Category Archives: Reviews, Interviews & Features!

Stunt Performer and Actor Carson Manning Attaches to Superhero Film ‘Time Man’

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Stunt performer and actor Carson Manning, who has daringly delivered stunts for more than 70 different film and TV titles such as the highly anticipated “Suicide Squad,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and FX’s “The Strain,” has attached to play the leading role of Michael in “Time Man,” an exciting upcoming feature film written and directed by Travis Grant. 

Now in development, “Time Man,” will take place in a present day, urban New York City or Chicago-type city setting. The drama-filled, action feature film will tell the tale of a middle-aged, disgraced superhero named Michael, who is looking to redeem his name. Similar to many superheroes, Michael does have an expected heroic ability, however, the nature of his is presently under wraps. 

No stranger to action, Manning has employed his expert stunt work in recent releases such as Henry Nader’s “Shoot the Messenger,” Allan Ungar’s “Gridlocked,” Columbia Pictures’ “Pixels” and “RoboCop” (2014) and Sony’s “Pompeii.” His stunt performing and utility stunts for “X-Men: Days of Future Past” led to a 2015 Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble. 

Manning’s acted in Fox’s “X-Men” in 2000, in Universal’s Oscar-nominated “The Hurricane” starring Denzel Washington and he performed stunts for New Line Cinema’s “Shoot ‘Em Up” starring Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti. 

After reading the script for “Time Man,” Manning immediately knew he wanted to be a part of this high-concept, highly original superhero story. “The character Michael is multi-dimensional,” Manning said. “At the beginning of it, you can’t figure out who this guy is. I had already done all of the superhero films and thought ‘Wow, this is really different.’ The writing and the scenes were so compelling.” 

Standing apart from the formula of superhero studio films, Grant, who is previously known for known for “Nick Ryan,” “Maybe Tomorrow” and “Paper Trail,” meticulously worked to create an original superhero story. 

“I loved superheroes when I was a kid. When I first sat down with this, I felt like there was a bit of a hole. They’ve [the studios] glossed over character moments. They’re trying to make a big budget tent pole film,” said Grant, of his initial ideation regarding filling a gap in the current marketplace among superhero movies. “There are other superheroes you can explore that aren’t DC or Marvel properties.” 

From this inspiration, Grant created “Time Man,” who is known as Michael in the story’s opening. On the character himself, Grant said, “He was looked up to as a shining beacon for the city. He became obsessed with one bad guy he couldn’t catch. He made a poor decision and that cost him everything – his powers, friends and family. He became a loner, about as far as rock bottom as you can get.”

The film will contain flashbacks, ultimately telling two stories at once. “‘You’re kind of seeing who he [Michael] became and also his fall. It’s reverse arcs at the same time. They converge at one pivotal scene at the very end,” Grant revealed. 

The audience will find that the villain will play a very important role, as Grant also noted the character is integral to Michael getting back on his feet. Furthermore, alongside Manning, actor Ryan Barton (“Co-Ed”, “Owl River Runners” and “Nick Ryan”) has been cast. 

Manning’s vastly impressive achievements as a stunt performer and actor have spanned nearly three decades and dozens of distinguished productions. Due to his wide-spanning, world-class experience in filming stunts, Manning is a person who can make judgment calls concerning safety, and recommendations pertaining to what realistically can and cannot be done budget wise. 

In addition to starring in “Time Man,” Manning will also be coordinating and performing his own stunts, too. “To me, having an actor who is able to do all or most of their stunts is invaluable,” Grant said when describing Manning’s type of talent. “You’re not limited as to how you can shoot the scene. You can tell a story within the fight.” 

Manning’s tour de force stunt performing and acting has also been engaged in many acclaimed TV series that have had international viewership. He acted in all three parts of ABC’s Primetime Emmy winning “Storm of the Century,” which was a miniseries event from writer Stephen King. Manning performed stunts for seven episodes of the Gemini Award winning action adventure series, “Mutant X,” six episodes of Syfy’s hit series, “Alphas” and for three episodes of The CW’s Primetime Emmy nominated “Nikita.” 

Last year, Manning’s stunt performing was seen in Guillermo del Toro’s “The Strain,” The CW’s “Beauty and the Beast,” Syfy’s Primetime Emmy nominated “Defiance” and “12 Monkeys,” Global Television’s “Remedy” and the History Channel’s “Gangland Undercover.” 

The action-packed, feature film “Time Man” will allow Manning to utilize both of his specialties at once as he delves into the mindset of his new role as Michael. “Time Man” is projecting to shoot this year and release in 2017. 

For more information, visit http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0543248/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1 and 
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3807026/?ref_=fn_al_nm_2

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Interview with Actor and Expert Stuntman Umar Khan!

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Actor and stuntman Umar Khan on horseback in California

As an audience, when we get wrapped up in a fast paced action packed film it’s easy to forget that the actor on screen is rarely the one performing their character’s crazy stunts. A production goes to incredible lengths to cheat the shots and make an actor’s stunt double look just like their character so that when they hit the screen jumping off buildings, engaging in intricate battles and all the other physically challenging feats that make stunt men so heroic and necessary, that we as viewers remain on the edge of our seat, never noticing the role change. Although it is a rarity in the industry, there are some actors who actually do their own stunts and Umar Khan is among the best of them.

