January 2018

Sit and Spin

Reggie and the Full Effect’s 41


Artist: Reggie and the Full Effect

Album: “41″

Label: Pure Noise Records

Reason We’re Cranking It: Seven albums and 20 years into this solo project, The Get Up Kids’ James Dewees is comfortable in his own sonic skin, delivering plenty of uptempo ups and very few downs for your digital download consumption. (Album drops February 23)

What The Album Tells Us About Him: Dewees isn’t afraid to experiment with his sound, but at the same time, never ventures too far away from what we think a Reggie and the Full Effect album should/would sound like. He manages to surprise us while also making sure that we’re comfortable on the journey.

Track Stuck On Repeat: The one we find ourselves continuously drawn to is the track that feels the most removed from the overall feel of the album. “Heartbreak” plays like a song in the opening scene of everyone’s favorite 80s comedy starring John Cusack or Anthony Michael Hall. Even without a stage to play on, it sets one. If being a teenager again had a musical feel, this would be it.

Coming To A City Near You: Check out the list of cities/dates here.

And that means…

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Listen Up

Fu Manchu


As the old adage suggests, if something isn’t broke, why fix it?

Fu Manchu, the reigning kings of all things fuzz and wah, have been maintaining their signature sound for nearly three decades, taking fans on an epic journey of musical longevity that any band would hope to one day achieve. Their latest (and 12th!) album, “Clone of the Universe” is scheduled to land on February 9, and if they have their way, there will be another dozen in the future.

We recently sat down with singer/guitarist and founding member Scott Hill to discuss the bands abundance of riffs, what he hopes fans take from the album, and why he rates it as one of his personal Fu Manchu favorites.

TrunkSpace: Your upcoming album “Clone of the Universe” is the band’s 12th. When you’re a dozen albums into your career, is it easier or more difficult to write new material? Has Fu Manchu ever found themselves at a creative crossroads?
Hill: We have been lucky to always have a lot of riffs available. We actually had too many riffs when writing this record. All Fu Manchu songs start with one riff being brought into the practice room and we go from there.

TrunkSpace: Sounds change over the years just as much as people do. If you were to look back at your first album “No One Rides for Free” and compare it sonically to where the band is today, what would you pull out of there as being the biggest change, that perhaps, a fan may not notice?
Hill: Better recordings now. More comfortable at being in the studio. We always record the same way with all of us in one room around the drummer.

TrunkSpace: When it comes to how the album physically came together in the studio, did you attempt anything differently in the process that you had yet to tackle with previous albums?
Hill: We always start with a guitar riff and work on that. We record all of our songs on a cassette 4-track machine and once the song is done we all live with it and if we want to try changes, we do. Once the song is finished, then the lyrics/vocals happen.

TrunkSpace: For the fans who have followed you guys since the beginning, what do you hope they take from “Clone of the Universe?” Is it just as much for them as it is for new listeners who may be discovering Fu Manchu for the first time?
Hill: Same as always. HEAVY / FUZZY riffs! Get into the song and get out. Except for our 18 minute long song. That one takes a little longer.

TrunkSpace: Looking back over your previous albums again, where does “Clone of the Universe” fall into your list of personal favorites? How did the experience of making this album on a personal level compare to the experience of making those that came before it?
Hill: This one is up in the Top 5 for sure. We have Alex Lifeson from Rush playing guitar on it! I think this is one of our best sounding recordings. We put on an 18 minute song as the entire side two of the record. Artwork is one of our favorites as well.

TrunkSpace: The industry has changed quite a bit since Fu Manchu first started making music together. Today you release your works, including this latest album, on your own label, At The Dojo Records. Beyond having more control over your own creative destiny, what other benefits does a band have in self-releasing their material?
Hill: The satisfaction of completing a record from start to finish! Everyone contributing.

Fu Manchu in 2014. Photo By: Andrew Stuart

TrunkSpace: On the opposite end of the spectrum, where have the changes in the industry had a negative impact on bands? Is there an area of the business that remains inaccessible to those without a major label backing them?
Hill: Having to pay for everything ourselves. Plane tickets, bus rental, gear rental for Europe and van trailer rental, hotels in the USA. Paying for recording to pressing of the records. But again, the satisfaction of doing everything from start to finish is worth it.

TrunkSpace: There are ups and downs in any career that spans as long as Fu Manchu has been writing and performing. Personally, what has been the biggest up for you that you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life?
Hill: Just being able to still release records and tour and have people buy the records and show up to the shows.

TrunkSpace: In the moments when those ups became downs, was there ever a point where you considered walking away from music altogether or is it engrained in who you are?
Hill: In my almost 30 years in Fu Manchu there have been only two times where I wanted to stop playing in the band. They are very personal so I will not be talking about them here.

TrunkSpace: Beyond the writing and recording, what’s an aspect of being a musician that you enjoy that may not seem an obvious choice? Anything from picking album cover art to deciding the track listing on a new album… what makes you giddy?
Hill: Getting into the practice room and coming up with new songs. That’s my favorite part!

TrunkSpace: Again, “Clone of the Universe” is the band’s 12th album. Do you have another dozen in you?
Hill: Working on the next record now!

Clone of the Universe” drops February 9 on At The Dojo Records.

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The Featured Presentation

Nathalie Boltt

NathalieBollt_Wingwoman_wednesday (1)
Photo By: Ian Redd

After having worked all over the globe, including the United States, South Africa, New Zealand, Germany, and the UK, Nathalie Boltt settled into the sleepy community of Riverdale by way of the manipulative Penelope Blossom, a character she has portrayed on the Archie Comics-inspired series since it first launched on The CW in early 2017.

When not acting, Boltt is applying her talents and drive to other cinematic endeavors, including writing, directing and producing. She is currently in development on a new film called “Holy Days” that she will direct based on the novel by Joy Crowley, but first… more “Riverdale.”

We recently sat down with Boltt to discuss slapping Alice Cooper (not the singer!), how Archie Comics impacted the show’s fan base, and why going evil is like therapy.

TrunkSpace: “Riverdale” seemed to establish a very loyal fan base in the early going of the series. How soon into the process did you feel the presence of the fandom and ultimately the series’ potential?
Boltt: I think I felt it when my first episode kicked in, when I slapped Alice Cooper. People kind of sat up and took notice. And then by Episode 5, which is when I was incredibly cruel to my daughter at the funeral, Jason’s funeral, was when people started following me and taking an interest.

I think the series’ potential was clear right from the pilot; it just really struck a chord. The pilot was just super sexy and dark and mysterious. It had that “Twin Peaks” element of a body, but in a real emotionally-capturing way that’s… it just struck a chord, especially with teenage audiences and their parents.

