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Wingman Wednesday

SEASON 1 IS A WRAP!

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After a little more than a year of publishing, TrunkSpace is going through a metamorphosis. We’re taking a brief hiatus to make some changes to the site and bring new and exciting content to our readers. We’ve got lots of exiting stuff in the works, so check back on May 1st as we spread our new wings and kick of Season 2!

In the meantime, we will be dropping a few occasional features and fun things, so keep an eye out for that as well.

We’ll see you in a little more than a week!

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Wingman Wednesday

Kavan Smith

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We’re just minutes away from the season finale of “When Calls the Heart” on Hallmark Channel, so sit back and enjoy our chat with series star Kavan Smith while you wait!

We recently sat down with Smith to discuss his on-screen chemistry with costar Pascale Hutton, the upcoming “The Perfect Bride” sequel, and why he’ll need his head sewn back on if he’s ever to return to “Supernatural.”

TrunkSpace: You and your “When Calls the Heart” costar Pascale Hutton are doing a sequel to your movie “The Perfect Bride,” which seems like a rarity for the network. It must be a vote of confidence for the work that both of you are doing to have such support from Hallmark Channel?
Smith: Yeah. You know I think that, with the one that we did last year, “The Perfect Bride,” the first sort of installment, I guess, neither of us were really sure, because we’ve had a lot of people talking over the last couple of seasons about having us doing something together that was more contemporary, and they just kind of threw it at us last minute. So when we read the script, we weren’t really sure what it was they were looking for, and ultimately just kind of decided to do what we thought we did best, with just kind of basically making each other laugh. And it worked out. It was really a lot of fun to do. And then ever since we finished that last year, it seemed like the fans did like it and responded to it, and we’ve been trying to find a way to convince them to do a sequel. So we actually ended up going down to Los Angeles, the two of us, and pitched it together as a team. So not only did we work together as an acting duo, we kind of had our first foray into trying to produce something as a tandem, and it was a lot of fun. For our very first attempt at trying to get something made together, the guys down there at the studio were really, really receptive to us, and it went really well. And for whatever reason, they decided to go again. And I think that script was written a little differently. It was the same writer, but this script seems to be written a little bit more towards what we do, whereas the other one, it was like, “We have this script. Let’s throw Kavan and Pascale at it and see what they can do.” This one is a bit more, “OK, we’ve seen what you did in the first one. We’ll write that way, and good luck.”

We read it today for the first time out loud, and really all we did was laugh. We laughed for an hour and a half sitting around a table, so I think that’s a good sign.

TrunkSpace: When you’re working with someone like Pascale who you know you already have solid chemistry with, do you try to alter than chemistry at all when you’re dropped into new roles opposite each other, or do you stick with what works?
Smith: I think it’s kind of a combination. I think both of us as actors think about making changes and think about making conscious choices to be different than our characters on “When Calls the Heart.” But I also think that sometimes just the language alone being so different and the feeling being different, it really kinda does it for us. What seems to work for us, and I think what our chemistry is, for lack of a better word, and what has built our friendship off camera as well, is really a desire and a joy of making each other laugh. It’s kind of like having a buddy that you just like to go out and have a beer with, and just laugh for an hour with, only we do that during the course of a shooting day. In some ways it almost feels like cheating because it shouldn’t be fair that you go to work and laugh all day. It just doesn’t seem quite right. But we do, and I think that the more we foster that, the more that it reads on camera. So I don’t even know that if we were to try and make too many conscious choices to make it different, that that would work. I think part of what really works for us is just the joy that we have of kinda riffing off of each other. And we just have a very similar sense of humor. I grew up with a kid, when I was very young, and we had that same sense of humor. And she’s kind of like my friend from when I was eight years old. It’s just a good fit, work-wise.

TrunkSpace: Well, that’s got to be the dream, right? Not only enjoying the work, but enjoying the process of working?
Smith: Yeah. Absolutely. That’s why I said it feels like I’m kind of cheating the system a little bit, because it should feel harder, but it’s really fun. And even though we love working with everybody else on the show, and I think we work well with the other actors, when it’s just the two of us and the director and the crew kinda just say, “Oh, good. It’s just Kavan and Pascale now.” It’s kind of fun for those moments to have that. I do think it sort of leeches into the crew as well. And when you can have people who are… I wouldn’t say in charge, but when people that are sort of higher up are having a great time, I think it’s infectious for everybody, and it makes the whole day fun. Like the last time we did one of these shows… we did this movie last year. I don’t know if I’ve ever had that much fun on a show. Martin Wood was the director, and we both knew Martin. I’d worked with him in the past, so it was really like a trio, and I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed that hard on a show in my life. I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed that hard anywhere in my life. I can’t express enough how rare it is in my business to find somebody that you work well with, that you get along with, whose families get along. “When Calls the Heart” keeps going and they keep giving us other opportunities to do more. It’s kind of like a partnership, and that’s sort of rare in my field. Usually you do a gig, and you move on. You do a gig, and you move on. And you try and develop friendships, and you try and develop chemistry, but we had a natural chemistry just from really wanting to make each other laugh. And now we’re building more depth to it because it keeps going, and because we keep getting more opportunities.

TrunkSpace: Season 5 of “When Calls the Heart” finishes up tonight. What has that long-term journey with the character been like for you, especially with the series being presented in relatively short season orders? Does that change the dynamic for you as an actor in terms of the character journey?
Smith: I do think it changes the dynamic a little bit. And to be totally honest with you, I think most actors are fairly selfish, and I’m included. I want the story to be about me, and I want to develop more. I want to do more. I want to push the bounds of what he is, and the world that he lives in, because it’s fun. I really enjoy visiting this guy’s life and the limited seasons… I think series television is new for Hallmark, and I think it’s something that they’re working on. And I think we’re in a way, a bit of a test – a test child. They’re testing the waters. I really wish it was more of a 16 to 20 episode show, where you really got to get a few episodes that were really about Leland and Rosemary and their journey. I think that we’re sort of handcuffed from time to time, because in a short run like this, there’s Elisabeth and Abigail and Jack and Bill. And there’s a lot of stories that need to be told. And when you’re only doing 10 episodes, you want to go further with it. And I think that’s the mark of having something that you are enjoying, is you want to do more of it. And we all definitely want, selfishly want, a little bit more. And I do wish that maybe the network would be open to that, but that’s way over my pay grade.

TrunkSpace: It does seem like, in terms of the television industry in general, things are going more and more in that direction.
Smith: Yeah, definitely the landscape is changing a lot. The traditional 13 to 22 or 26 episode run seasons are an anomaly now. I guess money being what it is, and people’s attention span being what it is, and the fact that you can list off 50 new shows that everybody’s talking about, it’s hard to… I think that what’s unique about this show is that, because it is what you would call a family values show, I personally believe that the market and the audience is there for a longer run. I think that on some of those shows, because that subject matter almost seems to be a little over-saturated right now, that people’s attention spans might only be six episodes or 10 episodes where everybody dies, and everybody’s doing drugs, and whatever. Our show, being a little cleaner, I still think people crave that. Families crave that. I think there would be an audience for 13 to 20 episodes, but I don’t control the purse-strings, sadly.