Khan is known for his work as both an actor and a stuntman in a plethora of titles including the films “Close Range” and “Deliver Us From Evil,” and the popular TV series “Bones,” “Rush Hour,” “Person of Interest” and “Scorpion.” Last year he also worked as a stuntman on the series “The Brink,” and “NCIS: Los Angeles,” as well as the recently released film “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” starring Tina Fey and “Captain America: Civil War,” which is slated for its initial release on May 6.

Khan’s expertise in martial arts and various forms of combat have led him to become a sought after action designer in the industry with major productions hiring him to choreograph fights scenes for their projects. After working as the action designer on the 2014 TV series “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – District Voices,” Khan formed Stunt Fighting Concept – Umar Khan Stunt Team. With his team Stunt Fighting Concept Khan has developed pre-visualized fight scenes for several films that are set to begin production including “Killing The Seeds,” “The Master’s Legacy” and the “The Man From Kathmandu.” He is now along with his team set to make a pre-visualized fight scene for the American remake of “The Raid.”

Prior to moving stateside several years ago, Khan established himself as a sought after stuntman and actor back home in Sweden where he both directed and starred in the film “Veracious Perception,” in addition to being featured in countless magazines and commercials.

To find out more about this incredibly talented performer make sure to check out our interview, as well as the video of Umar in action below. 

 

I’ve read from some of your past interviews that you knew as early as age 7 that you wanted to become one of the few actors who also performs their own stunts– with that idea in mind, how did you initially approach your career?

UK: I started off like any kid by mimicking the fight scenes from the different action movies I saw. Later on, I developed an interest in fight choreography so I started choreographing my own fight scenes with my friends. During my years in middle school I used to borrow the school’s video camera to shoot my own “fight movies.” I remember that I was already a perfectionist at that age, I used to handpick my co-stars (based on their height, look and skills), do location scouting, direct, choreograph and act in the films I made. All of this would account for how I got more and more into the creative side of it.

For the physical aspect I tried to learn new moves and new styles all the time, trying to perfect each move and develop a new move out of it and so forth, watching martial arts movies and later on YouTube clips and comparing myself to the best in each discipline, that way I had a goal of where I wanted to reach skill wise. I think if you are truly meant to do something, there will be an urge that will draw you there no matter what obstacles you face along the way.

As a stuntman what are some of your special skills in the industry?

UK: My background is in martial arts, so I would say my primary skills as a stunt performer is screen fighting along with fight design, however I do a lot of different areas of stunts today.

How long have you been practicing martial arts?

UK: I have trained in martial arts since I was 7 years old.

 

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Umar Khan as a teenager 

 

You recently wrapped production on the upcoming films “Captain America: Civil War” and “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” starring Tina Fey, can you tell us about the stunts you did in these films?

In “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” I was initially set to do stunts only but I replaced the original actor who was cast for the role as “Wild-Eyed Man”, the director said that he was impressed with my performance while I was rehearsing the scene as a stand in for the actor so he cast me for the role instead. The character I was playing was possessed and was running in a crowd towards the lion cage screaming and eventually throwing a hand grenade inside the lion’s cage. We actually had a real lion on set, so it was pretty amazing to see such a magnificent animal so up-close.

In “Captain America: Civil War” I was playing Hero Mercenary and my main scene was fighting Scarlett Johansson’s character Black Widow, it was a great fight scene, one of the best in the movie, so you guys should definitely check it out!

What technical challenges did you face on these films when it came to mapping out how your stunts would play out on camera?

UK: The fight we did for “Captain America: Civil War” was a demanding one because of the extensity of the fight combined with the lack of time rehearsing it. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any time to rehearse the scene, which happens sometimes. We rehearsed the fight on set a few times right before we shot it and it all went really great actually. It all comes down to how well trained you are in screen fighting and how fast you can learn and adapt to a new choreography. Fortunately, that’s something I have always kept in mind since the day I started doing this, you never know when/if the director wants something different once he sees it in front of him, so I always keep in mind to prepare myself for any changes or the possibility of learning a new choreography at the last minute.

You have also worked as an action designer on several projects over the years– for our readers who aren’t sure what that entails can you briefly explain what you do as an action designer on a project?

UK: An action designer is basically a person or a team who is/are hired to design the action scenes on a production. In many cases, the stunt coordinator designs and choreographs the stunt sequence to suit the script and the director’s vision.

What projects have you worked on as an action designer and what were some of the different approaches that you took on each project?

UK: I designed a fight sequence back in 2014 on the TV mini-series “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – District Voices.” While designing the fight scene for the series an idea I had many years ago of creating my own stunt team came back and so a couple of months later I formed my own team, Stunt Fighting Concept – Umar Khan Stunt Team. We have been fortunate enough after creating our first action design pre-viz (sponsored by Under Armor Germany) to get a lot of calls from producers requesting to make a pre-viz for their upcoming projects. We created two pre-vizes for Joyto Films for their upcoming projects “Killing The Seeds” and “The Master’s Legacy” and successfully locked the position on both as the Stunt Unit, and I’m set to Second Unit Direct/Stunt Coordinate on both projects.

