajamas, taped that ’stache on my lip, got my step-dad’s black cowboy hat and aviator sunglasses and wandered into my parent’s bedroom where they were lying on the bed. They looked at me and started to chuckle when I drew my guns and exclaimed, “Freeze or I’ll blow your balls off!” Well, that cracked their stuff up and they said, “Do more!” So, I did. My Mom loved “garage-sailin’” as she called it; and so, she’d bring home hats and wigs and costume bits and pieces which all went into this clear plexi box called “David’s Costumes.” When company would come over, frequently to play cards, I’d dress up and come out and improvise bits — everything from a little old lady, to Elvis, to Adolph Hitler (which really weirded my grandma out, “How can he do that so well? He shouldn’t even know who Hitler is!”).

(ÜSFG) How old were you when you decided this is what you wanted to do with your life?

(DB) When I was twelve I thought I would either study aeronautical engineering and work for NASA after a stint as a fighter pilot; or go into entertainment. I loved making my classmates laugh. One day my Mom got home and used my full name. You know, when a parent uses your full name, it ain’t good. “David Christian Beeler, I need to talk to you.” My mind started racing, “What did I get caught doing?” (Notice it wasn’t “What did I do?” but “What did I get caught doing?”)

“I got a call from your teachers today.” Change gears: “What did I get caught doing at school?”

“Your teachers are worried about you.”

I think, “My grades are good. What is this about?”

“They think something might be wrong with your brain.”

My mental gears grind to a halt, “What?”

“Your teachers think you may have some sort of equilibrium problem. You keep bumping into things, falling over chairs, walking into doors. Now I need to know, is something wrong, or are you just clowning around?” I’m busted and I don’t know how to answer. “…Well?”

Somewhat sheepishly, “I was just joshin’. Trying to make people laugh.”

So, the local theatre was holding auditions and I thought, “Well, maybe I should see if this is something I want to do.” So, I auditioned and got the part of “Gus, the German Boy” in an original musical about the boyhood life of LBJ called The Texas Hill Country. My dog, Duffy, was also in the show as Lyndon’s dog and consequently had a bigger part than me. But the performance bug had bit and by the time I was 15, I knew that I would be an actor.

(ÜSFG) You’ve done a lot of comedy but there are a few dramatic credits on your resume as well, especially on stage. Why did you decide to focus on comedy?

(DB) Well, once I decided to be an “Act-TOR”, I began to take it seriously. I wound up training at a British acting conservatory, The Central School of Speech & Drama in London. (Coincidentally, a couple of my classmates who your readers will know were Ben Browder of Farscape and Stargate fame and Rufus Sewell of Dark City and Eleventh Hour. And to anticipate a question, they’re both great guys.) After living and working in the UK for a decade, I realized I really wanted to work in film and, after what I called a “reconnaissance holiday,” I decided that LA was the place to be. Part of this change was reflecting on what got me into acting in the first place, being a bit of a class-clown, making people laugh, doing characters. So, I got into an improv group, which is what ultimately and circuitously led to meeting and working with Tom.

(ÜSFG) I read on your website, daveandtom.com, how you met Tom Konkle during a production. If you were both characters in one of the sketches you now write, what would that first meeting have been like?

(DB) You know, that’s a really tough question to answer. Tom and I are both character actors — we love disappearing as much as we can into a character. And my take on acting is that we all have many facets (which is what makes us so interesting as humans) and acting — esp. character acting — is taking specific facets, juxtaposing them and seeing how that plays out via imagination in the given circumstances of the scene. So, different characters would totally change that first meeting. But, to answer your question: if it were Reginald and Bud, they would be checking to see who this other person is, but any reservations would quickly fall away as they connect over their shared passion for safety and they would soon realize that they not only have a shared interest in safety, but their skills and talents could compliment each other. Then they would mud wrestle. (Substitute the word comedy for safety and that’s pretty much how it happened. Tom is a champion mud wrestler, by the way. Don’t ever let him get you in the “Sunday Go ta Meetin’” hold.)

(ÜSFG) You both seem to be fans of British comedy, especially Monty Python. How did that come about and how does it influence your sketches?

(DB) Well, Tom was an Python freak as a little kid. When I was a kid it was Jerry Lewis, Abbott and Costello (their old films would play on Saturday afternoons on TV) and then Peter Sellers. I came to Python later as a teenager and then again while I was in England. I love those guys. Genius. Python is such a wonderful blend of high-brow, low-brow humor. And when you throw in that absurdist element, it just really appeals to me. It’s like a gateau cake of comedy — layers with different flavors, but all working together to make something wonderful. And then I spent ten years having my sense of humor sharpened on the grindstone of British sarcasm. Their wit can be very subtle and very dry, which forces you to pay attention. One of the things about the English is that they really relish language and that is especially apparent in their humor. Does it influence our sketches? Only all of them.

(ÜSFG) You’ve created quite a collection of characters over the years. Where do you find inspiration for characters like Brian Forbes and Richard Lagina?

Brian Forbes with guest Sir Reginal Bo-Hey No

Brian Forbes with guest Sir Reginal Bo-Hey No

(DB) They’re essentially the same character — uhm, I mean long lost twin brothers, separated at birth. One of the things that Tom and I love is someone who takes themselves just a little too seriously being put in awkward or ridiculous situations. Then as they become flustered, rattled or unwound, their “reasonableness” is challenged and yet, they will doggedly hang onto that very reasonableness. For example, Brian Forbes is a chat show host and he takes his mission to inform people about new inventions and gadgets very seriously; and so, when Bo-Hey No, who is a complete loon, goes off the rails, Brian has to fight to keep it all together. That conflict, that struggle, to maintain control and composure when it’s all spiraling out of control can be a lot of fun and, hopefully, very funny.

Invention with Brian Forbes — The Unbelievable Levitation Machine
The follow-up to this one is fun, too:
Invention with Brian Forbes — The One After The Bees

(ÜSFG) Do you have a favorite or most memorable character that you’ve played?

Beeler as Joey-Bill in "Destiny’s Stop"

Beeler as Joey-Bill in "Destiny’s Stop"

(DB) Dad. Love Dad. Love the Compulsively Talking Mime too. And of course, Reg. And then there was Joey-Bill in Destiny’s Stop, our little Western piece directed by Thor Melsted. As a matter of fact, Benton Jennings, who plays Hopkins in Safety Geeks, was a professional gunslinger and we’ve been talking about collaborating on a western comedy series. Tom and I are fans of the Leone Spaghetti Westerns, so this was a wonderful opportunity to walk in those boots and still have a surreal and fun twist to it. But, picking a fave… It’s like picking a favorite child. However, Dad might be my favorite. He is a wonderfully manipulative, sweet, mean, guilt-tripping, lonely, stubborn, maddening, child-like character who happens to be this very working class old Cockney curmudgeon. To use the analogy from earlier, he has a lot of facets packed into him. And his relationship with his film-star son, who has airs, is wonderful and touches on so many aspects of parent-child dynamics. Tom and I would love to do a series with these two called The Apple Falls Far. There are a couple of sketches from live shows of these two in action which you can check out.

The Apple Falls Far (Live), “Agent”

Dad and Roger from “The Apple Falls Far”

Dad and Roger from “The Apple Falls Far”

(ÜSFG) I thought your parody Star Wars: Fate of the Duel was hilarious. What made you decide to add “Sci-Fi” to your list of comedic genres, and have you thought about doing more?

Dave wrote and stars in the fan film "Star Wars: The Fate of the Duel"

Dave wrote and stars in the fan film "Star Wars: The Fate of the Duel"

(DB) First of all, thanks. That one came about when I was at this girl’s apartment. No, I was helping my friend help her move. She had this metal light saber hilt, so I asked her about it. Turns out Luke’s lightsaber was made from an old photo flash called the Graflex. I don’t remember the prop master’s name, but he repurposed that and used it as the basis for Luke’s A New Hope lightsaber. Apparently hers had been modified in the 70’s (after the 1st film was out) to be a lightsaber and given to her. So I asked if we could use hers, and that was the inspiration for the piece, as well as the one we used in our shoot. (There was a stunt double lightsaber when it needed to be dropped as they are pretty rare now).

(ÜSFG) In your latest project, Safety Geeks:SVI, you play Reginald Syngen-Smithe. Tell us a little about your character.

