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March 2017

Sit and Spin

Jocelyn & Chris Arndt’s Go

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Artist: Jocelyn & Chris Arndt

Album: “Go”

Label: Self-Released

Format Reviewed: Digital Advance

There are very few power-driven vocalists in music today. There are even fewer in rock. Jocelyn Arndt is on a path to change all of that.

“Go,” the latest album from Jocelyn and her brother Chris, is a sort of punch to the gut of the music industry… a reminder that you can sometimes fix what’s not broken. Just because pop is at the top (at least in terms of the mainstream), it doesn’t mean that every music fan is being represented. Given the versatility of this album, there’s never been a better opportunity than right now for an act like Jocelyn & Chris to rip their share of the pie from the pie pan.

An auditory stimulant, “Go” sucks you in with the first track “Footprints on the Moon,” a wondrous showcase of Jocelyn’s vocals that, like the title suggests, is out of this world. Her voice is straight up mesmerizing and it deserves every bit of the attention this album could (should) bring it. Accompanied by Chris’ take-no-prisoners guitar play, Jocelyn’s bluesy warble continues to hypnotize throughout the entire album (“Home” is particularly spellbinding), infecting your brain with its breathy sultriness.

Do not pass “Go.”

No. Buy it instead.

And then read our exclusive interview with Jocelyn & Chris here.

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Next Up

Iliana Guibert

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Name: Iliana Guibert

Hometown: New York City

Current Location: NYC/NJ

TrunkSpace: When did you know that you wanted to act for a living?
Guibert: At age 8 when the kid playing the lead in the school play got sick the night of the show and I stepped out of the chorus and took his place because I knew all his lines.

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular performance or actor/actress from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Guibert: There were so many influences: MGM movies, “West Side Story,” Bette Davis, “I Love Lucy,” Jimmy Stewart, James Cagney, Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers and the list goes on.

TrunkSpace: How did you decide to approach your career as an actor? Did you formulate a plan of how you wanted to attack what is known for being a hard industry to crack?
Guibert: I go about my acting career in very much the way I went about my corporate career… making a list of goals and then actions as to how to reach those goals.

TrunkSpace: When did you decide to move away from your home and pursue acting as a career? How old were you at the time?
Guibert: I didn’t have to go far since I’m from NYC, but although I had an interest and passion for the entertainment industry since I was a child, I started my acting career very late in life. I spent most of my years working in the corporate sector and it wasn’t until I got laid off a few years ago that I decided to reinvent myself and start a new career in the entertainment industry.

TrunkSpace: Was that transition an easy one for you initially? How long did it take you to feel at home and find a good support group of friends and peers?
Guibert: The transition was seamless. I felt right at home… as though I was born to be in this industry.

TrunkSpace: What has been your biggest break in terms of a particular role or project thus far?
Guibert: That so call “big break” hasn’t happened YET, but I feel it’s around the corner. I have found that just about everything I’ve done thus far has been a break in some smaller form, either because I got to play an unusual character or worked with great actors, was wonderfully directed or learned about being on the other side of the camera. I try to take advantage of every opportunity.

TrunkSpace: Is there a specific type of role you’d like to take on or a specific genre that you feel more at home in?
Guibert: I love intense drama and complicated characters. Shows like “Billions,” “The Good Wife,” “House of Cards,” but I can also see myself doing shows like “Seinfeld,” “King of Queens” and “Everybody Loves Raymond.” I know I’d have a blast doing those types of shows. As for the big screen, “All About Eve,” “Titanic,” “Silence of the Lambs,” “West Side Story” and the list goes on. And then there is theater.

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength an actor/actress can have outside of acting ability itself?
Guibert: If I had to put it in one word, passion.

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your acting career? Where would you like your path to lead?
Guibert: I hope to continue working and collaborating with great people, doing meaningful work not only to me but work that inspires, entertains and comforts others.

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring actor/actress who is considering moving away from home to pursue their dream?
Guibert: Be prepared for it to take awhile unless you happen to get lucky. Surround yourself with people in the industry and be a sponge… learn. You’ll never stop learning. Don’t take rejection personally, go in and do your best, learn from your mistakes and from your wins. And keep growing.

TrunkSpace: Where can people (and casting directors) learn more about you?
Guibert: So glad you asked. I am thrilled to be days away from launching my first Facebook Fan Page, https://www.facebook.com/ilianaGuibert.Actress, where people can get a sense of my work through video clips, articles and interviews. Hope you visit and “like” my Fan Page, and of course, there is my Imdb page. www.imdb.me/iliana.guibert

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Just Another $@!#*? Column

The Top Dog Dogs From The 80s

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Everyone’s got a TOP WHATEVER column. You know the type… a list of arbitrary best ofs, worst ofs, or does it really matter ofs. Well, TrunkSpace didn’t want to be left out, so we decided to come up with our own JUST ANOTHER $@!#*? LIST COLUMN. Whereas other lists on other sites may have a point, rest assured, ours will have none.

This time out we’re honoring The Top Dog Dogs from the 80s.

Brandon the Wonder Dog
He kept Miss Brewster company and was one smart Golden to boot. His fashion sense wasn’t as 80s-tastic as Punky’s, but we can let that slide given that the dog who played Brandon also appeared in “The Watchers” alongside of Corey Haim. That’s some serious 80s cred!

Rowlf
Sure his voice sounded like he gargled razor blades after a 24-day cigarette binge, but his fingers? Well, now those could tickle the ivories like no canine before him or since. As a cast member on “The Jimmy Dean Show” in the mid-1960s, he was also the very first Muppet to pop the pop culture bubble. Trendsetter!

Einstein
With his unkempt adorableness, Einstein’s main mission in life was to be companion extraordinaire to scientist Doc Brown. He achieved those goals tenfold, but he also went on to be the world’s fist time traveler. Not too shabby for this shaggy dog!

Sprocket
Looking as though he could be Einstein’s Muppet litter mate, Sprocket also ran with a Doc and spent most his days in a workshop. That’s where the comparisons end though because unlike Einstein, this sheep dog was more interested in calling attention to Fraggles than Libyan terrorists.

Falkor
Technically he’s not a dog, but this Luckdragon was every kid’s hope for a (flying) four-legged best friend. Atreyu may have had to face The Nothing, but he didn’t have to do it alone!

 

And just for ships and Googles, here’s a song featuring Rowlf on piano!

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Trunk Bubbles

Zach Howard

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Name: Zach Howard

Website: www.zachhoward.com

Hometown: Don’t have one, but I live in badass Colorado nowadays.

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your art style?
Howard: Foolishly time consuming. A mix of fantastical representations of objective reality, mixed with hyper-rendering for a tangible sense of depth. My work has evolved to this over the years to help hypnotize readers into following my storytelling without distraction. I feel it is my duty as a storyteller to keep the viewers of my books trapped until they finish… no mental hiccups or it lessens the impact of anything I’m trying to accomplish. In other words, I just try to give the readers reasons to never look away and get lost in my work.