We made another Pre-viz for a project called “The Man From Kathmandu” which my team and I will action design and coordinate on, I will Second Unit Direct and star in that film. We also recently made a pre-viz for Screen Gems that we’ll soon know if we secured the position of creating the action. And currently we’re rehearsing for our upcoming pre-viz for the American remake of “The Raid.”

I start preparing an action design for a certain project by reading the script a couple of times to get familiarized with the storyline and the characters involved in it, then I ask the producers or the director what his/her vision is and what they’re looking to do with the scene and then I’ll start working my way from there creating an action design that fits the script.

From safety to how things appear on camera, what are some of the most important aspects that you need to consider when designing fight sequences on a production?

UK: The general idea of my fight designs is to make it look as authentic as possible but also visually attractive for the audience, along with the unique camera technology that we possess (the only one on the market), the cameraman can approach the performers much closer in order to get the hands on feeling on the actual fight and give the audience almost a third person POV, video game kind of feel to it.

With this system in use comes a lot of other responsibilities to keep in mind. Not only safety for the performers but also safety for the camera man who is now one more “performer” in the mix and automatically becomes a safety priority. The fight sequences I design are meant to look very authentic due to the actual physical contact me and my teammates are inflicting upon each other, it’s not something I recommend; my team consists of guys that have fought professionally or are highly trained in various areas of the stunt business and are used to the physical contact as myself. We train the same way real fighters do, with sparring sessions combined with our choreography training to have the best of both worlds and adapt fast.

The second thing is the environment and the props. Basically we use props that look authentic and can simulate the real thing, just like in any of the props on set, we utilize them when we need but as little as possible since one of the main features of the camera technology we use is to capture the action scenes in “one shot.” We are limited when it comes to cuts between scenes so it requires a lot more from the performers to stay in shape, being well rehearsed and being sharp to prevent unaccommodated injuries to themselves or their fellow partners.

What is this new unique camera technology that your team uses?

UK: It’s basically something that we refer to as a “Semi-drone.” We believe that our concept will revolutionize how filmmakers capture movie fights and overall action scenes in the future. The reason being is that our system freely captures the fights and action in a video game style look by utilizing the DP as a part of the movement within the scene along with the performers and having a second camera operator moving the camera through a monitor for a more up-close and detailed view of the action, this way it won’t leave a single part of the move out for the audience to feel, you get the best of both worlds, the sense of POV along with the interactive part of 3D which makes it feel like you are a part of the action. It’s a pretty advanced technology that we are happy to bring to the big screen soon.

Can you tell us about your work on the 2015 film “Close Range”?

UK: I got a call from the director of the movie, Isaac Florentine, when I was in Texas and he told me that he had a part for me on his new movie. So I flew back to L.A and we started working on it. Working with Isaac was great, we had been in talks of working together for about 5 years when I was still in Sweden, so when the opportunity arose we made it happen. I was playing a Mexican drug cartel assassin called “Sesma”.

 

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Umar Khan (left) and director Isaac Florentine (right) on set of “Close Range”

How does your character Sesma fit into the film?

UK: Sesma is the Mexican drug cartel boss’ right hand in the movie, he is an emotionless cold-blooded killer. Playing the character that doesn’t have a lot of lines is quite demanding but also a lot fun since instead of vocally using your thoughts you have to transcend them through your facial expressions and body language.

Do you feel that you get cast to play a certain type of character more than others?

UK: Not really, I have played a wide range of characters from different ethnicities and backgrounds.

Can you tell us about your favorite role to date as well as your most challenging role an actor?

UK: I would say until this date it’s probably a project I directed back in Sweden, “Veracious Perception.” I was depicting the role of Robert Martinez, a corrupt cop with multiple personalities, so I had to bring out so many different emotions while still maintaining character. It was very challenging but something I really grew from and enjoyed doing.

They are all very different, what made you choose to participate in these projects?

UK: My main goal when coming to America and Hollywood was to work on projects that were on the mainstream level, such as popular TV shows and big budget movies. It has been great working on big name productions doing acting and stunts but at the moment I’m also looking for challenging parts for the acting aspect and great action scripts for the action design.

You get approached all the time to work on projects with people, what makes you pick one role over another?

UK: If the role has a challenging side to it, it’ll be more intriguing to me. I prioritize the parts when I’m pushed out of my comfort zone to find a “new” me through the character I’m playing. I believe as an actor if you are not pushing yourself to take on the most demanding parts you’re not really testing your limits of what you are capable of delivering from deep inside you.

Have you been in any commercials or music videos?

UK: I recently did a commercial for EAS Sports Nutrition as one of the featured athletes, before that I did a commercial for Red Apple’s Ale, performing as the Latino boxer. I did a commercial for Dick’s Sporting Goods representing Under Armor jogging apparel, and last year I did a photoshoot for Harley Davidson and Carnivore Fitness (Australian athletic apparel) who are also now my sponsors.

