July 2018

Listen Up

Mackenzie Nicole


Mackenzie Nicole’s debut album “The Edge” is representative of who she is as an artist today, but she is determined to not let it define who she will become as an artist tomorrow. At only 18, the pop singer with the classically-trained voice and a wide array of musical influences (including The Doors!) anticipates growing and adapting creatively as she does so in her own life, always focusing on the now, especially in the future.

It was me actually experiencing something in real time,” she says of the love songs on her debut album. “If I continue to do that, I think you’re right, I think that it will continue to be a small glimpse into my life at the time, and that’s how I kind of like it.”

We recently sat down with Nicole to discuss how the ‘80s and ‘90s impacted her music, what she would produce if left to her own creative devices, and why she’s on a mission to break the pop mold.

TrunkSpace: You said that your album was reflective of what you were experience in real time when making it. That’s what makes music so powerful, isn’t it, that people can relate to the honesty of what you’re experiencing as an artist?
Nicole: Exactly. That’s something that I want to strive for more, is being more honest and being more myself on these tracks, because something that was really hard about this album that was a great learning experience, but that definitely affected the outcome of the album, was that it was co-written. That’s something that I definitely had never done before. I’m so used to writing everything myself, and that’s something I can’t wait to get back to, because it was such an interesting learning curve. I think it was valuable. I think it’s valuable to learn to work with others on every level as an artist, but I can’t wait to get back to being 100 percent, completely me and what I’m thinking and the way I would say it, which is something that’s really important to me.

TrunkSpace: That’s pretty rare in the pop world. And especially from your particular perspective where you play instruments and have voice training in operatic singing, that would be a different approach than most take with the genre.
Nicole: I think that’s accurate. Thank you so much for knowing that and acknowledging that, because I always joke that my goal is to Trojan horse some substance into pop music, because right now, I know that for me, something that always wowed me is that I longed for, growing up, the music of the ’80s and ’90s and the pop music of that time, because it spoke to me more. That’s not to discount everyone. There’s amazing pop music of every era, but what spoke to me more was the pop music of the past more so than what I grew up around. It was always my goal to bring back some of that earlier influence into pop, packaged like the way I am which is, I look like a very typical pop artist, but I want to bring something else that you haven’t heard in a while or maybe you’ve never heard before, and that’s one of my goals.

We have a lot of really amazing artists doing that right now. We have artists like Halsey. We have artists who are in this more dark pop vein, which is what Dua Lipa calls her music. I think that pop is taking a really cool turn, especially the more urban influenced it is with hip hop and rap music, because that’s a huge part of what I grew up on, obviously, being a part of Strange Music.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned ’80s pop, and if you look at somebody like Cyndi Lauper, regardless of who wrote her songs or who was playing on them, they were clearly HER songs. They had her unique point of view, which seems to be a rarity these days.
Nicole: That’s what I want to get to. After co-writing an album, what I learned and something I developed an ear for, is developing an ear for when an artist has written the words they’re singing and when they haven’t. I can pretty well identify which parts of a song were co-written an artist wrote, and which parts weren’t. I think that’s something that, if I can do that, that means other artists can do that. That means they can do that with my album and they can do it with any other album. I want to get to a point where the album, or the project, or whatever it is – the song itself – is so entirely my message and what I’m going for and what I’m trying to say, that you can’t tell the difference between if I wrote it or if I did have a co-writer. I want to get that authenticity. I think we did a pretty good job on “The Edge,” but nothing is perfect and especially not your first try, so I really can’t wait to improve.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned having influences in pop, hip hop and rap, but in terms of your training, you were coming from a much different place. Did you have to relearn anything when you started your pop career?
Nicole: 100 percent. Yes! Nothing is harder than being an opera singer and deciding to do pop music, because nothing is more at odds than pop music and classical training, because you learn to do everything correct when you’re classically trained. You know the exact, accurate, perfect way to sing. Not to say that I’m perfect or that my voice is perfect, but I know the perfect technique because that’s how I was taught to sing, and that’s how anyone who is trained to sing opera or classical was taught to sing. You know how to do something. What you don’t know is how to break those rules in a way that’s experimental. That’s something I had to learn, because it was very hard for me to come out of my shell to be able to not sing everything proper, to not insist on having everything be correct. You have to learn the rules to break them is what I’ve said about it. I’m grateful for my training, but it definitely was something that got in my way the first several years of my career.

TrunkSpace: There’s something very mathematical about pop, in terms of the structure, which must be so different than singing classically?
Nicole: The way in which each one is technical is very different. Opera is technical in a way that is more fluid and more creative, but there is a formula to pop. It’s like a writing prompt. You are given the lines and you have to decide how you’re going to color them in. That’s something that was also hard to accept, because I like a weird concept album. Left to my own devices, I would’ve created some weird alternative, dark pop rock concept album that 86 people would’ve listened to. I know that unfortunately, that was not beneficial to the group at large, being my label and the division I’m starting on A Strange Main, so we had to go a little bit more pop on this record. Cast that wide net first. That’s fine. I’m fine with that. I’ll go ahead and do a pop album and I’ll try and grow my following through that, and then I’m going to come through later on with a more experimental work that will really blow the minds of hopefully, the people that are following me from that wider net that we cast with the pop album.

TrunkSpace: As an artist, is there ever a fear that you’ll be pigeon holed into a particular sound?
Nicole: Absolutely. Do we really need another blonde haired, blue eyed pop artist? That’s honestly something that bothers me a lot, every day, is that ultimately, I look and can sound just like 20 other artists I can think of off the top of my head, and that’s just the ones that are out right now. “How do you distinguish yourself?” That’s always the question I have to ask myself. “What are we going to do to keep from being pigeon holed, and how do we make sure that doesn’t become us?” Really, nothing is more true than the statement that the industry doesn’t need another blonde haired, blue eyed pop artist that sings love songs.

Ultimately, my goal is to say, “Okay fine, if I can’t fit that mold, if I can’t be that pop artist because there’s already too many of them, then what am I going to do?” I’m going to have to be myself. I’m going to have to figure out how to make myself work.

