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Jack of All Trades

#20 Catriona McKenzie (Film/TV Writer/Director) & Kirsten Carthew (Filmmaker & Writer)

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#HonestConversations with Catriona McKenzie and Kirsten Carthew! Catriona, of Australian-Aboriginal descent, has directed Freeform/ABC Family's “Shadowhunters", the Emmy-winning "Dance Academy", worked alongside Ridley Scott on "Alien: Covenant" and was awarded prizes at the Berlin Film Festival for her feature film "Satellite Boy." Luckily Catriona invited her friend to join our conversation at the last minute: emerging Canadian director Kirsten Carthew, who was recently handed Best Narrative Film by Meg Ryan at the Bentonville Film Festival for "The Sun at Midnight” starring "The Revenant"s Duane Howard and award-winning actress Devery Jacobs. Each filmmaker provides an understanding for what type of actor they respond to, along with Kirsten's insights into authenticty and Catriona's belief that people function within systems designed to "push and pull.” Both multi-hyphenates also discuss their experience making decisions while being judges at film festivals, and you'll hear about working on the "Alien" franchise, creative empathy, an example of a great litmus test for making big life decisions and some awesome practical tips for budding filmmakers and actors (so listen past the halfway mark). Oh, and you'll find out how the best insights can sometimes come from a 7 year old girl. Listen in! Check out their work: catrionamckenzie.com & http://thesunatmidnightmovie.com/ 

#19 Megan Doneman (Filmmaker/Writer/Producer)

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#HonestConversations with Megan Doneman! Anyone in the industry, and anyone for that matter, should listen to Megan's musings and share in her audacity. Case in point: Oscar-Winner Helen Mirren may have narrated one of her films, but Megan was the one to put her life on the line to shoot it. The AACTA and IF-nominated filmmaker substantiates my inquiry into candor as a means of cultivating an artistic identity, and is a notable example for how practicing gratitude and just getting to the work (please, just stop complaining everyone) is the secret to success. Namely, we discuss how self-realisations have to be worked at and are often the result of an accumulation of events (read: they're not easily epiphanic), how hardships teach lessons (and especially useful in avoiding the 'rabbit hole' of industry obsession) and the distinction between being honest in a nice and constructive way as opposed to just being a dick (my word, not hers). Also, we touch on the practical realities for self-care in entertainment, what Hollywood power players DON'T and DO care about and going against people's advice (when maybe it's not best for the career, but it's necessary and vital for your humanity). Stay around past the halfway mark for what she thinks is the #1 source of unhappiness and cause of artistic death, and listen in to find out what question she asks herself while working on her projects. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0232432/ | http://.www.hoodlum.com.au/ 

#18 Michael Schwarz (Producer/Filmmaker)

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#HonestConversations with Michael Schwarz! Michael, current producer @ Deepwater and Sam Worthington's producing partner @ Full Clip Productions, offers some brazen and unpretentious insights into the nature of film producing in all his Australian-ness. This isn't so much an analysis of expressing your POV, but rather a clear example of how being authentic and down-to-earth is a sure-fire way of forging your path in the industry. We discuss the practical realities of how he got started as a producer (preview: there were lots of random jobs in his early-late 20s, plus a few acting classes thrown in for good measure), how he connected and started working with the AVATAR superstar, as well as the means by which anxiety is clearly a common incentive experienced by entertainment professionals. Oh, and make sure to listen past the 9 minute mark to hear about which big-budget flop Michael convinced a certain A-lister to turn down -- while technically still a film school student. A few further anecdotes suggest that perhaps not even Hollywood veterans really know what they're doing. 

#17 Peta Sergeant (Actress)

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#HonestConversations with Peta Sergeant! "THE ORIGINALS," "ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND" and "HOUSE OF HANCOCK" actor Peta Sergeant (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1560632/) embodies a natural way of thinking that promotes joy - something undoubtedly attributable to her success and identity as a creative with an authentically unique POV (and not surprising given she talks about how some of her life and career epiphanies occurred over peanut butter and coffee). We talk about simply trying different hobbies as a means of gaining clarity of life purpose, spiritual life, the way in which a creative's chemical make-up literally has fewer filters than a 'regular' person, her complicated relationship with one of her first TV shows (and breaking a contract) and how she transitioned from acting in Australia to the US (among many ++++ other tips and insights). Make sure to listen from the 10 minute mark for her definition of an actor's responsibility and how a performer can become 'dangerous.'

