Often, the pursuit of one’s dreams takes a leap of faith, and this is especially true for prospective actors. To get one’s foot in the door as an actor requires a great degree of luck; to actually walk through the door and find lasting success requires charisma, poise, and most of all, talent. Cecilia Deacon has all of those qualities in spades, and the actor’s long list of diverse credits speak volumes to her enormous dedication.
Her leap of faith began with her journey to New York at 17, to attend the prestigious acting conservatory, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. As an AADA alum, she is in the company of Hollywood giants Robert Redford, Danny DeVito, and Lauren Bacall, among countless others. Shortly after graduating in 2013, Deacon was featured in the hit comedy “Delivery Man,” starring Chris Pratt (“Parks and Recreation,” “Jurassic World,” “Guardians of the Galaxy”) and Vince Vaughn (“Wedding Crashers,” “The Internship,” “Old School”). The decision to cast Deacon in the star-studded and uproariously hilarious film is a testament to her talent as an actor.
Deacon just finished work on her most recent project, “The Transcendents,” in May. Directed by playwright Derek Ahonen, the film tells the story of a group of people who were once tied together by the music scene, but now find themselves at odds. Faced with a range of obstacles, each must either overcome their personal challenges or be crushed beneath the adversity.
“[The film] is essentially a Rock n’ Roll, PTSD driven, film noir,” Deacon described. “There are so many different elements to it.”
Deacon was cast in the role of Cecilia, the film’s protagonist, whose true love has been long-absent in her life. Tragedy, heartache, and disability have shaped Cecilia’s life; however, despite arguably having the most reason to be upset with her circumstances, she remains a steadfastly optimistic beacon of hope to those around her.
“The story, at its core, is essentially about people trying to overcome – to transcend – the painful experiences that have shaped them,” she said.
In addition to her work in film, Deacon has also been featured in a number of television and serial roles. She was cast in the lead role of a particularly chilling episode of the popular Investigation Discovery series “Deadly Sins.” For the young women before her, becoming romantically involved with the episode’s antagonist proved to be a death sentence. Deacon played Stormy, the sole survivor of the homicidal adulterer’s dark machinations.
In the more light-hearted series “Catch-30,” Deacon played the lead role of Sandra, a well-to-do young woman making her own way in the world. Sandra is the core of a tight knit group of twenty-somethings who find their friendships with one another tested by life, love and sex in the adult-world.
“Sandra was the privileged one in her group of friends, all glamour and gold. For all that she For all of her overt confidence, she was intensely vulnerable.” Deacon said. “She hid it behind the mask of what everyone expected her to be. ”
Her experience acting in film and television is extensive, but Deacon has never strayed far from her roots in theater. Prior to her starring role in “The Transcendents” she had the opportunity to work with the film’s director, playwright Derek Ahonen, in his 2011 play “No Exit.” Deacon played Estelle in the production, which was an existential examination of the limits of human resilience in the face of unimaginable strain.
“It challenged me as an actor in a way no role has since,” recalled Deacon. “It was an exercise in despair; discovering what was each our own personal hell. But the most difficult thing about playing Estelle was not even that we were in hell; it was that the character herself found safety in all the places that I myself do not.”
Whether on stage or in front of the cameras, Deacon has proved herself to be an immensely talented actor whose versatility knows no bounds. With a charisma that most people only dream of, she is a born performer; and her audience eagerly awaits her next move.
Actor Peter Fall has been wowing international audiences for his outstanding character portrayals spanning action-adventure, mystery, drama, comedy and more. The Russian-Australian talent — who formerly went by Igor Fall — is classically trained and owns a myriad of specialized skills that make him recognized, praised and sought after by Hollywood movers and shakers.
Fall, 30, parlays his personal experience into an exploration of character in each of his performances. While growing up, Fall spent time living in Europe, Asia and Australia. He speaks English, Russian and Korean, and has mastered dialects including Australian, British, Irish and South African, among others. Fall embraces physicality when it’s demanded of his roles and is a skilled sportsman and former Australian National WTF taekwondo champion.
He’s been living in Los Angeles since 2010 and underwent training at the renowned Stella Adler Conservatory and Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. Whether for the stage, award-winning short and feature films, TV or commercials, Fall has stood out as a gifted actor with dynamic range, engagement and authenticity.
“I’ve always had a great love of acting,” said Fall, who started performing seemingly since birth and signed with his first talent agent at the age of 10. “I’ve studied the art of acting with some of the world’s finest practitioners. I’ve had the chance to act alongside some supreme talents and for some world-class filmmakers. Through it all, I’ve applied the strategy of absorbing and implementing effective technique, and more than anything, being a positive presence on set and in production.”