TrunkSpace: There’s something to be said about growth as a human. You’re still so young. You’re growing. You’re going to learn different perspectives and ways of thinking about things within your own life that will then be reflected in your music.
Nicole: Thank you. I get very frustrated a lot of times, because I look at people like Stevie Nicks and I wonder why I’m not her yet, and then I realize that’s because I’m 18. I look at people like Jessie Reyez, who is a goddess, and I wonder, “Oh my God, how am I not her yet?” I realize she’s been doing this since she was my age and she’s 27. That’s why. It’s about time and experience. Have I had an interesting life experience so far being raised in a rap label, and then starting my music career when I was nine, starting my solo career when was 15? Yeah, I’ve had a lot of weird and interesting things happen, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t going to take time for me to learn how to bring that to my artistry.

The Edge” is available now.

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The Featured Presentation

Evan Daigle

Photo By: Akeem Biggs

The hit TNT series “Claws” took audiences by surprise when it first aired in the summer of 2017, but those tuning in weren’t the only ones to have the Rashida Jones-produced dramedy exceed their expectations. Evan Daigle, then a college student in New Orleans, was cast in the pilot as Toby, only to discover months later that the character would become a recurring role, kick-starting his professional career in a most unexpected way.

We recently sat down with Daigle to discuss the slow burn of Toby’s birth as an ongoing character, the inspiring words that will stay with him throughout the course of his career, and why he has been spoiled with “Claws” being his first job.

TrunkSpace: Your “Claws” journey and how your professional career kicked off was sort of unorthodox and not how a lot of actors find their path. How has your life changed the most since it all began?
Daigle: I think that the biggest difference in my life was just having to leave school – being in school since the time that I was five years old and then leaving, not when I planned to leave, but when I was 23 and about to graduate. It was an opportunity that I couldn’t refuse. And I was going to school to be able to work professionally as an actor. So I think that that was probably the biggest difference in lifestyle. But now that I’ve settled in, after doing two seasons of the show, I feel really comfortable with all of the crew and all of the other actors and everything. I think that the biggest new thing that I am dealing with now is how to settle myself in Los Angeles and figure out how this city works ‘cause I come from a really small town in Louisiana.

TrunkSpace: You had no idea where things would end up when you first read for the part because the character wasn’t even considered to reoccur at that time, so in terms of your personal journey, it must have been interesting to see it all take these turns, turns that you never expected?
Daigle: It was a slow burn for sure. I got the pilot in October of 2016. The character was only going to be in one episode, and the series hadn’t been green lit yet. I was only going to be in that one scene. I auditioned for another co-star part, not recurring, nothing to do with that, but then whenever the series got green lit in January of the following year, my agent called me and said that they had me penned for the first three episodes of the season. So at that point we kind of had a feeling for sure that it was going to be a recurring part and after that it was just every week I would get a call from my agent, “They want you back. They want you back.” And I ended up doing nine episodes the first season and six episodes in this new season. So it’s been moving pretty fast. I can’t believe that it’s already been two years and two seasons since I started with the show.

TrunkSpace: Did you already move on emotionally from the job between that period of getting the pilot and when you ultimately heard back?
Daigle: Oh definitely. You sort of have to ‘cause if you really stress out or think about options or projects that you don’t really know they’re gonna go or not you’ll just live miserably as an actor, so you have to try to just let it go as much as possible. Obviously I was checking Variety every day, and when I saw the Variety article that the series got green lit, those two days between then and then whenever my agent called me were some of the most stressful days that I’ve had in my young career. But whenever I got the call to tell me that they had booked me for more episodes, we were both so excited.

TrunkSpace: As far as jobs go, because there were so few expectations out of the gates, it must be the gift that keeps on giving.
Daigle: Oh and this project has… that’s the perfect way to put it. It’s been the gift that keeps on giving. Not only has this project really given me the beginnings of a real career, it’s also just been such a blessing for this job to be what it is. I feel so incredibly, incredibly inspired by the themes of the show. I love how diverse and inclusive it is. It’s just been great that this show is my first job. I feel really spoiled for the set that I work on, ‘cause I hear it’s not necessarily the norm.

TrunkSpace: It feels like a lot about this job, at least how it relates to you, has not been the norm. You didn’t go to Los Angeles to start your career. In a way, the show kind of found you in New Orleans, right?
Daigle: Yes. There’s a small film industry in New Orleans ’cause a lot of films and TV shows will film down there and they’ll hire the co-stars and the one-liners out of New Orleans. And so I had a small agent there and that’s why I was able to even get in the room with the part because it started off so small. I had always saw myself moving to LA or New York to start my career, but I was going to try to stay in New Orleans and build up my resume with a couple of co-star roles to have a little something-something whenever I got out here. What has happened to me now is more than I ever could have asked for or even envisioned for myself, so it’s been amazing.

Photo By: Akeem Biggs

TrunkSpace: And it must be such a confidence boost to your abilities as an actor to know that they brought this character back after you gave him life?
Daigle: Yeah, and honestly, that’s been the most gratifying and most validating thing for me, is that it’s true what you say – if you’re not a regular, you’re not contracted into absolutely anything. And so they can kill you off or they can simply write you out. And so Jenn Lyon, who plays Jen in the show… and I will never forget, I think in the fifth or sixth episode of the first season, her and I were working together and she sat me down and told me that she was really proud of me and to recognize that I’m here and continuing to be here because I’ve impressed the producers at the network and studio level continuously. And she was like, “You’re a young actor, I know that you probably don’t understand the gravity of that, but I want you to know that I’m proud of you.” It’s just that kind of validation, from these seasoned actors that have been just working for years and years and years, it’s given me the confidence that I think I need to start really competing in LA.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned leaving college sooner than you expected, but in many ways, your education is continuing through your work on the series… just not in a classroom.
Daigle: Oh 100 percent. The first season for me was a complete, complete immersion into film acting. I was studying theater in school and I had a really good film acting teacher but there’s nothing like actually being on set and getting to work with people like Carrie Preston and Harold Perrineau who are these insanely talented, seasoned theater, film and TV actors. It’s what I was telling you, I feel so spoiled by this being my first job.

Claws” airs Sundays on TNT.

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The Featured Presentation

Makenna James

Photo By: Jeff Forney

Big breaks in Hollywood are no easy thing to come by, even in this Golden Age of television where the quantity of the content being produced is matched only by the quality. Actress Makenna James, still in the early stages of her career, knows that big breaks are only what you make of them, and with her new series “American Woman,” she’s embracing the mantra that even those jobs that appear like game changers on the surface, they don’t actually change the game itself.

We recently sat down with James to discuss the “American Woman” learning curve, why the storytelling is so relevant even though it’s a period piece, and how acting is not the only path she plans on walking in life.