TrunkSpace: Were you able to see firsthand the fandom grow and build upon itself after Season 1 made it to streaming platforms like Netflix? Did that unlock even more potential in the popularity of the series?
Boltt: Absolutely. It went to Netflix, which is where a lot of people watched it. I know after Season 1, the viewership went up 400 percent. So it was a huge hit over the summer on Netflix, in the States especially, but of course Netflix loves people all over the world who don’t have cable or network TV to watch it.

I know that “Riverdale” is the fastest growing show on social media at the moment.

TrunkSpace: As someone who works on the show and knows the world better than most, how much of the source material, the original Archie brand, played into the series not only finding an audience, but maintaining one?
Boltt: The Archie Comics have been going for 75 years, so it’s got a huge fan base. And then, of course, it was like the re-imagining of Archie as a graphic novel that also really brought it into the new millennium. I think that already made people trust it, which is what happens with those with graphic novel and comic backgrounds. And all of the main characters have come from the Archie Comics, but they aren’t necessarily played in the same way because, obviously, they’re just comic strips. Penelope Blossom, for instance, was in the Archie Comics, and FP maybe not so much; I’d have to check that out. But some people have changed considerably. Like, Miss Grundy is young and hot, whereas in the comics she was an elderly lady. Yeah, some of those things have changed, but all to suit the ensemble with the inspiration of the Archie brand behind it. And I think it also does maintain the Archie brand because that’s how word spreads.

TrunkSpace: From a performance standpoint, what did your character Penelope Blossom offer that you had yet to tackle on screen? What did you like about her that was different?
Boltt: I just like the fact that Penelope is quite a weirdo. The Blossoms seem to be stuck in sort of a time warp of their own. They’re like this royal family in their tweeds and their equestrian-looking outfits, but everything that Penelope wears is kind of… it harkens back to Hitchcock movies, which was one of my references. And also, I was asked to play her in a kind of other-worldly, quite the strange way, so while all of the other families are contemporary suburbia, the Blossoms are quite removed, and in a way it’s kind of like the Addams Family meets the royal family of Britain.

She’s just evil. She’s just such a terrible parent. And for that, you really have to go quite dark and quite still and quite scheming, and that’s loads of fun to play. It’s a little like therapy, really. (Laughter) Poor Madelaine (Petsch) who plays Cheryl… but we laugh about it, so that’s good.

TrunkSpace: Now that you’re a season and a half into your “Riverdale” journey, where have you gotten to go with Penelope that, looking back, you didn’t expect to go to when you first signed on to play her?
Boltt: Well, I certainly didn’t expect her to be burned. Loads of stuff has happened to Penelope; it’s awesome. I think the writers really have a lot of fun. So I didn’t expect at the end of Season 1 that Penelope ran back into the house and managed to get herself third degree burns. And I also didn’t expect just how evil she is and how she keeps on finding ways to be awful to Cheryl. But I suppose what I loved so far is the episode when Penelope actually shows a little heart, that’s The Sugarman episode. There’s some real motherly love there, and real remorse and regret, and I liked playing that a lot because we haven’t seen a lot of that.

TrunkSpace: In terms of an actor’s relationship with an audience, is the experience of working in television different from working on a film? Does the extended time with a character make the relationship with the fans more personal?
Boltt: Yes, of course it does. You get to kind of click into your character more easily the moment you get onto set because you know your character well; you know exactly how you would play that as Penelope, for instance. But also, your audience is committed to you, so you know they’ve invested in your character. And whether they love or hate you, they have certain expectations and that lasts for years if the seasons go on, whereas you’ve only got an hour and a half in a movie to build that up.

With the amazing TV series that are available at the moment, people really dig getting into their TV series and really like getting into the juiciness of it all, and having their favorite show to discuss. And I think you also then get to dig deeper into your character and find new things about them just as you would a new friend.

TrunkSpace: Your latest film “24 Hours to Live,” which arrives on DVD and Blu-ray on February 6, is tonally very different from your work on “Riverdale.” Is it important for you to diversify your career and the roles you tackle project to project?
Boltt: Yes, it is. Nobody likes playing the same thing over and over. In “24 Hours to Live” I play a doctor who brings someone back to life. Ethan Hawke plays the lead character, and it’s a sci-fi role, and he drags my character around and nearly kills me. I think that kind of reversal of power is fun to play because generally I have power over Cheryl, but in “24 Hours to Live” Ethan’s character has power over me. And it’s physical and it was action-packed, and real shoot-em-up stuff. And it was amazing working with a team like… we had people on that like Oscar-winning Colin Gibson from “Mad Max,” and real top-notch people who see things in a different way.

Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW — © 2017 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved

TrunkSpace: “24 Hours to Live” has a stacked cast and an impressive creative team behind it. A decade ago, a film with that level of talent would have created box office waves, but the industry and the distribution methods have changed so dramatically that there is now such an incredible volume of content in the marketplace all vying for the same sets of eyeballs. Have those changes to the industry altered the role of the actor at all, either through the process itself or in the personal reward of being involved in a project?
Boltt: I think, yes, it’s very clear that cinema has changed a lot. This is the golden age of television, and so cinema has to really work. I think we find a lot of films are franchises because audiences and filmmakers, distributors, etc., are very risk averse, and people aren’t going to the cinema so much anymore. They stay at home. So yeah, I think we all want to have our time on the red carpet and have amazing premieres and that sort of thing, but sometimes it’s actually seen as more of a marketing potential for a movie like that which is full of action and will go and do really well online because people like to sit at home and get into that sort of thing, and devour those sort of films On Demand. And so, I guess that was the marketing strategy that they went for. It’s all about that, and I think the strategies are quite different to when you would just wait to see what happened at the box office.

It is an incredible cast and an impressive team, and I would recommend watching it. It shot in Cape Town. It looks very beautiful and cinematic, and would play very, very well on a home entertainment system. High octane, lots of fun. And yes, they are all vying for the same eyeballs, but people also consume a lot more media, so I think films like that will find their niche.

TrunkSpace: You’re also a writer, director and a producer. Do the changes in the industry, both creatively and from a business standpoint, excite you more when wearing one of those hats as opposed to acting?
Boltt: I think being a writer, director and producer excites me because it gives me a feeling of having more control. Acting is very subjective. I have a wicked imagination, and so I write everything from drama to kids’ animation to outrageous comedy, and it just gives me an instant range. As a director, I think you learn a lot as an actor and when you step behind the camera to direct, you realize you actually have the skills often to direct, and I think that can be a fun challenge. And I think, above all, it gives you real respect for how difficult it is to get anything made. It’s actually miraculous to go from an idea to then a script, to financing, to shooting, and to actually distributing something. The fact that anything gets out there and is good is miraculous and magical to me still. And as an actor, you show up, you say your lines, you try to do a good performance and you go home. Whereas, when you’re writing, directing, producing you’re there the entire time, and it’s tough. And then when you come back as an actor, you really respect everybody who is involved in that very complex process, and I think that’s healthy.

