June 2017


Zombees Preview


In any given hive, 20,000 to 60,000 bees swarm, going about their daily lives. In this particular hive, there are just as many bees, but the difference is, none of them are alive! ZOMBEES follows the daily antics of a group of undead bees and the hilarious (and gory) comedy that ensues.

Affable and well-liked, Nibble is cursed with an insatiable appetite. Rarely seen without an insect hanging out of his mouth, he is the dreamer of the hive and wishes so much more for himself and his people.

Nibble’s best friend, Beeswax is a dopey, forgetful bee who often gets Nibble and the rest of the hive into trouble.

Constantly tinkering in his lab, Ned’s brain is the only part of his body that isn’t decaying. Smart and innovative, he is constantly working on new gadgets and inventions to forward the undead hive’s progress.

Prone to moments of impulsive violence, Brood is like the undead Hulk… if the Hulk were a bee who was unhappy having only one stinger and so he equipped himself with a dozen more.

Ruling her hive with an iron mandible, Queen Nicot is the mother of all the bees within the hive and so the responsibility of keeping the zombees in line falls on her.

As sweet as the scalding hot honey that drips from her body, Comb is a new age zombee looking to spread the message of peace and love.


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White Suns


Artist/Band: White Suns

Members: Kevin Barry/Dana Matthiessen


Hometown: New York City

Latest Album/Release: Psychic Drift

TrunkSpace: What were the artistic goals with “Psychic Drift” and did you look to accomplish something new with the album that you did not achieve on previous recordings?
Barry: Only Dana and myself played on this record, so that was a big change from the start.  We wanted to make an electronics-based record that had the same “live” feeling as some of our other recordings. All the stuff on “Psychic Drift” was tracked live, except vocals.
Matthiessen: New logistical developments meant we needed a leaner, more versatile approach to making music, but in a way that felt like a natural extension of the band’s trajectory. Listening to the instrumental and improvisatory ventures in our prior record, it became clear that the moods that emerged from these moments were ripe for further exploration.

TrunkSpace: We read that the LP is described as “the ostensible soundtrack for the apocalypse.” Given that one can not always plan for the apocalypse, should “Psychic Drift” just be left on a continuous loop?
Barry: I think the apocalypse will be a slow burn rather than a dramatic cataclysm. You might want to have some other records in the pile too.
Matthiessen: It’s not a true apocalypse without some Carly Rae Jepsen.

TrunkSpace: The band has been together since 2006. With more than a decade together, has time changed your outlook on the band and what the future holds together?
Barry: At this point I am very grateful that we still have chances to make music together. We accomplished our modest goals long ago, so everything for the past few years has just been bonus round winnings.
Matthiessen: The band survives because it continues to be a productive vehicle for our collective creative juices. We get together, things begin to leak out, and the built-in rapport stirs them up into the next Suns dose. Without our history of playing and envisioning music together, it would not work nearly as well.

TrunkSpace: Musically, how has White Suns changed the most since 2006?
Barry: We have moved quite far away from “rock music” by now.
Matthiessen: Back then we were a rock band trying to play loosely-structured noise music; at this point I’m becoming interested in going in the reverse direction.

TrunkSpace: How did “Psychic Drift” come together and did the writing process itself differ from how you put together your previous albums?
Barry: After recording “Totem”, Rick and Dana moved away from NYC so we weren’t sure how or if the band would continue. We were asked to play a few shows after that point, and Dana and I were able to make a few new pieces while keeping logistical concerns in mind.
Matthiessen: I was recently reminded of an old interview in the Baltimore city paper… looking at how we described our songwriting style there, I dont think our core approach has really changed, just the raw materials.

TrunkSpace: We can’t help but notice via social media that your fans aren’t just casual fans but rabid fans. How long did it take White Suns to establish that fanbase and what was the turning point?
Barry: We very rarely play at large venues so I don’t know that our fanbase is too significant. But there are a few people out there who really connect with what we do. I can’t say that I’ve ever noticed a significant change… maybe a gradual increase of public interest, if I’m feeling generous.

TrunkSpace: Do you put expectations on how new music will be received once released or do you take the approach that it is out of your hands once it drops?
Barry: Definitely out of our hands. This new album is the first without any rock instruments so I can’t predict how it will be received.
Matthiessen: That said, this isn’t the first release of ours that is comfortably in the “noise” world. People can check out some of our old tape releases on bandcamp for a taste.

TrunkSpace: How do you prepare new music for a live setting? Does it change dramatically from how it lives on a record to how it takes life on a stage?
Barry: For us, our music exists mainly in a live setting. By the time we record things, we are usually about ready to stop playing the material live. We’ve found that testing things during performances is the best way to cut the fat off compositions.
Matthiessen: For better or worse, I’ve never been especially interested in making music that can’t be easily reproduced in the flesh.

TrunkSpace: As far as the band is concerned, do you prefer one setting over the other… being in the studio or being on stage?
Barry: In my younger days, I preferred playing shows by far. After learning more about the craft of recording from the great engineers we’ve worked with over the years, I can say that I find both settings equally stimulating.
Matthiessen: Every stage of producing recorded music beyond the initial stages involves a level of anal attention and delicacy that I find hard to enjoy, however similar it can ultimately be to writing.

TrunkSpace: Is there a particular type of live setting where White Suns feels most at home? Is it a small club? Is it a festival stage? Is it something else altogether?
Barry: For me, the more abnormal the situation is, the more exciting. Our normal setting would be in a small DIY setting, which I still love.
Matthiessen: I think we’re ready for the arena. Or opening for Stryper.

TrunkSpace: What else can fans of White Suns look forward to for the rest of 2017?
Barry: We are playing a stretch of shows on the west coast in July and maybe a few other special ones later in the year.

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The Featured Presentation

Brian Sacca


He’s often the straight-faced everyman of the island in the TBS series “Wrecked” but Brian Sacca is so much more. With a warm comedic delivery that rivals that of John C. Reilly, he has the kind of impeccable timing that can elevate a joke and an entire scene. As a writer/producer who broke into the industry as part of the comedy duo Pete and Brian, the dual-threat of creativity has seen all sides of a joke, building the fundamentals (funnymentals?) for a long career of making audiences laugh.

We recently sat down with Sacca to discuss the current TV landscape, what makes a show funny, and… vampires?

TrunkSpace: TV is an amazingly abundant place right now for quality content. What side of you is more exited about its potential, actor Brian or writer/producer Brian?
Sacca: That’s a great question. I put it this way, writing and producing is incredibly satisfactory. The ability to create an idea and cultivate it and see it come to screen is unmatched. That said, acting is so much easier. You get to go and say your lines and be funny and eat a lot of food. It’s fantastic. (Laughter)

So I have two answers to that question. I love where TV is at right now because there are so many great shows out there and I’m very proud and happy to be a part of “Wrecked.” I love to be able to shoot with my friends for two and a half months every year and I want to continue to do that and work on other shows as well. But, I’m very excited about the writing aspect. In fact, I just finished developing a new idea that I’m going to take out very soon. A lot of the work I do in writing is also in features and I have a feature that is right now going into production in the fall, so I’m very excited about that too.

As a guy who moved to Los Angeles November 1, 2007, the day of the writer’s strike…

TrunkSpace: Perfect timing!
Sacca: (Laughter) Exactly. I am just excited that there’s just a lot of content being made right now. There are so many of my friends making great stuff and it just makes me happy.

TrunkSpace: And what’s great is that it’s not really restricted anymore by any sort of time frames. Yes, there’s still a TV buying season, but really, you can a new series out whenever now.
Sacca: Exactly. If you have an idea that works, just go take it out and see if people like it. And if people don’t like it, you can create another one. I feel lucky that this is happening and that I’m working right now.