TrunkSpace: “American Woman” is your biggest role to date, in a series that has received a lot of attention. Do you view it as a career game changer? At the same time, is it important to also manage expectations because it seems like this is an industry where things always zig when you expect them to zag?
James: I wouldn’t say a game changer. A stepping stone, maybe. I try to never have lofty expectations. If this is a game changer, that’s fantastic. If not, I’ve dealt with that before and I’ll move on.

TrunkSpace: The talent involved in the series is phenomenal, as is the creative team behind it. Are you viewing your time on the series as just as much of an education as you are a job? We would imagine there’s a wealth of knowledge to absorb on a set like that.
James: Definitely. The learning curve was insane for me. I got to become less socially awkward, more acclimated to working in front of a camera, and exposed to the writing process over the course of numerous episodes. John Wells is a legend, but – more than that – such a kind person. It was incredible to be able to work with him so early in my career.

TrunkSpace: The series takes place in the 1970s, but the experiences that the characters are going through could just as easily be applied to what people are dealing with today. Do you think that is part of what makes the series work, that it’s relatable on a human, grounded level?
James: I do. Although the era impacts the storylines, a lot of what our characters are going through – self-doubt, discrimination, sexism, racism – continue to have a place in today’s society. I don’t think that the show could have arrived at a more relevant time.

TrunkSpace: In terms of your own personal experience, is it a gift to be able to play a character like Becca who has layers, but at the same time, is dropped into a world that is foreign to you (the ‘70s) and have an opportunity to play in a space that feels new?
James: Such a gift. A lot of Becca’s opinions are normalized in modern society, but – for the ‘70s – are radical. Everything about the era – from sexist teachers to passive racism – amplifies the passion that Becca feels. In the face of dismissiveness, Becca’s beliefs are fortified.

TrunkSpace: Is there a particular set piece/design or wardrobe selection that impacted you and helped to transport you back to the 1970s? Do those real time visuals help get you into character when you arrive on set?
James: There were so many brilliant pieces on our set – our crew was phenomenal. But, if I had to pick one, it would be Becca’s Angela Davis t-shirt. That particular shirt really helped me understand Becca as she related to the time – her activism, the unabashed nature of her personality, her understanding that she is privileged. A great debt is owed to Judy Gellman, our head costume designer, as she brings each character to life with their style, and each actor back to the era that we are living in.

TrunkSpace: What do you enjoy most about getting to slip into Becca’s skin and where has she allowed you to go with your performance that previous roles didn’t?
James: Her dynamism. Playing the rebellious character is always fun, but Becca poses a unique opportunity. Not only is she defiant and difficult, but she is also vulnerable and confused. A lot of her pessimism stems from the sense that she lacks control and the notion that her mother doesn’t make her a priority. Becca feels left behind and, for whatever reason, that manifests in anger. That complexity is rare to come by for a teenage character.

TrunkSpace: This is the longest time you’ve ever spent with one character. What has that extended character journey been like for you, and do you think you would be creatively fulfilled playing the same character – not necessarily Becca, but any character – for six or seven seasons?
James: I loved staying in character for an extended amount of time. But, when we talk about six or seven seasons, I think it depends on the character and the show. Like real people, characters evolve. The challenges they face, the developments in their lives – all of it changes who they are. In that sense, I don’t feel that it would be a hindrance, as long as the creative team behind the show is dedicated to authenticity. With Becca specifically, I feel that there is a lot we haven’t yet explored in her personality. She has a lot of pent-up, complicated emotions.

TrunkSpace: You’re headed off to Harvard University in the fall. First, as Boston peeps, welcome to the city! Secondly, have you given thought to how your two workloads – career and school – will intermingle and how they will impact each other? Will you be stepping back a bit from acting while attending classes?
James: Thank you for the welcome! I am still figuring out that balance if I’m being honest. For now, and this is subject to change, I am planning on taking my first year to get settled and clarify my field of study. After that, I might re-enter acting, but exclusively during breaks.

TrunkSpace: You’ve been acting since you were 12. Is Harvard the start of what you hope is a different long-term career path? Do you have your sights set on goals beyond the entertainment industry?
James: Yes. I am not going to college for the novelty. There are many fields I am interested in – criminal justice, environmental science – that I am equally passionate about. Even within the industry itself, I would want to direct or write, rather than just act. Acting alone has never been the plan.

TrunkSpace: If “American Woman” becomes the smash hit of the year and it ends up being the show that everyone is talking about, would that alter your long-term point of view at all? Would you have to reassess the various paths you’re walking?
James: For the most part, no. Multitasking might slow down the process, but other than perhaps delaying Harvard for a year to do a second season, the show’s success will not impact my other goals. I don’t want to dedicate my life to one profession.

American Woman” airs Thursdays on Paramount Network.

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Deep Focus

Daniel Zelik Berk

Jonathan Rhys Meyers in “Damascus Cover”

In our ongoing column Deep Focus, TrunkSpace is going behind the camera to talk with the directors, writers and producers who infuse our world with that perennial pop culture goodness that we can’t get enough of.

This time out we’re chatting with Daniel Zelik Berk, the director and writer of the new spy thriller “Damascus Cover” (starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Olivia Thirlby, and the late John Hurt) about how the movie-making process differed from his previous directing work, why he broke all of the conventional rules in creating the movie, and the reason you may be familiar with some of the furniture in the film.

TrunkSpace: You didn’t only direct “Damascus Cover” but you wrote it as well. Did director Dan and writer Dan ever butt heads, and did you have to compromise creatively even with yourself at times?
Daniel Zelik Berk: Oh, good question. Okay. The genesis of this is that I purchased a book. I optioned a book called “The Damascus Cover” by Howard Kaplan, which was a spy thriller set in the late ’70s. I was looking for something to direct. I’d done one film before as a director, and that was an assignment. It was a low-budget film, which was made for under a million bucks. What I learned on that picture was how important the script was, because I wasn’t able to change the script on my first film. So I said that I needed to really find something that was personal and something that I wrote myself.

I found Howard’s book, which I liked very much because I liked that it was in the Middle East. I liked that it had an ending, which was very organic and wasn’t kind of a trick ending, which is pretty typical of the genre where you work really hard to get through a film and it’s very confusing. You get to the end, and you’re like, “Who’s the mole?” It’s like the guy in the blue shirt. You’re like, “What? Who’s that?” You don’t even know who that is. This ending has a very nice, organic ending. You find out who it is. Usually it’s a surprise, and it seems in retrospect that it was an inevitable kind of thing. I like that, so that’s why I got this.