(DB) Reginald Syngen-Smithe is a great character too. He’s a sort of id beast with a noble calling to make the world safe, and yet he is innocent and often very child-like. With Reg I aspire to achieve what Peter Sellers did with Inspector Clouseau, in that there is a bravado about him, but also something very likable and charming. Watching some of my work in season one with Reg, should we build a large enough following to warrant a second season, I’d love to feather in more dignity in the face of Reg’s ineptitude which (like Seller’s work) makes the slap-sticky stuff funnier. And there are other shadings in there as well — there’s overtones of Batman where a traumatic event sent this incredibly rich kind down a path of service, The Saint (Reg is a safety Simon Templer), Kung Fu (the TV series) in the flashback to Reg’s time with the Tibetan Safety Monks — there is a lot to play with and I look forward to developing that character and getting deeper into his skin.

(ÜSFG) Most actors put a little bit of themselves into the characters they play. Do you share any qualities with Reginald that weren’t intended?

The eccentric billionaire behind the P.O.S.H. Team

The eccentric billionaire behind the P.O.S.H. Team

(DB) Oh, there’s a lot of me there. There’s a bit of Reg which was me when I was single — the whole id beast thing. I can also be ridiculously clumsy. Our sketch group used to say my Indian name was “Furniture is Not His Friend.” I really hope I’m not as much of an idiot as Reg, but I fear I might be…

(ÜSFG) Is Dave really stalking you?

(DB) Am I? Can I stalk myself? Wasn’t Self Stockings an old cable show?

(ÜSFG) Ha! I meant to say Tom but I love your answer, and I think that show was called Silk Stockings. What is one of the interview question you’ve always wanted to be asked but never have been, and what is your reply to that question?

(DB) I’ve always wanted to be asked by James Lipton, “What is your favorite swear word?”

A: Swollen Haggis!

(ÜSFG) What else are you working on right now and what would you like to do in the future?

(DB) Tom and I just shot another Invention with Brian Forbes.

We call that “The Little Series that Could.” It is a very simple show: two good characters, saying funny things. It started as a sketch in a live show and we filmed one, and then kept doing it, and now it’s developing quite a following. Who knew? But we’ve fallen in love with that show and look forward to rolling out many more. We have several more series ideas that would work for Internet or traditional media already written and we keep talking about doing a two-man sketch show with guest appearances. We also have a feature film for which we were gearing up to start a raise at the end of ‘08, but when the economy tanked we decided to hold off. So we’re looking forward to getting that ball back in play. And I just came up with a concept yesterday which I think would be great as a web series, so there’s no lack of creative ideas.

When we have bounteous resources (good word, bounteous…), we’ll hire talented people, so we can take off a few of the hats that working in the micro-budget realm necessitates. Then we can really focus down on writing, developing and performing, and get more projects going at once. We have a war chest of ideas and projects already scripted we’d like to see to fruition, including a full-on dramatic sci-fi feature film. Hmmmm…

(ÜSFG) Is there anything else you can think of that you’d like to share?

(DB) First of all, thank you, Raven Kai, for sharing our chat with your readers. And I would be remiss to not express our debt of gratitude to all the people who’ve collaborated with us on Safety Geeks:SVI and on our other projects over the years. Filmmaking is truly a group effort and a lot of people have pitched in to bring the funny. Tom and I are truly blessed to have partnered up and be such congruent collaborators. Tom is absolutely one of the funniest people I’ve ever met; where others have funny bones, he has funny marrow, and the fact that we can get together, laugh until we cry and share that with the world is really cool.

For more info visit us at daveandtom.com, and be sure to sign up for our list if you’d like to get updates.

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Benton Jennings, Mary Cseh, Tom Konkle, David Beeler and Brittney Powell are members of P.O.S.H. on KoldCast.TV's new Safety Geeks: SVI

Benton Jennings, Mary Cseh, Tom Konkle, David Beeler and Brittney Powell are members of P.O.S.H. on KoldCast.TV's new Safety Geeks: SVI

Tom Konkle, one half of the comedic troupe Dave & Tom, talked to us recently about some projects he had in the works. With one of those projects, Safety Geeks: SVI, coming to fruition, we thought it would be a great time to touch base with him and find out what’s been going on with his new show since last we talked.

ÜberSciFiGeek (ÜSFG) Last time we talked, you had a webseries in development. Episode 1 just premiered. Tell me about your new webseries, Safety Geeks : SVI.

Tom Konkle (TK) Safety Geeks was a labor of love that allowed me to do a comedy series as edgy, surreal and out there as I wanted it to be while trying to make it as professional and polished as possible. It is about a “semi-elite” safety team formed by an eccentric trillionaire who use their resources to ineptly investigate Darwin award type accidents.

(ÜSFG) What inspired you to do Safety Geeks: SVI?

(TK) I wanted to write this with my writing and producing partner David Beeler because it makes me laugh. I discovered I had been writing Adult Swim type comedy anyway and when they wouldn’t have us at the time (we did pitch the show to them) we decided to hang it out there and make it ourselves. There are SO many procedural crime dramas and it’s a great hook to hang the absurd scenarios on because everyone knows the conventions, like westerns were to Blazing Saddles, hospital dramas to Scrubs, etc… I really want to do a science fiction comedy as well because if there is a genre I love I want to work in it with my own voice which happens to be a comic one.

(ÜSFG) You’ve shot a lot of standalone comedy sketches and commercials. What was it like to film your new series?

(TK) It’s a BIG difference having to orchestrate a whole series and story arc from doing many, many sketches and one off films. The people moving aspect is difficult just getting the schedules down for all the talented SAG actors we had in the series, as well as the long hours to get it done on a deadline. Often the day would end at 4am with only me, David Beeler and Brittney Powell in the stage with Roger (Tonry) filming the main characters stuff after all the guest stars and effects were shot all day!

(ÜSFG) What can we expect from Season 1? Will it follow a story arc from episode to episode or will each episode be a self-contained story?

(TK) Season one has a main story arc which will be resolved in the final episode which is episode 12 but there are also mini stories and arcs like a possible connection between Budwin and Dr. Randi happening, learning more of Reginald’s past and Budwin’s secrets as well as seeing Dr. Randi in her first job! Every episode ends in some kind of cliffhanger, so we want you to come back. Hopefully as is the case with anything I do funny trumps everything, and it will be fun and funny and although normal to me, some say it’s downright bizarre.

(ÜSFG) How many episodes are planned for Season 1?

(TK) There will be 12 episodes ranging from 7 to 9 minutes in length.

(ÜSFG) You play Budwin Yacker on SG:SVI. Tell me a little about your character.

(TK) Budwin is actually a strange fit for me. I am usually more “showy” as a comic character like my Bo-Hey No character in the Invention with Brian Forbes series or the genie in our show etc… however I think he is a painful and imploded man who is very funny and dry in his awkwardness. It’s like he is a funny Vulcan really. We refer to Budwin now as Spock/Belushi (John Belushi not Jim). There is a nice competent person in there somewhere, but let’s face it, he was so sheltered from danger and controlled as a young person with horrible silly nightmare experiences it will take some work to draw it out. Who knows, maybe Dr. Randi Minky is the one who will finally draw Budwin out. Budwin imploded and parts of himself actually passed themselves, he probably joined the Army to get less structure.

(ÜSFG) Some of your cast has worked together before. How did the new ensemble get along? What was it like on the set?

(TK) Everyone was so cool and understanding of how we were trying to do something new and different without the resources available to the big companies and they were supportive. No attitudes, just laughs.

(ÜSFG) You are using a lot of digital effects and sets for this series. How do you like working with green screen? Does it slow down or speed up production schedules?

(TK) Green screen was the way to go. I didn’t set out to break the record for effects shots in a comedy but somehow we have ended up with more composite effects shots than the first three original Star Wars movies combined! It made shooting faster on set mostly, though Roger Tonry and his team had to take great care in lighting and staging the action and people. Roger and I worked very closely together on shot selection, planning schedule, and actors’ comic performances on set. Roger is a dream to work with. I am lucky he has the personality he has and that he allowed me to fully contribute with him on that. The green screen slows you in post because literally everything is created, positioned, rendered etc… and it takes days and days. Two teams of friends, Thor Melsted and Mike Smith, handled the effects and visual compositing and I worked with them both in person and on the Internet and texting and email. This could not have been made without technology and the Internet today.

(ÜSFG) How did you ever get The Whotles to do your theme song? Did you get to meet Raji Dandri and Teat Pownsend? What were they like?

(TK) The Whotles… well, what can I say. I am a musician and write music as does a Mr. Sherwood who I have done music with before, but The Whotles, come on, how lucky are we there? I do see Teat Poundsend occasionally, mostly in the mirror, and Mr. Sherwood updates me about Raji Dandri. We did songs together as Who fans and I loved how it turned out. You can see an exclusive Whotles webcam online of them recording a song.