TrunkSpace: It’s funny how it has played out because there was a time when it was sort of looked down upon for actors to work in TV and now everybody wants to act in television.
Sacca: You know, there’s an interesting other side to that too, which I hear a lot of actors in LA talk about. Now that everybody wants to work in TV, including big stars, it’s a lot harder for an up and comer to get work or a seasoned character actor to get work. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a breakdown for a role and I’m like, “I know that some big movie star is going to come in and want to play this role.” It happens every time. Because it’s like, why not do TV? There’s so much amazing drama out there that everybody wants to be a part of and experience. I get it.

TrunkSpace: So on the comedy side of things, being a comedy writer yourself, did it take some getting used to on “Wrecked” to work within that medium from somebody else’s script? Did it take some discipline to not dive in and rework things?
Sacca: Well, I think I’m lucky in the fact that on “Wrecked” the Shipley brothers, who are the showrunners and creators, welcome that kind of feedback. I would say almost all of the actors on the show are also writers or perform in some other comedic aspect and so in a weird way, it’s almost expected that we’re going to come there with ideas of our own and jokes of our own. There are so many moments where we come into a scene and it’s one thing and then all of the actors start doing some stuff and it totally shifts into another thing. Luckily the Shipley brothers are super supportive of that and encourage it. But also, they know that if we’re taking the scene into a crazy ass different direction, they’re going to pull it back and be like, “Hey, we need THESE lines here.” And we’ll be like, “Okay, we’ll say those lines, but then we’re going in this crazy direction.” (Laughter) So it’s fun.

And TBS is supportive of that too. In the first season, there was a bit that I did in one of the later episodes where I twirled a fake gun like a gunslinger… an invisible gun. It wasn’t in the script and I was like, “This will be a fun thing to do.” I did it, a small version of it, and Zach Cregger was like, “You have to do more of that. Do this!” And then the Shipleys came over after another take and they were like, “You should do this and this and this.” And it just kept going on and on. And to be honest, when we were doing it I was like, “Is this even going to make the cut?” It was so long. We were doing takes where I’d be doing that for a minute and a half. And then TBS saw it and loved it and they were like, “We’re going to give you guys an extra minute just so we can have all of that bizarre gunslinging.” (Laughter) So, everybody is pretty supportive of the collaboration.

TrunkSpace: Do you think a show like “Wrecked” could have existed on television when you moved out to LA in 2007?
Sacca: No. And I think it’s because, especially in 2007, it was the height of unscripted. It was when unscripted was blowing up and every network was like, “Why are we going to spend money on scripted shows when we can make something for a quarter of the cost that gets big numbers.” And I think “Wrecked” was a risk for TBS to greenlight. It can be seen, especially in the first season, as being heavily connected to “Lost.” People even said it was a parody. It shifted away from that and just became a survival comedy. Obviously there’s still connections to “Lost” or “Lost Boys” or “Gilligan’s Island.”

Sorry. Not “Lost Boys.” “Lord of the Flies!”

TrunkSpace: (Laughter) You had us wondering there for a second. There’s vampires?!?!
Sacca: (Laughter) No vampires! No vampires!

TrunkSpace: Season 2 has taken a dramatic turn!
Sacca: (Laughter) Exactly. They were like, “We got the survivalist demo. Now let’s get the vampire demo and then maybe we’ll go zombies!”

But, I remember the TV that was getting greenlight at that time and it was also the recession so networks didn’t have the money that they have now. I would have been surprised if something like this got greenlit back then. Looking at the comedies that were on then, they were the safest comedies.

TrunkSpace: What’s nice now is that it seems like networks give their shows a bit more time to grow and develop an audience. And maybe that’s also a sign of the times with there being so much content on the air.
Sacca: Right, which is exciting too. That’s another thing that I feel very grateful for with TBS. For basic cable we had really great numbers last year. Maybe we didn’t have that kind of social media, crazy engagement stuff, but we still had a lot of viewers and I hope that we can retain a lot of those viewers. TBS is like that with all of their shows. They’re behind them and they’re building a brand of different comedy.

TrunkSpace: So again, going back to the idea of comedy, what is it that resonates with an audience… is it finding the funny in a situation or finding a funny situation?
Sacca: Oh man. That’s the age old question… what makes a joke funny?

I hate to not give you a straight answer, but I think it’s a little bit of both. What I like about the show and I think where comedy works really well most of the time is when the stakes are high. And that doesn’t necessarily mean life or death. It does in “Wrecked” a lot of the times, but when the character’s objective is the most important thing in the world, I feel like a lot of great comedy comes out of that. And I think you see that a lot in “Wrecked.” It’s a life or death show because it’s a survival show and I think that heightens the stakes for every character involved, which then just amplifies the jokes. And even if those jokes aren’t the most aggressive jokes… like going back to my gun twirling thing. That’s just a funny aside, but what makes it funny is that we were in this crazy life or death situation. The scene that we’re playing it in is that we’re hunting for food because we’re starving to death, so the fact that I’m doing this silly little thing within the context of this life or death situation… these high stakes… I think makes it funny.

Wrecked 107- 25333_008

TrunkSpace: Well, and that relates to the real world as well because when you’re dealing with something heavy, people always say, “You’ll look back on this and laugh.”
Sacca: (Laughter) Exactly.

TrunkSpace: And of course, it’s easier to laugh at other people who are going through heavy shit. (Laughter)
Sacca: (Laughter) That’s true. You can kind of say that about the state of our country right now. Hopefully we’ll look back on this and laugh. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: Assuming we will physically be able to. (Laughter)
Sacca: Thank you. Well played.

Hopefully we will still exist in the future and can look back on this and laugh.

TrunkSpace: OR, artificial intelligence can laugh at our expense.
Sacca: (Laughter) When singularity happens, the computers will look back and have a computerized chuckle.

TrunkSpace: (Laughter) So with season 2 of “Wrecked” kicking off, what can viewers expect from the castaways?
Sacca: So we start season 2 at the exact same moment that we ended season 1. And not to spoil, but we end season 1 with some pirates coming to the island to try to find me, my character, because it turns out that I’m absurdly wealthy. So the pirates try to ransom me and it doesn’t necessarily go as planned and they… I’m not going to give away too much… but I’ll say that they decide to stay for a little bit.

TrunkSpace: Being pirates, hopefully they brought rum.
Sacca: Well, that kind of comes into play. (Laughter)

I will say that this season has a really big turn in the middle of it where things change pretty dramatically.

TrunkSpace: And that’s when the vampires come, right? (Laughter)
Sacca: Of course! That’s when the vampires come. (Laughter)

Season 2 of “Wrecked” premieres tonight on TBS.

And to our knowledge, there are no vampires.

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Between The Sheets

Carrie Firestone


In our new feature, Between the Sheets, TrunkSpace picks the imaginative brains of authors to break down what it takes to create the various worlds and characters they breathe life into via the tools of their trade… sheets of paper. While technology continues to advance and change the pop culture landscape, the written word has remained one of the most consistent and imaginative art forms.

This time out we’re chatting with “The Unlikelies” author Carrie Firestone to discuss her thoughts on the YA genre, her soul-age, and how her characters inhabit her while they’re being written.

TrunkSpace: We read that your first manuscript was rejected based on initial queries and you ended up scrapping it. Do you think you’ll ever revisit that particular story or have you officially written it (no pun intended) off?
Firestone: I don’t think I’ll ever revisit the book as it is, but I’ve already harvested parts of the story for other books. I re-read it recently and it’s pretty rough!

TrunkSpace: Prior to pursuing writing full time, you were a teacher. When you turned your attention to your own writing, did you approach it as a student and try to learn as much as you could about the storytelling process and the business itself?
Firestone: I think I approached writing like I approached teaching. I jumped into teaching headfirst when I flew to Taiwan five days after college to teach English without knowing any Chinese (or how to teach). I eventually went back to school to hone my teaching skills. Similarly, I wrote the first novel, then began to attend conferences and research the business. I think teaching and writing are both professions that require a good amount of instinct combined with some dedicated craftwork.