Whether I’ve ever accomplished that or not is up for debate, but it’s most definitely my goal for every page.

TrunkSpace: Your work is extremely detailed and you can really get lost in the imagery as your eyes wander to all the background aspects of the world you bring to life through that detail. On average, how long does it take you to draw a single page with all of that detail added in?
Howard: A single page takes me about two to four days. Covers and double page spreads can take me a good four to seven. I’m not exactly going to be breaking any production records anytime soon!

TrunkSpace: Has your art style changed dramatically since you started working professionally, either through technology or via a personal desire for creative diversity?
Howard: My style has definitely taken a dramatic turn over my 16 years as a pro, but technology has had little impact on it. Tech has definitely helped disseminate my work, along with give me opportunity to live wherever I wish. However, you hit the nail on the head with the latter option of your question.

One of the vices I have as a comic book artist is that I work in a field where repetitiveness is rewarded for speedier production and visual consistency for longer projects. For whatever reason I get bored easily and I need to evolve my style a bit more rapidly than what is often looked for in this industry. So I’ve had to figure out a way to make myself happy while still being able to find success professionally.

I like each book I do to have a specific feel. Each story has its own fingerprint and should evoke a specific emotional response. That desired effect forces me to adapt my style each time I take on a new job. This slows the process down considerable, but in the end makes for far better literature, I believe.

TrunkSpace: You’re currently working on a sequel of “The Cape” with Joe Hill. What can you tell us about the new series and when will it drop?
Howard: Well, Jason Ciaramella had been asking me to do a sequel for about five years, but no ideas were really getting me excited. That along with other scheduled books I had in the hopper kind of derailed any initial thoughts of continuing “The Cape.” However, I was just drawing some Marvel covers and thinking about Eric one day… Eric was missing for three days in our original story. Where was he and what did he do during that time? I drew him with new clothes and a bit darker when he returned from this hiatus, so there has to be a story in there somewhere. So I hit up Jason and Joe Hill about the thought and they ran with it.

Now we have a new and fun little miniseries that fills those missing days. Chock full of evil and Eric’s patented sense of murder. It beautifully expands the character without falling on any of the worn out sequel ideas for comic book reincarnation. Couldn’t be happier with what the guys came up with and I think the fans of the IP will be rewarded.

TrunkSpace: What is your favorite visual that you’ve put to paper thus far for the follow-up? Is there a particularly fun panel or sequence that you had a chance to draw?
Howard: Oh, sadly I haven’t gotten to the fun chaos of Eric tormenting the future victims of the new series, but Jason has given me some of his brilliant nightmares to work with. The first issue has one of my favorite double page spreads of Eric being consumed by his evil deeds and tragic relationships. It’s a great set up for me to really visually kick people in the chest as we close this first issue. Get the fans all hot and bothered while they wait for the second issue.

I haven’t gotten a chance to draw these yet, but Eric always has a mountain of creative ways to kill his intended victims, so there will be a ton of fun and visceral chaos yet to come. We plan on taking the height we hit with the bear scene in the first series, pump it full of creatine and really take fictional murder to a new level in this one.

Oh, another aspect of this story is that it involves a group of LARPers in a closed setting with Eric. So we will have a great time torturing them throughout while the pages unfold. It’ll be quite fun to work with fantasy archetypes while visualizing this miniseries. Lots more fun chaos to come.

Very excited!

TrunkSpace: The first installment of “The Cape” was nominated for an Eisner. What was that milestone like for you and did the book have that special feeling when you started working on it?
Howard: We all knew about halfway through the first one-shot that something special was happening with Eric as a character, and that we needed to expand the story past Joe Hill’s initial short story published years before. Every once in a while you get that feeling during a project and it needs to be exploited because it’s quite rare… at least in my experiences.

However, and this will come off as a bit much, but I don’t really care at all about Eisners. Awards are nice for PR, but I don’t need five guys deciding my worth by giving me a plaque. I draw books for myself and hopefully fans that get something significant out of each story. My reward is to know that I’ve positively affected someone who read my book. I want it to stick with them, and maybe inspire them like I was as a young turd. Seeing someone smile and be excited to talk to me about a book I’ve done is better than any plaque I’ve ever gotten. It’s a more sustaining fuel for the future.

TrunkSpace: You’re launching a new miniseries that you co-created through Line Webtoon later this year. For those unfamiliar with the platform, can you explain what it is and how you and your upcoming title became involved with it?
Howard: Webtoons is a platform for reading digital weekly original content comic books on your phone or tablet. It was wildly successful in Asia and now they are bringing the platform to the US. They’ve rounded up a handful of established creators to launch a library of new books for readers on this side of the ocean. Luckily myself and my partners’ company, Noble Transmission, were asked to be part of this. We are now developing an OGN for release later this year on the free Webtoons app.

“Buck” is our company’s flagship title. It’s a fantasy story about the last rabbit warrior alive and how he redeems his father’s name while saving the last survivors of his species. I’ve always wanted to do a Conan the Barbarian type story, and now we can, but this time with rabbits. And a world full of crazed animals, both enemies and allies. This story is more of an all-ages tale so it’ll be available for younger readers. The violence is handled about the same level as “Star Wars” is nowadays… people die, but we don’t concentrate on the grossness or horrific depictions of death. Quite the opposite of “The Cape!”

TrunkSpace: Can you discuss any part of “Buck” in terms of the creative team involved?
Howard: “Buck” is written by Mike Raicht, drawn by legendary artist Mark Nelson, colored by Eisner-nom Nelson Daniel (who colors me on everything I do). The series was created and developed by the Noble Transmission founders… Austin Harrison, Mike Raicht and myself. I’ll be Art Directing and editing the series.

TrunkSpace: How important were comic books in your life growing up and is that where you discovered your love and inspiration for drawing?
Howard: I grew up an Army brat all around the world so I didn’t get access to a wide or consistent variety of comic books. Luckily, at the Base Shopettes I could always find the Conan magazines and those always sent my imagination spiraling. Those that grew up on military bases in foreign lands can empathize with the need to fill the days with nothing to do… that led me to drawing Conan fighting robots and ninjas. Countless hours were spent in my formative years having Conan vanquish mountains of poorly drawn adversaries. My favorite being a Valentine’s day project in school where I constructed a giant version of him out of construction paper hearts, lopping off the head of a fellow heart-constructed nemesis.

Didn’t go over all that well in class, but it’s one piece of childhood artwork I would love to get back for posterity.