(ÜSFG) Anything else you want to share?

(TK) Thank you so much for asking about the show. Please watch it in HD on KoldCast.TV. They are our sponsors and the best distributors a web series could have.

Episodes 1 and 2 are currently available. Look for the rest of Season 1 on KoldCast.TV.

Safety Geeks: SVI, Episode 1 — Forked Up
Safety Geeks: SVI Episode, 2 — P.O.S.H. Team is Go!

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Steph Song ventures into sci-fi with "The Thaw" and "Paradox"

Steph Song ventures into sci-fi with "The Thaw" and "Paradox"

While she may have been voted “Sexiest Women in the World” by FHM magazine, Steph Song is anything but “just another pretty face”. From the moment she first began her acting career in Singapore in 2002, she’s been winning hearts and awards for her roles in dramatic and comedic television and film. Already a huge success in the Asian Pacific, in 2005 she decided to return to Canada, one of several countries she made her home in as a child. She quickly established herself in the Vancouver acting scene with roles in Everything’s Gone Green, Dragon Boys and jPod. With several films in post-production and others now making the festival rounds, Steph has kept herself very busy. She now splits her time between Vancouver and Australia, not only acting but producing with her company Island Films. She took some time out of her very busy schedule to talk a little bit about her past success, current projects and future plans.

Download the MP3 of the Interview

ÜberSciFiGeek (ÜSFG) You hold degrees in nursing and journalism. Why did you decide to go into acting instead?

Steph Song (SS) Um, well, the thing with acting for me is it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do but coming from an incredibly academic family it was very much frowned upon me going into that line of career. Parents just… I guess that they, you know, just didn’t want me to be a bum on the couch, right; which probably happened for quite a few years when you first start acting. So, the thing with the nursing and journalism… I actually started off with an English Literature degree and my mother, who has a Masters Degree in Political Science and is a lecturer, she wanted me to be able to apply my skill set to something and she convinced me that English Literature is like a stepping stone degree; which it really is. I mean, if you want to apply it in any way, you need to get like a teaching degree or something. So then I put all my credits towards journalism and halfway through journalism I kind of found that I wanted to exercise something a little bit more scientific and my dad who has his PhD in Genetics encouraged me to go into medicine and well, I couldn’t quite make that commitment. So then I started something I guess kind of like Pre-med but I ended up applying most of the credits from that towards nursing and four years later I came out with a double degree in Journalism and Nursing and really not wanting to do either. I kind of told my parents, “Well, at least now you know I’ve got two degrees and I’ll never be that bum on the couch so ariva derche. I’m going to go out into the world and explore acting which is something I’ve always wanted to do anyway.” And that’s how that happened.

(ÜSFG) So, you’ve lived in other countries. You speak multiple languages. How did that end up affecting your new career goal?

(SS) Um, I wouldn’t say it affects it in any way. I speak a few languages, yes. That was due in part to my dad’s profession because as a geneticist he traveled around pioneering different programs and ended up towing his small little family as well. So we whent down to Colombia, South America, when I was young and I picked up Spanish and have subsequently and quite sadly lost that ability. Although when I hear it I understand every single word. Just the connection somewhere from brain to mouth isn’t there so I really wish I could speak it and it’s something I think I’m going to try to nourish again. And as for Chinese, I have always spoken that at home with my parents. I think that as an actor it’s very important to have, or very important to continually be expanding on, your skill set whether that is being able to sing or to dance or to do martial arts, which would be applicable I guess for me quite a bit even though I don’t know how to do it. I should, as an Asian actress. And languages are a good thing to be able to draw from as well.

(ÜSFG) You were hugely successful in the Asia-Pacific area, including a starring role in a series that was syndicated in more then a dozen countries. So, with your success abroad, why did you choose Vancouver for this step of your career?

(SS) Well, I grew up in the prairies in Canada and I’d always wanted to return to Canada, and plus I never really lost the Canadian accent and you know I feel I am Canadian. I wanted to come back here. That’s basically it, pure and simple. I loved my time in Asia because there was so… I got to do a variety of roles, like a gazillion. I got to do drama and comedy and sitcom, and sadly no sci-fi, there. It’s not a very big hub for sci-fi unfortunately, I don’t think, although there’s a lot of horror movies that come out of Korea and Thailand, right?

(ÜSFG) Yeah.

(SS) Yeah. So sadly I didn’t really get to experience that over there but hopefully it’s something I can do over here. And yeah, I came back because I’m Canadian and I love Canada despite the dreary winters.

(ÜSFG) I was looking at your Island Films website.

(SS) Oh, yeah.

(ÜSFG) You’ve really got a growing body of work there and I have to say your commercials are visual feasts. I could sit and watch those commercials all day long. Can you tell me a little bit about Island Films?

(SS) Island Films is a company that I started up with my partner Antony Redman, and he’s also an incredibly gifted writer and we decided to start it pure and simple because we just love stories. We love being told a really good story and I love going to the movies and, as I mentioned in a previous interview, my favorite thing about going to the movies is just the anticipation of being told a fantastic story, and I love sitting there with my popcorn as the lights dim and the title credits start rolling. It’s a fantastic, fantastic thing. And we started that because we just had stories and we’re always brainstorming different ideas. In fact, we’ve got a really great one called Strawberry which is a sci-fi and is set in the very, very far future and is about how… it’s dealing with cryogenics and what happens to your soul or your spirit, like if your brain is frozen and you come back does that mean your soul splinters off? It’s um… If you read the synopsis for Strawberry I think that might be something you might be interested in, Raven.

(ÜSFG) Okay. Thank you. I will definitely look that up. So, last year you were part of the award winning cast and critically acclaimed show jPod.

(SS) Mmm.

(ÜSFG) Yes, that’s actually how I became a fan of yours.

(SS) Aww.

(ÜSFG) What was it like being a part of such a dynamic cast and show?

(SS) Oh I LOVED it! Emilie (Ullerup) would be able to attest to just… It was just a joy being on set every single day with such a marvelous team of actors, and we all got along so great. Like, I count Emilie as one of my best pals.

(ÜSFG) She said the same thing about you.

(SS) Yeah, and you know I’m close with all of my other fellow podsters as well. Torrance (Coombs) lives just down the road and David (Kopp) and his girl Brandy I’m close with as well. I get to see Ben (Ayres) every now and then but he’s very busy. Um. I wish I got to see more of him. But it was fantastic. The writing is sharp. The sets were always phenomenal. We had almost a different director for every episode and they always brought fresh and wonderful ideas. And it’s Douglas Coupland. He’s just an iconic part of cultural history, the voice of a generation. So, there’s always a little trepidation going into a project that could profile in such a big way and it was such a joy, really wonderful and really quite sad. I was genuinely very distressed when the season ended and then we found out that the show was just a little bit too forward-thinking and had been canceled. And we had a legion of fans as well, which was, you know… The CBC was going for that demographic and I guess maybe, you know that particular demographic tends to download a lot more then they tend to watch TV so, um, I think it was due in part to ratings but also it was just too forward-thinking for that particular network.

(ÜSFG) Well, Emilie, when I talked to her about it, she said she thinks it’s dead but the fans are still hoping they can at least get a special to wrap up the cliffhanger ending.

(SS) Huh. Mmm. Well, I’m not… I can’t tell you anything that the writers had prepared for the second season, but let me tell you, it would have been freaking hilarious. Like, I was almost rolling on the floor laughing when the writers were telling me what they had prepared for the second season. It’s just, you know, if it’s crazy and strange and wonderful in the first season it just gets ten times more so in the second season, what they had prepared. And it’s just a dreadful shame, and you know what, I’m going to hold hope and be optimistic that the producers have enough sway to command a [special] but I’m not sure about that. I, too, feel that it might be dead.

"It was just a joy being on set every single day with such a marvelous team of actors, and we all got along so great."

"It was just a joy being on set every single day with such a marvelous team of actors, and we all got along so great."

(ÜSFG) Yeah, so… Right now you have two films in post-production, The Thaw with Val Kilmer and Paradox with Kevin Sorbo. Now, I’m familiar with Paradox slightly, because I am a comic book geek, but what is The Thaw about and who do you play in it?

(SS) The Thaw is about a group of science, or geology, students and they go up to… the Arctic I think is where it’s set, where they’ve discovered… where a scientist played by Val Kilmer has discovered the carcass of a woolly mammoth completely intact. And while he’s investigating, while he’s dissecting this carcass, he realizes that there is some kind of prehistoric bug that has initially killed the woolly mammoth that has thawed out, has started to thaw out in the mammoth and is quite open to infecting and killing other creatures. One of them being a polar bear and they, um, the students find out that the bug isn’t above infecting humans.