I was in a bunch of music videos back in Sweden, such as, Fjarde Varlden’s “Ingenting,” Unlima’s “N’ Say Love,” Emerson’s “Back Off” and Cee Rock’s “The Fury.” Anderson Iz Nice and I did a couple of commercials like Idol 2005 and ICS for Sony Ericson, and I’ve also been featured in many magazines such as Fighter Magazine, Fitness Magazine, twice in M3 Digital World, the cover of Friskispressen, as well as Kamera & Bild.

What projects do you have coming up?

UK: At the moment me and my team are rehearsing for a previsualization for the upcoming American remake of the martial arts film, “The Raid.” I’m also in preproduction with another project that is set to be shot here in the U.S. and Nepal later this year, an action thriller called, “The Man From Kathmandu.” The film, which I’m both action directing and starring in, is being produced by Clear Mirror Pictures.

Last year, I was requested to choreograph/direct two pre-vizes for Tom Delmar, a renowned British action director making his directorial debut. We shot the pre-vizes with our technology and he was really impressed by them, so he put me in charge as the Second Unit Director and Stunt Coordinator on his upcoming features, “Killing The Seeds” and “The Masters Legacy.” It will be my debut as a Second Unit Director/Stunt Coordinator on a feature film so I’m super excited about that and deeply honored to have been given such a high position.

What are your plans for the future?

UK: My plans for the future are to develop more innovative Action Design for major shows and carry on what I started when I was in middle school, borrowing the school’s camera and bringing my friends to different locations to shoot my own projects, this time I’ll do it with my stunt team and with big budget projects. I also have plans to star and direct in my own projects in the future.

 

Dynamic Australian Actress Delivered ‘a significant amount of drama’ on the Venerable soap opera ‘Home and Away’

Katherine Cowgill by Teren Oddo Oct. 2015
Jessie McLachlan

Arriving as one of today’s finest actresses, Jessie McLachlan has delivered outstanding character portrayals in film and television over the last decade. The Australian native played Anna in Tom Simes’ feature drama, “Run, Broken Yet Brave” and Rachel in the FilmOut Festival Award winning feature drama, “Newcastle,” written and directed by Dan Castle.

She starred as Monica in Antonio Oreña-Barlin’s short drama, “Suburbia,” that was nominated for an Australian Film Institute Award, and has dispatched her talents to TV including in Village Roadshow’s reality series “The Shire,” 7 Network’s (Australia) 13-time award-winning comedy drama “Packed to the Rafters” and Nickelodeon’s 12-time award-winning family drama, “Dance Academy.”

Chief among McLachlan’s flourishing acting career was her 27-episode recurring performance as Samantha Braxton on 7 Network’s romantic drama, “Home and Away.” Created by Alan Bateman, the series has collected more than 40 awards and has broadcast since 1988.

“I’m really proud I got to be a part of it, in some way,” McLachlan said. “I’m proud of the Australian industry, and it is a testament that a show has been running for so long.”

“Home and Away” follows the lives, loves and heartbreaks within the fictitious coastal town of Summer Bay, in New South Wales, Australia.

The role challenged McLachlan to carry out the antagonistic, Samantha, who was a troubled member of one of Summer Bay’s surfing gangs. An aggressor, Samantha was a character best known for creating conflict, and one opposite of McLachlan’s own persona.

“It is the beauty of acting morphing into a completely different person, whom is definitely not like myself,” said McLachlan. “It is always a challenge playing a character whom is a complete opposite to you, and the way in which you conduct yourself in life. I always like to reflect on a personal experience, and encapsulate that raw emotion and feeling I had and use it in a performance to make it as authentic as I can, but with this character I was very challenged in the beginning in learning to be angry at everything and everyone.”

Starring as Samantha in the series from 2010-2011, McLachlan said of the character, “It is hard enough to be a teenager now days let alone have hardship or social issue’s amongst your family to overcome. I think at heart she is good, but when your family has a blurred line between what is right and wrong, she was easily influenced.”

Australian Actress Christina Collard (“Dracula: The Impaler,” “The Girl’s Guide to Depravity”) recognized McLachlan’s dynamic acting in “Home and Away.”

“The role required an incredibly dynamic actress, as Samantha’s presence and demeanor caused a significant amount of drama throughout Jessie’s time as a leading actress on the series,” she said. “Her presence was felt in scenes that she did not even appear in, which is a huge accomplishment that further evidences Jessie’s many talents as an actress. Her character was the talk among critics and dedicated viewers alike, and has been hailed as one of the more memorable characters in the recent history of this long running series.”

“Home and Away” currently is the second longest running dramatic series in Australian television history. Sold to more than 80 countries, it has drawn huge audiences in locations such as the United Kingdom, Ireland and New Zealand. The show is the most successful program in Logie Award history.

Of her favorite single portrayal, McLachlan says, “The first episode of a new season will always be my favorite of any show. It is when some questions that I’ve waited for a few months are finally answered, but also then all these new story lines are revealed, and the show becomes so juicy and the curiosity makes you tune in or binge watch it.”

Developing her talent early in life, McLachlan started speech and theatre lessons and became a National Irish Dancer when she was just 7 years old. “Every time I performed, from an audition or in front of my Grandma, it gave me a sense of euphoria, a high but a certainty feeling.”

