All posts by pressva

Legend of the Fall: Russian-Australian Actor is an ‘energetic fulcrum’ when it comes to performing

MV5BMTc3OTIxOTgxMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjU0MTQxMjE@._V1__SX1537_SY747_ (1).jpg
Russian-Australian actor Peter Fall has excelled in his roles in international film, TV, commercials and stage productions.

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.

rsz_screenshot_4.png
Actor Peter Fall (far left) made his TV debut on the fantasy adventure series, “Beastmaster.”

“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.”

12633472_118008761918366_2187576880615833728_o.jpg
Ubisoft’s commercial for the video game, “Rocksmith 2014,” featured actor Peter Fall in the role of an aspiring guitarist.

“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.

rsz_12694687_118002448585664_4000200084330276815_o.jpg
Actor Peter Fall (center) performing in Chekov’s “The Proposal.”

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.

12688378_117997471919495_6375390901459934126_n
Actors Peter Fall (left) and Austin Iredale (right) starred in “The Diviners.” 

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.

Advertisements

Renowned Female Television Writer Contributes To Multi-Cam And Single-Cam Comedy Series’

Nadiya Writer Pic_Gardens
Comedy TV Writer Nadiya Chettiar

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.”

 

Article Written By: Ashley Bower

Game-Changing Journalist Richard Bence Found His Voice at Europe’s Best-Selling Gay Magazine

 

_MG_0323
Journalist Richard Bence

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.”

For more information on Richard Bence, please visit: http://www.richard-bence.com
To view or read more information regarding Attitude, please visit: http://www.attitude.co.uk

 

Article Written By: Ashley Bower

Sound Editor Xiao Hou Collaborates With Renowned Supervising Sound Editor Martin Hernandez On The Action Packed “Compadres”

Universal talent advances in sound

Xiao Hou at Studio
Sound Editor Xiao Hou

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.

Xiao Hou with Martin Hernandez
Xiao Hou with “Compadres” Supervising Sound Editor Martin Hernandez

For more information on “Compadres,” please visit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3367294/

For more information on Xiao Hou, please visit:
http://www.xdecibel.com/
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5670635/

POETRY IN MOTION Animator Angela Yu’s Compelling Vision

Angela_Yu_credit_courtesy_Angela_Yu
Animator Angela Yu: “I love telling stories carrying a message that matters to people.” (photo courtesy of Angela Yu).

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.”

Famed Film and Television Producer Daniel Ariano Facilitates Final Seasons of “O Aprendiz”

Media production expert thrives in producing high-rated television shows

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 4.43.04 PM

Daniel Ariano is a seasoned television and film producer with over eight years of industry experience. His extensive list of credits includes hits such as “Ídolos” (Brazilian “American Idol”), “TUF Brasil” (Brazilian “The Ultimate Fighter”) and most recently, “O Aprendiz” (Brazilian “The Apprentice”).

Led by two different hosts over the course of its ten season run, “O Aprendiz” was a Brazilian, business reality show where candidates competed for a contract in a specific that would last at least one year, paid by the program’s sponsor. Competitors were divided into two teams where they were asked to complete a series of tasks that were then judged by the presenter and a panel of counselors.

A natural born leader, Ariano climbed up the latter upwards from his very first position on the show, moving from Production Assistant to Production Coordinator over a span of four seasons. Ariano was a part of seasons 7, 8, 9, and 10 of “O Aprendiz,” his responsibilities varying and increasing as the years progressed.

Prior to his work on “O Aprendiz,” Ariano gained experience with reality television via producing season 4 of “Ídolos,” Brazila’s version of America’s famed show, “American Idol.” His talents caught the attention of director Fernando Viudez, who later connected Ariano to “O Aprendiz.”

Speaking of their collaborations, Viudez provided, “I first met Daniel on the “Ídolos” production. Our crew was big, but Daniel was young and thirsty, and had a way of looking at television production like no one I’d ever met before. I invited him to be a part of “O Aprendiz” and, there, he surprised me even more. He is a leader, and he brought his intelligence and added to an already good TV show, making it great.”

The types of contestants involved and the overall theme of “O Aprendiz” that Ariano worked on varied from season to season. The 7th season followed college students, the 8th entrepreneurs, the 9th welcomed back the show’s original host, Roberto Justus, and the 10th showcased well-known celebrities. “Working on “The Apprentice” was a real challenge for me. I think it’s the most real TV show out there among all other reality TV. You give the contestants a task, and they can do and go wherever they want in order to complete it, so you have to be ready for every kind of situation,” Ariano said regarding his experience.

On the flip side of challenging, the production provided Ariano with luxury of traveling all over the world for his work as a result of his stellar communication skills and problem solving abilities. “Besides traveling all over Brazil, the show was shot in Turkey, Colombia, Orlando, Washington D.C., Italy, and South Africa, to name a few places. On top of location scouting and taking care of legal authorizations, my responsibilities were to follow all of the contestants during each of the tasks, make sure that the history was being told properly and that the logistics between the production crew were always 100%,” Ariano commented.

That being said, the perks of getting to travel for work didn’t come without challenges. “From dealing with flat tires to international travel arrangements for 60+ people, I faced it all,” Ariano admitted. “Traveling is fun when you’re on vacation, but when you travel for work, your mind never rests.”

With it’s multiple, demanding components, even Viudez agreed that working on “O Aprendiz,” “Is a challenge like no other. We chose every member of the production carefully. We have an inside joke that goes, “To be a good producer for The Apprentice, you can’t eat, sleep or sit.” However, joke aside, it’s hard. It’s really hard. And people like Daniel make it easy. He has a light way of dealing with hard situations, and that just makes everyone calmer. At his first season, he was a great producer. By his fourth, he was necessary for the show. Plus, if you enjoy the people you spend the majority of your day with, you will enjoy your work.”