TrunkSpace: And it does seem like the network has such a passionate, loyal fandom. The Hallmarkies, and in your particular show’s case, The Hearties, are committed to the content.
Smith: Yeah. You know, it’s interesting… because I’ve done sci-fi in the past, a fair bit of sci-fi, I’ve had experience with science fiction fans, which are phenomenal fans. They are rabid. They really, really bite into that, being that fandom thing. And I didn’t think that is existed anywhere else. I knew that people were fans and there wee lots of other fans, but I always thought sci-fi fans were sort of the most extreme version. But Hearties are proving me wrong. They are a very loyal, outspoken bunch. They are remarkably positive. I’ve done all sorts of shows in my career, and I’ve been on good shows and bad shows and all sorts of genres. And you read fan stuff, and usually it’s OK, it’s pretty nice, but there are always haters and you try not to read too much. But the Hearties, I guess by definition, are so positive. These are things that you can easily have my kids read. Occasionally when I’m not paying attention, they’ll grab my phone and they’ll look at a Twitter feed or something. There’s never anything on there that I’m worried about them reading. They’re very positive and they’re very complimentary, and they’re really into their show, and it rivals any sci-fi fan base that I’ve ever been a part of, that’s for sure.

TrunkSpace: And that’s very refreshing in this day and age, because you don’t see a lot of that, especially online. It’s hard to find anything positive online, to be honest.
Smith: Oh man, I’m so used to seeing and hearing nothing but constant rivers of negativity, and I also think that that’s part of why, whatever your political bent is, I think that on either side, people are so stressed or so tight, that something like this has a home. I think it’s not just the show itself, but it’s that… I guess people are embracing the whole positive vibe of the show. We’re trying to embrace humanity and positivity and community and things like that.

I think that these types of things, given time to bloom, will just get other people more and more involved. And it’s kind of nice to go online and see positive things. When I first started on following the Hearties and stuff on Twitter, I did so apprehensively, thinking “Well, there’s going to be a ton of people that hate this character, and they’re going to hate the positive message, and they’re going to hate…” But it’s really been just a stream of positivity. It’s really something. My kids are quite young, and with all the negativity in the world, it is nice to be able to show them that something daddy does has a positive effect on some people.

Credit: Diyah Pera/The CW — © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

TrunkSpace: We’re rabid “Supernatural” fans here, and we always enjoyed your character Cuthbert. If there was ever a character with a built-in backstory worth exploring, he is it.
Smith: I agree. I really, really enjoyed him. And the backstory to that, I did a movie with Jensen’s wife, her name is Danneel Ackles, and we did a movie maybe about a year or so before I did “Supernatural.” And so I got to meet Jensen a couple of times and he came to set – really nice guy, and we kind of hit it off a little bit. So when I got cast on the show, I went in and they were warm and accommodating. His wife came in to say hi, and she and Jensen sort of took me under their wing a little bit, and kept calling the producers every day saying, “We gotta get him on more. We gotta get him back more. It’s a great storyline. It’s a great character.” And I almost felt bad, because I felt like they were going too far. (Laughter) Sometimes when you push producers on something, they react the other way. So it’s like, “I really appreciate the love, but you might be pushing these guys too far.” (Laughter) But I really did enjoy that guy, too. I thought that it was a really interesting bridge that they’d built that they didn’t explore. But they have a million story lines on the show, so I guess I just wandered into obscurity. But I really, really did love doing that role.

TrunkSpace: Well, if there has ever been a show where a character can come back years later, “Supernatural” is that show! (Laughter)
Smith: Well, I have to find a way to get my head sewn back on, but yeah, if there’s ever a show, that’s the one.

The season finale of When Calls the Heart” airs tonight on Hallmark Channel.

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Trunk Bubbles

Sonny Liew

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Name: Sonny Liew

Website: www.sonnyliew.com and www.artofcharliechan.com

Favorite Comic Book Character Growing Up: Linus (From “Peanuts”), Chopper (From 2000AD’s “Judge Dredd”)

Favorite Comic Book Character Now: Calvin & Hobbes

Latest Work:
As Writer/Artist: “The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye” (Pantheon, 2016)
As Artist: “Eternity Girl” (DC Young Animal, DC Comics, March 14 2018)

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your art style?
Liew: I’ve been told that it’s a little left of center. What I try to do though is adjust to the needs of a narrative, to find a style that best fits the story being told. Or maybe you could see it as an interest in exploring different art styles within the same narrative in order to raise questions about how the characters and worlds are being represented. Reality is so multi-faceted, in many ways you have to depict it through different prisms to start to emulate all that complexity out there.

TrunkSpace: How important were comic books in your life growing up and is that where you discovered your love and inspiration for drawing?
Liew: My grandfather had a library full of books in Malaysia, and my sister and I would dig up comics to read from there – “Donald Duck,” “Peanuts,” “Children’s Paradise” (“Er Tong Le Yuan” from Hong Kong). My mom would also buy us “Beano and Dandy,” along with “Richie Rich” comics… so there were always comics around. We would copy drawings of our favorite characters, as kids tend to do… but I’d guess that anything visual would serve as inspiration for us – comics, TV cartoons, role playing games, movies. The earliest comic that made me think about wanting to draw comics though would probably have been 2000AD in my later teens – maybe seeing five or six stories drawn in a wild variety of styles in a single weekly issue made me realize at some level the sheer possibilities of the medium.

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular artist or title from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Liew: Not a comics per se, but I remember Roger Hargreaves’ “Mr. Men” series as being one of the books I could copy from, built plasticine models of… looking back at them today, there is still some hard to define quality about his drawings and designs, that evoke a simultaneous sense of nostalgia and timelessness.

TrunkSpace: How did you decide to approach your career in comics? Did you formulate a plan of how you wanted to attack what is known for being a hard industry to crack?
Liew: The first attempt at it was done more on a whim than any sort of plan. I was in Singapore on summer break from college and decided to draw my own comic strip. Sent the pages to a couple of local newspapers and one of them actually picked it up, so for a year or so I did a daily strip for them called “Frankie & Poo.” It was only during that process that I thought about somehow making a career out of it. Eventually I ended up in art school at the Rhode Island School of Design, where I had the good fortune to have David Mazzucchelli teaching a course in graphic narrative – he was the first person I’d met who knew the industry inside out and could give advice on what you needed in a portfolio, and how to get that portfolio seen. So I sent in samples to places like DC Vertigo, and took a trip to the San Diego Comic Con as well. Of course those were just baby steps on the long road ahead.

TrunkSpace: What was your biggest break in terms of a job that opened more doors for you?
Liew: Right now, it would probably be “The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye,” in the sense that it was the first long form narrative I both wrote and drew, that gave a sense of the kind of book I wanted to do. Before that I think most publishers saw me more as an artist for hire, so it was in many ways a moon shot for me that has worked out as well as could be hoped.