TrunkSpace: Do you view those various industry jobs as careers separate from acting, or are they all extensions of what you set out to do when you first decided to pursue your dreams?
Boltt: I think it’s all part of storytelling, and that’s certainly what I’ve always wanted to do and always have done. Even when I started out as a dancer, that’s still a storytelling of a type. It’s an expression. So whether you’re expressing yourself as an actor, you’re also expressing yourself as a writer and a director and a producer, and it’s an extension of the creative process. So yeah, I think acting can be frustrating because you have a long run of doing things and being in demand, and then you have your down time where you feel like you’re waiting, and I don’t like waiting. I like being busy all the time, so that’s an extension of my personality, I guess.

Photo By: Ian Redd

TrunkSpace: You’re originally from South Africa, but have spent time all over the world. In your experience, how is pop culture viewed differently around the globe and does pursuing a career in acting require different approaches in different locales?
Boltt: Yeah, I think it does. In places like New Zealand and South Africa where you have really small industries, there’s a lot more jack-of-all-trades feeling to what you do. We all do a bit of everything, A lot of that stuff is seen locally. It doesn’t have the same viewership, so I think there’s just a lot more humility involved in making smaller shows in smaller countries. You still want to do a great job and build your audience. And then you go onto something like “Riverdale” and it’s got a global viewership, and you get a completely different taste of what it means to have a hit show in the world. And there are a lot of perks that come with that, a lot of attention that comes with that, and I think you have to respect that as well because it’s the next level of success. And I have worked in Germany and on German films, so that’s interesting being in another language and their working methods are quite different.

I think the approach has to be different. Wherever you go, you need to kind of feel out how people like to work and understand that approach and be respectful of it. Your job as an actor is to do your job well and listen to the director, and do your best to realize something, to bring to life your character. Sometimes you need a more subtle approach of asking what it is that the director requires. Sometimes you need to sit quietly and just wait until you’re called upon. And other times, you can be more direct and confident about it. I think it’s always a matter of just watching for awhile; being quiet and watching and seeing how people like to work, and then trying to respect that while also being true to what your job requires.

TrunkSpace: We’ve barely scratched the surface on 2018. Did you make any New Year’s resolutions for yourself and looking forward, what are your career goals as you tackle a fresh calendar?
Boltt: You know, I’m not that good at New Year’s resolutions. If I’m happy I just carry on doing that; I just continue with the plan. At the moment, I’m looking at moving to Canada and pursuing my options here. However, I have a feature feature film, “Holy Days,” which is in development in New Zealand, so I’m looking forward to directing that there. It’s an exciting time. Things are going really well. I’m making things and my family is with me, and I have met a lot of exciting, creative people that I’m going to be working with. So I suppose part of that is to continue on the projects that I’m on, but also to keep fit and eat healthy, and not burn out. I think when you’re a busy person like I am, you tend to want to just have some balance. I’m going to be directing some music videos as well for a band called The Strange. That’s going to be fun. And writing some comedies and some dramas, and of course, playing Penelope and loving that. So that’s my plan for 2018, and I’m excited to see what people think of my storyline, which is quite outrageous, that’s coming up. I think people have a bit of an idea.

And you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter. I’ll be posting some of behind the scenes madness all throughout the year.

Riverdale” returns tonight on The CW.

24 Hours to Live” premieres on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital home entertainment February 6.

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Sit and Spin

Santa Cruz’s Bad Blood Rising


Artist: Santa Cruz

Album: “Bad Blood Rising”

Label: M-Theory Audio

Reason We’re Cranking It: Because it’s music meant to play on the loudest setting possible. Let your speakers do what they were manufactured to do!

What The Album Tells Us About Them: This is a group built for the stage. As much as we’re enjoying the retro reminder of what a high octane rock ‘n’ roll vibe should sounds like on a record, seeing a band like Santa Cruz in a live setting is how your ears were meant to enjoy not only their music, but the experience. See you in the front row!

Track Stuck On Repeat: There’s a lot to like here, but we can’t seem to escape “Fire Running Through Our Veins,” a song crafted for a Monday morning repeat session when you’re looking for more than a cup of coffee to get you amped for the week ahead.

Coming To A City Near You: The band is setting out on the road in support of Fozzy. Check out the list of cities/dates here.

In Their Own Words: The recent TrunkSpace interview with Santa Cruz can be found here.

And that means…

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Between The Sheets

Christopher J. Yates


In our ongoing 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 Christopher J. Yates to discuss his new novel “Grist Mill Road,” why he likes to discover story elements organically, and how two pints can fuel the creative fire.

TrunkSpace: Your new book Grist Mill Roadwas recently released to the public. When you finish a work and walk away from it in a creative sense, do you also have to walk away in personal sense? Is it difficult to put so much of yourself into something and then put it in the hands of the universe?
Yates: I wish I could walk away from it. But then there are interviews and articles to write, so if you walk away too far you might not be able to answer questions to your best. After my first book, “Black Chalk” was released, I think it took me two or three months to walk away.

TrunkSpace: When youre sitting down to write a new book like Grist Mill Road,how much preparation goes into the genre aspect of what youre working on? In the planning stage, do you also track the thrill ride moments, or do those come out later in the process as the story takes shape in your mind?
Yates: I put absolutely ZERO planning into it. “Grist Mill Road” begins with a horrific crime. A teenage boy ties a teenage girl to a tree and shoots her over and over again with a BB gun. I had no idea for two years why this had happened and was beginning to panic. One day the idea just popped into my head. I prefer to do it that way, organically, rather than taking moves from the drama writing playbook, which bores me beyond tears.

TrunkSpace: As you look back at the work, what are you most proud of when it comes to Grist Mill Road?
Yates: I’m most proud of the language. Most people read books for the plot, and I think I’ve written a great plot. But when I read, I read for language, for voice. I always know within five pages whether or not I’m going to like a novel just from the sense of style, tone and language.

TrunkSpace: What did you learn about yourself as a writer in the process of working on the book? They say that the second time is a charmis the second book a charm as well?
Yates: We will see if the second time’s a charm. The novel’s just come out and I’m very nervous about sales. What I’ve learned about myself is that I didn’t learn from the first novel to try and relax about sales.

TrunkSpace: You discovered you would become a published author a day before turning 40. Some people feel that theyve missed their moment to pursue their dreams, but you seem like a perfect example of it never being too late to swing for the fences. Was it daunting for you to take that first step in pursuing your writing or was it an easy decision to make?
Yates: So the first step was when I turned 30. It took me 10 years of steps to get published. No, it’s never too late. Arguably it might get harder, but as a survivor of two unpublished novels and over 50 rejections for my “third” novel (“Black Chalk”), which not only got published but did very well, I can assure you it’s never too late. Persist.