TrunkSpace: Looking at lessons learned, what do you think is the most important thing aspiring writers need to consider outside of having a great concept/idea?
Firestone: I would definitely encourage writers to keep going with that great concept until they have a finished manuscript. We’re often seduced mid-draft by exciting new ideas. You can always scribble the new ideas in a notebook and return to them later. I know too many writers who have a drawer full of half-finished manuscripts and lots of “great ideas,” but no finished book.

TrunkSpace: YA is a term that is thrown around quite a bit these days and it seems the actual definition of it blurs based on who you ask. In your opinion, what does YA mean and who is the audience? (Not necessarily age demographic, but the profile of the reader.)
Firestone: To me, YA fiction explores universal human experiences just like any other fiction. The characters in YA books are often discovering who they are and how they fit into this world for the very first time. But YA books are for people who want to read about love and loss and fear and disappointment and self-discovery and pain and courage and adventure and all the things that make us human.

TrunkSpace: Your new book “The Unlikelies” focuses on five teens. What is the key to being able to write not only for teens, but, in the voice of teens? How do you capture that very specific time period in a young person’s life and make it reflective for the reader?
Firestone: I truly feel like my soul-age is 19. My daughter is 13 and I’m surrounded by teens, so I have access to the voice of the modern teen. But to capture the essence of this stage of development, I always remind myself that teens are people with a range of personality types, and experiences, and layers of complicated emotions. There is no such thing as a “typical” teen. I hope my characters illustrate that.

TrunkSpace: We saw that “The Unlikelies” was compared to “The Breakfast Club.” That was a film that completely shined a spotlight on various teen personalities of the 1980s. Have teens changed all that much since then when it really comes down to it?
Firestone: I was a teen in the 1980s and “The Breakfast Club” was one of my favorite movies. But while that movie and many others in the ‘80s portrayed teens as one-dimensional “types,” we were as complicated and multi-dimensional as teens are today. I don’t think teens have changed over the generations. Technology may give them more access to the world, for better or for worse, but my daughter and her friends are very much like we were in the glorious 80s.

TrunkSpace: You have a number of book signing events scheduled throughout the summer. As bookstores continue to disappear, how do you think that will impact the book business, particularly on the marketing side?
Firestone: Wow. That question makes me sad since I’ve spent much of my life in bookstores. I think the Internet has created an enormous collective of book lovers who share, reflect, discuss, and promote books organically. I hope we will always have bookstores, but I’m guessing there will be more creative ways to share stories and have access to authors via social media.

TrunkSpace: Regarding the process, is writing a labor of love for you or does it feel more like labor? Do you enjoy the process?
Firestone: I love writing. My high school journals are living proof that writing is therapeutic and cathartic. When I get an idea and can sit for hours uninterrupted as characters tap out their stories through my fingers, it’s pure magic. Editing, on the other hand, can be brutally slow and painful. I love planning and throwing parties. So for me, writing is like the middle of the party when we’re all dancing and running around eating guacamole and cupcakes. Before we know it, it’s 3 am and we have no idea where the hours went. Editing is the party clean up the next day. It needs to happen, but nobody likes cleaning jello off the carpet.

TrunkSpace: And what does that process look like? What are the ideal conditions for putting in a good day of writing?
Firestone: My perfect writing day goes like this: Drop off kids at school. Go to Barnes & Noble cafe. Talk to my buddies who hang out there every day. Grab a stack of books and read a bunch of first pages to get the creative juices flowing. Get a coffee. Move to the corner (tell my buddies not to let me talk). Start typing. Text a friend to come hang out for twenty minutes at noon. Back to writing. Leave at three with 5,000 words done!

TrunkSpace: Do you self-edit as you write?
Firestone: No. The characters don’t let me. They want to get their stories out and they’re kind of pushy. I literally feel like I don’t have much control over the story. I don’t know what’s coming. It really is as if the characters inhabit my body. So my first draft is always a grammatical mess. (The characters don’t seem to care about grammar).

TrunkSpace: Where are you the hardest on yourself as a writer?
Firestone: I’m hard on myself when I turn in a story to my editor and wake up in the middle of the night feeling like it wasn’t the best story it could be. I won’t read my book after it’s released because there will always be ways I could have made it better. That part sucks.

TrunkSpace: What are you working on now and what will people be able to read next?
Firestone: I’m working on a couple of projects aimed at inspiring young people to share their own acts of homegrown heroism (like “The Unlikelies”). I do a lot of community organizing work and would love to start an Unlikely Revolution. I’m also working on several new book ideas. Stay tuned!

“The Unlikelies” is available now from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

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Listen Up

Katie Von Schleicher

Photo By: Chris Baker

Much like her music, Katie Von Schleicher is an open book. In sharing thoughts on her songwriting process, the Maryland native offers insight into the inner workings of her soul, a place that sparks of creativity but that also has a dark, melancholy side. She isn’t sure if sadness is a direct influence on her art, but admits to going there from time to time. It is an emotion that is audibly apparent when listening to her debut full-length album “Shitty Hits.”

We recently sat down with Von Schleicher to discuss her recent European tour, performing in Manchester two days after the bombing, and how therapy has made her a more confident musician.

TrunkSpace: You recently returned from a European tour, right?
Von Schleicher: Yeah. I was opening for Aldous Harding in Europe.

TrunkSpace: What was that experience like?
Von Schleicher: Oh my God… it was such a luxury. It was so nice. We had a tour manager. I’ve never had that before.

TrunkSpace: We saw you post a picture of him on Twitter. He seemed super psyched. (Laughter)
Von Schleicher: (Laughter) He’s so funny. It was interesting. My boyfriend is my bandmate so it was me and him and then Aldous and her boyfriend are bandmates, so it was two couples and a tour manager.

TrunkSpace: Oh, man. He must have felt like the super fifth wheel.
Von Schleicher: (Laughter) Yeah. He would FaceTime his wife, so it was all good.

But, I’ve never toured in Europe before so that was a pretty incredible experience.

TrunkSpace: Did you find a particular country or region to be more drawn to your music than others?
Von Schleicher: I’d say major cities. In London the show went really well. I’ve only been there to go to the Globe Theater and mess around in whatever their Times Square is, so it was nice. Now I have a label over there in Full Time Hobby, so it didn’t feel touristy, which was really nice. That show was at Omeara and it was a sold out show. The thing about Aldous Harding audiences is that they’re there to listen, at least that was my experience. Everyone was silent, so it was pretty amazing in London. Paris was also really nice. And I’d say Hamburg was another really good show and Berlin.

I don’t know what it is about German people, but they clap a really long time after the set is over. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: Europe has been going through so much lately and yet the people there seem so strong and defiant against the idea of being scared.
Von Schleicher: I definitely got a sense of a different reality that people face in Europe. Whatever we’re saying, our country is not filled with insurgents. When I was in Calais and we were crossing over to England… we were on the highway and we hit a bit of traffic and all of a sudden these guys, like ten guys, just ran out into the middle of the highway and were pulling at the backs of trucks trying to get in and smuggle their way over. It was really strange. We weren’t listening to music or anything. It was just this weird silence of when something is happening but you don’t understand really what’s happening. And then I couldn’t really get that image out of my head the whole time. I don’t deal with, in a daily life, driving down the highway where I see people fighting for their lives.

And then we played Manchester two days after the bombing.

TrunkSpace: That must have been unnerving.
Von Schleicher: I felt really somber about the show. Not tense because of safety, but just a little bit on edge.

TrunkSpace: When you’re playing in that type of atmosphere, does it change the way you deliver your songs in a live setting?
Von Schleicher: That’s a good question. I think it did, but I don’t know if it was in the right way. I think I felt a little more hesitant almost. My songs can be pretty dark lyrically and there’s something that can also be self-indulgent to that. Or maybe you feel that it’s self-indulgent when there’s an actual tragedy in a town that you’re visiting. So my songs are pretty dark and my banter can be pretty irreverent and crass and jokey in between and I didn’t feel like that was the right tone I wanted to put forth. But that may have been the wrong impression that I had. I just felt hesitant.