TrunkSpace: A lot of people say that breaking into comics is the hardest part of working in comics. How long did it take you before you started to see your comic book dreams become a reality?
Liew: I’m not sure I agree entirely with that notion – it partly depends on the kind of comics you’re thinking of. Publishing your own webcomics, or an indie zine, or even for smaller independent publishers… there don’t seem to many barriers to entry for those. And even in terms of the Big Two, there are also degrees of breaking in. So I’d say that making comics is a process like any other – it’s about improving your skill set so you can tell the kind of stories you want to, through the kind of publishers that you want to work with, a gradual building up of a career and body of work rather than one single breakthrough.

TrunkSpace: Is there a particular character or universe you always find yourself returning to when you’re sketching or doing warm-ups?
Liew: Probably loose sketches of robots – you can dream up all kinds of shapes and anatomies, always hoping to find new forms, but also having old ones to fall back on.

TrunkSpace: Is there a specific title or character that you’d like to work on in the future and why?
Liew: For the mainstream, it would probably be Judge Dredd or Batman, partly because I grew up loving the comics (and sometimes movies), and both of them are rooted at some level in reality, with a dark edge. They seem ripe for exploring real world issues through a fictional lens. Outside of that… I think it’d be more about hoping to create new characters and titles that somehow stand the test of time.

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your career in comics? Where would you like your path to lead?
Liew: For the commercial and personal work to come together. What I mean is there is always a need to balance the more commercial work to pay the bills and the more personal work that really engages with things you find really engaging. If you can start to get those two sides to come together, that would really be the ideal scenario. In my mind there are creators like David Simon and Neil Gaiman who have found that niche, and rare as that is, it’s still something you can aspire to.

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength as an artist?
Liew: I’d say that there are many better draftspersons and writers, but I am sometimes able to combine words and images in an interesting way… which fortunately turns out to be what comics as a medium requires.

TrunkSpace: How has technology changed your process of putting ideas/script to page? Do you use the classic paper/pencil approach at all anymore?
Liew: Digital tools have definitely made everything easier – just imagine the pre-desktop publishing days in terms of coloring or lettering, for example. I still sketch down ideas on paper, but the process of thumbnailing is mostly done on the computer, as is the penciling of pages. Inking is done with traditional tools, partly because I think digital inking still lacks some of the organic quality of real pen and ink… but overall the process involves both the digital and analog. Machines will probably take over everything in due course, but for now, we’re in a sweet spot where creators get to choose between the two to find the best fit for their work.

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring artist who is considering a career in the comic industry?
Liew: Just read and make more comics – learn the history and theory of the medium, but also learn by doing. We all have our strength and flaws, so in some ways it’s about recognizing them and working on what you can improve. With the internet these days it’s also much easier to access a global source of knowledge about all the various skills involved in making comics, so make full use of that for sure.

TrunkSpace: Making appearances at conventions: Love it, leave it, or a combination of both?
Liew: (Laughter) I don’t get to go to too many, being based in Singapore, where we really only have one major con…. so it’s always fun when I do make the trips. It’s great to meet up with friends and folks in the industry, with readers… and to see new art, toys and more.

TrunkSpace: What is the craziest/oddest thing you’ve ever been asked to draw as a commission?
Liew: There’s nothing really crazy or odd about it, but you do sometimes get asked to draw popular characters that you haven’t drawn before – Deadpool, Wolverine, etc. – and just end up copying drawings off a mobile phone Google image search.

TrunkSpace: What else can fans of your work look forward to in 2018?
Liew: “Eternity Girl” aside, I’m working on some things for Boom! Studios, as well as continued research on my own graphic novel. A good place for updates would be on Instagram @sonny_liew.

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Wingman Wednesday

Kyan Zielinski

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PHOTOGRAPHER: Patrick Chai/STYLIST: Shannon Komsky/GROOMER: Patrick Chai

Based on the best-selling book, Amazon’s new all-ages series “The Dangerous Book for Boys” is a whimsical journey that places the viewer in the path of a young boy’s wide-eyed outlook on life, as guided by the teachings of his recently-deceased father. Both heartfelt and heart-wrenching, the six-episode Season 1 is perfect for a “family movie night,” and while it’s entertaining for kids and adults alike, it also introduces audiences to the next generation of young actors, including the extremely talented Kyan Zielinski, who plays eldest brother Liam McKenna.

We recently sat down with Zielinski to discuss the fun of getting to perform in such fantastical settings, the biggest lesson he took from the production, and why he’d volunteer to put on the Iron Man suit in the next generation of Marvel movies.

TrunkSpace: “The Dangerous Book For Boys” is a comedy, but it also deals with some heavy subject matter. How much was the tone of the series discussed with you before you stepped foot on set and how much of that went into finding who Liam was as a character?
Zielinski: We talked about it at the first table read and on the first day on set before we went upstairs to the house, but they also wanted us to create that personal side to it, as the character, and explore how our individual characters would act in this kind of situation. It was really cool to be able to develop my character from the beginning and that they gave us some room to be creative.

TrunkSpace: There’s also a whimsical fantasy element to the series, and yet as characters, the McKenna boys are very much grounded in reality. Did getting to bring that real-world honesty to these fantastical settings and scenes enhance the experience for you?
Zielinski: Yes, absolutely! Going from a Texan saloon to the next scene where we’re going to school was super cool! This show was like nothing I have done before. I mean, traveling to the moon, being around a llama, and all of the other crazy fun things we explored was amazing!

TrunkSpace: Incredibly talented people are involved in this project both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. Did you view your time shooting the series just as much an education as you did a job, and if so, what is something that you learned, either in performance or process, that you’ll carry with you through the rest of your career?
Zielinski: I did! I learned a lot on the production of Dangerous Book. In Episode 103, in the scene where Liam initially gets hexed by Tarot cards, he walks backward into a lamp. Chris Diamantopoulos gave me a tip. He taught me that when doing something like that, you can reverse the action and walk back to your initial mark, while counting how many steps you take so that when performing the act, you can know exactly how to time it. This was especially helpful in my case because I was saying a line while walking backwards. That’s just one example. Every day on set was a learning experience as everyone on the project was phenomenal – actors and crew.

TrunkSpace: What are you most excited for people to see when they sit down with the first six episodes now that it can be streamed on Amazon?
Zielinski: I am very excited for people to see, not only the show in general, but the chemistry and connection we all had. I am very excited for people to see the characters that we created and the way we all act together on screen. The story is very touching and relatable in the way that we all face struggles in our families and lives.

TrunkSpace: Is it exciting to be involved in a project like this and be able to sit back and watch as viewers can sort of consume and digest it all in one sitting? Does the binging experience for an audience change the acting experience for you?
Zielinski: It is very exciting to be in a project like this because it doesn’t feel much like a television show while shooting. Quite honestly, it felt more like we were filming a long movie. When you’re a viewer sitting back and watching the show’s episodes back-to-back, you don’t have to wait a week before you can watch the next episode and there’s not a concern of you possibly forgetting what happened in the previous episode. Also, for me as an actor in the show, the response is immediate, and that is pretty cool that I can just see what people think after Day 1. It’s very rewarding.