Her talent and passion for performing hasn’t gone unnoticed in the industry as McLachlan went on to work for shows televised by MTV, ABC and Australia’s 9 Network. A do-it-all talent, McLachlan also was signed as a singer/songwriter to Island Def Jam.

She’s trained at the renowned Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler acting institutions in New York and Los Angeles, and studies the craft with the acclaimed acting coach Michelle Danner, who has worked with many A-list talents such as Chris Rock, Gerard Butler, Penelope Cruz, Michelle Rodriguez and more.

For more information, visit: http://jessiemclachlan.com and http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6682925/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

 

 

 

 

 

Australian-Based Stylist Cat Sherwin Makes-Up Contestants for ‘The Celebrity Apprentice Australia’ and ‘The Voice’

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Cat Sherwin

Australian-based makeup artist and hairstylist, Cat Sherwin, has established herself as an invaluable styling asset to several contestants of the hit television shows “The Celebrity Apprentice Australia” and “The Voice” over a course of multiple seasons.

Originally from Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England, Sherwin has been recognized as an accomplished artist in the entertainment industry for over eleven years. Her work as a makeup artist and hairstylist spans numerous platforms, encompassing everything from film and television programs to live, red carpet events. Sherwin has made-up both reoccurring and guest talent appearing on “Sunrise,” “The Morning Show” and “ABC News,” and has obtained a lengthy framework of experience with distinguished networks such as ABC, Foxtel, Channel 7, and Fox Sports.

Sherwin’s involvement with Fremantle’s “The Celebrity Apprentice Australia” began back in 2011 where she worked as a freelancer/contractor on contestants appearing on Season 1 of the series. Based on “NBC: The Apprentice,” “The Celebrity Apprentice Australia” features host and CEO Mark Bouris and a remarkable cast of celebrities, all competing for their favorite charities.

“Working on a show that is being produced for the benefit of charities is enormously fulfilling, as you really feel that everyone is ultimately working together as a team, from celebrities through to production, to produce something that has a real tangible result and that makes a difference,” Sherwin said.

In addition to Season 1, Sherwin has also been a part of Seasons 2 and 3 of “The Celebrity Apprentice Australia,” working various episodes and with a wide range of contestants as well as other stylists. Regarding all involved, Sherwin commented, “[It was] great meeting so many different people and personalities from different backgrounds. There was a great sense of team spirit when working alongside other makeup artists.”

Behind the scenes, the show was known for its spontaneity, resulting in extremely early call times and frequent, last minute scheduling changes. Call times and locations for the following day were often not released until quite late at night the evening before, however for Sherwin this regimen, “Felt exciting. [She] felt part of the celebrities’ adventure.”

Over the span of these three seasons, Sherwin styled a number of famed celebrities. Some of the participators Sherwin worked with in Season 1, consisted of Jesinta Campbell (Miss Universe Australia 2010), former competition swimmer Lisa Curry, Didier Cohen (“America’s Next Top Model”), celebrity publicist Max Markson, and Australian politician Pauline Hanson. For the duration of Season 2, Sherwin had the pleasure of styling professional boxer and water skiing champion Lauryn Eagle, Charlotte Dawson (“America’s Next Top Model”), former football player Jason Akermanis, Nathan Joliffe (“The Amazing Race Australia”), comic Vince Sorrenti, and David Hasselhoff (“Knight Rider” and “Baywatch”), to name a few. Starring on Season 3 of “The Celebrity Apprentice Australia,” Sherwin correspondingly worked with Kym Johnson (“Good Morning America,” “Dancing with the Stars” and “Entertainment Tonight”), Prue MacSween (“Weekend Sunrise” and “Australia’s Next Top Model”), competitive swimmer Stephanie Rice, Rob Mills (“Australian Idol”), and musician Brian Mannix, among others.

“The Celebrity Apprentice Australia” contains a segment of the show called ‘the boardroom,’ where meetings among candidates take place in a series of what usually consists of three stages. In the boardroom, the host and his advisors debrief the contestants, who are separated into teams, the winning team ultimately prized with a reward while the losing team endures an elimination.

When asked to detail some of her favorite memories thus far, Sherwin answered, “Getting the contestants ready for the boardroom as the show progressed. Everyone got closer as time went on, and you really felt his or her crusade and tension and wanted them all to win. You really felt like you were living and breathing the excitement and anticipation with them.”

Regarding her styling techniques in specific when it came to readying the stars for the boardroom, Sherwin explained that, “The looks were much more glamorous.” In one of the episodes, Eagle had a 1950’s-inspired waved hair look. “Ensuring the celebrity looked fabulous and felt confident was really important in helping someone get ready to state their case,” Sherwin stated.

Due to many different challenges within the competitive program that required completion, the show often moved locations, allowing Sherwin the opportunity to create distinctive styles and looks. Furthermore, on challenge days, she had to, “Consider environments, locations and weather when creating a look to ensure that said look would look real and simple and hold up during a long day, whilst not hindering the celebrity and at the same time, making them feel great,” said Sherwin.