Fall’s first role on TV came in 2000 in “Beastmaster,” a fantasy series about an adventurer (played by Daniel Goddard (“The Young and the Restless”) who can communicate with animals. As child actor, Fall performed a featured role for Season 1 Episode 10 — “Riddle of the Nymph” — that was directed by the award-winning Brendan Maher.
“This was an immersive introduction into the world of television,” he said. “It was an exciting time and great chance to be a part of a series that found international success. The opportunity to act for “Beastmaster” fueled my drive to pursue a performing career at an early age.”
The series ran for three seasons with 66 total episodes and broadcast in America, Canada and Australia. It was derived from MGM’s 1982 film, “The Beastmaster,” and was nominated for awards by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films and the Australian Film Institute.
Since his move to Los Angeles, Fall acted in “Perception,” a feature mystery film written and directed by Stan Harrington. The movie tells the story of a man who questions his sanity when reality blurs with his own imagination.
Harrington, a 25-time award-winning filmmaker and actor, starred in “Perception” alongside R.D. Call (“Waterworld,” “Into the Wild,” “Murder by Numbers”), Kely McClung (“Blood Ties”) and Blythe Metz (“Nightmare Man”). For “Perception,” Fall acted in the key role of Hoges.
“Perception” tells a great cinematic story and I was thrilled to work with a brilliant filmmaker and terrific cast,” said Fall. “The character, Hoges, is a bit of a catalyst who drives the story. He introduces Athena, played by Blythe Metz, to Marcus, played by R.D. Call. Athena takes on a poor relationship with Marcus and Hoges tries to interject and reason with her. I felt we delivered a solid film that’s a callback to the story-driven approach.”
Harrington said, “It takes a certain kind of excellence to enter films and spin the story like Peter did. It is the best proof of his immense talent and range as an actor to see him do so superbly. His performance was honest, appropriate, and above all excellent.”
Fall thereafter played a soldier in the short drama film, “Red Poppies,” directed by Yaitza Rivera. The film follows the story of a woman (Zulivet Diaz) who was sexually assaulted, but finds a chance at happiness when she meets the love of her life while attending her father’s funeral.
“Red Poppies” was written by the great Tim McNeil, an actor-writer-producer known for his work in “Contact,” “Forrest Gump,” “Starship Troopers” and many more.
“It’s a powerful film with strong thematic elements,” Fall said. “There’s drama and conflict aplenty, but it’s also a touching story of hope and perseverance. I played the solider who attacks the lead, Iris. My part in the story is dark, grim and detestable, something that’s a real performing challenge. It’s difficult to go that far against the grain of who you are as a person, but that’s what acting’s all about. If I can make the audience hate me and root for the leading lady, I’ve done my job.”
The notion vaulted into fruition as “Red Poppies” received a Best Short Film nomination at the 2013 SoCal Independent Film Festival. Diaz was nominated for Best Actress at the festival, Rivera won Best Director and the film was also up for award consideration at the Action on Film International Film Festival.
Film festival judges weren’t the only ones who noticed the captivating acting displayed within “Red Poppies.”
“Peter’s ability to play such a dark and unforgivable character was key to the film’s ability to affect an audience,” said McNeil. “He portrayed the soldier with such a gruesome reality that everyone cringed in their seats and was immediately empathetic toward the struggle of Iris. The technique of an actor is often lost by the non-professional, especially in scenes of such intensity. Only the best actors can work honestly under such duress and employ years of technique to excel in such a despicable character.”
Fall has also routed his cut-above-the-rest acting talent for TV commercials. He acted as a young guitar player in Ubisoft’s “Rocksmith 2014” commercial and as a German protestor for a Sony Mobile spot from Tarsem Singh, director of hit blockbusters “Mirror Mirror” starring Julia Roberts, “Immortals” starring Henry Cavill, “The Cell” starring Jennifer Lopez and others.
The Sony commercial is titled “Always with You” and advertises the global electronics manufacturer’s waterproof Xperia Z smartphone. The spot shows Sony products throughout history and Fall’s role featured him taking a sledgehammer to the Berlin Wall to the delight of a crowd rallying behind his protesting action.
“Peter’s performance was the energetic fulcrum in the ad, bringing the excitement to the screen and loading the audience up for the new product reveal,” said Fall’s agent, Martin Herrera, of the Sherman Oaks, Calif. headquartered Baron Entertainment. “The ability to not only lead a commercial of that magnitude and work with a director of such prominence is exactly why we put him up for that part.”
