Friday, June 5, 2009
Thom Gencarelli, Ph.D. (NYU, 1993), is the Chair of the Communication Department at Manhattan College in Riverdale, NY. Thom was hired by Manhattan to create its Communication department after spending 14 years on the full-time faculty at Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ, four years at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY, and seven years on the part-time faculty of the M.A. program in Media Studies at The New School in NYC. Thom is currently the Vice President of the Media Ecology Association, a Past President of the New York State Communication Association, and a two-time Past President of the New Jersey Communication Association.
In addition, Thom is a songwriter and musician, and his debut CD with his ensemble bluerace was released in June 2009. (The group is presently at work on their follow up release.) Thom lives in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, with his wife Alison, and their two sons Miles and Griffin.
What is your title?
I am the Chair of the Communication Department at Manhattan College and I am an Associate Professor.
What degrees do you hold?
I have a BFA degree in Communication Arts, an MA in Media Studies and Ph.D. in Media Ecology.
What is Media Ecology?
Ah, the great question… Media ecology is the study of media as part of the environment in which we live…it’s the study of how we use these means of information, these sources of information in daily life and how the media we use matter as much as the messages we get from them and send through them…and the ecology part is the same as what the term means when we talk about the natural ecology…it’s about balance… We need to strike a balance in our use of media. I mean, if we lose print, we’re doomed. If 75% of people in the United States get most, if not all their news from television…that’s a problem.
What inspired you to do this?
Inspired me to do what? To become an academic? How did I end up…I’m wondering what the question is…
Interesting question… (pause) Well, I’ll tell it as a story: When I got out of undergraduate school I hacked around as a songwriter/musician. And the most honest way to say it is that making a living in that way started to seem a little…dicey. I chickened out. So I applied to law school. And thank god…divine intervention permitted me from becoming an attorney…
I decided to return to school, though. And I wanted to stay with and study about music. But not like musicians and musicologists study it…I was interested in music as communication. And I’ve always been interested in questions about how things happen in the popular culture…how they make a splash and catch on. And so the real interesting question is…well, here you and I are talking. And language is the default medium when we think about communication and what meaning is. But with respect to music and all art…well, what is meaning in music for people who aren’t schooled as musicians? How is music meaningful to them? This is the kind of thinking that got me started.
What’s your teaching schedule?
As a chair, I teach during the academic school year, and during the summer I do administrative stuff… But you know, prior to September of 2008, this program did not exist. I was brought in to build it, which has been a great opportunity…it’s been a great ride (smiling).
What are some projects you like to give to your students?
Probably the most important thing we are dealing with right now in this program is this place we’re in between what we call the traditional media and the mainstream media, or “msm,” and the digital future that we’re heading head long into…there’s a lot of change happening, it’s vast, it’s rapid change and, uh, even those of us who are supposedly “experts” in the field, we’re not sure where we’re going. So the best projects are the ones where we engage with our students to inquire into where are things going… I mean, they live in a world where there’s a lot of sales in marketing talk about digital media and technology in general….and the trick becomes to separate out the sales pitch to figure out where things really might be headed.
Is there anything about technology that stumps you?
No, there are things about the culture in which we live that stump me.
So, you’re saying that you can program and figure out any form of technology?
Oh, you mean using technology? I’m not a technophile or a technophobe… I don’t spend my days immersed in a world of machines and toys and gadgets. But it’s certainly a part of what we do here…I helped design a television studio.
It was finished in August of 2008.
What was the studio created for?
One of the things the college set out to do when they created this program was that they knew they needed to build a TV production, and build it from scratch. They put their money where their mouth is, and they asked me to create it… It’s pretty state of the art.
Any shows been aired?
Not yet… There will be, that’s part of our mission.
Is this your first college teaching position?
It is my third…the other jobs prepared me to do this.
With a communication major, what are some jobs that students can attain?
We’re the largest major at this college. And there are 4100 colleges in the U.S. that, with the exception maybe of the Ivy League, have programs like this…it’s amazing how many students want to study this stuff. And your question is a great one because we have a program that has a traditional orientation: advertising, broadcasting and telecommunications, journalism, and public relations. But you know, as I said before things are changing. And are our mainstream media where these folks are going to end up? You know…journalism…they don’t come to study the role of newspapers in a democratic society and the critical importance of newspapers to citizens. I mean, we get a lot of women who want to work for fashion magazines… And so what? Aren’t newspapers dying anyway? Or maybe they’ll just migrate to the web. But then you can’t call it a newspaper, it’s not paper anymore… And so while it’s fascinating to think about these kinds of changes going on…it’s hard to counsel students on what to do… And the point is: What’s going on when all of these people are coming into this field and it’s changing…in 5-10 years from now it’s going to be vastly different…but we don’t know how it will be different or how much different it will be.
What types of classes do you teach?
I teach in the broadcasting and telecommunications concentration, mostly about television and video…well, also about radio… I also teach ethics.
Would that be considered ethics and media?
Yes. And I teach the introductory course and the senior thesis course…so they get me coming in and I’m the exit interview on the way out.