Similar to her work with a diverse group of celebs on “Celebrity Apprentice Australia,” Sherwin has provided makeup artistry and hair styling for an innumerable amount of competitors on Shine’s award winning series “The Voice,” an Australian reality show based on the original Dutch talent singing competition. During Sherwin’s tenure, “The Voice” was hosted by Darren McMullen. The show contains a structure of three competitive phases: blind auditions, battle rounds and live performance shows, where the ultimate winner receives a recording contract with Universal Music.

“It was really exciting to be part of an artists’ journey in pursuing their dream,” Sherwin said. “As the show progressed, how we styled them according to themed weeks and alongside wardrobe directly affected the overall appearance of how the public saw the artist.”

The different rounds allowed Sherwin to really showcase her unique talents as a makeup artist and hairstylist. “It was fabulous to be able to create some really adventurous and eye catching looks. As a performer, you need to stand out on stage, so the makeup can be much bolder and braver [on “The Voice”] than say a lifestyle commercial. Often on commercials and television you have to create something within a set of quite tight parameters. “The Voice” felt much freer and unrestricted, with opportunity to be really creative and incorporate the latest fashion looks into someone’s personality and style on stage,” Sherwin noted.

With television being such the visual medium that it is, while each singer ultimate stood out based on his or her vocal talent, the intricate work of the entire creative process mattered. Observing this process, Sherwin said, “Everything from staging, lighting and costumes to hair and makeup really helps add the XXX wow factor.” While the work of a stylist can tie together a performance, effectively bringing all of the pieces of the process together is what, “Ultimately will help a new star shine,” said Sherwin.

At times, styling was a team effort. On a number of occasions, Sherwin styled “The Voice” Season 1 winner Karise Eden and Finalist Darren Percival, among others. “It was great seeing Karise’s confidence build throughout the show,” Sherwin said. “All artists started with their own look, which was often quite low key. We worked to build and evolve this into something with more mega wattage, whilst also retaining their own sense of unique style. As confidence flourished, so did the style – it was beautiful to watch.”

Much alike the boardroom of “The Celebrity Apprentice Australia,” Sherwin fondly remembered styling contestants for the final battle rounds of “The Voice.” The battle rounds are considered the second stage of the competition, where coaches instruct two of their teammates to battle one another by way of singing the same song simultaneously.

“There was so much energy and excitement around them [the battle rounds]. Nobody had anticipated quite how much the first season would take off in Australia and all the excitement around it. It was really quite electric,” Sherwin reminisced.

Moreover, Sherwin recalled witnessing moments of impromptu singing from talent. “I remember watching one of the judge’s coaching sessions with Delta Goodrem, and hearing her burst out spontaneously into song, with no background music, no aid. It was really beautiful – she has such an amazing talent, to hear her voice in the raw was breathtaking,” said Sherwin.

After her miraculous work on “The Voice,” contestants continued to book Sherwin separately for private gigs. Sherwin stated, “Contestant Emma Pask booked me privately on a number of occasions for gigs. I made her up for an outdoor Toronga Zoo Christmas concert. The setting was breathtaking with the Sydney Bridge and Opera House in the background.”

When it comes down to styling contestants for such high profile shows where the pressure always seems to be on, Sherwin insisted that, “Hard work and creativity are important, and so is pulling in the latest fashion looks into something that complements the outfit.” However, the key factor in it all, is creating a look that is, “Wearable by the artist and will make them feel confident.”

There are multiple steps involved in the complex process that Sherwin takes in order to ensure that all of the contestants she works with, “look and feel fabulous, and ready for action,” commented Sherwin.

For more information, visit: http://www.catsherwin.com

Follow Cat on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cat_sherwin

 

From Brazil to Hollywood, Meet the Award Winning Cinematographer Andressa Cor

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Andressa Cor is a cinematographer from Brazil with over half a dozen years of experience in film and television. Her creative works have earned her the “New Filmmakers Program” grant at Panavision in 2014 and also the “Alfred P. Sloan Foundation” grant. Her AFI thesis film “Stealth” brought in awards from the 36th Student Emmy Awards, the jury prize at the Toronto International Film Festival and an honorable mention at the American Emerging Filmmakers Pavilion at Cannes.

 

On her own creativity, Cor said, “I stay curious about everything. My interest in subjects change almost every week. I obsess over a certain topic and learn as much as I can about it, til the next one comes. Because I am from Art school, more often than not I am obsessing over an artist. This happens to movies a lot as well. I take a certain filmmaker and watch a lot about him/her.”

 

Cor uses cinema as an exploration. She carries the camera with purpose. The rich colors within her frame bring out the emotion her story tells.

 

In her eyes, each film should have a style, and it’s the cinematographer’s job to translate that style into a language using the camera and lights. Ultimately, film is a collaboration, and as a result the cinematographer and director must be in communication. This is why Cor uses pre-production to “see what is the movie inside the director’s head and make sure my department is prepared to deliver that movie.”

 

Her film work has teamed her up with many great directors. She tends to seek out those who are like minded, and that she thinks she could build a friendship with. Three directors she’s had great experiences with are Bennett Lasseter, Diego Jesus and Andrew Crafa.