Then, I added some themes that I liked about children and hope and moved it to the time of the Berlin Wall to reflect that. As the writer, I really enjoyed doing the adaptation. What I liked about Howard was he recognized the script would be something completely different. In fact, in the process that you make various movies, there’s the novel, which is one thing. There’s the script, which is one thing. Then ultimately, you have to deal with the reality of who the cast is and where the locations are, and that becomes the movie you shoot. Then, you go to the editing room, and that’s another whole movie because now you’re working with what you actually got. Each one of these things at each level is a different process, which is part of the fun of it. I guess you try and stay as open as you can in each section, realizing you don’t want to be limited by your imagination and what the change is.

As the director… the thing about this is is that because I was also the writer, I didn’t… this is a very interesting film. I wanted to do what basically is a classic spy thriller, almost from the ’60s. Unfortunately, we keep getting compared to James Bond, which is really… we can’t even attempt that. We had basically a few million dollars to do this, and by writing the script… obviously, it breaks all the rules.

TrunkSpace: Well, certainly, you get to a point where you can create your vision on the page, but then budget and time constraints change that vision.
Daniel Zelik Berk: Yeah, that’s right. The thing about this script, which was insane, which actually comes from the book, is that when you do a low-budget film, there are certain rules. There are certain things you just know that are conventional wisdom, and one is is that you do a limited number of locations, preferably one location. Like, you want to do it in house, and some people are trying to break in. Or, you’re in a car, and a guy’s talking on a speaker phone. We have, I forget the number of locations, but it’s like 40 or 50 locations. You can see it’s cutting all over the place. So, that’s rule number one you’ve broken. Then, the other rule is you have a limited number of people. There are two people in the house, and there’s one guy trying to break in, or, one guy sitting in the car on the speaker phone. We have a huge cast, so I kind of created my own nightmare here by writer Dan and director Dan. Those are some basic rules I broke, which is why you don’t see a lot of low-budget thrillers of this kind – spy thrillers. What you see are low-budget horror films, and low-budget films where it’s a guy in a room, and he’s talking to his mother about wanting to kill himself or something. That’s what a low-budget film is. They’re more like plays. So, that created a lot of problems for me.

TrunkSpace: Well, and a lot of times, you hear people refer to something as a low-budget film, but really it’s still a 20 million dollar movie.
Daniel Zelik Berk: You know, that’s a really funny comment because my daughter heard a lecture from a filmmaker that I won’t mention, complaining that they only had 20 million bucks. They were really pissed off because they wanted 50. My daughter’s like, “My dad, he only had a few million.” (Laughter)

I’ll tell you something, the truth is is that… and I understand this and I’m not complaining… the standard of the public is the same. I don’t think they know the difference.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Olivia Thirlby in “Damascus Cover”

TrunkSpace: That’s true.
Daniel Zelik Berk: I’m very proud of the look of the picture. I hired a first-time DP named 
Chloë Thomson, a female DP who had never done a feature before. We wanted to do this kind of classic look, and I think she completely accomplished it. I think that the picture looks really good, and that creates this expectation of it being a studio picture. I mean, the fact that she performed a miracle… it’s almost like somebody should make it look rougher, then you could kind of introduce a lower expectation. But I understand. We’re trying to run with the big boys even though we have much, much less money.

TrunkSpace: From a personal satisfaction standpoint, to be able to pull off what you did for only a couple million dollars… that has to be a feather in your cap?
Daniel Zelik Berk: Yeah. I’m telling you, I am extremely proud of what we pulled off. I couldn’t be more proud of everyone that worked on the film because people did it as a labor of love. I just was on a call where a guy said, “What would you have spent more money on?” I was like, “First day, what I would have done is given everyone better food.” (Laughter) Soup gets boring after a while, right?

Everything is on the screen, I can tell you that. And that becomes part of the fun of it is that you can’t solve your problems with money, so you solve them with ingenuity and hard work. You have to take risks.

TrunkSpace: We have had conversations with filmmakers who have said that having more money meant more problems for their production. You start to think bigger, outside your means, and you have more cooks in the kitchen.
Daniel Zelik Berk: Well, that was not an option for us. (Laughter) That was never an option. Literally there was a scene where we didn’t have money for the furniture for the next scene. The line producer said, “Look, we’re sitting at the Sheridan.” He says, “Do you like that furniture you’re sitting on?” And I said, “Yeah, I guess so.” Next thing you know, we carried that furniture over to the set and then brought it back the next day – literally just used the furniture of the hotel. In retrospect, that story’s fun. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: You mentioned how your first directorial project, which was back in 1998, was an assignment. Did the process of directing feel new again, or, was it a bit like riding a bike?
Daniel Zelik Berk: The thing that I had on the second film that I didn’t have on the first film, and this is related to your first question, is I really understood the script. One of the things I think a director does is he has the big picture. Everyone’s trying to help you. You have all these people trying to help you. There are people all over the place in different positions with different things and different focuses, but the director is the only one that really has the grand view in line. Even with the actors. The actors know their individual parts. It’s all compartmentalized. The only one that really has the biggest picture is the director, and by writing the script… it’s a complicated script… that was actually an advantage from the first time in that I really knew this character should be scared here because of what’s happened four scenes before, and people might forget that, but this happened. You really do have this kind of overview. Because when you shoot an individual shot, you’re very focused on just that shot.

Every film is different, every film is a miracle, and every film has massive problems, but they’re always different. So, I had different problems on this movie than I had on my first film. I felt good. I still remembered basically how to say, “Action,” and all that kind of stuff wasn’t as dramatic. I learned a ton on this, too. My first film was much simpler. Even though I had never directed before, and it was a big learning curve, it was much simpler. This film was very, very complex.

Dive into the complex storytelling of “Damascus Cover” today!

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The Featured Presentation

Jake Stormoen

© NBCUniversal International Networks

Jake Stormoen grew up nose-deep in fantasy novels, daydreaming that he was a knight, sword in hand and impenetrable armor encasing his body. Now as an adult, that inner childhood narrative has become a fictional reality as he stars as the straight-laced Captain Garret Spears on the fantastical summer series “The Outpost,” airing Tuesdays on The CW.

We recently sat down with Stormoen to discuss vanquishing monsters, his D&D past, and how he learned to embrace the hustle of Hollywood, thanks in large part to the words of Dwayne Johnson.