TrunkSpace: You also studied law. As an author working in the thriller space, have you found yourself being able to tap into that part of your education when crafting elements of your novels?
Yates: Studying law was about learning how to fashion a coherent argument. I think a good plot is very similar to a coherent argument.

TrunkSpace: How long did it take for you to discover your voice as a writer?
Yates: Maybe five or six years. My voice was considered “promising” with those first two novels that never got published. But “promising” wasn’t good enough. You have to get to “polished”. I buffed away for a long time.

TrunkSpace: Regarding the process, is writing a labor of love for you or does it feel more like labor? Do you enjoy the process?
Yates: Oh, on the good days, hell yes, it’s like you’re flying. Everything else in the world seems very small and far away, there’s just you and the words, it’s the best. And some days it’s just a grind, a labor. Editing can be laborious (although some writers love to edit). I guess my favorite thing is when I write a paragraph and I know I’m not going to change a single word.

TrunkSpace: And what does that process look like? What are the ideal conditions for putting in a good day of writing?
Yates: Everyone’s different, you have to find your conditions. Mine involve writing in the morning until maybe 2 p.m. when I take the dog for a walk. I’ve very rarely done good work in the afternoon – although occasionally two pints in a bar (and NO MORE than two), can stir something up again.

TrunkSpace: Do you self-edit as you write?
Yates: Absolutely. I self-edit hard, over and over again. Unless I’ve been flying!

TrunkSpace: Where are you the hardest on yourself as a writer?
Yates: I have a very intense fear of getting something wrong factually. I refuse to make shit up unless I know for certain it is true/possible/not a huge pile of horse shit.

TrunkSpace: What are you working on now and what will people be able to read next?
Yates: I’m afraid I’m going to be coy about this. I have 15,000 words of something I love, I hate, I love, I hate… but if people want to read something after they’ve read my fiction, there are a lot of essays about writing on my website.

“Grist Mill Road” is available now from Picador USA.

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The Featured Presentation

Kyanna Simone Simpson

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Photo By: Miles Schuster

There was a time in the not-too-distant past when if you wanted to get your superhero fix, you had to pick up a physical comic book or settle for midday reruns of a green Lou Ferrigno with gamma-radiated eyebrows. Now, on any given night, you can scroll through the hundreds of channels at your disposal and watch extraordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Many have long predicted that hero fatigue would cut down on the audiences who turn out to watch those in capes and cowls take on imaginative villains, but that has yet to manifest itself. In fact, as we venture deeper into the character catalogs of comic book publishers, something really exciting is happening… we’re seeing the genre become more diverse.

Case in point: “Black Lightning,” the latest offering of the DC Universe’s small screen expansion premiering tonight on The CW, focuses on an African American superhero who comes out of retirement to fight the good fight once again.

We recently sat down with series star Kyanna Simone Simpson to discuss her thoughts on getting to play in a metahuman world, the reason she feels the series will be a success, and why she didn’t know Matthew McConaughey was standing right in front of her.

TrunkSpace: Superhero-based projects continue to wow audiences and don’t seem to be losing steam anytime soon. When you landed your reoccurring role in “Black Lightning,” what was going through your head at the time?
Simpson: Oh my gosh, I literally went crazy because when I started reading up on “Black Lightning,” I found out that this was the very first African American superhero family on network television and I get to be a part of this story, so it was such a blessing. Now I get to be on a cool show with people who have superpowers. That’s just so amazing to me.

TrunkSpace: Between “Black Lightning” and projects like “Black Panther” and “Luke Cage,” it seems like we’re venturing into this really great period of diversity in the genre.
Simpson: Exactly. It’s as though we’re finally being able to show we’re super as well. We can come out here and show you that we can have great shows that push the limits too. I think that’s something that’s very cool about “Black Lightning.”

TrunkSpace: And for a network like The CW that is so good at blending fantastical elements with reality, “Black Lightning” looks to be continuing that formula… balancing the genre storytelling with the “real life” stuff that becomes so relatable to audiences.
Simpson: Yes. “Black Lightning” has a very good story – a very deep story about family and life and culture and neighborhood going on behind the scenes, as there’s obviously superheros in this show, Black Lightning, but it tells a very detailed story as well. I think that’s what the viewers are going to like a lot about this show.

TrunkSpace: We get the vibe that this is the kind of show that would appeal to longtime comic book fans, as well as those people who have never even picked up a comic book before.
Simpson: Yes. I thought the same thing when I first started reading up on it. I went to go grab all of the comics and I was like, “Wow, we’re really hitting the ball on both DC and dramatic television.”

TrunkSpace: Most people haven’t seen the series yet because it actually premieres tonight. What can you tell us about your character without giving too much away?
Simpson: My character’s name is Kiesha. She’s best friends with Jennifer Pierce, who is the youngest daughter of Black Lightning, Jefferson Pierce. I’m her partner in crime. I try to encourage her to push the limits sometimes because she’s the daughter of the principal of Garfield High and I just want her to get out there and have fun. That’s really where Kiesha comes in.

TrunkSpace: And it’s probably safe to assume that you two will find yourselves in some trouble as well, right?
Simpson: (Laughter) You’ll see the kinds of things we get into.

TrunkSpace: So from a character standpoint, was there anything about Kiesha that you were excited to bring to the screen, perhaps a part of her personality that you have yet to tackle with a character in your career?
Simpson: Kiesha is very close to my heart because she’s such a free spirit and she doesn’t allow other people to dictate how she thinks or how she’s going to go about her day. That’s what I like so much about her, her confidence. It’s one of the very first roles that I was able to play where I’m able to kind of peek into the life of a teenager, having fun and everything, wanting to party all the time, because a lot of jobs that I’ve done, they have been period pieces and this is a different look at everything. I enjoy it so much. It’s so much fun.

TrunkSpace: And just to be clear, she’s just a regular teenage girl, right? No superpowers of her own?
Simpson: (Laughter) She’s a regular girl and she loves it.

TrunkSpace: You also have a film due out later this year called “White Boy Rick,” which has a stacked cast including Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Jason Leigh. What was the experience of shooting that film like for you?
Simpson: When I found out about “White Boy Rick,” I almost peed my pants. It was so amazing. Matthew McConaughey is definitely an actor who a lot of new actors would dream to work with, and that was my case, so when I got the opportunity to play Brenda in “White Boy Rick,” I jumped at it. I’m so excited for this film to premiere in the summer. I can’t wait to see how the audiences react, which I believe is going to be really positive and great.