(ÜSFG) And then the fun starts.

(SS) Yeah, and then the fun starts.

(ÜSFG) Alright, so Paradox. It’s kind of a sci-fi/fantasy that takes place in an alternate universe Earth where magic is the rule, and you have a pretty significant part in this.

(SS) Yes. I play the female lead role opposite Kevin (Sorbo) and… I’ve always been fascinated with the concept of [other life] in the universe. I still kind of believe that there can be. I mean, it can’t just be us here, right? That’s just narrow-minded to think that we are the only… we’re the only living, logical creature in this universe. Even then, sometimes when you look around, it doesn’t really seem to make sense. But, um, the story came about… well, the script came to me about November of last year and at that time they hadn’t attached a male lead to it yet. It’s about a detective called Sean Nault and he is investigating a series of crimes and murders and he lives in a magic world. Things are run by magic and spells and it’s an Earth very similar to our Earth except where everything here runs on science, over there everything there runs on magic. Anyway, as he’s investigating these crimes he realizes there is something called a “gun” and something called “bullets” that go into that gun and “how is that possible? What is this weapon? We’ve never seen anything like this!” Which takes him to Lenore’s shop and I’m Lenore, a woman who believes in science in this magic world and therefore is kind of whispered about and not really accepted in society. He and Lenore start investigating these crimes and find a portal into the science world, and go into the science world, and that’s about all I can tell ya.

(ÜSFG) Now you got to…

(SS) And Emilie is actually in that!

(ÜSFG) Yes! I was just getting ready to ask about that. She said she…

(SS) It was so wonderful because the director, Brenton Spencer, has directed a few episodes of Sanctuary and when I met with him he was talking about Sanctuary and, um, it was our brilliant idea that Emilie must most definitely come in, her being a good pal of mine and him having worked with her before, and the whole Sanctuary connection. It was like, “Well, she has to be in it, no ifs, ands or buts” and so I got on the phone and I absolutely wrangled her into the project. It was great to work to work with Emilie again. Any time, any day.

(ÜSFG) Well, hopefully we’ll see you on Sanctuary in Season 2.

(SS) I’ve talked to her about that. I said, “You know, even if like I come back as a hideous monster or something and we have a big fight scene between the two of us. Awesome.” And she was like, “We’ll find something better for you than that.”

(ÜSFG) Well, when can we expect to see The Thaw and Paradox in theaters? Have there been dates set yet?

(SS) Um, there are quite a lot of visual effects that are going to be going into Paradox so I don’t expect to see or hear anything with Paradox for at least, minimum, at least six to eight months, although I am anticipating it coming out because we did some great work on that. It was a very, very fun set. Um, and The Thaw I think will be released in spring, I guess to coincide with…

(ÜSFG) The thaw…

(SS) Ya know, spring and everything thawing out, right. I think that’s when they are aiming for a release. I’m not 100% sure, although the trailer is already out so they can’t be too far away, and I’ve already done ADR on it so I think it’s just around the corner.

(ÜSFG) Well, I look forward to that. Are there any other projects that we should be keeping an eye out for this year?

(SS) Um, well, there’s Dim Sum Funeral, a film that I did just before The Thaw in March of last year, and that’s to do with an Asian-American family, four siblings who come together to bury their mother in a traditional Chinese funeral. Not science fiction at all, more of a family drama. They are completely antagonistic siblings… they are towards each other, which I’m guessing a lot of people can relate to. I know I didn’t like my sisters for a very long time and, um, that’s currently doing the film festivals. That’s going to, um… It just had its premiere at Pusan Film Festival last year and then was at AFI and then just, I think about a week ago, was at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, and now it’s going to the Singapore Film Festival and then the New Port Beach Film Festival and then the L.A. Film Festival and then the San Francisco Asian-American Film Festival… It’s just doing the circuit of festivals right now but I think it’s going to be airing at some stage on HBO. Apart from those three, nnn… not much.

(ÜSFG) Not much?

(SS) There are a few projects in the pipeline right now but I’m not allowed to talk about them until I get on set. A little… just a little superstition of mine that I shouldn’t start chitter-chattering about things I want to work on because I might not actually be on it.

(ÜSFG) I understand. I have the same problem. I do a lot of projects and if I… the more time I spend talking about it before I actually do it, the less I actually get done, so I understand.

(SS) Yeah.

(ÜSFG) Well, we covered everything that I really wanted to go over, so I know you’ve got a deadline. Is there anything else you want me to share before you run off?

(SS) Um, no, except I am, um… my first experience in sci-fi on Paradox I just loved, and I hope to do more of it. I guess The Thaw is kind of a…

(ÜSFG) Sci-Fi/Horror.

(SS) Sci-fiction kind of thing, more of a horror, but that was a fun experience too. I got to do a lot of screaming. It was a screamer. It was my first screamer and I feel like I’ve done permanent damage to my voice box. But it was good fun and, um, I hope to be able to show you guys something more. I hope to be able to produce something like Strawberry, so check that out on my Island Films website. Strawberry is a script that I would love to see made. The screenplay is finished. It’s fantabulous. I love it and I think we’re going to try to start funding it. I dunno; feature it on your website. You’ll find it on the Island Films website under Films. It opens up onto a bunch of, whachamacallit, I guess concept art posters and you’ll see Strawberry. It’s on the bottom right-hand corner, and click on that and it should take you right to a synopsis page so you can read the synopsis. I’m going to try to start finding funding for it so if anyone is interested, contact Island Films. Thank you very much, and I will keep you posted on those three… the two upcoming projects, and let you know where they are at and when they are going to come out, and so on and so forth.

"Strawberry" is a sci-fi thriller about what happens to your soul when your body's on ice.

"Strawberry" is a sci-fi thriller about what happens to your soul when your body's on ice.

(ÜSFG) Thank you, Steph!

While we have to wait a while for Paradox, you can expect The Thaw to arrive in theaters sometime this spring. Dim Sum Funeral is currently showing at festivals and will soon air on HBO. jPod is available to watch streaming on CBC.com and TheWB.com, and can be purchased from Amazon.com. Also, don’t forget to stop by stephsong.com and islandfilms.net to keep up-to-date on Steph’s latest projects.

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The wise and witty Jeff Lewis of The Guild

The wise and witty Jeff Lewis of The Guild

Over the past two years, ten million people have come to recognize Jeff Lewis as Vork, the quirky leader of The Knights of Good on Felicia Day‘s hit web series The Guild. After spending years doing stand-up and improv comedy with such troupes as The Groundlings and The Second City, he’s also turned his talents towards writing. His first film screenplay, For Christ’s Sake, is in post-production, and his other writing credits include episodes of Nickelodeon‘s Catscratch and Dreamworks Animation‘s Toonsylvania. While he’s made numerous web and television production appearances, very little information is available online to provide insight into the man behind the Guildmaster (though he did just receive a bit of “exposure” by appearing in nothing but a blue Speedo in a CareerBuilder.com commercial), so Jeff graciously took time recently to answer some questions for us.

ÜberSciFiGeek (ÜSFG) I love your CareerBuilder commercial! What kind of feedback are you getting from it so far, and how do you feel about your picture being sent as a gift all over Facebook?

Jeff Lewis (JL) The feedback from the commercial has been great. I love being sent as a gift. I think they stopped it and that makes me sad.

(ÜSFG) Did you have an active imagination when you were a kid?

(JL) Yes, I did. I read a lot of fantasy and science fiction books and after I would read a passage, I would close my eyes and play it out in my head. And I spent a lot of time with toy soldiers, having battles where I killed several Nazis. I love killing Nazis. To this day, I will buy any WW2 video game that involves killing Nazis. I will continue killing Nazis even when the game tells me I am done with a certain area or level. And when the opportunity arises to actually play a Nazi, I will kill myself immediately and laugh about it. I hate Nazis. I cannot overstate it.

(ÜSFG) Lots of artistic people struggle with other things considered normal, like sports, academics, and social interaction, but then thrive when they discover the arts. Did you have a similar experience?

(JL) For the most part. I loved sports though. Basketball and football. But I always struggled with academics. Knowledge is just not my… thing. And as far as social interaction, it wasn’t great. Especially with women. Especially with women. I am repeating that sentence for dramatic effect. I came from a place of assuming immediately that any woman I met was not interested. There was a time when a woman could be naked in my bed and I still would question whether she was into me. I definitely fared better in the arts. It’s a real boost to your confidence when people laugh at you. And then, of course, social interaction improves. Although I’m still not sure that my fiancée is really into me.