#16 Kristian Schmidt (Actor/Real Life & Scripted Hustler/Advocate For Change)

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#HonestConversations with Kristian Schmidt! @talkingkrit offers a valuable paragraph for my thesis exploring why and how creatives organise their ideas and achieve success. This Fulbright Scholar, former MTV VJ and now LA-based actor not only talks the talk but walks the walk: we discuss depression experienced as a form of childhood inhibition, his reading recommendations, an odd series of Facebook exchanges with a famous Australian actor (yes, we reveal who it is) that was decidedly honest, comparing his experience as a Samoan in the entertainment industry to (well. a surprising metaphor you should hear for yourselves), how he won the Fulbright Scholarship and his tips for hustling (preview: he was child entrepeneur, so start young). Twitter & Instagram: @talkingkrit!

#15 Jeremy Luke (Actor/Producer)

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#HonestConversations with Jeremy Luke! Jeremy ("This is Us", "Don Jon": http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1157053/) has worked with Clint Eastwood, Frank Darabont and Joseph Gordon Levitt. Besides these collaborations, along with his current series "Small Shots" currently streaming on Netflix, Jeremy's natural candor renders him a worthy candidate for learning about artistic honesty, how to get started as an actor (and the subsequent pursuit of "making it") and sourcing your resilience (does it involve 'The Secret'?). We discuss how everyone is truly powerless in entertainment (including the studios), exactly how he's landed his roles (including on NBC's breakout hit), balancing results oriented focus with having fun, catching momentum and "being in the good vibe", is this all really about luck (the conclusion may surprise you), and how inner strength is a consequence of being a New Yorker and also -- well, listen to find out (+ a bunch more)!

#14 Donny Boaz (Actor/Producer)

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#HonestConversations with Donny Boaz! Casting directors, History Channel's "SIX" and Calvin Klein modelling. Donny Boaz (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1485940/) and I had an #HonestConversation! Aside from discussing his definition of a good actor and what constitutes his version of "hustling" (he has some good tips, so actors: listen for them!), Donny and I talk about how brazen honesty isn't necessarily the path to the 'X factor.' In continuing my exploration of what distinguishes a creative in a saturated market, he identifies self-belief and inflated confidence (regardless of whether it's grounded in reality) as one crucial ingredient to the life of a successful actor. We also talk about the whether the old adage of luck being "preparation meets opportunity" is true, what it was like meeting Matthew McConaughey and which HBO actor played hardball with Alan Ball and won.

#13 Peter Cornwell (Director/Filmmaker)

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#HonestConversations with Peter Cornwell! Peter Cornwell (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1433996/), director of "The Haunting in Connecticut" with Oscar-nominee Virginia Madsen, had an #HonestConversation with me and continued my investigation into the origins of a unique storyteller's POV and the source of their ideas. Find out what specific experience from his real life (and early day job while an aspiring filmmaker) informed his ability as a director, how choice of medium informs comedy, why passion (+Australian candor) garners audience respect, tips for auditioning, Jodie Foster and Emma Thompson and learned inhibitions. I'm sure you guys can look out for a Pt 2 in the future where we'll be discussing film financial structures + abandoning pretense in the pursuit of truth.

#12 Marc Furmie (Director/Filmmaker)

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#HonestConversations with Marc Furmie! http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2611815/ Director of TERMINUS (starring "THE VAMPIRE DIARIES" Todd Lasance and "THE LAST SHIP'S" Bren Foster) gives us an explanation for where he thinks cliché lives - filmmakers and screenwriters, listen to this conversation. He and I discuss the competing tension between contentment and complacency, rushed production schedules complicating filmic perspective, how self-congratulatory attitudes can lead to the production of "s**t" (haha) and whether achieving self-awareness, in the pursuit of a healthy creative life, is entirely informed by self-criticism. Also, for actors listening: what does this director think about the casting process. 

#11 Chloé Boreham (Actress/Director/Producer)

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#HonestConversations with Chloé Boreham!

"You are where you are supposed to be right now” and “everything is said when it needs to be said." Chloé Boreham (who most recently appeared in Damian Walshe-Howling's MESSIAH, produced by the Weinstein Co and just shot her film LA LICORNE in Paris) and I had a, dare I say it, honest conversation. If you're a creative developing your own project, or don't know how to resolve your "20-something" neurosis, listen in. We discuss things happening for a reason, natural continuations, balancing results-oriented focus with organic artistry, writing as a function of you (as opposed to just an 'extension of you') and "unaware instances" as the archetypal moment for when the best stories are born (and what does that even mean!?). 

#10 Xavier Neal-Burgin (Director/Filmmaker)

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#HonestConversations with Xavier Neal-Burgin! Xavier (@XLNB) a recent Sundance Fellow, mentee of Ryan Murphy's Half Foundation, alumnus of the ABFF HBO Short Film Competition and semi-finalist for the Student Academy Awards, offers insights that deserve ears (aspiring filmmakers take note!). We talk Tina and the Gucci Flip Flop, appropriation of black culture (hear about the back stories of "cash me outside" and "on fleek"), Twitter as the "cornucopia" of his ideas, how societies experience a "spike" in populist assertion during times of political convergence and the potential racist intersectionality of a privileged white dude such as myself interviewing artists. 