Do you have an exit project?
They have to do a senior thesis.
What’s an example of a senior thesis?
An example…I had a student last year who wrote about traditional television moving to the web and companies like HULU…
Um, which is a …what do I call it? It’s a property owned by the News Corporation and NBC Universal as they’re both trying to figure out and control the migration of the television screen to that screen (pointing to the computer). So her thesis was about what this is going to mean for the TV industry and what it’s going to mean with respect to how people watch.
Most of the students, who all think they’re so savvy…they think they’re so cool and we’re so uncool…they didn’t know it was owned by the same players who are already in control of the industry…they thought it was a continuation of everything that’s been happening since Napster… They thought it was some subversive way they could watch television whenever they wanted to, commercial free.
What do you prefer, radio or television?
Well, it’s apples and oranges… And not to evade your question, but here’s a more interesting one. Here we are doing an interview that’s going to be on your blog… Well, it wasn’t until 2004 that “weblogs” suddenly appeared on the cultural radar, and suddenly people started blogging and it became wildly popular and people started talking about things like citizen journalism replacing the whole journalistic enterprise, or at least becoming as important as professional journalism. And then you have practices like my student who is in Florence right now who’s keeping track of and reporting on her Italian experience via a blog…I mean, how many millions of blogs are there NOW and what’s up with that?
I think that’s a fascinating question…I don’t have an answer but I do think it’s important to think about and talk about this as we all blog away… Think of it this way: What you and I are doing right now is point-to-point communication…back and forth from me to you. But in the past when I’ve been interviewed like this it was for some medium of mass communication, some point-to multipoint means of communication, you interview me for a magazine and that gets distributed to a mass audience… Now, you’re interviewing me for a blog and in a way the blog is point-to multipoint. But when there are literally millions of blogs you have a media world that is multipoint to multipoint, all these millions of blogs competing for the attentions of all Internet users and surfers… Wow! What a world!
Is there a required tool for this program?
I used to say this (holding up a pen). Now I would say it’s simply the ability to type words. Literacy is the basis for it all…writing is the basis for it all. And of course you can’t write if you don’t read.
Are there books out there that can improve this for students?
Well, my great mentor and teacher was a fellow named Neil Postman, and he wrote a whole series of books on the subject…um, but one of his influences was a Canadian named Harold Innis…Innis wrote two important books about communication, Empire and Communication and the other one is called The Bias of Communication. And to bring this all full circle, I think those are the two books that are the root texts in the study of media ecology.
Wow, this was inspiring and very informative, thank you!
Saturday, May 23, 2009
I was strolling the city streets one day, soaking up the final sun rays when I heard this girl speaking. She had a unique accent that I couldn't place. I asked her where she was from. She told me she was from Israel. I had never interviewed an international student before and asked her would she mind answering some questions about her life here in New York. Below is a synopsis of what took place..
What is your occupation?
I am a student at Hunter College (68/Lex.) in the city...just started!
You said you were an international student?
Were you also a student there?
I am twenty-six! Over there...I was in the Army for two years, Switzerland for three years, here for three years, I just started college over here, my life is already a great resume...it was fun, beautiful. I learned some German...
Why? They're German there?
They speak Swiss German, it's divided, by three different...areas? There's the French part-French, South, Italian, middle-they speak Swiss-German, but everybody speaks German...and in school they teach it. But if you go to the French part, they make you speak French.
You were in the Military?
Yes, two years. I became a commander, but everybody had to do that.
Everyone had to join the army...it's required, if you live there, you have to.
I didn't know that.
It's an ongoing conflict, I am trying to be optimistic about it...I mean there are some people who put kids on roofs so (that) house does not get bombed.
Upon obtaining your degree from Hunter, what do you hope to achieve?
It's so wide, that's why I want to do PR stuff, journalism, I think I want to do something with publicity, produce my own television show...
What's the red string bracelet signify?
It signifies...like when you donate to the poor, you get one. It's like good luck, spiritual. The Kabala, Madonna wears one.
Do you consider yourself a spiritual person?
I'm more spirit of believing than acting on it. As long as one believes whether that be believing in...college, what you want...that's what belief is. (Sipping her coffee)
So, it seems like you have a plan after college, but it's not definite?
There are so many people that go to college and there's a huge difference between what actually happens, that's why I'm here and I am going on six internships!
Sampling your identity?
My real world started a long time ago...there's an age thing (difference). A typical college student goes because their parents made them and/or paid for it. Things were not like that for me when I was eighteen,,,I'm not trying to sound dramatic, I mean it's a beautiful place, now they did a survey that said 80% of the people there are happy!
That's seems stressful.
I'd like to go back there in like four years...so what I was saying is there's a huge difference, we grew up faster...
Has that made you less frivolous?
You could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?
Well, first of all, New York; say no more. I mean seriously! I lived in Switzerland, it is so beautiful over there, but if you read the newspaper, it's like nothing happens! It's just too peaceful! I got bored and I moved to New York.
Here, it's a happy medium?