(ÜSFG) How old were you when you decided you wanted to be an actor?

(JL) It took a long time. I was in a state of denial for many years. I just kind of did shows but didn’t admit that I was an actor. It just wasn’t something my parents wanted me to do or raised me to be. I think I probably knew the first time I stepped on stage. I’m going to give you a number just because I think people generally crave specificity. 28.

(ÜSFG) You just finished wrapping season 2 of The Guild. What was it like being back together with the cast and crew? How different was it to actually have a budget this time around?

(JL) It was great being with the cast and crew. Quite seriously, I like everybody and we have a great time. Sometimes too good. Especially with Felicia and Sandeep, just because I’ve known them so long and so many of my scenes are with them. I look forward to working more with Vince and Amy and Robin because I really like them too. And I love the crew. Everybody’ s just really nice and we’ve gotten into a good rhythm. If there was a way we could legally, morally and biologically have an orgy without the sex and various fluids, I would like to do that.

It was a little different having a budget. Not as much on the set because the writing and acting has always been there, regardless of budget, but more seeing the finished product. It just looks great. I take that back now about on the set. There’s more people. It takes longer for me to walk back from craft service to the set. More people to get by.

(ÜSFG) I know that Felicia Day wrote the part of Vork for you because she thinks you are one of the funniest men she’s ever known. Does that mean she borrowed heavily from your real life personality? How much are you and Vork alike?

(JL) I don’t know how much she borrowed. Vork is very exact in his words and actions. Everything’s a little calculated. I think I’m more stop and start, not exactly sure where I’m going. And dumb. I think emotionally, we might be similar. Prone to instant anger, albeit disarming. And frustration. We both have that and I hope it comes out in a funny way. Basically (and sadly), I think she just thought I looked the part of an older gamer.

(ÜSFG) What’s going on with For Christ’s Sake? There’s a great website up at forchristssakemovie.com (love the choice of Orff’s “Carmina Burana” theme). Can you tell us a little bit about the film and how you came to write it?

(JL) For Christ’s Sake is a feature about a priest who unwittingly becomes an investor in his brother’s porn movie. It’s got a great cast. Jed Reese, Will Sasso, Alex Borstein, Sarah Rue, Michael Hitchcock and John Schneider (of The Dukes of Hazzard). I wrote it several years ago in a writing workshop class and gave it to my friend Jackson Douglas, a director, and he got the funding and directed it. We’re just waiting to hear about distribution now.

(ÜSFG) You visited Kiko on the set of Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine show this season. What was it like working with Kim Evey and her crew over there?

(JL) It was great to work with Kim. She’s awesome! I had never worked with any of the actors and we just hit it off. Very fun. And Kim is great to work with on The Guild. I think of her as the script Nazi on The Guild. Maybe not Nazi but more of a “the mom that would keep you in line” and I mean that in the best way. She’s the one that would say, “No, Vork would never keep a small boy in the basement” or “Vork would never be in a hotel room with two hookers and an eight ball”. You need somebody like that. To keep you true to the characters and to maintain that ensemble feel. And by the way, Vork WOULD keep a small boy in his basement.

(ÜSFG) You’ve had a lot of success lately as a writer. Are you changing your focus from in front of to behind the scenes?

(JL) I’m not sure that I’ve had that much success, but if you say so. I will say that for about two years, I kind of gave up on acting and focused almost solely on writing and that was a mistake and will never happen again.

(ÜSFG) What other projects have you been working on?

(JL) I’ve been doing stand up for about 6 months and that’s been fun and horrifying. I’m also writing a screenplay with a new partner and trying to write my own webisode, hopefully with the help of The Guild people.

(ÜSFG) Do you get recognized in public now?

(JL) Once in a while, I do get recognized. It’s always a little awkward. I’ve gotten so used to living in obscurity. It was always a goal of mine.

(ÜSFG) Are you a Whedonite?

(JL) I’m not sure. I love everything he’s done. He’s pretty amazing. I was very jealous when I saw Dr. Horrible. I wish I could write like that. Especially the songs.

For Christ’s Sake will be released later this year. In the meantime, catch up on Season 2 of The Guild, which can be watched on MSN Video, Xbox Live and Zune.

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The brilliant Emilie Ullerup has brains, brawn, beauty and moxie!

The brilliant Emilie Ullerup has brains, brawn, beauty and moxie!

In just a few short years, Dutch-born Emilie Ullerup has done what many actresses only ever dream of: going from bit parts to award-winning, starring roles. Soon after graduating from Vancouver Film School, Emilie (pronounced like Amelia) started her career in 2006 with guest spots on shows like Blood Ties and Battlestar Galactica. She then landed the role of Ashley Magnus in the Amanda Tapping and Damian Kindler produced web series Sanctuary. It was the first series shot with RED cameras on greenscreen sets, and was the most ambitious and expensive direct-to-web series ever produced.

While Sanctuary’s world was still being rendered, Emilie was then cast as video game artist Kaitlin Joyce on CBC’s jPod (based on the book by Gen X author Douglas Coupland). jPod was critically acclaimed, won a global audience through positive word of mouth (and torrents, since CBC chose to regionally lock the episodes they streamed on their website) and was nominated for twelve awards, winning four. While jPod’s fate was still being decided, Sanctuary’s was set in stone: redevelopment for television. Emilie rejoined her castmates for thirteen episodes of Sanctuary, which broadcast internationally, as well as on SCI FI channel. The show received high ratings in all of its markets, securing it a second season. In case you aren’t counting, that’s two lead roles in two hit shows in two years, and a Leo Award for Best Lead Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series for her role in jPod.

With the holiday season just wrapping up, Emilie set aside some time to talk with us about her recent successes and her plans for the future.

ÜberSciFiGeek (ÜSFG) Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today. I know you have been really busy and I’m sure your life has changed a lot over the last year or two.

Emilie Ullerup (EU) Sanctuary is really helping propel my career forward. It’s really exciting.

(ÜSFG) It is! I’m thrilled for you and we really appreciate how connected you are staying with your fans. It means a lot to all of them.

(EU) I LOVE MY FANS! They rock! They mean a lot to me. This business is at times so damn hard, and you get so much crap from all directions, that a strong fan base really helps to pull you out of the lows once in a while.

(ÜSFG) Everyone is thrilled every time you stop in and check the forums. And everyone I’ve talked to who has met you has just been very excited about how open and friendly you are.

(EU) I’m glad that I’ve been so well received. It’s a little scary being the “new young thing”. But it’s been a warm welcome.

(ÜSFG) I don’t know if you realize that sci-fi fans are fiercely loyal. We’ll watch anything you are attached to no matter the genre because we tend to get neglected by mainstream media so we are very thankful for people who work in sci-fi.

(EU) That’s good to know.

(ÜSFG) You’ve lived a lot of places in your life haven’t you? How does Vancouver compare?

(EU) Every place has its own charm. They’re all really great in their own ways. And they’ve all got less exciting things about them too. Vancouver is great for its outdoors, friendly people and it’s a major city so it’s just always open! You can always get what you any need time of day. I’m a fan of that.

(ÜSFG) I’ve moved a lot too, some big cities and some small towns and in addition to climate, I’ve noticed a lot of social changes. From one area to another, it seems there’s a completely different mind-set. Moving south, sometimes I feel like I’m on another planet, not just another part of the world. Has it been like that for you, too?

(EU) Oh definitely. There are places where it’s harder to build close relationships because you just don’t think the same way. And then there are cultures where you get each other instantly.

(ÜSFG) Yes, that’s how I felt in Seattle. I just felt like I was a part of it instantly. From everything I’ve heard, I think Vancouver would be like that.

(EU) Very similar.

(ÜSFG) Speaking of Vancouver, why did you choose Vancouver to start your career?

(EU) I wasn’t interested in going to L.A. right away. It seemed too big and too full of actors. I figured it was better to go to Vancouver where the talent pool is smaller, and then start a solid resume up here so that I would eventually be able to go to L.A. without being just “another new face”. I want to go there when there’s interest in me. It’s so easy to get lost in the movie machine down there.

(ÜSFG) Yes, well your plan seems to be working so far. You’ve gotten a lot of attention, not only with the success of Sanctuary (web and TV) but with jPod!

(EU) Yeah… I guess I have. It’s been an incredible ride. jPod was the best first experience for an actor. I still miss it.