 

Alongside Lasseter, Cor has shot two films. One of them was the highly acclaimed, and highly awarded “Stealth.” The story follows a brave, young transgender woman guiding her way through life.

 

With Jesus, she also shot two films. “Incursion” was the first project they collaborated on. Using the camera as equals, they created a strong, unified and visually stunning film. The circumstances were rough, but things fell into place so well that they made another film entitled “Rosalia Marginal.”

 

“Some locations did not have electricity or generators and Andressa was forced to find unconventional ways to keep shooting in very difficult situations with limited resources,” said Jesus on “Incursion”. “She achieved this with ease, demonstrating an ability to improvise and problem solve as an exceptional Cinematographer under the most difficult of circumstances, while still creating beautifully impactful shots for the film that added a crisp, enlightening context that the documentary needed in order to truly impact our audience.”

 

Cor also shot two small projects with director Andrew Crafa. The first was a promotional piece for the 2015 film “Krampus” and the second was for the organization “I Have a Dream.” “Krampus” showcased Hollywood stars like Adam Scott, Toni Collette, and David Koechner. The promotional piece featured 14 of YouTube’s top stars.

 

Regardless of who Cor works with she has great admiration for her directors. “That’s why they say directing is a lonely task. There’s this village of people working for them, and they need to direct all of us to the same place. Sometimes, they have a bit of trouble with this, because we are making movies, is a lot about the visuals and the mood, it can get hard to explain. Every director has a different process of communicating, and I try to let him or her tell me the way they want to tell me. ”

 

Three of the biggest project’s Cor acted as cinematographer for are “60 Eight”, “Campground” and “No Tomorrow without Merci.”

 

“60 Eight” was shot in Burbank, California on a Red Scarlet. The film is about a child who wakes up after an accident to find himself a 60 year old man. Cor made sure her cinematography reflected “the clash of two worlds.”

 

“Campground” is about a young girl with hidden superpowers. The film was shot in two segments. The first was filmed in the LA desert, and the second was also filmed in Burbank, California.

 

On “Campground”, Cor said, “The goal was to make the audience walk in her shoes with her, and understand her world as she guided us thought it. Lighting was very natural for most of the movie except for the lighting cue we had when she finally reveals her capacities. ”

 

Her work on “No Tomorrow without Merci” helped the filmed win the Award of Merit at the  2015 Accolade Competition, and the Award of Excellence at the 2015 International Film Festival for Peace, Inspiration and Equality. It’s about a Jewish woman who decides to help an injured Nazi soldier. The goal was to shoot the film as realistically as possible using muted colors.

 

Two key influences on her work are Brazilian’s Cesar Charlone and Walter Carvalho. All the knowledge she gained from was completely unconscious. In fact, it took her years to realize her style of shooting was inherited from them.

 

“I didn’t know how much they influenced me until I recently rewatched “Central do Brasil” (Central Station) and saw that I had just shot the same set-up a week before!,” said Cor. “But instead of a little cabin, my camera was inside a car.”

Filmmaking is something that Cor has been fascinated by since she was young, but it wasn’t until she grew older that she learned about the position of cinematographer. She entered film school wanting to direct, but through her early works she started to gravitate towards the visual side of  the process. Once her desires were focused, she set off to film as much as she could while in school.

“The best cinematography work that I like happened because the DP and the director are at the exactly same page,” said Cor. “I do believe a cinematographer is as good as his or her director. And I see with renowned cinematographers that they work get better if they are working with the directors they align ideas better and collaborate together. For example, every Roger Deakins work is stellar. But his masterpieces, in my opinion, happened when he was working with the Coen Brothers. ”

Making a good film is all about trust for Cor. As long as she continues to work with people that understand that, her work will continue to grow and visually stun.

Editor David Guthrie Nails the Perfect Cut

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Editor David Guthrie shot by Nick Nelson

 

In the entertainment industry, every creative position on a production plays a vital role to its success, and the job of the editor might be the most important of all. Even more so than the writer’s words or the actor’s lines, the editor is responsible for crafting the final version of what the spectator sees.

The editor helps make the footage speak to the audience, which is exactly why David Guthrie stands out among some of the most brilliant editors working in the industry today. Without his wonderful ability to tell a story, the sheer volume of film footage from the productions to which he’s lent his skill would lack a cohesive narrative. 

“Most of the skill in editing comes from making creative decisions, what shot to use where, what music tracks to use, the pacing, rhythm, etc. All of that is easily done on all three platforms,” according to Guthrie.

The Toronto born editor has a knack for creating an effective, riveting story regardless of how many hundreds of hours of footage he has to sort through. Guthrie has also benefited from having a background in music, which greatly enhances the cadence of his edits.

“You try a hundred different tracks of music and none of them are the right one and you just don’t know why and then you find the one that works and you just know, you can feel it and then you cut it in and the whole scene comes to life.”

Guthrie’s exceptional talent landed him the role of editor on the critically acclaimed televised adaption Billy Bishop Goes To War  directed by Academy Award nominee Barbara Willis Sweet, as well as the smash hit documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

Currently streaming on Netflix, Jiro Dreams of Sushi has been an official selection at numerous festivals including Toronto, Berlin, and New Zealand International Film Festivals, as well as the Tribeca Film Festival.