TrunkSpace: The people of Europe seem to be strong in that they will not lock themselves inside. They are still going out. They are still living their lives.
Von Schleicher: Yeah, and they are serious music fans. It was a complete luxury to be able to go over there and tour, especially when you play New York shows and although New York audiences are filled with great audiences and great musicians, people keep it closer to the vest here.

TrunkSpace: Well, and New York must be difficult too just because there is so much competition, not only in terms of live music but entertainment in general.
Von Schleicher: Yeah. I definitely don’t feel like I’m one of New York’s main attractions. (Laughter)

I think there’s something really humbling about it though, which can either be soul-crushingly humbling or adorably humbling. Going somewhere, having a tour manager, staying in a hotel, having a green room… if you play enough shows in New York just being you at clubs and then you experience all of that, you’re like, “Wow, this is more than I even need.” So, maybe it’s good to get humbled to the scene here.

TrunkSpace: So when it comes to music as a whole, how important is it in your life in terms of needing to get it out of you?
Von Schleicher: That’s a question that I think I only doubt the answer to when I’m feeling depressed or worried about my future or whatever sort of existential feelings. I need it, but I’m not a tortured artist or anything though either. I’m trying to come to terms with the idea that I need it, but do I need to commodify it. Is that something I also need? If I get depressed for a few days, I won’t play music for whatever reason… I’ll feel extra self-critical or maybe I’m just lazy or I’m doing other stuff and I don’t play. And I do feel that it affects me, but I don’t wake up and just go, “MUSIC!” I’m very attuned to sound and silence is one of the best ones as well.

Photo By: Nick Jost

TrunkSpace: On those days that you’re not tapping into the creative aspects of music, do you still rely on it as a listener?
Von Schleicher: I keep having to remind myself to listen to music more. At work we listen to music constantly, so I am listening to a lot, but right now I’m kind of in need of some new music. I feel like I’ve hit a point where I’ve listened to my favorite albums a ton of times and obviously that ebb and flow occurs.

TrunkSpace: For a lot of people that’s seasonal. Summer becomes autumn and suddenly you want to tap into some of your favorite music.
Von Schleicher: Yeah. Everything for me is cyclical and seasonal. Writing happens in seasons. Editing or producing or whatever it is. I think the expectation with being an artist is that you’re irrepressible. Every day you’re T.S. Eliot and you go work on poetry from 10 AM to 7 PM or something. (Laughter) But I think a lot of it is more cyclical than that… the listening and the making of it. I think you need to take time off and absorb other things too.

TrunkSpace: So in terms of songwriting, when are you at your best? What mindset do you need to be in?
Von Schleicher: The simple one is just, feeling open. There’s an openness that I need to feel to feel creative and I go through phases of feeling not open. Sometimes I feel like I keep reading the same books or doing the same things on a loop. Right now I’m thinking about another album and I feel a lot more observant than I do when I’m not thinking about a new album. Or maybe I have to be observant to even think about doing it. And I’m just reading and walking around and looking at stuff and being like, “What’s my question?” That sounds really trite, but I get onto some kind of thematic idea that propels me to create it as a body of work… as an album… not just a group of songs.

TrunkSpace: A lot of times you hear songwriters say that happiness is a creative killer. Do you feel that applies to your music?
Von Schleicher: (Laughter) No. My songs are pretty sad though. Some people write when they’re only happy. I’m in Central Park right now and I’m between therapy appointments, which is my new life right now. I’ve decided to go to therapy and I’ve been curious about the idea of anti-depressants too. And I don’t know… I pick life over the idea of me being a brilliantly tortured artist. Whatever that means. I’m 30, so I’m a little bit older, and the desperation that I felt when I was like 22 to just get the songs out there and be a legend or whatever you think when you’re listening to a lot of Lou Reed… now I feel like I just want to be happy to be myself and be around people on a daily basis. So that’s more important. I don’t know if it helps the songwriting or hurts it.

TrunkSpace: So do you mean that some people may be hesitant to take anti-depressants because they’d be worried it would turn a switch off on their creative brain?
Von Schleicher: Possibly. Yeah. Everyone has a different philosophy, but I feel like songwriters and poets tend to have a lot of philosophies about their existence. I feel hesitant to take them. I’m totally on the fence. Not because it will mess up my songwriting, but just because then I’ll be dependent on a thing. I don’t know. It’s a tough call, but I feel like I’ll always have something I’m probably complaining about in case sadness really does influence the songwriting. (Laughter)

I will say that going to therapy made me a more confident person and I think being more confident makes you better to other people and more honest. But also, it makes you able to produce music, so it’s not just the songwriting but it’s also the confidence to make an album that has more moving parts and things beyond just the sad genesis of the songs.

Shitty Hits” is due July 28 from Ba Da Bing Records.


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The Featured Presentation

Adam Croasdell

Photo By: Elisabeth Granli

There is a lot of drama swirling about in the historically-inspired “Reign” and Adam Croasdell has been in the thick of it since joining the show as Bothwell in its fourth and final season. Prior to becoming a suitor to Mary, Queen of Scots, the Zimbabwe native appeared in fan-favorite series like “NCIS,” “Once Upon a Time,” and “Supernatural.” Studying and performing throughout the world enabled Croasdell to embrace all cultures and points of view, an exercise in acceptance that he has applied to his acting, particularly in the process of discovering new characters.

We recently sat down with Croasdell to discuss how there is no such thing as a bad guy, managing the time crunch of television, and how he was instantaneously accepted into the “Supernatural” fandom after appearing as Norse god Baldur.

TrunkSpace: From what we read, you’ve lived all over the world. From an acting perspective, has that exposure to different people and cultures enabled you to better find who characters are?
Croasdell: Yeah. I’ve lived all over the world. I was born and raised in Africa to English parents and then lived in various countries across there and then in the UK before coming across to the United States. I think it’s a good question because what I often say to people is that if one has the ability or means to travel than it should be mandatory for the very reason that it really gives you an insight into what makes other people tick. It makes you much more tolerant of differences and much more celebratory of different ideas. I think when a person unfortunately is lost very much into their own culture, whatever that is, it can lead to problems because they believe that their way is the right way or the only way of doing things. I think it’s kind of a myopic view. So I feel very lucky to have been able to travel so much and to have lived in so many places. I think it certainly has informed the way that I approach a role and a character.

I said at a convention recently during a question and answer session that I play a lot of quirky characters… eccentric characters. A lot of “bad guys.” And to me that’s an unsatisfactory idea… the idea of a bad guy. Because to me a bad guy is somebody who has followed a perfectly natural chain of thought processes to arrive at the action that he’s doing, which appear bad, but actually it’s completely normal and attributable to his worldview and life experience. So I try very hard not to judge any character that I’m playing because it’s perfectly natural and normal for them to be doing the thing that they’re doing and I find that fascinating. I think I probably wouldn’t have arrived at that had I not done so much traveling and lived in so many places.

TrunkSpace: Because at the end of the day, the “bad guy” himself doesn’t view his actions as bad.
Croasdell: Quite right. It’s completely normal what they’re doing. It’s completely rational and I find that fascinating. The stereotypical views that we have of other people and even people in our own lives… it’s just a shorthand and lazy thinking. I find it quite fascinating to be able to delve into the mindset beyond that.