TrunkSpace: When you’re playing in the fantasy sandbox like with “The Outpost,” does your inner child do a couple of fist pumps every time you get to put on your armor and take up a sword? It seems that a show like this would open up the door for living out some childhood dreams.
Stormoen: Either you’ve done your research, or you and I are very much alike. Maybe both? I definitely did a couple fist pumps every time I got to put the armor on and buckle up the sword belt… and then I did a couple more. My oldest childhood fantasy was to be a knight. I’d go out into the woods behind my house and vanquish monsters until the sun went down… so the role of Garret was quite literally a dream come true.

TrunkSpace: Fantasy is also a genre where anything is really possible in terms of the plot and character arcs. Does that help to keep things fresh from a performance standpoint where you never know what a day on set is going to become?
Stormoen: I would say yes and no. Once we got to set, we knew what had to be shot and how much time we had to do it, so it was fairly precise by necessity. But before the scripts for the new episodes would arrive, I think this was far more true. Though I certainly wasn’t in the writing room, I think that there were small changes made here and there when the producers and writers would come across something during filming that worked especially well, or would spark a new idea. You’re absolutely right though – fantasy is a genre where anything is, to an extent, possible so long as it abides by the rules you’ve created for your world. I’d love to think “The Outpost” does that well, and you’ll see many answers surface as to why things are the way they are in this universe.

TrunkSpace: Have you felt any pressure throughout the process, not only anchoring a new series, but doing so in one that is built to have international appeal?
Stormoen: Honestly? Yes. For sure. The audition process for me was… an adventure to say the least, and I ended up being the only American actor in the primary cast, so I felt a lot of pressure there. Garret is someone who’s very straight-laced. Someone whose word is his bond… but also someone who struggles with that sometimes. It meant that the writing would often be very straightforward for him, and it would be up to me to try and make sure the audience knows that just because he’s not necessarily saying something, that doesn’t mean his mind isn’t racing with questions, answers, emotion and struggle. These are things that we as humans battle in ourselves universally, and I do hope that our international audience can all find something to relate to in Garret. That was the goal, at least!

TrunkSpace: Not only does the show have that international appeal, but it also has Comic Con appeal, which as we understand it, you attended this year. What were you most looking forward to as you surrounded yourself with cosplayers and the biggest pop culture fans the world has to offer?
Stormoen: I’ve been a geek my entire life. My nose was always in a fantasy novel, my friends and I would always sword fight with sticks, or play D&D, or Magic: the Gathering, or one of any number of fantasy-themed board games. So I adore this stuff. I’ve attended cons my entire adult life, and have attended SDCC in the past… but this is the first time I got to go and sit on a panel there, sign character posters for (the absolute loveliest) fans, attend events, etc. It was a whirlwind, but so much fun. I absolutely love seeing the creativity that goes into people’s cosplays, their art, their passion. Attending more cons in the future is something I’ve wanted as a career milestone for years now, and I’m finally able to start making that happen. I can’t wait!

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with your work thus far in “The Outpost” and your character Garret?
Stormoen: Garret is a bit of a Boy Scout, which is something I relate to a little more than I care to admit (Eagle Scout, here)! I think I understand his headspace pretty well, and he has some inner struggles that I think many of us have encountered in some form or another. My number one goal with Garret was to be just that: the guy who many of us can relate to as someone who tries to do the right thing, even when he doesn’t always have the answers in the moment. Talon is such a powerful force physically, Gwynn is such an intellectual aristocrat, and Janzo is, I think, so smart and clever he doesn’t always even realize it. That’s a lot for someone like Garret – someone who’s been on their own their entire life and has tried to completely re-write their stars – to be caught in the middle of. I’d like to think I did an alright job at portraying his character arc into the leader he’s needed as… so fingers crossed!

TrunkSpace: As far as performance is concerned, did Garret offer you something in playing him that you have yet to tackle in the past? Was there something about Garret that was fresh to you on a level that stretched beyond it being simply a new job?
Stormoen: That’s a tricky one. Garret is the necessary protagonist at the start. He doesn’t get to be as colorful or interesting as some of the other characters because he’s often an expositional driving force. This was something that presented its own unique challenges. (Which I think I alluded to above, but I have a tendency to ramble when we’re talking about Fantasy because I get so excited, so bear with me!) Sometimes I had to fight to allow him to stretch a little bit, and I think there’s definitely more of that during the second half of the season. The biggest thing about Garret to me was that the role was so personal. I really, really get this guy. I’ve been this guy. I’ve aspired to be this guy, and still do really. So he – as his own fictional character with his own history – really means a lot to me as a person. And that can be a scary thing to share with the world.

Photo By: Chad Keyes

TrunkSpace: For you personally, what was the most daunting aspect of beginning your professional career as an actor? Was there anything you had to overcome before you could focus 100 percent on pursuing your dreams?
Stormoen: Oh, absolutely. I finished University at USQ in Australia (life is funny) and waited tables for about six months before getting in my car with a couple suitcases and moving to LA. I worked two jobs, took acting class, and had about $20 to $40 in my bank account at the end of each month. This is a familiar tune for most actors, I think, but still carries its own valid set of challenges. There’s a need to be able to roll with the punches, and that’s hard to do when you’re barely getting by. I think the hardest thing for me was finding that day to day rhythm and not thinking with every audition, “I need this job. I have to book this or I can’t pay the bills.” It’s just not true. You find a way. It feels true, but it isn’t. Once I allowed myself to have fun and enjoy the journey, enjoy the hustle and enjoy the effort, there was a shift. I can remember feeling so overwhelmed, and I’d just started following Dwayne Johnson on social media. He’d posted something with his infamous slogan “Hardest Worker in the Room,” and something clicked for me. I know it sounds silly to bring up a story like this, but it was a huge turning point for me mentally. All of a sudden it was possible to see results: I didn’t have to go on more auditions than everyone else. I didn’t have to earn more money than them. I didn’t have to tackle all of LA, or California, or the world. All I had to do was be willing to put in more effort than whoever was in the room with me, and that’s something I try to do, to this day. (Sorry for the long answer!)

TrunkSpace: There are more networks and streaming platforms available to viewers now than there was when you started your career, which means, there’s more content. Is it an exciting time for an actor, knowing that there are more opportunities for you out there in this vast television landscape?
Stormoen: Ohhh, that’s a tough one. Its a double-edged sword, I think. There are many more outlets for content, and much more being made… but this can also often translate to people having to cut their costs of production because platforms don’t have to pay as much for the end result – there’s a million other options happy to take that slot. It’s a weird, counter-intuitive thing that I think the industry as a whole is still adjusting to, and I consider myself extremely fortunate for somehow making this all work. I definitely don’t take it for granted.