For the Ubisoft commercial that branded their hit video game, “Rocksmith 2014,” Fall played a young man who selects his first guitar in the game’s debut trailer campaign. The game has achieved best-seller status and has the unique functionality of teaching users how to play the guitar. Fall’s face is the trailer’s opening image that sparks the pace for the commercial, which was directed by David Moodie, producer and director known for his work with games such as “Rainbow Six: Vegas.”
“Acting for commercials and branded content like that is a nuance unto itself,” Fall said. “The goal is to quickly create a lasting message that makes consumers take action and feel persuaded to purchase a product. Acting on large-scale productions with exceptional directors and for companies like Sony and Ubisoft was an altogether tremendous experience.”
Fall’s formidable prowess and career track record typifies acting excellence. His other highlights include acting in McNeil’s film, “Gettin’ Off,” where he plays a man who has a relationship with a prostitute, and in McNeil’s original stage play, “Margaret.”
Fall played the leading role (Edmund) in the Stella Adler production of “Edmund,” written by David Mamet (“Glengarry Glen Ross”), who has won a Pulitzer Prize and received Tony and Oscar nominations for his script writing. Fall’s performance as Stepan Stepanovitch in Chekov’s “The Proposal” (Nairn Theatre) resulted in Outstanding Actor and Best Supporting Actor awards at regional and state short play festivals in the U.K.
He has also starred in “M, M, M! Music, Monologues and Mayhem” (The Theatricians), “The Irresistible Rise of Arturo Ui” (Nairn Theatre), “Private Wars” (Lee Strasberg), in Oscar winner Milton Justice’s production of “J.B.” (Stella Adler), “The Diviners,” from writer-producer Christopher Thornton (“Sympathy for Delicious”) and in the film, “Shell Shock” from Levy Lambros.
Continuing to show up in many productions to come, Fall is attached to the forthcoming comedy film, “Not Summer Camp,” from actor-producer Joshua Marble (“CSI,” “Unusual Suspects,” “The Ex List”). He will also star in the YouTube comedy series, “Little America,” from Cobblestone Productions. Morayo Orija (“Spit”) and Sam Marin (Cartoon Network’s Emmy-winning “Regular Show”) will produce. Orija and McNeil will direct. Fall is also starring in the 2017 feature western period drama, “Colt,” about the last week of Russian poet, playwright and novelist, Alexander Pushkin. Fall is co-writing with Austin Iredale and will produce along with Orija and Marin.
Nadiya Chettiar is a powerful woman, writer and voice in the world of comedy television. The multi-talented, Leo Award nominated television writer currently based out of Vancouver, Canada has perfected her craft over the past three years, and is now a sought after talent in the film and television industry.
Chettiar got her start on the hit comedy series “Some Assembly Required” in 2013 and has been working on the writing side of the television industry ever since. Starting out as a script coordinator, Chettiar worked on the show for three successful seasons, ultimately climbing the ranks.
Created by Dan Singer (“A.N.T. Farm,” “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” and “The Suite Life on Deck”) and Howard Nemetz (“Mr. Young,” “The Suite Life on Deck” and “Smart Guy”), “Some Assembly Required” follows a fourteen-year-old Jarvis who takes ownership of a toy company and hires a group of his friends to aide in running the company and constructing new toys. Kolton Stewart (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2,” “Saving Hope” and “Angels in the Snow”), Harrison Houde (“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “I Dare You), Sydney Scotia (“I Dare You”), Charlie Storwick (“The Stanley Dynamic”), Travis Turner (“A Princess for Christmas” and “Marley & Me: The Puppy Years”), and Dylan Playfair (“Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story,” “If I Had Wings” and “Grave Encounters 2”) star in the series.
Immediately following her first season with “Some Assembly Required,” Chettiar learned of a show that was returning for its second season: “Package Deal.” The two shows were both products of the same production company, and after approaching the producer regarding a job opening on “Package Deal,” Chettiar booked the gig. “It was a total ‘right place at the right time’ type of scenario,” Chettiar explained. “I was lucky enough to be transferred over to “Package Deal” where I got to work with more great writers, and had the added bonus of getting lots of opportunity to pitch jokes, many of which made it to air.”
“Package Deal” was created by the Primetime Emmy nominated Andrew Orenstein (“Malcolm in the Middle,” “Everybody Hates Chris” and “Good Luck Charlie”) and starred Randal Edwards (“Room,” “The Best Years” and “Degrassi: The Next Generation”), Harland Williams (“Dumb and Dumber,” “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” and “The Whole Nine Yards”), Jay Malone (“Struck by Lightening” and “Dumbbells”), and Julia Voth (“Bitch Slap,” Project: S.E.R.A.” and “Lilith”). The series revolved around a woman named Kim struggling to accept her new boyfriend’s meddling brothers.