TrunkSpace: Matthew’s career has taken such an interesting turn within this last decade or so. The roles he tackles now, he physically goes through the changes to become whoever that person is, and in doing so, really has become a chameleon onscreen.
Simpson: Yes. The very first day that I met Matthew actually, it was my first scene and I was nervous because my first scene of the film when I began filming was with Matthew. That’s a lot of pressure, but when I walked on set I’m looking around and I had no clue that that was Matthew McConaughey right in front of me. I had to look at him twice and I’m like, “Oh, whoa!” He’s such a cool guy. I was able to have a few conversations with him and he really made me feel a lot more comfortable and a lot less nervous on the job.

TrunkSpace: The film’s release is still months away, but can you tell us anything about Brenda and where she falls into the story?
Simpson: Brenda is a classmate of White Boy Rick, Ricky, and she’s along his path in life. She kind of makes him grow up a little bit more. When you see the film you’ll understand what I’m saying, but she has a very reasoned mind and she also has to grow up pretty quick in life as well.

TrunkSpace: It terms of tone, it’s a pretty heavy story.
Simpson: It is, and when I started doing my research and homework on the story, I was like, “Wow, this is such a great story that needs to be put on film.” Everyone needs to know about this because when you see it you’ll understand what I’m saying, but it’s definitely something that can happen to a lot of youth.

TrunkSpace: One of the things we noticed in looking over your body of work is just how diverse it is. You’re not doing the same types of projects over and over again, but instead, mixing it up to include a little bit of everything. Is that something you set out to do, to bring as much genre diversity to your work as possible?
Simpson: I definitely want that to be how my career continues. It just so happens that the roles that I have landed have been so diverse and I’m thankful for that because that’s how I want to be. I want to be able to immerse myself in the types of characters that…

I don’t want to be just an every day girl. I want to be able to understand all types of different lives. When I played young Deborah Lacks in “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” I learned so much. All of my jobs seem to teach me and I seem to learn something brand new with each and every job. That’s what I plan to do for the rest of my career.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” Getting to play the younger version of a character who was being portrayed by Oprah Winfrey… and now there’s rumors that she might run for president… that has to be pretty cool.
Simpson: Ms. Winfrey is literally the best. I am so blessed to have been able to work with her. She’s a good mentor of mine now and I’m almost speechless every time I think about it or talk about working on “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” because that was my biggest dream come true.

TrunkSpace: In a previous interview when asked about what your future goals were, you said that you want to have a degree on your mantle and more quality roles under your belt. Does that mean you have goals beyond acting and the entertainment industry?
Simpson: Well, I’m actually in school for Entertainment and Media Studies, so my goal is to 1.), win an Oscar, and 2.), I want to be able to produce, direct and write as well as act in films. I’m just so intrigued by the entire film industry and entertainment world. I don’t want to stop at acting. I want to continue to grow and spread out in the entire industry.

TrunkSpace: So far so good because not many college students can say that they’re staring down superheroes when they’re not studying.
Simpson: (Laughter) I know. It’s definitely hard. I’ll never say it’s easy, but it’s what I have to do and it’s what I desire to do.

Black Lightning” premieres tonight on The CW.

White Boy Rick” arrives in theaters this August.

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Dana Cooper


Artist/Band: Dana Cooper


Hometown: I grew up in two hometowns, Kansas City and Independence, Missouri

Latest Album/Release: “Incendiary Kid” (Travianna Records)

Influences: Cole Porter, Hank Williams, Ray Charles, The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your music?
Cooper: Eclectic, humanist, folk and roll

TrunkSpace: You signed with Travianna Records for the release of your latest album, “Incendiary Kid.” Did partnering with the label change up the process for you at all?
Cooper: Being part of a team of people who believe in what I do is a luxury all artists dream of. The folks at Travianna Records handle radio promotion and publicity as well as manufacturing and distribution. Their efforts help enormously in building awareness of my music and building a larger audience.

TrunkSpace: If we were to sit down with your very first recorded material and “Incendiary Kid” side by side, where would we hear the biggest differences in your songwriting and musical point of view? Where have you changed most as an artist between then and now?
Cooper: My first songs were recorded on a small reel to reel. They were adolescent love songs with an occasional protest song about the Vietnam War or the Civil Rights Movement. Now I tend to write fewer love songs and more about the human condition. Since those early days, I’ve continued to challenge myself on guitar and a variety of musical instruments, which offers me more choices in what I write and how I perform.

TrunkSpace: When it comes to songwriting, what is your lyrical approach? Are you writing from experience or are you writing more as a storyteller?
Cooper: My approach to lyric writing is all over the place. I record snippets of ideas on a digital recorder or jot lines down in an ever-present notebook. I travel a lot and write about things I see and experience along the way. Mostly I take more time with the entire process now, accumulating stories and taking whatever time necessary to see it through.

TrunkSpace: Is a song ever truly finished or are you constantly tweaking and retweaking? If a song does receive its curtain call, how do you know when it’s time to move on to the next one?
Cooper: There is a certain amount of tweaking, rewriting, and rearranging with most of my songs. Many endure, some fall off the set list. I still perform a few songs I wrote as a teenager. It is a challenge to keep up with the hundreds of songs I’ve written. Once in a while I revisit neglected ones to relearn and add them back into my shows. At this point it all seems a bit insurmountable. So, the most recent songs tend to dominate the list. Those that lose their resonance with the audience fall into oblivion.

TrunkSpace: We read that you “dedicated yourself to a life of music over 40 years ago.” What has that dedication looked like? Have you chosen to walk away from other passions or interests to commit yourself to music?
Cooper: I wrestled with self doubt, the drive for financial success on and off for a long time. There was an exact moment of realization many years ago when I knew without a doubt that I would pursue a life of music regardless of success or failure. I swore to myself that I would pursue a life of music even if it meant I wound up sleeping under a bridge. So far I still have a roof over my head. This commitment meant walking away from two stints in college, one in art, another in horticulture. I still dabble in both but music remains my passion.

TrunkSpace: You began writing songs at age 13. Teenagers often see life from a different set of lenses than adults do. Sometimes the small things seem so big and the big things seem so small. What did beginning your songwriting journey at such a young age teach you about the craft and process? Is there anything that you learned during those early days that you still apply to your career today?
Cooper: My father George was a lover of songs and the people who sang them. He encouraged me to sing along with the radio from the time I was two years old. He loved all kinds of music, from big band to pop to country to rock. And there was always an LP or a 45 spinning on the little record player. Dad took me to my first concert when I was three. We went to see Ernest Tubb and I believe I knew that night what I wanted to do the rest of my life. By the time I wrote my first song I had already paid deep attention to songwriters and how songs were written. Like most artists, I strive to return to that childlike place where the music began. Honesty, simplicity, and vulnerability are key to writing songs that resonate with the listener.