TrunkSpace: You’ve also written and produced projects in the past. Is that something that you see yourself continuing to pursue, especially in this day and age where it seems the ability to control your own destiny has gotten easier and more affordable… thanks in large part to what we discussed previously about there being more options for distribution and content consumption?
Stormoen: I would love to produce more. I grew up and was raised with an extremely strong work ethic and the notion that when the work is put in, the results show themselves. While this still holds water, it’s not as true in my industry because as an actor, someone has to take a chance on you at the end of the day. I think producing allows just a little more control at times, which is a nice and often rare commodity in this business. Acting will forever be my first passion – I just love the idea of being able to play out the stories I escaped into while growing up. But there’s definitely an interest in being able to produce more in the future.

The Outpost” airs Tuesdays on The CW.

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Trunk Gaming

Game Review: Hungry Shark World


Hungry Shark

Publisher: Ubisoft

Developer: Future Games of London

Genre: Action-Adventure, RPG, Hack and Slash

Platforms: Playstation 4, iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One

Why We’re Playing it: It’s shark week, and we wanted to celebrate by living life as a hungry digital shark!

What It’s All About: You don’t have to dig too deep on the premise for this one. You play as a hungry shark and the world is your buffet. Swim around and eat fish, turtles, pelicans and of course, tourists. #SharkLife

That’s Worth A Power-Up!: You can level up in the game and as you do, you unlock bigger, scarier playable sharks. You can even play as an angry killer whale out for revenge.

Bonus Level: The game looks stunning, even on the mobile devices. There are layers of environment stacked on top of each other and fun Easter eggs like the “SPAM” spoof of a sign that reads “SPLUM”. So in between bites keep an eye out for the hidden gems.

And that’s why this game is a certified quarter muncher!


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Sit and Spin

Down By Law’s Undone


Song Title: “Undone”

From The Album: All In (art pictured at left)

Single Sentence Singles Review: If this song were a bagel, it would be an everything bagel, because it has, well, everything; a beat that gets you pumped, melodic vocals that will have you singing along, and a horn melody that accents this already-tantalizing tune.

Beyond The Track: Down By Law, which has been a pillar in the pop-punk community for nearly three decades, is back with All In, their first album in five years. “Undone” is pure energy – lightning – that has busted out of the bottle and just kept on jamming to infinity and beyond. All In is due to drop August 3rd from Cleopatra Records. Preorder is available here. Listen to the track here


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Listen Up

Gin Blossoms


We can reflect on the past, but we don’t need to live in it. We’re all guilty of attaching memories to songs, and in the process, suspending the artist responsible in a type of pop culture cryogenics. In our minds, the best music that artist produced was the music that etched itself into our personal timelines, but that is rarely ever the case.

Take the Gin Blossoms for example. Although hit songs like “Hey Jealousy” and “Found Out About You” are seared into our subconscious forever, the Arizona-born band is writing and recording some of their best music to date. Their latest album,“Mixed Reality,” took eight years to come into fruition, but the wait was well worth it… and proof that there’s always a good reason to live in the present.

We recently sat down with guitarist Scott Johnson to discuss nostalgia, the impact of marrying visuals to music, and why he’s happy to not be starting his career in 2018.

TrunkSpace: Being in a successful band obviously has its share of ups and downs. Is part of what keeps you going, for you personally, that the ups are always more memorable than the downs?
Johnson: You’d hope, right? (Laughter) Yeah. Well, you know, a lot of it is just, even on tour, you’re just hanging out for 22 hours to do that two hour show. So, that’s the down. Even in a small way, there’s that down time where it’s slow and not much is going on but then all of a sudden, I’m on the road again or, like I said, you’re hanging around the hotel all day and then finally get to go do something and get to do a show and it’s really exciting. Yeah, the highlights are always better and I suppose if they weren’t, then we’d probably be gone.

TrunkSpace: People always ask musicians what it’s like playing the same song every day, but it has to always be different because the audience is constantly giving you a different flavor… a different vibe… a different temperature.
Johnson: No, you’re absolutely right. People ask me that all the time and you’re right, every show is different. The weather is different. The crowd is different. There’s a saying, “The crowd plays the band.” And some crowds are really super into it and other people just stare at you or they stare at their phones.

TrunkSpace: Yeah, cellphones must be creating a different dynamic now. Instead of being present and creating memories, a lot of people nowadays are recording their memories for social media.
Johnson: Right and it’s tough because I’ve heard singers say, “Everybody put their phones down. Put your phone away dammit.” But it’s a tough one because somebody might be getting a text from their mom or their babysitter or their wife. Yeah, it’s a tough one but it’s definitely changed a little bit. Most people don’t, but every now and then you will get that crowd where they’re basically filming you, staring at their phones, when it’s like, “Man, I’m right here. Hello?”

TrunkSpace: So, having done this for as long as you have, do you still experience firsts?
Johnson: Well, it’s like Johnny Cash. I feel like I’ve been everywhere man but there’s still places I haven’t been. So, that’s interesting. Actually, one of the cool things is you’re in the heart of Chicago or New York and then the next night you’re in a small town in Pennsylvania and so, that’s actually an interesting thing. You’re at the Four Seasons on Michigan Ave. in Chicago and then the next day, off the interstate next to Denny’s in some weird hotel, but I really like that. Each one has its own vibe and its own pros and cons and I like that. Every day’s different and you’re right, every show is different and I don’t mind playing the same songs over. I know people want to hear the hits. I’ve seen Neil Young a bunch of times and I really like him. I’m a fan and we got to tour with him for eight shows back in the ’90s. I was so excited, but man, he will not play “Heart of Gold.” (Laughter) He just won’t do it and everybody’s been waiting for 30 years and I don’t know why he won’t do it. I think it’s such a great song. He just won’t, he refuses. So, some people just have different attitudes I suppose about that kind of thing.

TrunkSpace: What’s great about the hits are, everyone has their own memory connected to them. They make the experience more personal for the audience because in some way, those songs impacted their lives at a particular time.
Johnson: Yep. Just like “Heart of Gold” is to me. You’re right. It’s, whatever they say, “the fabric of your life.” You got laid the first time when you heard “Hey Jealousy” and you’ll never forget that, right? It’s always going to be with you and then you think it’s going to happen again. And I’ve heard so many stories, up and down – sick, in illnesses, in happy times and everything in between – and really, all you can do to experience that yourself is remember, “Oh, yeah, I remember when I heard The Jackson 5 for the first time when I was a little kid and how exciting that was and how cool it was.” It’s hard for me to think like that to be honest with you. For somebody, it’s such an important part of their lives.