On both “Package Deal” and “Some Assembly Required,” Chettiar was responsible for pitching hilarious jokes and storylines in addition to writing. “In any writing room, your main responsibilities, no matter your rank, are to pitch the funniest, most interesting stories and jokes you can, and to help the showrunners achieve their vision. To me, that’s the job in a nutshell,” Chettiar said.
This year, it was made evident that Chettiar succeeded in doing just that. The witty writer was recently nominated for a 2016 Leo Award in the category of “Best Screenwriting in a Youth or Children’s Program or Series” for an episode she wrote on season two of “Some Assembly Required.” The awards ceremony will take place in the film and TV hub, Vancouver, BC, Canada on June 4th, 2016.
“Some Assembly Required” and “Package Deal” are both multi-cam comedies that are shot before a live studio audience. It is because of the audience that multi-camera shows are shot with three cameras at one time. This makes the shooting of the show go by much faster, so the audience can enjoy the show, and the show gets the benefit of the audience laughter, which is all recorded throughout the taping.
Chettiar stated that because of this, the script of a multi-cam show requires a very specific style of writing in order to obtain proper execution – a style she has mastered. “Multi-cam shows are extremely prolific,” she said. “Every episode sees up to five rewrites, and sometimes more. The scripts are read and rehearsed in front of the writers, so we get to see what works (and doesn’t) before we go to camera. The sets are setup in a row, facing the audience. For this reason, the writing centers around using those main sets as much as possible.”
Regarding Chettiar’s talents when it came to this intricate process of storytelling, creator Orenstein commented, “Nadiya was great at pitching on her feet. She pitched some of my favorite jokes.”
Scripts of multi-cam shows are combed over and scrutinized for days so that by shooting time, the cast and crew know them inside and out. This process takes a week total and involves long hours and many late-night rewrites. To be successful in your work, “You need to be easy going and good-natured, because nobody wants to work long hours with a jerk. It’s also helpful to be flexible in your opinions and ideas, because sometimes things aren’t going to go the way you’d hope and you need to be able to change direction on a dime,” Chettiar added.
Orenstein fondly remembered working with Chettiar, describing her as the kind person who was, “Eager to absorb and learn. It made working with her a pleasure,” he said. “Working long hours on set with Nadiya, I had the pleasure of getting to know her. She comes from a really unique and diverse background that has shaped her sense of humor and comedic lens. I always felt confident she would get the job done.”
All that being said, a writer’s work doesn’t stop when they clock out for the day. In fact, it only continues. “In order to survive in the industry, I think you need to be dedicated, and stay practiced,” Chettiar commented. “You can’t stop writing just because you’re not working. To that end, I even try to write my own stuff outside of working hours when I’m on a show.”
Prior to establishing herself as an accomplished writer, Chettiar experienced great success in the world of acting. Not only did her prior training and experience serve as, “A tool to unlocking that part of the brain where the character voices live,” she said, it also granted her the opportunity to pull from her roots and act on either show.
“On ‘Package Deal,’ I got to play a small role along side of Jason Priestly, which was very fun. On ‘Some Assembly Required,’ I got to be in the series finale, which was a total honor. It hasn’t aired yet, so I don’t want to give anything away, but I can say that I was in a head-to-toe fun fur costume and it may have been the sweatiest night of my life,” Chettiar recalled, laughing.
Currently, Chettiar is making the transition into writing for a new, single-cam television show called “Workin’ Moms,” created by Catherine Reitman (“Friends with Benefits,” “Knocked Up” and “I Love You, Man”). This will be Chettiar’s first time writing for a single-cam show professionally, though she is no stranger to the art of it.
The show is very female focused, containing stories of women’s issues told via comedy. In comparison to the two prior shows she’s worked on, Chettiar explained, “The comedy style is very different. ‘Workin’ Moms’ is a much more grounded series so we’re looking for comedy that is coming out of very real characters, in very real situations. It’s really fun. I think it’s reflective of the era we are living in with so many great cable comedies seeing so much success.”
Television has been critiqued for a long time concerning its lack of female personnel in the industry, especially when it comes to writers. While “Workin’ Moms” is a new series that will contain an emphasized female presence, the birth of the show in its entirety means audiences will be presented with, “More comedy written for and by women that deals with real female issues,” Chettiar stated.