TrunkSpace: You have a number of other projects in the works, including the horror film “They Reach,” which sounds pretty awesome. Are you enjoying getting to play in different genres and experience different approaches to your craft?
Zielinski: Yeah, each genre is very different. Like in horror, the formula is completely unlike comedy and drama in so many ways. I really enjoy stretching as an actor and adapting into very different scenarios. I hope to have a very versatile acting career.

TrunkSpace: What is your process to finding a new character you’re presented with and learning who he is and how to portray him?
Zielinski: I read through the material I’m given for the character and story and try to make a connection in my own way from my own life. Whatever it is, an entire film script after I have booked the job, an entire episode of a show, or just the audition sides, I read through it and think about what the writers have already established with my character and what the given arc is in the story. After that, I fill in the gaps and brainstorm on a possible backstory for my character if one is not given.

TrunkSpace: As you look forward in your career, are you setting goals for yourself or are you more interested in putting in the work and letting fate play a hand in where it takes you?
Zielinski: I set plenty of goals. I work best when I have deadlines and structure. However, while I have a good idea of what I want to accomplish and where I want to go, I also let fate play its hand and can’t wait to see what opportunities lie ahead.

TrunkSpace: Super hero movies continue to wow audiences. If you could step into the shoes of any comic book character, who would it be and why?
Zielinski: I would become Iron Man, Tony Stark. I think that out of all comic book characters I am most like Iron Man because we both are very mathematical. I also think that his flying metal suit is pretty awesome, so there’s that.

TrunkSpace: Finally, Kyan, you’re still so young with so much career ahead of you… what is it that interests you most about acting at this stage in your life and do you see yourself maintaining this path or do you have other career interests that you hope to pursue as you get older?
Zielinski: I love being able to create and transform into other people. I do see myself following this path for a long time, but eventually switching over to writing and directing, but still in the film/television industry. I love all sides of filmmaking including but not limited to camera operation, editing, and directing cinematography. On YouTube, I get a chance to be creative and play every position of filmmaking on my channel, Kyan Zielinski Vlogs, so I really enjoy doing YouTube videos as well.

The Dangerous Book For Boys” is available now on Amazon.

Featured photo credits
PHOTOGRAPHER: Patrick Chai
STYLIST: Shannon Komsky
GROOMER: Patrick Chai

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Wingman Wednesday

Violett Beane

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Photo By: Storm Santos

Here in the Boston area where winter seems unwilling to relinquish its grasp on the thermometer, spring is the forgotten season, which is why we were so eager to speak with Violett Beane, whose very name sparks thoughts of April showers and May flowers. As speedster Jesse Quick on The CW series “The Flash,” the Texas-raised actress sprinted into the hearts of fanboys/fangirls everywhere. Earlier this year, Beane took a dramatic turn, appearing as cancer patient Lily Kendall on the medical drama “The Resident.” And now, proving that variety is indeed the spice of life, she’s set to star in the horror film “Truth or Dare,” which opens today in theaters everywhere.

We recently sat down with Beane to discuss going all-in on acting at 18, bonding with her “Truth or Dare” costars on a road trip, and why she’s so grateful for the jobs she has landed thus far in her career.

TrunkSpace: It’s impossible to plan in this business or any business for that matter because life always zigs when you want it to zag, but has your career these last few years met or exceeded your expectations when you thought of this career as a path for yourself?
Beane: Oh, absolutely. I really started focusing on acting as a “career” when I was 18. When I was applying for colleges and stuff, I just kind of sat down with myself and really figured out, “Do I need college to pursue this creative acting career?” And for some people that answer is yes, but for me I kind of decided that I would take acting classes outside of college, but that I didn’t need the normal route, and I think personally that was the best decision I ever made because it made me go out and find work. I didn’t have the excuse of, “Oh, I have so much work from school. I don’t have any time.” Because all I had was time so it really made me go out there. And I found an agent in my hometown and I started auditioning for things and sending in tapes and then that’s how I booked “The Flash.”

TrunkSpace: To have so many projects all being released at or around the same time as you do right now, is that exciting when all of the work comes to fruition?
Beane: Totally. You have some idea of how things are going when you’re filming and you’re enjoying yourself and living in the moment, but the reality is that it comes out and that’s kind of an amazing moment to see all that hard work. My favorite thing is watching – if I do watch it, I don’t always watch every episode – but if I do watch my work, I’m remembering the times that I had during that scene or how difficult it was to get that or whatever, and I find that kind of fun. It’s like reliving that moment over.

TrunkSpace: Your new movie “Truth or Dare” hits theaters today. Horror tends to have a built-in audience as fans of the genre will give new projects and characters a chance. Do you think the movie is the kind of horror that will appeal to both die-hard fans of the genre and general moviegoers as well?
Beane: I think it actually will because I have a lot friends who are very into horror films and they consider horror to be the gore, the gore of it, and not necessarily the storyline. And so I think there’s a lot of gore. You see some pretty gnarly deaths in this movie, but at the same time it’s great for people who just like suspenseful movies and that’s kind of where I am on the spectrum. I love being on the edge of my seat and not knowing what’s going to happen and who’s going to live and that’s what I like in a horror movie. So I think it has equal parts of both and people are really going to enjoy it.

TrunkSpace: It also has that creepy factor too because of those sinister smiles that pop up in the movie… they’re very unsettling.
Beane: Oh yeah!

TrunkSpace: What will you carry with you for the rest of your life and career from your time working on “Truth or Dare?”
Beane: From “Truth or Dare,” definitely the first day we all met. We actually met for the first time and then drove out to Mexico for one night to shoot the beginning opening credits. There’s a montage of all of the characters on spring break in Mexico, and so what we did was we all got in a van, we drove out to Mexico and we all had our cast phones and we were just videoing and photoing for 24 hours while we did random things in Mexico. And that was just such a great bonding experience. I think a lot of TV shows and movies don’t realize that people have to have immediate chemistry in these roles so when you meet someone five seconds before you start your first scene, it’s really hard to have that natural chemistry. But doing that with the cast was the perfect thing.

Photo: Katie Yu/The CW – © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

TrunkSpace: Your character has blonde hair in the movie and her physical appearance overall differs from your other recent characters in “The Flash” and “The Resident.” Is that something that’s fun for you as an actor, to be able to make those physical transformations?
Beane: It’s absolutely one of my favorite things. I feel like hair, makeup and wardrobe is a huge turn for me when I’m working as a character because, especially with wardrobe – also in hair and makeup – you’re making decisions that your character would make and all of a sudden it doesn’t matter like, “Oh, do I think that’s cute or would I wear that?” It’s, “Would my character wear that?” And I think once you’re in that headspace it’s easier to tap into the other intricacies of the character. So for me it’s an amazing, amazing time to work on the character. And what I also think is kind of cool is, I know a lot of people have messaged me or commented like, “Oh, I didn’t even know you were in ‘Truth or Dare’,” because I was blonde. I find that kind of interesting. I’ve had a couple of other people mention that about “The Resident” because I wear a very short wig and I wear a scarf on my head. And so I think it’s kind of cool that maybe people are seeing this character and liking it or not, but not knowing it’s me and then finding that out. I think that’s kind of fun.