Yes, there is a certain VIBE that I didn't get anywhere else, well except for San Diego.
Ever been to L.A?
How would you compare NY to LA?
Yeah, I just wanted to grab people and shake them up...they're too laid back!
You're saying people are not laid back here?
Here people are just...well, sometimes I like it and sometimes I don't...sometimes everyone is
just walking and I am walking and I feel myself walking faster even if I'm not in a rush and have no real destination, all of a sudden, I'm in a big rush to get there.
You start charging with them, that's happens to me too!
Yeah, and one time I was walking really fast with the usual traffic and I just stopped for a second and some lady on her cell phone who was rushing to get somewhere was like "What the HELL are you doing?" She had space to go right or left, there was plenty of room for her just to go around me!
You seem very upbeat and positive, what is your secret?
70% of life is work, so I'd better have fun! I try to do everything.
Best experience here?
I think you can be wherever you want, you can choose to be whoever you want, you can go, anywhere!
Do you consider this country the Land of Opportunity?
Yes, there's no limits to what you can do, it depends on the definition of success.
Been to the Statue of Liberty?
Yes, like six times...always whenever I have a family member come out, we go there, it's fun but it's hard when you're a student.
There's money, money, money, all the time, you become more aware of money because you see it.
This is a country of possessions, we measure ourselves by it.
Yes and people are willing to do a lot for it...with their Louie Vouten bags, there's no other country like it, it's very materialistic?
Are you materialistic?
(Hesitation in her voice) I'm trying not to be...I wasn't until I came here.
Is New York changing you?
In New York, you have to...this is a city that has a lot to offer. But I'm trying to be who I am and not be materialistic...trying to focus on my beliefs. I think everyone is searching for happiness.
(Nodding) I agree with that.
And they always question what that is.
What do you despise most?
Not having enough money to be happy. I mean not having money can suck the life out of you. I mean I know that money doesn't give you happiness but I am also aware that money gives you comfort. BUT, you could be a greedy bastard and have a beautiful house and wife and lots of money and still be miserable! There are people that are spoiled like that...I always tell my friends: I don't want to be too rich but I do want enough money to live and be happy...and I want to get paid to do what I love!
Me too, I hope that happens for the both of us one day, soon! Thank you, this was very interesting. I learned so much.
Posted by NYC Inquirer at 10:35 AM
Monday, May 18, 2009
Silence the Stain...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQ08KRWbI3w
I saw this guy years ago when he was first starting out. I took a friend of mine to go see him at Comic Strip Live in the Village. Fast forward, 3-4 years: I see him on this funny Superbowl tide commercial. Right away, I started planning an interview in my head even though I didn't have a contact number, nada. The next day, I see him walking down the street. I did not hesitate. I screamed out the window and told him (did not ask) he had no choice but to answer some very important questions. He felt obligated because I supported him when he was beginning as an artist and he wanted to return the favor...ah, he's so nice.
Who told you about your gig?
How did you get to know him/her?
Her...from a workshop I did downtown.
Cost of workshop?
Around 3 something (300 dollars+).
10% of earnings.
She got other clients?
A lot...very big.
Can you have more than one agent?
Not for commercial agent...for other....
So, you can get another agent?
Working on it, takes a lot of money to get money.
So aside from comedy (comic standup), you would do other projects, movies and such?
Yeah, a character type, like Phillip Seymor Hoffman, I like the types of roles he gets.
I do too, like the 'everyman' type of stuff...so how long did it take you to make the commercial?
Got to NY around 5am, me and crew drove from there to Newark, NJ to a seedy location where there was this closed building office, cuz it was Saturday I think, anyway, we used this guy's vacant office for the shot. The skit was improvised.
Really? I didn't know that.
The both of you? You and the 'interviewer'?
(Nodding). The director was from Sweden, the creative people were pretty high up (successful) and 'the talking stain' was added later. So the guy interviewing me had to pretend there was a stain on my shirt that wasn't really there, and I (the interviewee) had no idea and I'm like confused, not knowing what's going on.
Breakfast, lunch, only worked 8 hours, there were two sides (camera shots) so I only worked for three hours, the rest was waiting time.
No, did three before.
Really, didn't know that either, don't recall seeing them, guess cuz the tide one got big cuz it was a big hit as a Superbowl commercial?
Yeah, first one I did was non union for a Poker Website, the other PSA (Public Service Announcement?)for drunk driving.
Paid hourly service for tide commercial?
No, service fee...$1,800 for actual filming during Superbowl.
$100 everytime it airs on regular t.v, $1,800 yearly for cable and web sites.
The other two commercials air?
The first one late at night, that was a small role with many people. The drunk driving one, I was the really drunk guy who was too drunk to drive so the other guy who was only slightly buzzed drove instead...he of course crashed, the commercial is to get people to see buzzed driving is just as bad as drunk driving.
As the really drunk guy, what were you asked to do?
Appear really intoxicated and make a mess eating.
Ewwww...how many sausages did you have to consume?
None, every take I spit out the food, it tasted so bad, cold, etc. Whenever you see people (on tv) eating or drinking they're really just pretending, like they go to take a sip of water (holds glass to take a drink) but never really swallow.