TrunkSpace: Is there a particular character or universe you always find yourself returning to when you’re sketching or doing warmups?
Howard: You’ll laugh at this, but I never do warmups and only sketch when world building. I’m pretty odd and shitty like that. I like to story tell… drawing, for the most part, is just an ends to a means for me. I enjoy creating nice drawings, but they are the vehicle to express my true passion… making books. I chose drawing comic books because I love the medium and feel it best suits my passions. But yeah, I’m odd as hell when it comes to having to answer this question.

TrunkSpace: What is the craziest/oddest thing you’ve ever been asked to draw as a commission?
Howard: I have basically quit doing commissions so my stories on this will be pretty weak compared to most pros in this industry. I’ve always felt like a trained monkey when forced to do commissions. I’m a storyteller… if you want to buy my artwork, it’s all for sale and better than anything I’d draw for you personally. However, I have no desire to be a puppet for people. No, I don’t want to draw Ant-Man for you, or an even worse, a batshit crazy idea you might have. It makes me feel like a slave, and that is the worst space an artist can be in.

That being said, I do cave because I don’t like letting fans down either. So I end up doing a lot of free sketches for people… especially kids. I know kids aren’t putting my drawings up on eBay, for the most part. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: What else can fans of your work look forward to in 2017?
Howard: Noble Transmission will also be releasing a phone app version of “Wild Blue Yonder” by the end of the year. It is a fully animated motion comic book, voice acted and has an originally-scored soundtrack (which will also be available for purchase). We can’t wait to show people this project. The artwork is even manipulable so that viewers can interact while the story plays out in real time. It’s going to be a one-of-a-kind and hopefully embarrass all the current motion comics out there.

The last half of 2017 is going to be a good one for fans of my crap.

www.zachhoward.com
@spacefriendZach (twitter)
https://www.facebook.com/zach.howard.359 (Facebook)
http://spacefriend-krunk.deviantart.com/ (Deviant Art – has a full gallery in there to peruse).
@spacefriend_z (Instagram)

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Musical Mondaze

Musical Mondaze Promo Posters

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Artist/designer Dustin Evans puts together these promotional posters each week so that TrunkSpace can plug the amazing artists featured in our Musical Mondaze column. Now they’re all in one place. Enjoy!

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Opening Act

Belleisle

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Artist/Band: Belleisle

Members: Brett Bakshis (vocals, guitar); Scott Bakshis (upright bass); Andrea Nott (cello); Phil Meade (guitar); Chris Avgerin (drums, percussion)

Website: www.belleislemusic.com

Hometown: Chicago

Latest Album/Release: Across the Open Field (EP)

Influences: Tom Waits, David Bowie, Morphine, Jim O’Rourke, Belle & Sebastian, Neutral Milk Hotel, Nick Cave, T. Rex, Velvet Underground, Beatles, etc.

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your music?
Bakshis: I guess indie pop/rock would probably be the easiest way to describe it, but we try to change things up as much as we can.

TrunkSpace: In terms of a member headcount, the band seems to grow, reaching as high as 10 members at times. Is there a core to the band or is the lineup ever fluid?
Bakshis: At one point, there were 14 regular members, and over the years, we’ve had roughly 40 people play with us, coming in and out as needed. For this release, we trimmed it back to five of us.

I do most of the writing, and my brother [Scott] helps out with some of the arranging and getting me over writer’s block when I run out of ideas. Chris, our drummer, has been with us for a few years… we actually went to high school together and used to teach out of the same music shop after college. Phil (guitar) hasn’t been with us long and will be moving back to France later this year. And Andrea (cello) has been playing with us for a year or two since we started developing this acoustic lineup. They’re all truly amazing. I think we’re going to keep this sort of pared down acoustic lineup for a little while, see where it takes us.

TrunkSpace: “Across the Open Field” was released on March 4. What did the band hope to accomplish with the EP and now that it’s out of your hands, do you feel as though you achieved those goals?
Bakshis: We’ve been around for quite a while now, in some form or another, but hadn’t actually put out a record. A lot of it was just “let’s get something out there already.” We’re not really the kind of band that plays out every weekend at the bars, so a lot of our exposure comes though promo and publicity, and you can’t do a lot of that without something to promote.

TrunkSpace: You recently hosted your record release party. What was that experience like and did it feel like a coming out party for the EP and the music featured on it?
Bakshis: The release show was great! We held it at The Hungry Brain in Chicago, which is one of our favorite spots to play. Unfortunately, due to some extenuating circumstances, we weren’t able to get the actual physical CDs printed in time. But the EP went up online and we sent out the links and have been getting a lot of great response to it so far.

TrunkSpace: Your music is very melodic. How does that sound, which seems so at home it the studio, translate to the stage?
Bakshis: I think it works out pretty well. Our recordings are all done live with as few overdubs as possible, so what you hear on the recording is largely what you’re going to hear at the show. Like I said, we’re fortunate to have some pretty great players!

TrunkSpace: Outside of your own original music, are there any covers that have become staples of your live sets and what was it that drew you to performing those particular songs?
Bakshis: I know some bands shy away from covers, but I love them. With the bigger 13-piece lineup, we had maybe 30 or 40 covers we’d do, including stuff by Morphine, Nick Cave, Mr. Bungle, St. Vincent… really a giant range.

With this lineup, we’ve got, I think, four regular covers we do so far:

“Watching the Wheels” by John Lennon

“Perfect Day” by Lou Reed

“Mykonos” by Fleet Foxes

“We No Who U R” by Nick Cave

They’re all songs that I just really enjoy. I think they give the audience a nice little touchpoint, something they can maybe identify with a little more readily that helps them put your original stuff into context.

TrunkSpace: There is a lot of wonderful instrumentation highlighted in Belleisle. Are you continuously trying to see what you can bring to your sound from an instrument/musical standpoint to further enhance your melodic sound?
Bakshis: For sure. We started with the intention of being a three-piece recording project, but every time I got a new idea to add something to the arrangement, I had to go out and find someone who could play that part live. Then it became a challenge to see if I could (or should) arrange that instrument for the other songs, or if there was maybe something else that fit a bit better. Brass, strings, keys, backing vocals… there’s no reason not to try it out. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t, but you never know until you give it a shot.

TrunkSpace: Everyone says that promoting music, at least self-promoting, is easier now than ever thanks in large part to social media. However, when everyone is doing it, it muddies the water. How does the band view promotion and, how do you attempt to stand out in a landscape that is dominated by bands and artists all trying to bring as many eyes and ears to their music?
Bakshis: Promotion is huge, but I don’t know that self-promotion has gotten any easier. I’m not sure how things are in other areas of the country, but in Chicago, it’s hard to get anyone’s attention unless you have some sort of in, or relationship with them already. Or you need to already have some buzz going around yourself before anyone will take you seriously. It makes it all terribly confusing and weird.