Photo By: Storm Santos

TrunkSpace: Your character in “The Resident” has a pretty emotionally-heavy storyline and backstory. Again, speaking from a performance standpoint, do you think that character allowed you the opportunity to show a side of your work that some of these other projects haven’t been able to just because of the nature of the role?
Beane: Oh, definitely. “The Resident” was a very dramatic television series, so a lot of the issues that you’re dealing with are real issues and you dive deeper into them. And playing Lily, I was able to reach a different side of myself that’s a lot more calm. In my life I tend to be frantic and loud and Lily is very demure and she is very kind and soft spoken and that’s something that I’ve never played in a character either, so it was really interesting to try that.

TrunkSpace: And what’s so interesting is that all of the characters you’ve been playing recently from “Truth or Dare” to “The Resident” and “The Flash,” they’re all so different. Is that a bit of living out the dream, getting to play so many different types of characters and not being pigeonholed into any one type of role?
Beane: Yeah. It’s been pretty amazing. And I only started when I was 18, so to have these kind of opportunities right now is something I’m forever grateful for and I’m just trying to enjoy the moment.

TrunkSpace: Is it hard to do that, to enjoy the moment when you’re probably moving at a million miles a minute? Do you still sit back and go, “Wow, this is it. I’m living it.”?
Beane: Oh, absolutely. I sit there and I’m doing something crazy or silly or weird and I’m just like, “I get to do this for a living?” (Laughter) When you’re able to do what you love and live your lifestyle based off of that, that’s the dream. Money is a non-factor as long as you’re able to enjoy your life to the extent you want to enjoy it while doing what you love. That’s amazing.

TrunkSpace: Add in the fact that you’re getting to play a superhero and that’s a pretty nice addition to getting to do what you love.
Beane: Yeah. (Laughter) That doesn’t hurt.

Catch Truth or Dare” is in theaters today.

Featured image by: Storm Santos

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Trunk Bubbles

Ben Matsuya

BenMatsuyaFeatured

Name: Ben Matsuya

Website: www.matsuyacreative.com
Check out his Instagram here.

Favorite Comic Book Character Growing Up: Spider-Man and Superman

Favorite Comic Book Character Now: Superman

Latest Work: (Title/Publisher/Release Date) “Jupiter Jet”/Action Lab/Jan 2018

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your art style?
Matsuya: My style is expressive and full of energy. I like to use that as my guiding light rather than strict realism. I used to try and draw everything as realistically as possible, but now I would rather something feel full of life than look identical.

TrunkSpace: How important were comic books in your life growing up and is that where you discovered your love and inspiration for drawing?
Matsuya: Comics were huge for me growing up. I drew my first comic when I was around six or seven. Just a simple nine panel grid (like Tic-tac-toe) but I was hooked. I just wanted to preserve stories that my friends and I would make up.

Yes, I would say so. Drawing was just something I seemed to have a knack for, I never really thought of it too much. I suppose it was a way to channel my energy and creativity, which I am very thankful for looking back. I think it kept me out of a lot of trouble. (But I also caused some trouble to be fair!)

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular artist or title from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Matsuya: So many! Jim Lee was a big one. Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight Returns.” Mark Bagley on “Ultimate Spider-Man.”

TrunkSpace: How did you decide to approach your career in comics? Did you formulate a plan of how you wanted to attack what is known for being a hard industry to crack?
Matsuya: I had no plan! There were a lot of lulls, breaks, and ups and downs. Truthfully, it is only now starting to feel like I belong and comfortably calling myself a professional comic book artist. I guess fake it ‘til you make it! And make your own comics in between gigs. As long as you’re making comics, you’re a comic book artist.

TrunkSpace: What was your biggest break in terms of a job that opened more doors for you?
Matsuya: Being the artist for “Jupiter Jet” was probably my biggest break. Working with Ashley Victoria Robinson and Jason Inman was a wonderful experience. They are amazingly talented and dream collaborators. I had a blast working on that book! Everyone should check it out.

TrunkSpace: A lot of people say that breaking into comics is the hardest part of working in comics. How long did it take you before you started to see your comic book dreams become a reality?
Matsuya: Straight out of college, I worked on a superhero-styled stage play called “No Good Deed.” I did the art for the sets, and an accompanying comic, which made me think, “Yeah, maybe I can do this for real.” It was a very validating experience.

TrunkSpace: Is there a particular character or universe you always find yourself returning to when you’re sketching or doing warm-ups?
Matsuya: I find myself often drawing characters from movies I’d recently seen or musicians from bands I like. I don’t know if that counts as a universe, but the music world is something I have always been very passionate about. I’m very jealous of anyone who has any musical ability!

TrunkSpace: Is there a specific title or character that you’d like to work on in the future and why?
Matsuya: I would love to tell a Superman story one day. I’m putting it out there in the universe! I have a stand alone story that is embarrassingly fleshed out that I would love to tell. It’s an entire arc and it contains all my favorite characters and asks all the big Superman questions: who am I, why am I here, what am I supposed to do with my life? I think a Superman story, when done well, is just about the best superhero stories the medium can offer. He’s such a human character, ironically.

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your career in comics? Where would you like your path to lead?
Matsuya: I think if you were to ask me a couple years ago, that Superman story from the previous question would have been the pinnacle of my aspirations. But now that I’m a little older, I think my ultimate dream path would be just being able to tell my own stories and having an audience that would allow me to make a humble living. I want to tell as many stories as possible.

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength as an artist?
Matsuya: The greatest strength of a comic book artist is the ability to observe and empathize. Observation is at the root of almost everything we do as comic book artists. Even something as simple as the clutter on an office desk, the landscaping in front of an apartment complex, or the layout of the local convenience store, the artist is internalizing and processing everything. You never know when you may need to draw it! And the same goes with people. The ability to empathize with others and trying to understand them is key to drawing compelling characters. If you can do that, then it doesn’t matter if your character is even from this planet, you will.

TrunkSpace: How has technology changed your process of putting ideas/script to page? Do you use the classic paper/pencil approach at all anymore?
Matsuya: Technology has changed my work process and flow immeasurably. I draw almost exclusively digitally now with a Wacom tablet and Clip Studio Paint. I only really us pen and paper when I am thumbnailing a new issue, but then I redraw everything digitally anyway. All the final art is done digitally. I’ve found that drawing digitally has tightened up my line quality and gives my art a more “finished” look. I naturally draw pretty sketchy and loose, so in a strange way drawing with a Wacom tablet has made me more confident and bold with my mark making.

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring artist who is considering a career in the comic industry?
Matsuya: Tell your own story. If you connect with a story, it will show up in the work. But don’t expect people to care about what you’re doing, they rarely will. Do it for yourself. Imagine a scenario where no one ever sees your story; would you still do it? Would you do it just for you? If the answer is yes, then you know your on the right path. So long story short, if you don’t mind not being rich and famous, you may have a career in comics!