(ÜSFG) So do I! I have to admit that after watching Sanctuary on the web, I was worried that I’d only see Ashley when I saw Kaitlin but Kaitlin was really a night and day different character then Ashley Magnus. I was surprised and delighted that I saw no shades of Ashley in Kaitlin. You changed personas very well. Are you drawn to a particular type of character, do you look for diversity in the roles you pursue, or are you still discovering what you want and enjoy in a role?

(EU) I certainly always yearn to stretch my acting muscle. There are things that I’m not as good at, but will take them on anyway. I love the Kaitlin characters. The dramatic parts certainly draw me in but then I look back at jPod and realize that Kaitlin was pretty crazy too! I think that as long as I feel that I can be free in my work, that I can explore and not be restrained by anything, I am happy with any character. Ashley is most certainly a challenge for me though.

(ÜSFG) jPod received rave reviews, developed a demographic-bending cult following and was nominated for 12 Leo Awards going on to win 4 of them, including yours for Best Lead Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series. Congratulations for that, by the way.

(EU) Thank you!! Ah, I still get a bit of a rush in my stomach when I’m reminded of that win.

(ÜSFG) That’s so cool though. I mean, like you said, it was a first show for a young actor. I imagine that it’s going to feel good for a real long time.

(EU) It will always be “the first one”. (Hopefully of a few more (blush))

(ÜSFG) I’m sure there will be more.

(EU) I wish… It was such an important win, because it solidified the fact that we’d been cancelled waaay too early.

(ÜSFG) Yes! I know we fans feel jilted. A lot of us are really sore about how it ended. How do you feel having the series cut short like that, especially after receiving so much praise and fan support? Has there been enough noise made by the “Save jPod” websites to actually stir any interest in a second season or at least a “special” to wrap up the story and let us know what happened to Kaitlin?

(EU) I think that jPod is dead though. I felt awful when we got cancelled. We all did. We were the tightest group, we had so much fun, there was incredible trust, and we all completely believed in the show. So to sum it up, BOO!

(ÜSFG) So, you said Ashley is a challenge to play. Why is that?

(EU) It’s really an art to master the balance in Ashley. She’s no bullshit but she’s also scared and sensitive and has to be likeable. So it’s a challenge to be a likeable “no bullshit” character, for me anyway. Especially because I had formed such a strong Ashley in the web episodes that bringing it back and making her softer felt wrong at first. It was like trying to put on a tight sweater on top of a really big one. I didn’t know how to make it fit.

(ÜSFG) Yes. Ashley was my favorite character in the web series. Of all the characters Ashley Magnus seems to have gone through the most drastic changes in the transition from web series to television. I know I’ve struggled a bit with reconciling the changes. Comparing the two incarnations, what are some of your favorite changes? What are some of your least favorite changes?

(EU) I like that she laughs more, smiles more. It allows for some of me in there but I do sometimes miss the ridiculously short Ashley. Shoot and then think. Later… a lot later… It was fun to explore such an instinctual character. That has disappeared a bit but I do think that she’s much more 3-dimensional now.

(ÜSFG) Yes, it seems our “Kick-Ash” has become a bit mellowed.

(EU) She is. Hopefully season 2 will allow for some real madness.

(ÜSFG) She does seem more fleshed out as a person and that’s a very good thing for character development.

(EU) It certainly looks that way.

(ÜSFG) It also leads to questions like, “why is there a man’s shirt in her closet?” and all sorts of things…

(EU) Ha haaaa, yes. That was Sam Egan. I love his ideas.

(ÜSFG) What would you like to see happen in Season 2?

(EU) I would love to see her get real bad.

(ÜSFG) Well, I think Ashley is an incredible character, you have so much to work with, fans who’ve seen you in other shows know the range you have and could do with her so everyone is eager to see how far you can take her back into a bit of the madness we saw in the webisodes but still remain someone we care about seeing heal, change, grow…

(EU) Hear hear! Thank you for the compliments.

(ÜSFG) You are most welcome! I am far too used to seeing actors being the same character in different clothes from show to show so I am THRILLED to see a truly different persona emerge.

(EU) Me too! I would love some sort of head to head conflict with mom.

(ÜSFG) That would be great to see! That was one of the discussions from the webisodes, how the mother-daughter conflict wasn’t explored the way it could have been.

(EU) I hope the Sanctuary team will feel the same way and give me some juicy, juicy stuff for us all to sink our teeth into. And hopefully season 2 will bring out something way different from season 1.

(ÜSFG) What kind of Ashley-centric episodes would you like to see happen in season 2?

(EU) Hmmm… Other than some badass ash-kicking?

(ÜSFG) Yes, other then more ash-kicking. You’ve got so many different directions she could go. If you could pick something really juicy and challenging, what do you think it would be?

(EU) It’d be fun to explore how the possibility of power could mess with Ashley. She’s young. She’s been introduced to some new powers. She’s not levelheaded at this point. What if she, just for an episode, got disgustingly power-hungry and turned into a Dana times 10.

(ÜSFG) Oooh… I like that idea.

(EU) It would also be great to see her come back to the good side and then have to be taught how to use her powers by daddy. She keeps messing up her teleporting. Instead of landing in Thailand, she lands in a men only steam bath in Turkey.

(ÜSFG) Oh, that would be one of those classic bits of TV that goes viral in web clips!

(EU) Ha ha ha.

(ÜSFG) Would she be embarrassed or like, “Hey”. 😉

(EU) I think a good mix of both. Depending on the men.

(ÜSFG) Back in the web series days, Ashley was nick named “Kick-Ash” because of all the fight scenes. While she’s been toned down a bit, she still sees a lot of action. Do you have a lot of fun doing the fight scenes and, as an actor, how does that compare to the more dramatic scenes you share with your costars like Amanda Tapping and Christopher Heyerdahl or the humor-laced “romantic” scenes with Robin Dunne?

(EU) I love, love, love all of them. The fight scenes are so great to get to do. We have the best stunt team and so fight rehearsals are a blast but I wouldn’t be happy without the dramatic scenes. I really, really crave dramatic scenes.

(ÜSFG) Your fight with Bam Bam (stunt man James Bamford) is what got you hired in the first place, isn’t it?

(EU) Yeah, I believe it was one of the factors. They sprung that on us in the callback session.

Emilie with James “Bam Bam” Bamford on the set of Sanctuary

Emilie with James “Bam Bam” Bamford on the set of Sanctuary

(ÜSFG) I have seen people take screen caps of some of your fights and give play-by-play descriptions of the moves you are doing, like it’s a football game or something.

(EU) Ha, really??

(ÜSFG) Oh, yes. Especially the martial arts or military fans. They will name the moves you are doing.

(EU) It’s been really hard training but a great base to have, to know some moves. And it’s so satisfying to see the show and know that a lot of the fights are actually me, and not the double.

(ÜSFG) Yes, that’s been another comment frequently made, to see a single shot with no cut away and know beyond a doubt that YOU are the one making the roundhouse kick to someone’s face, and then in the very next scene you’re moving us to tears with a dramatic moment.

(EU) Aaaaaaw. You guys… :*

(ÜSFG) Did you watch sci-fi when you were growing up? Were you planning on getting into the Sci-Fi/Action genre or did you just sort of fall into it?

(EU) I honestly just fell into it. I didn’t have any concrete plans when I started the business. I just wanted to work! But sci-fi is a really fun genre. Anything is possible!

(ÜSFG) There have been very few actresses who have been able to establish themselves as action heroes. Are you getting action roles sent your way more than dramatic ones?

(EU) I am getting a good mix of both. I think there’s excitement when they know I have a bit of training ’cause there are many parts that call for a bit of action and it’s upsetting when your hero doesn’t know how to hold a gun properly, I think.

(ÜSFG) Yes. People notice the smallest details and when something catches their attention, it isn’t as easy to suspend your disbelief and get into the show.

(EU) Precisely!

(ÜSFG) So, with new roles coming your way, you were just cast in the film adaptation of Arcana Comics’ Paradox. Kevin Sorbo has been cast in the lead role as Detective Sean Nault, a homicide detective on an alternate universe Earth where Magic rules instead of Science. IMDb.com lists you as “rumored” but doesn’t list what character you are rumored to have been chosen for. What role have you been cast in and who is she?

(EU) Yeah, no need for the rumored part, I shot it already, just before Christmas.

(ÜSFG) Oh? Really? What can you share?

(EU) I actually didn’t think I could do it because I had only about two days available. I had laser eye surgery and then was going to Denmark for Christmas so they weren’t sure what I was able to do. I ended up getting a small cameo part as a nutty lab tech. Brenton Spencer, the director, did two episodes of Sanctuary. We really hit it off, so it was such a blast to get to work with him again. And I got to work with my very close friend, Steph Song, who did jPod with me! I’m so happy they made it happen despite the tight schedule I was on.