Cool. How long did the commercial become?
Standard...30 seconds, the other commercial I didn't mention I played a hick for an 'Urge' MTV commercial, for less than $1,000.
When is your next stand up gig?
Not for a while.
Let me know if you go to Comic Strip Live again, I really enjoyed your show (2 years ago).
Okay, thanks, see ya.
Posted by NYC Inquirer at 7:54 PM
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Pat on the movie set of Beautiful Kid. He plays the older brother Jimmy, the only brother not afflicted with a drinking problem. He tries desperately to keep the family from falling apart.
Patrick McCullough is the award-winning film producer of Beautiful Kid. Starring Frank McCourt (Angela's Ashes), John Carty (Best Supporting Actor Method Film Fest) and Dan Brennan (winner of best Supporting Actor Method Film Fest). Meeting him was inspirational, his Carpe Diem attitude is infectious.
What was it like working with Tatum O’Neal?
What? That’s the other Patrick McCullough, where did you do your research? (laughing).
Ooops, sorry about that. What about Good Friends Film Productions, that’s your company?
It was. It’s not up and running but I did a bunch of educational film productions back in the day. We made 5-6 films but it ran out of gas…
I also see you wrote, directed and produced A Dream Come True.
Yes, that is actually true. It’s like a doo-wop musical fantasy. You know, the street-corner-singing style back in the fifties…there’s some doo-wop in it…it was a world where dreams are not spoken, but sung…a short film.
How long is a typical short film?
This one was about fifteen minutes. Nowadays, they can be a lot shorter…some as short as two minutes!
I just interviewed an internet movie director, James Huffman and this is his specialty, his films are less then ten minutes and they’re brilliant. He thinks short films are perfect for our society today…we have such short attention spans.
I suppose. Well to summarize the plot, a depressed businessman makes his way onto the subway after a long day and a fight with his wife on the phone about him never seeing his little girl. It’s late at night and this homeless guy is begging for money. The beggar guy looks at this businessman and says, “It’s you, we sing together.” And he’s pestering the guy, “Sing the song we sing together.” There’s a cop in the car observing all this. They almost get in a fight, but he keeps pleading, “Sing for me.” The lights go out and a doo-wop song comes on. The businessman, the beggar and the cop are in purple tuxedosin an old tenement alley singing in this very fifties style, very magical change of scene. It’s kind of trippy I guess…and it’s this beautiful song. And as they finish it they’re back in the subway and the beggar guy is telling the businessman, “ You were great.” The cop who was just watching the guy being pestered in the prior scene loses it and kicks him off. The businessman goes home and for some reason he’s got the song still stuck in his head. From his formally depressed state, he’s feeling good and trying to sing the song. When his wife meets him at the door she’s upset because he’s singing loudly and she doesn’t want him to wake up their kid. She thinks he’s whacked. But she gives in and tries to join in and they have a really nice moment and the little girl is watching all this. Oh, Right before we got to the subway scene, we saw this little girl being put to bed by her mom and we go back into the moving subway. Basically, the watcher doesn’t know whose film it is. Does it belong to the beggar, businessman, the girl?…I like to think it’s the girl’s but it’s open for anyone to interpret.
Sounds beautiful, I like it. I love teaching short stories. I think it would be nice if it was the beggar’s story…that he could be asking for change in one minute and then the next be the business guy’s equal and dance around and not be looked down upon.
That’s a nice way to look at it. It was done so many years ago on film and back then there was no real market to sell your short film, I showed it at some festivals. I actually just showed it again at some art event in Connecticut…I was thinking of putting it on DVD so it will be for sale.
That would be good for kids I think.
It’s good for adults too. You know? It’s a good message for adults. It’s kind of saying don’t bring your attitude home…bring your music…don’t be a depressed businessman when you’re at home.
Wow, it’s deep. I want to see it now. What made you decide to open your own summer camp and what does it offer its students?
I’d been teaching off and on for about 10 years by then and I had worked for other summer programs for a few years and I realized no one was a rocket scientist. I could do it myself, and teach what I wanted how I wanted to. So I started Filmmakers Ink. I had a good first summer and it gave me some freedom to work during the academic year on my own film projects. This is my 5th summer. We teach screen writing, filmmaking, acting, editing and special effects. All the things I wish I was taught as a kid.
What types of artists do you usually hire?
I usually go about hiring people I work with because I know how they work. There are actors I’ve done plays with. Filmmakers I’ve worked with for the production side of things. And with the younger kids, I’ve had some of my former students teach the younger ones. They know what I like to get across to the kids.
They say that’s the best way to learn is when you have to teach it yourself, wow…you also teach at a Magnet school?
Yes, as an artist instructor.
Tell me about Sara’s Diary, the teen suicide prevention film you produced and directed.
It was just this great story. I hadn’t started getting into the documentary-style films yet. So it’s like a short story, a short film. In this one. It’s about a girl who was getting picked on a lot and committed suicide. She left a diary behind and it was picked up by a male student who was one of the ones who had picked on her. He reads it and has to come to grips with what he has contributed to and who she really was. He gets depressed also but he seeks help for it.