“I think that it’s unlikely a man would create a show about working mothers, so that sets the tone for conversations we’re having in the [writers] room. I think it takes a woman showrunner to bring ideas like these to TV, and I’m so happy to be in a position of supporting [Reitman] in any way that I can in that effort. Of course, there are men making great comedy that looks at women’s issues, for example, ‘Togetherness’ had fantastic—some of my favorite—female characters dealing with the complexities and hilariousness of being a woman. Unfortunately that show was cancelled, and with shows like “Girls” wrapping up, my sincere hope is that more new shows will be able to pick up this slack and carry on making great female comedy. I think “Workin’ Moms” could fit that bill, which is very exciting.”
Getting into media can be overwhelming. There are so many different outlets available that fledgling journalists often find themselves asking, “Where do I start?” Now a seasoned multi-platform writer, British journalist Richard Bence asked himself that very question at the beginning of his career.
The professional storyteller has successfully worked in the field of journalism since 1998, his framework of experience including well-known media heavyweights like Ink Global, CoutureLab, Barclays’s Little Book of Wonders, Vind & Vag Publishing, Camberwell Consulting, and BritWeek Magazine. Bence’s lengthy list of credits have established him as a sought after talent in the world of writing, and it all started with the infamous UK magazine, Attitude.
Founded in 1994, Attitude is Europe’s best-selling magazine for gay men. The magazine is available both online and in print and is known for its A-list celebrity exclusives, the latest breaking news, entertainment, style, travel and lifestyle features.
At the start of his career, Bence didn’t want to work for just any magazine. He had his sights set firmly on the men’s style title from day one. “It had to be Attitude,” Bence recollects. “It appealed [to me] because it was in a league of it’s own. It didn’t want to be defined or pigeonholed, and neither did I.” As a result of rigorous hard work and dedication in addition to a relocation in order to gain applicable work experience, Attitude was the place where Bence’s career officially began.
Bence devised, developed and wrote content for the lifestyle section of Attitude. “I was given total free rein, which meant that there really were no limits,” Bence says. He reported on the best places to sleep, eat and drink across the globe while also conducting A-list celebrity interviews. In addition to collaborating with the world’s leading fashion and lifestyle brands, Bence created a more high-end environment, which allowed luxury advertisers to feel safe in a previously unknown territory, ultimately boosting ad revenue in the process.
The work he contributed in his early years served as building blocks and set the framework for his incredibly successful future. Attitude served as a launch pad for Bence’s entire career, including his work as an arts guest critic on TV and radio shows for Channel 4, Channel 5 and the ever so popular VH1.
At the time of the magazine’s inception, a lifestyle revolution was taking place in the world of journalism and media. Magazines such as Wallpaper were at the vanguard of this new subject’s popularity. Bence was given the opportunity to personalize Attitude’s lifestyle section and really make it his own. “This was done by broadening the interiors section to include design news,” says Bence. “I made it more current by reviewing the latest restaurant and hotel openings. In the travel section, I broadened the remit to include destination guides, which you could actually use to navigate through the city, as opposed to just having first person stories. I also made sure we had a well-known reality TV star contribute to the fitness section which helped boost interest in the magazine”, he recalls.
These personal touches added to Attitude’s unique offering and aided in the creation of a lifestyle section that stood out from the rest. “My job was commissioning and editing copy, conceptualizing shoots, future planning in the hard-bitten world of celebrity, brokering deals with PRs, gaining exclusives and keeping the magazine at the absolute top of its game,” Bence remembers. His work covered leading fashion and lifestyle brands ranging from Roland Mouret, Burberry, Gucci, Tom Ford and Dunhill, to luxury hotels, resorts and individual properties like W Hotels, St. Regis, Rosewood, Morgans, Ace, Soho House, Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, The Dorchester, Claridge’s and The May Fair Hotel, to name a few. Furthermore, he interviewed eminent hoteliers and chefs, including Ian Schrager, the man who started the boutique hotel revolution, and Yotam Ottolenghi, The Guardian food writer. Bence was also responsible for interviewing internationally famed celebrities such as Pop Idol winner, Will Young.
Former editor of Attitude, Adam Mattera, elaborates on the extent to which his coworker’s contributions enhanced the magazine by saying “you could always count on Richard to stay ahead of the curve with trends and on top of his workload with deadlines. His own writing was always insightful and accurately pitched to our readership while his commissioning of other writers always brought out the best in them. His proactive attitude meant the section soon expanded from a few pages to over twelve at its peak. Richard’s commercial smarts – his targeting of the lifestyle pages – often lead to advertising leads that contributed to the overall financial strength of the magazine,” says Mattera.