(ÜSFG) I was going to ask about Steph! I’m glad to hear you got to work with her again. She’s been cast as Lenore, a fairly significant role in the comic book.

(EU) Yes, she is the female lead. And her first introduction to sci-fi! Very exciting.

(ÜSFG) I’m really thrilled that she got the part and that you two saw each other. That was actually one of the questions I had here so I’m glad you brought it up! Any chance you could try to get her a bit more rooted in sci-fi, oh, maybe getting her a guest spot on Sanctuary?

(EU) I would love to have them on Sanctuary. Unfortunately I have very little say.

(ÜSFG) Do you still keep in touch with the jPod gang frequently?

(EU) Yes! I just saw David (Kopp) and Steph yesterday! And of course I live with the crazy klown now!

(ÜSFG) Yes, yes. I know that! It’s great to see you two together. What was it like working with him?

(EU) Kyle (Cassie) was great to work with. He’s a madman, so working with him is a challenge, a great challenge. He’s so intense and all over the place, that you really have to work hard to keep up. It was the best way to get to know one another.

(ÜSFG) Did you actually have scenes with Steph or were you just on the set at the same time?

(EU) No, we had a scene together. Me, Steph, and Kevin. Good times.

(ÜSFG) You’ve been working with the Sci-Fi Pantheon for a while now. With Paradox, it’s really broadened that list of actors. What was it like working with Kevin? Did you get to meet Chris Judge?

(EU) Chris was leaving set right as I arrived. So I didn’t get to meet him.

(ÜSFG) Aw. I’m sure you will eventually.

(EU) Kevin was great fun. He’s really laid-back and welcoming. He’s so easy to be around.

(ÜSFG) I’ve heard that about him. I was a Hercules fan from way back and everyone who met him said he was a “California Beach Boy”… really laid-back, easygoing, fun, charming.

(EU) Couldn’t have said it better myself.

(ÜSFG) So when can we expect to see Paradox hit the big screen? It’s listed as 2009 on IMDb but there are no dates yet.

(EU) You know what, I actually don’t know! I should find out.

(ÜSFG) Have you done any other projects since Sanctuary and Paradox that we can keep an eye out for?

(EU) Nothing as of yet. Everything kind of dies down at Christmas so it’s only starting back up right now. I’m very busy with auditions and such so that’s good. Hopefully something will come my way.

(ÜSFG) I’m sure it will. Thank you and good luck!

Paradox is currently in post-production, but look for Emilie Ullerup in Season 2 of Sanctuary later this year, and don’t forget to pick up the jPod DVD box set now available at Amazon.com.

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Writer, Director and Funny Man Tom Konkle

Writer, Director and Funny Man Tom Konkle

In the age of YouTube, comedy shorts are popping up in droves. With mostly lowbrow humor in these videos, Dave and Tom (David Beeler and Tom Konkle) stand out from the masses with their wit and writing, and performances that are carried primarily by dialog rather than sight gags. The fact that they’ve had over 12 million views might be because their sketches are filled with clever double entendres in the style of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. One half of the comedy troupe, Tom Konkle, answered a few questions for us about what they’ve accomplished so far and where they hope to take Dave and Tom next.

ÜberSciFiGeek (ÜSFG) I read on your website how the two of you met during a production. If you were both characters in one of the sketches you now write, what would that first meeting have been like?

Tom Konkle (TK) Well, it would have been a fairly looney occurrence I am sure. We’d probably have been like those two silly British old beans in our sketch The Secret to Happiness is a Bad Memory. A sketch where Dave would say “Hello.” And I would reply, matching his jovial quality like this:

Tom: Hello, as well. Funny meeting you like this, isn’t it?

Dave: What, in character?

Tom: Yes, I mean, here I am as Tom 2.0 and there you are as… sorry, I haven’t caught your name.

Dave: Haven’t thrown it actually.

Tom: I’m sorry… I don’t understand.

Dave: It’s a joke.

Tom: Not following you.

Dave: You said didn’t catch my name and I said I haven’t thrown it.

Tom: Ah. No. Nothing. Anyway, strange us meeting during one of our own productions and not even knowing each other yet, isn’t it?

Dave: Yes, that is odd.

Tom: (suddenly laughing deep and disturbingly) Hahahahahaha!

Dave: What?

Tom : Haven’t thrown it. Your name. HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Dave: Yes, I still haven’t.

Tom : I always enjoy a good joke as soon as I am made aware of it. Uh, what’s you name?

Dave: Dave.

Tom: Yes. Of course, what’s your name, Dave?

Anyway, you meeting as characters from a sketch might be a bit like that.

(ÜSFG) You both seem to be fans of British comedy, especially Monty Python. How did that come about and how does it influence your sketches?

(TK) Well, I think its more a matter of finding kindred spirits in British comedy, especially Monty Python. I can remember as a boy seeing the first episodes on TV and thinking, there’s someone who thinks the way I do about the world. The craft of writing and acting your own material interested me as I grew older, working in the profession of acting or writing other people’s things, so again Python was a blueprint for that. Sprinkle in my own flavors and Dave’s and my other influences, and hopefully a unique voice can develop.

(ÜSFG) You recently worked with John Cleese on The Art of Football. What was that like?

(TK) Amazing. Highlight of my acting career. He got me into sketch and, frankly, was my major influence, so going and working with him in a two-man sketch show on TV was a dream. Cleese was a great person, gentleman and mentor who bothered to keep in touch. Wonderful time.

(ÜSFG) Do you work with your network of friends or do you hold auditions?

(TK) Both. Of course you work with friends in the business over and over or people become your friends as a result of working together so you go back to them but also, we are auditioning people now, particularly actresses, to expand our pool of talent we want to work with for the new web series Safety Geeks: SVI.

(ÜSFG) You’ve recently announced that Season 1 of Safety Geeks: SVI is on its way. What’s going on with SVI? When can we expect to see Season 1 rolling out, and what can we do to help?

(TK) We shoot at the end of February and hopefully we will be finished a few months after that and have it out as a complete season.

(ÜSFG) You’ve appeared a few times on Comedy Gumbo for C-Spot. How did you get involved in that group?

(TK) I had met Payman (Benz) and Sean (Becker), the two guys behind Gumbo (Awkward Pictures), a while ago at a film festival. Their film was showing and mine, called Who Makes Movies?, that I did with Chris Luccy was part of the festival and they liked the performance. We stayed in touch and it worked out that we could do a few sketches together in Gumbo. We also did a short, Behind the Cup: Two Girls One Cup, where I play the cup and Dave was the host.

(ÜSFG) You’ve created quite a collection of characters over the years. Where do you find inspiration for characters like Sir Reginald Bo-Hey No and Baxter Smalls?

(TK) I sort of channel them in the writing and rehearsal process. I know them very well and I like to play with these characters. Sir Reginald Bo-Hey No of the Invention with Brian Forbes series is finally taking off, mostly due to Koldcast.TV and their distribution of the show on Tivocast and iTunes, as well as their own website. Baxter was a labor of love with a director named Marcus and DP named Doug who I had shot a commercial with as Brahms, called Raisin Brahms, a very silly PSA for music arts education, and so it was a natural progression.

(ÜSFG) Speaking of Baxter Smalls, you’ve created a wonderful premise for a series with a great pilot episode and website to promote it. Can we look forward to more adventures with our favorite Time Traveling Documentarian?

(TK) Yes. Baxter Smalls continues to be in development. I look forward to playing him in a series again.

(ÜSFG) Are potatoes really evil? Do you eat potatoes in your house? What dark secrets are they the key to?

(TK) Well, potatoes can certainly be used for evil, they can be turned. For all the answers you must look for Beyond the Known online, about the potato conspiracy. It’s a sketch I used to do live and Gino C. Vianelli, who plays Art Gong in it, was always a champion of that sketch even when no one else was, and we finally did it for the cameras which was vindicating and fun. I like that bit.

(ÜSFG) You’ve been in several commercials recently, such as the Epson Artison series (Monkey, Bling and Art Critic). What’s been the most fun for you so far?

(TK) I just did a Coke commercial with my 3-year-old son that was special. It was a hard shoot as it was a night and, being three, he was a tired trooper. The Quiznos spots where I played silly British characters in scenarios was fun. A LOT of the commercials I have done have been strange, silly fun. I rarely do a “straight” product commercial so it’s great. I did a Carrier commercial directed by Christopher Guest that was incredibly rewarding to work on.

(ÜSFG) I thought your Star Wars: The Fate of the Duel parody was hilarious. What made you decide to add sci-fi to your list of comedic genres?