TrunkSpace: And you guys hit at a time when MTV was still MTV, so there is a visual component to the memories people have with your songs. That is always a fascinating thing because as a listener, you could feel one way about a song, and then see the video and suddenly your point of view changes.
Johnson: Yeah, that’s true. That’s funny you say that because I’ve been working on… my girlfriend’s a singer/songwriter and she had a gig last night and I played with her and so, it’s like listening to the songs, and I had heard them before, but I’d never seen the videos and suddenly, there’s that connection. She does that song “Paris” and I mean, I knew it was about shaving you smooth and all this…. Grace Potter, she’s from up there in Vermont, and then I saw the video and I was like, “Oh, wow, okay, I didn’t know there was going to be Moulin Rouge.” And it totally makes sense. (Laughter) Now I have this image of girls in lingerie every time I hear that song and I suppose you’re right because when we did “Hey Jealousy,” we did the, oh god… I don’t know what they call it. Where you throw the toilet paper in people’s front yard?

TrunkSpace: Back when we were kids we called it TP’ing.
Johnson: TP’ing! That’s right. The TP thing. So, I’m sure people, when they hear that song, it might take them back to, “Oh, yeah, in high school, we did that to my neighbor or my best friend,” or something.

TrunkSpace: Having that mainstream success and being in people’s memories, does it force you into a position to be nostalgic about the past? Is it something you have to carry where otherwise you might not?
Johnson: Never really thought about that. I don’t know. I remember I did an interview once and the person called us nostalgic and I got a little bit edgy about it because I said, “Well, I mean, a hit song from two years ago, that’s in the past, isn’t that?” I was making the argument that everything is nostalgic to some point. It’s either fresh on the radio or it’s not – it’s in the past.

TrunkSpace: Or for a personal reason, a song can be nostalgic. If you have a memory tied to it, and even if it’s brand new, it can still be nostalgic.
Johnson: That’s true. I don’t know how to answer that one. I wonder if it does anchor you down in the ’90s. We will always be “that ’90s band.” It will never really change in people’s minds or even in my mind, so that’s a good point.

TrunkSpace: In terms of the original question, we were even thinking of it more from… here you guys are having to play those big hits, “Hey Jealousy” for example, and maybe those hits aren’t the songs that you have the biggest emotional and creative ties to. Because other people want to hear them, you’re forced to be nostalgic about them.
Johnson: I see what you’re saying. Yeah, that’s true and I suppose a hit song is a hit song but at the same time, that one song, you didn’t really think much about it, it just ended up on your record and then suddenly it’s a huge hit. Like I said, we are anchored to that one song for life or forever. Even after you’re gone. (Laughter) People will always be, “Found Out About You” from Gin Blossoms.

TrunkSpace: Your new album “Mixed Reality” is out now. It’s the band’s first record in eight years, and while there was a lot that was out of your control in terms of what slowed the process, was getting back in the studio a bit like riding a bike? Were you able to tap into that creative magic as you did with your previous albums?
Johnson: Yeah, I think so, and we have done it so many times and then I’ve made records outside of the band since then and with other people, and yeah, you do slip right back into it. It doesn’t take that much thought and I know how the guys write and what they want. Every now and then there might be something different, but yeah, it’s pretty easy for us to jump in there and do pre-production and rehearse. We’ve done it so many times and we dig through the songs pretty hard before we go in the studio. “Is the key right? Is the arrangement correct? Is the tempo correct? Is the groove correct?” We’ll mess with a song quite a bit before we will actually put it on a record. We’ll demo them and so, we definitely do our homework. Yeah, it was good to get in. One of the problems is some of these indie labels, I don’t know, man, they aren’t very good. And I’m not talking about those current ones but past ones, Once you get out of the major label scene, you work so hard and it’s just a guy on his computer selling records. So, that’s what slowed us down a bit. This one, we made it ourselves, we saved up the money, we hired the producer, we booked the studio time – it was totally our thing. When we were with the indies, it was their record, it was their studio time, they paid for it. This time we said, “No!” I think that may have been slowing us up a bit. This time we were like, “Okay, we’re just going to do it ourselves.” We’re tired of handing over masters to people. That’s just not working anymore.

TrunkSpace: Do you think it would be more daunting to start your career today in 2018 than it was when you started?
Johnson: Well, I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer but it seems to me… my nephew’s a musician and he got his music degree and I’ve seen him play with a dozen bands and it’s hard for him. I think it is hard, but at the same time, other people, man, you get a buddy and a couple acoustic guitars and they throw a song on YouTube and it’ll take off, you know? You know that kid Kane Brown? That’s how he started. I met him right before he took off. I was in a studio in Nashville and he had recorded there and he came in and talked to the producer and I got a chance to meet him and, what a career out of a couple of videos in the backyard! I think I saw some beer cans and a bong in the background. (Laughter) And suddenly these guys are huge. So, I don’t know. It can go either way. But yeah, I’ve seen it with my younger friends… they’re struggling to get anything going.

TrunkSpace: As we mentioned, it’s been eight years between the last two Gin Blossoms records. Do you see another large gap between “Mixed Reality” and what’s to come or do you hope to keep creative momentum going?
Johnson: Well, actually, we have talked about doing another live record, which is interesting because I was like, “Well, shoot, man, this one’s only out a week.” (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: That’s because it’s already nostalgic. (Laughter)
Johnson: (Laughter) It’s already done. It’s already in the past.

But we’ll see. We’ve talked about maybe doing some songs acoustically, doing some things, something like that. So, we haven’t made up our mind yet but knock on wood, it will not be another eight years. That was a long time.

Mixed Reality” is available now. For a full list of tour dates, click here.

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Trunk Stubs

Uncharted (Fan Film)


YouTube Fan Film: Uncharted

Rated: NR

Genre: Comedy, Action, Video Game

Release Date: July 16th, 2018

Run Time: 15 minutes

Starring: Nathan Fillion, Stephen Lang, Geno Segers, Mircea Monroe, Ernie Reyes Jr

Director: Allan Ungar

Reason We’re Watching It: It’s no secret we’re gaming fans here at TrunkSpace. (See the Trunk Gaming section to verity our credentials!) Fans of the Uncharted gaming franchise have been wishing for a live action movie for years, but it appears to be stuck in Hollywood pre-production purgatory. Allan Ungar, a fan of the gaming series, took this short film on as a passion project along with Nathan Fillion, and we are so glad they did.