TrunkSpace: Making appearances at conventions: Love it, leave it, or a combination of both?
Matsuya: I rarely make convention appearances. I try to go to at least two a year. It’s very hectic and stressful!

TrunkSpace: What is the craziest/oddest thing you’ve ever been asked to draw as a commission?
Matsuya: Great question! Probably Ben Franklin firing machine guns while riding a B-2 bomber. I guess that’s pretty weird depending on who you ask.

TrunkSpace: What else can fans of your work look forward to in 2018?
Matsuya: My brother and I are currently shopping a completed graphic novel called “Midnight Massacre.” It is a horror/comedy story set during a theme park’s Halloween extravaganza. If you’ve ever thought your boss might be the Devil (literally), then I think you will like the book.

I’m also currently working on a project with writer Sam Roads that should be announced on Kickstarter very soon. It’s a futuristic, gender-bending retelling of the story of Beowulf. I’m very excited for it!

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Wingman Wednesday

Lillian Lim

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Photo By: Shimon

Human beings are creatures of comfort and habit. When we fall into a rhythm, we tend to keep the beat until forced from our self-induced song, which is why it is so impressive that Lillian Lim decided to pursue her dream of becoming an actor decades after most individuals make that commitment to themselves.

At age 61, following a successful career as a dentist and another dream-worthy pursuit as a fashion designer, the Vancouver native decided to refocus on the creative arts nearly a lifetime after the acting bug first bit her while visiting the theater as a little girl with her mother. Now almost 66, she is experiencing a career-defining moment starring in the drama “Meditation Park,” which is currently available on Netflix.

We recently sat down with Lim to discuss the shelf life of a movie in the streaming age, the shelf life of an actor of a certain age, and how her faith and family has guided her on her path to pursuing her dreams.

TrunkSpace: Your new film “Meditation Park” was released on Netflix back in March. As a performer, do you feel that streaming platforms like Netflix extend the shelf life of projects? Will a film like “Meditation Park” have a better chance at finding an audience in a place where viewers have full control over what they consume?
Lim: Streaming platforms like Netflix absolutely extend the shelf life of projects. It makes it easier for audiences to access films in the comfort of their own homes at a time convenient to them and allows them to watch it multiple times with family and friends in a relatively inexpensive way.

TrunkSpace: As far as experiences go, what will you take from your time working on the film?
Lim: Mina Shum is a genius of a director. I have learned so much from her about how to use my voice, gestures and facial expressions to convey subtle emotions to the audience. An actor often interprets the scene a certain way that may not necessarily be the same as the director. Mina has a very specific vision of how each scene should be played. Understanding exactly what she wanted the audience to feel helped me to adjust my interpretation and play the scene accordingly.

TrunkSpace: You play Anita in “Meditation Park.” What did you enjoy most about inhabiting this particular character and was finding who she was an easy journey?
Lim: I loved the role of Anita because she is so much like me – loud, boisterous, bossy and fearlessly protective of those whom she cares about. She is quick to anger but also compassionate and willing to admit it (albeit reluctantly) when she has made a mistake. It’s funny because when I went for a costume fitting, almost 90 percent of what they asked me to try on was hanging in my own closet at home. We have the same outrageous taste in clothes and we are always out for bargains in Chinatown and at Value Village (the American equivalent of the SallyAnn or the Salvation Army for used clothing).

TrunkSpace: How do you generally go about discovering new characters? Is there a routine that you go through… a process… when you’re cast in any given project?
Lim: I am almost 66 years old. I think I have gone through as many experiences as one could in a lifetime. When I began I thought that acting would be easy, that the ability to act was innate in everyone, like breathing or walking. I didn’t realize how bad an actor I was until I took Crystal Lowe’s acting classes. She taught me how to truly be “in the moment” – how to reach deeply into my own experiences in life to dig out what the character was feeling in that moment – not how to play the character, but how to be the character.

TrunkSpace: We read that your mother was an avid movie fan. Do you think that being exposed to the arts at a young age is a part of what put you on a path to becoming an actress?
Lim: I was thrilled whenever my mother took me to watch the Chinese movies in Chinatown, especially if Fung Bo Bo (the Chinese equivalent of Shirley Temple) was starring in it. She was my age so I often replayed her character in scenes with friends on the block. Most of the Chinese movies were tragedies and I thought the actors must have some kind of superpower to be able to make the audience weep so uncontrollably – that’s when the acting bug bit me. I believe many people have an inkling of what their passion is from a very young age.

TrunkSpace: Ultimately you didn’t pursue acting until much later in life. Why did you wait to go after your dreams and do you regret not having reached for those personal stars earlier in life?
Lim: Although I never voiced my desire to become an actor to my parents I knew they disapproved of acting as a profession because they didn’t believe it was very financially stable and that it involved a lifestyle mired in infidelity and alcoholism. So they advised me to become a pharmacist. After three years I found that pharmacy was not my calling so I considered returning to university to study medicine but my brother, an anesthetist, said that if one of my patients died, I would become devastated and blame myself. He advised me to become a dentist because it was much more difficult to kill a patient as a dentist. I think that whatever you do in life is never a waste of time because you always learn from it. I think it is more of a waste of time to regret what you’ve done because you can’t change the past. You can only change the future. You should use what you’ve learned from your past to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. I believe that having not been an actor most of my life has allowed me to be a better actor today.

TrunkSpace: You were a dentist for 27 years before pursuing fashion design and acting. For all of those adults reading this who are wondering how they can hit the restart buttons on their careers, what advice would you give to them in taking that first leap and seeing their dreams become a reality?
Lim: I have been extremely fortunate in my life that the good Lord has always provided me with supportive people. My mother supported me in becoming a dentist. Then my husband and three daughters supported me in becoming a fashion designer and an actor. Because I am a retired dentist I do not have to pursue acting for financial gain. I do it purely for the passion. I don’t envy those young actors who have to worry about paying for rent, food, clothing, acting classes, transportation, and finding jobs which have the flexibility of allowing for time to go to auditions. But no matter how difficult it may seem to you in the moment, you should never give up your dreams. Take acting classes from reputable teachers, volunteer to do student films so you can showcase your acting ability in your demo reel, apply to reputable casting agencies, have consideration for your fellow actors and help each other out. If you believe in yourself, if you have faith and pray for guidance, it will happen.

TrunkSpace: It’s a difficult career to break into for anybody, but when attempting to do so later in life, there must be plenty of naysayers who are there tell you that it’s not possible. Did you experience others trying to stand in the way of your dreams and if so, how did you block out all of that noise to remain focused on your goals?
Lim: Many of my friends said I was crazy to pursue a career in fashion design at the age of 58. The same ones said I was crazy to become an actor at 61. They all laughed. But I followed my heart because I felt the Lord gives each of us a gift to serve the world and this was His gift to me. And He gave me a husband and three daughters who believed in me. And that gave me the strength to believe in myself.