(TK) Love science fiction, HUGE library of books and DVDs. Star Wars got me into filmmaking, really. So it was a natural fit.

(ÜSFG) Who or what, exactly, is McFwap?

(TK) McFwap was my sketch troupe for many years. Very talented, funny people in there, many became lifelong friends and all of them had such funny ideas and performances. I loved it.

(ÜSFG) You have so many brilliant deadpan deliveries and one-liners, but so far I think my favorite is from Breaking the Language Barrier: “While some might drink from the fountain of knowledge, I merely gargled.” What have been some of your favorites?

(TK) That’s like picking a favorite child, really. Each line at the time is a snapshot of where I was comedically and what I was trying to accomplish, I can see when I see it again. I love the “Impossible as the proportional camel toe would be six inches across…” line that I wrote and got to deliver in the Safety Geeks web series promo. Invention has SO many. Lots in the television shows where my one or two lines were a deadpan line stuck in because they were part of helping make a larger project funny.

(ÜSFG) I’ve noticed a certain Biblical theme in some of your work. Is there some inspiration behind those? Do you have any fear of “divine retribution”? Are they mostly ad-lib or scripted?

(TK) The Biblical theme is there sometimes because it remains a sacred cow, which is intrinsic to comedy. Everything I do is very tightly scripted. I rehearse my improvs (no joke!)

(ÜSFG) What else are you working on right now, and what would you like to do in the future?

(TK) A feature called EMTs. I have several web series I would like to do, a few television scripts and work on some projects with others. Hopefully the auditions keep rolling in, as well, while I do my own thing.

Check out more of Dave and Tom at their website and at YouTube, Funny or Die, Atom.com and Blogspot. The Art of Football (or soccer, as they call it in America) is available now at Amazon on DVD.

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Felicia Day and Sandeep Parikh of The Guild talk to ÜberSciFiGeek at San Diego Comic-Con 2008.

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First we brought you the podcast. Then we brought you the photos. Finally, we brought you the transcript. Now, for the first time ever, you can see The Video!

Felicia Day and Sandeep Parikh at San Diego Comic-Con 2008

This is a high quality MPG. Please right click and “save target as” to download it to your computer. A low resolution, two-part version will be made available on our YouTube Channel very soon.

Enjoy!

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Kim Evey of Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show

Kim Evey of Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show

The beautiful and multitalented Kim Evey took some time out of her busy schedule to speak with ÜberSciFiGeek recently. She’s a writer, producer and actress, going easily back and forth from drama to comedy, and stage to screen (film, TV and PC). She’s appeared in such television dramas as JAG, ER, Crossing Jordan and Judging Amy, and starred as the romantic lead in the film Nowheresville, but she’s better known to millions of adoring fans as part of the driving force behind such viral video hits as Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show, The Guild and Mating Season (also known as Sexy Panda). We tried to find out a little bit about the woman behind the pigtails and the results were side-splittingly funny, as well as enlightening.

ÜberSciFiGeek (ÜSFG) Did you have an active imagination when you were a kid?

Kim Evey (KE) Always. I used to construct intricate cardboard furniture pieces for my neon pink and green clear plastic chess pieces. Mostly the pawns because they were the cutest. You’d think my parents would have gotten me Barbies. Or taught me to play chess.

(ÜSFG) How old were you when you decided you wanted to be an actor?

(KE) I don’t remember how old I was but I remember seeing Quinn Cummings on Celebrity Family Feud and I reasoned that the only way I was ever going to get on Family Feud would be as an actor because I asked my Mom if our family could be on it and she said “no.”

(ÜSFG) Lots of artistic people struggle with other things considered normal, like sports, academics and social interaction but then thrive when they discover the arts. Did you have a similar experience?

(KE) I was completely shy and socially retarded when I started high school so I did drama because it was the only way I could talk and get people to look at me at the same time. The fact that they couldn’t talk back unless their words were already scripted out was perfect for me. For some reason, in my high school class in particular, drama was where all the social misfits found solace. It wasn’t really like that in any of the other grades, just ours. Not to say that everyone in my class who did drama was a social misfit but those of us who were were particularly happy to have a place to go.

(ÜSFG) There is a brief biography on you on IMDb.com. In it, several shows were mentioned including the film Nowheresville and the one person show Within the Silence. You’ve done a lot of drama. What made you decide to turn to comedy and what inspired you to create a parody of a Japanese talk show?

(KE) In college I joined a comedy improv troupe and moved with them from Albuquerque to Seattle. I’ve always been the most comfortable with that Christopher Guest-ian type of comedy — parody so achingly real that it hurts to watch. Trying to make a living as an actor, I’ve really done whatever I could to pay the bills. Within the Silence was an educational touring show — most of the acting I did in Seattle was either educational or corporate video. Nowheresville was a romantic comedy indie feature that I’m convinced would have been a giant hit if it had starred actual celebrities instead of me and Henri Lubatti (who is actually much more of a celebrity than I am now). So I’ve always had my roots in comedy but now I really only get the opportunity to audition for television dramas. Gorgeous Tiny was actually the first sketch I ever wrote in Los Angeles. I wrote it for a class and we were supposed to write a real character in a non-real situation. Hence, Rick Pope and Kiko were born.

(ÜSFG) We’ve seen some great guest stars this season. Any other special guests lined up for the rest of Season 2 or for next season of Gorgeous Tiny?

(KE) Pretty much all the guests I’ve gotten are friends or friends of friends, with the exception of Ron Jeremy who we contacted through his agent. I think everybody assumed that we got access to celebrities because of our Sony affiliation but actually the opposite was true. Every celebrity we approached through Sony assumed we had a TV-sized budget and wanted to be compensated accordingly. So, for the next season, I need to hurry up and make more celebrity friends or I’m really screwed.

(ÜSFG) Will Panda or Unicow ever speak?

(KE) They speak the language of love in every episode. Just lean in real close and you’ll hear it.

(ÜSFG) Lick Poop… er… Rick Pope has really become a break-out character on Gorgeous Tiny, even being featured in his own Vlog. Was that planned or was it in response to on-screen chemistry and fan reaction? Will we see more Rick Pope Vlogs? Will Kiko ever return his feelings?

(KE) If we do get a season three pickup, that story line is definitely something I’d like to continue further. Part of the Vlog idea was just that Ryan Smith is one of the funniest improvisers ever, so letting him go as Rick was just excellent comedy. Ryan is really one of the best comedic actors I’ve ever met. He can actually play a funny straight man.

(ÜSFG) What happened to Episode 21? I can’t find it!

(KE) Yes, it’s strange that it seems to have disappeared from YouTube. You can see it on Crackle. Use the pull down menu to get to Season 2. It’s called “Episode 9” on Crackle, “The Taming of the Unicow.” Starring Phil Proctor of The Firesign Theater.

(ÜSFG) Have you thought about doing more films?

(KE) I like the way you phrased that. It makes it sound as if not doing more films is a personal decision that I have made for myself. It’s true. Every day, I wake up and think, “hmmm, should I spend the next few hours in bed, vacillating between showering or going back to sleep, ORRRRR should I do a film?” Invariably, I make myself feel better by calling my dreams “films” and going back to sleep. Please tell more film directors to put me in their movies. And then please tell me not to suck at my auditions for said movies. Thank you!

(ÜSFG) Your IMDb profile says you’re also an artist. Did you do any of the artwork we’ve seen in GTCMS or The Guild? Where can we see your work?

(KE) Who is responsible for these heinous lies?… I mean, um, yes, yes I AM an artist. You can see my work on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Seriously, don’t they have people to check these things?

(ÜSFG) Any more 2 Hot Girls in the Shower planned? What other projects have you been working on?

(KE) Yes, we’re shooting more this week. I just got so busy with The Guild that I didn’t have time to do anything else. Or, rather, the time I had was spent oozing around in a little gelatinous puddle of my own tears. I’m not currently working on anything else. STOP TORMENTING ME WITH YOUR HORRIBLE QUESTIONS!!! I’m not working on anything else, nobody will put me in their films and I have no artistic talent! SATISFIED?!?! Actually I have another series I want my husband to shoot but he’s too busy painting God on our dining room ceiling.

(ÜSFG) Are you a Whedonite?

(KE) I’m half Whedonite, half Korean. The whole Buffy phenom passed me by but I loved Firefly and I love Dr. Horrible so I don’t know what I’m waiting for. Why don’t I just go right now and buy and watch all of Buffy?

You can catch Kim as Japanese talk show host Kiko in Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show, currently airing its second season on Crackle.

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