What It’s About: Nathan Drake, played masterfully by Fillion, is captured on purpose in the hopes of retrieving some historical documents from some very bad dudes. Of course, Sully is nearby to help pull Drake’s bacon out of the fire if things go sideways, which you know they always do.

Whoah! Rewind That!: During Drake’s big action scene, Ungar captured the exact way we would see the scene in video game format, and it came out so well that it brought a pixelated tear to our eyes.

Watercooler-Worthy Tidbit: Ungar is not the only one who thinks Fillion is the perfect casting for Drake. There are scads of petitions online from fans asking that they cast Nathan Fillion as the quick quipping Drake.

And that’s why we’re giving it…

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The Featured Presentation

Chad Connell

Photo By: Lane Dorsey

While starring as Bryce opposite Jill Hennessy on “Crawford,” Chad Connell has turned his previous dramatic roles into comedic gold by tapping into the hilarity of his character’s circumstances. There are seldom jokes specifically written into the CBC series, but that hasn’t stopped the Canadian-born actor (or the rest of the cast) from discovering the funny in the absurdity of everyday life.

We recently sat down with Connell to discuss social media shout outs, laminated lyric sheets, and why he doesn’t want you to settle for a cold beer.

TrunkSpace: You received a pretty awesome social media shout out from Jill Hennessy for your work on Crawford.Commercial success aside, wed imagine theres no better feeling than earning the respect of your peers in a business that is known for having an ‘every person for himself/herself’ mentality?
Connell: Things always come together better when people get rid of that ‘everyone for themselves’ attitude. The support from everyone, both in the cast and from the crew, was palpable and it just makes for a better working environment and everyone ups their game. Jill is pretty legendary but so down-to-earth. It felt like we were just coming onto set to hang out and have a good time and make a killer show while we were at it.

TrunkSpace: In the series you play Bryce, boyfriend to Hennessys Cynthia. The only problem is, Cynthia is married. In a way, because hes the other man in the equation, does that in and of itself make Bryce the ‘villain’ of the story?
Connell: The only person Bryce’s relationship is complicated for is Bryce. He knew the ground rules from the beginning, but it just feels so hard. There are a couple villains on the show, but it’s definitely not Bryce. He’s too sweet and pure, and I think is pretty well liked, even by Cynthia’s kids. Bryce develops genuine feelings for Cynthia, so he thinks it’s only appropriate that he become bros with her husband – that’s what a man would do.

TrunkSpace: “Crawfordis a comedy, which seems to be a genre that you havent had a lot of opportunity to play with throughout your professional career. Do you hope your performance as Bryce opens up more doors in that area so that you can continue to tap into the funny?
Connell: I took what I learned playing dramatic roles and brought that to my work in “Crawford.” We are never playing for the laughs (but man, when they come it’s rewarding) and there aren’t very many written jokes. What makes this show funny is how wrapped up in their own personal drama the characters are. It just so happens that their drama is ludicrous.

TrunkSpace: What is it about Bryce that you enjoyed inhabiting the most? Is there an aspect of his personality that made it exciting to come to set each day?
Connell: Comedy can seem pretty jaded and to get a laugh people often resort to sarcasm. Even in everyday life it can be easy to fall into the trap of being a little too cool or disconnected. What makes Bryce stand out is that he is so earnest. He loves Cynthia, his dogs, and U2 so much and he is not ashamed of that. He will proudly give you a laminated printout of song lyrics to show you how enthusiastic he is. Getting to play Bryce is like having a good friend who leads by example and reminds you to get over yourself and just get excited about things, no matter how small.

TrunkSpace: Regarding your experience as a whole, what will you take from your time on Crawfordthat youll carry with you through the rest of your life and career?
Connell: How important it is to have the confidence of the creative team. Mike Clattenburg and Mike O’Neill are such a dynamic pair and initially their CVs were a little intimidating. You don’t want to let them down. But they made sure each and every one of us was aware of our talent and that we were hired to bring these characters to life because they trusted us.

It’s not often on set that you feel that kind of support, so it’s essential you learn to trust yourself. You’ve got to be your own cheer squad in an environment where you don’t feel you have a director or writer on your side.

TrunkSpace: You started acting as a kid, but took time off to focus on your education. When you returned to acting in 2006, did you feel like you had to completely hit the restart button or did your past experience come into play?
Connell: I think I had an easier time than some of my classmates because I was able to draw on my past experience and I had a resume that helped get me in the door. But I remember my first audition right out of theatre school and I was nervous as shit. The director had to get someone to go get me a glass of water because my mouth was too dry to even get the lines out. I was out of the game for four years when I was 19 to 23 spending 80 hours a week with the same 17 people. It was a really sheltered environment where there was a part in our plays for everyone. The real world ain’t like that.

TrunkSpace: For you personally, what was the most daunting aspect of beginning your professional career as an actor? Was there anything you had to overcome before you could focus 100 percent on pursuing your dreams?
Connell: I never had a doubt about what I wanted to do. I used to beg my parents to get me an agent as a little kid. However, now that I’m well into my career, what can be daunting is feeling like you don’t have roots planted down. Auditions and work can take you from one city to the next with little notice and that makes it hard to plan for the future and have a stable personal life. It’s a career that demands a lot of sacrifice.

TrunkSpace: Youve appeared in a number of television series and films over the years. Is there a particular role or character that you wish you had more time to spend with?
Connell: The show is over now but I would love to revisit the character I played on “Warehouse 13” called Jack. He was a paranormal investigator in the 1960s. I remember that experience really fondly.

TrunkSpace: Finally, Chad, we know you are a wine enthusiast. We go into the stores nowadays and stare blankly at a wall of wine with no real idea on where to start. What should we be drinking? What are some wines that we should be focusing in on instead of staring blankly at?
Connell: Focus on the winemaker. I am a big fan of independent wine growers, particularly from France. If the wine has a lot of marketing or some gimmick, stay away. That means their resources are going into their advertisements and branding instead of what’s in the bottle. Making wine choices is getting a lot easier these days with social media as well. Follow someone you trust (i.e. me) and see what they’re drinking. Wine is meant to be fun and interesting, not intimidating. I don’t want you to just give up and settle for beer.

Crawford” airs on CBC.

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