#9 Rory Uphold (Actor/Writer/Director/Comic)

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#HonestConversations with Rory Uphold! Rory, a recent Sundance Fellow with 3 and a half million views for her "OnlyInHelLA" web series, gives us a lesson on discernment and the universality of specificity. Listen in to hear about the role that the concept of "good people making bad choices" plays in her life, the rise of relativity in a world of Tinder, and whether being self-deprecating and having a serious work ethic is a contradiction.

#8 Cariba Heine (Actor/Writer)

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#HonestConversations with Cariba Heine! Cariba Heine (BAIT, H20: JUST ADD WATER, HIDING) and I talk about many things ranging from Zimbabwe to what does not serve her "one iota." I also reveal a tragic thing that happened to me in childhood, and she explains what she thinks makes a good actor. Cariba and I explore "down to earthness" allowing for the appreciation of different people, blunt streaks as a manifestation of resentment and the mutual exclusivity of social niceties and distinctive artistic expression.

#7 Re'Sean Pates (Actor/Singer/Dancer)

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#HonestConversations with Re'Sean Pates! Katy Perry recently enlisted Re'Sean to help choreograph her latest music video, and Ariana Grande shared the stage and screen with him on "HAIRSPRAY LIVE!" Re'Sean Pates and I discuss reconciling the provocative nature of the music industry with faith, skittles, neuron mirroring, conscious avoidance of 'bougie' behaviour and inherent empathy as a means of activating self-awareness.  

#6 Elizabeth Higgins Clark (Writer/Actress/Activist)

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#HonestConversations with Elizabeth Higgins Clark! Alison Brie (COMMUNITY), Lizzy Caplan (MASTERS OF SEX) and Bellamy Young (SCANDAL) recently read Elizabeth's first play, "FRACTURED" in a Los Angeles staged-reading, and now this multi-hyphenate creative has "broken the back" of her creative life and secured her first TV literary agent at a "very fancy agency." She talks about industry hunger, how career shifts happen gradually and need not be problematised, and expresses her gratitude authentically (whether it's in an interview or while she's having coffee with a friend). Listen for some inspiration about how to be a talented self-starter (and to appreciate the difference being giving "no f's" and maintaining a strong POV).

#5 Stephanie Meurer (Producer/Filmmaker)

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#HonestConversations with Stephanie Meurer! Emmy-nominated producer Steph Meurer talks about Oscar-winning MOONLIGHT, Lena Dunham, work ethic, and gender stereotypes. And of course, whether likeable people truly exist in Los Angeles. We also talk about which approach is better: writing about what you're interested in or writing about what you know. 

#4 Carrie Belin (Film Producer*)

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#HonestConversations with Carrie Belin! Carrie talks "word salad", Los Angeles, famous people and the nature of conversation when meeting through mutual friends (as her and I did). And we talk about the all-significant first impressions! If you're on your way to work and don't want to eavesdrop on the people next to you, listen in on our conversation and recycle it later in your day. *Although she no longer works in the film industry, she still talks like you'd think a high powered agent or producer would. 

#3 Arka Das (Actor/Filmmaker)

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#HonestConversations with Arka Das! It's Oscar Week! And I was lucky enough to interview one of the actors from Best Picture nominee, LION, Arka Das (ABC's "THE CODE," "TOP OF THE LAKE" - http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5064446/). We discuss how he's making a conscious effort to be himself (*and be unapologetic about it*) and how the journey to artistic authenticity can start off surprisingly simple before it evolves into the complex and probing.

#2 Mark Reininga (Actor/Business Owner/Director)

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#HonestConversations with Mark Reininga! http://markreininga.com/ Jack of All Trades Mark Reininga (who recently appeared in the CBS hit series "PURE GENIUS") talks about not telling someone they're boring at a party, even though that's what was going through his mind at the time. We bond over other things like Blink 182 cover bands and not having friends in high school. Take a listen if you're unsure about why you hold back. 

#1 Titus Makin Jr. (Actor/Singer)

#HonestConversations with star of "GLEE", "PRETTY LITTLE LIARS" and "GREY'S ANATOMY", Titus (http://www.titusmakinmusic.com/) begins our conversation with "I can just be myself right?" Oh, the irony. And so begins my podcast! An artistic experiment in deciphering the point of meandering conversations (so commonplace in LA) and identifying what is unique to you (wait, me?) on a moment-to-moment basis. Take a listen if you'd like to find out what Titus thinks might be "helpful" in conversations with friends. 

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