TrunkSpace: So in terms of those various places that you have lived, did you also train in those different locations and did the education itself differ from place to place?
Croasdell: Yes. I trained in South Africa and it was a very interesting time. The ANC had just come into power after years of apartheid. It was a very fascinating time in history. I was very proud to had been there for that. I hail from Zimbabwe so the whole time I was growing up, I had a racially-integrated school system and social structure. South Africa at that time was a little bit more closed off to that type of thinking, but by the time that I had arrived, Nelson Mandela had just come to power and was the new president. It was a very exciting time. So it was interesting watching all that in flux around me and the new order coming in. It was a privilege to watch it happen. And certainly training in South Africa you are given a very broad training but also specifically in the classics with English playwrights and American playwrights. Of course, we had the African playwrights as well, which we studied, and modes of African performance, which are quite different and really fascinating. I was very happy to have received from both the western world and from Africa as well and everything Africa has to give. It’s a culture filled with great storytellers and musicians and poets. It’s incredibly rich and diverse, so I think I received a very good training indeed. I was very lucky.

TrunkSpace: You’ve been working steadily in film and television since the late 90s. How have you seen the way the industry approaches storytelling change over the years?
Croasdell: When I think about the late 80s and early 90s, it was a sort of a lighter age of performance, especially on TV. The characters were very likable, but they had A thing and they did THAT thing that they did and we loved watching the show for that. Now we have this Golden Age of television, which is truly incredible. The quality that is coming out of TV these days is astonishing and it has become an entirely different beast. The characters have much more depth. The heroes are anti-heroes. The female-driven stories are incredible… stories for women by women. It is an amazing smorgasbord of phenomenal writing and phenomenal characters right now. It’s a great time to be an actor.

I was saying this the other day, that there is a fair amount of 80s nostalgia that has come about because of it, I think. In the 80s and early 90s there was a sort of innocence about television, and maybe even films, where things were pretty straightforward and the hero was pretty straightforward and the bad guy was pretty straightforward. We had a lot of fun watching what the hero did to the bad guy and what the bad guy did to the hero. That was the mode. Now it’s hyper-realistic and much grittier. There’s a lot more sex and ultra-violence, often that speaks of the realities of this planet. But it’s interesting that it has lead to a sort of 80s nostalgia and you can see it in “Guardians of the Galaxy” and where they’re rebooting all of these 80s TV shows all of the time. And they often fail, generally, because people have moved on. You sometimes get it in the movies where they hit massively like “Guardians of the Galaxy,” but in TV, I think it has moved on. I’m watching “Breaking Bad” at the moment, binge watching it, and really, what Bryan Cranston manages to do with his character is astonishing. I remember watching him on “Malcolm in the Middle” and sort of going, “Okay, cool…” and now you watch him in “Breaking Bad” and the depth of characterization that you can go to in today’s TV world… it would be a dream to get a reoccurring on something like that. The writing is so good these days. It’s an utter gift and to be able to go into the headspace of the characters in a way that you never have the time to do in a film and just develop it and develop it out… Bryan Cranston does it magnificently and deserves all of the accolades for it. It seems to be an example of the way TV has gone and binge watching on Netflix is just so new too and we want to see it ALL immediately. You can get a really good feel for the same character and their arc.

TrunkSpace: So does it feel like things have flipped a bit and working in TV has sort of become the new version of film… especially from a production aspect as the medium continues to grow?
Croasdell: Yeah, I think there’s a lot to that. Although, in my experience with TV acting, you still are so on the clock. They want you to bang out the performance quickly. I did a movie back in South Africa a couple of years ago called “Hatchet Hour” and we had the amazing luck to be able to rehearse for 10 days ahead of shooting. That’s sort of almost unheard of even in movies these days, but you certainly don’t get that in TV. You get nowhere near that. You might have a rehearsal or two rehearsals and then you’re up and running and you’ve got to bang out the scene. Although it’s nice to think of it being more like movies, in terms of the process for the actor, it’s not necessarily because time is money and you’ve got to get on it.

But that’s an interesting challenge for the actor because you have to come to work, as I hope one always would, very prepared. You have to be ready to deliver the goods almost instantaneously. And if you get a second take or a third take or a fourth take, if you’re lucky, you have a few ideas in mind to try things. You have to almost train like an athlete to do that type of acting.

TrunkSpace: So when you’re in that mindset and working within that focus, does it change things up when you’re working on a series and a new director is suddenly involved in the process and by doing so, alters the tone and dynamic?
Croasdell: Absolutely. It’s always very interesting when you do ongoing drama and the director changes. Obviously it should be a wonderful dance where they come in with their ideas, which are often brilliant, and then mix with your ideas. What I realized for myself is that, a lot of the directors, some of who may be great fans of the show and know exactly what’s going on, often they’re directors-for-hire, so they’re out and about in the world doing other projects as well. What I finally realized was that nobody knows the character or your character’s arc better than you and the writers, so often times you have to approach the director and go, “That’s a great idea, but my character wouldn’t really do that.” And you can tell them the reasons why because no one is thinking about it more than you. It’s always about being open to them and their vision, but you help each other.

TrunkSpace: So as you look over your body of work, what project had the greatest impact on your career?
Croasdell: Well, the one that immediately comes to mind… and it’s probably not for the reasons that you’re thinking of… I was on a soap in England called “EastEnders,” which is a very well known soap over there. It’s watched by the majority of the country. I had the good fortune of landing the role of the doctor on the show and that was for a year ahead of me coming to the US. I always wanted to come out to the States and getting that job, which was a high profile job in the UK, provided me with the money and some of the profile needed to create a case for my green card to get me to the United States. I always wanted to come to the United States because over the course of living in the UK for many years, I was flown out to the States about four or five times to test for various pilots and I came down to the wire for some, probably the biggest one of which was “Prison Break.” After that, I thought that I had to be present in the United States, and so I went about wanting to get here and did all of my application stuff. But really it was “EastEnders” that allowed me to come here.

TrunkSpace: You appeared on “Supernatural” many years ago. It was one episode, but an episode that many in the fandom love and in a time period where viewers consider the show at its peak as far as storytelling goes. Has that fandom stuck with you?
Croasdell: Yeah. It really has. And that’s the thing that’s been surprising and delightful about the American TV shows. I have found fanbases on “Reign,” “Once Upon a Time,” and also “Supernatural” to be just phenomenal. Phenomenal fanbases filled with really phenomenal people. You get welcomed instantaneously as part of the gang, certainly on “Supernatural.” I was playing the Norse god Baldur and I had some great scenes with the Winchester lads. It was my first job after having arrived in the States. Literally, I arrived in the States and 10 days later I was in Canada shooting.

Croasdell in “Supernatural”

TrunkSpace: You come to the States to shoot and you’re sent to Canada!
Croasdell: (Laughter) Yeah. Actually, a lot of my jobs have been up in Canada. A lot of my work. “Reign,” “Supernatural,” “Once Upon a Time”… and another as well. I love going up to Canada. I love it.

But yeah, the fans are phenomenal. Just the other night there was a book launch for a “Supernatural” book that a lot of the actors had contributed to. I was there and people were coming up to me like, “Hey, you’re Baldur!” I was like, “How can you even remember that? That was like seven years ago!” (Laughter)

It’s a phenomenon that I was totally unused to, being an English actor. There’s not a fanbase in the same way over there. People play it a bit cool in the UK sometimes. Here, if people like a show, they really like a show and they’re not afraid to say it, which is wonderful for the actors.

The series finale of “Reign” airs tonight on The CW.

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Next Up

Viktoria Vinyarska


Name: Viktoria Vinyarska

Hometown: Lviv, Ukraine

Current Location: Los Angeles

TrunkSpace: When did you know that you wanted to act for a living?
Vinyarska: From a very early age, my grandmother started taking me to plays in Ukraine. From the theater to the opera to the ballet, she had me experience it all. It was being surrounded by such energy, such poise, that inspired me to pursue a career in acting.

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular performance or actor/actress from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Vinyarska: When I was about 10 years old, my grandmother took me to see “Swan Lake,” which became my biggest inspiration.