I work in advertising and marketing for my day job, though, so I’m starting to be able to apply some of those skills to my band. Mostly it takes a lot of time and patience to get through to anyone who can help you out, and with two kids and a day job, I don’t have a lot of time (or patience!). You can always try and hire a publicist, but sometime they, too, won’t work with you unless you have a certain amount of buzz going.

TrunkSpace: The band’s home is Chicago, a city known for always having a great music scene. Where does Belleisle fit into that scene and is it a supportive/nurturing scene or a competitive one in its present 2017 form?
Bakshis: I’m not entirely certain where we fit in the scene, truth be told. I mentioned I’ve got two kids, and that kinda takes you out of things a bit. That said, I’ve been playing music in Chicago with dozens of bands over the last decade or so, and there’s a lot going on all over the place. Everyone I’ve met is very supportive, and there are usually quite a few opportunities on any given night to go out and meet people to play with.

TrunkSpace: What can fans expect from Belleisle in 2017?
Bakshis: We’re nearing completion of a full-length album that I’m pretty excited about. The plan is to keep promoting the “Across the Open Field” EP on the radio and in the local press as much as we can over the next several months, with some select shows we can try and plug the hell out of. Then we’ll bring out the new singles toward the end of the year in anticipation of another release in either late 2017 or early 2018.

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Wingman Wednesday

Bailey Chase

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Pop culture fans have binged Bailey Chase in “Longmire,” followed along with him in “Saving Grace” and most recently watched the clock tick down on him in “24: Legacy.” Now he’s hoping to turn all of those viewers into readers with his book “Spiritual Gangsta,” a memoir-meets-self-help journey that looks behind the curtain of his acting career as he searches for (and shares) spiritual truth.

We sat down with Chase to discuss the book and the lessons we all can take from it.

TrunkSpace: We read that you wrote “Spiritual Gangsta” as a way to help people get through similar emotional battles that you yourself had gone through. In taking the journey to write the book, did you learn anything about yourself that you hadn’t anticipated putting in there at the outset?
Chase: Yeah. Great question. There are some very personal details that I didn’t quite know if they would stay in the book and pretty much all of them did. Basically at the end of the day I decided, “Hey, if you’re going to do this, then put it all out there and don’t pull any punches.” And to be honest, the initial feedback anyway… those are the moments that people have sort of had the most response to and will share with me their personal stories that they were going through and about how my obstacles… how it’s really helped them transcend their own. At it’s core, that’s what the book is really about. When do we grow the most? When do we learn the most? In the times of struggle. When everything’s going great, life is pretty easy. When you get blindsided by some stuff and things don’t necessarily go your way, that’s when we’ve got to dig deep and channel our inner spiritual gangsta, if we’re going to use that terminology, and find the truth. What I discovered was that the biggest thing in the way a lot of the times was myself and my ego. I’m fortunate to now have the perspective and the tools to find a way to get around those self-defeating emotions and see situations for how they truly are.

TrunkSpace: In putting all of yourself into the book and not pulling any punches, did you feel exposed when you released it to the world? But at the same time, in the book you talk about human connection. Humans connect with other humans when they’re relating to their experiences, so by exposing yourself, you’ve probably opened the door to those connections.
Chase: There’s a huge audience for a show like “NCIS” and if that’s how you want to spend your hour on your couch watching TV… that show is great for what it is. At the end of the hour you’re going to feel good and they’re going to catch the bad guy. But, if you want to dig a little deeper and feel a little more, you might put on a show like “Breaking Bad” where Walter White is very flawed and you probably see things in him that you might see in yourself. And then the reward or the gratification just might be that much more. So, two very different examples. Both are good in their own way, it’s just a matter of what a reader wants in a book or what a viewer wants in a TV show. For me, as you can probably imagine, I’m a “Breaking Bad” fan. I want to find the truth. I want to feel more.

You did ask me something before that I didn’t quite answer. Yes. You put yourself out there when you write a book like that and yeah, not only was it very cathartic, but now I have to walk the walk. I have caught myself at times to be like, wow, you just went through some whatever… rejection in what we call pilot season out here… and I’m trying to get my own show and as you can imagine it’s a very competitive market with a lot of different things in play. It’s not just about your talent. It can be about how you look… if you’re White, Black, Latino. It could be your age. So a lot of things go into it and when we don’t get something we want, it hurts. In the past, I was definitely guilty of blaming it on something other than what it was and now, I have to check myself. I use what I call “witness consciousness” and I’m like, “Bailey, why are you so frustrated by this?” And then I bring it back to myself and I just have to trust that mine is coming. I just need to be patient and dig a little bit deeper.

TrunkSpace: The industry as a whole seems like a pretty difficult place in terms of nurturing personal growth because in a lot of ways, it’s all about putting you in boxes, living up to expectations and for a lot of people, maintaining a certain perception. So how does one rise above all of that inner noise to balance their inner acceptance with achieving their dream?
Chase: That’s the million dollar question. (Laughter) If it were easy, we’d all be doing it and we’d all be blissful and we wouldn’t get angry and upset and get into fights and yell at people. That’s not realistic and that’s not life and we do get upset. Deepak Chopra, somebody that I read when I was younger and I went to hear him recently, I quote him in the book. “In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” He also said, “There’s no deeper love than the love of truth.” And I agree with both of those things. They’re incredibly invaluable. When do we learn most about ourselves? When we are in the midst of chaos. And the good news is, and it’s what I try to convey in the book, is that we are equipped and we can rise above it and we can figure this out. I’ve been doing this acting thing for 20 years and people assume stuff. They’re like, “Oh, he’s so successful and he’s famous and he’s rich.” I am successful and I am blessed and I need to be appreciative of all of that, but I still I want more. I want to tell the stories that I want to tell that can then impact people the way that I want to be impacted and then we can have that human connection. And that’s how you make a difference and have a fulfilling life. That’s my path and my journey.

There’s not a short, easy answer to what you’re saying. But, yeah, it would be a lot easier to do if I were, let’s say, a lawyer or a banker or something like that.

TrunkSpace: You sort of touched on it, but people often times assume stuff about other people. We’d imagine that’s even more difficult for someone in the public spotlight because it’s almost as if you’re not allowed to have rough patches. “You’re on TV shows… you should be completely happy!” It seems like people don’t allow those who have found success in a public setting to also just be human.
Chase: Yes. And so I did a couple of Facebook Lives and things like that to try to engage and interact with fans and talk with them because some people didn’t understand what I was trying to do. And I’m like, “Okay… I’m just going to talk to them directly and they can send me their questions and I’ll answer them.” Initially a lot of people were like, “Wow, you look really tired” or whatever. It was kind of right after when I came off “Longmire.” Well, we had just had twins… they’re ten months now and they’re sleeping better… but when you’re up all night and you’re not sleeping, yeah, you might get some bags under your eyes. That’s real life. That’s the difference between what I do and if I had a normal day job. But I know my fans don’t mean anything by it. I’m happy to sacrifice my sleep if it helps my wife and whatever I need to do for my kids I’m gonna do. Life is messy. It doesn’t mean it’s bad. If life were really easy, at the end of it I’d probably be like, “Well, okay.”