TrunkSpace: Where are you hardest on yourself as an artist/songwriter?
Cooper: I’ve wrestled with self doubt from the beginning. I take a critical look at my performances, pacing of the sets, how I communicate with the audience, which songs make people laugh or cry, what stories work and which ones fall flat. I push to keep growing as a writer, a guitarist, a singer, and a performer. And I’m never completely satisfied.

TrunkSpace: You have dozens of albums under your musical belt. Is there a particular collection of songs that is the most memorable, and not for the songs themselves, but for the experience of writing and recording them? And if so, why?
Cooper: Every recording project has been memorable for one reason or another. Undoubtedly my first album on Elektra Records in 1973 was the most profound and exciting. At 21 I was granted artistic control of the production and I got to work with my choice of musicians. I chose people whose work I admired, Russ Kunkel, Leland Sklar, Joe Osborne, Jim Gordon, Jim Horn, Michael O’Martian, Al Perkins, Milt Holland, Gary Coleman, Lee Holdridge. Through the years, I’ve been fortunate to always work with exceptional musicians, engineers, and producers. But this was my first experience and the memory is indelible.

TrunkSpace: What can fans expect from Dana Cooper headed into 2018?
Cooper: This new year I have plans to expand my tour base in the U.S. and in Canada and Ireland. I’m currently in the planning stages of some music videos. For the past few years I’ve been writing more poetry and prose, which I hope to publish in book form. And, of course, I continue to write songs in preparation for the next recording project.

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Trunk Bubbles

Ron Chan


Name: Ron Chan


Favorite Comic Book Character Growing Up: Wolverine

Favorite Comic Book Character Now: Kamala Khan

Latest Work: (Title/Publisher/Release Date) “Plants vs. Zombies: Lawn of Doom”/Dark Horse/Oct 2017

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your art style?
Chan: I have no idea! I stay consistent within each project, but one of the things people have found surprising is that when they look at multiple projects of mine, or look through my sketches, is that I have a lot of different ways I like to draw. I love experimenting with a variety of techniques and aesthetics.

TrunkSpace: How important were comic books in your life growing up and is that where you discovered your love and inspiration for drawing?
Chan: I’ve drawn for as long as I can remember, and I think comics definitely had a lot to do with that. I honestly don’t know that I spent much time actually reading comic books, so much as I spent hours and hours looking at, and occasionally copying, the artwork.

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular artist or title from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Chan: Around middle school it was definitely various artists from X-titles. I loved looking at Jim Lee’s art on “X-Men,” and then later, Chris Bachalo’s work on “Generation X” really appealed to me. In high school, I got really into artwork not from comics, but from video games – specifically, Capcom fighting games, like “Street Fighter.” The in-game art and the concept art (especially art by Capcom artists Bengus and Edayan) from these games remains, to this day, one of the biggest influences on my artwork.

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?
Chan: Yes and no as far as the plan. When I was graduating high school, I applied to two colleges: University of Oregon, where they have a good architecture program, and Savannah College of Art and Design, where they have a comic book major. After some thinking, I realized the only reason I was interested in architecture was because it involved drafting (and seemed like a lucrative career), but I didn’t actually care about buildings whatsoever. So I said, “Screw it! I’m going to art school!” and picked SCAD. I wasn’t even reading comics at the time – I just saw that they had a comics art program and thought it would be a good direction to go, since I was already drawing sort of comic-booky sketches all the time. Four years later, I had a degree in comics!

TrunkSpace: What was your biggest break in terms of a job that opened more doors for you?
Chan: In terms of a single job, it was probably “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic” #42. Living in Portland, OR, I had gotten to know a lot of Dark Horse folks as I made my way into the Portland comics community. Now editor in chief Dave Marshall gave me my very first Dark Horse gig with this single fill-in issue of “Star Wars,” and it has led to me continued to work with Dark Horse for many years afterward, and to come.

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?
Chan: I was pretty fortunate, honestly. I grew up in Portland, OR, which has a thriving comics community, so after graduating from SCAD, I only had to return home to find a perfect city to make connections in the industry. I had the amazing luck to fall in with a studio full of artists that I am still part of. (Now called Helioscope, formerly called Periscope Studio, then called Mercury Studio) There, I found life-changing mentors in industry veterans like Steve Lieber, Jeff Parker, and Ron Randall, to name a few. They not only helped shepherd me into a professional life, but also actually hooked me up with jobs.

TrunkSpace: Is there a particular character or universe you always find yourself returning to when you’re sketching or doing warm-ups?
Chan: I usually do fan art when I’m sketching. I love drawing character from things I love – “Mass Effect,” “Star Wars,” “Hamilton,” “Street Fighter,” or whatever anime I’m watching.

TrunkSpace: Is there a specific title or character that you’d like to work on in the future and why?
Chan: Not really! I just want to keep getting interesting projects.

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your career in comics? Where would you like your path to lead?
Chan: Continuing from the last question: I honestly don’t really have an ultimate dream for my career. I love variety, so I only hope to continue getting interesting and fun projects (that hopefully pay well!). When I die, I can only wish that people will say, “Man, that Ron Chan sure was all over the place!”

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength as an artist?
Chan: Probably that I try my best to be easy to work with. I almost always hit my deadlines and communicate well with my editors!

TrunkSpace: How has technology changed your process of putting ideas/script to page? Do you use the classic paper/pencil approach at all anymore?
Chan: It has changed my workflow entirely. I started with ink and paper like most everyone, but these days, I work 100 percent digital. It has made me a faster, more versatile, and braver artist.

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring artist who is considering a career in the comic industry?
Chan: Just make comics! Unless you are already an established badass illustrator, nobody will hire you to draw comics, if you haven’t demonstrated that you can draw comics. This isn’t necessarily going to work for everyone, but for most people, I like to say: start small. While you’re still developing early on, do some four-page comics. Do some eight-page comics. Don’t start that 300-page magnum opus you’ve been thinking about since you were 12. There is value in starting and finishing things. That being said, if your big story calls to you in a way that you cannot ignore? Go for it; whatever gets you drawing comics! Draw ‘em and put ‘em online!

TrunkSpace: Making appearances at conventions: Love it, leave it, or a combination of both?
Chan: Combination of both, for sure. I don’t do that many conventions – generally just ECCC in Seattle, RCCC in Portland, and then occasionally something else sprinkled in if circumstances make sense. It’s fun connecting with fans, and I love seeing other creators and friends from across the nation, but conventions are exhausting and take time away from actually drawing my projects.

TrunkSpace: What is the craziest/oddest thing you’ve ever been asked to draw as a commission?
Chan: I drew Hellboy taking a shit once.

TrunkSpace: What else can fans of your work look forward to in 2018?
Chan: I’ve got more “Plants vs. Zombies” comics on the schedule as well as secret OGN project in the future!