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?
Vinyarska: When I was 17 I started taking acting classes at William Esper Studio in Manhattan. Following that, I started at UCONN where I studied Dramatic Arts and Psychology. Characters are what inspire me, and being an artist, I want my work to move people, so the study of the human brain and personality became my focus.

TrunkSpace: When did you decide to move away from your home and pursue acting as a career? How old were you at the time?
VinyarskaI moved to Los Angeles when I turned 21. There wasn’t really a specific moment that triggered the move, it had just always been a dream of mine and I was tired of waiting around for that “right time.” I was ready for a change so I just took the dive.

TrunkSpace: Was that move an easy transition for you initially? How long did it take you to feel at home and find a good support group of friends and peers?Vinyarska: Well, truthfully, I didn’t have many friends in the town I grew up in. I spent most of my time alone, expressing myself through the classes that I’d take and the plays I would read. I’d get lost in their stories, the unique characters, and live vicariously through them. So, I think because of that, I wasn’t afraid of needing to make friends when I first moved here. I enrolled in classes and started auditioning so before I knew it, I was building a big circle of friends that shared similar passions and interests. That really helped to make LA immediately feel like home. This city has been a really great experience for me on a personal and professional level.

TrunkSpace: What has been been your biggest break in terms of a particular role or project thus far?
Vinyarska: A short film that I starred in, “Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight,” premiered at Sundance Film Festival, and was selected into the “Best of the Best” category.

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?
VinyarskaI love exploring all types of characters and working with a variety of different genres so there’s not really one in particular that I’d say I connect with more. I do, however, love the fantastical world that Tim Burton creates. It would be a dream to work with him.

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength an actor/actress can have outside of acting ability itself?
Vinyarska: I personally believe that a good attitude and an open mind, or willingness, to tackle whatever obstacles come your way, is the greatest strength an actor can possess.

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your acting career? Where would you like your path to lead?
Vinyarska: My ultimate dream is to be able to work on myself and by doing so, create art that hopefully inspires people.

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring actor/actress who is considering moving away from home to pursue their dream?
Vinyarska: My advice to an aspiring actor would be to just go for it. If this is your dream, your passion, then believe in that and never let yourself doubt what you can do.

TrunkSpace: Where can people (and casting directors) learn more about you?
I’m on social media @v_v_vici and you can check out my demo reel here:
Or find me at IMDB at:

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Imprinted #1




You’ve read the stories of near death experiences…

Reunions with lost loved ones. Blinding white light. The sensation of the human soul being rocketed back into the body.

These all-too-familiar first person accounts have been told for as long as people have discussed the possibility of an afterlife. But are they legitimate?

Imprinted tells the story of Lillian, a young reverse reaper closed off from humanity, whose entire purpose is to guide those souls not yet destined for the other side back into their bodies. When the balance between life and death is disturbed, Lillian is forced to carry the weight of the entire world on her shoulders and protect every living soul on the planet or else sit by and watch as all of humanity dies.


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The Featured Presentation

Michael McGrady

Photo By: Shimon Karmel

Michael McGrady of “Ray Donovan” and “Beyond” has seen the entertainment industry go through numerous changes throughout his storied career. Many of those changes have been improvements based on innovation, ultimately leading to what is currently being called the Golden Age of Television. Technology has advanced, making it possible to translate any concept imaginable to the screen. Storytelling itself has changed, not only becoming more realistic and gritty, but profoundly more character-driven. And with so many different platforms presenting original content to the public, the number of jobs for actors has greatly increased. But even as the positives of this prolonged revolution continue to outweigh the negatives, there is always a voice softly speaking inside the head of the nostalgic mind.

Are we moving too quickly for our own good?

We recently sat down with McGrady to discuss the continuously-evolving entertainment industry, how he would have never gotten away with so many F bombs 20 years ago, and why now, at 57, he finds himself being drawn to the past.

TrunkSpace: One of the things we love about the current TV landscape is that an actor can do a show like “Ray Donovan” and a show like “Beyond,” both at the same time and reach different audiences. It wasn’t always that way, right?
McGrady: No. Absolutely not. That’s why it’s such a fun time right now for actors. There’s so much airtime out there… so much product. My gosh, back when I started back in the 80s, I think FOX was new, believe it or not. There weren’t 500 channels. You had maybe a handful of dramas that you could do on three or four different networks and that was it. You could maybe do a film here or there… indie films weren’t even big yet during the early 80s. They were just kind of coming on the scene then. So for me now, after three decades of doing this, I had no idea the landscape would be so wide and so deep.

TrunkSpace: Back in the 80s it must have been difficult to land consistent guest spots because once you were on a show, they weren’t going to have you back to play someone else… and with so few shows on the air, the ceiling must have been low?
McGrady: Yeah. That’s absolutely true. You would do a handful of guest stars that year and unless you were a series regular on the show, that would be pretty much it. They wouldn’t ask you back. Every once in awhile there were a few shows back then like “Murder, She Wrote” and a handful of others that would ask you back if they liked you… even as different characters, believe it or not. I believe it was that as long as you allowed one or two years between the last time you did a guest spot, they would allow you to come back and do another one. Bread and butter for me was guest starring roles and I was very fortunate because I would pick up two or three decent film roles along the way during the off-season, so I was always busy. I was very lucky in that respect. But the opportunities were not nearly as vast as they are now.

TrunkSpace: Strictly from an acting perspective, the content itself must be so much more interesting now due to so much of the content on television being character-driven.
McGrady. Oh yeah. It’s funny because my wife and I were just having this conversation not too long ago and I was telling her that after being in this business for as long as I have, I have really seen some very serious, tangible changes in terms of the product. Again, going back to the 80s and earlier on in my career, television was pretty clean. It was pretty traditional, conventional, and I’d say pretty far right. I’d go so far to say even sanitized, to a certain extent. And then we started breaking some ground with “NYPD Blue” and some other shows that kind of opened the way for darker characters, darker subject matter, and stuff that had some gravitas to it. Then of course cable blew it all wide open with all of the stuff they started coming out with. “The Sopranos” of course came along and then “Six Feet Under” and then “Nip/Tuck.” We really ventured off into some different adventurous lands. Everybody had to kind of bring a different game. Writers, actors, producers… everyone who is involved in filmmaking had to up their game in order for this transformation to take place, at least on a global level like it did. It was slow, but when it happened, boy did it happen! It just snowballed pretty quickly and now you have these amazing shows like “Ray Donovan” and another show I was on called “Southland.” That was a really great show. To this day I have law enforcement personnel and firemen who come up to me and say, “That show was probably one of the most accurate depictions of law enforcement that we’ve ever seen.” They were huge fans of it and they still are because we were able to explore things in a way that dealt with real life.

I also think that reality TV had a lot to do with that too. As much as it became a bane of our existence in the beginning, it also helped to open the doors to a little more of the reality of what we’re doing and what we’re seeing. If you watched “Cops” or all of these other shows we had on TV, you can’t have anything less exciting than that when you’re doing a cop show. People won’t watch it. It has to have those realistic elements and the drama behind it, the good storytelling, and the interesting characters. We kind of cross-pollinated.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned how cable stepped in and helped to change the TV landscape, but you actually appeared on one of the first scripted cable shows, “1st & Ten.” It has to be pretty cool to think that you were a part of that seed that ultimately grew into what TV is today?
McGrady: You know, that’s interesting. I’ve never really thought about it like that. I haven’t thought about that credit in… probably since I ended it 30 years ago. (Laughter)

We kind of thought of it as soft porn at the time. (Laughter) There was a lot of T&A on that show. O.J. Simpson was one of the stars of the show. They had all of these NFL players who came on board. Yeah, they were exploring some pretty trippy subject matter, no doubt.

