We talk with American Ninja Warrior breakout star Jessie Graff. Jessie is a Hollywood stuntwoman, with an amazing body of work in film and television, including Supergirl, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., X-Men First Class, Iron Man 2, and many more. But while most stunt people are hidden faces behind the scenes, Jessie has become a very popular public persona through the television competition American Ninja Warrior. Through several seasons of amazing athletic feats, Jessie has broken barriers as the first female athlete to advance to the city finals, and the first to make it to Stage 2 of the national finals. She stands among the sport’s most elite competitors.
Michael Wylie is the production designer for the Marvel television series “Legion”, airing Wednesday evenings on FX. His production design resume also includes such fan favorites as Marvel’s Agent Carter, Masters of Sex, Grimm, Californication, Pushing Daisies, and The Tick. Legion follows a troubled young man, a diagnosed schizophrenic, who may in fact possess incredible telepathic and telekinetic powers. The show stars Dan Stevens, Aubrey Plaza, and Rachel Keller. It’s a remarkable series with a non-linear story, incredible design and music, and stellar performances. It’s by turns fascinating, disturbing, and intriguing, and it will keep you glued to the screen and constantly questioning reality.
Rachael Stott is a comic book artist, currently doing covers and interior art for the official Doctor Who series published by Titan Comics, which follows Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor. And while she’s only been a professional comic artist for about two years, she’s already racked up an impressive resume. She drew the Star Trek/Planet of the Apes crossover series for IDW. She did covers for the licensed Assassin’s Creed and Heroes comics, and covers for Archie. She provided covers for the Green Lantern / Star Trek crossover series, as well as covers and interiors for Ghostbusters International. And she won the 2015 British Comics Award for Best Newcomer.
We talk with Emmy-winning choreographer and comedienne Kathryn Burns. Kathryn has contributed dance numbers and movement direction to five seasons of Key & Peele, to the hit Netflix series Wet Hot American Summer, and to tons of productions with the Upright Citizens Brigade. She worked on Children’s Hospital and Another Period, and danced in a “Weird Al” Yankovic video. She also choreographed the Grammy-winning international megahit music video “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Kathryn is currently working on the critically acclaimed CW series, Crazy Ex Girlfriend. It’s a comedy punctuated by impressive musical sequences that heighten the absurdity but also showcase an immensely talented cast and crew. And, as a show flying below the radar of mass audiences, Crazy Ex Girlfriend manages to be one of the most hilariously raunchy, explicit, subversive shows on network television. There’s nothing else out there like it. The series has won a number of awards, including a Golden Globe and a couple of Emmys – one of which went to Kathryn, for her choreography routines.
We have a really fun chat with comedy writer Rob Kutner. He’s a monologue writer for TBS late night show CONAN, and also has five Primetime Emmy’s for his work on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Recently, Rob released a new audio mini-series called Runaway Brains, available exclusively on subscription-based podcast service Howl.FM. It’s a madcap comedic romp starring “Weird Al” Yankovic, Mayim Bialik, Michael Ian Black, Dave Koechner, and Ken Jennings. Rob has also partnered with Farrago Comics to produce the original series, Shrinkage, illustrated by John Lucas. Farrago Comics is a new free-to-read, ad-supported comics app, available now on Apple and Android devices. We talk with Rob about his career writing for TV, and how he broke into the late-night comedy business. We also discuss branching out into different media, exploring new distribution models, and how he attracted big names to indie projects.
We have a great conversation with Guy Birtwhistle, writer, producer and star of the indie science fiction movie Alistair1918. The film debuted at this summer’s San Diego Comic Con International Film Festival.
In Alistair1918, a World War One soldier accidentally time travels to present day Los Angeles. Filthy and penniless, with no way to prove his identity, he struggles to find a way back to his wife in 1918. Guy talks in depth about the creation process for the film, and his method for dividing the production into small sections over time to diminish costs and work around the schedules of his team. We discuss his career as a working actor in LA. And we explore ways ambitious creatives can make their day jobs work for their endeavors, rather than against them.
We welcome back Susan Eisenberg, the voice actor best known as the voice of Wonder Woman from Justice League / Justice League Unlimited. DC and Warner Brothers are currently celebrating 75 years of Wonder Woman, in anticipation of her big 2017 feature film. Susan has been playing the character in cartoons, animated movies, and video games for sixteen years. We talk with Susan about portraying an iconic character, the differences between voice acting in cartoons versus video games, and interacting with fans online and at conventions.
We talk with actor David Harbour, who plays fan-favorite Sheriff Jim Hopper in Netflix’s breakout original series “Stranger Things”. David discusses how he became attached to Stranger Things, and his reaction to its surprising success and intense fan adoration. We talk about the differences between acting for stage and screen, and the sudden spotlight after years of character work. And we realize just exactly which type of adventurer Sheriff Hopper would be in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign party.
We talk with Lawrence Grey, producer of Lights Out, an indie horror thriller from first-time feature film director David Sandberg. Lights Out began as an independent short film, created by Sandberg in his native Sweden. The super creepy 3-minute horror short caught fire online. Lawrence discovered it, decided to collaborate with Sandberg to bring it to the big screen, and enlisted help from James Wan, the director of horror mega-hits Saw, Insidious, and the Conjuring films. They also assembled a talented cast, including Teresa Palmer, Billy Burke, and Maria Bello. Lights Out was produced on a micro budget, just $5 million dollars, but it opened with a stellar $21.6 million at the box office.
We talk with Linda Ballantyne, a Canadian voice actress perhaps best known to fans of cartoons and anime as the voice of Sailor Moon, from the latter half of that series run in 2000. Linda currently balances a full slate of voice work in the busy Toronto media scene with convention appearances alongside several of her former Sailor Moon cast-mates. We discuss how she was first hired as a voice match to replace the original english language actress on Sailor Moon, and how she evolved the character’s delivery to make it her own. She explains the challenges of providing voices for pre-existing animation, and why acting in translated works is far less lucrative for voice actors than original programming. We talk about life on the convention circuit, and the experience of meeting fans who have important emotional connections to Sailor Moon and her work.