After the documentary’s overwhelming feat, Guthrie took on the challenge of working on the labor intensive Weather Channel reality show Cold Water Captains.

“You can give me hundreds of hours of footage with no direction and I can sift through it and find the story thread. Having a writer‘s approach to editing has always been my strong suit, as well as having a music background,” says Guthrie regarding his editing process.  

In Guthrie’s next project, he carried multiple hats as a director, writer, editor and star in the TV comedy Room & Bored. The project paid off immensely by becoming an official selection at the New York Television Festival, which led Guthrie to secure a development deal with the Gannett Network.

The outstanding editor recently completed production on the comedy series Beck & Call, produced by Rockfield Productions, Inc.  The series follows two talent agents struggling to make it in Brooklyn. Season 1 of the show is slated to be released later this year.

Regardless of the genre or medium, David Guthrie’s remarkable editing prowess has placed him among the best editors in the industry; and, as he continues to flex his skill across platforms, it seems there is literally no stopping this talented Canadian.

 

‘Can’t Sleep Love’ Video Merges Director Alon Isocianu’s Imagination with Pentatonix’s Superb Vocals

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Director Alon Isocianu

Pentatonix’s music video for “Can’t Sleep Love” is a bona fide hit with more than 13 million YouTube views to date. Directed by the great Alon Isocianu, the “Can’t Sleep Love” video is a sensory stimulating masterpiece featuring the amazing talents of the five member a capella pop group, Pentatonix (RCA Records).

The video’s stylized color palette coupled with an innovative set design entices viewers to make visit after visit. No other treatment of the two-time Grammy Award winner’s piece could have been better imagined.

And imagination is Isocianu’s forte. An already internationally established music video director, Isocianu flexes with one his best career deliveries in “Can’t Sleep Love.” Revered, celebrated, and achieved, Isocianu’s effort creates definite anticipation for what lies ahead in his illustrious career.

Familiar personal themes establish a hypnotic, but relatable atmosphere to audiences. We’ve had those feelings. We’ve been down that road. We’ve been there those restless nights that bring on an unwanted dawn. “Can’t Sleep Love” hits the target without exception.

“The overall concept loosely revolves around the idea of staying up at night, not being able to sleep because all you can think of is someone you’ve fallen in love with,” says Isocianu. A careful examination of the brilliantly written lyrics reflect that – and more.

“Primarily the different colors and pattern designs are meant to distinguish the spaces from one another,” Isocianu said. “Each band member in Pentatonix brings a unique voice to the group, so I wanted to highlight that by giving each “vocal instrument” and each band member their own space. So while the designs don’t relate to the song’s lyrics or tone in any specific way, they do relate to the vocal arrangement.”

Chemistry between song lyrics and set design firms the tone for a unique blend. From the band’s idea of sitting on a couch in a multi-patterned room came the rich vision that eventually manifests itself throughout the video.

“I then took that idea and expanded on it, by creating multiple rooms, each with their own “hidden” dancers,” Isocianu said. Different dance styles are purposed to highlight the different vocal skills of each band member of Pentatonix.

An undeniable flair is reached through the vibrant colors and repetitive patterns in an acceptably excessive, theatric splash – a vibrancy rarely seen is achieved through the skillful director.

The individual Pentatonix vocals deftly harmonize to a finale with all the group’s members in the same room. The culminating effect is an impressive display of vocal talent and extraordinary directing skills.
From his directing of videos for Kelly Clarkson, to Shawn Hook, to Finger Eleven, to Meaghan Smith, and countless others, music and film enthusiasts both see Isocianu’s prolific prominence.

And thus it is with Pentatonix, who this month captured their second Grammy Award for the song “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.”

“Pentatonix were great to work with,” Isocianu said. “They’re very humble and fun, and very collaborative. As performers they each have their own style which is really fun to watch. They each bring a distinct sort of vibe individually, yet when they’re performing together they seem to groove in a cohesive way.”

The list of Isocianu awards and nominations is extensive. And, it will no doubt expand.

The year 2015 saw him win the East Coast Music Awards “Video Of The Year” (Meaghan Smith’s “Have a Heart”), and a Berlin Music Video nomination for “Best Visual Effect” (The Angry Kids’ “Battle”).

In 2012, Isocianu received a Much Music MMVA “Pop Video Of The Year nomination for Victoria Duffield’s “Shut Up and Dance.” In 2011, his music video for Candy Coated Killahz’ “Neon Black” was nominated for the Much Music MMVA “Post Production of the Year.”

Through it all, Isocianu is a director skilled in bringing feeling to his work through the extensive use of explosive colors, patterns and a degree of welcomed quirkiness. It’s established him and set him apart from others as a uniquely skilled craftsman in his trade.

Check out more from Alon at http://alonisocianu.com.

Watch “Can’t Sleep Love” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFCxiKXtKTI

Watch Behind the Scenes footage from the video shoot:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/post/idsa.d884c134-58b2-11e5-8c4d-bf308b75a147

And experience the interactive “Can’t Sleep Love” video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_Riq4wZ3aY