Alongside the mainstreaming of “lifestyle” in the public’s vernacular, the early 2000’s were also a pivotal time in the expanding power of the gay market. Attitude began reaching more than just an audience – it connected with a community. After Young won Pop Idol in 2002, his double A-sided debut single “Anything Is Possible” / “Evergreen” was released two weeks after the show’s finale and became the fastest-selling debut single in the UK. Shortly after this release, Young came out to the public. “Attitude’s unprecedented access to a generation of artists, musicians and actors allowed me to chronicle key moments in the cultural zeitgeist, like Mr. Young’s win,” says Bence.
At the turn of the millennium, attitudes to gay men in the media were not as they are now. There was a noticeable sense of prejudice and some latent homophobia. Bence could diffuse these situations easily and was a brilliant journalist who played a significant part in changing these perceptions and prejudices through his work. “We were part of a movement,” Bence says, “breaking down barriers with wit and irreverence and we did it better than anyone. We had clout.”
For twenty years now, cover exclusives with Madonna, Lady Gaga, Daniel Radcliffe, Cher, James Franco, Elton John, Sir Ian McKellen, Robbie Williams, Take That and George Michael have defined Attitude magazine. In the early years, having A-list heterosexual male celebrities like football legend David Beckham actively court the gay audience was a new thing. Bence’s presence actively changed the game in the realm of gay media: “He was a great advert for the magazine, the person from the office you would often send out to meet tricky people that needed persuading into being a part of the world we were creating’ says ex colleague Paul Flynn.
One of the perks of being a smaller magazine at the time meant that every contributing body had a hand in everything. For the magazine’s 10th anniversary in 2004, Bence had to wear multiple hats and organize the event’s red carpet party at a leading London nightspot. “The guest list was jaw-dropping: Elton John, David Furnish, George Michael and Will Young all attended, while the newly launched pop group Scissor Sisters performed live,” Bence recalls. “At one point I had to fight through the crowd to make sure acclaimed artist Sam Taylor Wood, Lulu and Elton got to their table safely, and made sure Elt got his special non-alcoholic beer delivered without a hitch! It was an epoch-defining ‘moment’ in London’s nightlife history.”
A smaller magazine additionally meant close, tight-knit interactions and relationships between each of its core staff members. One such stable mate was Paul Flynn, a prolific London-based writer and pop cultural commentator who writes for i-D, Attitude, Fantastic Man, The Sunday Times, GQ Style and Grazia. Flynn is also one of the co-writers of Enquirer, the brilliant 2012 play about the present state of British journalism. A long-time writing influence and mentor for Bence, Flynn worked alongside him as the Features Editor of Attitude for several years. “Richard was brimming with ideas for original editorial material which would often find its way seamlessly from his pad to the page. He was as good at being managed as he was managing his own pool of contacts. He maintained excellent relationships with often difficult PRs and had a smooth manner extremely conducive to getting good interviews out of his subjects,” Flynn comments of his colleague. “Celebrities like talking to him, he is a good listener and is always determined to tell a fair story, with heart, in which the subject will recognize themselves. He is particularly adept at shifting gear, from the most fantastical report on a new hotel opening to a deeply evocative first person think piece. Overall, he is great at painting a picture with words on a variety of subjects,” says Flynn.
In addition to holding the title of Attitude’s Lifestyle Editor, Bence simultaneously had other full time staff jobs editing various travel magazines at Ink Global. He made it his goal to be the most well-informed and well-traveled lifestyle journalist in London. But for Bence, it was the camaraderie with his Attitude teammates that made his first steps in journalism so memorable. “We created a home away from home for misfits, waifs and strays. It was such a privilege to be part of something like that. Attitude is groundbreaking. It is more than just a magazine – and where I found my voice. No part of my career would have been possible without it.”
Xiao Hou is an international sound editor who has been working among various platforms of the audio industry perfecting his craft for eight years. His credits include commercials starring famed celebs like the Los Angeles Clippers and Paris Hilton, and a series of short films such as “Once,” “God Save the Queen” and “Until the Dust Settles.”
Most recently, Hou has acted as the sound editor of the Lionsgate produced feature film “Compadres,” directed by Enrique Begne (“Dos Abrazos” and “Busco novio para mi mujer”) and starring Omar Chaparro (“Pulling Strings” and “Superfast!”), Joey Morgan (“Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” and “Camp Manna”), Eric Roberts (“The Dark Knight” and “The Expendables”), Kevin Pollack (“Special Correspondents” and “Mom”), and Erick Elías (“Qué Culpa Tiene el Niño” and “The Color of Passion”).
“Compadres” is an action comedy film that follows a former cop named Garza, who seeks revenge on a crime lord named Santos, who framed him.