The moral of the story is about…
It’s about getting help and in each film there is information for students to reach out and get help for themselves or others. The purpose was to get the kids emotionally involved so they would want to talk about it in their classes.
Where did you go to school?
I did not go to school for film (laughing). I went to college in Marist College in Poughkeepsie and I graduated with honors. I majored in communications. It was pretty much advertising, marketing, public relations…I mean I don’t know what I learned that I’m still using but I’m sure I picked up some things….
How did you ever hook up with Colum anyway?
Um…let’s see. We had met going on a bus to the Fleadh, some Irish music festival….and I began to see him around at book readings and the like…I really liked his books and I’d seen him in 2001 and he was doing a reading and I was working on putting together a feature film and I told him what I was doing and a few weeks later, he called and told me about this script that he had been reading. When I heard him say there’s this great script I said I wanted to read it. These guys were revved up and wanted to make the film the next week (laughing). And I was like, “Let me just read the script.” The next day I had only read ten pages and loved it and thought it would be a powerful movie and I went back and I said, “I know you guys want to do this next week but can you give me like, two weeks?” I asked some crew members that I had worked with on a previous film to read it before they agreed to do it for little money. I questioned them when they told me they liked the script to make sure they really bought into it and we didn’t lose one crew person which was very important….except the one we found in our trunk…James Capria, the DP, was cleaning out our production vehicle (my 12 year old Honda hatchback), and he came up to me very urgently and said, “I found Ross.”…that’s a long story.
There was so many awards for this….
Best Actor Award at the Method Fest for Dan Brennan who was the lead. Best Supporting for John Carty who beat out Eric Roberts (Julia Roberts brother). It was also nominated for Best Ensemble at the Method Fest, a Maverick Award, Best Film nomination up against films with budgets of 5-10 million dollars, a Boston Irish Film Best Movie Nomination. That’s incredible, with a budget of $15,000! It cost us a lot more than that.
How long did it take start to finish?
Till our first screening about a year and half.
Terror said, the Woodlawn trip was the best…
I missed that. I lived there and moved to Connecticut after living in NY…I remember we filled up 2 theaters for one screening, we filled up a 500 seat theater in a snap! They rigged it so the film would show on 2 screens at once and that one filled up as well with the overflow.
What was it like working with Colum and Mike?
It was a great collaboration. Mike is the best screenwriter I’ve ever worked with, and he and Colum were passionate about the direction of the film.
Do you have a favorite actor?
It was a pleasure…all these young and inexperienced actors walked in the door and it was trial by fire. They had to deliver and they all did and we were very lucky. There was not a weak link in the bunch.
You made this film just after 9/11?
Yes, we were scheduled to start the film on 9/11.We took Gullianni’s words to heart…‘we gotta keep working.’ We waited a few days and began. One of the things that was most important to me as we made this film was the involvement of the police and fire department, not to mention the carpenters and other Ground Zero workers. They wanted to work with us on our film just to escape for a few hours. It was important that we could be that outlet for them.
Haven’t you been featured somewhere, I feel like I‘ve seen you on the screen a lot?
I’ve done some soap stuff and some plays that have been nominated and I was Jimmy as a supporting actor in Beautiful Kid…I was always getting cast as a character actor on soaps as the bad waiter or something, which is a good thing, getting the character roles…I’m actually gearing to head back into the city and do that as well.
Where did you study acting?
Two years at Carnegie Hall…Meisner Technique.
It’s living truthfully within imaginary circumstances….I went to boot camp as an actor. Robert X. Modica was the hardest teacher but a great one…He’s still teaching, still going strong in the city.
I started studying a few years after I graduated.
What was your biggest inspiration to go into acting?
My brother‘s death. At the time I was graduating college and I basically said (I was doing IBM marketing) to hell with this, life is too short. I’m gonna do what makes me happy. And that’s why I decided to pursue acting. I’m still in the Screen Actors Guild. I became a working actor in NY, after that I went to LA….acted in and produced plays on my own. I’ve learned when you want to do something you really love, don’t wait for someone to give you the opportunity. Go out and do it yourself and make it happen!
You were also a well-known singer once upon a time.
I don’t know about well known, I was one of the Founding members of the band Gaelic Storm, they kind of made it big for awhile.
You know the scene in the movie, Titanic? The Irish band in the steerage. That’s them. I had left LA before all that went down. Now there’s only one guy left from the original band, Patrick Murphy. He’s a good entertainer. I always hated the name of the band, so cheesy.
Did you play an instrument?
No, my part was mostly singing the ballads and harmony or the fun stuff like playing the cheesy percussion. I did this in LA… I jumped into it because I always loved Irish music. Two guys asked me and we made it happen…got us our first gig and I was paying the rent with it for a while.
What was it like working with Malachy and Frank McCourt?