TrunkSpace: Life also has a way of changing your initial point of view on things. In the moment of those early sleepless nights with your twins, it’s no doubt hard. But, when they’re teenagers and getting ready to leave the nest, those are the moments you’ll look back fondly on.
Chase: Yeah. Right. You’re absolutely right. I took six months off to be home for their birth and to be around in the beginning and create that time and bond with them. We’ll always have that connection and I’m never going to regret… “Oh, maybe I would have gotten this job or that job or made a little more money.” I’m never going to regret spending this time with my children because it’s just a time you can’t get back.

TrunkSpace: We touched on the human connection aspect of the book, but we’re curious, is finding a human connection with yourself just as important as finding those connections with other people?
Chase: Absolutely. I think you need to find a connection with yourself first because if you don’t know who you are and you’re not connected then nobody else is going to be able to connect with you. And so, job one, figure yourself out and then you can be open and therefore walk the walk. And then people will gravitate to that and you’ll resonate with them as well if they are open and honest. Some people are and some people aren’t. Maybe they’re not there yet. There’s that quote of, “By letting your own light shine, you’ll allow others to do the same.”

TrunkSpace: Your job is to inhabit another individual and the space and mindset that they’re in. If you’re portraying somebody who is emotionally on the opposite end of the spiritual spectrum that you are on… does that rub off on you? Do you carry any of that into your real life?
Chase: You know, I think maybe earlier in my career and life where I took things probably a little too seriously, but at this point, no. When I get into creating a character it’s all play pretend and it’s my imagination. The more time I have to do it the more real it becomes. For example, like season 3 of “Longmire” where Branch literally loses his mind, it was fun to play but I certainly didn’t take it home with me. I didn’t act crazy to my wife. It was just a really deep, fun storyline to roll up my sleeves and get in there with and I had a blast doing it. So, to answer your question… it doesn’t stay with me. It feels good. It feels good to go to those places. That’s the part of why I have the job that I do, because I enjoy it.

TrunkSpace: Does the idea of letting your light shine and you’ll allow others to shine as well… does that work with helping to discover and find characters? If you know who you are, are you better able to find who your character is?
Chase: Yeah. I do talk about that a little bit in the book. When I was writing it I happened to catch this interview with Michael Fassbender and he had just played Steve Jobs. That’s the thing, as an actor, we’re not here to make judgments. You can’t go judging a character and then go play him because you’re not going to be open and honest and true to that character. So we need to be open first and find the positive in Steve Jobs or Branch or whoever it is that you’re playing. My guy on “24,” he happens to be gay. So I need to be open and honest and explore that in terms of the character. I don’t make any judgments on the fact that he’s gay.

TrunkSpace: The book also honors your dog Gauge and you discuss the loss of his passing in extremely honest detail that any animal lover will recognize. Animals, especially dogs, seem to have their spiritual groove down. In your opinion, are they spiritually enlightened or are they just not bogged down with all of the human BS that we carry around?
Chase: Yeah. I think they’re definitely not bogged down with all of the BS that we carry. For sure. It’s true unconditional love. Obviously Gauge had a huge impact on my life and I was crushed when he moved on. He continues to be a part of our lives. I named my son after him and it’s how my wife and I met and so Gauge lives on through us. We now have a Golden named Blue who is just terrific. Blue used to not leave my side and now he follows the babies crawling around the house. He just wants to watch over his little pack. So, to answer your question… I do believe it’s true love and that they’re just not bogged down with the things that we are.

TrunkSpace: Do you have another book in you?
Chase: Yes! Not right away, but as we stay on this path, it’s gotten really interesting the last couple of years with the babies. I think it will just continue to get better and I’ll have more to say. I had a great time writing the book and I’m really enjoying the interaction with the fans. Now we get to connect on a level that was unheard of ten years ago with all of the social media outlets and interaction. It’s been really rewarding for me to be able to engage with them on that level.

TrunkSpace: Can you tell us a little bit about “24: Legacy” and what we can expect moving forward?
Chase: Yeah. The last couple of weeks have been awesome because we’re in the thick of it and out in the field. The clock’s ticking and there’s bombs. There were missiles last night! (Laughter) An explosion on the bridge. We only got four to go, so here we are kind of on the tail end of the season a little bit. Hats off to the producers because I think they just kind of keep upping the bar every week and the show is actually getting better. I’m excited to see the last few. I haven’t seen them yet. And knock on wood for a season 2!

Purchase “Spiritual Gangsta” here.

“24” airs Mondays at 8 PM.

Bailey Chase in “24: Legacy”
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Preston-Digitation

Preston-Digitation #1

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PRESTON-DIGITATION
ISSUE 1

After coming into the possession of an ancient book of incantations said to have once belonged to the personal sorcerer of the Golden Horde, Preston, a high school sophomore and amateur magician, discovers his tricks are no longer sleight of hand, but powered by actual magic. Drawn to the magic, he speaks from the book, and in doing so, awakens its original owner, Qara Oyugun, an unimaginable evil. Taking responsibility for his actions, Preston embraces the magic of an ancient race of people in order to stop the dangers that threaten the modern world.

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Musical Mondaze

Jocelyn & Chris Arndt

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You don’t have to be in a funk just because it’s (feeling) like Monday. Instead, get funky!

TrunkSpace brings you another edition of Musical Mondaze. This time out we’re sitting down with Jocelyn & Chris Arndt, a sibling duo who specialize in the creation of powerful, unforgettable music. Whether it is in Jocelyn’s impressive vocals, Chris’ icon-comparative guitar play, or the front-to-back writing of the songs themselves, the upstate New York natives have quickly gone from blips on the musical radar to an artist you should have been aware of 10 minutes ago.

With their new album “Go” due out soon, we sat down with Jocelyn and Chris to discuss their songwriting process, their love for touring and the horror of all horrors… middle school!

TrunkSpace: You guys are currently attending Harvard University. How do you juggle and manage the demands of a continuously-growing musical career and your studies at the same time?
Chris: It definitely gets really busy sometimes. Music is definitely our dream, so I don’t think we’d give that up for anything. It’s also kind of our main focus right now, which sounds kind of crazy to say, but school is actually sort of the backseat plan, which is a little weird. I think we really love doing both, so as long as we can handle it… we wouldn’t really give one up if we could avoid it. So far, it’s been crazy, but doable.