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The Featured Presentation

Kevin Caliber

Photo By: Status PR

It was recently announced that, in the near future, the world will be getting more “Future Man.” With a second season of the whacky time traveling series now on the horizon, we decided to revisit the Hulu comedy, and in doing so, make the show’s card carrying bro our very own wingman.

Kevin Caliber, a United States Marine Corps veteran who is also a fitness model and stuntman, stars in the series as Blaze, the 80s BFF of Derek Wilson’s Wolf. (Check out our interview with Wilson here.)

We recently sat down with Caliber to discuss his unexpected journey with the character, menacing neon outfits, and why fans would be lining up for an 80s style Wolf and Blaze sitcom.


TrunkSpace: “Future Man” is an extremely unique show that strikes a unique tone. Was it also unique for you in terms of the experience?
Caliber: Yeah. It’s one of those projects that as you read the script, you had no idea where it was going. Not to say that with every show you could tell that, but a lot of the times, whenever you read scripts, you kind of have an idea of where it’s going. You have an idea of the character developments. “Future Man” was one of those that, as you read it and as it goes along, they take it to places that you didn’t expect because they’re going to the far reaches of their imagination to get there.

TrunkSpace: And comedy must be so hard to read on the page, too, because unless you’re in the room with the creative team, it’s difficult to fully absorb tone, right?
Caliber: Absolutely. It was not until the first day on set because for me, I did episode 9 without doing a table read. They brought me right onto the set and I had no idea exactly what they were going for. In the script it says something like, “Oh, a couple of menacing guys come up,” and then we see the outfits that we’re wearing. It’s hard to be intimidating wearing shorty short hot pink shorts. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: Well, menacing in the 80s, right? (Laughter)
Caliber: (Laughter) Right. 80s tough guys.

Whenever I came back for the next episode, I went in for the table read, and that was the first time that we really get the chemistry of everybody saying it aloud, and you get the tone of the story as a whole, and now you’re kind of seeing where it’s going. So you see where the comedy is, and then even between the table read and whenever it does come to shooting it a couple weeks later, the script has changed because, obviously, they make changes all the way up until being on set. And they were such a funny comedy team to work with, that they would come to me between takes and give me different things to say. You would hear a laugh come from off-camera and I’d go, “Okay, I guess that was a good one.”

You’re always curious to see what they’re going to use because I’ve improvised before on sets, but that one, it wasn’t so much me improv’ing but them kind of improv’ing what I was doing and then making it up on the spot. I’ve never had a chance to work with a group like that.

TrunkSpace: In comedy, sometimes working on the fly is where the best material comes from because it’s a springboard for instantaneous laughter, which signals if something is working or not.
Caliber: Absolutely, and as long as you don’t fall victim to strictly trying to make the people in the room laugh… that’s when you kind of can get meta, and now you’re just trying to make each other laugh as opposed to what will translate.

I hear about some of these methods of the editing process that they go through with these tests (screenings) and then they show you the same movie or the same scene eight different ways because they filmed it every which way, just to see how crowds react to it. Well, what’s making the people in LA laugh doesn’t necessarily make…

I’m from Missouri so I go back to Missouri and I’m cracking jokes and people have no idea what I’m talking about because I’m speaking in LA language.

TrunkSpace: You have to go back to Missouri in your menacing “Future Man” outfit. (Laughter)
Caliber: (Laughter) Yeah, that will really throw everybody off.

I was an athlete and a little bit of tough guy growing up – just a good ol’ boy from Missouri, and then I joined the Marine Corps. I was just a down and dirty type of guy. Now some of the stuff that people see me in, and how I end up getting dressed, they’re like, “Whoa, when did you become such a little pretty boy?” And I’m like, “No, I’m still the same guy!” (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: So when Blaze first came into your life, did you know he would be a recurring character or did that sort of grow as the episodes went on?
Caliber: I did not know. Originally I thought it was a standalone from just that one episode. Even going into the audition, it was strictly as a day player, and then getting on set and working and then getting to know the writers… Kyle (Hunter) and Ariel (Shaffir) were there every day… I got the call again and then again. They were like, “I want to add you to this, can you do that?” I was on set, sitting behind the producers’ row, and one of the producers turns around and gives me a look. He says, “Hey, you got one more episode?” I was like, “Of course! I’m here for you! Add me to every one. I love this!”

Photo By: Status PR

TrunkSpace: What’s cool about that is that Blaze probably wasn’t defined as a character when you first read for him, but he grew into his own as you were working on him.
Caliber: Absolutely, and it wasn’t until I got the script for the “Beyond the TruffleDome” episode that you actually really get to know Blaze. And as I’m reading it – I was sitting on my couch with my girlfriend reading it – and I’m really excited. And then, spoiler alert here, as I’m reading it, I’m like “Oh my God, I’m a prostitute!” (Laughter) “Oh my God, I’m a drug addict!” (Laughter) “Oh my God, I can’t read!” (Laughter) “Oh my God, I’m homeless!” (Laughter)

It was just taking it to the next level, and that’s what made me laugh so much. Whenever I told anybody about it I was like, “It’s the 80s and we end up becoming coke heads because that’s what the 80s were,” and people would be like, “Aw, man, so they must have made you up to really look bad and really strung out?” And I’m like, “Oh no, they made me look gorgeous!” (Laughter) I’m like this prostitute druggie, but I’m still rocking supermodel status.

TrunkSpace: You kept it together. That’s what they did in the 80s!
Caliber: (Laughter) Yeah, exactly. I was Wall Street!

TrunkSpace: The 1980s was the era of the sitcom, and after watching Blaze and Wolf together, all we could think of was that a spinoff sitcom needs to happen!
Caliber: Oh my God! I can’t help but go down that rabbit hole every now and again. Whenever I get tagged in something on social media, on Reddit, on Twitter and Instagram, anytime that something is posted, that seems to be a recurring thing that sticks out to me. Every time I get the, “We need more of this! You glazed over it too quick! What happened in those years?”

I love all of the characters. Josh (Hutcherson) did an amazing job carrying the show. He was so fun and he was one of those guys that just laughed about everything along the way. He still couldn’t believe what they were having him do, and he was one of the producers on it, but you can tell he was all-in. And then of course, with Tiger and Wolf just killing it. But the consensus seems to be that everybody really loves Wolf, and I’m so happy for Derek. He was such a good sport. Such a cool guy. He brought it. He really brought that character to life in a way that was so unique and fun while still being… his innocence. He played it so well. I’m really happy that Wolf was the one that really kind of stood out to so many people.

TrunkSpace: Well, and Wolf couldn’t be Wolf without having a bro in his life like Blaze. Safe to say that everybody needs a bro like Blaze in their lives?
Caliber: Oh, absolutely!

Catch up on season 1 of “Future Man” on Hulu and look for season 2 later this year.