TrunkSpace: What is it that you love about acting? What makes this profession the one that excites you most of all?
Lim: What I love about acting is the challenge of becoming so many different personalities and making these characters real to the audience. Acting allows me to morph into someone else.

TrunkSpace: What are your long-term goals when it comes to acting? Is there a best case scenario in your mind or are you riding the wave that life brings forth and landing at whatever shore it crashes into?
Lim: My long-term goal is to be recognized for my craft as a good actor. I am not after fame or fortune. I hope to put whatever monetary success I may achieve to good use – give back to the world for the many blessings that the Lord has given me. One of my favorite sayings is from the Dalai Lama – “Service to others is the rent you pay for the room you have here on earth.” I believe that we are put here on this earth to serve those in need. That is why I volunteer to serve dinner and bring homemade desserts to Gospel Mission in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, B.C.

Meditation Park” is available now on Netflix.

Featured image by: Shimon

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Trunk Stubs

A Quiet Place

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Title: A Quiet Place

Rated: PG-13

Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Horror, Drama

Release Date: April 6, 2018

Run Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Directed By: John Krasinski

Starring: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe

Reason We’re Watching It: We loved the concept behind “A Quiet Place.” In a sea of movie reboots, this film is a breath of fresh creativity. The idea of silence being a big part of the movie peaked our interest. It’s actually a totally different moviegoing experience, and we’re happy to say our audience was well-behaved and quietly waiting on the edge of their seats.

What It’s About: Creatures that possess a keen sense of hearing have ravaged the human race. A family lives in solitude and silence on a farm while being stalked by these menacing beasts. While “A Quiet Place” is a suspenseful horror movie, there is actually a much deeper story of family and the difficult relationships their situation has forced upon them.

Whoah! Rewind That!: Lee (Krasinski) is away from the farm teaching his son, Marcus (Jupe) how they fish for food and navigate the terrain to keep from making a sound. Meanwhile Lee’s wife, Evelyn (Blunt), goes into labor while the creatures descend on their house. No spoilers, but what follows is one of the most intense, nail-biting moments we have seen in a movie in quite some time.

Watercooler-Worthy Tidbit: Krasinski not only starred in “A Quiet Place,” he also directed the film. Krasinski’s wife, Blunt, played his wife in the movie as well.

And that’s why we’re giving it…

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Opening Act

Pom Pom Squad

PomPomSquadFeatured

Artist/Band: Pom Pom Squad

Members: Mia Berrin

Website: pompomsquad.bandcamp.com

Hometown: New York, NY by way of Orlando, FL

Latest Album/Release: The “Hate It Here” EP

Bonus: “Cherry Candy” for the Grey Estates’ Sugar Rush II

Influences: Bikini Kill, Perfect Pussy, Mitski,

TrunkSpace: How do you describe your music?
Berrin: Sad girl music!

TrunkSpace: Your EP “Hate It Here” was released about a year ago. Now that there’s been some separation, how do you view what you created with it? Have you grown more happy with it or have you found yourself dissecting it and identifying things you would do differently?
Berrin: On one hand, I think there are definitely some things I would change in hindsight, but on the other hand, I truly don’t think it could have turned out any other way. Dissecting old stuff is a natural part of the process, especially because I know a lot more about making music now than I did a year ago. For me, “Hate It Here” is always going to be a time capsule of a really specific moment in my life, but getting to play these songs on stage for a year has also allowed them each to live a couple of different lives. I think ultimately I’m really proud of what “Hate It Here” has become, and I’m also ready to keep growing.

TrunkSpace: There’s a great undercurrent of ‘60s era pop to the EP. For example, “Protection Spells” is at times rock doo wop, which is just downright awesome. How long did it take you to develop your sound?
Berrin: That’s so interesting! No one has ever said that before, so that’s really cool. I think that probably made its way in subconsciously. I love ‘60s pop and girl groups! I’ve been making music as Pom Pom Squad since high school, so the sound has definitely gone through a lot of phases, most of which only I know about. At one point it was going to be a lo-fi surf rock project – I desperately wanted to be on Burger Records – which I think you can still hear in the “Teenage Girls” demo. There are a lot of layers of influence that lead to the sound on “Hate It Here.” That was also the first time I had collaborated with another person on my music. My friend Alex Carr produced it, and he definitely brought some elements to it that I probably wouldn’t have thought of.

TrunkSpace: Is the material that you’re writing now similar to what you created on “Hate It Here” and if not, where is the musical growth most apparent? What are you doing now that you weren’t doing then?
Berrin: I think it has a similar heart, but it feels really different to me. It’s a little darker. I think I’ve also been writing with the intent of playing these songs live, just because over the course of this year I’ve realized that I love performing, which is not something I really had in mind when I wrote “Hate It Here.”

TrunkSpace: Are you comfortable in your own songwriting skin? If so, can you pinpoint the moment you found your voice?
Berrin: I’m constantly finding and re-finding my voice. I feel very lucky to have a pretty strong sense of myself as a writer – even if what I’m writing doesn’t feel comfortable or cohesive it’s easy for me to tell when something I write feels good. A friend told me a long time ago that the stuff that scares you is the stuff that’s worth writing about, so I try to follow fear. I think if I ever felt really comfortable with my songwriting I would like, disintegrate or transcend or something.

TrunkSpace: What does your writing process look like? How does a song go from inception to completion?
Berrin: I wish I had a concrete process. Usually my favorite stuff comes to me when I’m taking a walk or when I’m in class. I try to follow my impulses. If I hear something in my head, I’ll immediately jot it down in a notebook or hum it into my voice memos. “Hate It Here” was a very impulsive writing process – I wrote the chorus of “Protection Spells” when I was driving through the desert with my best friend the summer after my freshman year of college and didn’t write the verses until probably two weeks later. “You/ Him” basically didn’t come together until it was recorded, and I wrote “He Never Shows” in one night.

TrunkSpace: What is your favorite part of the songwriting process? What gives you the biggest thrill?
Berrin: I think maybe when I feel comfortable enough to share a new song with someone.

TrunkSpace: Many songwriters have said that the process is a bit like therapy for them. Do you find that to be the case with your own songwriting?
Berrin: Sometimes. To me, a really good performance feels more like therapy – or maybe more like catharsis. Weirdly I’m pretty shy and a little closed off in my day-to-day life, but I have really big, intense feelings. Performing allows me to turn myself inside out for a little while. It’s a full body commitment to the things I’m feeling inside.

TrunkSpace: Creative people are infamous for being extremely hard on themselves in the creative process. Does that apply to you, and if so, where are you hardest on yourself?
Berrin: Oh yeah, I am crazy hard on myself. I’m realizing that I’m kind of a control freak, so I have a hard time just letting things come together. I’m usually hardest on myself when I first start something. I really have to fight the impulse to kill a song before it can become even partially realized.

TrunkSpace: You’re based in NYC, home to hundreds upon hundreds of artists all trying to have their art be seen and/or heard. What are the benefits to being a creative fish in a big pond like NYC?
Berrin: There are endless people to meet and collaborate with. Everyone is just so active in the scene and there’s always someone doing something you’re not. Some of my biggest inspirations are my best friends, and they’re all people I’ve met because I’ve been playing music.