TrunkSpace: Has it changed the way you write just by the nature of having a fixed schedule with school in the picture?
Jocelyn: I think having to balance both has definitely made us a little bit more conscientious of time management. We definitely have gotten better at… well, I guess another way of framing this is, sometimes we like trying to do creative things and sometimes you feel like you have to wait, like, a creative thought just kind of comes to you. You get the inspiration, but, we can’t really afford to do that because who knows when that’s going to be. It could be in the middle of class or something. (Laughter) So, I think we’ve definitely learned to kind of make time and kind of turn on the creative juice and be able to flip the switch and be able to work artistically.

TrunkSpace: Sometimes it’s just a matter of having to retrain the brain how to work in a different way.
Jocelyn: Yeah. Totally. We’ve been doing a lot of that. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: Does it make it more difficult to also manage the business side of your music? For example, if you get a call to do a show somewhere outside of the city and it requires you to travel without much planning?
Chris: I think Harvard is pretty good at… I mean, they understand that a lot of their students kind of have things that they do that are extracurriculars but that are kind like a real deal career type thing. And so, there have been a lot of times when that has actually happened and all of a sudden it’s Wednesday but we’ve got to go to New York to play Dr. Oz’s charity event or whatever. They’re always very understanding. Nobody has ever given us a hard time about having to miss school to pursue some sort of musical endeavor or anything like that.
Jocelyn: Yeah. We also have a really good team that really helps us kind of, you know, make sense of things and chart out our calendar for the next few months and just kind of keep an even keel.

TrunkSpace: Strictly on the music side of things, have you had to change the way you approach things because of the way that your success has continued to grow?
Jocelyn: I think it’s definitely been a learning process for everybody involved. And honestly, the music industry nowadays, it’s kind of all up in the air. You can really carve out a place for yourself as long as you put in the work. It’s not the same as it was, you know, 30 years ago, so it’s been a curse but also a blessing because we kind of get to figure out for ourselves and figure out what works. We’re really trying an innovative, independent approach to everything… as a team, which has been really working.

TrunkSpace: “Edges” was released in August of last year and we’re curious if from a creative standpoint you feel far removed from the songwriting during that period of your lives to where you are currently?
Chris: I hesitate to speak for Jocelyn on this one, but I know for me, definitely my emotional state changes the way I approach it and as time progresses I get better at maybe voicing what I hear and making that a reality in the music, but I don’t know if my songwriting identity is something that really changes that much. It changes as I change as a person, I suppose, but I think I’m kind of the same person I was last August, more or less. Maybe a little bit different. I’m closer to 21 for sure. (Laughter)
Jocelyn: He’s been playing in bars since he was eight and he finally gets…
Chris: It will be amazing. (Laughter) But, I don’t think for me it has changed very much except for the fact that, obviously with every song I feel like I learn something new about songwriting and get better at it, but in terms of what I want to put down, I think my ideas are largely from the same place.
Jocelyn: Yeah. I say looking back to “Edges,” I still definitely stand by every one of those songs and I don’t think I would change anything.
Chris: No.
Jocelyn: I’m really proud of that as an album and as each individual song is concerned, I’m proud of that.

TrunkSpace: So when it comes to the subjects and themes of your songwriting, what do you find yourselves turning to these days?
Jocelyn: Looking forward to the next album “Go,” which is all done and recorded and printed… we actually just saw pictures of the disc today for the first time, which is insane… I think we’ve gotten a little more mature as far as songwriting is concerned, but I don’t think our inspirational sources have changed too much. We still kind of draw from a hodgepodge of whatever is around us at the time, you know, like TV and just people watching and being on the road and jotting down little notes as things comes to us. We kind of try to throw in everything and honestly, I think a lot of songwriters write from very deeply personal experiences… we do a little bit of that, but honestly, I don’t think my life is quite as interesting on a personal level as maybe some other people’s are. (Laughter) So we definitely draw from a lot of different outside sources.

TrunkSpace: So do you view yourselves as storytellers? Do you see someone passing on the street and attempt to tap into who that person is and what they’re going through?
Jocelyn: Definitely. I think that’s one of the most enjoyable things about songwriting. You can kind of just take a little tiny idea and just spin a whole entire yarn about it. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: You had “Edges” out last year and “Go” due out soon. Has technology made artists more prolific or have prolific artists taken advantage of technology?
Chris: Jocelyn mentioned something earlier that’s sort of along the lines of what our manager always says. Basically, one of the things that he’s always said about the music industry is that there’s never been a better time to personally affect your career in music than there is right now because there are so many different resources available for artists, via social media or idea sharing services. Anyone can get some sort of software and set up a home studio. And maybe it’s not the most state-of-the-art thing in the world, but you can get down ideas and just sort of start getting into the world of music. I feel like if you took the greatest artists of any other time period and gave them those resources, they would take just as much advantage as the people today. I don’t think it’s a matter of people changing. I think it’s just people realizing how powerful that it is that we have all of these things at our fingertips. Now with digital recording and the internet to share ideas, Jocelyn and I can be doing a radio interview in Maine or whatever and our producer can lay down a B3 track on one of our songs and be like, “Hey, what do you guys think about this?” By the time we get back, it’s in the mix and then we’re off to the next thing. It just really speeds things up and I think it lets people do a lot more if you’re willing to put in the work and take advantage of it.

TrunkSpace: And that seems like a big part of it too when it comes to touring. It’s all about getting out on the road and putting yourselves in front of as many people as possible, which you guys seem to never shy away from.
Jocelyn: You can make all of the music in the world, but it doesn’t really mean anything as a performer if no one ever hears it. We both really enjoy performing and what we do it for is having that connection with an audience, and in order to find an audience, we go wherever we need to go. We visit radio stations. We play at venues. We play at bars. We play wherever they will let us play. (Laughter) We’re just really in it to perform and meet people through music, which is awesome. It has taken us crazy places. We’ve been to California and back and we’re looking ahead and starting to dream of trips to Europe to play. It’s pretty exciting to see where it’s going to end up.