I knew both of them before Angela‘s Ashes…
They were doing a play adapted from the Leon Uris book “Trinity” and I had written Leon to ask for the movie rights and when he wrote back to tell me that that wasn’t going to happen and that even now they were working on the play in New York, I asked for a job. They paid me a stipend to work behind the scenes….I came back from LA at the time and Malachy was working on it…and I met Frank around that time. It was the late 80s. Then the next time I saw them they came to a Gaelic Storm show!
That’s a sign… it seems like you were all meant to do a movie together!
They’ve always been great guys. Shortly after I saw them at the show I went away to Europe for a few years. When I came back I picked up a copy of the Irish Voice and read that Frank had just won the Pulitzer Prize.
That is just incredible. What were you doing in Europe?
I wrote two screenplays and did some teaching of English and acting.
So, you didn’t go to film school.
How did you become a filmmaker? Shortly after that time in Europe, I made about four or five educational films. Made lots of mistakes but learned a lot. After my short film, I was trying to raise money for one of my features but instead I got hired to create a business plan for someone elses film and ended up producing it.
What’s your usual title?
I consider myself what ever each project needs to get it done…I’m a producer if a really good film comes along. I really like to do my own films…Getting Beautiful Kid out there and getting a movie of my own are one and two on my list right now. I made a few movies this past year that were funded by the Department of Justice.
Yeah, it’s nice making films that are fully funded….with this economy. One of the bright spots in this economy for me is I’m getting more time to make my own movies. The problem is all I really want to do is spend my days with my kids.
What is your philosophy on life?
John Patrick Shanley says and I‘ll paraphrase, “Sometimes in life, doing the things that you really want to do requires a little more courage than you currently have. What it takes is a deep breath and a leap.” During the times when I’m present in my life, I think of that quote or whenever I’m facing a wall.
That’s good advice, I’ll take it. Are you from Ireland? You look very Irish.
No, my great grandparents were from Ireland. I’m from one of those Irish American families that was in the Civil War draft riots. My family went on to become train conductors and detectives and newspaper men. My grandfather was the editor of the Stamford Advocate during WW11…
You’ve lived in LA, NY, MA…
And Vienna. I also studied in Ireland my junior year, I loved Donegal, Prague at night,…I love Florence, Italy, hung out with some street venders there and played music.
Is LA superficial?
As Louise Lasser said to me once, “LA is like Saturday night without a date.“ I found that in order to have a foundation, you have to actively create. It’s not going to present itself to you. That’s why I had to form a group when I was there.
How ironic, that’s what the producer, James Huffman had to do when he moved to LA from NY.
In NY, you just do your own thing but in LA you have to actively protect that…I saw people go off the deep end.
There’s just no footing….it’s too glossy, you can slide right off,. You have to work hard to keep your footing.
You did really well a few years back with your play “Spittin Image” by Stephen Metcafe, tell me a little bit about it.
It was a long one act, about an hour. A two-character play that I produced and acted in, and we ran it for awhile. We got a “Pick of the Week” in the LA Weekly. I ran it so long, 2 years, that the playwright sent me other plays to do.
Did you travel with it?
Yeah, it went to Ireland, LA, NY (Signature theater), Mexico…
Mexico? You‘re kidding!
No, my friend was getting married over there and we got the US Embassy in Mexico City to sponsor us!
That was smart…I am really getting jealous!
When we went to Ireland and Air Lingus flew us over to do the play there.
No one gave you this hand book you just figured it out? I can’t believe the US Embassy…
My friend’s mom ran a theater in her home, she was very much a theatrical persona and she was the diva. As a gift to the family, we did the play there…just for the family and friends when they were preparing for the wedding.
You are very adventurous.
You only live 3 or 4 times. Once I went hitchhiking from the West to go through East Germany into West Berlin…this is before the Berlin Wall came down. The couple that picked me up even gave me a place to stay…I helped them move their furniture.
Wish times were like that now, there was so much freedom back then to explore!
Learn More: Beautifulkidthemovie.com
Rosemary Redlin, http://www.google.com/search?q=rosemary+redlin&pov=118372401654362109360&usg=__-fTbRtN6lYcqOigk4rZxxLLWfNk=&hl=enis is a freelance make up artist who has worked with numerous celebrities that include: Al Gore, Ally Sheedy, Beck, Cindy Crawford, Ellen Degeneres, Megan Fox, Ozzy Ozzborne, Rob Lowe, Ginnifer Goodwin,Miss Universe and Miss U.S.A (to name a few). She spoke with me about her occupation, where she gets her inspiration and confirmed my opinion that Maybeline Mascara is still the best out there.
As a make up artist, you’ve worked in LA, NY, Chicago and Miami. Where of all these places do you consider the best place to work?
I feel more creative here because of the energy…the diversity of the people.
What other famous faces have you worked on aside from what I've mentioned?
Smashing Pumpkins, Beck, Kathy Ireland....there are so many!
Wow! What is a common misconception people make about celebrities?
They’re just people, like everyone else.
Do celebrities get close to their make up artists?
That happens sometimes.
Do you have any good stories?
Number one rule, I do not gossip.
Where has this job taken you?