TrunkSpace: You bring flowers out to every show. Where did that tradition originate and what does it symbolize for you?
Berrin: I originally started bringing them to shows sort of as a good luck charm, but people reacted really strongly to them. When I was a teenager I remember always wishing that shows I went to were a little more interactive, and now that I’m on stage it gets hard not to see the audience as, like a big amorphous faceless blob. I think having a tangible thing that I can play with when I’m on stage and then give to the audience makes me feel a little more connected to the people in the crowd. People come up to me after shows and ask for them, which is really nice. I think bringing flowers changes the space.

TrunkSpace: What can fans expect from Pom Pom Squad for the rest of 2018?
Berrin: Lots of new stuff, hopefully.

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Wingman Wednesday

Jonathan Keltz

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Photo By: Brent Weber

Fresh starts and new beginnings. That’s what spring is all about. For Megan Park and Jonathan Keltz, stars of the new Hallmark Channel movie “Once Upon a Prince,” which caps off the network’s Spring Fever programming event this Saturday, that meant portraying characters in search of their own individual do-overs. Landscape architect Susanna (Park) has recently discovered she’s not in her boyfriend’s long term life plans while heir to the Cambria throne Nate (Keltz) must appease his mother and find a Cambrian bride. Serendipity brings their two lives together, but it’s love that will place them on the same path.

We recently sat down with Keltz to discuss the Hallmark Channel community, why his friends razzed his royal credit, and how producing changed his perspective.

TrunkSpace: This is your first time working with Hallmark Channel. What did you take away from the experience as a whole?
Keltz: I had a blast working on this. I was just so lucky we had such a great group that we were collaborating with. Megan Park, my co-star, is an old, old friend of mine, but we never had a chance to work together. Alex Wright, our director, and Maura (Dunbar), our producer, are really great as well. It’s just a really great energy on set. It’s such a fun little family community that they’ve got making these things, so I hope I get a chance to do more in the future.

TrunkSpace: The success of these movies hinges on the chemistry of the two leads. Do you think the fact that you and Megan knew each other allowed both of you to hit the ground running in that regard?
Keltz: Absolutely. I mean, I hope it all translates, but for us it was so nice getting to have a partner in crime that you can know and trust, and can dive in with, because these shoots are pretty quick, and pretty intense. So it’s nice to have somebody that you know you can trust, and sort of go with you through it all. It was great.

TrunkSpace: Aside from being a prince, your character is moonlighting as a public relations professional. Your mother worked in public relations, which is a kind of cool full circle scenario.
Keltz: Yeah, she did. So the character actually uses PR as a ruse. That’s sort of his cover job identity. Before she knows who he is, he says he works in PR, but then she finds out that he’s a prince, and his working title is a little bit different than the rest of us common folk. But yeah, my mom, her background, is in PR as well. She did all the publicity and PR and sort of helped in the early days of Ms. magazine, back in the day. Then she had her own PR company called Karin Lippert PR – KLPR – in New York. She did all the publicity for the “Donahue” show in its later years in New York. She’s done a lot of stuff. She’s always been involved in activism, and civil rights, and human rights as well. She works with the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in Toronto, and Democrats Abroad. She and my dad were just in Washington, marching for the March For Our Lives this past weekend.

TrunkSpace: Did you get razzed by any of your friends outside of the industry for playing a prince in “Once Upon a Prince?”
Keltz: Oh, definitely! Yeah, there was definitely a good bit of razzing and joking about it. Of course, I let them know that, “Well, maybe at some point in the movie, I become king, so they better watch what they say.” (Laughter) But no, it’s great. I’m lucky I got a nice support group both here in LA and Toronto, and some friends all over the place, that they keep you humble. They do a good job of letting you know what’s really up.

TrunkSpace: What’s great about “Once Upon a Prince” is that it’s a classic tale of love not meant to be. It’s got elements of that “Romeo and Juliet” perspective.
Keltz: Yeah, just two people who the world is trying to keep apart. The question is, whether or not they can overcome those odds. I think that since this is a Hallmark movie, the odds are in our favor, but I guess we’ll just have to see.

TrunkSpace: Why do you think Hallmark Channel continues to build its audience with movies like “Once Upon a Prince?”
Keltz: Well, I think something that is the trademark of who they are, sort of the energy with which they do all their films, and TV shows, and everything… that although there can be some dark times and dark things happening around us, people turn to entertainment to be lifted up in some way, and to escape a little bit. I think that Hallmark does a good job of bringing that warmth, and that love, and that light into people’s homes.

TrunkSpace: There’s something kind of nice about ending a story on a happy note and carrying that positive vibe with you.
Keltz: Totally. I mean, we’re all looking for our own happy ending, so I think it’s nice to get to see a few on TV.

Photo: Jonathan Keltz, Megan Park Credit: Copyright 2018 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Kailey Schwerman

TrunkSpace: You mentioned having known Megan previously. Did you two know that each other were going out for the movie or did it all just sort of happen by chance?
Keltz: No, it happened through serendipity. We hadn’t seen each other in probably seven years or so before we started shooting, so it was so nice to be able to reconnect through the film, and get a chance to catch up, and spend some time together, and reconnect.

TrunkSpace: We know that you’re also producing. When you’re working on something like “Once Upon a Prince,” which moves so quickly on the production side, do you sit back and view things with your producer’s hat on as well and apply things to your own productions and how to make them all run smoothly?
Keltz: Yeah, definitely. I think that since I’ve been doing a lot behind the camera, I can’t really not do that now. It’s something that I realized I was sort of more unconsciously doing before. Now it brings an all hands on deck mentality to the way I like to work. So if there’s anything I can help, or pitch in and do… I say the main goal whenever you’re on a production is, “How can we be the most efficient?” Because the most finite resource you’re ever dealing with is time, so how do we make use of the time and get as much as we possibly can, so that we can make this the most creative, and the most efficient project. Being able to produce and act simultaneously, I think it’s helped. They sort of helped each other out. I hope I was more help than in the way on this one. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: You just wrapped your first feature film as producer, “Acquainted.” As far as experiences go, is that one that is a mix of both excitement and stress?
Keltz: Oh absolutely, yeah. I jovially say it was the single hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. It was a labor of love, and I’m so fortunate just because making a movie is quite a feat, and I’m just so glad we were able to do it. We’re almost done with post-production now. It’s a group of us that are very close. It’s something that the director and I have been championing for the last three years, so I can’t wait to have it finally be done and to share it with the world.

TrunkSpace: Is it one of those things where it is both the single hardest thing you ever do, but at the same time, as soon as you’re wrapped you want to do it again?
Keltz: Absolutely. I think it’s very much the epitome of this industry, and so many of those that are in the creative arts. People ask me what I want to do with my time off, and basically by the Monday after I wrap shooting something, I’m already restless, so it doesn’t really stop. It feels like it’s a part of me.

Once Upon a Prince” airs tonight on Hallmark Channel.

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