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Next Up

Caitlin Grace

Photo By: Nagel Photography

Name: Caitlin Grace

Hometown: Lodi, CA

Current Location: Los Angeles, CA

TrunkSpace: When did you know that you wanted to act for a living?
Grace: I knew as a young child, that acting was something that I had to pursue. I always felt that I could tell stories as well as those cast in parts on my favorite shows. I remember, “Who’s Afraid of The Dark” for sure, and I wanted to be on that show so bad!

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular performance or actor/actress from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Grace: Absolutely, for what really sealed my inspiration was Kirsten Dunst and when she played, Claudia, in Interview with the Vampire I was so thoroughly impressed with her performance and felt, “If she can do it, I know I can do it too.” Boom.

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?
Grace: Oh boy, this is still a tough question after all these years. I knew, that if I didn’t at least try to pursue acting, I may live in regret for the rest of my life. I remember feeling that as young as age nine. My father really wanted me to study and become an engineer. I toyed with the idea of getting my law degree, and I remember Pops saying, “You can do it, all you need to take are baby steps.” When I did apply to San Francisco State University, it was for a Theater Arts Major. Funny enough, I didn’t elect to have an academic counselor when I started, and two years after my receiving my Associates Degree, I realized that I had fallen into Psychology. It was difficult to get into theater classes after my first two years. I should have signed up for those courses freshman year. But honestly, I didn’t have the confidence, at all, to pursue it in college. But Psychology has served me very well in my study of the craft of acting, for one must know, how and what, motivates people to do the things they do. So, plan wise? I just had to remind myself that acting was to be pursed in baby steps as well. I feel I have to remind myself that acting is NOT that same formula as getting your Doctorate or a Law Degree. Where one gets their BA or BS, then Masters, then Graduate Program/Med School, then the tests to tell you’re ready to get a residency or internship. Acting is NOT the same. I don’t feel that there is a true tested formula for making it as an artist. It’s a matter of plugging along and seeing what does and doesn’t feel right, and trusting your intuitions along the way.

TrunkSpace: When did you decide to move away from your home and pursue acting as a career? How old were you at the time?
Grace: I went to college right after graduating from high school. My last semester in college, a friend of mine who did study entertainment, mentioned she got an internship at a casting directors office and was moving to LA the summer after graduation. I hopped on that band wagon and moved here with her. I was freshly 21, and still had A LOT of work to do, not only in making moves in the industry, but on myself as well.

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?
Grace: It was easy in the sense that we ended up moving in with a lovely friend we had both met in college. She had a few extra rooms in her childhood house that her parents left to her and her siblings when they bought a second house a few blocks away. They were very patient with me, as I was really going through and experiencing my own demons. I ended up moving in with my grandparents a couple months after moving here, which was a blessing. I am lucky enough to have family here that has always supported me. But as much as others wanted to help me, I found myself pushing away, still not feeling that I deserved any help from anyone. I did feel alone for years, despite meeting some very amazing and patient people, it still took me some time to allow myself to trust others and let them in. But it became easier when I started studying at Beverly Hills Playhouse. That’s when the walls started to crumble down.

TrunkSpace: What has been been your biggest break in terms of a particular role or project thus far?
Grace: I went on an audition for a feature and it was improv. Very basic, you need for your scene partner to stay with you, but they for sure leave at the end of the scene. I remember sitting in the waiting room and writing down all the logical reasons why that character should stay with me. I did my homework, and I remember feeling like I nailed that audition. In fact, I did a happy dance walking back to my car. A few weeks later, the director, Antoine La, called my back in to read with nine other people they were casting for the opposite role. And to my absolute delight, Tim Drier, whom I’d worked and studied with at BHP for the past couple years, showed up to read for that part! It was a wonderful experience! Though I didn’t hear back immediately, I was okay with that. I did what I could and I figured they went with someone, probably younger, for that role. Tim told me to keep my head up. And a couple weeks later, Antoine reached out and told me that, though they went another direction for the part I originally read for, they actually wrote in a part for me, based off my auditions. I’m telling you, THAT was the moment I knew that I was REALLY on the right path, and I am so happy I stuck it out for as long as I have.

P.S. Tim booked his role too and we filmed our first feature, “Followed,” with the most FANTASTIC team, produced by Viscape Arts! Stay Tuned, it’s almost wrapped in post and slated to release 2018! #followedmovie baby!

Photo By: Nagel Photography

TrunkSpace: Is there a specific type of role youd like to take on or a specific genre that you feel more at home in?
Grace: I love all genres, honestly, and as long as I gravitate toward a storyline, I’m happy to play and experience the role.

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength an actor/actress can have outside of acting ability itself?
Grace: I find that the greatest strength one could ever have, is to TRUST and have absolute faith and confidence in yourself and the choice you made to pursue your craft and dream. It’s a very hard road, and not only will others doubt your resolve and your ability, you will too. YOU can’t let that doubting dialogue become your fear or your demise. You know you’re true heart and passion, and you need to trust that. And remember, you could be the best actor in the room, but that doesn’t promise you’ll get the part. So realize, it’s not rejection if you don’t book, you just weren’t what they were looking for, but that DOESN’T mean you aren’t good and you don’t deserve it. But babe; I’ve seen and met a lot of jaded people trying to make it in this industry. TRUST when I say that you can’t let your ego get the best of you. You will be you’re own worst enemy. Don’t let your fear and self consciousness overwhelm you. Remember, you know your ability, so again, it’s all about trusting yourself.

Did I stress that too much? Did I say trust too many times? (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your acting career? Where would you like your path to lead?
Grace: My ultimate dream when it comes to my acting career is simple. When I watch a show, or movie, or play, and I am moved, I feel a sense of catharsis. My dream is to do the same for others, to help them realize something about themselves, and maybe learn a little life lesson from the story I’ve helped to create and tell. I want to move people. And walking down the red carpet and up to that podium of course! I’ve been visualizing it for so long, I’m so excited for it to manifest!

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring actor/actress who is considering moving away from home to pursue their dream?
Grace: You have to be prepared to be very very patient. Be patient with learning technique and studying your craft. Be patient to get the right head shots and develop a good reel. DON’T give yourself a timeline: i.e., “I’ll give it two years.” If you really really want it, “It takes a super human effort,” said Alex Craig Mann. So be patient AND persistent. For don’t forget, this is the industry of “hurry up and wait.” And, take it easy on yourself. You may go through a year where you are booking left and right, then the next year, it seems like it’s all dried up, and you haven’t been called in for auditions, or you can’t find a new agent, or a manager. There are ebbs and flows in this industry, be prepared to ride them and not fight them.

TrunkSpace: Where can people (and casting directors) learn more about you?
Grace: You can check out my website,, and/or connect though Instagram and Facebook.

I am on Actors Access, LACasting and IMDb.

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