All over the world…Italy, Germany, Guatemala, Barbados, Canada, London, Paris….
So, you just go wherever you’re needed?
That’s very interesting.
I am very pleased because I always shoot in very beautiful places and work with many interesting people.
What is your favorite product on a splurge?
(laughing) When I’m on a splurge? I’m always splurging…um….I don’t know….I love learning about new products and trying things on. I mean I buy so many different make up products. I guess sable make up brushes…I was just in LA and bought a whole bunch of lip gloss.
What product would you recommend to those hurt by this recession?
Always buy the best foundation…but with mascara and lip gloss you can get that in any drug store. And I always recommend maybeline mascara…
Have you ever made mistakes?
The great thing about makeup, it’s temporary. Mistakes can be great because they can lead to a new way of doing something…
Who/ what influenced you to do what you do?
I started off doing hair…I was a hairdresser. And then I really liked doing color. I was in Chicago at the time…I then decided I wanted to do make up.…there really wasn’t one person. I mean a lot of people have mentors, I never really did.
Where do you get your ideas?
I like to go to museums, I get influenced by art books, film, history, also clothes by designers from that season inspire. It’s always a collaborative effort….with the director, the photographer, the hairdresser, the wardrobe stylist, the model but with something like a TV actor…it’s more of what the character is supposed to be.
Have any magazines ever quoted you?
Well, lately I was in Martha Stewart. I was also quoted in Allure and Vogue.
How does this happen?
People get to know you and they call you and then they email you and you confirm it with them.
What are your other interests?
Anything to do with the arts: museums, dancing, art, yoga, pilates...
Yoga? That’s something I really need to start doing, how much do you do that?
A few times a week.
Makeup…is it a skill or talent?
It’s definitely a talent, but you can learn it as a skill more so if you love it, you can learn it…it’s like anything else.
How long have you done this?
20 years…you have to have a lot of faith to do this…you have to love what you do, I just follow my heart and I am blessed and I get a lot of energy from the people I work with, it’s like the perfect job for me because things change constantly.
Ever work with the everyday people or is it all just high end?
Yes, sometimes. Do you mean weddings? I usually do high end weddings, like last year I worked with one client whose wedding was on Platinum Wedding.
Do you have any representation?
Yes….I’m represented by two agencies and I have a website.
Are both your agents here in New York?
One is in New York and one is in LA.
Do you get most of your clients through these agencies?
Mostly it’s word of mouth…
What celebrities have you worked on most frequently?
I worked with Kathy Ireland for several years, Niki Blonsky, Eliza Dushku .
Ever worked on the set of a play?
I usually work with celebrities‘, editorial, magazine, red carpet premieres, short films, campaigns.
What big campaigns have you done?
Really? Who models for them?
Phil Nickelson (golfer), Zara Phillips, Doctor Sylvia Earl, Anna Ivanovic (tennis).
What’s a typical day?
Everyday is like your first day at work…everyone has their own interpretations…everyone has their own vision of what they want…it’s dealing with different personalities…you have to access the situation…there are people that hire me over and over again because we speak the same language and they know what to expect.
Any advice for make up artists who are working with celebrities for the first time?
When you’re working with a celebrity, you have to learn not to be intrusive, if they are on the phone, reading a script or question and preparing to go on, you have to be able to give them their space. Also dress up a little bit, look professional.
Ever had any divas?
Everyone wants to be nice to their make up artists because they want them to make them look good, so, no I’ve never had any issues with that.
Does it take longer to work on a man or a woman?
(laughing) A woman.
There is more steps…
What do you never use on a man?
Eye shadow, lipstick or lip-gloss (laughing)
How long does it typically take to apply make up?
Depends…it could take fifteen minutes to an hour and a half….or ten minutes.
What does that come down to? Their skin?
Time…there could be time restraints…they arrived late and have to get ready quickly….
What is something you may have them do?
Curl their own lasses but most of the time I do everything.
What does a crazy schedule look like to you?
I’ve had to be in multiple locations throughout the day….could be different jobs or you have to
travel with them. Usually it’s one job a day but it could be different locations.
Ever worked with a newscast?
Yes, Good Morning America.
What was that like?
Early calls, quick make up…
Is there a make up union?
Yes…798 is NY and 706 is in LA. I’m just in the New York Union now…at one point I was in both.
What do they do?
They do negotiations with productions and come up with rates and that’s for TV and film.
If you could change careers?
I don’t know….investment banker but then I’d have to crunch numbers! Sometimes I think of doing something else and I just can’t imagine it.
Can you tell me a little more about one or two celebrities you‘ve made up?
I worked on Ellen in Chicago when she did an personal appearance, it was before her show. I did Al Gore’s face for Good Morning America once.
What’s Al like?
He was a very nice man.
What do you like most about your job?
I really like to make woman look and feel their best whether that be a model, TV personality, or a woman going to an event. And I love the travel. The ability to be creative and create.
What is your advice to someone who wants your job?