Martin Hernandez, known for the his work in sound on the renowned films “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Birdman” and the Oscar award winning “The Revenant,” contributed as the supervising sound editor of the film.
“I was absolutely thrilled when Martin came to me with the news that he wanted to bring me on board,” Hou said. “Throughout the entire process, he was my mentor. I followed his lead and directions and learned first hand how a high scale film like “Compadres” is put together.”
Hou and Hernandez first met at the screening of “The Revenant,” where the latter later informed Hou of upcoming projects. “Compadres” was the project Hernandez pitched to Hou, who relished the idea of becoming involved.
“Working on “Compadres” was an absolutely amazing and unforgettable experience. Not only was I presented with the opportunity to work with the legendary Martin Hernandez, it was also the first time I worked on a film of such magnitude that required such detailed sound work,” Hou commented.
In post production, Hou was required to implement his creative abilities in order to cut sound effects from different sound libraries and mesh them together in new and unique ways, ultimately producing a desired sound. “For example, I applied a jet engine sound underneath the sound of a cop car to make the effect beefier and more vivid,” Hou offered, elaborating on his responsibilities.
The job of a sound editor is one that requires much patience and detailed work. In fact, Hou recalled spending hours, and sometimes even days, looking for and designing a specific sound that would perfectly match a particular scene. Regarding this rigorous process, Hou explained, “It gave me the chance to utilize all of my resources and prior experiences in order to tailor the sounds to meet the director and supervising sound editor’s requirements.”
“Throughout the entire post production, I followed Martin’s directions and learned how a film like “Compadres” is successfully put together. It was all such an enjoyable experience and was definitely one of the peak moments of my young, professional career,” said Hou.
The final version of the film “Compadres” was released in theaters on March 31, 2016 in Mexico, and on April 22, 2016 in the United States.
Cinematography is a delicate balance between the technical and the creative, and Polish director of photography Martin Kobylarz has mastered the art of walking that fine line. Known for his work on both films and commercials, Kobylarz’s projects often raise questions about issues facing society in the past, present and future.
Born in Denmark to Polish parents and educated at the prestigious American Film Institute in Los Angeles, Kobylarz uses his vast and worldly experience to raise the bar for his craft. Recently, he was the cinematographer in charge of the National Autistic Society’s awareness campaign commercial, “Can You Make It To The End?”
“The whole commercial is seen from a first person perspective of a child with autism so it was up to me to find the right gear to give this a realistic feel,” Kobylarz said. “When reading about autism they give very specific definitions as to how they feel and perceive the world when they have sensory overload.”
The public awareness campaign was highly effective, and Kobylarz’s first-person approach played a large part in that success. The commercial’s frenetic and tense style is especially impactful, as if the viewer is experiencing the sensory overload as the child would.
Kobylarz has worked on a wide variety of film productions as well, including the 2012 drama “Wolves From Another Kingdom.” Directed by Christopher Carbone (“Mother Nature’s Son,” “Revivify”), the film centers around a group of children trying to survive after the end of the world. The project holds a rare 9.1 out of 10 rating on IMDb, and brought with it the unique challenge of strictly adhering to the child labor laws governing the cast of “Wolves From Another Kingdom.”
“My role included being a key creative figure and maintaining production efficiency, whilst working under strict child labor laws,” Kobylarz said. “My responsibilities also included overseeing and ensuring on-set safety rules and guidelines within my department were upheld.”
With more than 25 actors aged 5 to 17, safety standards were obviously a big consideration on-set. However, it’s a very different story within the ravaged world that audiences see in the film. Tasked with keeping his little brother Daniel safe, Aiden must navigate the ruins of a post-apocalyptic hellscape. When the duo meet a band of children living in the wastes, Aiden must decide whether or not to settle down with the group of dystopian Lost Boys.
“We worked very hard in prep across all departments. Plus I had time to read the script 100 times over and really get into the world of the film, and align myself to the director’s vision. I feel like every shot we made was discussed and thought about in prep,” said Kobylarz, who described the project as his favorite to date. “Of course we were open to spontaneous moments of inspiration when we got to the shooting, but because we were so prepared we knew if it was something that fit the project or not.”
Among Kobylarz’s myriad of other projects are the darkly-romantic drama “Do It Yourself,” as well as the upcoming historical drama “Adrift In Soho,” a period piece about a 1950’s artists’ movement in London to end nuclear proliferation. “Adrift In Soho” is currently in post-production and is scheduled to be released to eager UK audiences this July.
Using Nottingham as a stand-in for London, “Adrift In Soho” tells the story of the activists who pioneered the counter-cultural anti-war movement which evolved into a phenomenon that defined the 1960s Vietnam-era. The exceptional period piece also has the distinction of being the first film to document the origins of a now iconic symbol.