TrunkSpace: We read that you first started writing music together in middle school. Has the process in which you two work from changed at all since those early days?
Chris: I really don’t think it has. It’s kind of interesting. I feel like you read the stories of how a lot of great songwriters write their songs and they talk about how they started out doing this one thing and then maybe they learned, like, “Oh, that doesn’t work,” so they stop and they do different things and keep editing their process until they come up with the thing that really works. I think Jocelyn and I have been pretty lucky because it seems like we kind of struck it right off the bat with our process. Not that the first songs we wrote were the greatest songs in the world or anything like that. We definitely have gotten better at coming up with ideas and communicating those ideas, but it’s basically always been me coming up with different musical ideas in terms of arrangement and harmonic structure and things like that and Jocelyn coming up with lyrics and melody and then us just sort of seeing if we could put something together and keep chipping away at it until it becomes something we would be satisfied to call a song. That’s what it started as and what it’s always been.
Jocelyn: I think it really helps that we grew up in the same house. (Laughter)
Chris: For sure.
Jocelyn: Seriously, I think it’s a really big advantage because we know each other better than anybody else, so there’s never been any of that kind of awkward getting to know you. None of that nonsense before you can get really down to the nitty-gritty and start writing. We’ve always known each other, which I think is more than half the battle. When you’re trying to do something creative with somebody, you have to get to know them first, otherwise it’s just way to cringy. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: That relationship must also play out really well on the road because you both know, regardless of the situation, someone has your back.
Jocelyn: Totally. We always hear horror stories about, you know, “Just when the music was starting to get amazing and the band was starting to get exposure, they broke up!” I don’t really think that we can break up because I’ll see you next Thanksgiving. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: Going back to your early songwriting days… when you’re in middle school and coming into your own, you’re always trying to figure out who you are and what your voice is. Do you think songwriting helped you two sort of discover that faster than someone who wasn’t exploring that part of themselves through music?
Chris: At least if it didn’t help me discover myself, it kind of changed who I was a lot.
Jocelyn: Yeah.
Chris: And it still does. Music and particularly writing music… it’s just such a huge part of our lives. In middle school we had no idea that it was going to go this far. We never even dreamed of having a career in music, but it’s become such a huge thing and I don’t even know who I would be or what I would be if I didn’t write songs anymore. It’s kind of a large part of how I classify myself as a human being. I mean, I don’t know if I know myself particularly well… I feel like I do, but I’m sure there are a lot of people who feel like they do who don’t. So, maybe I don’t, but I know writing music is a huge part of it regardless of what it is and I think it’s helped discover a lot of things about myself that I wouldn’t have known otherwise.
Jocelyn: It’s definitely really helped in other areas of our lives as well. Ever since we started performing, I’ve felt more comfortable on stage singing than I will ever feel, I think, off stage talking. (Laughter) It’s just one of those things where we found our thing and I think it was at a really good time to find your thing because middle school can be pretty cruddy if you don’t have a thing. (Laughter)

“Go” drops April 10, 2017.

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Wingman Wednesday

Usman Ally

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Photo By: Kotaro Kawashima

Before long it’s going to be hard to turn the channel and not see Usman Ally. In fact, 2017 is shaping up to be the kind of year that most actors could only dream of. Having already appeared in the recently-released Netflix series “A Series of Unfortunate Events” as the Hook-Handed Man, Ally will soon be seen in the new TV Land series “Nobodies” (executive produced by Melissa McCarthy), season 6 of HBO’s “Veep” (opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and in Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s YouTube Red series “Lifeline.” And that’s just scratching the filmography surface.

We recently sat down with Ally to discuss his current run of high profile roles, breaking out in comedy and how living all over the world has helped shape his approach to acting.

TrunkSpace: We don’t mean to curse it, but it seems like you’re having a pretty crazy 2017 so far?
Ally: I am having a pretty crazy 2017. (Laughter) I think I have about six projects that are slated for this year. It’ll be, one that already aired, which is “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” and then there are five others that are coming up this year. So, yeah… it’s a really, really good year.

TrunkSpace: As an actor, what is the wait like for you for when you shoot something that you know could very well be a career changer to that moment when it actually gets released?
Ally: It’s a lot of like not knowing at all what’s going on. (Laughter) Unless you’re number one on the call sheet, I would imagine most people are sort of left in the dark about what’s going on. And these days there’s so many NDAs that you sign as well so you can’t say anything and you can’t post anything about it as well.

TrunkSpace: And we would imagine that applies even more so to a project like “A Series of Unfortunate Events” where it’s based on existing material and already has an established fan base.
Ally: Oh my God! Absolutely. I remember when we were shooting the first season of “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” we hardly did any shots on location… a lot of it was on stages and I think some of that was also just for privacy. We did shoot once out in downtown Vancouver and instantly all of these photos of us ended up on the internet and people went nuts. I was never really active on social media and suddenly I was inundated with all of these people ALL over the world. Brazil and Turkey and Hungary. It was really great that they loved the show so much, but some of the things they say… like, “I love you and I will always love you.” And I’m like, “Wow, we just met, man.” (Laughter) It’s pretty crazy.

TrunkSpace: Is it important for you to sort of temper expectations with that kind of thing and not put too much stock into how a project will hit with an audience or how those fans will receive it?
Ally: I try not to think too much about it. I just try to give an honest, sort of even keel response to how things are going. I never try to be like, “I can’t wait for you to see all of this!” I do say that I’m personally excited to share this with you all. That’s sort of my perspective on everything, that I’m happy with what we created and I’m excited for the fans to see it and to get their response to it all. So, I kind of make sure that it’s sort of in the middle of the road a little bit.

I have to be honest, some of the shows that I’ve worked on… I can genuinely say I’ve been really excited that they are very good and very funny. There are certain shows that when you’re on set you just have a feeling that you’ve got something good cooking and under those circumstances I sometimes do put out a little something here and there that “this is going to be good.” But you’re right. You have to be a little careful sometimes.

TrunkSpace: If someone asked us if we would like to star in a new comedy in 2017 and then followed it up with who would be the ultimate person we’d like to executive produce that comedy… Melissa McCarthy seems like a slam dunk response.
Ally: (Laughter) I know.

TrunkSpace: It must be easy to get excited for a project like that when you know the level of talent involved.
Ally: Absolutely. And not just the level of talent, but the kind of people they are. Working on that show… when we shot the pilot, it was like the most fun I had. It was such a good time on set. And it was amazing to work with people who have such high profiles like Melissa McCarthy but who are really so… just down to earth, but also very collaborative. It was one of the first times for me… and since then I’ve actually worked on a few other shows where I’ve had a similar experience of just feeling very much a part of the artistic and creative process. Helping to make decisions on a scene and improvising. When we shot the pilot, there was so much improv that we did. Now, of course not all of that can make it because you’re trying to fit all of that into a half hour or whatever, but just to feel like you’re part of something… that you’re really creating something. And having a background as I do in theater, that was something sometimes you’d miss on television, but with “Nobodies” it really did feel like you were just sort of building something together, which was fantastic.

TrunkSpace: Well, and with the way that the spotlight is shining so bright on Melissa right now with her guest spots on “Saturday Night Live” as Sean Spicer, that’s a really great thing for “Nobodies.”
Ally: Yeah. Really great. I mean, she’s kind of like the boss! Isn’t that one of her movies as well? (Laughter) She is everywhere. I was watching a commercial the other day that just happened to come on with her saving whales and trees. It was hilarious. She’s really great. And you are really aware that people will be tuning in because of her name, but I think once they do and they see the show, they’ll see that there’s some really great actors on the show. We don’t have the profile that she does, but they’re all hilarious.