Be professional…be enthusiastic… be open to learning new stuff, learn from the best, show up and enjoy, it’s a great career, it’s a lot of fun.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Dillion McCartney is a classical Irish Tenor who explores timeless songs with a classical crossover interpretation. His soothing voice will help any stress slip away. His album is out now and is brilliant. It was wonderful to speak with such a talented singer who seems to have had music in his blood for a long time.
What is your occupation?
Was this your first career?
Yes, I started out in musical theater. I started out as a jingle singer.
Why did you chose to be a jingle-singer?
It wasn't a choice for me. When I was in elementary school, my mom worked at a recording studio. The producers were really cool and they allowed me to hang out there and then one day a producer had me sing this nursery rhyme to him and brought me up to the recording studio. Whenever they needed a kids' voice, they would call me and that's how I started doing jingle work.
So, you were this little kid with all this money from working?
It was my first production work,,,I don't know exactly how much it was.
Where have you performed?
Um...I performed...I've been a soloist at Carnegie Hall four times and at Avery Fisher Hall on numerous occasions..I've song regionally throughout the United States and ah..Italy, France, um..England, Brazil, Norway, Tel Aviv...those were a...that kind of covers it thus far.
How many CDs do you have out at the moment?
I'm on my second one. The latest is called, "Dillion McCartney from My Heart."
Are you recognizable enough?
I doubt it, no...not yet anyhow.
How are you selling it?
Via the Internet, it's on Amazon, CD Baby...it literally just came out a few weeks ago.
Did it take a while to produce?
It took about...it took a couple of months to produce..that includes what I wanted to record, who I wanted to record with, mixing it down and mastering it, producing the CD cover...
Was it expensive?
About 15 Grand.
You think you'll make that back?
Well, in terms of direct CD sells, I don't think so, but it terms of it leading to other work...I mean I would love it if it started selling like crazy. I think it's more likely someone will hear it and want to hire me and that'll pay off the cost of the CD making.
Who are your favorite musicians?
Do you hate that question?
Finding favorite is hard for a Libra...it depends on the day...I like everyone from Randy Newman to Tito Schipa to Johnny Cash to...it's so hard for me to say, I love listening to many of the operatic singing...Franco Corelli, Luciano Pavarotti, um...I'm a HUGE fan of Janis Joplin...I love MeatLoaf...(laughing), there's just so many...I'm not an Opera singer who only listens to Opera music for sure...oh, and I love Tony Bennet.
What else do you love to do? Can you build a house?
No, (laughing) I absolutely can not...I can not build a house. I'm an actor, I've done theater...other things in terms of what I like to do, you mean just hobbies?
I'm a real movie fan, I love going to the movies...I enjoy very much walking all over New York City...I love just taking in the city...nothing else is coming to mind.
What is your favorite song to sing?
I hate these kind of questions. It's just impossible...I can't give you a favorite.
What is the pay like?
Do you mean do Opera singers get paid well? Well, sure there are Opera singers that make millions...it's like any other field...people at the top are doing extremely well...there are so many expenses involved that a lot of people are not aware of.
I have a very famous Opera singing friend that in order for her to make a million, she has to spend half of that...it's because of how much it all cost: taxes, agents, managers, publicists ...everybody wants a piece.
What were your beginnings like?
I was in musical theater and someone saw me and asked me who I was working with and gave me a number to call...that school was Carnegie Mellon University and that was a school that I always wanted to go to and this gave me the perfect opportunity. When that show closed, I went to that school and graduated four years later...that's where I did my classical training also.
Ever sang on national television?
Yeah, a Honey Comb commercial, that famous jingle that many of us have grown up with,,,do you remember that one?
No, how does it go?
"Honey Combs big yeah yeah yeah, it's not small no, no, no..." People who know it will know it.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Um...I have no idea,,,just taking it day by day. If one thing this business has taught me is life is unpredictable. One day I could be in China...it's impossible to predict.
Any horrible experiences?
There's only been one time where I've had a terrifying experience. I was asked in college to be the mascot for the Pittsburg Symphony Fundraising Ball. The mascot that year was going to be a clown and part of my responsibility was to prepare this speech that was going to tell what was going to happen during this event and it was this long monologue..and I thought I had it memorized cold,,,it was so long and I didn't have a copy with me. I ran out there and just froze..I just kind of walked off the stage...but they didn't fire me, I ended up going to the ball anyway.
Is there anything else you'd rather be doing?
Although I sometimes wonder if classical music is where I want to spend all my time is something I question but as far as being a performer, there's nothing else I'd rather do...I've really given it a lot of thought and I can't come up with anything.
Are people surprised when you tell them what you do?
I don't completely identify myself as an Opera singer, it doesn't fully describe all the things I can do...I guess I could just say I am an entertainer.
Have you ever sang a love song to a lover?
Not that I can remember...I've sung places where my lover might be...
I really love how you sing the version of Danny Boy on your album.
I'm going to buy a copy for my mom,,,it'll bring tears to her eyes to hear someone with such a powerful voice singing her all-time favorite melody.
Let me know what she thinks.
Posted by NYC Inquirer at 10:38 AM