TrunkSpace: And yet still there’s a big difference between how they were handling storytelling then to how it is being handled now.
McGrady: Just the technology allows us to do things that we weren’t able to do back then. Cable can take you places now without all of the restrictions of the FCC and what not. It is much more exciting and much more adventurous… taking you to deep and dark places, both metaphorically and physically as well. There’s nowhere a camera can’t go now with CGI and all of those different elements. I guess every product is ripened at its own time. I look back at the stuff I did in the 80s, like “1st and Ten” and a lot of the Aaron Spelling shows and stuff, and they were kind of rather pedestrian in terms of the subjects. I look at “Ray Donovan” and my character uses F bombs every third word. (Laughter) I’m like, “Wow, I could never have gotten away with this 20 years ago.” (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: What’s great about a show like “Ray Donovan” is that not only is it entertaining people in the present, but it will no doubt inspire people in the future much like some of these earlier shows have done.
McGrady: Absolutely. That’s what’s exciting about it. It almost seems like every year and certainly every half decade or so that I’ve been in this business… and I can only speak from my experience… but you can watch how the technology is changing with our understanding of human nature and understanding of what a story is and what is truly interesting to us and what isn’t. Also what we are allowing ourselves to have the courage to explore about relationships, gender, sex, race, nationality… all of those things. We’ve come to a place where there really is no limit to any of it. I always think, “Gosh, I’m pretty excited about what’s going on now, but what about five years from now?” I keep telling my kids, “When Dad’s dead and gone, mark my words, you’ll have holograms and you guys won’t be going to movie theaters.” My kids are laughing at me and I’m going, “You watch!” (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: Well, a dad decades ago probably said something similar to his kids. “When Dad’s dead and gone, mark my words, you’ll be watching movies with sound!”
McGrady: Yeah, that guy came from my camp! (Laughter) I’m right there with him.

TrunkSpace: Things always improve when it comes to technology, but at the same time, there always seems to be a place for what came before. Vinyl is a perfect example of that.
McGrady: That’s absolutely right. I have that same philosophy. I think in many ways technology is sort of overwhelming. Let’s face it, there is a dark side or different side to every coin. Technology has been a bit of a set back for us in many ways. Look how people are texting and how nobody talks anymore. Kids don’t talk to their parents and they bring their phones to the dinner table. That technology is also separating us as well.

I love film. In fact, I have an old AV-1 Canon that I’ve been thinking about taking out. I have a really nice digital, but I’m thinking about going back to my Canon just because I actually took better pictures with it than any that I’m taking now with a high end digital. And I don’t think it’s just the technology. I think back then you had to be a lot more thoughtful about composing a photograph and getting the light and shot just right. Because it was expensive to develop, a couple of bucks a shot, it’s not like you had 900 tries at it. So I think it forced you to put a little more thoughtfulness into it. The emotion of film has that quality.

Photo By: Shimon Karmel

TrunkSpace: That’s really interesting and very true. When you can take as many tries as you want and see the results immediately, it sort of becomes manufactured at that point and less about the art itself.
McGrady: You know what’s funny about it… I almost think of it this way. For me, it’s almost like we have found ways to make things accessible to anybody… a cross section of people. You don’t necessarily have to have the technical knowledge because you have automatic settings on your expensive digital camera. You don’t have to be a great skier anymore… just good enough with 190 cm skis. Back in my day, if I wore the skis you wear today, they would have laughed at me. “Dude, you’re wearing children skis.” (Laughter) But they figured it out. They went, “If we shorten the skis, we can increase the volume of people who can do this sport.” If they make it easier for people, more people will do the sport, the activity, the project, or whatever it is. It’s even with surfing. For a long time, up until about 10 years ago when longboarding came back in, very few people surfed unless you were a young kid who had the power to swim out into the bigger waves and get up to pop up quickly… all on a little wafer thin potato chip. But when the longboard retro movement hit, it made surfing accessible to anyone even over 50 or 60 because now you’ve got a bigger board, it’s accepted on the beach and nobody is laughing at you. And then the kids started getting into it and they got extremely proficient at it to the point that they started having competitions and going back to the old 1960s style of smooth groove riding and walking the board and hanging ten and all of that. That created a whole entirely new surf category… old new.

And so, we’ve done that across the board with so many things. That’s been great on one level, but now when you go to a mountain… it’s crowded. When you go to a beach… it’s crowded. We went kiteboarding the other day and it was crowded. There must have been 100 kites out in this one bay and I was thinking, “My God, we look like a bunch of ants running around out here.”

But, this whole thing about moving forward and pushing that bar forward… whether it be in film, TV, music or whatever… yeah, I’ve got kind of a love/hate relationship with it. I love it because of all of the cool stuff that we get out of it, but I hate it because in many ways there is a lot of negative energy to it as well.

I just turned 57 in March. I don’t feel it. I don’t live it. I’m pretty active for a guy my age, but I have to say, the older I’m getting, the more nostalgic I’m getting. I’m in Vancouver right now and I’m from Seattle originally. I’ve only spent very short, brief spurts of time up here growing up because it wasn’t the burgeoning city that it is now, but being up here now for this length of time… four months for this season… I really have evolved this strong connection to my past and the Pacific Northwest. I find myself sitting on the deck of the house that we’re renting… and we have this beautiful view through the woods to the ocean… and my wife must have heard me say this a thousand times, “My God, it’s beautiful.” I could stare at this all night long. If this was 20 years ago, I would have been bored out of my mind, but now I look at it and go, “A lot of this is going away.” A lot of the green is going away. A lot of the trees. We’re losing a lot of this. There’s a lot of buildings going up in Vancouver right now. Everywhere you look there’s a crane or there’s a house being built or torn down.

I can’t seem to, within my soul, move forward into the future. Part of me wants to hang onto the past and not leave it behind because I have such great affinity with where I grew up and how I grew up.

Beyond” airs on Freeform. Season 2 is currently filming. A premiere date has not yet been announced.

Season 5 of “Ray Donovan” premieres on Showtime August 6.

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Next Up

Victoria Van Winkle


Name: Victoria Van Winkle

Hometown: Chattanooga, TN

Current Location: Los Angeles, CA

TrunkSpace: When did you know that you wanted to act for a living?
Van Winkle: Unconsciously, I think I always knew, but growing up, pursuing a career in the arts was about as realistic as saying you wanted to be the Little Mermaid when you grew up… which I did want to be the Little Mermaid, so there you go… but performing was just not accepted as a way of making one’s living. It wasn’t until I was in college, having tried on about every career option there was, I decided to take an acting class, and it scared me so bad, specifically how honest I got to be, and that’s when I knew, “I have to do this for the rest of my life.” I think so much of the time, it’s more acceptable to not tell the truth, or shy away from it, which was something I never understood, so for me, this new found truth telling, that was acceptable, and fun, just resonated so deep with who I already was and had always been… a story teller… and now it was a good thing, and provided me with a path I could journey down wholeheartedly. And so I did, I packed up my car and immediately moved to LA.

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular performance or actor/actress from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Van Winkle: Oh so many! I watched a lot of movies as a kid, many of which were not age appropriate, but I had always been exposed to things before my time. (Laughing) My mom was a huge Patrick Swayze fan, and I remember finding Demi Moore mesmerizing in “Ghost,” but when I saw her in “G.I. Jane,” I was so drawn in. As a little girl I played with Barbies, but instead of a Ken doll, I had a G.I. Joe, and being raised by a single father, I have to admit to being a bit of a tomboy. Seeing someone take on both of those parts, equally feminine, equally tough, and wholly dedicated to the cause of justice while fighting for what one believed in… that every woman should be created equal… made me feel as if she was actually fighting for me. She affected me in my humanity and in my need to be seen as good enough, more than enough even, and though I didn’t have words to articulate such big discoveries then, my heart knew that this story was more than a “female” story or an “army” story, it was a human story, because we all feel insignificant sometimes, beat up, and bullied, and I wanted to be a part of telling such tales of vulnerabilities and heroism. You could say I joined the ranks that day of “wild things that don’t feel sorry for themselves.”