TrunkSpace: You’re portraying a Hollywood exec in the series. Is it a thin line to walk… parodying the very people that can make or break your chance on future roles?
Ally: (Laughter) Well, you know… when I played the character I was like, “I know this guy” because I’ve interacted with people who were kind of like this. And it was so funny because when I got to set and we were shooting the first few things… I kept bringing this up. I’d always say to the director Michael McDonald, “I just want to make sure this isn’t too big.” Again, because my background is in the theater and I’ve also done a lot of drama in television, I’m always like, maybe I should dial this down a bit. And they were like, “Okay, but then let’s also do a take where you really go for it.” So, just working in the world of comedy, it gave me a lot of license to sort of go for it and with the character… I do some really crazy things on this show. After awhile, it became like, “You know what… forget it. Let’s just do this and have fun with it!” And of course, all of these characters are sort of dialed up versions of reality in some ways. The leads… Hugh, Larry and Rachel… they also say that these characters are heightened versions of themselves and I think that’s sort of truthful for pretty much everyone you see in this world.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned having done a lot of drama, but this run you’re currently on seems more seeped in comedy… even with the Hook-Handed Man in “A Series of Unfortunate Events.”
Ally: Yeah. I was happy that Barry Sonnenfeld sort of allowed me to go in that direction with the character. To give him some comic moments. It’s sort of mixed with the villainy and the kind of evilness of them all. It’s a lot like what Neil is doing with his own character on the show. There are moments where you can laugh at him. The Hook-Handed Man is sort of like a pathetic clown at times.

I’ve been wanting to break into comedy for awhile because… I think I’m funny. (Laughter) It’s not always the case that the people who are making these decisions might see you in that way. It’s hard once you’re doing shows that are really good but are very serious, you start being seen in that light. I have to say, about a year and a half ago when I first worked on “Veep,” it was in a very small capacity… just a small gust star in season five. But, it’s amazing how just doing one comedy, even in that sort of small role, breaks the seal. Right after being cast by Allison Jones in that, I was suddenly being seen for so many comedies. The last pilot season as well. Just a ton of comedies. So it’s amazing how opening people’s perspective up to something else can sort of change the trajectory of your career in that way. And I’m all for it because I really enjoy working on them.

TrunkSpace: And you’re back on “Veep,” correct?
Ally: It’s going to be great. I’m back in season 6 and in a much larger capacity. I can’t really talk too much about it, but again, it was such a fantastic experience for me. And you’re talking about working with like the top comedy legends like Melissa McCarthy, but then Julia Louis-Dreyfus on that side as well, so it’s been fantastic.

TrunkSpace: So now that you’re moving in a more comedic direction, is it important to you to maintain a balance and make sure that you’re still seen as a dramatic actor as well?
Ally: I think so. One of the projects that I’m working on this year is actually not a comedy. I’m doing this thing for YouTube Red called “Lifeline” and in that I play a kind of very serious sort of character… this head of a corporation that has figured out a way to time travel. So, I feel like I’m finding some of that balance, but… you know, somebody once told me that in your work you should just make sure you’re enjoying it. You also never know when the ride will end, so, for me, as long as I’m getting these roles that I feel passionate about and I’m having fun on set and having a good time and creating something that’s interesting, I don’t mind if it’s in the comedy or the drama world. I just want to have those experiences and to enjoy them in the moment. You have no idea what’s going to happen next. There’s no rhyme or reason to why things happen to you as an actor in Hollywood. They just sort of happen or they don’t happen. So, I’m trying to temper everything that’s happening by just telling myself that this is a great ride that I’m on right now and that I should enjoy it. We’ll see what comes up next.

TrunkSpace: Is it an exciting time for an actor given all of the various platforms that quality content is being developed for? Your career seems like proof of that given you’re working in cable, network, streaming, and now on “Lifeline,” which as you said, will be a YouTube Red series.
Ally: I think a lot of these new streaming outlets… they allow creative people the opportunity to really make their shows with less stipulations or structure that is holding them back. I think they have more freedom to sort of create the work the way they want. There’s a lot of really great stuff on network TV, but I think there are more guidelines in terms of what you’re allowed to create and what you’re allowed to say. With this streaming content there’s this misconception, I think, that maybe they don’t have as much of a budget, but my God, the show I’m working on for YouTube Red… we were shooting last night and they’re going all out! There is a lot going into it and I’m excited for how it’s going to look.

Photo By: Kotaro Kawashima

TrunkSpace: And with Dwayne Johnson involved, in a lot of ways it feels like their coming out party in terms of original content.
Ally: Yeah, that’s the way it feels. The Rock is part of the production team and so they really are going all out for it. And I have to be honest, I was a little unaware of YouTube Red before I signed up for it, but now that I’ve been talking to them, it really does seem like a big thing coming. It will be really interesting to see how they take their share of the market in terms of viewers and subscribers. You just have to sort of be up to date with this whole new ballgame in terms of how people are accessing the shows that they want to watch.

TrunkSpace: Theater has been strong part of your career. Now that you’re living in LA, are you still finding time for the stage when you can?
Ally: I try to. I’ve been one of those actors who was fortunate that, every time I moved to a different city, it was always with a job. When I used to go to New York, I was going because I was doing a play out there. I’d be doing a play and it would eventually lead to doing a few episodes of “Madam Secretary” or something else. Similarly when I came out to LA the first time, maybe like five years ago now, I came with a play to the Geffen Playhouse, which we had done in New York as well, called “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity.” And that sort of led to a few other opportunities here. And then when I came out again three years ago it was again with a different play at a different theater company. So, I think it’s always going to be a big part of my life and my career. I do miss it. I miss being on stage because now it has been over, for me, about a year and a half since I did a play. In my career, that’s like an eternity almost because prior to doing all of this TV I was consistently working on stage. So, I do feel like at some point I’d like to find a way to do some more or get involved with it in LA. It is harder in LA. It’s harder to find the work out here. There are a lot of small theaters and I don’t really have that “in” yet with the theater community over here.

TrunkSpace: You’ve lived all over the world and within different cities here in the states. Has that exposure to different people and cultures helped you to become a better actor and to find those various voices?
Ally: That’s a great question and I’m glad you asked that because I think that’s really important in terms of my journey as an actor. I have been very much defined by my experiences living in different environments around the world. It gives you a better understanding of humanity. I think as actors one of the most important things we need to have is empathy and having access to different people, different worlds and different living conditions and standards…it does make you aware that the world is different and that you’re not maybe as important as you think you are. (Laughter) There are different ways in which people access their lives and I think that has been crucial for me in understanding the characters I play and understanding their logic.

A Series of Unfortunate Events” is available now on Netflix.

Nobodies” premieres on TV Land March 29.

Season 6 ofVeep” premieres on HBO April 16.

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