“‘Free-cinema filmmakers’… were documentarians who wanted to film the real people on the streets and everyday life. Coincidentally this was the same time that people started protesting about nuclear bombs and this was when they invented the peace sign that we know today,” Kobylarz recounted. “They used the symbol in their March to Aldermaston, which was a protest march the filmmakers captured. Our film is the first film ever to portray the origins of the peace symbol.”
Because of his unmatched passion for his work, Kobylarz’s projects run the gamut from film to advertising. He learned early in his life that his love for cinematography was a love for all film, and he doesn’t play favorites when it comes to genre or subject. In fact, the productions he’s been a part of are so diverse and his skills so varied that the only thing they all share in common is the exceptional talent and vision of his expertise as director of photography.
With a dazzling visual style, an acute eye for design and a keen ability to overcome unexpected challenges, animator-art director Angela Yu’s boundless technical capacity and artistic creativity are remarkable. Moreover, she has an innate knack for approaching projects with a transformative originality that frequently redefines and improves upon the initially proposed concept.
Yu’s spent her entire life preparing for this, going all the way back to her childhood in Bejing, China. Yu became fascinated by comics, anime and manga books at an early age, covertly defying her parents’ strict bedtime rule to read them by flashlight under her blanket. “I always loved to draw and became obsessed with beautiful things and I wanted to know how to create things like that,” Yu said. “Manga books were my earliest inspiration for drawing—I’d doodle the characters all over my text books. I also loved watching animation, especially Japanese anime—“Dragon Ball” and “Sailor Moon.” I still watch anime these days, such as “One Piece.”
“I grew up in a very traditional family in China, and though I dreamed of being a Manga artist or animator as a kid, I never thought I’d have a chance to do it in reality—because for all my life I had made decisions based on whether or not they would impress my parents,” Yu said. “But when I was 22, I came to America and was studying at Michigan State University, just as my parents planned. This gave me a chance to view my culture from a distance, with a different perspective, and it gave me the space to think independently and the courage to pursue what I really wanted for my own life.”
Once that decision was made, Yu, with an MA in advertising from MSU, did not hesitate. “I studied Motion Graphic Design at the Ex’pression College for Digital Arts. Since I graduated, I’ve worked at studios and agencies such as Goodby Silverstein and Partners, Oddfellows, First person. And I worked on projects for clients like Google, Yahoo, Cisco, Comcase, NBA, Motorola, GE, Adobe.”
“I love telling stories carrying a message that matters to people. It needs to be meaningful. It can be either an artistic short film or a commercial project. As long as I feel what I am creating has a purpose, I find it fulfilling,” Yu said. “It’s all about how strongly I believe in the message I work on, even on a branding video for a digital product. If I believe the message in the video will make a difference to the brand, to people who work for the brand, then I enjoy what I am doing.”
Once Yu brings her talent to bear, the results are impressive. The ability to enhance and elevate has been a hallmark of her career; if Yu is brought in to consult, she’ll envision something that takes the entire project to a higher level; when Yu finishes a task, it often assumes a life of its own, garnering more notice and appreciation than anyone expected, whether a promotional film or a rock music video.
As Dorry Levine, Digital Media Strategist at ReThink Media, describes her: “Angela was easy to work with, very accessible, met every deadline, was flexible with our ever-changing requests, and turned out a phenomenal project that people are still talking about. The video she animated for us was even covered by the New York Times. I’d work with her again in a heartbeat!”
Yu’s artistic vision is a marvel in its own right. Her gorgeous animated short, “This is California,” is a perfect example of the animator’s rich aesthetic. With stunning visual design and flawless animation, it depicts some of the Golden State’s most iconic spots in an arresting, irresistible form that earned Yu the Best Animation award for 2015 at the IndieFEST Film Festival.
Yu’s already impressive roster of successful jobs with some of the world’s biggest companies underscores both her illimitable potential and singular gift for expanding the parameters of any design or animation undertaking. “Angela is the type of person that makes the seasoned artist step up their game, while also reminding everyone what that fire looked like when they first started,” said Mike Landry, Creative Director at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.
Most importantly, Yu loves what she does: “I see animation as music written in pixels. I don’t play music very well, but I am fortunate to find animation as the medium to express my creativity,” Yu said. “To this day today, I still enjoy spending the whole afternoon nerding out a motion curve in the graphic editor. It is a very ‘zen’ feeling. I enjoy my craft, and I never stop creating original content. I want to keep developing myself as a better animator and designer.”
International Entertainment, and the Talents that Leave us Buzzing….