Contestants over the four seasons of “O Aprendiz” ranged from everyday college students and businessmen, to musicians, actors, TV hosts, models, and athletes. For the first six seasons, businessman and TV personality Roberto Justus hosted the show, while entrepreneur, university professor and politician Joao Doria Jr. presented the latter end.

“My favorite episode was from the first season I worked on, the “semifinal” episode,” Ariano said. “It took place in Italy, and on that episode I had to go on camera and disqualify a contestant, Gabriela Gaspari da Costa, because she had broken a rule. The task was to get from one point in Italy to another point, in a different city, without money and without asking for it or for a ride. What you could do was find some work and get paid to do it. Contestants had 48 hours to complete that. What Gabriela did, was ask for a ride and ask for money to buy a train ticket. Since I was the one following her with a hidden camera, I had to disqualify her.”

In the final season of “O Aprendiz” involving celebrity contestants, every icon represented a single charity. The winning participant was volleyball player Ana Moser, who raised 828,000 reais (translated to something around $400,000) for her charity. “It’s always more satisfying when you know your work is going to help someone in need,” said Ariano of the matter. “It wasn’t about the audience, it was about doing the right thing. I gave so much of my life to this show, and knowing that charities benefitted from it made my time and work that much more worth it.”

Ariano stated, “There’s a saying among producers from The Apprentice that goes, “If you can produce The Apprentice, you can produce anything on TV.” And it’s so true. The show puts you on the spotlight constantly, and everyday is a new experience. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something brand new is thrown at you, and being able to live through that makes you grow as a person and as a professional.”

Northern Light: Cesare Scarpone’s Passion for Acting

 

Cesare_and_James26703.jpg
Actor Cesare Scarpone brings passion and talent to all of his character portrayals.

 

Cesare Scarpone is an award-winning actor who consistently projects a formidable dramatic presence. The Canadian-born Scarpone inhabits each characterization with a masterly combination of skill and instinct, and whether it’s romantic comedy or a dark suspense story, he deftly crafts a persuasive, tangible persona imbued with the full spectrum of nuance, traits and emotion.

It’s a rare balance of sensitivity and showmanship and Scarpone, surprisingly, stumbled upon his avocation almost by chance.

“I started in high school, not knowing what acting really was, but coming from a town where theatre and acting are seen as a fantasy, imagined only through the TV, this attitude was the norm,” Scarpone said. “At my first performance, I stepped onto the stage and was overwhelmed by the mass of people watching me. I’d gotten through half the play but all of a sudden I froze. I’d forgotten my line and time stopped. This was the biggest rush I’d ever felt and I wanted more.”

Scarpone’s path was set, and the following year his performance as Jerry in the Edward Albee classic, “The Zoo Story,” earned him the Sears Drama Festival’s award of excellence for the York Ontario region.

“From there, I couldn’t get enough. I tried to do as many independent films as I could sink my teeth into,” Scarpone said. “This led to a few spots on television programs, union films and a commercial.”

Scarpone’s talent has shown up in his outstanding character portrayals in the films “Black Forest” from writer-director David Briggs, director Gabriella Bevilacqua’s “Aftermath,” Omii Thompson’s “Modern Romance is Dead,” Rebecca Carrigan’s “All I Need,” Rob Comeau’s “Chance” and “Dead Monday” from director Mark Korven. On TV, Scarpone has acted in History’s “Curious and Unusual Deaths” and Cineflix’s true crime docudrama, “Dual Suspects.”

“Working with Cesare on “Black Forest” was a great experience,” said Briggs. “It was obvious from the first take that Cesare is all about the character, and he digs deep to bring the script to life. He believes in the craft of acting, and that passion brought a lot to his role.”

Scarpone’s meticulous approach is fueled by a soul-deep passion, not just for the craft, but also its role in world culture. “Story telling is something that everyone knows in their hearts. We love it, yearn for it,” Scarpone said. “You see it in your everyday life, in some form or another and through different mediums, but we are slowly losing the original performed art. Our generation no longer needs to even get out of bed to watch a film or read a news article. They have everything in their hand. But the experience of live theatre can be life changing, perspective changing. You can truly connect with people, and not in a way that is buffered by static transmission through a screen.  Everyone should know live theatre, and everyone deserves to have access to it.”

With almost 20 film and TV credits, Scarpone knew it was time to reach for an even higher level of accomplishment. “I decided to apply for a drama school, and this led me to London, England—the heart of theatre. What better place to train?” Scarpone said. “I came across The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, and decided to audition for their flagship courses. I was surprised to get the call from the legendary Rodney Cortier, head of the school, inviting me to their two-year acting course—the best of its kind in London, which equates as one of the best in the world.”

Arriving in London in 2014, Scarpone subsequently performed in more than half a dozen stage productions (including “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “The Tempest), absorbing a full measure of the almost alchemical depth of skill which has always typified British stagecraft.

“When I got that call I was ecstatic and screamed at the top of my lungs because this meant that I would finally have the foundation I needed to have my skills really develop,” Scarpone said. “Now I am in my final term at the school, graduating in July and ready to attack this growing market.”

“What first led me to acting was the feeling of not only being free on stage, but also feeling the effect I was having on the audience in theatre and film. I love both mediums, each with their joys and merits, and both are something I’m extremely excited about,” Scarpone said. “There are so many new things going on in the industry, like immersive theatre, and advances in technology with film and television that allow new ideas to be better completed and given to the world.”

Scarpone has already distinguished himself as both a capable technician and self-possessed artist. His very sense of wonder itself generates an aura of appealing enthusiasm and is something he’s sure to bring in many more productions to come.