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?
Van Winkle: I’m still formulating plans, and then immediately turning around and reminding myself that there aren’t any plans or tricks to this thing, none that I’ve discovered at least thus far, but I think that being a kind and generous person can go a long way. Along with hard work, doing it because you love it and because it brings you life as well as others, hopefully; and in approaching it this way, I think, you can create an attraction about yourself, and people will notice. Besides, it isn’t my job to be noticed, it’s my job to notice other people, to take interest in the words and stories of others. I believe that in doing that, I will and do stand out. I would also include the importance of having found and built for myself a team that has fought and continues to fight so hard for me to become the type of artist I desire to be. I rely on them everyday to push me and encourage me to keep going, keep pursuing, and fighting for what I believe in and want, because when that rejection hits hard and I feel like giving up, it’s my teachers, my agents, my friends and family I look to because they will not let me quit. They remind me we are doing this thing together, and that’s the secret of it all I think. I finally stopped believing I had to do it all myself.

TrunkSpace: When did you decide to move away from your home and pursue acting as a career? How old were you at the time?
Van Winkle: I believe it was my sophomore year in college, 2nd semester, after taking my first acting class as mentioned before, and upon realizing that’s what I wanted to do and had to do, I immediately started looking up schools on the west coast, applied to USC, and by the following semester I was in LA. I was 20 years old.

TrunkSpace: Was that move an easy transition for you initially? How long did it take you to feel at home and find a good support group of friends and peers?
Van Winkle: It was easy in the sense, that I knew I didn’t have any other options because I knew this was the only thing I could possibly be doing, and once my mind was made up, that was it. I remember not having an apartment or room lined up for myself when I got here, even though I had already accepted my admission at USC. It wasn’t until several days before I was set to make the cross-country drive, that a friend of a friend offered to let me bunk at their place while they were out of town for several months. Then of course, I was able to get into housing at USC a few months later, find a job (several actually in order to pay for my schooling and housing), and get on my feet. It was crazy how it worked out so perfectly, making the transition in that way was somewhat miraculous. My story is not what most people experience when looking for housing or living arrangements, it can sometimes be pretty difficult. But as far as finding friends and a place to belong, it was hard then, and unfortunately remains hard. I’ll just say that I’ve had seasons of friends that have been right for those periods of my life, and you know, I do have friends that I’ve had for a really long time and we have to work to remain and stay connected through the time and space over the years. I’ve learned that my home, sometimes, is myself, and my work, and for as lonely as that sounds, I’m an introvert so it works for me. But I also remind myself that I belong to a collective tribe of storytellers, who even if we’ve never met, I know have gone through the same things to get to where they are. And that’s really cool to think about sometimes… it sorta of bonds us together and the times of loneliness and sacrifice don’t seem so hard. Oh, and I also have a dog! He’s home to me for sure, as well as the group of friends I’m living with now, who I hope are “lifers” like myself. This city is so transitional sometimes, making it difficult to find your place and where you belong, but for as hard as it is, it’s that much greater when you do find it, either within yourself, or in others, or both. Hang in there.

TrunkSpace: What has been been your biggest break in terms of a particular role or project thus far?
Van Winkle: Well, I don’t know if I’d call it a break, but definitely a monumental moment for me was the writing, producing, directing, and acting in a short film I created to honor my childhood best friend who committed suicide back in 2014. It still remains the hardest thing I’ve ever had to take on, partly because of how personal the project was, but it has taught me so much about my voice, my beliefs about what my responsibility is as a storyteller… that of telling the truth no matter how difficult and painful. I think it taught me that just as personal as this story was for me, so every story after should be… because every story, every script, even if it’s mostly fictional or imagined, it’s most certainly someone else’s reality, and I have the honor and responsibility to make sure I do justice to that. In other words, it made my work that much more important and exciting, and was definitely a breakthrough if not a “break” in terms of recognition.

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?
Van Winkle: I am a sucker for a good, gritty drama that is dripping with family dysfunction and all sorts of addictions and issues because let’s face it, we are our parents and family is messy (life is messy), but I love these darker accounts of our humanity because I think there’s more integrity in showing how difficult life can sometimes be whether it’s overcoming loss, or overcoming addictions, or getting your family back, and really showing what that’s like no matter how far we have to swing the pendulum into the darkness of those things, so that we can then swing the pendulum back into the light, and offer up a way out of the most hopeless and heartbreaking stories that are out there. You really can’t tell the truth with one and not the other—the dark and the light of life. One of my favorite movies, is an indie film called “Warrior” and that movie was so heartbreaking, yet so healing for me. It’s about two estranged brothers with an alcoholic father, both so broken in their own way, and it doesn’t ever look like they’ll find their way back to each other, but they do and it’s just… so beautiful. I seriously cry every time I even talk about that film! I really want to do that as a storyteller, step into those messy topics that are too taboo or too risky, or just so painful and difficult because they’re too close to reality, but to do so in order to show that healing is real and it is possible no matter how messy your own story is. Referring back to the short film I did about my friend’s suicide, because it’s such an important topic for me, and also super controversial at times, but it’s these things I want to shed light on… mental illnesses, addictions, loss, broken families, and all the deep, dark hurts we carry around as humans.

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength an actor/actress can have outside of acting ability itself?
Van Winkle: Curiosity… to be curious about everything you’re exposed to and that’s around you. I am constantly drawn to things I know nothing about, and I love that because it allows me to explore these whole other parts of my humanity that would otherwise remain dormant unless I allow curiosity to wake them. It’s such a gift when I get a script, and I have no life experience in that area, nothing to compare it to in my own personal story, and so I am forced to go and imagine what the given set of circumstances would be like. Even if I get a story that is perhaps close to my own personal life, I will get curious about what differences there may be and then go explore that because that’s what’s fun for me… experiencing something different than what I already know. I already know what my life is like, I am curious as to what your life is like.

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your acting career? Where would you like your path to lead?
Van Winkle: I feel like most people would answer this with some sort of accolade they hope to acquire, but all I think of are all the stories I hope I get asked to tell… one of the top ones being a sister story with Brie Larson, and yes of course, have it be a gritty drama, dripping with issues and dysfunctions! This is the thing most occupying my mind as of late, but I love writing, and am actually working on writing such a sister story that I’d hope to tell with Brie someday (soon), but yeah, I love all realms of storytelling, and because I sing and write as well, I have hopes for roles that involve my own writing that also allow me to sing. I want my path to lead to a place that is better than what I’ve imagined possible for myself, to find the tribe of storytellers that I already know I am a part of because I see their work and know that we are destined to cross paths one day, but to have that realized and be invited to join what they are already doing would be phenomenal. Ultimately, at the end of the day, I just want my journey to lead to happiness, which for me, is simply sitting on my balcony with a good story in my lap, the sunset and my dog. Ever always imagining and exploring. Wow, that’s so corny… but that’s my happiness.

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring actor/actress who is considering moving away from home to pursue their dream?
Van Winkle: If this is what you want of your life, you have already weighed the pros and cons and have considered the difficulties and hardships, the doubts and what-ifs, then you already have everything you need inside of you. You don’t need any pretty, delicate words from me. Everything you know now… trust it and hold fast to that thing that first moved you to chase this elusive thing, that most will refer to as a “dream,” but let it be for you an imagined reality, something more true for you than your actual life, and watch how that serves you. It will not forsake you. You are the story, friend. Now all you have to do is go be told.

TrunkSpace: Where can people (and casting directors) learn more about you?
Van Winkle: You can ask me to coffee if you like. I’m really into that ancient form of face to face communication, but of course I have all the social media outlets as well. My website is probably a great place to start though because I update it regularly with any performances or live shows I may be playing, so check it out!

Instagram: @victoriakvan

Twitter: @victoriakvan


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